How is your confidence?

August 5, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
(Hebrews 4:16 (NIV))

Today is not the time to be timid with your faith!

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

How is your confidence in what you profess to believe?

We are facing very unusual circumstances in today’s world. Many people believe that what we are seeing unfolding is what is foretold in the books of Revelation and Daniel. To be honest with you, there are so many evil things happening in the world during this time that it wouldn’t surprise me if we are seeing these things unfold. With this high possibility, I have one very important question for you to ask yourself.

If what we are seeing is what is foretold, will your confidence and faith bring you grace and mercy?

We have been given a blessed hope. That hope is firmly rooted in Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We know that God has a plan of salvation. We know that God has a plan to defeat the enemy. We know how God’s plan unfolds, yet we fail to see the signs that say that it is unfolding.

He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.
(Matthew 16:2-3 (NIV))

All through out this unusual year, I have heard numerous believers say that they wish things would get back to normal. They are planning for a return to what we used to know. They are either overlooking the idea that they will not return because they love the way things used to be more than they love the Lord, or they are too afraid to admit that they don’t know enough about what the Lord has told us. Either way, they are looking at the world and placing their hope in man and the creation instead of placing their hope and confidence in the Creator.

We have been given an insight. We know who wins. We should be confident of that as we face the hours, days and months ahead. There is a saying that comes to mind. “I don’t know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.” As we face the future, we must face it with confidence in the One who holds the future.

How is your confidence?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you place your trust in the Lord?

July 28, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him,
(Nahum 1:7 (NIV))

You can probably figure out exactly what I am going to ask based on this passage. With what is going on right now in the world, trusting in the Lord is more important than ever. With that in mind, do you trust in the Lord?

Do you trust that the Lord is good?

Do you trust that the Lord is our refuge in times of trouble?

Do you trust that no matter how bad things have gotten or how bad they may get, that His plans are perfect?

I love that so many people who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior are at peace through all that is happening. We may be saddened by the events. We may be shocked by the events. We are probably even disgusted by the events, but we, as the Body of Christ, seem to have a peace through all of this.

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

If we truly trust in the Lord, we are promised that He will guard our hearts and our minds. We are promised that He will care for us. With what the world has gone through and with what is probably coming, we can rest assured that placing our faith and trust in the Lord means that we will have peace in the midst of the storms. We will have refuge when the enemy attacks. We will be guarded from the one who longs to keep us eternally separated from the Lord. Placing our trust in the Lord means that He is our salvation. He is our champion. He is our defender. He is our Lord!

Do you place your trust in the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we thoroughly equipped to be God’s servants?

June 23, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV))

Most believers are familiar with this passage, but most read it as I have presented it here. We have a tendency to take it as a stand-alone passage and forget the context that it was originally written. It is true that as a stand-alone passage, it does speak truth, for anything from God’s Word is God-breathed and useful in all righteousness, but there is more to this passage than this. These words about all scripture close 2 Timothy 3 after it is opened with these words about the last days.

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
(2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV))

We, as the Body of Christ, have taken these two passages and have made them unrelated. We look at the warning about the last days but fail to realize that the closing words from 2 Timothy 3 are instructions for us when we see the things of the last days unfolding right before our eyes. The words written by Paul to Timothy are instructions to continue in the faith. We are to stand firm in the face of adversity. We are to stand firm when we see people are becoming lovers of themselves. We are to stand firm in our faith when we see the world turning into lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. We are to stand firm by firmly rooting ourselves in the scriptures, and not just our favorite passages.

In order to recognize the truth, we must be firmly rooted in God’s truth. There are gems of godly wisdom and truth in every passage. Some truths are only recognizable when you understand the complete truth, for God’s Word is not just a collection of individual, unrelated nuggets. God’s Word is life!

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
(Genesis 1:1 (NIV))

From the first words in Genesis 1 to the last words in Revelation 22, there is an unfolding of God’s truth and in order to understand it, we must read and study it all.

