Are you willing to have this done in you?

May 13, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
(John 15:2 (ESV))

Let’s face facts. We don’t like change, especially if it takes us outside of our comfort zones. Even when dealing with things in our lives that we know need to be addressed, we would rather simply ignore them instead of dealing with them. It is just human nature.

That is not how God works.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
     neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
     so are my ways higher than your ways
     and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

We like to hold onto our sins. God calls us to let them go.

We like to hide our sins. God calls us to confess them.

We like to embrace our sins. God calls us to embrace Him.

In essence, God calls us to accept the gift of salvation freely offered through the cross. Through this gift, He is calling us to allow our sins to be removed from our lives and replaced with His righteousness. I don’t know about you, but I like His ways far more than I like my ways. I long to freely surrender what needs to be taken away and to allow other areas to be pruned. I long to bear so much more fruit according to His will.

Are you willing to have this done in you?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We don’t have to sweat the details!

March 4, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
      neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
      so are my ways higher than your ways
      and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

Are you confused and stressed out about the events in the world? As the Body of Christ, we know that we should have peace, but at the same time, I am sure that many of us are wondering exactly what is going on. We may not understand it in detail, but rest assured that everything is unfolding just as God desires. It is according to His plan!

We have been given the proverbial highlight reel of His plan so that we would know that He is in control!

We don’t have to sweat the details!

All that we have to do is trust in the Lord and rely on His thoughts and not our thoughts. We are to rely on His ways and not our ways. We are to be in this world but not of it. We are simply passing through as we rely on the Lord for His peace that passes all understanding.

I met a man in the parking lot of a local grocery store tonight. His comments about the price increases and the shortages seemed to consume him. He was worried about the next three years and what we would be facing. I actually had trouble getting in a word, but I did my best to assure him that God is in control. To be honest with you, I am not sure he heard me since he was so consumed by his worry. Sitting here tonight as I write this, I realize that this man represents those in the world who are only looking at the physical. They, like he, see no hope in our current situation. They feel completely helpless, hopeless and lost!

As a believer, do you currently feel helpless, hopeless and lost? Your answer reflects your relationship with the Lord. Do you need to take this time to repent and rely on His grace and mercy? Are you ready for whatever His plan unfolds because you fully trust in the Lord?

I am saddened by the things that I see, for they mean that those who do not know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior do not share in the hope that we have. I am saddened for these individuals because they are on the brink of eternal separation from God. I pray that their eyes would be opened to His grace and mercy. At the same time, I am amazed and I am at peace. I am amazed that I get to live in such a time as this. I am also at peace for I know that my Savior lives!

Have you ever stopped to thank God for His thoughts and His ways? Have you ever stopped to thank Him for loving you enough to send Jesus? He has every single detail of His plan unfolding just as He is orchestrating it. He is in complete control.

We don’t have to sweat the details!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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There is no one like our God!

January 20, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

With whom will you compare me or count me equal? To whom will you liken me that we may be compared?
(Isaiah 46:5 (NIV))

Have you ever tried to fit God into your own image of Him, your own understanding of Him?

I know that we have all done something like this at one point in our lives, but if you truly think about this, then it sounds completely absurd. In essence, the creation attempted to re-create the Creator because the creation possessed a limited understanding of everything. As such, we want to make God into something that we can understand. If we fully understood, then He wouldn’t be God. What we would have is an idol of our own creation. Sadly, that is what many people try to do.

Do we know how to hang the moon and stars? Do we know how to turn day into night? Do we know how to control the passage of time? Do we know how to bring the rains? Do we know how to part the seas? Do we know how to raise the dead? Do we know how to redeem a sinful, fallen humanity?

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
     neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
(Isaiah 55:8 (NIV))

I am truly thankful that His thoughts and His ways are not like our thoughts and our ways. If we tried to make God to be like us, He wouldn’t be God! We also would not have a Savior, for the god that we create to be like us would not have the power over sin and death.

Each one of us have a mental image of how we see God. Even though we profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, our understanding is still very limited. We can pray. We can read God’s word and study it our whole life, but when we see Him face to face, He will be so much more than we could ever imagine. Let go of the small gods that you have created. Stop trying to put God into your image of Him and fully embrace our Lord God for the majesty and glory that is His alone. Be prepared to be amazed for He alone is good. He alone is God.

There is no one like our God!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must always acknowledge His ways!

November 1, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:9 (NAS))

How many times have you heard someone ask, or perhaps you have asked, why did something happen? It is human curiosity that makes us want to know what we do not know.

