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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Are you ashamed to tell others about Jesus?

July 18, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
(Romans 1:16 (NIV))

If Paul, who was originally persecuting followers of Jesus, can truthfully claim that he is not ashamed of the gospel, why do so many people today claim that they can’t tell anyone about Jesus?

Think about that question in relation to this passage from Matthew.

“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.
(Matthew 10:32-33 (NIV))

If we aren’t willing to tell others about Jesus, what does that sound like to you? Is there a difference between not sharing Jesus and disowning Jesus? How does this relate to what we have been given as our instructions as followers of Jesus?

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))

Is not sharing the gospel with others the same as denying Jesus? If we are called to love our neighbor as ourselves, then how can we justify not sharing the grace and mercy and love that Jesus offers with those who are our neighbors? It seems to me that this is denying Jesus before men!

Are you ashamed to tell others about Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Why do people still try to find another way?

April 26, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
(John 14:6 (NIV))

It couldn’t be said any clearer. There is only one way to the Father, only one way to heaven, and His name is Jesus!

Muhammad can’t save you. Confucius can’t save you. Buddha can’t save you. Mary can’t save you. Wealth can’t save you. Power can’t save you. Good works can’t save you, and you surely can’t save yourself.

The problem is that people don’t want to believe this or they think it is too simple. They think that something more must be done and they that must do it. In other words, they feel that they must earn salvation. That is where the other ways that people come up with all fail. Everything is based on works and salvation is a gift only given by God through Jesus.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
(Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV))

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))

By definition, a gift is something that is voluntarily transferred from one person to another without any payment or compensation. It is a one way transaction where the recipient receives what the gift giver is giving. Nothing is owed in return. Does this sound like we have to work for it? Does this sound like we have to earn what we have been freely given?

This gift is given out of 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))

I want to present a scenario if I may. Imagine that an invitation was sent out to everyone inviting them to attend a party in a glorious mansion. The invitation was sent out through the son of the owner, and the only stipulation was that the people invited had to accept the invitation from the son. The son would be checking the list at the door to see if he had recorded your name in the registry of attendees as having accepted his invitation. Nothing could be simpler, yet, there will still be those who try to crash the party. There will still be those who try to break in through a back door. Sadly, they will be rejected even though all that they had to do was accept the invitation from the son and they would have been able to gain entry.

Trying to get to the Father in any other way but Jesus is like trying to crash a party. You will not be able to gain entrance.

Why do people still try to find another way?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Now is the time to run to Jesus!

March 15, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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))

No other name but Jesus!

Do you know anyone who has tried to replace Jesus with someone else? Perhaps I should ask with something else, after all, many of the things that humanity looks to as having the power to protect and to save them are not people, but things. Money and power are just a few of these things that come to mind.

So, what’s in a name?

You’ve heard the old saying that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but it still possesses all of the qualities of a rose at the end of the day. Its very essence is and will always be that of a rose. In essence, what I am getting at is that we only have one person in all of human history who has the power to save. At the end of the day, His name will still be Jesus. His power and authority will still be that of the only begotten Son of God. Each language has a different way of saying His name, but each name references the very same Lord and Savior. There is no other. He is just as sweet!

Sadly, too many people look to anyone and anything else to save them. For them, the results will be the same as for those who rejected Him when He walked the earth.

Jesus is

“‘the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the cornerstone.’
(Acts 4:11 (NIV))

Now is the time to turn to Jesus. Do not reject the salvation that is found in no one else. No one knows what tomorrow may bring. In fact, it is possible that either you or I will not live to see tomorrow. Do you know where you will be if that were to happen? Does that thought haunt you? Do you want to do something now to guarantee a different eternal outcome? 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 as your Lord and Savior!

Now is the time to run to Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you free indeed?

March 9, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
(John 8:36 (NIV))

This passage came to mind while I was having a conversation with a friend. The subject came up about people questioning their salvation because of their past being too much for God to forgive. Sadly, there are always people who believe that they have done so much wrong that God can’t forgive them. They feel that they are above God’s thresh hold of forgiveness.

Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save,
     nor his ear too dull to hear.
(Isaiah 59:1 (NIV))

In essence, they can’t forgive themselves even when God freely gives grace and mercy to all who will simply accept.

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. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

Do you know someone who needs to come into the light? Are they afraid to come into the light for fear of what will be exposed? It seems that even Paul wrote about such people when he wrote to the church at Corinth.

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
(1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NIV))

He went into detail about the sinful past of the members of the church at Corinth, but he didn’t stop there. He went on to remind them that that is what they were and not what they are due to the saving grace freely given through the blood of Jesus.

And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
(1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NIV))

If you think, or someone you know thinks that they are too far gone for grace, remind them that we are all sinners in need of a savior, and His name is Jesus. I don’t often start and end with the same scripture passage, but in this case, I feel that it is merited.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
(John 8:36 (NIV))

Are you free indeed?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you truly ready for your salvation?

January 31, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
(Romans 13:11 (NIV))

This holds so true. Each day brings us closer to our salvation than when we first believed. Each day draws us closer to each of us meeting Jesus, whether at His return or in our passing from this earth. Since none of us know when either of those dates will occur, we should live our lives as if this day were our last.

Are you ready, are you at peace with either of these events happening at this very moment in your life?

I wish that I knew how to make you take a dramatic pause after that last question. I hope that you truly stopped to reflect on your salvation. I realize that many people believe the things that have been prophesied are unfolding, and that very well may be true, but are you truly ready to meet Jesus if your time should come before His return? Would you be judged or would you receive grace? If you are on this earth long enough to meet Jesus when He comes for His church, His bride, would you meet Him in the air or would you be left behind?

With all that is going on in this world, anything could happen.

I have often stated that I love to cross-reference multiple different translations to pick up on the subtle word nuances that the translators used to convey the thoughts and the words originally written in Hebrew or Greek. This one caught my attention.

Besides all this, you know at what point of history we stand; so it is high time for you to rouse yourselves from sleep; for the final deliverance is nearer than when we first came to trust.
(Romans 13:11 (CJB))

Do you know at what point in history that you stand?

Have you roused yourself from the slumber that this world has left us in?

Are you truly ready to meet Jesus face to face?

Salvation 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.

If you have made this, or a similar profession of faith in Jesus, then you are ready. If you long to seek after Jesus in all that you do, then you are ready. If you feel remorse when you still sin and then willingly repent, then you are ready. I pray that you do not lose track of the times, for God is moving and the enemy doesn’t want you to know.

Are you truly ready for your salvation?

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