Does it overwhelm you?

April 15, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
(Matthew 26:38 (NIV))

I hope that this puts the crucifixion into a more realistic context. Over the years, the church has so whitewashed this event that I honestly do not think that we realize just how excruciatingly painful and traumatic it was, even if the one going to the cross is the Son of God. We subconsciously think that because He was fully God that the pain and the fear were somehow less traumatic for the human aspects of Jesus. I have heard that people had speculated that He was able to disconnect from what He was going through, but this passage clearly indicates that this was not the case.

In order for God to forgive our sins, there had to be a man to live a perfect, sinless life. In order for God to forgive our sins, that perfect man had to willingly die in our place as a payment for our sins. We are familiar with God’s plan of salvation, but I want to emphasize one crucial word, one crucial aspect.

Man!

In order for God’s plan to be legally binding according to His Laws, the one who died for our sins had to be fully man. Jesus had to set aside his deity and fully embrace all of the sin, all of the pain, and all of the trauma of the crucifixion. He made a choice to be fully human, including all of the fear and all of the sorrow, as He faced the events of the crucifixion.

He did not take the easy way out! He did not abandon His fully human side in order to avoid the pain and the sorrow.

He bore all of our sin.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
(2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV))

To use a theater term, Jesus never broke character. He was fully God who came to the world to be fully man, and He did just that even to death on the cross!

Have you ever tried to put yourself into His shoes? Have you ever taken a very realistic look at all that Jesus faced so that He could be the sacrificial lamb that saves us from our sins?

It overwhelmed Jesus. Does it overwhelm you?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the Lord your shepherd?

March 18, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
      He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
      he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
      for his name’s sake.
(Psalms 23:1-3 (NIV))

I don’t know anyone who professes a faith in Jesus who does not cling to this verse. We long for the days when this will be fulfilled in heaven. Until then, we must rely on Him to provide this for us in this sinful, hectic world whenever we can spend time in His presence. Too many believers stop at this point. They don’t like the correlation between these six lines and the following six lines, but we must recognize that the Lord not only provides calming rest for us. He also provides protection in the midst of danger.

Even though I walk
      through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
      for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
      they comfort me.
(Psalm 23:4 (NIV))

Too many believers don’t like the fact that we will face danger, that we will face hardship and troubles. Not only do we have His promises from Psalm 23:4 to give us assurance, we also have His promises from John 16:33 that drives those promises home.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then you have nothing to fear in this world. Even when the world comes crashing in all around you, look to Jesus. Even when you see no earthly hope for your situation, look to Jesus. Even when you feel completely helpless, hopeless and lost, look to Jesus! He will never leave you nor forsake you.

Is the Lord your shepherd?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We are called to return His love!

January 25, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
(Deuteronomy 6:5 (NIV))

There are truly no better instructions on how we are to love the Lord, but have you ever stopped to truly think about how He loves us? I have often wondered if we are given this passage because that is how He loves us. In our limited understanding, are we being told to mirror the Lord’s love for us back to Him?

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))

How great is His love for us that He would give His one and only Son in order to save us? He did not hesitate to create a plan of redemption knowing what price had to be paid. He willingly paid the price. It sounds like the Lord loves us with all His heart!

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
     He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
     He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
     for his name’s sake.
(Psalm 23:1-3 (ESV))

How great is His love for us that He desired to give us peace, that He desires to restore our souls?

So God created man in his own image,
      in the image of God he created him;
      male and female he created them.
(Genesis 1:27 (ESV))

If you think about that with an understanding of Genesis, we are created in His image. God loves us because we are His creation. We are His children. Each of us are unique and each of us are important in His eyes. It is not a difficult leap of faith to conclude that the Lord loves us with all His soul, or should I say with all His Holy Spirit?

Have you ever tried to truly comprehend the sacrifices, the torture and the pain of the crucifixion? The physical implications are staggering. The spiritual implications are not as visible to us, but they are overwhelming. Jesus took on the sin of all humanity. He paid the price for that sin. The Father had to turn His back on the Son so that this could transpire. God loves us so much that He bore the weight of all sin for all of humanity. I can’t assume to know if this was all of the strength that He possessed. I just know that it was far greater than anything that had ever been seen before. To summarize this, I think that it is clearly obvious that the Lord loves us with all His strength, even to the point of death, descending into hell, and then arising again!

Do you think that this is how God loves us?

We are called to return His love!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How are you at waiting?

October 12, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
     and in his word I put my hope.
(Psalms 130:5 (NIV))

Do you have patience?

Let me rephrase that last statement.

Have you grown tired of waiting for the Lord?

That sounds awfully harsh, but if you stop to think about it, we are all guilty of that very thing. We have grown to expect instantaneous rewards and solutions to our problems. We have become expectant of the fast food type of response from anyone and everyone in our lives.

