Happy New Year!

December 29, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
(Revelation 1:8 (NIV))

God is good all the time! Yesterday, today and tomorrow, He is the same. He is the Alpha and the Omega. Now that we are ending a year that has had the whole world afraid to be in public and as we are entering a new year that has many people worried and wondering, we must remember that God is God and He never changes. No matter what happens when January 1st comes, God is still God.

If you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, your joy is not tied to the events of this world. No matter what may happen in this world, we should have a true sense of joy. We should have a true sense of peace.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV))

There are a few words in this passage from Philippians that stand out to me.

Rejoice.

Always.

Peace.

Guard.

Hearts.

Minds.

If we profess that God is the Almighty, and we also profess that Jesus is Lord, why do we look at this world with such a pessimistic outlook? Are we truly allowing our hearts and minds to be guarded by the peace of God?

Think about that as we step into what I am certain will be a very uncertain year. No matter what we may face, we must remember who is in charge and in whom we have placed our faith. With the promises that we have been given by God, we should be able to face anything in this world with a joy and a peace that is beyond the ability of the world to understand. We just need to make sure that we don’t fail to understand.

Happy New Year!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

December 23, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy–
(Jude 1:24 (NIV))

This one statement, from a worldly point of view, is a difficult thing to grasp. The world is treacherous. The enemy is constantly trying to kill or destroy. Who can possibly keep themselves from falling into the traps that the world presents? Who can possibly keep others from falling into those very same traps? Every person who has ever lived has faced the traps that the enemy has set for each of us. No one has ever been exempt from this temptation. All of created humanity has failed.

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

There is one who was sent to save us from falling. He is not part of creation. He is the Creator. He came to earth as one of us. He took it upon himself to be what He created. He took it upon himself to save His creation so that we could have a way to keep from falling. He took the sins of the world upon himself so that we could be sin free. Only one has that authority. Only God can possess such power.

At this time of year, we think of Jesus as a little baby in a manger, but we must not lose site of the fact that He was also God. Even as an infant, He possessed authority over all of creation. This Christmas morning, stop and think about your children. Thank God for the grace and mercy that are celebrated through the birth of a child. Stop and think about the gift that child gave you. It is a gift that only God could give.

Praise God!

to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
(Jude 1:25 (NIV))

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We have been given a savior and His name is Jesus!

December 18, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

If only there were someone to mediate between us, someone to bring us together, someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more.
(Job 9:33-34 (NIV))

I think that I can safely say that a passage from Job was probably the last thing that anyone expected to be tied to Christmas, but all that you have to do is read the words recorded to see that Job prayed for Jesus to come!

With all that Job faced, he longed for someone to be able to do exactly what Jesus came into the world to do. Even without Jesus, Job never denied God. He never strayed from his faith no matter the circumstances and no matter what his wife or his friends suggested. Do we possess such faith? In a few days we will be celebrating the birth of the very one that Job prayed for. We can read about the birth of Jesus. We can read about His life, His ministry and the miracles that He performed. We can read about the crucifixion and the resurrection, but with all that we have, do we take it for granted? Do we look at Jesus as just another set of stories about someone who lived a long time ago, or do we embrace the promises fulfilled in and through Jesus?

With what we have faced this year, we think that we have been through a lot, but have we? Have we lost our health? Have we been ostracized by society? Have we lost all of our possessions? Have we lost our livelihood? Have we lost all of our children? All of this happened to Job in a single day, yet he never lost faith. He knew that God is good and he knew that God is worthy of our praise even in the midst of troubles.

Christmas is in just a few days. Can each of us proclaim that no matter what has come our way this year, God is still to be praised? Are we able to be filled with joy knowing that the mediator that Job prayed for has been sent? Are we filled with the joy of the Lord, or are we filled with the terror of the world? Unlike Job, we have been given testimony about the mediator.

We have been given a savior and His name is Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you received and believed?

December 7, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—
(John 1:12 (NIV))

Have you been given this gift?

Perhaps I should ask this in a different manner for this gift is freely given to all, but it takes a willingness to receive the gift. You must ask to receive it in order for the gift to be given. This requires that you humble yourself to the point of recognizing that you are a sinner in need of the gift of a savior. This recognition opens the door to receive so much more than anyone could imagine. It opens the door to receive so much more than anyone could ever do for themselves, for we are all sinners by nature.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

The gift is offered to everyone who will accept!

