Have you forgotten how to follow this command?

January 24, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
(John 13:34 (NIV))

Let’s take a look at how Jesus loved when He walked this earth so that we can better understand how we are to love each other.

Jesus called people to repent, to turn from their selfish, sinful natures. He did this out of compassion for those caught in sin and the consequences of sin. He did not antagonize or mock sinners. He called to them out of a true love, a true desire to see them come to a saving knowledge of Him. He loved people because that is why He came!

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))

It is true that Jesus did get angry, but His anger was only manifested when God’s Temple was defiled or the religious leaders were making a mockery out of what God had intended. His anger was never focused on those whom He came to save. In fact, even in His anger, I think that it is safe to say that, just as a father’s heart breaks when his children misbehave, His heart broke for those who were doing the things that caused His anger.

Even in our darkest moments, He loves us!

Can we say that of each other? Can we love each other as Jesus loves us? Loving each other is part of loving God! It is part of our calling!

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
(1 John 4:20 (NIV))

Jesus has commanded that we love one another.

Have you forgotten how to follow this command?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you believe in the gift of God?

January 10, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but that is one wage that I do not want to collect, and if you don’t repent, it is one that you will collect.

I realize that this statement is rather harsh, but if you stop to think about the consequences of not repenting and accepting Jesus, then this statement is actually sugar coated.

Let me take a step back and ask one important question. What do you think of when you think of death? If you only think of the cessation of the physical body, you are missing out on the eternal aspect and consequences of your existence. Humanity is not simply a physical creature. We are not simply a temporary physical existence with a spirit and soul. We are an eternal spirit and soul with a temporary physical body. We are only passing through this world. This world is not our home! With this in mind, there is another type of death that is far worse than physical death. There is an eternal death that the enemy wants you to not know about. He will do anything that he can to make you think that it isn’t real. He wants to destroy you, both body and soul, for he hates humanity.

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
(Matthew 10:28 (NIV))

If you have never heard this in this way, it may be time to pay attention. God doesn’t want any to perish, but that decision is your. He can’t make it for you. All that He can do, and has done, is offer a way for you to escape this death. He has provided a sinless, spotless sacrifice through Jesus to take all of the sin of everyone who has ever lived. All that you have to do is accept this great gift of amazing grace!

You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
(Romans 6:18 (NIV))

All that you have to do is believe!

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))

I have one more very important question to ask.

Do you believe in the gift of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you know this great hope?

November 2, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,
(Ephesians 1:18 (NIV))

What do you see when you see the state of the world?

Unless you cling to the hope that we have in Jesus, what most people see in this world is dark and foreboding. To be honest with you, it is so easy to get wrapped up in the things of this world, especially when prices are escalating while the availability of resources seems to be plummeting. In many parts of the world, governments are expecting large numbers of deaths this winter due to shortages. We see the wars that are still raging and we see false peace being pushed. We see unstable governments all around the world, and we see evil being called good and good being called evil.

In the physical, when I see the state of the world, I am saddened. I am angry, and I am at a loss for what to do!

Thankfully, I know beyond any doubt that this world is not my home. I am a citizen of heaven, and I know that when things look bad here in this world, we are to look up for our redemption is near! As long as I keep my eyes on Jesus, I can rest confidently in the hope that I have in the promises of my Lord and my Savior. I don’t know what I will personally face in this world, but I do know one thing.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
(Romans 8:18 (NIV))

I long to reveal the glory of the Lord in all that I do. Some days I do okay. Other days I fail miserably. Fortunately, since I am not capable of being perfect, I do not have to be perfect. All that I have to do is place my faith in Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. There are times that I will fail miserably, but when that happens, I can seek His face, repent and pray for guidance. I am on a journey. Every step that I take is not going to be perfect, but as long as I keep my eyes focused on Jesus, my destination is clear. He is my hope. He is all the riches and glory that I need. He is my inheritance!

Do you know this great hope?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Believe!

October 13, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
(Romans 10:10 (NIV))

You have a choice!

Once you make that choice, your life will continue to be a series of choices. Some times you will make the right choice and follow Jesus. There will be many times that you will make the wrong choice and do what you know is not according to His will. Even then, you have a choice! You can recognize your sin and repent. Don’t make the choice that leaves you arrogant and unrepentant!

Following Jesus is not easy. We have His words telling us what we should expect.

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
(Matthew 10:34-39 (NIV))

The reason for this is simple. Jesus calls us out of this world. He sets us apart from the sin in this world. As a result of this, we know how the world will react. We know that even family and friends who are of the world will hate the choice that has been made.

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
(John 15:18-19 (NIV))

You have a choice!

You can choose to be loved by the world, or you can choose to follow Jesus.

Like I previously stated, following Jesus is not easy. Once you make the choice to follow Him, the world will try to do all within it’s power to cause you to fall. The world, and the prince of this world, will hate you because you have chosen to follow Jesus.