Think back on the stories from the Bible. Did any of them have an instantaneous answer from God? Did Abraham become the father of many nations overnight? Did David become the king of Israel when God selected him from among his brothers? Did Noah go out and buy a boat the day that he heard God tell him it was going to rain? Did Moses lead the Israelites our of Egypt the day he returned from the desert? We all know these answers, yet we have grown to expect much more than these fathers of our faith ever would have imagined. We must take a lesson from these very people and take these words to heart.

Be still, and know that I am God
(Psalms 46:10a (NIV))

To know God is to trust in Him. To know God is to place all of your hope in Him. We must be willing to go the distance with God and not grow tired of waiting for Him. I know that we are only human and at times, we will grow weary in our patience. The key is to realize that He is maturing us and those around us so that we may know His fullness. We must realize that we are not waiting for Him. On the contrary, He is waiting for us!

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

I am so very thankful that God has waited for me!

How are you at waiting?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you seek the stability and love of the Lord?

August 24, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your love, O LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.
(Psalms 94:18-19 (NIV))

Have you ever been in a situation like this? Have you ever felt like this? There is a very good chance that not only have each of us experienced things like this, but we have probably experienced them in recent history.

What makes your foot slip? What gives you great anxiety?

It is probably a very safe assumption to say that both of these occur when we take our eyes off of Jesus. It is at that time when we look at the world and our circumstances in the world. When you are walking, most slips and falls occur because you have diverted your eyes and your attention from the path in front of you. It is at these very moments that you falter and possibly even fall to the ground simply because you lost focus on what lie ahead. Isn’t this just like what happens in your spiritual walk when you take your eyes off of Jesus? It is at these moments that you fail to follow the path in front of you. When this happens, our spiritual footing slips. We falter and fall into something that we don’t really desire to be in. When this happens, human nature seems to remind us of our shortcomings. The enemy drives the point home and we soon find ourselves in great anxiety.

What has made you take your eyes off of Jesus?

You are either lucky or lying if you say that you only have one thing that distracts you from Jesus! Even the most mature of us have too many things to place into this list. The good thing about this is that no matter your spiritual maturity level, the Lord walks with you and waits patiently for you to repent and return to Him. Just as He was waiting for us with open arms when we accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, He is waiting with open arms for us to repent and return to Him on a daily, and possibly even on an hourly basis. Some of us may even need to repent and return each minute of the day. He will be there! He will take us in His arms and wipe away the tears caused by our failures and our anxiety? He will pick us up and place us back on the path that leads to Him. He will walk hand in hand with us if we simply ask Him to!

I truly understand why the psalmist wrote that His consolation brought joy to his soul.

Do you seek the stability and love of the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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From the inside out!

July 12, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Thessalonians 5:23 (NIV))

I had something pointed out to me today that should have been obvious, or it should have been obvious if I had simply been paying attention!

If you slow down and read this passage you will see that this passage gives us God’s order of importance with respect to our lives. In essence, it explains, in more detail, the concept that outward appearances are not what make a person righteous, and because of this, God looks at the heart. The heart reflects the spirit and the desires of the heart determine a person’s life. You will seek out what your heart desires.

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

Our words reflect what is in our heart.

What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.
(Matthew 15:11 (NIV))

But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.
(Matthew 15:18-19 (NIV))

God looks at the secrets within. He knows that in order to be righteous and blameless, it has to start from within us. It has to start with a desire to turn from our sin and profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. Too many people go through the outward motions without ever having a change within. Their secret life is as sinful as ever, but the facade that they present to the world is one that appears to be blameless. Jesus let these people know of their sin, for they were acting righteous when what was inside was wicked.

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
(Matthew 23:27-28 (NIV))

Would Jesus call you a hypocrite? Do you desire to change? Repent and ask God to change your heart and He will change you…

From the inside out!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you thirst for the living water?

May 18, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

O God, you are my God,
     earnestly I seek you;
  my soul thirsts for you,
     my body longs for you,
  in a dry and weary land
     where there is no water.
(Psalms 63:1 (NIV))

All too often we hear words that speak of a dry and weary land where there is no water.

Is it just me, or have things gotten very dry and weary lately? There doesn’t seem to be any hope in this world and it is becoming a wearisome burden to simply watch things as they unfold. As members of the Body of Christ, we know that we thirst for God. We know that this thirst cannot be quenched by anything of this world, but still we long for a glimpse of His righteousness as the world sinks further and further into a spiritual dryness. Just as we long for a cool and refreshing taste of water when we are physically dry and weary, we long for a cool and refreshing moment in the living water!

Stop to think about this statement. Without water, we die. We start to lose consciousness and eventually lose all touch with reality because our body has started to shut down.

