Now is the time to strengthen your resolve to boast only in the Lord!

August 18, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
(2 Corinthians 10:17 (NIV))

The time is upon us when we must stop trying to rely on our own strength. Even those of us who profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior still try to rely on our own strength. We boast and brag about what we are capable of doing, but in the grand scheme of things, what we can do is absolutely nothing.

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))

Can a filthy rag clean itself? Can a filthy rag clean up other filthy rags?

Only the Lord is capable of anything righteous. Only the Lord is capable of cleansing the filthy rags that come to Him seeking salvation. Only the Lord is capable of cleansing the filthy rags that come to Him because He is the way, the truth and the light. We must cling to His truth! We must cling to His light!

If you have paid any attention to the things happening in this world, you know that something is not right. There are things that are transpiring that are rapidly fulfilling the prophecies of the end times. We see wars and rumors of wars. We see good being called evil and evil being called good. We see God’s truth being slandered and rejected while they openly embrace the lies of the enemy.

I saw something today from a source that I trust, and it made me sad for those who are drinking the kool-aid. At the same time, I was happy for the implications of what was unveiled to me.

Do you trust the media? Do you trust social media? Do you trust big banks? Do you trust large corporations? Do you trust the U.N.?

Let’s pause on the U.N. for a moment. You will not find this in the media, for it is all part of the plans of the enemy. They are calling for people in all countries to turn in those who don’t drink the kool-aid. They are calling for those of us who don’t blindly accept what is being fed to us to be turned in. They are saying that the only “truth” that you can accept is the information that comes from big media, the governments and the so-called fact checkers.

This makes me want to boast all the more in the Lord. I love the way that David boasted.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
     my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
     my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
(Psalm 18:2 (NIV))

Living in this world is not easy. Living in this world without Jesus is impossible.

Now is the time to strengthen your resolve to boast only in the Lord!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you waiting for?

August 10, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Clap your hands, all you nations;
shout to God with cries of joy.
(Psalms 47:1 (NIV))

With all that is going on in the world, this sounds like it is so far off from becoming a current reality. I realize that the world has never been a righteous place, but it seems like it is slipping further and further away from God’s plans.

Is there an end to this descent in sight?

We must remember that God is in charge and that things are happening according to His timing. The wheat and the weeds may be growing up evenly, but I have a question for you. Just because the wheat is planted among weeds, does it stop being wheat? Does it stop producing grain that takes root and grows more wheat plants? Why do we, as the Body of Christ, look around with an attitude of despair because we are surrounded by evil? I realize that we feel compassion for those who are lost, but we are still called to be the Body of Christ where we are planted. We are to do exactly as the psalmist wrote.

We are to clap our hands in praise to God!

We are to shout to God with cries of joy!

What we are not to do is let our circumstances keep us from praising our God!

We are to do exactly what Jesus told the Pharisees His followers would do when the Pharisees tried to rebuke those who shouted.

“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
(Luke 19:38-40 (NIV))

We know what we are supposed to do. Do you want to let a stone out-praise you?

What are you waiting for?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you hope to be effective?

June 6, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
(James 5:16b (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but there are many times that I just don’t feel effective. I simply feel overwhelmed, overpowered and overshadowed by the things in my life. These are the things that have a tendency to make us groan in agony because we simply have no other response that we can bring forth. I simply utter a few simple words and they always help me through whatever I am facing.

“God, help me. I don’t know what to do.”

Have you ever uttered these or similar words? I often wonder just how many people do say things likes this on a daily basis. I believe that everyone utters words like this at some point in their lives, whether they believe in God or not. I firmly believe that those who are strong enough in their faith to admit that we need God each and every day are the ones who will usher up simple prayers like this on a daily basis. We might even find ourselves saying them all throughout the day.

Perhaps this is what makes someone righteous in the eyes of God. We turn to Him daily because we cannot make it without Him. Contrary to what the world may say, I do not see this as a weakness. I see this as a strength that is firmly rooted in a hope and a faith that this world does not understand. When you see acts of terrorism, do you rejoice in what the world is doing or do you offer up a prayer to God? When you see wars and rumors of wars, do you find comfort in the circumstances or do you go to God and ask for peace? When you see injustice, do you think that this is how it should be or do you ask God for the strength to help you change it? When you see the lost, do you turn up your nose and think that they deserve what they get, or do you pray that God will touch them through you?

These types of prayers do not take long, but they show your heart. It shows a desire for the things that God calls righteous. If you seek the things that God calls righteous, then it stands to reason that God will call you righteous. It is when you pray for God’s Will that you find your prayers become powerful and effective, even when you do not feel powerful and effective.

