Now is the time to strengthen your resolve to boast only in the Lord!

August 18, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
(2 Corinthians 10:17 (NIV))

The time is upon us when we must stop trying to rely on our own strength. Even those of us who profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior still try to rely on our own strength. We boast and brag about what we are capable of doing, but in the grand scheme of things, what we can do is absolutely nothing.

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))

Can a filthy rag clean itself? Can a filthy rag clean up other filthy rags?

Only the Lord is capable of anything righteous. Only the Lord is capable of cleansing the filthy rags that come to Him seeking salvation. Only the Lord is capable of cleansing the filthy rags that come to Him because He is the way, the truth and the light. We must cling to His truth! We must cling to His light!

If you have paid any attention to the things happening in this world, you know that something is not right. There are things that are transpiring that are rapidly fulfilling the prophecies of the end times. We see wars and rumors of wars. We see good being called evil and evil being called good. We see God’s truth being slandered and rejected while they openly embrace the lies of the enemy.

I saw something today from a source that I trust, and it made me sad for those who are drinking the kool-aid. At the same time, I was happy for the implications of what was unveiled to me.

Do you trust the media? Do you trust social media? Do you trust big banks? Do you trust large corporations? Do you trust the U.N.?

Let’s pause on the U.N. for a moment. You will not find this in the media, for it is all part of the plans of the enemy. They are calling for people in all countries to turn in those who don’t drink the kool-aid. They are calling for those of us who don’t blindly accept what is being fed to us to be turned in. They are saying that the only “truth” that you can accept is the information that comes from big media, the governments and the so-called fact checkers.

This makes me want to boast all the more in the Lord. I love the way that David boasted.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
     my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
     my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
(Psalm 18:2 (NIV))

Living in this world is not easy. Living in this world without Jesus is impossible.

Now is the time to strengthen your resolve to boast only in the Lord!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Turn to the Lord!

August 11, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

God is our refuge and strength,
     an ever-present help in trouble.
(Psalms 46:1 (NIV))

How true this is!

We have a refuge from the storms of this life. God is always there to turn to no matter what our life is bringing to us or what the sinful, fallen world is sending our way. Whether we need to turn to God for safety and refuge or whether we turn to God in celebration, He is always there to turn to. He will never abandon those who earnestly seek Him and call upon His Son, Jesus Christ for salvation.

God is good all the time!

Do you earnestly seek Him? Do you truly desire the things that He promises over the things of this world?

If you simply look at the things of this world and have no other point of reference, there are some things that look appealing. I know that you have looked. What person hasn’t looked? What are the things that initially caught your attention in this world? There are things that we all like such as nice homes, nice cars, enough money to do what you want when you want, and the respect of those around you, but are these things the source of your strength or have they caused you more trouble than you care to admit? Even those who have these things still have troubles. In fact, I remember talking to someone about these things when I was in my mid-twenties. His reply to me was that having these things didn’t make your troubles go away. They just got bigger. A nice house and nice cars just lead to the same thing – headache! The only difference is the size of the headache, the size of the trouble.

With that in mind, no matter the size of your trouble, simply remember that God is our refuge. He is our strength. He alone is our help in trouble, and at this moment in time, the whole world is facing trouble. Pandemics, weather issues, extreme temperatures, supply chaine problems, food shortages, wars and rumors of wars are all signs of the troubles that the whole world is facing. We have had times of great wars and times of pandemics. We have had times of localized food shortages and weather, but we have never had things worldwide with the prospect of things of Biblical proportion. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I rest assured that I have placed my faith and trust solely in the Lord.

When things in life are tough, take refuge in the Lord.

When things in life are tough, find strength in the Lord.

When things in life are tough, seek help from the Lord.

It is often said that life is tough, so that only leaves one possible conclusion.

Turn to the Lord!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Has your hope in the Lord renewed your strength?

June 24, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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 40:31 (NIV))

How have you been the last few years?

Do you find yourself growing weak, weary and faint because of all of the things going on in the world?

To be honest with you, I personally do not understand how someone who doesn’t have a faith in Jesus can keep their sanity in all that has happened and continues to happen in this world. Perhaps that is why we see an increase in suicides and an increase in other choices that go against anything Godly and righteous. When things go badly in this world, too many people look for comfort in all of the wrong places. They should turn to Jesus!

I remember immediately after 9/11 and the massive influx of people into churches. They were looking for sense to be made out of the events that had transpired. I don’t know the percentage of people who quickly fell away, but they did turn to God for a while. Today, if people aren’t already in a church, if anything happens, they seem to ignore God completely, or even blame Him for the events. It is sad to see just how the attitudes towards God have changed in just a little over twenty years.

Hold fast to your faith!

Stand firm in the promises of God!