Personally, every day that I live, I choose to believe. Every breath that I take, I choose to believe. Every word that I type, I choose to believe in prayerful hope that you will make that same choice!

The choice is yours!

Believe!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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It’s not too late to change to whom you belong!

September 29, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
(John 15:19 (NIV))

Have you ever wanted fame and fortune?

Have you ever wanted to be in the spotlight and adored by countless numbers of people?

After reading the words that Jesus spoke, aren’t you glad that this never happened?

When the world loves you, you are probably pushing the proverbial envelope as to what is “new and trendy.” This is simply another way of saying how flagrantly can you sin and lead others to sin? This basically reinforces the simple fact that the world loves sin. Anyone who flaunts it and shows others new ways to sin is going to get their proverbial fifteen minutes of fame. If you are really good at it, you make a career out of leading people down a path that they shouldn’t venture down.

These are the people who belong to the world, but you don’t have to be in the public eye to belong to the world. You can simply be a follower of someone who is. You can simply be the “cool” person who always has something going on that makes others want to be like them. The world loves those who rush headfirst into the sin that is the latest trend.

That is why the world hates Jesus and those who follow Him!

When the world says that to be loved you have to sin and flaunt it, Jesus tells us that to truly be loved, we simply turn to Him and repent of our sin.

When the world says that to live life to the fullest, you have to grab for all that you can get, Jesus tells us that life to the fullest only comes through Him.

I could go on with examples, but it is clearly obvious that what the world wants and what God wants are polar opposites. They are so far apart that we can never bridge the gap from the sinful world to God on our own strength and on our own righteousness. It is true that if you are loved by the world, and that in turn you love the world, it is still possible to repent. You can turn to Jesus and forsake all that the world has put in your way.

Repent!

It’s not too late to change to whom you belong!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Is it time to accept the wages of sin, or repent?

September 14, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
(Romans 12:2 (NIV))

When you take a look around at the world, what do you see?

I realize that this is a very loaded question, for the world is a sinful, fallen place that just keeps getting further and further away from what God created it to be. People are doing whatever pleases themselves and the depravity of these actions is sad to the point of being sickening.

Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.
(Romans 1:28 (NIV))

God sees the depravity. People have turned, and more are still turning away from God, and doing whatever their depraved minds can imagine. I believe that we are at the point in human history, in God’s timeline, where the Lord is saying if that is what you want, then you will get exactly what you desire. People want perversion. God allows their minds to lead them deeper and deeper into what they desire. People want rebellion. God allows people to rebel to the point where they have dug their own proverbial pit to fall into. People want sin over righteousness. God is allowing them to go down the path that they have chosen. He allows them to go down the path that they think is comfortable to them.

All the while, He is calling them to repent. He is calling them to return to Himself and to His righteousness.

Sadly, too many are completely comfortable in their sin. They enjoy their sin. They are to the point where they feel that they can kick back, relax and enjoy their depravity, but, . . .

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

Are you ready to accept your wages? Are you ready to accept the consequences of your sin?

The choice is yours.

Is it time to accept the wages of sin, or repent?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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This a a fantastic reason to be thankful!

August 30, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
     his love endures forever.
(Psalms 118:1 (NIV))

With all that is going on in the world. give thanks to the Lord!

To those who do not profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, that may sound completely counter to what you would expect. If you find yourself asking why you should give thanks when prices are high; if you find yourself asking why you should give thanks when people are still reeling from the global pandemic; if you find yourself asking why you should give thanks when there are wars and rumors of wars, and when evil is called good and good is called evil, and when there are more extremes in the world than you can count, then it is time to give thanks to the Lord!

He is good!

His love does endure forever!

For those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, we know that all of this has been foretold. We have a loving God who has told us from the beginning the things that would happen at the end. He does not want us to be alarmed. He does not want us to be caught off guard. He wants us to be vigilant and prepared for the things that He has told us would happen so that when they happen we will know that He is in control.

If you have been led to this devotional and do not know Jesus, I want to ask you a few questions.

Do you have a feeling that something is just not right in the world?

Do you see moral depravity on the increase and wonder what is going on?

Do you have a feeling that what we used to know as normal will never return?

You are not alone. The members of the Body of Christ are feeling it too. We know that the Lord is unfolding His plans and that the time is rapidly approaching when He will judge the world. I don’t have the time to explain in detail just how this happens. Just know that it will happen. There has never been a more urgent time to repent and accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior than now. Do you know where you will spend eternity? Do you think that you are a good person. No one is good except God.

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

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

Give thanks to God for sending us His Son to bring us salvation.

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))

God loves us enough to offer us eternal life through His love that endures forever.

This a a fantastic reason to be thankful!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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We must listen to God’s Word and repent!

