We must focus on being lovers of God!

June 5, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-
(2 Timothy 3:1-4 (NIV))

I am sure that you have seen the jokes and the memes on social media about the type of year that 2020 has been so far. We hope and pray that things will get better, but I honestly think that what we are seeing is becoming the norm, especially when you read about what people will be like in the last days. In fact, when I first read this passage this evening, I did not have to struggle to think up very public examples of each one of these traits. I am certain that you can probably think of prime examples of each one of these traits as evidenced in our society as well.

Why have people become so blinded? Why have people become so self-centered and hate-filled? These traits go against every single one of God’s commandments. They also go against other traits that we are told we should strive to possess.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Sadly, these traits are not what seems to be front and center in today’s world. Far too many in this world are being led astray by the enemy. They are being led down a path that comes in direct conflict with anything good – with anything from God! They are being led down a path of sin and evil.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
(Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV))

I am sure that we have all heard that as followers of Jesus, we live in the world, but we are not of the world. How are we, as the Body of Christ, to respond to people who are in open rebellion against God?

We are to share the Gospel! We are also told what to do if people will not listen.

If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
(Matthew 10:14-15 (NIV))

We are to pray! We can’t soften hearts. Only God can. We must pray that those who rebel will repent and turn to the Lord. And, we must stand firm in our faith so that we are not led astray.

We must focus on being lovers of God!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready and able to stand?

February 19, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
(Ephesians 6:12-13 (NIV))

This is so hard to remember when we are faced with trials and tribulations from all sides. Sometimes it even feels that all that we do is thwarted by an unseen enemy who hates what we love.

Wait a minute!

That sounds just like Satan and he does hate what we love.

And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down–that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
(Revelation 12:7-9 (NIV))

Because of his rebellion against God, he and his fallen angels have been cast out of heaven. They hate God and desire nothing more than to usurp God’s authority. That is what happened when Adam and Eve allowed Satan to become the prince of this world. Our ancestors legally gave the authority that God gave them to Satan. Satan and his followers work in the shadows to deceive and destroy all that is God’s creation and all who call upon the name of the Lord. Just like we cannot see God, we cannot see Satan, but we feel the effects of his wrath against those who love God.

There is constant warfare in the spiritual realm because of these events. What happens in the physical world is only a shadow of what happens in the spiritual realm.

We are at war!

Our enemy cannot be seen, but we can arm ourselves with God’s armor and we can overcome the enemy.

Are you prepared for the struggle? Are you focusing your battle tactics where they belong? Are you ready and able to stand?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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If God was willing while we were enemies, just imagine . . .

February 6, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
(Romans 5:10 (NIV))

How do you become an enemy of God?

I realize that this is an odd question, but it is relevant to our understanding of God, our severed and fallen relationship with Him, and our way to salvation through God’s love as expressed at the cross.

Basically, the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden is the starting point for each and every single person who has ever lived. All of humanity was doomed to a sinful nature because of our rebellion, our disobedience to what God told us that we could and could not do. One definition of the word “enemy” states it quite clearly as someone who is antagonistic to another. Another definition defines an enemy as a hostile force. When we rebelled against God, we became just that. We became an antagonistic and hostile creation. We became sinners. We became enemies of God!

Thankfully, God did not let it end there! He loves us in spite of ourselves. He devised a plan to redeem us. Condemnation is for enemies. Love is for sons and daughters. He devised a plan to make us sons and daughters instead of enemies.

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.
(John 3:16-17 (NIV))

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
(Romans 5:8 (NIV))

I am so thankful that salvation is freely given, for there is nothing that we could do to earn it. All that we have to do is accept it! God reached out to us in our sinful condition in hope that we would accept His offer to become His sons and daughters. If God was willing while we were enemies, just imagine what He will do for us as sons and daughters!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Deliberate sin is harmful to your eternity!

April 26, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
(Hebrews 10:26-27 (NIV))

Have you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?

Do you still sin?

If you are human, the answer to that question is going to be a resounding yes.

Perhaps I should ask if you deliberately sin? Do you make a conscious decision and tell yourself, “I think that I will go and commit this sin!” None of us want to admit that we do this, but is it something that we do anyway?