We must recognize that our hope is built on the rock, on the firm foundation that is our Lord Jesus. When we have accepted Jesus and fully rely on the hope that we have placed in Him, He will renew our strength. No matter what we may face in this world, we will not grow weary. We will not faint in the face of the enemy as he tries everything in his feeble power to turn the world away from God. I don’t often quote hymns, but this should be our anthem in times of worldly trouble, for we have a risen Savior who has overcome the world.

My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand:
all other ground is sinking sand;
all other ground is sinking sand.

I bet that you started singing this as you read it. It should be so ingrained in the hearts and minds of those who profess a faith in Jesus that we sing it loudly and proudly as He renews our strength; as He lifts us up to soar on wings like eagles; as He gives us strength to run and not grow weary; and as He gives us strength to walk and not be faint.

Has your hope in the Lord renewed your strength?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How is your strength?

April 20, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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 40:31 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but sometimes the weight of the world just seems to come crashing in. I know that we just celebrated the resurrection of Jesus, but I wonder how much of what we do could go away? I wonder how much of our “traditions” make us weary and burdened. I wonder how much of the “traditions” could simply stop so that we can focus on what is truly important. We need to focus on the fact that Jesus was resurrected from the grave!

I am tired! I am weary from and of the things that this world says that we have to do. Sometimes I feel like Elijah when he ran from Jezebel. I don’t fear for my life and want to die, but I do want to escape and find rest. I am sure that I am not the only one who feels like this, especially with all that has happened and is happening in the world. Even Jesus had to get away and reestablish His connection with the Father through prayer.

In much the same way that we plug in our cell phones to a power source to recharge so that we can take them back out into the world, we must plug into our power source and recharge. We must renew our strength. We must tap into the source that allows us to run and not grow weary. We must find ourselves hoping in the Lord. We must find ourselves turning to Him when we feel drained and unable to go any further. We must realize that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is also with us. We must realize that if we place our hope in the Lord then God is for us!

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
(Romans 8:31 (NIV))

How is your strength?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Fix your eyes upon Jesus!

March 29, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.
(Habakkuk 3:19 (NIV))

Do you ever feel like the weight of the world is crashing in on you? If you are like most people, that has grown exponentially over the last few years. When this happens, and yes, it happens even to believers, what do you do? Do you have a favorite scripture passage that restores the peace and the calm? Do you go into your prayer closet? Do you listen to a favorite song? Do you pick up God’s Word and dive into the truths that it contains? Do you fully embrace that Jesus is still with you and is walking with you through all of your troubles?

“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))

Human history has been full of troubles. Many people who study prophecy believe that these troubles are now escalating and converging to the point where we can see the unfulfilled prophecies being fulfilled very rapidly. If this is true, then we must rely on the Lord as our strength, for it will be more than we can bear. If these events are still years down the road, we still must rely on the Lord as our strength, for the current state of the world is very troubling now and will only get worse.

Is the Lord your strength?

Do you find joy in knowing that He is in control? Do you find peace in knowing that there is absolutely nothing that happens in this world that He does not know about? In other words, He knows the end from the beginning! We have nothing to fear. We have no reason to be downcast and disturbed because He is our strength.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
      Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
      for I will yet praise him,
      my Savior and my God.
(Psalm 42:5 (NIV))

When you are feeling like the weight of the world is making you downcast, look up! Our Lord is our perfect strength. We must look to Him. I find hope and strength that one day when I look up, I will see Him coming for His bride, for those who call upon His name as Lord and Savior!

Fix your eyes upon Jesus!

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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Don’t get the roles reversed!

November 5, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
(John 15:5 (NIV))

I do not wish to come across as someone who only sees the bad in this world, but at this moment in time, evil seems to be increasing. As followers of Jesus, we must be prepared to stand firm in our faith. We must be ready to share our faith even when it is not physically safe to do so. We must do what we, as the Body of Christ, have been called to do.

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. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
(Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV))

We have been called to go!

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
(2 Timothy 4:2 (NIV))

But, we are not called to go on our own strength. The words of Jesus as recorded by John share with us some very enlightening concepts. If you look at these words from the perspective of an agricultural society, they become clearer as to their meaning. The vine is the source of nutrients and strength for the branches. The vine provides all that the branches need to grow, mature, and, yes, to bear fruit. There is strength in the vine. There is sustenance in the vine. You cannot remove the branches from the vine and expect the branches to survive. You cannot expect the branches to grow, mature and bear fruit if the branches are cut off from the vine.

Sadly, we have a tendency to believe that we only need to connect with the vine for a few minutes on Sunday!

Too many of us even go so far as to believe that our connection is so that we can simply “check in” with the Lord and recharge, and then go about our own business. Dare I say that we may even feel that we are the vine. That is not how this relationship with the Lord is supposed to work. He is our source of strength. He is our source of truth. He is our source of light, and we must stay connected to Him so that His strength, His truth and His light flow into us continually. They do not flow in the other direction!

