Always keep your eyes on Jesus!

October 4, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
(1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (NIV))

Do you believe that this is true?

Do you look forward to the day that this will happen?

According to a recent article posted on a large news network’s site, if you fear this, then you are suffering from rapture anxiety. The article states that this is recognized by “some” faith experts and mental health experts as a type of religious trauma.

Do you feel traumatized?

The article equates this to a “scary campfire story.”

Do you feel scared?

They even tried to equate this with fear and rejection!

Are you fearful? Do you feel rejected?

The article proceeded to say that many feel that the church no longer matches their personal values!

There is so much wrong with this on so many levels. I am not even going to dig into these comments and provide a Biblical rebuttal. If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior and you hold fast to Biblical truths, then you can draw your own conclusions. My concern, and the concerns of many others as well, is that this is just a precursor to persecution of those who hold fast to Biblical truths. If someone who rejects Biblical teaching can claim that they suffered mental health issues because of the truth, then that opens things up for who knows what, including persecution of anyone who professes a faith in Jesus and His return! Many countries are now saying that sharing the Gospel is a hate crime!

We definitely are living in some very interesting times. Don’t let the world sway you. Don’t let the fear of persecution make your faith falter. We have nothing to fear. If we profess a faith in Jesus, we are made sons and daughters of the Living God! He doesn’t change for us. We approach Him in humble repentance! His truth is eternal. We approach Him only through the cross and Him crucified!

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

Always keep your eyes on Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus is all of these and more!

August 24, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
(Philippians 4:8 (NIV))

It is difficult to find anything in this world that fulfills one of these traits, let alone all of them.

When was the last time that you encountered something that was true and also praiseworthy?

Have you ever encountered something that was noble as well as excellent?

Is there anything in this world that you consider to be right that is also admirable?

Have you ever met anyone who is lovely and is also pure of heart?

I just stated a few of the possible combinations, and I think that it is safe to say that you probably have not been able to think of anything that comes close to meeting these simple combinations of traits. If you doubt that, just look at the combination of lovely and pure of heart. Most people who the world considers lovely and far from pure of heart. Vanity, ego and self love are the usual traits that go with this outward trait of loveliness. I honestly don’t think that I need to go into details about the other combinations, for they are also difficult to achieve.

But, . . .

There is One who fits these characteristics and is worthy of our thoughts and praise! His name is Jesus! There is none like Him. He is fully God. He is fully man. He is the bright morning star. He is our Lord. He is our redeemer. He is our Savior, and He is sitting at the right hand of God the Father. He alone is worthy. He alone is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy!

Jesus is all of these and more!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Turn to the Lord!

August 11, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

God is our refuge and strength,
     an ever-present help in trouble.
(Psalms 46:1 (NIV))

How true this is!

We have a refuge from the storms of this life. God is always there to turn to no matter what our life is bringing to us or what the sinful, fallen world is sending our way. Whether we need to turn to God for safety and refuge or whether we turn to God in celebration, He is always there to turn to. He will never abandon those who earnestly seek Him and call upon His Son, Jesus Christ for salvation.

God is good all the time!

Do you earnestly seek Him? Do you truly desire the things that He promises over the things of this world?

If you simply look at the things of this world and have no other point of reference, there are some things that look appealing. I know that you have looked. What person hasn’t looked? What are the things that initially caught your attention in this world? There are things that we all like such as nice homes, nice cars, enough money to do what you want when you want, and the respect of those around you, but are these things the source of your strength or have they caused you more trouble than you care to admit? Even those who have these things still have troubles. In fact, I remember talking to someone about these things when I was in my mid-twenties. His reply to me was that having these things didn’t make your troubles go away. They just got bigger. A nice house and nice cars just lead to the same thing – headache! The only difference is the size of the headache, the size of the trouble.

With that in mind, no matter the size of your trouble, simply remember that God is our refuge. He is our strength. He alone is our help in trouble, and at this moment in time, the whole world is facing trouble. Pandemics, weather issues, extreme temperatures, supply chaine problems, food shortages, wars and rumors of wars are all signs of the troubles that the whole world is facing. We have had times of great wars and times of pandemics. We have had times of localized food shortages and weather, but we have never had things worldwide with the prospect of things of Biblical proportion. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I rest assured that I have placed my faith and trust solely in the Lord.

When things in life are tough, take refuge in the Lord.

When things in life are tough, find strength in the Lord.

When things in life are tough, seek help from the Lord.

It is often said that life is tough, so that only leaves one possible conclusion.

Turn to the Lord!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you participate in true and proper worship?

July 26, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
(Romans 12:1 (NIV))

I want you to read that passage again and let it sink in.

If we profess a faith in Jesus, we are called to leave behind the things of this world. We are called to leave behind the sin that had us enslaved. We are called to repent and follow Jesus in all that we do!

Have you ever truly considered what that looks like in relation to this passage?

When the sacrificial system was in place at the temple in Jerusalem, the animals that were to be sacrificed were to be spotless. They were to be perfect with no blemishes or defects. How do we offer our bodies as a living sacrifice if we are to offer our best to God?

Do we let our bodies get obese if we can control it?

Do we fill our bodies with alcohol and drugs?

Do we abuse our bodies in ways that cause harm?

Take a look at your life and how you treat your body. Is it pleasing to God?

