This is the one test that you need to pass!

June 14, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you — unless, of course, you fail the test?
(2 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV))

This is one of those verses that most people wish that they could ignore!

No one likes to fail a test. Think about the implications of this concept of failing this test. This is not the only place where we hear that it is possible to fail in your faith. We are told that it is possible to do things in the name of Jesus, but not have a relationship with Jesus, to not have Jesus in your heart.

Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:22-23 (NIV))

This goes hand in hand with the truth that you cannot earn salvation.

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))

We must also come to the realization that there is a difference between doing work for the Lord and truly knowing the Lord. I can demonstrate this concept with a simple question about the people with whom you work. You may spend eight hours a day with them, but do you know their inner most secrets and desires? Do you know the pains that they feel and what causes them pain and what causes them joy? Doing work around the Lord does not draw you close to the Lord in exactly the same way as working with someone does not bring you close to them. That requires effort and intimacy that cannot be had when you are constantly doing.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
(Luke 10:38-42 (NIV))

We must choose Jesus in all things in order to grow in intimacy with Jesus. The closer you draw to the Lord, the stronger your faith becomes. As your faith grows, your belief grows as well. When you believe and truly know the Lord, you desire to do things that will draw others to Him. These are the works that matter, for they are done out of a love of Jesus and not out of an effort to impress Jesus. It is a matter of perspective and priorities.

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
(John 14:12-13 (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. 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))

God does truly love the world! Have you allowed that love to permeate your life so that your life reflects the love of the Lord and not you?

This is the one test that you need to pass!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we gathering in Jesus’ name?

May 14, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
(Acts 2:46-47 (NIV))

We must not forsake fellowship with other believers. God intended for this fellowship to strengthen us, encourage us, and enable us to reach others for Jesus. It is tremendous how the early church grew even under the persecution that they faced for their beliefs. This growth was made possible by the fellowship and strengthening that comes from sharing and encouraging others in the faith.

The church was not intended to be buildings as so many today think of it. The church is the Body of Believers, no matter where we may be gathered. The early church gathered in homes and grew strong in the faith. Today’s church meets in buildings once or twice a week and many see it as a duty, not as a time for fellowship with other believers and with Jesus.

“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”
(Matthew 18:19-20)

Are we gathering in Jesus’ name or are we just gathering to be seen by man?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you spent time with God today?

April 8, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the LORD heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.
Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
Fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
(Psalms 34:4-9 (NIV))

This paints a very beautiful picture in your mind. It makes you envision a very loving Father who is there for His children. All He asks is that you turn towards Him.

You must seek after Him and He will deliver those who earnestly seek. Your reward will be a radiant peace that passes all understanding. He does not discrimate based on wealth, power, position, age, sex, or any other factor that humanity uses. For those who call upon Him in truth, He will send the Holy Spirit to guide, direct, and protect you from things of the enemy. God wants to feed you with the fruits that are from Him.

It has been said that of the human senses, taste is the most intimate for you actually take something into your body to experience it. We are to taste and see that the LORD is good, for He can provide the sweetness of life that we all seek. We must also fear God. This is not a fear that He will destroy us if we do something wrong. It is a fear that is built on love and respect.

When you love and respect someone, you are fearfull of the consequences of your actions. If you love and respect your spouse, you will not seek after another for fear of hurting them and yourself. If you love and respect God, then you will not seek after another god for fear of hurting Him and yourself. People have given the term “the fear of God” a bad meaning. It has been used to strike terror into the hearts of people, and not instill in them a true sense of the nature of God.

God has told us to “be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10a), yet, how many of us have actually take the time to do this. In any relationship, time alone with the other person is critical.

Have you spent time with God today?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the message of the cross foolishness or power?

April 3, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
(1 Corinthians 1:18 (NIV))

Ever since it happened, the crucifixion and the resurrection have been points of contention in the minds of millions, if not billions, of people. It is either looked upon as the most amazing gift and the most amazingly simple way for God to restore a lost creation to Himself, or it is looked upon as a childishly simple lie and a fairy tale. Ironically, both camps recognize the simplicity involved. Those who profess a faith in Jesus and what He accomplished on the cross understand the Gospel, or good news, in such a way that they realize God made it simple to receive salvation. All that you have to do is repent and ask Jesus to be your personal Lord and Savior. Those who look upon the cross as foolishness cling to the old saying, “If it looks too good to be true, it is!” They also often think that it doesn’t make sense that one man could save me by dying on a cross. What they fail to recognize is that one man was not just any man. He was the Son of Man. He was fully man and He was fully Lord.

I realize that there are many possible shades between these two ends of the spectrum, but in essence most can be included. Even those who profess that there is no God fall into the foolishness category. Many of those who profess this think that any and all concepts of a god, let alone the one true God, are all signs of an uneducated mind. They fail to see the evidence that is right in front of them. In all of their so-called wisdom, they fail to see the obvious.

