Have you accepted God’s offer of salvation and grace?

January 4, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.
(Titus 2:11 (NIV))

Salvation!

That is a word that brings up a multitude of thoughts and contradictions in the minds of many. Many of us seek it. Far too many believe that they are beyond all hope of receiving it, and sadly, there are those who seem to think that they don’t need it. What is it about the concept of salvation that has people seeing it from so many different sides?

Perhaps it is a matter of perspective. That perspective that I speak of is how we see ourselves. We can see ourselves as our own personal gods, which indicates that we think that we don’t need salvation. We can see ourselves as the results of evolution, which also indicates that we think that we don’t need salvation. We can see ourselves as so far gone that nobody could want us, that nobody could want to save us, and then there are those who see themselves as sinners in a fallen world without a way to escape the consequences of our sins. I am sure that there are other scenarios, but I hope that you understand that people have a choice. We have to make up our own minds. Perhaps that is why it says that God offers salvation. He can’t make us accept it, but He can freely offer it to anyone who is willing to accept this wonderful gift of grace.

Once we accept God’s offer, we accept the fact that we need spiritual maturity and that we need to be taught God’s ways and desires for our lives. It teaches us that we must put aside our sinful nature. We must repent and live according to His Word. It teaches us that something better is coming and that we should eagerly wait for His return.

It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
(Titus 2:12-14 (NIV))

Salvation means so much more than being saved from the consequences of our sins. It means that we are saved from the ungodliness and worldly passions that permeate this world. It means that we hold firm to the promises that He will return for us. It means a change of heart and a change of mind. It also means a change of citizenship from that of one in this world to that of one eternally in the Father’s presence.

It is your choice what to do with God’s offer.

Have you accepted God’s offer of salvation and grace?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Return to Jesus. Return to the joy.

December 27, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
(Psalms 51:12 (NIV))

Do you ever find yourself in need of restoration even though you are assured of your salvation?

It is easy to lose sight of the promises that we have been given, but we must not lose sight of the promise that validates all of the other promises.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
(2 Corinthians 1:20-22 (NIV))

When we are in need of restoration, we must turn to the Father who gave His Son so that we could have salvation. The need for restoration comes when we let the weight of the world and the circumstances that we find ourselves in overpower us and consume us.

What do we lose when we are in need of restoration?

We lose our joy – our joy that comes from knowing that we have been saved by grace! Without that joy, Satan can gain access to us and steer us further away from the joy that is ours.

Joy brings hope and an assurance that we are saved by grace. It also brings us a firm foundation and an assurance of what is to come.

Are you in need of restoration? Return to Jesus. Return to the joy.

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What is the Lord to you?

November 17, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He said: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
(2 Samuel 2:22 (NIV))

We know that David was a very prolific writer when it came to things that lifted praise to the Lord. To put it succinctly, David gave credit where credit was due. He knew that all that he had was from the Lord. He knew exactly what the Lord meant to him and he wasn’t afraid to express it.

     my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
     my shield and the horn of my salvation.
He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—
     from violent people you save me.
(2 Samuel 22:3 (NIV))

Most of us are not as prolific with words as David was. Most of us have trouble stringing together a coherent sentence that expresses our thanks, our praise, our joy, and our commitment to the One who created us. What words do you use to describe the Lord? Do you find yourself relying on the very words that David wrote? Do you find yourself at a loss for words? Do you find yourself simply groaning in your spirit because words cannot be found?

I want to challenge you to try to put into words, your own words, exactly what the Lord is to you. Is He your rock? Is He your fortress? Is He your deliverer? Is He your stronghold? What has He done for you?

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
(2 Timothy 4:2-3 (NIV))

Think about that for a moment. There is probably coming a time in your life where you will be put into a situation where you will have to give a testimony about what the Lord is to you and what He has done for you. Will you be ready to lay it on the line or will you cower in fear because you never truly stopped to think about all that the Lord has done for you? Are you prepared to give an answer?

What is the Lord to you?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What do you do when no one is looking?

November 2, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,
(Philippians 2:12 (NIV))

When the cat’s away, the mice will play!

That doesn’t appear to be the case with the church at Philippi. From what I have read, Philippi was a colony of retired Roman soldiers who were used to following orders, even in the absence of their commanding officer. Jesus encountered this obedience when He was asked by a Roman centurion to heal his servant.

“Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”

Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”

The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
(Matthew 8:6-9 (NIV))

With this characteristic ingrained into their lives, this makes perfect sense with respect to the words that Paul wrote to them about being obedient, even when he was not with them.

