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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What have you been asking for?

January 18, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
(1 John 5:14 (NIV))

Did you notice the stipulation in this passage?

All too often, people ask God for things that are from their will and not His. We are so self-centered that even when we are told to bring our concerns to the Lord, we ask as if we were the center of all creation. We ask as if God is our own personal servant whose only purpose is to fulfill our every desire. If this is how you have been approaching God, how has this been going for you?

Do you even spend time in God’s Word in search of His heart?

Do you even spend time in prayer talking to God and actually listening for His still, small voice?

How can you ask God for things that are according to His Will if you don’t even know what His Will is?

We know that God loves us. This is evident through the gift of salvation freely given through the cross. But, do we love Him in return? Do we simply give lip service to this gift and then continue to live as if we are still a part of this sinful, fallen world? Or, do we actually have a change of heart and see the world for what it is? Do we realize that the things that we had desired are now simply last grasps at the world that we say we want to leave behind?

God is not going to hear us if we ask for things of this world. God is not going to answer us if we are only being selfish in our desires.

Think about a young child in a toy store. Every other word out of their mouth is asking for the latest thing that has caught their eye. The parents know what is good and what is proper, yet the child still goes on and on about the things that they want. We are those children. The world is the toy store. God is ushering us through this world while trying to mature us enough so that what we ask for is not what is seen at every selfish turn of our heads. God is not going to give us the toy store of the world. He is going to give us things that are from Him according to His Will. He is going to give us things that will draw us closer to Him while they mature us in our faith.

God does want to bless us, but what we think of as a blessing is not how God thinks of blessings.

If you have been approaching God and you feel that He has not heard you, then you need to ask yourself one very important question.

What have you been asking for?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t overlook what is right in front of you!

December 27, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”
(Luke 2:28-32 (NIV))

What do you do now that you have seen your salvation?

We just celebrated the birth of Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Unlike Simeon, we don’t have to wait our entire lives to see God’s promise fulfilled. We can see it every single day of our lives. We should see it in everything that we do. We have grace and mercy given to us in all circumstances of our lives. All that we have to do is repent and seek forgiveness for our sinful actions.

Have you ever thought that this is why we have things in our lives that we shouldn’t have? Let me ask this in a slightly different approach. Have you ever had something so readily available to you that you took it for granted? Have you ever gone to the extreme and waited until it was too late to realize just what you had available to you?

It is human nature to miss what is right before us. We do it with missed relationships, missed job opportunities, missed witnessing opportunities, and so many more. I have seen people, and I have also been one to miss opportunities. We all do it. Why do we miss things right in front of us while we long for the very things that we miss? Do we think things have to be complicated and because of this, miss the simple things that will have the most meaning and impact?

Simeon knew what he and the whole world were missing. He had prayed for salvation all of his life. He knew what it was that he was expecting and he knew it when he saw it. Why don’t we know God’s grace and mercy when we see it? Why do so many people look right at Jesus and see something else than what He truly is?

Do you recognize your salvation?

Don’t overlook what is right in front of you!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It is time to join the celebration and have a Merry Christmas!

December 20, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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))

There will never be a greater gift that can be given!

To those who have accepted this gift of grace, we use this passage to convey exactly what God has done. We use it to explain to others what can be theirs if they will only accept. We use it to explain the magnitude of God’s love for His creation, but, I think that we use it to remind ourselves of the mercy that we have been given. We use it to remind ourselves that we were all sinners in need of a Savior. We us it to remind ourselves that we were helpless, hopeless and lost as a result of our sin. We use it to remind ourselves that we are not worthy to receive such a great gift, but, God gave it to us in spite of ourselves.

In just a few days, we will celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. We will celebrate Jesus stepping out of eternity and into this world so that we could be ransomed by His great love. For those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, you truly have something to celebrate. Do you need to join the celebration? For those who have not made that profession of faith as of yet, 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.

The greatest gift of all time is yours. All that you must do is accept.

I have referred to this before. The word “merry” in Old English means “mighty.” The word Christmas is a shortened version of two words “Christ Mass” in which the birth of Jesus was officially celebrated by the church. People would wish each other a blessing so that they would have a MIGHTY (Merry) Christ’s Mass (Christmas). They wanted each believer to fully realize the gift of grace and mercy that was theirs because God sent His Son Jesus into this world.

It is time to join the celebration and have a Merry Christmas!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We are to share the greatest gift of all!

December 19, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.
(1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 (NIV))

Nobody wants to suffer wrath, but it is a guaranteed result if we do not accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. It is such a simple thing to avoid.

During this season, when society has taken the true meaning out of Christmas, we must not allow society to creep into our lives in this manner. We must remember why we celebrate and then reach others so that they, too, will know the true meaning of Christmas. We celebrate Jesus’ birth with the knowledge that the birth of Jesus was the beginning of what God had planned for all of humanity – salvation to all who would simply seek and accept it.

Christmas is a time for celebration, for as the verse says, “whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.” We must remember to tell others about this fantastic gift that was so freely given and help them to receive it.

We are to share the greatest gift of all!

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
(Matthew 28:19 (NIV))

I know that this ministry is built on God’s Word, but sometimes pictures tell the story of what He is doing much better than I can.

God is using this ministry to reach the world!
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If you have been touched by Daily Living Ministries, please reply and let me know.

