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.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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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Will He find faith in you?

June 30, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?
(Luke 18:8 (NIV))

As the church, we cling to the first half of this passage. We pray for God’s justice to come and for His righteousness to prevail, but we fail to pay any attention to the next sentence.

Why is that?

What makes us ignore this question?

This passage is taken from the parable of the widow and her persistent pleas with an ungodly judge to give her justice. He eventually relents because she is bothering him, but he doesn’t provide justice for the right reasons. He doesn’t do it because the widow deserves it. He gives in because he is getting tired of the constant barrage he is receiving from the widow. He wants to be left alone, so he gives in for selfish reasons and gives her the justice that she seeks.

When we ask God to send His judgment on sinners, what is our reason? Are we doing it because we feel a holier than thou attitude? Do we treat the Lord as our personal Savior while forgetting that the ones we are asking for Him to judge are also able to receive the same grace that we profess? If we are the Body of Christ, we are given a commission to share the Gospel with others.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
(Matthew 28:19-20a (NIV))

Thankfully, nowhere do I see a command within these words to condemn sinners. After all, we were all condemned before we accepted Jesus.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
(Romans 8:1-2 (NIV))

Is this why the question is asked if the Son of Man will find faith on the earth? Are we praying for justice without praying for a change of heart? Are we praying for condemnation without offering grace? Are we praying for selfish reasons? If so, we need to have the faith to pray for God’s Will in the situations and ask for hearts to be turned so that judgment and justice turn into grace and mercy!

Will He find faith in you?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What have you confessed?

May 7, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
(1 John 1:9 (NIV))

Forgiveness requires confession. Confession comes when we desire to change from our sinful nature. That desire to change can only happen when you come to the realization that, contrary to what you have thought in the past, you are a sinner.

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

I love the way the sequence of events are presented. It follows the sequence of events of accepting salvation. Before we can confess our sins, we have to come to the realization that we are sinners. We are told of the deception that keeps us from that realization. We are told that thinking we are sinless is a lie.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
(1 John 1:8 (NIV))

There is an old saying that admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. In this case, admitting that you are a sinner is the first step to salvation! It doesn’t stop there. You must come to the realization that you can do nothing to help yourself and that you need a savior. You must believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead. And, you must call upon the name of the Lord Jesus and accept the gift of grace that was freely given through the cross. If we truly desire to receive this amazing gift of grace by our confession of our sins, our confession that Jesus paid the price for our sins, and our confession that Jesus is Lord, He will be faithful to forgive us our sins and bestow upon us His righteousness.

What have you confessed?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What have you become?

April 30, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
(2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV))

We all had dreams of what we wanted to be when we grew up. If I took a survey, I would probably get such answers as professional athlete, musician or actor, but how many people make it a priority to become the righteousness of God? How many people have the spiritual maturity to say that they want to become like Jesus in all aspects of their lives?

Even though none of us probably thought of becoming the righteousness of God, Jesus always planned on taking on our sin!

Think about that!

All of the sin of every single person who ever lived and ever will live willingly accepted so that we can be righteous!

Can you imagine the weight and burden of all of that sin and the pain and anguish that Jesus endured in order to trade our sin for His righteousness? He willingly made the trade so that we could become redeemed children of God. All that we have to do to become righteous and redeemed children of God is to accept that gift. It’s 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.

What have you become?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you finding strength while you wait?

April 22, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
(Psalms 27:14 (NIV))

If you are like me, you are probably asking when the Lord will set things right, especially as we see things rapidly turning further and further away from righteousness and common sense. In fact, I am certain that you have seen or heard someone say something to the effect that common sense is no longer common. All that you have to do is look at the events unfolding in this world and you quickly can agree to this claim. You probably will come away with a perplexed sadness about the inability of far too many people to make any type of logical and intelligent thought patterns. Is this the beginnings of the powerful delusion?

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
(2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 (NIV))

God is unfolding things according to His timeline. If you truly follow the Lord and long for His righteousness, then you are probably like me and desire to see that sooner than later. Be patient!

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

God is never early, and more importantly, He is never late. There is a moment in time when the Lord will increase the events and the rapidness of their timing as they unfold culminating in His return. We may be days away. We may be months, or we may even be years, but one thing is certain. We must take heart for we know that His promises will come to pass. We must pray for His strength. We must patiently wait for the Lord.

Are you finding strength while you wait?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you ready to receive His righteousness?

March 30, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
(2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV))

In just a few days, we, as the Body of Christ, will be celebrating the event that proves that Jesus is who He said He was. No other person in all of history faced such a horrible death, was buried and then arose from the grave on the third day. In addition to this, He ascended into heaven in front of a group of witnesses.

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
(Acts 1:7-9 (NIV))

I love the truth of the resurrection. I love the hope of promises. Still, I believe that we need to focus our attention on the words recorded that give us assurance that He will return.

They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
(Acts 1:10-11 (NIV))

The resurrection means so much more than Jesus arose from the grave. It means that He has the power over sin and death. It means that He has the authority to save us from our sins. And best of all, it means that He will return for those who profess a faith in Him.

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.

Are you ready to receive His righteousness?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Deliverance requires faith in the shepherd!

February 12, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
    he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.
    He guides 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 love will follow me
        all the days of my life,
    and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
        forever.
(Psalms 23:1-6 (NIV))

David hit the nail on the head when he wrote this!

It is the prayer of every believer. It is the hope of every believer. God will provide for us in ways that we can only imagine. If we fully rely on Him, then He will deliver us, He will guide us, He will prepare a place for us.

When faced with what the world sends our way, we have a shelter to run to. Peace is what God offers. Chaos is what the world offers. The natural order of things since Adam and Eve fell is degeneration. Through God, we can be made new again. It only takes a simple act of faith.

The faith that Jesus Christ is God’s only begotten Son, and our only Lord and Savior.

Do you possess this faith?

Deliverance requires faith in the shepherd!

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