Are we able to be as obedient to God’s Word as these early believers were no matter who we are around and no matter where we may be? The church at Philippi was made up of Gentiles, hardened Roman soldiers, who eagerly embraced the truth and were able to be obedient to the truth under any circumstances. We look back at the early believers and we think that we could have been a follower of Jesus at that time, but are we truly being obedient, are we truly being a follower of Jesus in a society that has almost two thousand years of acceptance? Are we so easily swayed by the temptations of this world that we begin to play?

Would Paul commend us for being obedient?

Would Jesus commend us for being obedient while He has been away?

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 25:21 (NIV))

Do we find ourselves turning back to our sins when we think that no one is looking?

What do you do when no one is looking?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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The time is NOW!

July 9, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.
(2 Corinthians 6:2 (NIV))

What is your definition of the word “now?”

If you came up with something similar to this very moment in time you would be accurate in your understanding of the word. Think about that in relation to God’s favor.

This very moment is the time of God’s favor! This very moment in time is the day of salvation!

We are not promised tomorrow. We are not even promised our next breath, yet we live as if we have all of the time in the world. We live as if we can do whatever we want to do for years to come and then at a given point in our lives that we decide, we can accept God’s favor, we can accept salvation. What happens if we live our lives ignoring God and our life ends before we planned to accept His favor and His salvation?

There is no time to waste!

If the last few years have taught us anything, we should know that nothing ever goes the way that we think that it should. Just when you think that everything is going the way that you want it to go, it is probably time for your alarm clock to wake you up so that you can face another day in this sinful, fallen world. To be honest with you, even our dreams are not perfect. How often do you wake up in cold sweats from a nightmare? Those nightmares will be nothing when compared to what you face if you don’t accept God’s favor and salvation.

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

For the wages of sin is death,
(Romans 6:23a (NIV))

We cling to the dangerous notion that we can take care of our salvation tomorrow, that we can put off death until we face it on our terms.

What if?

Nobody wants to deal with the what if of the wages of sin, but God has a plan. All that we have to do is accept that plan. 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.

Doing this leads to the “but God’ part of Romans 6:23.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

The time is NOW!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you waiting for Jesus?

June 3, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
(Hebrews 9:28 (NIV))

As believers, we are fully aware of the first part of this passage. As part of the Great Commission, we should be able to communicate this truth to anyone. In fact, someone has simplified this to the point where anyone can witness to anybody at any time if you can simply remember 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.

Sadly, what far too many people have trouble with is the fact that Jesus will come again. Some proclaim that it has has been over two thousand years, so they mockingly ask where is He? Others refuse to believe beyond the physical and claim that no one can return from the dead. I have even known some people who profess a faith in Jesus and claim that He is not returning. They claim that this was simply a metaphor for when we die and are taken to heaven. Still others only think of Jesus for an hour on Sunday and never truly give any consideration to what faith truly means. Are you among those who live for this world and forget about Jesus coming again? In other words, do you profess a faith and live your life as if you don’t want Jesus to return?

Think about that last question!

Do you love the world so much that you aren’t looking for Jesus, or are you waiting patently for His second appearance even when the world claims that He isn’t coming soon if He comes at all?

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 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 3:8-9 (NIV))

When Jesus does return to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him, will you be on the receiving end or will you be left behind?

Are you waiting for Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you confident in your faith?

May 25, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
(Hebrews 4:16 (ESV))

How confident are you of your salvation?

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

Such confidence we have through Christ before God.
(2 Corinthians 3:4 (NIV))

The early church leaders knew that we should be confident in our faith. Those who wrote these words had either seen Jesus or they knew those who had witnessed the events that we now cling to as strategic moments of faith. They had witnessed the miracles and were confident in what they saw. They had witnessed the severity of the scourging and the crucifixion and were then completely overwhelmed by the resurrection! They had witnessed the ascension and were given the promise that He would return the same way He left.

Think about that for a moment.

If you had witnessed someone beaten so badly that he was not identifiable after the beating and then they were killed by crucifixion, how confident would you be that the person was dead? If you heard that he was buried, yet was alive again, would you question your confidence in what you had witnessed? What if you met that person and he spoke to you about the things that you had done together, would you be confident that it was the same person? What if that person showed you the scars? How confident would you be that this person had died, was buried and then rose again? If you had witnessed these things first hand, you would not be able to keep quiet about what you saw and what you know. You would proclaim it with complete confidence.