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.
(Revelation 22:20-21 (NIV))

It is said that all of scripture after the fall from grace details God’s plan to bring salvation and to restore His creation. How well do you know the story? How well do you know what the outcomes are for those involved in this story?

Are we thoroughly equipped to be God’s servants?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t fall for ungodly deception!

June 12, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you.
(Mark 13:5 (NIV))

Jesus knew that strange times would come and that people would potentially be deceived by what would be happening. He told His disciples point blank to be on their guard so that they, and we, would not be deceived when situations arise. We must stand firm in our faith and be firmly rooted in God’s Word so that we can recognize false teachings when they are presented to us. It is my prayer that we will be so firmly grounded in God’s Word that we will instantly know the enemy’s attempts to deceive us when we see them. You have to realize that the enemy knows God’s Word and can twist it in ways that are designed to confuse those who are not totally immersed in God’s truth. Consider that the serpent tricked Adam and Eve by twisting the truth in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve walked with God. They knew Him in a way that we can’t possibly know God today. Still, they fell for the deception that the serpent used, and humanity has been paying the price ever since that day!

The enemy uses things out of context, or just a partial quote of scripture. He will twist just enough of God’s Word so that it still sounds right, but with the subtle change, it is now a lie. Consider what happens if he leaves out the last instructions from Jesus to the woman caught in adultery.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:9-11 (NIV))

If you twist this passage by removing “Go now and leave your life of sin,” it takes on a whole new meaning. It takes on a meaning completely opposite of what Jesus truly said and meant. Without those eight words, it sounds as if Jesus is telling the woman that whatever she does is okay, when what He is really saying is that she must repent and change her ways. The whole passage, when twisted like this, is now able to be a lie from the mouth of the enemy.

We must not take things at face value. We must know God’s Word. We must search God’s Word for verification and not for our sinful gratification. We must be Bereans!

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))

When someone is not educated in certain aspects of life, it is easy for them to be deceived in those areas. With everything that is going on in the world, be very careful with respect to what you embrace as truth. When you are firmly grounded in God’s Word, the Holy Spirit will be in communication with your spirit. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you through the subtle lies of the enemy.

Don’t fall for ungodly deception!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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We must focus on being lovers of God!

June 5, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-
(2 Timothy 3:1-4 (NIV))

I am sure that you have seen the jokes and the memes on social media about the type of year that 2020 has been so far. We hope and pray that things will get better, but I honestly think that what we are seeing is becoming the norm, especially when you read about what people will be like in the last days. In fact, when I first read this passage this evening, I did not have to struggle to think up very public examples of each one of these traits. I am certain that you can probably think of prime examples of each one of these traits as evidenced in our society as well.

Why have people become so blinded? Why have people become so self-centered and hate-filled? These traits go against every single one of God’s commandments. They also go against other traits that we are told we should strive to possess.

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))

Sadly, these traits are not what seems to be front and center in today’s world. Far too many in this world are being led astray by the enemy. They are being led down a path that comes in direct conflict with anything good – with anything from God! They are being led down a path of sin and evil.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
(Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV))

I am sure that we have all heard that as followers of Jesus, we live in the world, but we are not of the world. How are we, as the Body of Christ, to respond to people who are in open rebellion against God?

We are to share the Gospel! We are also told what to do if people will not listen.

If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
(Matthew 10:14-15 (NIV))

We are to pray! We can’t soften hearts. Only God can. We must pray that those who rebel will repent and turn to the Lord. And, we must stand firm in our faith so that we are not led astray.

We must focus on being lovers of God!

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

April 22, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Blessed are the pure in heart,
     for they will see God.
(Matthew 5:8 (NIV))

Not too long ago I referenced this passage and made a statement about people seeing what they want to see. When I wrote that about this passage, I had no idea exactly what the next few months would bring. Today, I am more convinced of this simple truth than I was just a few short months ago. All that you have to do is take a look at the various reactions of people as we all face this unusual worldwide issue.

