Are you facing persecution for your faith?

May 26, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.
(John 15:20 (NIV))

Many people have taught that to follow Jesus means no troubles in this world and that you will be blessed with abundance in all that you do and in worldly possessions.

This teaching is not what Jesus spoke of!

Can we expect more than what was shown to Jesus when He walked the earth? To be truly like Jesus, we need to accept the fact that we will have troubles.

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33b (NIV))

When a believer faces hardship or persecution, it should be a witness to others about our faith in Jesus Christ. We will face hardship and persecution, but how we face it is what makes us different from the world.

Will your actions during hardship convict you of being a disciple of Jesus?

Are you facing persecution for your faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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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Are you strong in the Lord?

March 23, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
(Ephesians 6:10 (NIV))

Do you consider yourself to be strong?

I realize that is a very vague question, especially when you consider that you can be physically strong, emotionally strong, spiritually strong, and financially strong, just to name a few. With that in mind, perhaps the better question is where do your strengths lie? Did you find yourself thinking that you are pretty good at this or that, only to be reminded that what you were thinking of is not something that you can do at full perfection, at full strength, every single moment of your life? Did this lead to a life altering conclusion in which you admitted to yourself that you are not as strong as you thought you were?

Keep in mind that it takes a strong person to admit that they are weak!

Have you truly considered that in order to be strong in the Lord, you have to admit that you are weak and in need of His strength? I honestly believe that this works the exact same way as when we admitted that we were a sinner in need of a Savior. We can’t do it on our own. Our strength is not sufficient! We must come to the conclusion that we must rely on a power that is far greater than we could ever be.

Our strength comes when we admit that we must fully rely on the Lord for everything that we do. Our strength comes when we admit that we truly are a sinner in need of a Savior. Our strength comes when we admit that we cannot face this world without Him.

“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))

Do you fully rely on the Lord to overcome this world?

What else do you fully rely on the Lord for?

Do you cling to the words that Paul wrote to the church at Corinth?

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV))

Are you strong in the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Happy New Year to those who desire to overcome!

December 31, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“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))

Are you at peace with what is going on in the world?

What does your answer tell you about your relationship with Jesus?

I realize that we are only human and we live in the physical world, but if we have accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, then we do not truly live here. This world is not our home. We are only passing through. Our true home is an eternity spent with Jesus!

My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
(John 14:2-3 (NIV))

Let me present a question for your consideration.

If you were on a journey to get home and you saw terrible thing along the way, would you forget that you were going home and focus on the troubles along the way?

Sadly, that is what too many people who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior end up doing. We focus on the troubles in this world and lose our focus on Jesus. It is true that we do have to live in this world, but we must remember that what we see unfolding is all part of God’s plan. As such, we must keep our eyes focused on Jesus, for when we focus on Jesus all the troubles of this world seem to fade away.

As we face the upcoming new year, it is my prayer that each of us can keep our focus where it should be.

Happy New Year to those who desire to overcome!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t listen to the world. Trust in the Lord!

August 23, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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))

What do you listen to most of the time?

Do you listen to what the world tells you? Do you fall prey to the fearmongering that the world tries to sell us? Does the world have you so worried and troubled that you have no peace of mind? With all that is going on in the world right now, it is so easy to focus on the troubles in this world, but we must never forget the one who has overcome the world!

Don’t get me wrong. We need to be aware of what is going on in the world, but we don’t need to make it the center of our attention. We need to focus on Jesus. We have all done something where we change our visual depth of field by focusing on what is far away. When that happens, what is close is still there, it is just out of focus. If we focus on what is close, then what is far away becomes out of focus. We also have a spiritual depth of field. When we focus on the troubles, they become the primary thing we see and Jesus gets fuzzy and unclear. When we focus on Jesus, He becomes the clarity that we need and the troubles in this world, even though they are still there, become less of a focus. We can acknowledge them, but at the same time we can rest assured that everything is in His control!

When we focus on Jesus, we listen to His voice. We listen to His truth. When we focus on Jesus, we hear His reassurances that He has overcome the world. It is time to change our focus. It is time to change what we truly listen to! What do you find yourself listening to?

Don’t listen to the world. Trust in the Lord!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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He is our one true hope!

July 16, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
      Why so disturbed within me?
   Put your hope in God,
      for I will yet praise him,
      my Savior and my God.
(Psalms 43:5 (NIV))

It seems that people turn to God in times of trouble, only to turn away when things begin to get better. Think back a few years ago to the aftermath of September 11, 2001. Churches were filled with people praying. Where did they all go? Why are they still not there? It seems that when tragedy hits, people realize that they are not in control, but arrogance soon takes over once things begin to return to normal. People tend to forget God in the good times.

I find it interesting that the psalmist wrote about what seems to be the opposite scenario. He praised God during the good times, thanking Him for all that He has done. When things begin to go less than desirably, he wanted to grovel. He was depressed. He was sad. It sounds like he almost turned away from God. He wanted to forget God in the bad times.

Both scenarios are common place. We are an arrogant, yet fickle creation. We have been blessed with individuality, but sometimes that can be our biggest problem. Don’t get me wrong. God created us to be individuals. He created each of us to be unique in all of creation. He cherishes our individuality. It is through this individuality that we each must learn to earnestly seek God, even when we feel like turning from Him. We need to make it an every day occurrence and not just at the times in our lives that are contrary to our natures. For some, this is when we lose control. For others, it is when things are going good. Perhaps it is simply a matter of our personality, but regardless of how God created us, we are to praise Him in all things.