Do you recall your life before you came to faith in Jesus?

Think about your attitude towards those who professed a faith in Jesus. If you are like most people, you probably bought into the stereotypical characterization of believers that the world wants you to believe. You probably had a tendency to look at all believers with a very jaded perspective. Now that you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, that characterization has hopefully been long gone. Looking honestly back at these periods in your life, which one was the foolish period?

The cross divides many aspects of this world. It divides time – B.C. and A.D. It divides families. It divides societies. Nothing in all of human history has been the source of so much division. It all comes down to a simple matter of perspective.

Is the message of the cross foolishness or power?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where does your help come from?

March 12, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
(Psalms 121:1-2 (NIV))

During these troubled times that we live in, it is good to realize that we have someone to turn to for help. We have someone who will be with us no matter what we may go through. We have someone who will never abandon us. All we have to do is call upon His name in righteousness.

How can this be when all of our righteousness is as filthy rags in the eyes of God?

We don’t have to despair over this. God sent us help so that we could call upon His name for help! He sent us His only Son, Jesus Christ, as an atoning sacrifice so that we could inherit righteousness in spite of our sin. We are given the righteousness of Jesus if we will only acknowledge and accept that He is Lord and Savior. Once we take that step of faith towards God through Jesus, then God will be our help in times of trouble.

He does not keep us from the trouble, but helps us through it. Perhaps it is this simple fact that keeps more people away from accepting Jesus than anything else, for they want someone to keep them from trouble. It is our troubles that God uses to build our character and to bring us closer to Him. If we were kept from all of our troubles, I seriously doubt that we would fully understand the grace and mercy that is given to us when we are saved through our troubles. If we do not know the trouble, then how can we know the grace?

Where does your help come from?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you willing to be a watchman?

February 25, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

At the end of seven days the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked man, `You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself.
(Ezekiel 3:16-19 (NIV))

When God spoke to Ezekiel and told him to warn Israel of their wrongdoing, God made it clear that if He sends someone to deliver His Word, that person carries the weight of those people as his responsibility. That is also true for today.

When God sent Ezekiel, Ezekiel did not have the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to deliver. He had the teachings of the Law to deliver. God sent Ezekiel to deliver prophetic words that would greatly impact their lives.

Today, we have words that will impact lives even more than in Ezekiel’s time. We can speak in general terms, not as prophets, but as people empowered by the Holy Spirit to warn people of their impending danger if they do not accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Where we differ from Ezekiel is that we have a direct route to God that we can offer to anyone who is willing to receive it.

If God places us in situations that He desires for us to warn and to witness, we need to respond. If we do, then the decision and the consequences are the responsibility of the person we witnessed to. If we do not tell them, then the responsibility is ours to bear.

If we have truly accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, then we need to heed what God asks of us to do. It has a far greater impact than we realize.

Are you willing to be a watchman?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you overcome your pride?

January 9, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
(Mark 16:16 (NIV))

People say that it takes faith to believe in Jesus. I agree.

But I think it also takes faith to not believe in Jesus. It is a misguided faith, but it is a strong faith, none the less.

Think about that for a moment. Those who do not believe are saying that they are placing their future in the concept that God does not exist, or that Jesus is not who the Bible says that He is, or that there are multiple ways to get to heaven. No matter what their reason for not believing, they are willing to place the outcome of their eternity in their belief that they will not suffer the consequences of their sins. To me, that takes a very strong faith

I have heard it said that those who cling to religion are weak. That may be true, but I have also known some very weak-minded individuals who cling to other things, such as money, power and fame. These individuals try to fill their lives with something that will give them meaning. They are simply placing their faith in the wrong place. Often, they are placing it in themselves. Again, their faith is strong, but it is misguided.

If someone possesses that strong a faith, can you imagine once that faith is correctly placed, just how strong of a witness that they can be for God? Every single believer was once a nonbeliever. Every single believer has had an experience that made them see things as they really are. They had something happen to them that changed their priorities. At one point, every single believer was condemned, not by God but by their own sinful actions. It took a realization that we are not perfect. It took a realization that we can never be perfect. It took a personal realization that God’s grace is for me.

Think about that. God does not condemn, but we condemn ourselves when we chose to ignore His offer of grace and mercy. It is not unlike a drowning man refusing to be helped out of the water. God is offering that help to everyone.

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

In order to accept God’s grace, we must have the strength to admit that we are a sinner. Grace is freely given, but it has a price. Jesus paid the price and we must also pay a price. We must come to the realization that we need salvation. We must overcome our pride. It is our pride that can condemn us.

Have you overcome your pride?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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