It is said that tough times will bring out the true nature of a person. I think that we can safely say that we have seen the gamut of reactions. Some people are panicking. Others are coming up with all kinds of conspiracy theories. Many are blaming the Chinese government, while others are pointing fingers at our own. It appears that many people are consuming more alcohol in a search for something to take their minds off of what is going on. Do you fall into one of these groups?

In addition to these, I have seen a large number of people who appear to be turning to the Lord. If you can judge the numbers based on what you see on social media, many people are turning to the Lord for peace. They are realizing that there is something going on far greater than anything that humanity can control, as if we can control anything.

Human nature is a funny thing. We are told that even in the midst of great tribulation, there will be people who will fail to recognize what is going on and turn to God. Others will turn to God in all things that they do. Somewhere in the middle are those who acknowledge God and only turn to Him in times of trouble. I realize that I have oversimplified the vast range of reactions, but in all honesty, those who long to see God will find Him in all things that they encounter. I think that something I recently saw says that very well. To paraphrase, there were two sides in a conversation.

Side 1: This virus has shut down the schools.

Side 2: Prayer is now back in the classroom.

Side 1: This virus has shut down the churches.

Side 2: The church is not made up of buildings. People are worshipping wherever they are.

I’m sure that you’ve seen something similar. As previously stated, those who long to see God will find Him in all things, while those who are focused on the world will never see God in anything.

Do you long to see God?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you know God’s call?

March 24, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

Have you found yourself looking at the state of the world and realized that you were shaking your head in disbelief? If you have, you are not the only one to experience this. To be honest with you, the whole world seems to be caught up in this mindset. It seems that everyone is trying to place blame on those who don’t think as they do. Hopefully, those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior are not among those pointing fingers and placing blame. We should realize that anything and everything that is of this world can fall apart at a moments notice.

As the Body of Christ, we place our faith not in this world but in the one who created this world. When we face a storm, we shouldn’t look at the storm and panic. We should lift our eyes to the one who can calm the storm. When the world feels that there is a reason to panic, we simply need to fall to our knees, lift up our prayers and seek the very heart of God. Only then will we be able to know how to respond. To be honest with you, we should be the ones who are remaining calm when all around is is falling apart. That is the prime opportunity for the world to see that we have a peace that they do not have. This is the prime opportunity to witness to those who are in panic mode. This is the prime opportunity to introduce them to Jesus.

During these unprecedented times, we need to be still and listen for what God tells us. He may be calling us to do something that will have an impact on the lives of those who don’t know Him yet. Now that the whole world is facing uncertain times, we need to do what we, as the Body of Christ, have been called to do.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
(Mark 16:15 (NIV))

God has gotten the world to slow down. He is telling the whole world to be still. He is calling the whole world to repentance. He is calling the whole world to return to Him. We must be prepared to be His hands and feet. We must be prepared to be the boots on the ground who share His Gospel. We must be still and know what He is calling us to do.

Do you know God’s call?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are we still witnessing or are we simply waiting?

February 3, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
(Acts 1:7-8 (NIV))

Have we gotten tired of waiting? Have we given up being witnesses because we don’t see any evidence of His return? Do you tell yourself that witnessing is not your gift? Perhaps we have developed an attitude that we have done our part and it’s time for a rest. Have I left your excuse out of my list?

I don’t mean to sound harsh and degrading. I don’t want to sound like I am pointing fingers. I realize that we have all felt like this at some point or another. In fact, I have told myself that personal witnessing is not my gift more times than I care to admit. To be honest with you, I am not good at public speaking. I am not good at one on one, but, if you give me a keyboard and a verse, I believe that I have found my way of witnessing. With this simple truth about myself, I believe that if you look at humanity, you will quickly realize that God created each of us with unique gifts. Because each unsaved sinner is unique, each repentant sinner who has claimed salvation has a unique way of reaching someone else. It is a way that may be designed for reaching only one person. We must remember that each person is loved by God and the one that you are called to share the Gospel with may be the next person to share the Gospel with millions!

