Choose wisdom. Choose life!

January 23, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
(Matthew 7:13 (NIV))

If you haven’t figured this out, the narrow gate is Jesus. It also represents the wisdom to select Jesus and to stay focused on Jesus in all that you do!

Accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is thought to be a one time salvation occurrence. To be honest with you, accepting the salvation freely given through the cross is a one time occurrence, but it takes a lifetime of dedication to follow Jesus in all that you do. Too many people fail to grow in their faith. They fail to get to know the Word of God. They fail to realize that there is so much more that God wants them to know than Jesus saves. There is wisdom and truth in God’s Word that is designed to teach us how to walk in His light in all that we do.

Do you want that wisdom?

Do you want the wisdom that leads to righteousness and salvation? Do you want the wisdom that leads to a strong faith? Do you want the wisdom that leads to maturity in Christ? Do you want the wisdom that leads to life everlasting?

I don’t know about you, but all of these things are things are what I long for!

Have you taken a serious look at your life and your priorities? Do you long for the things of God or are you still so focused on the things of this world that you miss Jesus in all that you do?

The decision is entirely yours!

Choose wisdom. Choose life!

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you truly believe all Scripture?

November 8, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
(2 Timothy 3:16 (NIV))

Do you believe this?

What about prophecy? Do you believe the things that we are told that have not yet happened, such as the Euphrates river drying up, will happen?

The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East.
(Revelation 16:12 (NIV))

If you don’t think that prophecy is important and relevant to our day and time, just do a Google search for the Euphrates river drying up. In a span of two years the river has dropped so much that in some places it is just a small stream.

AND, . . .

There are reports, photos, and videos of prison cells that were under the water!

It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.”
(Revelation 9:14 (NIV))

I realize that in this day and age when many things can be faked through 3D animation and photo editing, people will scoff at this. For those who verify the content, you have two options. To the skeptic, these are simply passed off as coincidence, but if you truly believe what Paul wrote in his letter to Timothy, then we need to take these seriously.

Many people believe that Jesus will not return until the Gospel has been preached to all nations, or ethnicities. There have been studies done that indicate that there are over 7,000 different people groups and that a little over 3,000 still have to be reached with the Gospel. Based on the following passage, what makes us think that we can have the official count?

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
     neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
     so are my ways higher than your ways
     and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

Please don’t misunderstand me with this concept. I am not saying that we, as the church, should give up sharing the Gospel. What I am saying is that we are not the final authority. All that we can see is as if looking through a glass darkly. God will unfold His timeline on His authority and not ours. All that we are called to do is watch and share the Gospel until He returns. Based on that, if there is Scripture that we don’t like or don’t want to believe, then we are the problem and need to repent and watch!

Do you truly believe all Scripture?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is it that you seek?

September 28, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
(Matthew 6:33 (NIV))

What is it that you seek?

In our society, we have a tendency to seek after luxuries. That has been the human condition for as long as we have recorded history. To be honest with you, I am not exactly certain what God will give us, for He gives to each person according to His Will and His plan. All that you have to do is take a look at those whom He has blessed. Each blessing is different and each blessing is custom tailored to the person and their situation.

All throughout the Bible there have been examples of people that God has blessed with luxuries because they earnestly sought Him. Solomon comes to mind as one of these people whom God blessed with wisdom, power and riches. There are also examples of people who devoted their lives to God and only had locusts and wild honey to show for it. Don’t get me wrong. John the Baptist was thoroughly blessed by God for his devotion. It was simply a blessing that many people have trouble understanding.

Matthew, in writing this passage, speaks not of luxuries, but of every day necessities such as food and clothing. God provides exactly what we need. Take another look at John the Baptist. He was blessed by God for He provided John the Baptist with locusts and wild honey. I don’t think that we would consider that a blessing, but it truly was. It allowed John to preach repentance, to do God’s Will, and not worry about what he would eat or what he would wear. God provided just what John needed so that John could fulfill his unique calling.

This is an important concept!

