Are you strong and courageous?

October 13, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.
(Joshua 1:9 (NIV))

Possibly the most difficult thing to wholeheartedly accept is that God is with us wherever we go. We believe it when things are going good. We say it less often when things are beginning to look less than perfect. We tell others to believe it when things are going badly for them, but do we honestly believe it when we are facing things in our lives that are less than desirable?

It is so easy to be strong and courageous when there is no reason to fear. Human nature is very bold and positive when there is no present danger. It is a little less easy to be strong and courageous when you start to feel threatened in some manner. Finally, it is almost impossible to keep any reasonable facsimile of strength and courage when faced with an immediate threat. The only people who are able to maintain any resemblance of calm and courage in the face of danger are those who have actually trained for such an event.

How can we, as believers, train for these times?

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
(Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV))

It cannot be simpler. In order to be strong and courageous, we need to train ourselves to rely on God in all situations. We need to know Him, His Son Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God’s Word so that we can quickly summon the appropriate armor to use in defending against the attacks of the enemy. We must also be able to listen and obey the voice of our Lord just as a soldier listens and obeys the voice of his commanding officer. We must be able to quickly discern what is from God and what is from the enemy.

Are you fully trained?

Are you strong and courageous?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you finding strength while you wait?

April 22, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
(Psalms 27:14 (NIV))

If you are like me, you are probably asking when the Lord will set things right, especially as we see things rapidly turning further and further away from righteousness and common sense. In fact, I am certain that you have seen or heard someone say something to the effect that common sense is no longer common. All that you have to do is look at the events unfolding in this world and you quickly can agree to this claim. You probably will come away with a perplexed sadness about the inability of far too many people to make any type of logical and intelligent thought patterns. Is this the beginnings of the powerful delusion?

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
(2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 (NIV))

God is unfolding things according to His timeline. If you truly follow the Lord and long for His righteousness, then you are probably like me and desire to see that sooner than later. Be patient!

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

God is never early, and more importantly, He is never late. There is a moment in time when the Lord will increase the events and the rapidness of their timing as they unfold culminating in His return. We may be days away. We may be months, or we may even be years, but one thing is certain. We must take heart for we know that His promises will come to pass. We must pray for His strength. We must patiently wait for the Lord.

Are you finding strength while you wait?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Keep you eyes focused on the Lord!

March 5, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
(Joshua 1:9 (NIV))

With the current state of the world, are you at afraid? Are you discouraged?

Do you have the strength and courage to fully rely on God no matter what happens?

I realize that these are tough questions to answer honestly. Each of us would like to think that we can walk the proverbial walk and not just talk the talk, but how many of us have truly been tested in our faith? Just like when a baby first learns to walk, it takes small steps where we gingerly venture out in uncertainty. With each step of faith that we take, our strength and courage grow as we learn that we can be confident in the promises and the presence of the Lord. Just like a baby, if we don’t allow the stumbles and falls to deter us, we will soon find ourselves with the confidence to walk boldly with the Lord.

I have found a fantastic benefit to walking boldly with the Lord.

Peace!

In all circumstances that I have faced so far in my life since accepting Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior, I have learned to find peace.

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

They say that hindsight is 20/20. It is also a tremendous way to remind yourself of the fulfilled promises and presence of the Lord. When you look back, you find the strength and courage to trust in the Lord as you look to the future fulfillment of His promises.

Keep you eyes focused on the Lord!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the Lord your strong tower?

February 17, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
        the righteous run to it and are safe.
(Proverbs 18:10 (NIV))

In this world where sin and death have taken over due to man’s downfall, it is good to know that we have a place of refuge. Those who are of the world do not know of this refuge. They go about their daily lives not knowing of the grace and peace that can be found in this refuge. This wonderful refuge is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Even when the Book of Proverbs was written, Solomon knew of the great peace available through the grace of God. He was not able to partake fully of that peace, for Jesus had not come to the earth yet. Still, Solomon had a foreshadowing of that peace.

All throughout history, the righteous have been able to call on God as their sword and shield, even though we are sinful 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))

God looks at a person’s heart. He is capable of knowing if we seek after Him and if we do, we have a place of refuge.

Who or what do you turn to when you need shelter?

Is the Lord your strong tower?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Something to remember as we face a new year!

December 28, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
(Joshua 1:9 (NIV))

Do you worry about the events transpiring in this nation and in the world?

Does the uncertainty of a new year bring fear or do you trust completely in the Lord as His timeline unfolds?

I have seen many different points of view being offered as the last year unfolded. I am seeing many different points of view being offer up as to what to expect in the coming year and beyond. If you pay attention to the world, you will probably find yourself fearful. But, if you place your faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then you have professed that your hope is not of this world. You have professed that you are living in this world, but you are not of this world.

What do you see coming in the new year? Perhaps I should ask what do you hope to see in the new year? Do you expect to see the world return to a state of normalcy similar to what it was just a few short months ago? From what I have been reading and studying, I honestly do not believe that this world will ever again see what we had previously come to know as normal.

If you are a student of God’s Word, then you should be a student of prophecy, for it is estimated that approximately one forth of the Bible is prophecy. Many of the prophecies have already come to fulfillment. Others are being fulfilled right before our eyes. To be honest with you, there are things that have been unfolding and are continuing to unfold that I honestly don’t think can be reversed or even stopped. Does this cause fear? Are you discouraged by the current state of the world? Are you looking at this world from your perspective or from God’s perspective? If we place our trust in the Lord, then why do we fear what is to come?

We know the outcome!

If we truly profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior and we know the outcome of all things, then what do we have to fear! Keep your eyes focused on Jesus and look up!

Something to remember as we face a new year!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you clothed in?

