Why worry about what Jesus has already overcome?

August 10, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
(Matthew 6:25 (NIV))

The pressures of society sure have had an impact on our lives. We worry about having the right education. We worry about having a stable future. We worry about being able to afford the latest and greatest designer clothes or electronic gadgets. We worry far too much! Don’t misunderstand me. There are some things that we should be concerned about, but when we see people standing in line because they are worried that they won’t be the first ones to be able to purchase the latest smart phone, our society has a problem. When we see groups of people in a panic because they are worried about who gets elected, or who got elected, our society has a problem.

Humanity, for the most part, worries about trivial matters.

What is the one thing at this very moment that concerns you the most?

What would be the ramifications if your concerns came to pass?

Would God still be on His throne?

Would Jesus still be your personal Lord and Savior?

Would all of God’s promises still be true?

If something is of concern, do not worry. Pray!

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
(Matthew 6:34 (NIV))

I find it intriguing that the words written in Matthew tell us that each day has enough trouble. It is human nature to not like trouble, to not like conflict. Is that why we worry? Are we simply afraid of the troubles that we think will come?

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))

Why worry about what Jesus has already overcome?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have pure joy in your trials?

June 30, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
(James 1:2-3 (NIV))

Here is another thing that we, as humanity, have problems with. It just doesn’t make sense to us that we should be joyous when we are facing troubles. It is human nature to wallow in self pity when the least little thing doesn’t go our way. We equate joy with happiness and happiness with a life in which everything goes our way. Following that logic, how is it possible that we could experience joy when we should be experience anxiety, anger and frustration?

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
(John 16:33 (NIV))

We have been told by Jesus that following Him would not make the troubles go away. Jesus stressed that we would still have troubles, but that He would be with us to walk through them. We have also been told that we would be persecuted just like He had been persecuted. I know that this sounds strange to the world, but to be tested in our faith and to stand firm is a thing that should bring joy to each and every person who proclaims a faith in Jesus. It is only possible to have joy when we are at peace, even in the midst of trouble. There is only one type of peace that can bring us this joy.

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

Do you have pure joy in your trials?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can you spot the wolves before they attack?

February 7, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.
(John 10:12 (NIV))

Have you ever noticed that sometimes the one from whom the attack comes is not that obvious?

Think about that for a moment.

We are always on the lookout for the wolves that come our way, but not every attack from the enemy will be a direct and an announced attack. We are all on the lookout for the obvious, but are we so acutely aware that many times the attacks come from an unlikely source? Many times the greatest attacks that we will ever face come from sources that are familiar to us. They appear to be safe, and then when we least expect it, they become the source of all of our troubles. These literally are the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Thankfully, Jesus is our good shepherd. He loves us and cares for us. He walks with us and protects us from the attacks of the enemy. He will not abandon us to the ravenous enemy.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
(John 10:11 (NIV))

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—
(John 10:14 (NIV))

Call out to Jesus. Spend the time needed to get to know Him. Take the time to learn His voice. Let Him guide you through the trials and tribulations that you will face in this life. He will show you the wolves in sheep’s clothing!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you here for such a time as this?

October 18, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”
(Esther 4:12-14 (NIV))

Do you ever feel that you are out of place? Do you ever feel that the events that are unfolding around you will leave you alone? Do you feel that if you just ignore the trouble in the world that it will simply go away? We live in what many consider to be interesting times. Still others believe that we are in the last days.

I wonder what Esther thought when everything was going on around her.

She saw God’s people persecuted. She saw a sinister plan start to unfold that would have made it legal in that society to kill all Jewish people and take their possessions. She saw what was beginning to happen and new what could have happened. She would have been safe, for the time being, but she realized that God had her exactly where she needed to be to right the wrong that was about to be done. She was there for “such a time as this.”

Do you identify with Esther in any way?

Maybe you feel that the trouble will miss you. Maybe you feel that it couldn’t truly happen the way that it appears. Maybe you realize that God has created you and placed you exactly where He wants you to fulfill His will in a way that it will impact the lives of those around you.

I have a very serious question to ask. This is a question that you need to pray about and listen for God’s answer. His answer may impact more people than just you.

Are you alive and in your current situation for such a time as this?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Call upon the name of the Lord!

August 30, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Oh, how I wish I had wings like a dove; then I would fly away and rest! I would fly far away to the quiet of the wilderness. How quickly I would escape—far away from this wild storm of hatred.
(Psalms 55:6-8 (NLT))

Did this passage catch you off guard?

We have a habit of thinking that we, in our current society, are the ones who truly need to get away. We think that our lives are so hectic and full of troubles that no one else could possibly understand what we face. I do admit that things seem to be getting worse as far as the troubles, but in the grand scheme of things, every life in every generation since the fall from grace has had troubles. David was no different than you or I in that respect.

We all want to be able to simply leave the burdens, the troubles of the world behind us and get away to a place where we can just soar above the troubles down below.

It is universally human.

David may not have been able to have wings like a dove and fly away to the quiet of the wilderness, but he did know how to rise above his troubles. He called upon the name of the Lord. He sang praises. He lifted up his voice in song and in prayer. He spent time seeking after God’s own heart. He longed for God and in turn, he knew God and trusted that God would be there.

Can we say the same about our lives?

We all know of the things that David faced in his life, from Goliath to running for his life from Saul, yet in all that he faced, David made time to pray and to praise God. He knew where his hope lie. He knew that he had to constantly seek after that hope by seeking after God. Do you think that Goliath was a mere coincidence? Do you think that David was able to survive Saul’s attempts on his life by luck? David may not have physically flown, but he was guided by the hand of God and was protected by the hand of God because he was faithful.