I also prayerfully ask that if you can contribute to assist with the continual expenses, please help to keep Daily Living Ministries going into all the world!

Click on the green buttons to view the online giving options.

Thank you for your support in preparing for the future!

Mail contributions to:
DAILY LIVING Ministries, Inc.
1201 Diamond Way
Bogart, GA 30662

Contributions are tax deductible.

In Jesus’ name,
Dennis Smock

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Be like Mary and do not be afraid of that calling!

December 16, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.
(Luke 1:30 (NIV))

Have you ever felt that you were being led by God to do something and your fear held you back?

I realize that none of us have ever had an experience like Mary did, but think about her fear. Think about her doubt. Think about her societal uncertainty.

Then, think about her faith!

God’s eternal plan of salvation all hinged on the faith of a teenage girl who would be called to be obedient at an age that we, today, think is too immature to make rational decisions. What if your thirteen or fourteen year old daughter or granddaughter was asked to do what Mary did? Would she have the faith to see it through? Would you have the faith to walk through it with her and her young husband?

Oh, to have the faith that Mary had. Oh, to have the willing and obedient nature that Mary had.

I realize that Christmas is the time that we celebrate the birth of Jesus, but we must remember that God’s plan called for an immaculate conception and a virgin birth. God’s plan called for an unwavering faith from the one who would give birth to the Messiah. In other words, God chooses to work His plan through those who have the faith to rely on Him and to trust in Him. Mary was the quintessential example of such faith and trust. Her obedience was the tool through which God was able to bring salvation to a lost and sinful world.

She stepped out in faith and all of humanity now has the promise of salvation fulfilled through Jesus.

We may not be called to be the one to do great things. We may be the one called to simply bring the good news to someone who will. That one act may be the great thing that God has called us to do.

Be like Mary and do not be afraid of that calling!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus alone is the way and the truth and the life!

December 9, 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))

When you think of scripture passages that tell of Christmas, do you think of this passage?

To be honest with you, I hadn’t thought of this passage in that context, but then I realized that in order for us to go through Jesus to the Father, He first had to come to us from the Father.

EVERYTHING is contingent upon the birth of Jesus!

Contrary to what society says, without the birth of Jesus we would not know the possibility of salvation. We would not know life to the fullest. We would not know miracles, and we definitely would not know of God’s great love for us.

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))

If you put things in perspective, everything written in God’s Word before the birth of Jesus is written to point to His birth. Everything written after His birth would not have happened or will happen if His birth had never taken place. If you look at God’s Word from this perspective, everything in God’s Word is a Christmas story! We celebrate the birth of Jesus by continuing a tradition started by the wise men who came bearing gifts. We can’t give them directly to Jesus, but we give them to celebrate what He gave us – salvation, grace and mercy!

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!

Jesus alone is the way and the truth and the life!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we too busy to be still and listen?

October 19, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”
(Psalms 46:10 (NIV))

I realize that I use this passage quite often. In fact, everything that I do has a basis in the first part of this passage, for we must learn to be still in His presence in order to subdue our sinful nature and place ourselves completely at His feet and in His will.

How are you at being still in His presence?

I realize that is what is often referred to as a loaded question, but it is a question that we all must learn to truthfully answer. We must then learn to take steps to humble ourselves and submit to His authority. Better yet, we must learn to submit to His great love!

Have you ever given any thought as to why we are told to be still, to listen for that still, small voice, and to be still and let God fight for us?

We are facing something far greater than what our limited minds can fathom. We are facing something that requires us to place our complete faith and trust in the very one who is planning it. Many people simply believe that the Bible is “basic instructions before leaving earth,” and that it provides us insight into how we are called to live out our walk of faith. That is true, but there is so much more. God’s Word is a love letter from a loving Creator to His creation outlining how He created everything, how Adam and Eve fell from grace, how humanity has tried everything to bridge that grace gap, how God devised a plan to do just that, and how He sent Jesus to seek and to save the lost.

But, if that was all that there was for us in God’s Word, it would have ended with the ascension of Jesus, after all, Jesus taught us all that we needed to know in order to live a Godly life!

We know that God’s plan of salvation through the atoning blood of Jesus is something that is beyond amazing, for we were all sinners in need of a Savior. However, we overlook the parts that are still unfolding. We overlook the parts that have not happened yet. We are so engrossed in our daily lives that we miss the big picture. We live in a microcosm of our own creation. Our lives only interact with just a few hundred, perhaps even a few thousand people out of the vast numbers of individuals who are alive now, let alone those who have ever or will ever live. God is doing something far greater than our limited circle of influence. He is doing something far greater than just our nation. He is doing something that reaches out of heaven and addresses sinful humanity and the one who tricked us into falling for the lie.

When you take the time to be still and sit in His presence, what is your spirit telling you? What is the Holy Spirit telling you?

God is definitely up to something that will exalt Him among the nations. He will be exalted in the earth! Only in our humility will we truly understand. Only in our humility will we be able to know the very heart of the Father who is trying to tell us to fix our eyes upon Jesus! With all of the gadgets and distraction that our world sends our way, we must learn to turn them off and tune them out. We must learn to not spend so much time in facebook, but rather we must spend our time seeking His face!

God is trying to tell us something!

Are we too busy to be still and listen?

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