That is exactly what the disciples and the early church leaders did! They were so full of confidence that they told everyone the good news of Jesus.

Sometimes I think that we, as the modern church, have lost our confidence. We read the words and we watch reenactments, but do we truly comprehend what happened? If we did, I feel that we would be doing what the disciples and the early church leaders were doing. We would be telling everyone about Jesus. I feel that we couldn’t be made to be quiet. Even the threat of persecution or death would not detract from what we boldly and confidently proclaimed.

Take a serious look at your faith. Do you believe without any doubt? Do you fully understand what you profess to believe?

Are you confident in your faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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We must not delay!

February 5, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
     it speaks of the end
     and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
     it will certainly come
     and will not delay.
(Habakkuk 2:3 (NIV))

It seems as if the whole world is impatient!

Everyone is waiting for something to happen. What they are waiting for is a matter of priorities. Each one of us have priorities, but they are not the same for everyone. To boil it all down, our priorities are are either selfish in nature, worldly in nature, or eternal in nature. No matter what our priorities may be, it is human nature that makes us not want to wait. We seek instant gratification in any way that we can. We seem to have forgotten the old saying that good things come to those who wait.

What are you waiting for?

Are you like Simeon and desire to see God’s salvation?

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, saying:
“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 2:25-32 (NIV))

Do you desire to see what God will reveal to the world at His appointed time? Are you willing to stand firm in your faith in the face of the world and declare what Simeon saw with his own eyes? Are you willing to share the Gospel with a sinful and lost world? Are you willing to tell the world that God has a plan?

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

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Contrary to what the world says, there are not many ways to heaven!

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.
(Acts 4:12 (NIV))

Have you found this single source of salvation and claimed Him as your personal Lord and Savior? Time is short. No one knows what tomorrow will bring. It is time to proclaim the name of Jesus. No other name but Jesus!

We must not delay!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What is God to you?

December 17, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?
(Psalms 8:3-4 (NIV))

How many times have you read or heard this passage?

If you are like me, you have had numerous encounters with this verse, but have you ever considered that this passage written by David is a perfect lead-in to God’s plan of salvation? David asked and God answered by providing grace and mercy.

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))

Isn’t that what Christmas is about?

Humanity is a sinful, fallen creation that had no hope of redemption or grace! God had other plans. He had promised that salvation would come through the lineage of David. What we celebrate at Christmas is the fulfillment of this promise. What we celebrate is the fulfillment of hope. What we celebrate is the arrival of grace!

Consider David’s words. He asked God what we are to Him and He showed us!

The problem is that we are too arrogant and prideful to accept what we have been shown. We need to become more like David, who humbled himself enough to ask. Once we humble ourselves, God will show us more than we can imagine. He will give us more than we can comprehend. When we are able to truly humble ourselves, the true meaning of Christmas becomes obvious. We were lost and in need of a Savior. Because of God’s great love for us, He gave us salvation through Jesus.

We know what we are to God. What is God to you?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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There is no difference for we are all sinners!

September 28, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

Most, if not all who read this can quote this passage, and rightly so. It is a foundational passage that clearly states that everyone needs a savior. It stands on its own with this meaning clearly conveyed and understood, but, have you ever looked at the complete sentence that this passage is taken from?

There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
(Romans 3:22b-24 (NIV))

Does the complete sentence add anything to or detract anything from your understanding of this passage? In all honesty, it still means that we are all sinners in need of a savior, but it goes much deeper in explaining this need and how to overcome this need. When this was written, Gentiles were looked down upon by many Jewish people. They were looked upon as unclean. If you remember the amount of criticism that Paul received simply because he ate with Gentiles, then you will understand the time period. When this sentence starts by saying that there is no difference between Jew and Gentile, it literally broke the traditional way of thinking. It clearly states that the Jew is not better than the Gentile and the Gentile is not better than the Jew. Both are sinners in need of a Savior and that salvation and grace can only be found through Jesus.

This was a radical concept when this was written!

Have we taken this radical idea and whitewashed it? Have we, as the Body of Christ, as Gentiles, forgotten that we were looked down upon as unworthy to receive grace and salvation by the very people that God’s gift of grace and salvation was promised through? Have we become arrogant in our salvation while looking at others as unworthy? Perhaps we need to not just quote the excerpt, but the whole sentence. Perhaps we need to focus on the whole truth and not just what we today call sound bites.

There is no difference for we are all sinners!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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