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. 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 3:22-24 (NIV))

Nothing in this life is a sure thing. The old saying that we may be hit by a bus is so true. We never know what tomorrow will bring. If tomorrow finds you no longer on this earth, can you say with confidence that you will be with Jesus? Can you say with confidence that you will be recognized as a child of God? It is so simple to ask to receive this wonderful, eternal gift! 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.

God made it so simple to receive and believe! Have you received and believed?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Is your heart in the right place?

December 3, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

I’ve referenced this passage on many occasions, but it has been haunting me the last few days.

I’ve been looking at the current state of the world and my selfish side was longing for the things that I would love to be able to do again, like take my lovely wife on a long vacation. I would love to do this without the ever-present panic mode that has the whole world under various different phases of lock-down. To be honest with you, I have found my mind to be in a fog, in a state of disillusionment, because I was beginning to feel defeated and my hope was fading.

I know that I am not the only one who has been feeling this way because of the very unusual events of this year. I think that I can safely say that a large number of people, even believers, have felt this way at some point during this year.

What do you do when the weight of the world comes crashing in on you? It is human nature to give in to the pressures, to the stress, and slip into a state of mind that does not honor the Lord. What do you do to bring yourself back to Jesus when this happens? Each person is different. Each person who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior has a unique relationship with the Lord. Each of us have a special something that God uses to get our attention. It is this special something, whether it is a Scripture passage, a song, or a sunset, that God uses to reach out to you to bring you back to Himself.

I want you to be able to focus on this aspect of your relationship with the Lord and make this your treasure. Nobody knows what the future may hold. The enemy is doing everything that he can to crush the faith of believers. No matter what may come, each of us must be able to focus on the personal treasure that is the Lord. We must make sure that our hearts belong to Him, for that is the only place that they belong!

Is your heart in the right place?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How is your strength?

November 13, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He gives strength to the weary
     and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
     and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
     will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
     they will run and not grow weary,
     they will walk and not be faint.
(Isaiah 40:29-31 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but I am weary in my own strength. I don’t have the ability to face the world on my own. I am tired! Perhaps I could even go so far as saying that I am exhausted.

The world in which we live has become so polarized. People rage against anything and everything that God considers good. They openly embrace anything that God considers evil. They mock anyone who clings to the sole source of truth. They censor the name of Jesus who is the source of this truth because they don’t want to offend those who do evil. They don’t want to offend the enemy!

Do you understand why I am weary?

I, like every single person who has ever lived, do not have the strength to face the enemy on my own. Thankfully I can turn to the ultimate source of strength. I can rely on the strength of someone much greater than I. I can rely on the strength of my Lord and Savior. I can rely on the strength of my God! With this strength, I have the ability to face whatever the world may send my way. I have the strength to face whatever the enemy may send my way.

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
     my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
     and with my song I praise him.
(Psalms 28:7 (NIV))

He gives us strength by letting us rest in His presence. He gives us strength when we need shelter from the world. He gives us strength by equipping us with His truth. He gives us strength when we are still. When we desire to live out His truth, He fights the battles.

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
(Exodus 14:14 (NIV))

When you are on the side of the Lord, that should be enough to give you the strength to overcome the weariness caused by the evil in the world!

How is your strength?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Will you continue to stand firm in God’s authority?

November 4, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
(Romans 13:1 (NIV))

As I sit down to write this, I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

I wonder what the weather will be like. I wonder how my day will go. I wonder what the outcome of the election will be, but I do not wonder who is ultimately in charge!

Can you say the same thing?

No matter who may win the election, it will not come as a surprise to God. He will not look down on this nation and say that He didn’t see it coming. In fact, everything that is happening is happening as a part of His plan. The stage has been set. Whether the same players come back for the next act or new people come into the spotlight, the results that God has planned since the beginning will still unfold according to His purpose. If we truly have placed our faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, then we know who ultimately wins. Based on world events, many people believe that His victory is closer than we know.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (NIV))

Will you be at peace no matter the outcome of this election?

Will you continue to stand firm in God’s authority?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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The struggle is all too real!

November 2, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
(Ephesians 6:12 (NIV))

How do you see the world?

Perhaps I should ask it in this way. What is your world view?