August 25, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
(Colossians 3:12 (NIV))

Is it just me, or do these sound very similar to something else that we are told about?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

We are to clothe, or cover, ourselves with these traits. We, as the Body of Christ, are to strive to live our lives in such a way that we shine the light of Jesus in our circle of influence. When the world shows us sexual immorality, idolatry, hatred, jealousy, rage, selfish ambition, envy and drunkenness, we are to show them the light and love of Jesus.

I want you to think of this in relationship to putting on the full armor of God. Nobody puts on armor without clothing themselves with the proper attire beforehand. We must prepare ourselves with the correct attire before put on the armor and before we are truly prepared to go into battle for the Lord. We do battle against the enemy because we love the light. We do battle against the enemy because we long to see his captives set free. We are former prisoners and must clothe ourselves with compassion for the lost, kindness to the sinner, humility to the enemy, gentleness and patience with the captives as we share the good news of salvation. Without these as a proper foundation, are we truly able to put on the full armor of God?

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
(Ephesians 6:10-17 (NIV))

There are certain seasons of the year where it is recommended to dress in layers. We are in a season where we must spiritually dress in layers, starting with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Once we are clothed in these, we will be better prepared to add armor!

What are you clothed in?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you truly long to see Jesus?

August 11, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
(2 Timothy 4:8 (NIV))

Do you long for the appearing of Jesus?

Are you looking for Jesus to come for His church? Do you read God’s Word and look for evidence of His soon return in the world around us? Do you have a strong desire to see Jesus, or are you apathetic about His return?

I know that I ask a lot of questions, but these are questions that most people don’t ask of themselves. The answers that you provide for these questions are telltale of what you expect. There is a concept that says that you will find what you are looking for. That may sound obvious, but think about it for a moment. If you are looking for treasure, you will only stop once you find it. What if that treasure is also looking for you to seek it? What if the very thing that we treasure also treasures us?

That is exactly what Jesus is doing! He is our treasure. He knows our hearts. We are His treasure. He died on the cross so that we could be called righteous because He is righteous. If we seek Him as our treasure, then He will find us as His treasure. If we do not seek Him, then we will not find Him as a treasure. We will know Him as the righteous Judge. We are at a point in history where we must decide to take Jesus as our treasure. We must long to see Him. We must call upon His name as our personal Lord and Savior. When we see Him and how we see Him depends on our desire to see Him!

We can desire to see Him as our personal Lord and Savior and we will see Him when He returns for His bride, or we can ignore Him and then we will see Him as Judge. It is our choice. It is a choice that cannot wait!

Do you truly long to see Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you capable of waiting?

July 14, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
(Psalms 27:14 (NIV))

There is something about human nature that doesn’t like to wait!

Do you have the patience to wait? Do you know of anyone who has the patience to wait? Have you ever thought about this passage in that context?

God uses things that are contrary to the sinful, fallen world to bring people to Him, and this is no different. Since waiting goes against human nature especially since the fall from grace, perhaps God uses the concept of waiting to teach us and to explore our hearts. He uses waiting to see if we are willing to go against our sinful nature. Let’s face facts. Waiting is not easy! Is God using this to see who is willing to go the extra mile and deny themselves in order to spend time with Him?

Think about that from the standpoint that humanity likes instant gratification!

I am sure that when you were growing up, you were constantly told, “Good things come to those who wait.” What better thing is there than the Lord, our God? Is He worth waiting for? Is He worth going against the world in order to receive Him? What do we receive when we what for the Lord? We come away with a wonderful understanding of who He is. We come away with a thankful heart because of what He has done. We receive an eternity in His presence! I find these to be the ultimate good that I long for while I wait for the Lord.

Are you capable of waiting?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you bold enough to proclaim the name of Jesus?

June 30, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Jesus is
“‘the stone you builders rejected,
      which has become the cornerstone.’
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 4:11-12 (NIV))

Can you imagine the boldness that it took for Peter to proclaim these words to the Sanhedrin?

Can you imagine the shock that the members of the Sanhedrin felt when they heard these words? From their human perspective, I fully understand why they told Peter and John not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. They were the authority and they did not want their authority to be replaced with the authority and power that Jesus gives!

I have two questions for each of us to consider.

Would we boldly proclaim Jesus under these type of conditions?

Would we resort to an unsuccessful attempt to stifle the power of Jesus?

The reason that I ask these two questions is based on the current events and trends in this world. If we are pulled in front of a governing body and given an ultimatum to not speak or teach in the name of Jesus, would we stand firm or would we surrender? What if we are told we will be killed if we don’t stop speaking and teaching in the name of Jesus?

If the tide turns further away from good and toward evil, will we be able to stand firm or will we give in to the point where we find ourselves telling others to not speak or teach in the name of Jesus?

How strong is your faith?

How firmly will you stand? Will you deny Jesus?

But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
(Matthew 10:33 (NKJV))

Are you bold enough to proclaim the name of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Is Jesus your strong tower?

June 25, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.
(Proverbs 18:10 (NKJV))

When this was written, it was long before Jesus had come upon the earth. It was long before humanity experienced the hope of salvation where we, as believers, have been able to firmly place our faith. Still, when this was written, it was known that the Lord was a safe place of refuge for those who truly love and trust Him.

Do you truly love and trust the Lord?

Are you concerned about all that is happening in the world? Are you panicking because of the unrest that is being reported on a constant basis? Or, do you look at all that is going on and faithfully proclaim that the Lord has it all under control?

“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))

I realize that it is difficult to not see the things of this world, but when we focus on Jesus, the things of this world grow strangely dim! We have to decide where we will run to and on what we will focus. It is a matter of priorities. Can we stand firm and, like Joshua, proclaim that we will serve the Lord?

It is a choice that we must make.

Is Jesus your strong tower?

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