It is always important to remember that He is the Creator and we are the creation, and with the way that things are happening in this world, we need to draw closer to Him. We must remember that He is the vine and we are the branches. He is the potter and we are the clay!

Don’t get the roles reversed!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you ready to soar and not grow weary?

September 15, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
(Isaiah 40:31 (NIV))

Have you ever actually seen an eagle soar?

It is graceful and effortless in flight. It is beauty in motion. The eagle soars over all of the trouble below. It observes but does not involve itself in the mess that is below. It is master of its domain.

How can we, as believers, mount up with wings like eagles?

If we wait upon the Lord, we will seek after His heart. We will know His heart. We will be guided through the ordeals of this life. We will soar through above the troubles.

Think about that. How we experience life is a matter of perspective. If we find ourselves living among those who do not follow God, we will have troubles. We may even find ourselves struggling to maintain our faith. If we keep our eyes on Jesus, we have the assurance that he will carry us through all tribulations and trials that this world sends our way. When we walk with Jesus, we walk above the trials and tribulations.

Take a look at Peter.

During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
(Matthew 14:25-31 (NIV))

When Peter waited on the Lord, he was able to do something amazing. When he started to look at what he was doing through his eyes, he started to fail.

Our assurance comes from Jesus!

Our effortless movements come from Jesus. It is when we take our eyes off of Jesus that we begin to labor. It is when we take our eyes off of Jesus that we begin to grow weary. It is at that time that we faint.

Our actions are labored. God’s actions through us are effortless. We do not grow weary. Through God, we will mount up with wings like eagles. God will direct our efforts and He will keep us above the sins of the world.

Are you ready to soar and not grow weary?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you answered the call?

August 12, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28 (NIV))

This verse came to mind earlier today because of something that my family has experienced, but God had a different direction for me to write about.

With everything that is going on in the world, many people are probably asking how can God work this for good for those who love Him? I completely understand the concern. Nothing in this world makes sense anymore. Good is being called evil and evil is being called good. We have all seen what happens to people who speak out against the insanity that just seems to be the new normal. In fact, I just read a brief news clip saying that a member of Congress has been banned from a particular social media platform simply because he was saying something contrary to the accepted insanity. This is just the latest example. There are countless preachers, teachers and evangelists who have been banned on various platforms simply for sharing God’s Word as it relates to current events.

The sad thing is that I don’t think that this is going to get any better!

I am now seeing people who I have never heard say much publicly about God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit who are now confessing that they firmly believe that the time is at hand. Don’t get me wrong. These people were and are believers. They were just quiet individuals who simply lived their lives trying to live by God’s Word. Now they are sharing what their spirit is feeling.

What is your spirit feeling? Are you seeing the events transpiring in this world and shedding a tear because they break your heart? Are you at a loss for words and only the groanings of your spirit seem to ease the uncertainty that you see?

God is our refuge and strength,
     an ever-present help in trouble.
(Psalms 46:1 (NIV))

We need to remember this passage as the events unfold before us. I love the way that God’s Word leads us and guides us. Shortly after we are told that God is our refuge and strength, we are told to be still in His presence. Is God telling us to take refuge in Him and watch what He does? Is God telling us that after everything unfolds that He will be exalted? I realize that these are rhetorical questions, but sometimes we just need to be reminded of His majesty.

He says, “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))

When we read Romans 8:28, we have a tendency to make it personal, especially when we are going through an individual struggle or trial. It truly doesn’t take much thought to know that in all things God does work for the good of all who love Him. That is all part of His plan. That is all part of His purpose that we have been called by. Jesus is that plan. Jesus is that good. Jesus is that purpose. You need to answer the call before it is too late.

Have you answered the call?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must not lose hope in the Lord!

June 24, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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 40:31 (NIV))

How has your strength been recently?

I could probably stop with just those words and you can fill in your own issues that you see in the world and in your life. Let’s face it. Every single person alive is caught up in the middle of the events that have affected the whole world.

Financial crises.
Political upheaval.
Race riots.
Wars and rumors of wars.
The global pandemic.
Good being called evil and evil being called good.

Do I need to list anything else?

I honestly do not understand how anyone who doesn’t profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior makes it through each day when more and more is added to the already huge list of troubles. Those who do call upon the name of the Lord have a promise that we can rely upon to give us strength even in the midst of troubles.

“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))

We are told that troubles will increase as the time gets closer for the events spoken of in Daniel, Ezekiel, and Revelation. As we see things unfolding, we must remember to never lose sight of the Lord. We must remember to never lose hope in the Lord, for all of His promises are “Yes!” When the world sees trouble, we must see hope. We must renew our strength as we find shelter in His presence and in His strength. When we rely on His strength, we can face anything. We can run and not grow weary. We can walk and not be faint, and best of all, we can soar above the troubles of the world.

We must not lose hope in the Lord!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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