God provided just what was needed! He does not send blessings in the same way to everyone. He knows us so well that His blessings are as unique as we are.

He sent locusts and wild honey to John to sustain him. He also sent manna to the Israelites while they wandered in the desert. Even when they did not seek first His kingdom, He provided. He provided wisdom to Solomon because he wanted to rule justly and righteously. As a result, God provided so much more.

Take a look at all that you have. What do you seek first – more possessions or God’s Word?

Life is ironic at times. When we seek after earthly security, it never comes. When we seek after God, He gives us Himself, His security, and all of these other things, too.

Seek after God’s kingdom and not the luxuries of this world. He will surprise you with what He does give you, especially when you don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Seek after the peace that passes all understanding. Seek after the One who can overcome all the troubles of this world! If you seek after these things, He will provide all that you need. In addition, you will be given eternity in His presence!

What is it that you seek?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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And His name is Jesus!

August 26, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The Lord has made his salvation known
     and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
(Psalms 98:2 (NIV))

If you haven’t noticed, the last several devotionals have all been about passages from Psalms. I have a Bible app on my ipad and I have read multiple different translations. Currently, I am reading through the English translation called the Complete Jewish Bible where I am in Psalms. I cross reference between multiple different translations as I go, and as a result, I have come to a much deeper appreciation of these passages. I have found that my eyes have been opened by reading these different translations. I have alluded to this before, but sometimes the choice of words that the translators use can shed a completely different light on a passage. It can provide a much deeper understanding.

When this passage was written, it was long before Jesus walked the earth, yet, people were prophesying that He would come. No matter what translation you read, this passage clearly points to God’s amazing grace and mercy.

Adonai has made known his victory;
revealed his vindication in full view of the nations,
(Psalms 98:2 (CJB))

I love the way that the CJB translated this passage. Victory is the Lord’s! Vindication is the Lord’s!

If you look up the word “vindication,” it means justification against denial. Satan thought that he had won when he tricked Adam and Eve in the Garden, but God’s salvation, God’s victory is through the atoning blood of Jesus. God’s vindication, God’s righteousness is revealed through the resurrection of Jesus! In other words, God will not deny humanity the option to return to Him in a relationship as it was before the fall from grace. He will be vindicated and Satan has been defeated. All that we have to do is claim that victory for ourselves. Don’t wait another moment. If you have not already made this claim for yourself, it is a simple profession of faith. It is 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.

This victory, this vindication, this salvation that returns us to His righteousness all came about because of God’s plan through one who is fully God and is fully man!

And His name is Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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I can’t wait!

August 8, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
(Revelation 21:4 (NIV))

How does this sound?

If you are tired of the evil in this world, I want you to let that sink in!

If you are tired of the pain and suffering in this world, I want you to let that sink in!

If you are tired of loved ones dying, I want you to let that sink in!

If you are tired of mourning, I want you to let that sink in!

If you are tired of righteousness being ridiculed, I want you to let that sink in!

I don’t know about you, but I long for this day. I long to be in His presences. I long to find eternal comfort in the presence of my Lord!

These words in Revelation are so simple, yet so powerful. I have no further words to express what this will mean to me, except for the following three.

I can’t wait!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you need to make adjustments to your priorities?

June 9, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
(Matthew 6:33 (NIV))

What is it that you seek in life? Is it self-indulgent? Is it self-gratifying? Is it something that you would be proud to tell someone about?

Far too many people seek the wrong things in life. Sadly, some people seek the right things but for the wrong reasons. These people seek to do what is right, but not because it is right, but because it will bring them notoriety and recognition. They seek the accolades of men and not the recognition by God.

It is a matter of the heart and priorities.

What are your priorities?

I once heard a talk given on priorities. It was a short, but powerful retrospective discourse that made me look inside myself and come to the conclusion that I had been the very person who had been doing things for the wrong reasons. I came away with the realization that I needed to place God first in all that I do. It has not been easy to live up to this realization. I fail many times a day. Still, I know that when I fail, I can ask for grace and mercy and repent and try again.

