Have you believed in the mighty name of Jesus?

December 7, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God –
(John 1:12 (NIV))

If you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, which incarnation do you envision as Jesus? Is it the infant in a manger? Is it the young man in the temple? is it the man who turned water into wine? Is it the man who walked on water? Is it the man who raised Lazarus from the dead? Is it the man who went to the cross? Is it the Lord who rose from the grave on the third day? Is it the King of kings and Lord of lords who sits at the right hand of God the Father? Is it the might warrior who will return to defeat the power of the enemy?

Jesus did many things when He walked this earth. We have promises of what He will do as history unfolds and as He returns. Not a single one of these pictures of Jesus is wrong, but if you only focus on one, then you miss out on the awesome power and majesty of the many facets of the one who is completely human and also completely God!

Christmas is rapidly approaching, and for the message of Christmas, I am forever grateful. Christmas is the celebration of the physical birth into this world of Jesus our Messiah. It is the celebration of the point in history where God stepped into His own creation as one of us. It is the celebration of the physical manifestation of the promise of salvation that humanity has waited for since Adam and Eve and the fall from grace. We celebrate the innocence that a new born baby represents. We celebrate the wonderfully good news that Jesus came into this world to give us His innocence, His righteousness, while taking our sins upon Himself.

Is it difficult for you to picture the innocent baby and the suffering servant as the very same individual?

This Christmas, as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, we must not forget that He is no longer that baby boy in the manger. When we celebrate His miraculous entry into His creation, we must not forget His miraculous life, ministry, death, burial and resurrection. We have history to look back on, but I feel that we still have trouble grasping the fact that God stepped into His creation to be with us, to call us to Himself!

Mark Lowry’s words in “Mary, Did You Know?” say it very well from Mary’s perspective, and perhaps ours as well. What Jesus did turned the world, and all of eternity, upside down. The Creator of all things stepped into His creation as a child so that we could become His children. The child that Mary delivered came into this world to deliver her and all of humanity!

All that we have to do is receive the one whom God has sent and believe in His name?

Have you believed in the mighty name of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Seek Him before it is too late!

October 7, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.
(Judges 21:25 (NIV))

It is amazing what people will do when they think that no one is watching, or when they think that nothing they do will get them in trouble. In other words, if there are no consequences, people will do just about anything that they see fit to do!

This passage from Judges tells us that this was the case in Israel, and the events in the world during the last several years tell us that this is the case today. People simply don’t believe in any worldly authority. They definitely don’t believe in any heavenly authority. If you bring up the subject of God, they simply scoff, or they have their own ideas of what their god is like. Plus, when the laws aren’t upheld and people can get away with whatever they choose, people have no consequences for their actions. They follow the old saying that if it feels good, do it. They only care about themselves!

When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, people’s hearts are filled with schemes to do wrong.
(Ecclesiastes 8:11 (NIV))

I honestly feel that the situation in the world today is due to the live and let live concept, that there are no absolute right and wrong ways to live. When we praise the person who makes a fortune because they did it their way, we have lost any semblance of moral balance. When we praise the person who stepped all over others to achieve what they wanted, we praise them. Does this sound familiar?

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 don’t know about you, but these characteristics are all a result of the lack of consequences for wrong actions. During my lifetime, we have increasingly seen the consequences of sparing the rod and spoiling the child. These people have grown up to possess far too many of the characteristics written about by Paul in his letter to Timothy. They do not fear any repercussions, any consequences for anything that they do.

Do you fear the Lord? Do you understand that your sinful nature has consequences? On a side note, when people simply cannot understand consequences, I shake my head in disbelief. I have heard of too many people complaining about suffering from something like lung cancer even though they profess a faith in Jesus. We are forgiven the spiritual consequences of our sins, but we still live in a sinful, fallen world and the physical consequences still apply. No one makes it out of this world alive physically! As believers, we have eternal life, but that is not in these physical bodies that have been destroyed by sin. It is the sin that destroys. It is the lack of consequences that destroys.

If you have professed a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then you understand consequences. You understand that this life is fleeting and your only hope is in Jesus.

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.
(Isaiah 55:6 (NIV))

Seek Him before it is too late!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Jesus is all of these and more!

August 24, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
(Philippians 4:8 (NIV))

It is difficult to find anything in this world that fulfills one of these traits, let alone all of them.

When was the last time that you encountered something that was true and also praiseworthy?

Have you ever encountered something that was noble as well as excellent?

Is there anything in this world that you consider to be right that is also admirable?

Have you ever met anyone who is lovely and is also pure of heart?

