Are you able to do this?

June 2, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
(Luke 6:27-28 (NIV))

Why does Jesus ask us to do exactly the opposite of what our human nature wants us to do?

Life would be so much easier if we just gave in to our human nature!

Or would it?

Sometimes we think that life would be so much easier if we didn’t have the internal struggles that we have because we choose to follow Jesus. We wouldn’t have to resist temptation. We wouldn’t have to be nice to our pesky neighbors or that weird uncle that everyone seems to have. We wouldn’t have to worry about who we mistreated to get that promotion. We wouldn’t have to worry about anyone but ourselves!

If you are like most people, we seem to degenerate into this type of individual several times a day. Do you honestly like yourself when you sink to this level? Do you like it when other people have their moments and they sink to this level? Life in this fallen world is difficult, but it would be so much more difficult if we did not profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. I am forever thankful that Jesus came into this world to offer us grace and mercy. Jesus modeled life as God intended it to be. Jesus showed us how to live a sinless life. He showed us how to live a life of love expressed to God, to Him, to the Holy Spirit and to each other.

Do you truly want to know what humanity would be like if we do not live our lives as we are told in Luke? Those traits are fruits of a life lived in Christ; a life spent listening and following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If we ever want to consider how life would be if we did not live in Christ, then all that we have to do is read about the seven years written about in the book of Revelations.

Jesus did not tell us that following Him would always be easy.

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))

He also did not tell us to give up!

Are you able to follow what Jesus asks of those who follow Him?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Turn from arrogance and turn to God!

December 4, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
(James 4:7-10 (NIV))

People surround themselves with things that they are comfortable with. Take a look at somebody’s home and you will see how that this is true. If you could take a look at somebody’s heart, you would also see that this is true in spiritual matters. People surround themselves with what they know.

Closely examine what you have surrounded yourself with. Is it Godly or is it worldly? The two are opposite extremes. You cannot be surrounded with worldly matters and still be able to focus on God. You cannot walk the middle ground between the two. It is time to break out of the comfort zone and focus exclusively on one.

By focusing on God, you will resist Satan, and, as the verse claims, he will flee. A relationship with God is like a relationship with anyone. If you are willing to become friends with someone, they are more receptive. The more that you learn about the other person, the more that they will learn about you. Do not present the world with an arrogant attitude, for that attitude is from the devil.

Turn from arrogance and turn to God.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What are your strongest desires? Be honest with yourself!

March 11, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you.
(James 4:7-8 (NLT))

This passage is so simple, yet it is so profound. The truths that are presented are things that we must learn to take to heart. We must learn to make them our own.

Have you ever stopped to think about how to be humble before God?

Do you actually have to think about it, or is it within your nature to be humble before the one who created you and everyone and everything else?

Imagine for a moment that you get to meet your favorite celebrity. How would you act in their presence? It is human nature to be humble in the presence of someone that we have respect for. We stammer and stutter and don’t know what to say or do. How can we act like this in the presence of someone who is still only human and not act humble in front of our God?

Resistance is futile, or at least that is what the devil wants us to believe. Humility goes a long way in helping to resist. When you are humble before God, you are able to learn from God. Your attitude toward things that are from the enemy changes. You desire to stay away. You desire to resist.

In the process of being humble before God and resisting the devil, you will naturally draw closer to God.

What are your strongest desires? Be honest with yourself!

Do you wish to present yourself in humility before God? Do you want to resist the devil? Do you want to draw closer to God?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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We must take a look at our actions

August 22, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.
(Romans 14:21 (NIV))

Do we ever stop to think about our actions and how they effect those around us?

We tend to think that our actions only have an impact on us, but that is far from the truth. Most of us realize that our actions have a direct effect on those around us, after all, our outlook on life can impact other people. Have you ever stopped to think that what we do, and what we don’t do, can have a very big impact on people?

Would you have an alcoholic drink in front of someone that you knew was battling this temptation? Would you be so callous as to partake of a very large meal in front of someone who hadn’t eaten in several days? Would you encourage someone to steal something because they can’t afford it?

What if you were battling an eating disorder and someone accidentally tempted you? What if you were a drug addict under control and someone left something at your home?

Would you have the will power to resist? Would you be upset with those who left the temptation there for you?

Why do people sin?

It is a matter of personal addiction to something. If the temptation is removed, many can people can focus enough to ignore the sin. It is the introduction of temptation that leads to the person falling. Not everyone has the same temptation. What may cause one person to sin may not be what will cause another to sin. We, as the Body of Christ, must be careful that our actions do not lead others to sin. Contrary to what society may say, we should not only think of ourselves. We must think of others. We must be observant enough to know what may cause others to sin.

We, as the Body of Christ, have a responsibility to lift each other up. We must not be a hindrance. We must take a look at our actions.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you ever encountered the devil?

