Have you forgotten how to follow this command?

January 24, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
(John 13:34 (NIV))

Let’s take a look at how Jesus loved when He walked this earth so that we can better understand how we are to love each other.

Jesus called people to repent, to turn from their selfish, sinful natures. He did this out of compassion for those caught in sin and the consequences of sin. He did not antagonize or mock sinners. He called to them out of a true love, a true desire to see them come to a saving knowledge of Him. He loved people because that is why He came!

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))

It is true that Jesus did get angry, but His anger was only manifested when God’s Temple was defiled or the religious leaders were making a mockery out of what God had intended. His anger was never focused on those whom He came to save. In fact, even in His anger, I think that it is safe to say that, just as a father’s heart breaks when his children misbehave, His heart broke for those who were doing the things that caused His anger.

Even in our darkest moments, He loves us!

Can we say that of each other? Can we love each other as Jesus loves us? Loving each other is part of loving God! It is part of our calling!

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
(1 John 4:20 (NIV))

Jesus has commanded that we love one another.

Have you forgotten how to follow this command?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Why do we think we have it under control?

January 12, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
     and lean not on your own understanding;
(Proverbs 3:5 (NIV))

What is it about human nature that makes us think that we are smart enough to be the masters of our own fate? Why do we think that we can control anything in our lives when we can’t even control the events of a single day?

If you stop and analyze the fall from grace, it was a sin of pride. Humanity was tricked into wanting to be just like God, and as a result, all of human history has been about our feeble attempts to be our own gods, to be in control. We like the self-made man concept. We like the long shot. We like the one who bucks the status quo and does it there way. In fact, there was a very popular song titled “I Did it My Way!”

If you look at the history of humanity since the fall from grace, it has been a shambles. One person wants to be in control and the next thing we have is conflict due to the fact that what one person wants is not what another person wants. Everyone trusts only in themselves! Everyone is only looking out for the best interests of numero uno, number one, themselves.

Can you tell with one hundred percent certainty what a day will bring?

Can you tell with one hundred percent certainty that you will even live one more day?

If we are not capable of answering yes to these two questions, why do we only put stock in our own understanding? Why do we only trust in ourselves?

Take a look back on your life. We all have times where we feel that we are facing stress, and there are also times when we feel that we have a glimpse of peace. These is a very good probability that stress far outweighs any peace that you may have had due to your own endeavors. I have found that even in the midst of stress all that I need to do is turn it over to the Lord in prayer. I have found that He is so much better at being God than I am or could ever be.

To put it simply, let go and let God . . .

Why do we think we have it under control?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you believe in the gift of God?

January 10, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

I don’t know about you, but that is one wage that I do not want to collect, and if you don’t repent, it is one that you will collect.

I realize that this statement is rather harsh, but if you stop to think about the consequences of not repenting and accepting Jesus, then this statement is actually sugar coated.

Let me take a step back and ask one important question. What do you think of when you think of death? If you only think of the cessation of the physical body, you are missing out on the eternal aspect and consequences of your existence. Humanity is not simply a physical creature. We are not simply a temporary physical existence with a spirit and soul. We are an eternal spirit and soul with a temporary physical body. We are only passing through this world. This world is not our home! With this in mind, there is another type of death that is far worse than physical death. There is an eternal death that the enemy wants you to not know about. He will do anything that he can to make you think that it isn’t real. He wants to destroy you, both body and soul, for he hates humanity.

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
(Matthew 10:28 (NIV))

If you have never heard this in this way, it may be time to pay attention. God doesn’t want any to perish, but that decision is your. He can’t make it for you. All that He can do, and has done, is offer a way for you to escape this death. He has provided a sinless, spotless sacrifice through Jesus to take all of the sin of everyone who has ever lived. All that you have to do is accept this great gift of amazing grace!

You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
(Romans 6:18 (NIV))

All that you have to do is believe!

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 have one more very important question to ask.

Do you believe in the gift of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you been redeemed?

December 13, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
(Galatians 4:4-5 (ESV))

In just a few days, we will experience what believers in Jesus have set aside as the day to celebrate the fullness of time! We will celebrate the promise fulfilled of God sending us His Son to redeem us from the bondage of sin and death. Ever since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden, humanity has been helpless, hopeless and lost. We were condemned to eternal separation from the One who created us to be in relationship with Him.