We can go for days and even weeks without eating, yet, we cannot go for much more than twenty-four hours without water. Just as our bodies need water to survive, our souls need God to survive. We need to drink deeply of the life-giving “water” that freely flows from God through Jesus Christ. This water is freely given. It is available to any and all who desire it. There is only one stipulation, and that it can only be received by receiving Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.

We thirst for water to satisfy our bodies. Do you thirst for the living water from God to satisfy your soul? There is only one source!

Do you thirst for the living water?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you found rest?

November 5, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Be at rest once more, O my soul,
    for the LORD has been good to you.
For you, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death,
    my eyes from tears,
    my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before the LORD
    in the land of the living.
(Psalms 116:7-9 (NIV))

The Lord gives us rest. In a world where uncertainty is the way, one thing is certain. God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. If we rest in His presence, then we can truly be at rest.

God is in control!

With everything that is going on in this world this year, this is very comforting. It is very reassuring to know that the Creator of all things is still in complete control. Even when it seems like the world is in total chaos, He is in complete control. It is all part of His plan. It is unfolding just as He told us that it would so that we would be aware of what is going on.

I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.
(John 14:29 (NIV))

Do you believe?

With everything that is happening in the world, do you believe?

With good being called evil and evil being called good, do you believe?

Belief and faith go hand in hand. By placing our faith in Him, all the worldly matters no longer are important. We rest in the knowledge that God will guide us in His will and if we keep focused on Him, He will guide our paths so that no matter what the world sends our way, we can have peace and rest in Him.

Have you found rest?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Does the Lord have all your heart, soul and strength?

June 17, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
(Deuteronomy 6:5 (NIV))

Do you love the Lord?

Let me ask this in a different way. What are you willing to give up for the Lord? Status? Career? House? Cars? Family? Friends?

Did you cringe at any of these things? Did you find yourself thinking something like, “As long as I don’t have to give up _______!”

What if God called you to sacrifice the thing that you loved most in order to follow Him? Would you respond like Abraham did with Isaac or would you respond like the rich young ruler?

Many people associate the words from Deuteronomy 6:5 with how Jesus responded in the following passage from Matthew.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
(Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV))

If you truly love the Lord, you realize that everyone is made in the image of God. The way that we treat each other is indicative of how we treat the Lord and ourselves. Unfortunately, society’s definition of love means that we embrace their sins. Is this true love? Would you validate your sinful behavior to the point where you are killing yourself with alcohol or drugs and still claim to love yourself? How can we embrace the sins of others when we know that the same sin in our lives leads to death?

We must love as Jesus loved!

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.
(John 3:16-17 (NIV))

Perhaps we should look at this concept through these words. Love the Lord your God as He first loved us – with all of His heart, with all of His soul and with all of His strength. He had the love and commitment to sacrifice His Son to save us! Doesn’t this merit the gratitude and unfailing love of thankfulness?

Does the Lord have all your heart, soul and strength?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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You will never find greater riches than this!

April 24, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
(Ephesians 1:7 (NIV))

What do you think of when you think of riches?

Is it the typical human nature responses such as money, big house, fancy cars and expensive toys?

Let me ask this another way.

What is it that you value the most?

Did you answer family and friends? Perhaps you thought of the gift of life itself. These are valuable to most people, yet, there is something that has far greater worth. It is of far greater worth than all of the riches of the world.

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?
(Mark 8:36 (NIV))

Everything in this life is here today and gone tomorrow. With that said, how can we place value on something that does not last? How can we spend our lives striving for something that can be taken from us in the blink of an eye?

We are trapped in a world of sin and death. A world that we allowed to fall away from God. It is a world badly in need of something that is eternal, something that will not rust or decay with time. That something is God’s grace.

I know of nothing in this world that can bring eternal life, even though man has searched for just such a thing for a long time. I know of nothing in this world that can bring peace, even though we all long for it. I know of nothing in this world that can bring everlasting joy, even though there are things that bring us fleeting glimpses of joy. Nothing in this world can redeem us. Nothing in this world can provide forgiveness, and nothing in this world can give us grace.

With that said, the greatest riches of all is the very thing that can bring all of this. It is not of this world, for this world is fallen. It is from the very One who created this world. It is designed to bring each and every one of us back into the pre-sin relationship that we were supposed to have with God.

Let me ask a few more questions.

Does money make you happy? Do big houses make you happy? Do expensive toys make you happy? All of these things soon become the reason for living and then you discover that they leave you cold and empty. Only one thing can leave you joyfully filled and warm with the love of God.

Have you accepted the riches that God offers through His glorious gift of grace? Have you accepted the gift of salvation that was purchased at the cross by Jesus?

You will never find greater riches than this!

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