Do you participate in true and proper worship?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Fill your thoughts with things that are righteous in God’s eyes.

June 7, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.
(Philippians 4:8 (NIV))

What do you think about? What thoughts come into mind when nothing else is there to distract you? What crosses your mind when there is no work or family or other issues that must be addressed?

What do you spend your time doing when you are all alone?

Are you proud of your answers to these questions?

Would Jesus approve of your answers?

It is so easy to slip into habits that are not righteous. It is easy to slip into things that go against the fruit of the Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
(Galatians 5:22-26 (NIV))

We are all familiar with the acronym “WWJD.” What would Jesus do is something that we should always ask ourselves, not only in our interactions with others, but also in our own thoughts and actions. It is our thoughts that often lead to our actions. If we think on things, it is human nature to take action. Be careful what you think about.

Fill your thoughts with things that are righteous in God’s eyes.

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What do you find is on your mind?

January 26, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
(Philippians 4:8 (NIV))

If ever there was a time to take these words to heart, that time is now. With all that is going on in the world, we need to focus, we must focus, on what the Lord calls true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. We must focus on things that are contrary to what the world tells us are important. We are at the time, and I honestly believe that we have been there for a while, when good is called evil and evil is called good. In fact, I just saw a news report that claims a European country has now labeled quoting Bible passages as hate speech.

Does that surprise you?

Do you think that things will get better in this world?

Do you think that you are safe because of where you live?

Take a look around you. What do you see? Is it anything like what you remember when you were much younger? Is it anything like what you remember from just a few short years ago? Do things appear to be rapidly accelerating with the impending end result that professing a faith in Jesus finds you being persecuted and possibly executed? This is happening in many countries. We think that it can’t happen where we live, but did we think that we would be where we are just a few short years ago?

“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))

This world is in a mess. If you study God’s Word, you know how it ends. Personally, I never thought that what I am seeing unfold right before me would have happened in my lifetime. It is time to focus on Jesus. He is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV))

We have a promise that no matter what we may face in this world, the peace of God will guard our hearts if we focus on Jesus.

What do you find is on your mind?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God worked miracles to redeem us to Himself!

December 9, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
(Matthew 2:13 (NIV))

Read this passage again and tell me that you don’t think the intrigue, the mystery, the suspense and the action are far better than any movie script that could ever be written!

Society flocks to movies that have far less viable story lines. Too many people will consistently follow these movies while saying that the Bible isn’t true. In one breath they claim that the events told of in the Bible couldn’t be true and in the very next breath they speak of fictional movie characters and their actions as if they were real. It is often said that the Bible is the greatest story ever told. Think about that for a moment. We have the ultimate good versus the ultimate evil. We have conflict. We have rebellion. We have the greatest falling away that has ever happened, and we have redemption. We also have the promise of the final victory over evil.

And, it’s all true!

What is written in Matthew tells us of the miracles that God performed when He came to this world to become our Savior. Humanity fell from grace and God came to save us.

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. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

God worked miracles to redeem us to Himself!

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.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you prepared to obey God?

March 2, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!”
(Acts 5:29 (NIV))

With everything that is going on in the world, do you believe that this is still true?

When you have governments telling people that the churches must close, is this still true?

When you have people saying anything is valid except professing a faith in Jesus, is this still true?

I am sure that I could keep finding examples where some form of human organization is telling us that we must obey them and not obey God. I used to believe that the time was coming that we would be called to make a decision, but now I believe that the time is here!

If you are told to stop worshipping Jesus, who do you obey?

If you are told to stay away from church or get arrested, who would you obey?

If you are told to swear your allegiance to an evil, authoritarian government, who would you obey?

What is your decision?

It is time to pray for discernment and understanding of God’s Will. We must dive deeper into God’s Word and seek His truth. We must see the world through God’s eyes and stand against anything that He calls evil.

Are you prepared to obey God?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do we listen to His voice?

December 16, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
(John 10:1-3 (NIV))

Whom do you follow?

Whom do you trust?

All throughout history humanity has been deceived by one lie after another. Why do we look for something and expect it to be as promised when we can’t verify the credibility of the source? There is only one source that is credible. There is only one source that knows us by name. There is only one source that enters through the gate.

Why must people make it so difficult?

Why do people take a look at what Jesus teaches and tell themselves that it cannot be that simple? Why do they think that it will work for everyone else except them? Why do they listen to those who have come into their lives through something other than the “gate?” Why do we, as humanity, prefer to listen to the thief and the robber? Is this the same desire or gullibility that has allowed con men and the proverbial snake oil salesmen?

What is it about human nature that makes us want to look for an alternative when we are told that there is only one way? Why do we want to test the warning signs that boldly proclaim danger, yet ignore the wisdom and direction that leads to life?

With Christmas rapidly approaching, why do so many ignore the gift that God gave to His creation? Why do we look for alternatives to what God has given?

Perhaps it is due to the old saying, “It is too good to be true.”

Think about that. Our society has been telling us for a while that we must beware of things that are too good to be true, because they are not true. I honestly believe that our society has become jaded by this and now, too many apply this to faith in Jesus.

Jesus is not too good to be true! He is the truth.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
(John 14:6-7 (NIV))

Jesus is the shepherd. He enters through the gate. He knows our names. He calls us out.

Do we listen to His voice?

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