This is the one test that you need to pass!

June 14, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you — unless, of course, you fail the test?
(2 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV))

This is one of those verses that most people wish that they could ignore!

No one likes to fail a test. Think about the implications of this concept of failing this test. This is not the only place where we hear that it is possible to fail in your faith. We are told that it is possible to do things in the name of Jesus, but not have a relationship with Jesus, to not have Jesus in your heart.

Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:22-23 (NIV))

This goes hand in hand with the truth that you cannot earn salvation.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
(Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV))

We must also come to the realization that there is a difference between doing work for the Lord and truly knowing the Lord. I can demonstrate this concept with a simple question about the people with whom you work. You may spend eight hours a day with them, but do you know their inner most secrets and desires? Do you know the pains that they feel and what causes them pain and what causes them joy? Doing work around the Lord does not draw you close to the Lord in exactly the same way as working with someone does not bring you close to them. That requires effort and intimacy that cannot be had when you are constantly doing.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
(Luke 10:38-42 (NIV))

We must choose Jesus in all things in order to grow in intimacy with Jesus. The closer you draw to the Lord, the stronger your faith becomes. As your faith grows, your belief grows as well. When you believe and truly know the Lord, you desire to do things that will draw others to Him. These are the works that matter, for they are done out of a love of Jesus and not out of an effort to impress Jesus. It is a matter of perspective and priorities.

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. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
(John 14:12-13 (NIV))

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

God does truly love the world! Have you allowed that love to permeate your life so that your life reflects the love of the Lord and not you?

This is the one test that you need to pass!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus is far greater than our troubles!

April 30, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
(John 16:33 (NIV))

Is it just me, or do you feel that it is impossible to make it through a single day without having some kind of trouble?

I realize that some troubles appear negligible in our eyes because we have become so used to facing them that we completely ignore them when they do happen. Do you even consider those to be real troubles? On a scale of zero to ten, at what point do you consider a measurable trouble to begin? At what point do you consider a life-changing trouble to begin? At what point do you consider a life-ending as we know it type of trouble to begin?

I have one more question that I want to ask you in relationship to your answers to the previous questions above.

At what point do you turn to Jesus?

Do you wait until your problems have hit the life-changing point? Perhaps you are one of those individuals who are adamant that you can do things on your own and only turn to Jesus when you encounter what could be a life-ending trouble? Perhaps you are on the opposite end of the spectrum and turn to Jesus when something happens like a flat tire. No matter when you choose to turn to Jesus, it isn’t soon enough! As members of the Body of Christ, we should be walking with Jesus in all things and not just the troubles. We should be so confident in our relationship with Jesus that we are able to laugh with Him and to cry with Him. We should be able to ask, “Jesus, what do I do?” at any time, day or night, in times of plenty or in times of need, in time of good and in times of trouble. We must come to the realization that all of our troubles combined with all of the troubles of everyone who has ever lived are still much smaller than the Jesus that we can claim as our Lord and Savior, after all, one thing is true!

Jesus is far greater than our troubles!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you overcome your pride?

January 9, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
(Mark 16:16 (NIV))

People say that it takes faith to believe in Jesus. I agree.

But I think it also takes faith to not believe in Jesus. It is a misguided faith, but it is a strong faith, none the less.

Think about that for a moment. Those who do not believe are saying that they are placing their future in the concept that God does not exist, or that Jesus is not who the Bible says that He is, or that there are multiple ways to get to heaven. No matter what their reason for not believing, they are willing to place the outcome of their eternity in their belief that they will not suffer the consequences of their sins. To me, that takes a very strong faith

I have heard it said that those who cling to religion are weak. That may be true, but I have also known some very weak-minded individuals who cling to other things, such as money, power and fame. These individuals try to fill their lives with something that will give them meaning. They are simply placing their faith in the wrong place. Often, they are placing it in themselves. Again, their faith is strong, but it is misguided.

If someone possesses that strong a faith, can you imagine once that faith is correctly placed, just how strong of a witness that they can be for God? Every single believer was once a nonbeliever. Every single believer has had an experience that made them see things as they really are. They had something happen to them that changed their priorities. At one point, every single believer was condemned, not by God but by their own sinful actions. It took a realization that we are not perfect. It took a realization that we can never be perfect. It took a personal realization that God’s grace is for me.

Think about that. God does not condemn, but we condemn ourselves when we chose to ignore His offer of grace and mercy. It is not unlike a drowning man refusing to be helped out of the water. God is offering that help to everyone.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

In order to accept God’s grace, we must have the strength to admit that we are a sinner. Grace is freely given, but it has a price. Jesus paid the price and we must also pay a price. We must come to the realization that we need salvation. We must overcome our pride. It is our pride that can condemn us.

Have you overcome your pride?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you long for the light?

December 12, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
(Romans 13:12 (NIV))

We have been called out of darkness into His marvelous light!