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
(Ephesians 4:11-12 (NIV))

Just because our gift is not evangelism doesn’t mean that we can’t use our gifts to witness, to spread the Gospel!

It is true that we don’t know the hour or the date that the Father has set, but we all have an urgent task that we must not neglect. Whether it is by evangelism, writing, hospitality, generosity, music, or art, we all have a gift that we can use to witness to the amazing truth of the Gospel. Just because we don’t know the hour or the date doesn’t mean that we should stop using our gifts to reach the world. We are called to be faithful until He comes.

Are we being faithful with the gifts that He has given to us or have we grown complacent in our witness? Have we started using excuses like those I previously mentioned to convince ourselves that it is okay if we don’t witness? We need to take a serious look at what Jesus has called us to do and whether we are being faithful in that calling.

Are we still witnessing or are we simply waiting?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you rely on the strength of the Lord?

December 10, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
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 40:29-31 (NIV))

This world has a way of bringing everything that can drain you down upon you in an attempt to make you stumble and fall. If you rely solely on yourself, then you have no external strength to call upon to see you through these times. We are only human, and as sinful humanity, we are not capable of lifting ourselves out of these draining times.

But, by the grace of God, we have a place to turn in times of trouble. We have the strength of the Lord if we only place our hope in Him. We have the promises that God has given us throughout the ages.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
(2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV))

Do you receive strength when you are weary? Do you soar on wings like eagles?

Fully accept the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will receive His strength.

Do you rely on the strength of the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must learn that God is our only source!

December 3, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven and said:
“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are his.
He changes times and seasons;
he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.
He reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what lies in darkness,
and light dwells with him.
I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:
You have given me wisdom and power,
you have made known to me what we asked of you,
you have made known to us the dream of the king.”
(Daniel 2:19-23 (NIV))

Daniel was given a glimpse of God in a manner like no other that I have ever heard! God used the king and Daniel to establish that He alone is in control.

Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, had asked his advisors, the wise men, to tell him the dream that he had and then tell him the interpretation. They replied correctly and told Nebuchadnezzar that no one living among humans could do such a thing. Even when Joseph interpreted pharaoh’s dream, the dream was described. Still, God knows the hearts of men. He uses dreams and visions to communicate with us. In this particular situation, He used the king as a vessel for the dream and He used Daniel to present His power and authority through the dream. Daniel understood the importance of the king’s request. He knew that he had to turn to God! Through prayer, the dream was revealed to Daniel. The Lord gave Daniel insight and wisdom. He revealed everything to Daniel that the king had asked his wise men to reveal to him.

We know the story, but do you understand the situation as it presented itself all of those years ago? Nebuchadnezzar had decreed that all wise men in Babylon be put to death if they could not do as he asked. There were dire consequences to be faced and only direct intervention from the Lord would be able to see Daniel through.

Have you ever faced situations where there seems to be no way to come out of them in one piece? I fully believe that this is what Daniel thought and that is why he and his friends began pleading with God for mercy. Pleading with God goes far beyond a simple prayer. You are earnest. In fact, you could even say that you are in anguish and are overwhelmed to the point of death. You go boldly before the Lord because you know that only He can save you!

I honestly believe that Daniel and his friends pleaded with God. They probably did not stop. They did not stray from their petitions. They did not falter. They were faithful to stay diligent in petitioning the Lord for what was needed and when He revealed Himself to Daniel, Daniel praised Him with the same effort that was used for the prayer.

God gives us wisdom, but it is not an easy thing for us to attain. We must be willing to stay with the Lord and wait for His counsel. We must learn that we cannot stray. We must learn to trust in the Lord in all that we do, both great and small. We must learn to praise God for answered prayers!

We must learn that God is our only source!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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