Perhaps it is because of our fall from grace when our eyes where opened to good and evil. Perhaps it is an inborn need to belong to something of value. Whatever the reason, it is human nature to want to know “all of the details” about everything, even why God allows things to happen.

Consider the words from Isaiah and how they impact your life. God is telling us that we are not capable of understanding His ways and His thoughts. Perhaps this is where we must simply trust in God to have our best interests in mind.

We already know who wins. What else do we need to know at this point?

It is said that we see as if through a glass darkly, but our eyes will be opened when we are in heaven. The things that we see in this world are only the surface of what is really happening. We must simply “let go and let God” take care of the details.

We must always acknowledge His ways!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do your thoughts run wild?

July 19, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
(2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV))

In other words, we should control what we say, see, hear and do so that we can focus on the Lord, and we should also control what we think!

This sounds wonderful, but as Paul wrote these words to the church at Corinth, he was giving instructions to the members of that body of believers on how to conduct spiritual warfare.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
(2 Corinthians 10:3-4 (NIV))

In fact, it was Paul who was coming under attack by others who were professing to love the Gospel. These words were encouragement to weigh what he was preaching to see if he was boasting. Paul was telling this group of people, and us, to look at the message and not the messenger, for they were saying that his writings were powerful yet his speaking was not.

You are judging by appearances. If anyone is confident that they belong to Christ, they should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as they do.
(2 Corinthians 10:7 (NIV))

Sadly, we still experience this very same thing today. We judge the messenger and not the message. We can have a dynamic speaker who doesn’t speak the truth and this person will be followed. We can also have a speaker who is shy and timid and speaks the truth, but who follows this person? We must learn to discern who is speaking the truth and, as Paul wrote, demolish arguments so that we can take captive our every thought so that we are obedient to Christ. If we are too tied up in appearances, we will not be focused on the truth. Our thoughts will run out of control toward the worldly things that we say that we want to turn away from. We will have not only failed to take our thoughts captive, we will have enabled them to run wild.

Do your thoughts run wild?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you willing to be searched?

July 14, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
(Psalms 139:23 (NIV))

What imagery comes to mind when you think of being searched?

Is it invasive? Is it forceful? Is it a scenario where you feel extremely uncomfortable? Is your imagery of being searched something that you would want to be put through? Is this how you envision God searching you?

We have a choice. We can profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, and then open up our heart to the searching and guidance of the Holy Spirit, or we can wait until the appointed time when Jesus returns. We can surrender to the gentle searching that will lead to a maturity in Christ, or we can be defiant now and face something that none of us want to face. Those who don’t profess a faith in Jesus now will acknowledge His Lordship too late!

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
     in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
     to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:10-11 (NIV))

Asking God to search your heart means that you surrender to Him and to His plans for you. Asking God to search your heart indicates that you are ready and willing to take a step toward realizing the hope of a future in His presence.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
(Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV))

If you ask the Lord to search your heart, you better be prepared for God to remove some things from your life. You better be prepared to experience some spiritual growing pains as the Lord refines you and makes you into someone that He can use.

Remove the dross from the silver,
     and a silversmith can produce a vessel;
(Proverbs 25:4 (NIV))

Asking the Lord to search your heart is the first step.

Are you willing to be searched?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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His ways are perfect!

March 4, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
      neither are your ways my ways,”
         declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
      so are my ways higher than your ways
      and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

Have you ever found yourself asking, “What is God doing?”

If you are like a vast number of people, this has probably come to mind quite often in recent history. To be honest with you, if you aren’t asking this, then it means that you aren’t paying attention to the world and what is unfolding right before our eyes. If you stop to consider that there are two ways that this question can be asked, then it opens up a complete new perspective on this question and how that you view God’s authority.

If you ask this question sarcastically, then it shows your contempt and disdain for how God is handling things. In essence, you are fed up with what is unfolding and are frustrated with God for not fixing it according to your desires. Be careful with this, for this is pride and has caused many to stumble and fall harshly.

What if you are asking this question with a curiosity and an eye to God’s Word? Are you searching God’s Word for insight and understanding?

Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
(Acts 17:11 (NIV))

Are you excited to think that you get to be alive during this time as God unfolds His plans? Do you ask this question in awe and wonder of God’s eternal plan and where we might be in His timing?

The next time that you find yourself looking around and asking “What is God doing?”, I pray that it is with an attitude of awe and wonder, after all His ways are higher than ours. We are only the creation. He is the Creator! His timing is perfect.

His ways are perfect!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t look at the world!