Carefully consider how long a marriage would last if one person only turned to the other for just a few days a month. Now, consider your relationship with God through Jesus. Do you turn to God in much the same manner?

Do you praise God at all times for being your Savior and your God?

He is our one true hope!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you filled with confidence and assurance?

November 12, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

With everything that is going on in the world, we see countless things that go against everything that we hope for. We see so much that goes against what God calls righteous and good. It has come to a point that many may begin to wonder if they have misplaced their faith. It is so easy to become blinded to the truth if all that we focus on are the lies of the world!

I have found myself focusing on faith quite often lately. The topic comes to mind every time that I see more news about the current state of our nation and the world. I have to remind myself that even though God created this world, it has been turned over to sin and depravity. We may find fleeting glimpses of beauty, but the true beauty has long faded and deteriorated from what God first created. It is at these moments that I remind myself of the truth that we may live in this world but we are not of this world. We must never lose sight of this truth. We must forever keep our eyes fixed on Jesus!

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.
(1 John 2:15-16 (NIV))

What we are seeing is a direct result of the love of the world. Stand firm, for we are not of this world. Life is a gift. That gift was tarnished and corrupted. We may see hardships. We may even experience hardships, but we must remember that this physical world is not what is important. No matter what we may face in this world, what matters is that we keep our eyes focused on Jesus, for where we focus is where we get our strength.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
(2 Corinthians 4:7-9 (NIV))

If we can stay focused on Jesus, then we can inherit His authority over the world.

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))

Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
(1 John 5:5 (NIV))

Are you filled with confidence and assurance?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is Jesus your Lord and your Savior?

August 20, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
(Romans 10:9 (NIV))

Can you count to two?

If these were the rules for a contest, reading the requirements for participating would be over very quickly. Still, so many people have trouble with this. Do you?

God wanted to, and perhaps He even felt that He needed to make this as simple as possible since we are only human. After all, we only had one instruction in the Garden of Eden. We were not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and we blew that.

I realize that I am being a little condescending, but in all reality, it is a simple process to gain God’s grace and mercy. We must start with an acknowledgment that we are sinners in need of a Savior. Once we come to that realization, then the rest is simple.

Declare with your mouth.

Believe in your heart.

Do your heart and your mouth make this declaration?

Is Jesus your Lord and your Savior?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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There is no fear for those who trust in Jesus!

August 19, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I originally shared the following back in October, 2012. Since then, I think that you will agree with me that things have escalated and we need to keep our eyes focused on Jesus!

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
(2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NIV))

I want you to read those words again.

I had to stop and read them again, and I was surprised at how much that I have taken these words for granted. These words jolted me back to reality.

I want you to be honest with yourself. Have the events of the world started to have an impact on your faith? Do you look upon what is going on and think that there is no way out of the problems that we see? Have you begun to feel the pressure? Have you felt despair and abandonment? Have you come close to having your faith destroyed by the events in this world?

It is so easy to feel all of these if you take your eyes off of Jesus.

“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))

Jesus gives us relief when we are pressed. He gives us hope when we are perplexed. He gives us someplace to take refuge when we are persecuted. He will not allow the enemy to destroy us.

If Jesus does all of this for us, then why do we still find ourselves fearful of what the world, and the enemy, throws at us?

Perhaps it is due to worldly examples that we have had with respect to trust. I know that it is difficult to trust if you have had that trust broken in the past. It is difficult to comprehend the unfailing love of Jesus if your experience with love has been bad. It is difficult to understand that Jesus will not abandon you if you have had people walk out on you in the past.

Sadly enough, far too many people find themselves in one, if not all, of these types of situations. Life can throw things at us that are difficult to comprehend and as a result, many project their worldly experiences and expectations upon Jesus. Let’s face reality. We are all human and are all sinners. Even those of us who have been fortunate to be around people whom they can trust, things happen. I suppose that many people unknowingly live by the motto, “Trust but verify.”

Jesus is not like that. He will never let you down. He will never abandon you. He is the Good Shepherd.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
(John 3:16-17 (NIV))

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
(1 John 4:18 (NIV))

There is no fear for those who trust in Jesus!

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

July 31, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
(1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (NIV))

This passage stirs up controversy!

What do you interpret this passage to be talking about? Do you see this as an indication of what has become known as the Rapture? I realize that some people say that this word is not in this passage and not in the Bible at all. Some believe that the Rapture is a concept that was first introduced only about one hundred years ago. If you look at the original Greek from two thousand years ago, the word that is used is harpazo and it literally means catching away. Still, I understand that many people are leery of believing in something that is not that clearly defined or explained.

I ran across something today that I have read many times over, yet, something clicked today that I had never paid attention to before.

Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.
(Revelation 3:10 (NIV))

In this letter to the church in Philadelphia, John was instructed to tell them that Jesus knew their deeds were true to the Gospel and that they waited and endured the world while staying focused on Jesus. John also wrote what the reward would be for fulfilling this command. Jesus had John tell them that they would be kept from facing the hour of trial that is coming to the whole earth!

The hour of trial.

The time of trouble.

Tribulation.

All of these speak of the same period of time in God’s plan.

According to what Jesus told John to write, those who patiently endure will not go through this.

Are you waiting patiently?

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