I just stated a few of the possible combinations, and I think that it is safe to say that you probably have not been able to think of anything that comes close to meeting these simple combinations of traits. If you doubt that, just look at the combination of lovely and pure of heart. Most people who the world considers lovely and far from pure of heart. Vanity, ego and self love are the usual traits that go with this outward trait of loveliness. I honestly don’t think that I need to go into details about the other combinations, for they are also difficult to achieve.

But, . . .

There is One who fits these characteristics and is worthy of our thoughts and praise! His name is Jesus! There is none like Him. He is fully God. He is fully man. He is the bright morning star. He is our Lord. He is our redeemer. He is our Savior, and He is sitting at the right hand of God the Father. He alone is worthy. He alone is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy!

Jesus is all of these and more!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Fill your thoughts with things that are righteous in God’s eyes.

June 7, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.
(Philippians 4:8 (NIV))

What do you think about? What thoughts come into mind when nothing else is there to distract you? What crosses your mind when there is no work or family or other issues that must be addressed?

What do you spend your time doing when you are all alone?

Are you proud of your answers to these questions?

Would Jesus approve of your answers?

It is so easy to slip into habits that are not righteous. It is easy to slip into things that go against the fruit of the Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
(Galatians 5:22-26 (NIV))

We are all familiar with the acronym “WWJD.” What would Jesus do is something that we should always ask ourselves, not only in our interactions with others, but also in our own thoughts and actions. It is our thoughts that often lead to our actions. If we think on things, it is human nature to take action. Be careful what you think about.

Fill your thoughts with things that are righteous in God’s eyes.

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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We should pay it forward in prayer!

April 13, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:

   “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
      if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
   In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
(Romans 12:17-20 (NIV))

When Jesus was being beaten before His crucifixion, He could have been angry and vengeful. In the world’s point of view, He had every right to want to repay what He was receiving. Yet, Jesus did not exact revenge. Even though He was and is the Son of God, God With Us, He left the revenge to God the Father. It was not time. Jesus came to be a sacrifice so that many could live. If he had exacted vengeance at that time, it would have voided the reason that He came. If Jesus, who is Emmanuel, God with Us, can leave vengeance for God the Father, then we can too.

We need to treat our enemies as Jesus would treat them, for God loves everyone and He does not wish for any to perish, but when God’s vengeance does come, it will come swiftly. With that in mind, we must pray for our enemies. We must pray that they receive the same grace and mercy that we received when we accepted what Jesus did on the cross.

We should pay it forward in prayer!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you praying for a clean heart?

March 31, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
      and renew a right spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (NIV))

Do you find yourself praying this more often in the last few years?

I realize that this could sound like a trick question, but I promise that it is not.

As believers, we should continually pray this. I find myself needing to pray it as I watch the current state of this world. It is human nature to want to go on the offensive when we see things that aren’t right. Our own nation was founded by men and women who did just that. They felt emboldened to the point where they drafted a document that said enough was enough. They went to war and they laid down their lives to do what was right. Today, I find myself in a predicament. Our founding fathers were fighting against tyranny. We are facing a different adversary and many times it is family members, friends and people we work with. The struggle is spiritual and the struggle is real. We must remember that those who are currently against us are also part of God’s creation and that He loves them.

We must never look at these individuals as an enemy not worth saving!

Have you ever been guilty of this? Are you guilty of this at this very moment? What would have happened if the person who lead you to Jesus had the very same type of thoughts about you?

Think about that!

This is why we must pray for God to create a clean heart in us and to renew a right spirit within us. We can’t demonstrate the love and redemption that God has freely given if we cannot, if we will not, show that love to those who need it most. With that in mind, I have a homework assignment for you. The next time that you encounter someone who is against you, pause and pray for God to give you a clean heart so that you will see that person through His eyes. Pray that God will renew a right spirit within you so that you will love that person simply because He loves them.

You will find that your outlook on the world will change. You will also grow closer to the Lord because you will understand just how great His love truly is.

Are you praying for a clean heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Is the Lord your shepherd?

March 18, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
      He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
      he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
      for his name’s sake.
(Psalms 23:1-3 (NIV))

I don’t know anyone who professes a faith in Jesus who does not cling to this verse. We long for the days when this will be fulfilled in heaven. Until then, we must rely on Him to provide this for us in this sinful, hectic world whenever we can spend time in His presence. Too many believers stop at this point. They don’t like the correlation between these six lines and the following six lines, but we must recognize that the Lord not only provides calming rest for us. He also provides protection in the midst of danger.

Even though I walk
      through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
      for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
      they comfort me.
(Psalm 23:4 (NIV))

Too many believers don’t like the fact that we will face danger, that we will face hardship and troubles. Not only do we have His promises from Psalm 23:4 to give us assurance, we also have His promises from John 16:33 that drives those promises home.