When Romans was written, Saul had already experienced his meeting with Jesus on the Damascus Road. He was left blinded but he was also left with a new perspective. It was only a few days before his eye sight returned, but he gained so much more than just the return of his physical eyes. He had witnessed the darkness of the world through the eyes of Jesus. He had come away with the realization that he had been a part of that darkness. He had come away from this experience with a new name. He was no longer called Saul. He was to put the past behind him and follow Jesus wherever He would lead. He was to be a witness to the Gentiles of the power of the light. He was to be called Paul! He was called out of the darkness of his former self and called into the marvelous light as a servant of the Lord Jesus!

Think about that. Paul was given the light. He knew that his path was to follow Jesus, yet, he still had to navigate through the darkness of this world. The darkness tried to stop him. Even so, Paul pressed on toward the light. He made it a priority to always pursue the light and to show others how to find it themselves.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV))

Once you have found the light and have accepted His saving grace over your life, your night is nearly over. There will always be things in your life that remind you of the darkness. They will try to drag you back into it, but take heart. You have seen the light! You have encountered Jesus!

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
(John 8:12 (NIV))

Do you long for the light?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What have you conquered because of his love?

December 3, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
(Romans 8:37 (NIV))

There is an old saying that love conquers all.

To be honest with you, love does work wonderful things in the lives of those who show love and those who receive love, but there is one love that is far above any other love that has ever been professed. That is the love that the Lord God, our Father has for His creation. All that it takes to prove this is a simple reading of the following passage.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

What other love is powerful enough to alter your eternal existence? What other love is willing to sacrifice itself in order to offer something so great? What other love gives the recipient the ability to conquer the power of sin, death and the grave? What other love is willing to take on all of the sin and all of the pain in order to offer the recipient the ability to escape an eternal separation from itself?

For those who have accepted this great offer of love, you know exactly what I mean. Sadly, there are many who have not accepted this offer. It is for those who have not accepted this love that we must pray. They may feel that there is not a love so great. They may feel that they are not worthy of such a love. They may even feel that they have done such bad things that the offer could not ever be available to them. Perhaps these are the biggest things that any of us have to conquer, after all it is often our self image that keeps us from being who we are called to be.

Have you ever thought about what you had to overcome in order to even accept God’s love? Did He give up on you or did He keep pressing on until you came to the realization that His love is for you? Was it ego that kept you from God’s love. Perhaps it was envy or pride. It could have even been greed or lust that kept you away from the love of the Lord. This was the first thing that His love conquered. It will not be the last!

What have you conquered because of his love?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you still hunger and thirst?

September 27, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
(John 6:35 (NIV))

Jesus liked to put spiritual things in a physical context so that people could understand them. In order to understand them, it is essential that you think outside the proverbial box of this physical world and come to the realization that Jesus is drawing a parallel to something that we can associate with. Many things, such as this passage, are not to be taken literal from the physical perspective, but that are absolute truths when you look at them from the spiritual perspective.

In the physical world, we know that when we eat or drink something, we will find ourselves hungry or thirsty in a short period of time. It is simply the way the physical world is.

But . . .

If you partake of Jesus, He offers eternal life. When you turn to Him as your personal Lord and Savior, your hunger for grace and mercy is forever satisfied. Your thirst for abundant and eternal life is forever quenched. It only takes one honest and sincere repentance and acceptance of Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior to find that you are forever satisfied. You may be asking about times that you do things that you shouldn’t and you need to repent. Everyone has those moments. Everyone must turn to Jesus and repent for things that we all do, but this does not mean that you have to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior all over again. That has already been done!

Think of your relationship with Jesus in terms that may be easier to understand.

Everyone has people that you love. Have you ever done something that hurt that person? If you are wise and you value that relationship, you ask for forgiveness for that particular instance. You don’t have to start the whole relationship over. You have a small setback and then you get back on track. When you choose to make Jesus your personal Lord and Savior, the sinful things that you do after that moment are not a reason to start all over. They are a reason to repent, to make a mid-course correction, and to get back on track with Jesus.

Everyone who has ever lived knows what it is like to hunger and thirst physically. Have you ever ached so much spiritually that it felt just like a severe physical hunger or thirst? Turn to Jesus. He will satisfy your spiritual hunger and He will quench your spiritual thirst.

Do you still hunger and thirst?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have the faith to not be afraid?

June 20, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10 (NIV))

Every single one of us, at some point, liked to think that we were capable of handling whatever may come our way.

How’s that going for you?

The world can be a pretty fearful place once everything starts hitting the fan! Chances are, if you are like me, you have run into far too many things in your life that have left you helpless, hopeless and lost. We have found out the hard way that we are not capable of handling things on our own. We soon grow to fear the unknown. We fear the possibilities that are beyond our control. We fear uncertainty, and we end up fearing fear itself!

What is it about human nature that has us so afraid? Do we fear the realization that we honestly don’t have the control over our lives like we want to have? On our own, we make wrong decisions and wrong turns every single day of our lives. It doesn’t help that the enemy and the sinful, fallen world are constantly distracting us so that we don’t make the right decisions.

Even through all of this, there is hope where there is faith!

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

Have you placed your faith in Jesus? If so, then you have been made a part of the family of God. God is our Father. He will stand with you when you face the enemy. He will ease our fears.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
(Romans 8:31 (NIV))

Do you have the faith to not be afraid?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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