But, God . . .

I love the “But, God” moments!

He sent Jesus to redeem us. He sent Jesus to free us. He sent Jesus to show us His 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))

This is why we celebrate Christmas. This is why we have faith. This is why we are no longer helpless, hopeless and lost. Because God saw that the fullness of time had come, all who call upon the name of Jesus are now joyful, hopeful and found in the loving arms of the Father. This gift is for all who will believe. It is as simple 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’s fullness of time means that we have been given the greatest gift of all. We have been given grace. We have been given mercy. We have been given salvation!

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 received the greatest gift of all time?

Have you been redeemed?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you taken the action needed to be redeemed?

October 5, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
(Ephesians 1:7 (ESV))

Have you ever stopped to look up a dictionary’s definition of redemption or what it means to be redeemed? According to Merriam-Webster, the word “redeeming” means serving to offset or compensate for a defect. With that definition in mind, then it is safe to say that redemption indicates that we have had something done for us that has been done to compensate for a defect. All of humanity suffers from this same defect as a result of the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. Our defect is sin!

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

We all need something to compensate for, to offset the sinful nature that we are born with. Redemption is a legal process that requires an exchange. There must be someone with the authority to make the offer of redemption, and, once that offer is made, it requires action on the part of the one being redeemed. The offer was extended by the ultimate authority. It was extended by the Creator of everything. It was extended to sinful humanity by God!

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))

Our response, our reaction is simple. All that we have to do is accept! It is as easy as ABC.

A is 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.

Once you have made this decision, once you have professed these truths, once you have accepted the free gift of God’s grace, then you have been redeemed. You have been washed white as snow. Your sins will be removed as far as the east is from the west. You will have been bought by the blood of the Lamb!

Have you taken the action needed to be redeemed?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It’s not too late to change to whom you belong!

September 29, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
(John 15:19 (NIV))

Have you ever wanted fame and fortune?

Have you ever wanted to be in the spotlight and adored by countless numbers of people?

After reading the words that Jesus spoke, aren’t you glad that this never happened?

When the world loves you, you are probably pushing the proverbial envelope as to what is “new and trendy.” This is simply another way of saying how flagrantly can you sin and lead others to sin? This basically reinforces the simple fact that the world loves sin. Anyone who flaunts it and shows others new ways to sin is going to get their proverbial fifteen minutes of fame. If you are really good at it, you make a career out of leading people down a path that they shouldn’t venture down.

These are the people who belong to the world, but you don’t have to be in the public eye to belong to the world. You can simply be a follower of someone who is. You can simply be the “cool” person who always has something going on that makes others want to be like them. The world loves those who rush headfirst into the sin that is the latest trend.

That is why the world hates Jesus and those who follow Him!

When the world says that to be loved you have to sin and flaunt it, Jesus tells us that to truly be loved, we simply turn to Him and repent of our sin.

When the world says that to live life to the fullest, you have to grab for all that you can get, Jesus tells us that life to the fullest only comes through Him.

I could go on with examples, but it is clearly obvious that what the world wants and what God wants are polar opposites. They are so far apart that we can never bridge the gap from the sinful world to God on our own strength and on our own righteousness. It is true that if you are loved by the world, and that in turn you love the world, it is still possible to repent. You can turn to Jesus and forsake all that the world has put in your way.

Repent!

It’s not too late to change to whom you belong!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How are you at doing what God’s Word says?

September 27, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
(James 1:22 (NIV))

How many of us deceive ourselves when it comes to God’s Word? We all have passages that we read and tell ourselves, “Yeah. If only everybody would be like that, it would be great.” The bad part about that is that most of the time we have only a superficial desire to do what we are asking others to do. We never truly do what it says.

We read and study God’s Word, then almost immediately we do the very thing that it says that we should not do. It is like we are still in the Garden of Eden rebelling against God with Adam and Eve. We still only give a brief acknowledgment to the path that is right, but we never seem to follow the path to its destination. We soon get sidetracked and forget where we were desiring to go.