“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))

If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then you have nothing to fear in this world. Even when the world comes crashing in all around you, look to Jesus. Even when you see no earthly hope for your situation, look to Jesus. Even when you feel completely helpless, hopeless and lost, look to Jesus! He will never leave you nor forsake you.

Is the Lord your shepherd?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How are you doing on your journey?

February 28, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.
(Proverbs 4:27 (NIV))

How good are you at staying the course?

Let’s take a look at that question as if you were going to the grocery store for milk and bread. How often are you sidetracked and find yourself buying much more than you went in for? How many times are you able to stay focused and get only what you had previously decided that you need? How often do these extra expenditures end up being for something that indulge your personal appetites and desires?

Do I dare to say that many of us approach our walk with Jesus in much the same way? We know that we want to follow Jesus but along the way we see things that indulge our personal appetites and sinful desires. If we are not careful, we soon find ourselves following those desires. We then find ourselves so far off of the path that we should be on that we don’t know how we got there in the first place.

It takes constant corrections to maintain a course. It is not possible to reach any destination without making many corrections and adjustments, and that is if we follow the path that we have laid out before us. Even the straightest road and the best tire alignment will have you going off of the road if you do not make continual course corrections. Professing a faith in Jesus does not mean that everything will be perfect from that moment on, and that you will start off and have a smooth journey along the way. What it does mean is that a new destination has been selected and you are going down a road that will require some very serious course adjustments in order to reach your destination. Along your journey, the enemy will try to distract you, to tempt you to take a detour. We must be prepared to keep our eyes on Jesus and not to turn from the path that leads us to Him as our final destination.

It is a known fact that when someone focuses on one thing, the other things soon become less important. If we continually focus on Jesus, the distractions, the evil that is vying for our attention, will fade from our sight. We will know that it is there, but it will be a faded relic of what the enemy intended, for we have Jesus clearly within our vision. Human nature is interesting. We go in the direction that we see. If we are driving and take our eyes off of the road, we have a tendency to drive in that direction. The same thing is true spiritually. We go where we have placed our focus, where we have set our priority.

How are you doing on your journey?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What do you find is on your mind?

January 26, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
(Philippians 4:8 (NIV))

If ever there was a time to take these words to heart, that time is now. With all that is going on in the world, we need to focus, we must focus, on what the Lord calls true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. We must focus on things that are contrary to what the world tells us are important. We are at the time, and I honestly believe that we have been there for a while, when good is called evil and evil is called good. In fact, I just saw a news report that claims a European country has now labeled quoting Bible passages as hate speech.

Does that surprise you?

Do you think that things will get better in this world?

Do you think that you are safe because of where you live?

Take a look around you. What do you see? Is it anything like what you remember when you were much younger? Is it anything like what you remember from just a few short years ago? Do things appear to be rapidly accelerating with the impending end result that professing a faith in Jesus finds you being persecuted and possibly executed? This is happening in many countries. We think that it can’t happen where we live, but did we think that we would be where we are just a few short years ago?

“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))

This world is in a mess. If you study God’s Word, you know how it ends. Personally, I never thought that what I am seeing unfold right before me would have happened in my lifetime. It is time to focus on Jesus. He is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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 4:4-7 (NIV))

We have a promise that no matter what we may face in this world, the peace of God will guard our hearts if we focus on Jesus.

What do you find is on your mind?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How can we reach those who have not been taught?

October 22, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
(Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV))

Everyone knows this passage. Everyone, that is, except many people in the current generations. Ever since the Supreme Court told us to remove the Ten Commandments and prayer from school, many people no longer are given the basic instructions in what is right and wrong.

Our society is faced with thousands of people who have no concept that there is an absolute truth and an absolute right. They see everything as a relative situation. I feel sorry for this generation. They will face untold hardship when they are faced with what life will eventually throw at them. They will not know that it is wrong to lie, cheat and steal. They will not know that God is the absolute truth in this world and that God calls what they are doing sin. They are self-centered and do not realize that the creation that they are maneuvering through is based on a desired relationship by the Creator.

We, as believers, must do all that we can to make these people aware that there are such things as absolute truths and absolute right and wrong and that God will not allow anyone who does wrong to associate with Him. We have become a society of “if it feels good, do it,” but we have lost sight of the fact that Satan spreads lies through our senses. We have failed in training the children of the younger generations. We have allowed a very vocal minority to remove all reference to God and His Laws from our lives.

We must pray for this generation. We must pray for ourselves because we have let it happen. We must pray that God will show us how to restore what has been stolen from us.

How can we reach those who have not been taught?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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