February 7, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: `Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

” `He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ”
Jesus answered him, “It is also written: `Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: `Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ ”
Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
(Matthew 4:1-11 (NIV))

Have you ever encountered the devil?

Have you ever encountered temptation that was so enticing that it was hard to resist?

How did you react? Did you resist?

Chances are that, being human, we have all failed this test miserably on many occasions. Was the end result what the temptation promised that it would be? Is it ever what we expect it to be?

Jesus gave us an example of how we are to face temptation and resist the devil.

What did Jesus do in the face of temptation?

He quoted passages of scripture. He quoted the Word of God as His defense against the temptation. For every circumstance that the devil threw His way, Jesus responded with scripture that put the devil in his place. Finally, Jesus told the devil to leave Him alone. He told Satan that God’s Word instructs us to worship and serve God only.

Satan left!

Do we have the ability to resist Satan in this manner? It looks like it requires a few things of us.

1. We must know God’s Word and what it instructs us to do.
2. We must not retreat from God’s Word and its instructions.
3. We must be consistent in our knowledge of God’s Word and its application.
4. We must expect to be victors over our temptations.
5. We must not be afraid to tell Satan to leave us alone!

Do we, individually and corporately as the Body of Christ, possess the ability to do these things? Can we resist what the devil puts in our way? Can we resist the things of this world?

I pray that we do, for if we don’t, are we truly part of the Body of Christ!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Is your faith armor ready?

September 13, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
(1 Peter 5:8-9 (NIV))

Stand firm!

We cannot apologize for our faith. We cannot apologize for our convictions. We must be alert for the world is becoming more and more a place where the enemy runs rampant. Evil abounds when the Body of Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, does not stand firm.

What keeps the enemy and his evil in check?

It is the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit cannot work if the Body of Christ is not earnestly seeking God’s Will and seeking to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.

The enemy has worked through world events in the past and he is definitely working in world events today. God has a plan that will counter the enemy, but we must be self-controlled and alert so that we do not fall for the lies and the tricks.

Believers are being persecuted and killed in various parts of the world simply because they will not submit. They are standing firm in their faith. They have the backbone to stand up against the enemy even if it means that they will lose their earthly life. They know that their reward is not of this earth.

What are we willing to stand firm for?

The generation of Americans that lived during World War II are often referred to as The Greatest Generation. They had the conviction to resist evil. They stood firm in that resolve. I feel that we are facing a greater evil. Satan has regrouped and is working through all parts of the world. Will the Body of Christ be prepared for what we may face?

I know that there is heated theological debate about the Rapture and when it will happen. Some people say that God has always delivered His people “through” troubles and not “from” troubles. How did God deliver Noah and his family? Was it through the flood or from the flood? How did God deliver the Israelites from bondage? Was it through the Red Sea or from the Red Sea? I have come to the conclusion that God delivers His people through things so that they can be delivered from something far worse. God delivered the Israelites through the Red Sea to deliver them from Pharaoh’s army. God delivered Noah and his family through the ark to deliver them from the flood.

We are facing uncertain times, but take heart. God will not forsake the Body of Christ in these times. We are called to be prepared. We are not called to be gullible and unaware.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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 6:10-18 (NIV))

Are you self-controlled and alert? Are you strong in the Lord?

Is your faith armor ready?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you have the faith to see what Stephen saw?

May 21, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him– you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it.”
When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
(Acts 7:51-56 (NIV))

Do you have the faith to take a stand in the face of adversity?

Do you have the faith to speak God’s truth even when it is not physically safe to do so?

Do you have the faith to see what Stephen saw?

I know that these are tough questions. We all would like to think that we would stand firm in our faith even when faced with danger and even death. It is my prayer that you never have to be put into a situation that requires this type of an answer. It is also my prayer that if the circumstances ever do arise, that each of us would show the faith that Stephen showed.

His faith was rewarded!

He saw heaven. He saw God and Jesus. He was given the assurance that what he believed in was true. Because of this glimpse of the promises that God had made, Stephen was able to face whatever the crowd would do to him, for he knew beyond any doubt where he would be.

We all know that Stephen was then stoned to death. He was faithful to the end.

I am currently teaching an adult Sunday School class, and the topic for what should have only been one week, now going into four, is heaven. This particular passage brought some interesting conversations, with everybody trying to visualize what heaven is actually like. Simply put, heaven is eternity with God, the Father. We have many passages throughout the book of Matthew that tell us what heaven is like. All of these are attempts to explain the awe and majesty of heaven with words that are mortal in nature. This morning, someone said that they hoped that there would be Krispy Kreme doughnuts in heaven because they taste so good. My response was that there would be things much better.


If Stephen was willing to speak out knowing that there may be a chance of death, what did he see in his vision of heaven that made it worth it? We all have our own vision of what we think heaven will be like, and yes, some of those include Krispy Kreme. How far can you allow your faith to see beyond the physical limitations and knowledge and simply embrace eternity with God?

Do you have the faith to see what Stephen saw?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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