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.
(James 1:23-25 (NIV))

God desires for us to not only listen to the Word. He longs for us to do what it says. Listening to God’s Word does not make you a follower. Satan listened to the Word. He knows exactly what it says. I would venture to say that the biggest issue is that he doesn’t do what God’s Word says.

Is this the root of human rebellion? Is this the root of human sin? We miss the mark all too often. Perhaps we should start to do what God’s Word says. At least, we should desire to do what it says.

What is your desire?

How are you at doing what God’s Word says?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you believe this?

September 21, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
(John 11:25-26 (NIV))

Does this sound too fantastic to be true?

According to the world, it is, but we don’t live according to the world. If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you don’t need to live according to the world, either! It all starts with one basic truth that is clearly evident in the world today.

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

We are all sinners and because of that, we can never be in the presence of God, for He cannot associate with sin. Because of this, we are condemned to an eternity without God. We are condemned to spiritual and physical death.

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

But . . .

Did you notice that word in the middle of Romans 6:23? As humans, we often use this word to indicate that we have an excuse for what we have done. God uses this word to turn the tables on sin and death.

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 loves us enough to provide a way out of the consequences of sin and death. It all starts with the ABCs.

A is 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.

Do you long for life beyond what we know in this sinful, fallen world? Do you long for life in the presence of a just and loving God? Do you long for life without tears and heartache? Now is the time to make that confession of faith before it is too late!

Is Jesus your resurrection and your life?

Do you believe this?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you been purified by the blood of Jesus?

July 21, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
(1 John 1:7 (NIV))

This passage presents each of us a few questions that we must answer.

Do you desire to walk in the light?

Do you desire fellowship with those who have similar desires?

These should be simple questions to answer, for if we profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we know what our answers should be. But, when was the last time that you stopped and reflected upon what is truly in your heart? Do you find things that you try to hide from others and that you try to hide from Jesus? The darkness from things like hatred, lust, greed, and envy can hinder your walk in the light. They can hinder your fellowship with one another. They can hinder your true purification.

Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying. We are all sinners in need of a Savior, but we are called to repent. This means that we turn away from our sins and turn toward Jesus. It means that we turn away from the darkness that we still hide in our heart and keep our eyes focused on Jesus. We will slip, for we are still sinful by nature. Paul even wrote about his struggles with this as part of his letters to the church in Rome.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
(Romans 7:15-20 (NIV))

We are called to walk in the light of Jesus, yet, the person that we understand to be responsible for witnessing to the Gentiles and starting what we know as the church struggled with sin in his life. How do you rectify this in your walk of faith?

I truly wish that the world understood the struggle. The world looks upon people who profess a faith in Jesus as hypocrites. They claim that we don’t always do what we say we need to be doing. To be honest with you, the world is right! What they don’t understand is that being a follower of Jesus does not instantly make you just like Jesus. It is a life long process. What makes the difference is our willingness to repent and try again. When we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we acknowledge that we need help. We acknowledge that we will stumble and that we will fall far more often than we care to admit. Jesus looks at the heart. When we accept Him, He only sees the grace that has been given to us. He doesn’t see the sin. Over the course of our walk of faith, He will teach us and guide us as the Holy Spirit works in us to remove the darkness. He works in such a way that even though we may still sin, He sees the grace and mercy and purity that we have accepted as our own.

What does the Lord see in you?

Have you been purified by the blood of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you living the life of a healed sinner?

April 12, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
(1 Peter 2:24 (ESV))

I don’t know about you, but this trade is very one-sided. And, no, I am not complaining, for I know what I deserve and I know what this trade has given me!

What about you?

Do you truly realize what has been given to you in this trade?

Do you truly realize the totality of the burden that has been lifted from you in this trade?

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

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

Based on these two passages, each of us are guilty of such serious transgressions that we have been sentenced to death without any hope of redemption or pardon through anything that we could ever do.

But, God . . .

Thankfully, He had other plans!

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
(John 3:16-18 (ESV))

As believers in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we must never forget what our Lord has done for us. We must always keep our eyes and our hearts focused on Jesus, for without the grace and mercy freely give at the cross, we would still be completely helpless, hopeless and lost.

Are you living the life of a healed sinner?

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