January 29, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
     neither are your ways my ways,”
         declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
     so are my ways higher than your ways
     and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

Do you truly trust in the Lord? Then why do we, as the Body of Christ, pay so much attention to the things of this world? How can we understand what God is doing when we are focusing on the world instead of focusing on Him. Instead of worrying about the current state of this nation and the world, we should be praising the Lord for the promises that He has given, for we know that the promises will be kept. We need to focus our eyes not on the things of this world, for they are fleeting. We should be focusing our eyes elsewhere.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
(‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:18 (NIV))

When we fix our eyes on something, it becomes clearly focused and everything else becomes unimportant. Everything else loses focus. Everything else becomes blurry. Everything else is not seen clearly. It is our human nature that makes it so difficult to focus on the unseen when what is seen is so distracting to our sinful, fallen natures. How can we even begin to know God’s heart and His ways if we focus on the world? With everything that is going on in the world, we need to keep our eyes focused on the One who will give us peace in the midst of the troubles. We need to make the Lord our priority.

We are not capable of the thoughts that the Lord has. We are not capable of the ways of the Lord. We are too easily distracted. Only the Lord can keep everything in focus at all times. Only the Lord can manage an eternity and make it work as He desires. Only the Lord can make history unfold to achieve His purpose. When we see things unfolding in this world that we do not understand, we need to relinquish our thoughts and ways. We need to stop looking at the world and look to Him, for everything is working according to His plan.

We must learn to completely trust His thoughts and His ways, and no matter what we may see in this world, we must always look to Him.

Don’t look at the world!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you see the Lord as Holy Glorious?

June 10, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And they were calling to one another:
    “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
     the whole earth is full of his glory.”
(Isaiah 6:3 (NIV))

There are two basic premises outlined in this passage. Two very true details that we need to fully embrace. How we embrace them determines our whole outlook and understanding of God the Father, Jesus His Son, and the Holy Spirit.

First and foremost, the LORD is holy. I am not certain if the word “holy” is repeated three times because of a subliminal reference to the Trinity, or whether it is repeated simply as a matter of driving the concept home. It may even be both. No matter why it is repeated, we must never forget that the LORD is holy. If we treat God in any way less than holy, we have sinned. We have taken the Creator of all things and redefined Him within our comfort zone. We do not praise Him if we make Him less than He is.

Ouch!

I hate to say this, but human nature finds us doing just that. We have a tendency of not understanding just how magnificent that He is. We tend to define God and our relationship to Him by our own thought processes and our own relationships. God is holy.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
      declares the LORD.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

We cannot comprehend God. We must simply trust Him and accept that He is holy.

The second premise that is presented is the fact the the whole earth is full of His glory.

Everywhere that you look, you see wondrous things that God has created. Can man imagine a rainbow into existence? Can humanity divide the waters above from the waters below? Can anybody create a continent and clothe it in the vast splendor that we see?

God’s glory is manifested through His creation. Not only is He holy, but everything that He creates is glorious.

I hope that you fully caught what I just said. Everything that God creates is glorious. God created you and I. It is simple deductive reasoning that allows us to draw the conclusion that we are intended to be glorious. Even though we have fallen from grace through our sin, we are intended to be glorious. Even though we may not always follow God’s call, we are intended to be glorious.

God sent His glory into the world so that we could gain salvation and grace. Jesus, the son of God and the son of man, came into this world so that we could be washed clean and reunited with God in all of His glory.

Holy. Glory.

How do you see God in relationship to these two simple words? Do you see the Lord as Holy Glorious?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you ready for His coming?

April 3, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.
(1 John 2:28 (NIV))

I want to ask a question and I pray that you will be honest with yourself in this question and all questions that I ask.

With all that is going on in the world right now, have you found yourself asking if this is an indication of the soon return of Jesus?

To be honest with you, I have seen many people who would have never posted anything about this topic before who are now asking similar questions to what I just asked. This has many people thinking about God and what He has in store for us in the coming days, weeks, months and potentially years. What are your thoughts? What worries you or scares you the most? Are you worried or do you have a peace that baffles your family and friends?

If we have professed a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we should not worry. We should not fear! We should be longing for His return. We should be focused on doing all that He has called us to do and not focused on the things of this world.

If we are fearful as the events unfold before us, what does that say about our faith and trust in Jesus? If we are more concerned with thoughts such as “What will we do?”, then we should be ashamed of our lack of faith. We can look at the world and be overwhelmed and worried, or we can look at Jesus and be at peace. It is a matter of attitude and priorities. If we focus on the world, we are not focused on Jesus. We are not ready to stand before Him as one of His! If we focus on Jesus, there is nothing that can happen in this world that will sway our faith. In fact, when we focus on Jesus we are preparing for His return.

Are you ready for His coming?

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