If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then your world view should reflect that in all that you do. It should not be limited or confined to the hour or so that you spend in church on Sunday. It should not be something that you decide to leave at home when you go to work. It is not something that you can turn off and on to suit you. It is not something that you hide when the circumstances are not favorable. It is a choice that you must make every single minute of every single day of your life!

If you choose to leave your faith behind because of your environment, how do you think that you will be rewarded by Jesus? I venture to say that you will not be rewarded, for rewards are for those who are faithful.

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))

It is time to take stock of your life. It is time to take stock of your actions and your choices. If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior but repeatedly choose to do something that is contrary to what Jesus desires, are you truly walking in His will? Emotions have nothing to do with it. Personal desires and likes have nothing to do with it. Our emotions, our desires and likes are sinful, yet far too many of us who proclaim Jesus as Lord still choose to follow our sin instead of submitting to the authority and Lordship that is only in Jesus. We submit to the powers of this dark world!

Think about that the next time you decide to watch something on television. Think about that the next time you choose to get mad at other drivers. Think about that when you make a decision to go along with anything that you know goes against what Jesus would desire for you to do. Think about that when you vote for someone who supports anything that goes against God’s Word!

We must stand firm in our faith!

The struggle is all too real!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you found a new beginning?

October 28, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
(Proverbs 1:7 (NIV))

What is it about human nature that makes us all think that we are capable of anything and everything on our own strength, skills and abilities? It starts as a toddler. I still remember my now adult daughter as a two year old adamantly saying “Me do it!” Now she has a little girl who is almost two. She is just now only beginning to express her independence in a similar manner. I knowingly look forward to the quest for independence that my granddaughter will be going through. Without such a quest, we don’t mature. We don’t grow. But, there comes a point when and where we must also be willing to grow by seeking wisdom and instruction from a source beyond ourselves.

Some people never do grow to that point, and even those who do have relapses where we despise wisdom and instruction. We have all experienced something today where we thought that we could do it better than the person who was doing it. Perhaps some of us even said it out loud!

What happens when that human nature that likes to rebel against authority comes into direct rebellion against the Lord?

Actually, I don’t have enough time to recount all the things that have been recorded when this has happened. Most of the Bible is the story of how God created, man rebelled, God reached out to save, and man rebelled again. Even when Jesus stepped out of heaven to come to this world, that story continued. It will continue until the Lord returns. The big difference is that now we can repent and accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. We can choose to fear the Lord, or should I say that we can choose to fear the consequences from the Lord that result from our sinful actions. I have previously said that this fear is not one of trembling, but of respect. In the same manner that we feared our father when we were growing up, we need to fear the Lord. The Lord is full authority and just in His reprimands. He still loves us. He loves us enough to not allow us to stay in rebellion. He will try to draw us to Him so that we can learn and repent.

Some people have interpreted this fear to mean respect. I agree with this concept. If you respect the Lord, you also fear His reprimand. It is your desire to do what pleases the Lord. It is said that David was a man after God’s own heart. How do you think that this came to be? David feared the Lord, yet he also loved and respected the Lord. When he came to this point in his life, David found a new beginning that led him in step with the Lord.

Have you found a new beginning?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you desire to be thoroughly equipped?

October 27, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV))

Do you like to cherry pick so that you go through and find what you like and leave the rest behind?

This concept works for selecting fruit and vegetables, but it is sadly used in circumstances where it shouldn’t even be considered.

Think about this in relation to your Bible reading and study plan. Do you have a favorite verse? If you are like most people who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, you probably have what most people refer to as a life verse. There is nothing wrong with that. That passage is your personal anchor that firmly grounds you in your relationship with the Lord, but it should not be the complete extent of your knowledge and understanding. It should be the starting point for a continually growing relationship and understanding of Scripture.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
(John 1:1-4 (NIV))

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 (NIV))

Scripture is God’s Word. Jesus is God’s Word made flesh. If we long for a relationship with the Lord, then we must spend time getting to know Him. That means that we get to know everything that there is to know about the Lord, for He is perfect. If there is something that we desire to avoid then that reflects badly on us. It shows that we desire to settle for less than perfect. It shows that we desire to settle for our sin. It shows that we don’t truly desire the Lord and the spiritual growth that comes from His Word.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
(Hebrews 4:12 (NIV))

Are you willing to allow yourself to be judged, taught, rebuked, corrected and trained in righteousness?

Do you desire to be thoroughly equipped?

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