What do you know?

June 21, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
(Romans 8:28 (NIV))

This is a difficult thing for many people to grasp, for they see only the immediate results of things as they happen. Humanity does not have the luxury of being able to see the long term consequences of any given event or series of events.

All too often we jump to worldly conclusions and do not see the “God” scheme of things. No matter what we may face in this life, we must remember that God is in control. If we are His through the grace and mercy granted through His Son Jesus Christ, then our ultimate good is heaven. If that is true, then everything that happens in this world can be taken as a temporary situation. This is hard to fathom when a loved one faces death or when a country faces terrorism, but, we must remember that what we see in the physical world is only a small fraction of the battle that goes on in the spiritual world.

If we hold steadfast in our faith in Jesus, then we are assured of our “good.”

What do you know?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we seeking the lost for Jesus?

April 28, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
(Luke 19:10 (NIV))

What is your understanding of why Jesus came into this world?

His primary purpose was to bring restoration between God and a sinful, fallen humanity by offering salvation to anyone who would simply believe. This singular task was and still is intended to bring people back to the Father after the enemy deceived us in the Garden of Eden. When humanity allowed sin into the world, we lost the ability to be in relationship with the Father, for He is perfect and cannot associate with sin. Jesus came to offer humanity a way out of our sinful nature so that we can be in relationship once again with the Father. All of the problems that humanity faces are a direct result of our sinful, fallen nature. Poverty, greed, lust, and everything else are simply symptoms of the root problem and that problem is sin. Jesus didn’t come into the world to deal with the symptoms. He came to deal with the cause of all of the symptoms. He did not come into the world to be a social justice warrior, He came to destroy the root cause of social injustice. He did not come into the world to redistribute wealth. He came into the world to destroy the enemy and to turn people back to loving God instead of money.

Jesus came into this world to destroy the power of sin! He came to call people to a relationship with the Father through Himself. He came to redeem humanity for a loving Father.

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

If Jesus came to seek and to save the lost, and we are called to do the works that He was doing, are we fulfilling this calling? He even left instructions for this task with His disciples.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
(Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV))

If Jesus told His disciples to go and make disciples of all nations, this is a self-perpetuating assignment. As disciples bring more people to Jesus, these new disciples are given the same task as those who discipled them. In essence, our primary task is the same as what Jesus proclaimed of Himself. We are to seek and to save the lost by showing them Jesus. We are to do what Jesus did!

Are we seeking the lost for Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you discovered your God created purpose?

March 8, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For you created my inmost being;
       you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
       your works are wonderful,
       I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
       when I was made in the secret place.
    When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
    All the days ordained for me
       were written in your book
       before one of them came to be.
(Psalms 139:13-16 (NIV))

God has created each of us to be unique. This was His plan from the beginning of time. It was His plan from your conception. It was His plan from your birth.

If God has planned for you to be unique, why do so many of us spend time trying to be just like someone else?

Perhaps we spend too little time looking for the unique creation within us and spend too much time looking for what the world has to offer us. We should stop and look inward at what God has already given each of us to see that He has already given us a unique life that does not need worldly influence to be happy and successful.

God does not make mistakes! He has made each of us and He knows us intimately.

He loves us as we are. He does not approve of our nature when we seek outside gratification because it leads to sin. He wants us to turn to Him as Creator, Lord, and Savior.

Do you fear your God given uniqueness? Do you long to be like someone else? God has already created them. He wants you to spend time in His presence and discover who He created you to be.

Have you discovered your God created purpose?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will you continue to stand firm in God’s authority?

November 4, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
(Romans 13:1 (NIV))

As I sit down to write this, I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

I wonder what the weather will be like. I wonder how my day will go. I wonder what the outcome of the election will be, but I do not wonder who is ultimately in charge!

Can you say the same thing?

No matter who may win the election, it will not come as a surprise to God. He will not look down on this nation and say that He didn’t see it coming. In fact, everything that is happening is happening as a part of His plan. The stage has been set. Whether the same players come back for the next act or new people come into the spotlight, the results that God has planned since the beginning will still unfold according to His purpose. If we truly have placed our faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, then we know who ultimately wins. Based on world events, many people believe that His victory is closer than we know.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (NIV))

Will you be at peace no matter the outcome of this election?