Do you feel effective? Keep praying those short prayers asking for God’s help. He will show you His Will and then you will be effective.

Do you hope to be effective?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you have to fear?

May 24, 2022

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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))

There have been many times in human history where people faced uncertainty, but there have only been a few times in recorded history where the whole world faced catastrophic events. Noah is one example. Do you think that Noah was fearful while those all around him suffered? Personally, I believe that Noah had no fear at all as he faced the events that had been foretold. The key to Noah’s lack of fear was simple. God was with him.

Why was God with Noah?

Noah lived his life in such a way that he found favor in the eyes of the Lord!

Is this how you live your life?

Think about that in the context of what is happening worldwide with wars and rumors of wars, food shortages, pandemics, and skyrocketing prices. Is the Lord with you as you face the things that are unfolding? Are you at peace while those around you are in panic mode?

I realize that these are serious questions, but they are called for because we are facing serious times. Jesus told us that we would face troubles in this world, and at this moment in time, those troubles are escalating and converging. Thankfully, we don’t have to face the troubles with fear. We can face them with peace!

“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))

Many people say that peace is the absence of war, but I believe that the Lord defines peace as the absence of fear. We only know peace by placing our faith and trust in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior.

What do you have to fear?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will this be changing soon?

May 19, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
(Matthew 5:45b (NIV))

I truly love the fact that God shows His mercies to everyone whether we deserve them or not. Based on this passage, He uses everything in His creation to draw people to Himself. Sadly, too many people simply ignore Him, or even worse, they curse Him. He even sent His Son, Jesus, to live in this world as a teacher and to die on the cross as an atoning sacrifice. He even resurrected Jesus from the dead to overcome the power of sin and death, and still, people ignore Him or curse Him.

We are told that a time will come at the end when His wrath will be poured out on the world!

What do you believe will happen with the righteous at this time?

I am sure that someone has drawn this conclusion before, but I want to present a passage that I believe tells us of God’s heart toward the righteous. It comes from the parable of the ten virgins.

At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
(Matthew 25:1-5 (NIV))

We know all too well God’s definition of a fool.

The fool says in his heart,
     “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
     there is no one who does good.
(Psalm 14:1 (NIV))

I believe that we can interchange righteous with wise and unrighteous with foolish. Based on that, I believe that we see the next obvious step in the process with those who are ready and waiting for Jesus will be taken to be with the bridegroom!

But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
(Matthew 25:10 (NIV))

I have never heard anything about Jewish wedding traditions that say those waiting for the bridegroom would undergo suffering. I have never heard anything about these traditions that indicate they would miss the joyous celebration. If Jesus is coming for His bride, His bride would be spotless!

We see the sun rising on both the evil and the good. We see rains falling on both the righteous and the unrighteous. I believe that this is in the process of changing.

Will this be changing soon?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you being powerful and effective?

May 9, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
(James 5:16 (NIV))

What do you pray for?

Perhaps I should ask if you even pray. Too many people think that they pray but in all honesty, all that they do is approach God with their wish list of things that will benefit them. Please don’t misunderstand that comment. We have a God who is concerned about our needs, but we are supposed to be concerned about someone besides ourselves. We are supposed to be concerned with being obedient to God’s will.

God desires our righteousness and not our selfishness.

What does God see as righteousness?

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

And if we are careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.
(Deuteronomy 6:25 (NIV))

I could find many passages that define righteousness; but in essence it is being right with God! It is what God calls good.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good
     And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
     and to walk humbly with your God.
(Micah 6:8 (NIV))

Do you act justly in all that you do? Do you treat everyone with love and compassion?

Do you love mercy? Do you show mercy or do you only expect mercy to be shown to you?

Do you walk humbly with God? Do you understand that you are not the center of the universe and that God doesn’t love you more than He loves anyone else? Are you willing to put others first instead of being self-centered?

Based on these criteria, righteousness is not as easy as we would like to think. It results from a desire to be so in tune with God that we see the world and ourselves through His eyes. When this happens, we desire what God desires. Is this what you desire? If this is your desire, then your prayers for what God desires will be powerful and effective!

Are you being powerful and effective?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do your groanings mean?

March 10, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice;
      when the wicked rule, the people groan.
(Proverbs 29:2 (NIV))

I am going to ask a question that many people will say has an obvious answer, but just to make sure, here goes.

What are you hearing from the people, from the world today?

I honestly believe that the only people you hear rejoicing are the ones at the very heart of all of this mess. There is a big push by the global elite to do things that are fulfilling things foretold of long ago in God’s Word. Whether you believe that the new world order is planning a great reset or you believe that Planet X is making people crazy, one thing is certain – there is something big going on in this world. I want to let you in on a little secret that should put your mind at ease if you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. God is still in complete control! None of this has caught Him by surprise. We are the ones who are surprised.