We are all human and we will always make mistakes. We will always miss the mark. Even on our best day, we will sin. Even when we don’t intend to, we will sin!

Did you pick up on that concept?

Intention.

Did we set out to do it? Did we do it deliberately? What is the difference between doing something deliberately one time versus doing something deliberately every day? What is the difference between deliberately sinning once and when we deliberately keep on sinning? Is one a simple matter of a human mistake and the other a matter of open rebellion against the one whom we profess as Lord and Savior? One we can repent while the other is a direct flaunt of our rebellion.

Is this why we are told that if we deliberately keep on sinning we have no hope of grace?

It all comes down to a matter of the heart. You either have a repentant heart or a sinful heart.

What’s in your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you told God that you are sorry?

June 6, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Who is it you have insulted and blasphemed?
Against whom have you raised your voice
and lifted your eyes in pride?
Against the Holy One of Israel!
(2 Kings 19:22 (NIV))

When we do what we want to, we are rebelling against God.

You may ask, “What about free will?”

It is true that we have free will, but that free will that people claim as a blessing only has two options. We either accept God or we reject God. If we accept God, then we accept His Son, Jesus, as our personal Lord and Savior. We accept the salvation that was freely given and we repent of all sin in our lives. When we sin, we miss the mark and that mark was defined by God. Anything less than a perfect life on our own merits is still a life of sin. No matter how hard we try in the natural, we are not capable of a perfect, sinless life. Any sin is ultimately a rebellion, a rejection, an insult and a blasphemy against God.

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

Fortunately, we don’t have to do it on our own. We don’t have to approach God on our own merits.

“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 he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

Since the fall from grace in the Garden, everything that everyone has ever done has been a sin against God. We are not capable of anything but sin in our fallen state. I am so thankful that God has provided a way for us to repent of our sins against Him.

Have you told God that you are sorry?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you believe that man can change God’s Laws?

May 26, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV))

I keep seeing things reported that some denominations are voting to change Biblical law as they apply it to their teachings. Some denominations are even voting to allow certain sins to not only be allowed, but in some cases they are condoned.

I know that the following passage applies directly to Revelation, but I have a feeling that it also applies to all of God’s Word.

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
(Revelation 22:18-19 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but I plan on holding fast to the unaltered Word of God as it has been preached and taught for thousands of years. Just because it is old, doesn’t mean that it is wrong. Just because we may not like some parts of it, doesn’t mean that God’s truth can be changed.

We already know what God has planned for those who alter the prophecy in Revelation. If you stop to think about Revelation, it is a culmination of the sins of man and God’s final plan being fulfilled. Just what is sin? Sin is anything that misses the mark that God has set before us. If we change God’s Laws, isn’t that more than missing the mark. It is a direct and willful thumbing of our noses at God. It is rebellion against God. It is my understanding that rebellion is much worse than sin. Sin is missing the mark. Rebellion is a deliberate fight against God.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Submission, Pride and Authority!

April 14, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.
(1 Peter 2:13-17 (NIV))

Submission is probably one of the hardest things that a human has to do! The very act requires that you admit that someone has authority over you and you are not the ultimate power in your life.

Just where does this “rebellion” come from?

It appears to be an inborn trait in each and every one of us. Perhaps it comes from the Fall from Grace in the Garden of Eden. Let’s face it, Satan did not want to submit to God. He deceived us and now we have turned over the earth to sin and death. It was the sin of pride that made Satan not willing to submit. Now, the same pride permeates the world because of the incident that happened in the Garden long ago.

Perhaps it is exactly for this reason that we are called to submit. It goes against everything that the world expects of us in our sinful nature.

Do you submit willingly, or do you still fight the sin of pride that has caused so many to not submit to the ultimate authority within their lives. That authority is Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and the only King of kings and Lord of lords.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.

March 7, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“The LORD bless you
and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”
(Numbers 6:24-26 (NIV))

Peace!

Have you ever stopped to think about the opposite of peace?

War!

I saw something the other day that made me think about God’s peace in a different light.