Will you continue to stand firm in God’s authority?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Is there a difference between gathering and assembling?

September 1, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
(Hebrews 10:25 (NIV))

It is amazing how subtle nuances in a translation can make something take on a completely different meaning. Since we have to rely on translations from the original Aramaic and Greek, the understanding of the full meanings of the original language and how it is translated into English can vary slightly. Each translation conveys the meaning, but sometimes the subtleties give a much better understanding of the depth of the original language. This is why I like to cross reference between many different translations to try and fully understand the intentions behind the words. This passage is an excellent example of just this.

What do you think of when you read the phrase “meeting together”? Do you simply think of a gathering of individuals that come together for a short time and then go their separate ways?

Now, let’s take this one step further and reference a different translation.

not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
(Hebrews 10:25 (NKJV))

What do you think of when you read the phrase “assembling of ourselves together”? Does this paint a mental picture of unity and purpose where people come together for a common goal?

I heard something today that brought these two phrases into a much better understanding. I think that this analogy will also paint a very interesting picture for you as well.

The example was of a watch. When you gather the components of a watch into one location, everything is there, yet it has no purpose. They are still just individual parts that do not work together. But, when those parts are assembled in the correct way, the result is a fully functioning time piece. Now, how does this apply to believers who simply gather together versus being assembled into a functioning body of believers? We, as the church, should be more than the sum of our individual parts. We should rely on the Lord to assemble us in such a way that we bring glory to Him by uniting in the task that we have been assigned.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
(Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV))

If all that we do is gather, then we are not fulfilling our calling. We must be willing to assemble!

Is there a difference between gathering and assembling?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you following God’s will?

July 13, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV))

If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, I pray that it is your heart’s desire to be in God’s Will for your life. If you are like me, you desire to be in God’s Will in all aspects of your life, but it isn’t always easy. We are still humans and are bound by much more than we care to admit. Even though we profess a faith in Jesus, we still cling to our sinful nature even when we want to leave it all behind. The Lord knows that we have trouble with ten things that we are asked to obey. Perhaps this is why we are given three simple things to do.

Rejoice always!

We are to be thankful for the grace that has been freely given to us. We must remember that no matter what our circumstances, God’s grace is still there for us. We must rejoice when things are going well and we must rejoice when things are not going so well, for our circumstances are temporary. Grace is eternal. For this reason, we must rejoice in all things!

Pray continually!

Prayer in communication with God. We must learn to seek Him and hear Him in all things. When we are sad. When we are mad. When we are happy. When we feel all alone and scared. God is there to guide us and to comfort us. This only happens when we are truly in a relationship with the Lord and not just an “I need something, God” type of attitude.

Give thanks in all circumstances!

Are you able to be thankful for hardship? Most people only give thanks when something truly good happens in their lives. I want to propose that there is a reason that this is the last of the three things that we are called to do. If we learn how to rejoice always and then learn how to pray continually, giving thanks will come easier. We will have already cultivated the proper attitude. We will have already learned to rejoice in all things. We will have learned to pray in all things. The next logical step is to give thanks in all things. It makes sense to me that this is the last thing that truly proves that you love the Lord.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28 (NIV))

Are you following God’s will?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you embraced the peace that overcomes all fear?

March 13, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV))

With everything that this world is facing right now, look up!

Whether you believe that it is blown out of proportion, or it is real, look up!

As humanity, all of the combined knowledge and wisdom that we may have is nothing when compared to that of the One who created everything. With this in mind, if you place your faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, why do you fear? Fear is from the enemy. It is time that we conquer our fear with prayer! In doing so, we must remember that prayer is more than just a one-sided conversation where we unload all of our burdens on the Lord. He does love us and wants to hear what burdens us, but He also desires to speak to us, to give us His plan and purpose. He longs to give us His peace.

When was the last time that you honestly had a prayer conversation with the Lord? Is your faith strong enough for you to embrace your weakness and to fall on your knees seeking the Lord?

Have you embraced the peace that overcomes all fear?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Will you let down the nets?