Why?

Do we not spend enough time in His Word? Do we not know His Word well enough to know what He is allowing to happen as it happens right in front of us? Are we groaning because we are saddened by the state of the world as it has so rapidly changed? Are we groaning because we long for the way things used to be?

Personally, I like to believe that the groaning that we are hearing is from the Body of Christ as we pray through the Holy Spirit to express our desires for His righteousness and His plan as it unfolds.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
(Romans 8:26 (NIV))

This may sound strange, but I believe that those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior can groan in the Spirit, yet still be able to rejoice, for we know that Jesus will return sooner than any of us would have even considered ten years ago. We groan because we long for the evil to end and His righteousness to be established, and we rejoice because we know that it will come.

We don’t know what tomorrow will hold, but we do know who holds tomorrow. All that I know is that I pray to be able to be as faithful as those whom were fed to the lions in the Colosseum. It is written that they sang with eyes lifted toward heaven!

Are you prepared? Do you stand firm in your faith?

What do your groanings mean?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you truly desire to see His face?

February 2, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For the Lord is righteous,
      he loves justice;
      the upright will see his face.
(Psalms 11:7 (NIV))

Do you see yourself in this passage? Do you truly desire His righteousness, His justice and to see His face? Is this your priority or do you desire the opposite of what the Lord desires? If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then it should be your desire to see Jesus, to follow Jesus, and to be washed in His blood so that you are imparted His righteousness. It is my prayer that you truly desire these things, for we are blatantly told what will happen to those who are false believers.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 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 7:21-23 (NIV))

I pray that you truly understand that missing the Lord’s definition of righteousness is considered sin. Falsely knowing Jesus is a sin. To claim His righteousness, we must claim Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior and cling to Jesus in all that we do. We must desire Him!

The Lord is in his holy temple;
      the Lord is on his heavenly throne.
He observes everyone on earth;
      his eyes examine them.
The Lord examines the righteous,
      but the wicked, those who love violence,
      he hates with a passion.
On the wicked he will rain
      fiery coals and burning sulfur;
      a scorching wind will be their lot.
(Psalm 11:4-6 (NIV))

We know that the Lord sees everything. We know that He sees our hearts. He knows our thoughts. Left to our own thoughts, we are wicked, and as such, we are helpless, hopeless and lost. But when we believe in our heart and profess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, then we will be saved. It takes more than lip-service. We must truly believe that Jesus is Lord, then we can rest assured in the best promise that has ever been made.

for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
(Romans 10:13 (NIV))

Do you truly desire to see His face?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you joined Simeon in praising God?

December 23, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God,
(Luke 2:25-28 (NIV))

Simeon’s faith was strong. He desired nothing more than to see the Lord’s Messiah. When the time was right, he was obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit and his sole desire was granted to him. He waited a lifetime to see the Messiah. He did not sway from his desires. He did not sway in his faith that he would see the Messiah. He stood firm on the promises of God.

Do you long to see Jesus?

Do you have the patience and the faith that Simeon possessed?

Think about that. Simeon was an old man. He had waited his whole life to see the Messiah, and he probably only spent just a few minutes in His presence. Would that be enough for you? To Simeon, that was enough. He knew that everything else that the Lord had promised would come to pass because of the fulfillment of the promised Messiah whom he had held in his arms. Because of the fulfillment of God’s promise to Simeon in those few minutes, Simeon was faithfully and boldly able to proclaim the following.

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
      you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
      which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
      and the glory of your people Israel.”
(Luke 2:29-32 (NIV))

Have you joined Simeon in praising God?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you accepted His mercy?

December 17, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

His mercy extends to those who fear him,
     from generation to generation.
(Luke 1:50 (NIV))

Have you ever read these words and realized that this is the reason that Jesus came into the world?

He came to bring us mercy. He came to bring us grace. He came to bring us hope. He came to bring us something that we could not achieve on our own, and that was a way to be reconciled, to be made righteous in the eyes of God the Father. If that isn’t mercy, then what is it? Perhaps you could say that it is love.

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))

When you think of the birth of Jesus, many things comes to mind, but the one thing that we must remember is that God came to be with us so that His mercy could be explained and offered firsthand. He came to fulfill the law so that we could be held blameless and righteous through His actions. He came so that we could have abundant life in this world and with Him in eternity.

He provided a way for us to escape the consequences of our sinful, human nature and all that we have to do to be shown this mercy is follow a plan as easy as ABC.

A is for admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior.

B is for believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead.

C is for call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.

Have you accepted His mercy?

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