February 23, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Again and again I sent my servants the prophets, who said, ‘Do not do this detestable thing that I hate!’
(Jeremiah 44:4 (NIV))

The Lord spoke through Jeremiah and all of the other prophets and nobody listened. Is the Lord speaking to us today through His prophets? If so, have we become too jaded by our so-called intellectual superiority that we find ourselves doing the very same thing that was done by the people that God sent the prophets to? Do we keep doing the detestable thing that God hates? Can we even recognize when someone speaks God’s truth, or have we become so engrossed in our selfishness, ego and pride that we don’t even know His truth when it is right in front of us?

Do we, do you, look to Jesus?

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

Have we become so comfortable in our faith in Jesus that we start slacking in our attention to His truth? Do we take our salvation for granted and assume that all is forgiven even if we continue to sin? Have we forgotten how to repent?

Think about that last question!

God sent the prophets to Israel when they started to fall away. Some people still thought that they were being faithful, but they still worshipped false gods. We profess a faith in Jesus, yet, do we worship false gods such as wealth, power, prestige, and personal choice? Aren’t these the very reasons that the Lord sent His prophets to call the people to repentance?

Are we missing His prophets today? Have we believed the lie that God doesn’t speak to us through His prophets anymore because that was an Old Testament practice? What about a New Testament passage that says He still gives us prophets?

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
(Ephesians 4:11 (NIV))

Is there someone in the world today that speaks God’s truth for this very moment in time? Is there someone in your life that speaks God’s truth into your life in such a way that you change directions, that you repent? Are you comfortable hearing from God and calling people to repentance?

We must listen to God’s Word and repent!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you found a new beginning?

October 28, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
(Proverbs 1:7 (NIV))

What is it about human nature that makes us all think that we are capable of anything and everything on our own strength, skills and abilities? It starts as a toddler. I still remember my now adult daughter as a two year old adamantly saying “Me do it!” Now she has a little girl who is almost two. She is just now only beginning to express her independence in a similar manner. I knowingly look forward to the quest for independence that my granddaughter will be going through. Without such a quest, we don’t mature. We don’t grow. But, there comes a point when and where we must also be willing to grow by seeking wisdom and instruction from a source beyond ourselves.

Some people never do grow to that point, and even those who do have relapses where we despise wisdom and instruction. We have all experienced something today where we thought that we could do it better than the person who was doing it. Perhaps some of us even said it out loud!

What happens when that human nature that likes to rebel against authority comes into direct rebellion against the Lord?

Actually, I don’t have enough time to recount all the things that have been recorded when this has happened. Most of the Bible is the story of how God created, man rebelled, God reached out to save, and man rebelled again. Even when Jesus stepped out of heaven to come to this world, that story continued. It will continue until the Lord returns. The big difference is that now we can repent and accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. We can choose to fear the Lord, or should I say that we can choose to fear the consequences from the Lord that result from our sinful actions. I have previously said that this fear is not one of trembling, but of respect. In the same manner that we feared our father when we were growing up, we need to fear the Lord. The Lord is full authority and just in His reprimands. He still loves us. He loves us enough to not allow us to stay in rebellion. He will try to draw us to Him so that we can learn and repent.

Some people have interpreted this fear to mean respect. I agree with this concept. If you respect the Lord, you also fear His reprimand. It is your desire to do what pleases the Lord. It is said that David was a man after God’s own heart. How do you think that this came to be? David feared the Lord, yet he also loved and respected the Lord. When he came to this point in his life, David found a new beginning that led him in step with the Lord.

Have you found a new beginning?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you want to be credited as righteous?

October 14, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
(Genesis 15:6 (NIV))

Based on this passage, would we be considered righteous in God’s eyes?

Think about that for a moment. Abram was promised to be the father of multitudes too numerous to count. He was promised to be taken to a place where his descendants would possess all of the land that he could see. Abram believed that the Lord would keep these and other promises and the Lord credited this to Abram as righteousness.

How do we stack up in comparison to Abram?

We have been promised that the Lord would return for His church. We have been told what to look for as the beginnings of the worldly events that will happen just before He returns. We have seen signs in the heavens. We have seen nation rise against nation. We have seen kingdom rise against kingdom. We have seen wars and rumors of wars. We have seen good being called evil and evil being called good, yet, too many people who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior are going about their lives hoping that the situation in the world gets better. They are hoping that things will return to normal. They aren’t looking to the promises of the Lord!

Does this sound like we are believing the Lord?

We should respond to these events with the assurance that our Lord and Savior is coming soon. We should respond by looking up. We should respond by telling everyone that now is the time to repent and accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. We act as if we only believe the Lord when it has anything to do with what we read about in His Word that has already happened. We choose to ignore or not believe the one quarter of the Bible that is prophecy. Abram believed the Lord’s prophecy of his descendants. Why do too many people today have trouble believing the Lord when He says He will do something?

Now is not the time to play church. Now is not the time to ignore what the Lord has foretold. If believing the Lord is credited as righteousness, those who are called righteous will be with Jesus. Do you want to be credited as righteous?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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