February 25, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
(Luke 5:5 (NIV))

How many times have you worked and waited for God to do something in your life or through your life? It probably seemed like He would never do what you have had faith that He would do. Think how Simon (Peter) felt. Here was this rabbi who knew nothing about fishing. He had grown up as a carpenter, yet He was telling the fisherman what to do. Knowing how Peter often overreacted, I find it very interesting that he did what he did.

Peter did just as he had been told, even though he was tired. He was probably very irritable from working all night with no results, and he was probably harboring arrogant and sinful thoughts about the man who told him to let down his nets.

Think about this situation. We, too, are often like this. We are at our breaking point and do not see any purpose in continuing with what we are doing. We simply wish to give up. When we are faced with this type of situation and mentality, we must remember Simon Peter. Mentally, he was saying that this will never work. Intellectually, he was thinking that a carpenter doesn’t know anything about fishing. Spiritually, he was willing to give it one more try.

The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.
(Matthew 26:41b (NIV))

Simon Peter overcame his physical weakness and trusted in what his spirit was telling him. He was able to make that leap of faith that allowed Jesus to call him as one of His disciples. He was able to make that leap of faith when every other sign pointed in the other direction. Because of his willingness to say “But because you say so, I will let down the nets,” Jesus used him to reach through history and to touch millions of lives with the Gospel.

Is your spirit willing to obey that one more time when reason says you shouldn’t? Will you let down the nets?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Don’t follow your heart. Follow Jesus!

August 6, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
(Proverbs 19:21 (NIV))

How many times have you been given advice to follow your heart? How many times have you given this advice? Is this really sound advice when you stop to consider how many times the Bible refers to the human heart as wicked and deceitful? Ever since the fall from grace, our hearts have been filled with selfish and sinful desires.

The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.
(Genesis 6:5 (NIV))

The heart is deceitful above all things
     and beyond cure.
     Who can understand it?
(Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV))

If you don’t think this is true, simply look at your own life. Are there things that you have done, or you think about doing, that would shock your family and your friends if they only knew what was in your heart? Do you look around at those whom you know and find yourself thinking that if they only knew the true you they wouldn’t want to be near you?

Human nature is so full of secrets and shortcomings that it is a wonder how any of us truly have any family or friends! We are so self-centered that even on our best days we still fail miserably at doing anything close to what the Lord calls us to do. We fail because we listen to our selfish and sinful hearts when we should be listening to the Lord.

Is your heart pure? What plans do you hide in your heart? What sinful desires do you hide in your heart? Life is a series of choices that we all must make. Every single day we are faced with a choice of who to follow. Do we follow our own sinful hearts or do we strive to follow Jesus?

It is easy to say this, but very difficult to walk it through. We must make an effort to follow Jesus and repent when we stray so that the Lord’s purpose prevails.

In other words, don’t follow your heart. Follow Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Stand firm in God’s promises!

July 26, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28 (NIV))

I have always been told that I needed faith. During the times that I was very down because of the lack of work, I was told that. Even during the times when things appeared to be going well, I was told that. Now, I have gotten to the point where most of the time I know that things will be okay because God is in control. Sometimes I try to control things myself, and that is when I start to worry. These times of worry are simply little “hiccups” in the daily routine and they will be smoothed over according to God’s plan. All we have to do is stand firm in His promises.

Our lives are not meant to be easy. When we face something out of the ordinary, your first reaction is to think of ourselves and what it will mean to our way of life. These times build character. They should have the exact opposite effect. We should rejoice in the knowledge that Jesus is with us through these times. We need to realize that we are being watched in our times of trouble to see if we really do live out our faith.

Everyone goes through things in their lives. We, as believers, are no different. Some have it easier, or so it seems. Some have it worse, or at least they want you to think that. The ones who seem to have it easier may simply be better at hiding the issues and the ones who have it worse may be better at trying to play off of other people’s pity.

Maybe some of the people who appear to have it easier have truly learned to rely on God and are firmly rooted in the knowledge that we gain from Romans 8:28.

We WILL have a better situation if we truly love God.

Stand firm in God’s promises!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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