Take an honest look at your life. Do you see a life of praise, prayer and gratitude or do you see a life that needs to move more in line with how David longed for God?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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I pray that my eyes will always be open!

August 19, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked.

“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
(2 Kings 6:15-17 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to think about the impact that prayer has? Have you ever stopped to think that it is your prayers for God’s Will that God may use as the benchmark of whether or not to release the heavenly forces that He has at His command?

God will protect His people. We have seen this in the Scriptures. We have seen it possibly in our own lives.

The passage above makes me realize that God has more waiting for us than we can ever possibly imagine. It only takes faith and prayer to see God’s mighty hand at work.

I often wonder if I were in this situation, how would I have reacted? Would I have had the faith of Elisha or, in all probability, would I have been like his servant?

Can you imagine the fear and panic that the servant felt when he saw that the army had surrounded the city? How would you have reacted? It probably would initially be a very human response, a response that is based on the fight or flight instinct that seems to possess humanity in times of troubles.

Now, put yourself in the servant’s position after his eyes have been opened as an answer to prayer. I honestly believe that shock and awe occurred in this instance long before that phrase became to be known for military strategies in this current age. If you stop to think about this servant, he experienced something that took his faith level off of the charts. I can only imagine the stories he would later tell his friends and family of how God had miraculously saved him.

No matter what the world may send our way, we, as the Body of Christ, must pray that our eyes will be opened to see what the Lord is really doing in each and every situation.

Are your eyes open?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What is your delight?

June 14, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands are my delight.
(Psalms 119:143 (NIV))

In the events that we face in our lives, I don’t know too many people who can’t claim the first part of this passage as their own for we have all had trouble and distress.

But what about the second part?

Are the commands of God your delight?

Even when we face the troubles that the world throws at us, we should rejoice in the commands of God, for these commands lead us to righteous living and to eternal salvation through God’s only Son, Jesus Christ!

We can either delight in God’s commands or we can delight in the ways of the world. The two are diametrically opposite from each other. You cannot embrace both. You must embrace the one and reject the other. Which one you embrace and make your delight is your decision. Keep in mind that a lukewarm decision for God is the same as a decision for the ways of the world. God does not want you to pick and choose which parts of His Word and commands you wish to follow. You cannot be divided.

If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
(Mark 3:24-25 (NIV))

How do you stand?

What is your delight?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What has happened to the human race?

June 13, 2016

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 has happened to the human race?

With what is happening all around the world and with what just happened in this country, what is going on that is driving people to act in such a manner? Regardless of what you think of the lifestyle of the victims, they were children of God and He loves them just as much as He loves those of His children who profess a faith in Jesus. In fact, it is for these people, and all sinners in general, that Jesus came into the world.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

He came to offer a way out of sin. He came to offer mercy and grace.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

You never know when the world will take your life. You never know if the breath that you take will be your last. You never know when the moment will be too late!

Don’t wait until it is too late.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Hebrews 12:2 (NIV))

Turn your eyes upon Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you serious or are you just playing church?

May 17, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
(Revelation 3:21-22 (NIV))

What are the things that you take seriously?

Is it your job, your family, or perhaps it is your reputation? Could it be your finances, your stock portfolio or even your collection of sports memorabilia? Perhaps you take your exercise program seriously. If you stop to think about what you take seriously, what does that say about you and your priorities?

Think about what you do take seriously. For the sake of argument, let’s say that you take your exercise program seriously. You do whatever it takes to make sure that you are at the gym and doing what you feel that you must do. You overcome all obstacles in your way to make sure that you fulfill your priority. You even overcome your physical exhaustion to succeed at the program.

With that fresh in the back of your mind, think about what Jesus was telling the churches in this passage from Revelation. He wants people who have the commitment to overcome. He wants people who will take His Word seriously. He wants people to realize that their commitment to Him as a member of the Body of Christ should be the most serious thing that they ever commit to. After all, Jesus was serious enough to His commitment to His church that He willingly gave His life to build the church.

Every day I see things going on in the world that makes me realize that I need to be fully committed to Jesus. There are troubles in this world that make being a follower of Jesus a risky proposition from a worldly perspective. Just like the person who pushes through the exercise program, we must push through the things of this world and go for all that Jesus has promised. It takes commitment. It takes more than simply sitting in a pew for an hour on Sunday. It takes more than putting a dollar in the collection plate. It takes more than a social appearance to let others see you in church.

It takes more than simply playing church!

Are you focused on being an overcomer?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you follow the world’s plan or God’s plan?

April 20, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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

This world calls for us to do things on our own. A song that was recorded approximately fifty years ago loudly proclaims the motto of the world – I did it my way! All too often those who do it their way, even though they experience some worldly success, eventually end up suffering greatly for the actions that they felt they had to do in order to do it their way. Those who chase after the world are constantly running away from the troubles that they find when running after their worldly goals.

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when men succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
(Psalm 37:7)

God’s plan is much different from the world’s plan. The world tells us to hurry and grab for all the gusto you can, while God’s way tells us to enjoy the world that He has created for us. Nothing in this world is permanent, so nothing that we seek in this world will have lasting value. But, if we wait upon God for His direction, then all things that we focus on will be of God and we will have God on our side and on His timeline.

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
(2 Peter 3:8)

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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