Ever since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden, through our sin, we have been at war with God. We have attempted to do things our way with results that are less than stellar. We, as humanity, have been and still are in a war with God. We have rebelled and we are still fighting Him in all that we do. As a result of our war with God, things have happened throughout history and in each of our lives. We have suffered for our rebellion, and not because our Lord is a mean God. We suffer because we have rebelled. We have fallen away from His grace, but not His authority.

Accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is an acknowledgment that you are tired of fighting the war and the battles with sin. I know that to those who don’t understand, this next statement will label the Body of Christ as weak. Those who profess a faith in Jesus surrender to the authority that God was, is and is to come. God did not create us to be at war with Him. He created us to share in His peace. He created us to share in His blessings.

Once we are at peace with God the Father, we experience the blessings of life in ways that we could never imagine. We see the joy in a sunrise. We see God’s grace in the midst of troubles. We hear the voice of God when the world is shouting at us loudly. And in all of this, we become content.

The dictionary defines contentment as the state of being happy and satisfied.

We are not content in the state of the fallen world. We are content in knowing that whatever happens, God loves us and will see us through whatever the world may send our way.

Have you ever known someone who is content in the middle of chaos? I have met a few individuals who can fit into this picture, however, this is not the image that we are given in God’s Word. God offers us peace and happiness even when we, as fallen humanity, are at war with God’s grace.

Are you still at war with God?

Have you surrendered?

Have you found peace?

Have you found true happiness and contentment?

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
(John 14:27 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Which man are you like?

September 16, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value.
(Proverbs 10:20 (NIV))

Consider two men.

One does not know the Lord and seeks after only his own desires no matter what the consequences. This person becomes more self centered and less compassionate as time passes. He thinks less and less of others except for the way that he can use them to further his own desires. By putting himself first in all matters, he alienates any true friends that he may ever have. No one can trust him. No one desires to be with that person. It becomes a viscous cycle in which the more he is self centered, the less people desire to be around him, and the more he rebels and says to himself that he doesn’t need people. This drives his heart to be more hardened and wicked, which eventually leads to this person cursing God or blaming God for his short-comings.

The other has placed Jesus Christ at the center of his life and allowed the Holy Spirit to inhabit his heart. His life is filled with the fruits of the Spirit and this shows in all aspects of his life: speech, actions and works. He is joyous all of the time because he has realized that nothing on this earth can make him happy. True happiness comes from knowing Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. Once this realization is made, this person will seek to do God’s Will for his life. By seeking God’s Will, this person opens himself up to the righteousness of God and the wisdom that accompanies this righteousness. Everything that comes from this person’s life will be God focused and beneficial to others.

Can you think of people who fall into both categories? In this imperfect world that man has allowed Satan to take control of, it is impossible to be truly righteous without God in your life. Reflect on the people that you have known that fall into the two categories. Who would you rather associate with in all aspects of your life? Who would you like to use as a role model?

Which man are you like?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you know the difference?

August 16, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group. They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach–and that for the sake of dishonest gain.
(Titus 1:10-11 (NIV))

For the sake of dishonest gain.

When this was written, there was a big debate over whether Gentile believers must be circumsized. People were teaching false doctrine around this and led many people astrray.

Today, we have similar debates over many other things, such as denominations, prosperity, healings, speaking in tongues, and many more. Could we be in the same situation with these as was spoken of in Titus? Are we being deceived because someone is an eloquent speaker? Are we being led astray because someone is out to fill their bank account?

It is so easy to be led astray. It only takes a good sounding speach filled with quick references to things that we know catch our attention. Once we acknowledge that there is a spark of familiarity in what is being taught, we make an assumption that the speaker knows the material. It is with sadness that I fear this is where we fail to validate the message. We accept it as truth without testing it against God’s Word. We have the basic belief, but fail to verify eveything else.

Satan counts on this. His demons count on this. They know the truth.

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder.
(James 2:19 (NIV))

They twist the truth.

They entice people to twist the truth.

Truth, once it is twisted, is no longer truth. It has become a deception.

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
(Ephesians 6:11 (NIV))

We must know the difference between truth and deception. We must be able to discern the lies of the enemy, even when they are shrouded in words that seem true.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
(Ephesians 6:12-18 (NIV))

Do you know the difference?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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