Seeking God’s kingdom first is not easy. Nothing worth having is easy. Think about your favorite past-time. Whether it is golf, art, or a musical instrument, it required work. Mastering it was not an easy task. That was only one part of your life. God’s kingdom is all encompassing. It requires all of your life. If you seek God’s kingdom first, He will give you grace and mercy so that everything else will fall in place.

What are your priorities?

Do you need to make adjustments to your priorities?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the Lord your shepherd?

April 21, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

A Psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
      He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
      He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
      for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
      I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
      your rod and your staff,
      they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
      in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
      my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
      all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
      forever.
(Psalms 23:1-6 (ESV))

David had a very honest relationship with the Lord, and it was very well documented in the prolific words that David gave us. I am so very thankful that these words were handed down to us. They show us so many aspects of the Lord that we probably would never truly think of without having these words in front of us. We know that God loves us, but David has managed to paint a very detailed visual image of some of the ways that His love was manifested in David’s life and how it can be manifested in our lives as well. I can’t begin to say it any better than what David wrote, so I won’t even begin to try. All that I ask is that you read and take to heart exactly what David gave us in the hope that you will learn to see our Lord in the same light that David saw him. With that said, I have but one thing to ask.

Is the Lord your shepherd?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you standing firm and fully ready?

March 17, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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.
(Ephesians 6:14-15 (NIV))

What do you envision when you think of standing firm?

Most people think of being resolute and immovable. They think of bracing for impact from an onslaught or attack. They think of never surrendering. They think of taking a stand and being willing to sacrifice all for that stance.

Have you ever thought of readiness as a characteristic of standing firm?

From a physical standpoint, when you make a decision to stand firm, that does not mean that you simply become a statue. Your senses are heightened. You constantly adjust back and forth on your feet and you stay alert and focused. Truly making a decision to stand firm is so much more than simply digging in and trying to present yourself as an immovable object. You are probably more alert than you have ever been. You are probably more agile than you have ever been, and you are probably more committed than you have ever been.

Based on this, if we stand firm in our faith in Jesus, we do not simply dig in our heals and wait for the enemy to overrun us. We prepare! We arm ourselves with His Word and we are constantly on the lookout for the attacks of the enemy, no matter how subtle.

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 6:13 (NIV))

How is your armor fitting?

Does God’s Word shield you from the attacks of the enemy or are you still trying to step into the protective power that is ours through His Word? Better yet, have you taken it to the next level where you are ready to fully embrace the power of His Word to defeat the enemy? Do you know how to defeat the enemy? That is something that everyone who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior must be ready to do.

Call upon His Name!

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
      in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
      to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:10-11 (NIV))

Call upon the name of Jesus in power and authority. God’s Word is our armor and the name of Jesus is our weapon to overcome the enemy!

Are you standing firm and fully ready?

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

February 24, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.
(Proverbs 21:21 (NIV))

The United States of America’s Declaration of Independence states “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Do you pursue happiness, or are you eyes set on a higher standard of righteousness and love?

If you pursue happiness, will you achieve righteousness? I can think of many people who have pursued sinful ways to happiness. This is not righteousness in the eyes of the Lord. They do not find life, prosperity and honor even though they think that they have found happiness. What they have found is fleeting. What they have found does not lead to life, prosperity and honor. With that said, if you pursue righteousness and love, do you believe that you will achieve happiness? Think about that question in relation to the following passage.

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
(Matthew 25:23 (NIV))

If we pursue righteousness and love, we get to share in God’s happiness!

Think about that concept. We get to share in God’s happiness. Can you imagine what that means? Can you comprehend all that this includes? If we pursue righteousness and love, we will find life, prosperity and honor, plus we will share in God’s happiness if we have been faithful in our pursuit.

How do you classify happiness?

What makes you happy? What do you think of when you want to make yourself happy?

Now, let’s stop to think about God’s thoughts.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
      neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
      so are my ways higher than your ways
      and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

Do you fully comprehend the height, depth and breadth of God’s happiness that we get to share?

We truly do find so much when we seek His righteousness!

What have you found?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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