Instead of looking inward, we must look up!

August 19, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
(Proverbs 3:5 (NIV))

Recent events should have me flabbergasted and extremely worried, To be honest with you, there was a time in my life when I would have been beyond worried as I witness and experience the ever increasing uncertainty and evil in this world.

But, now!

But, God!

With all of the events transpiring in the world, I am at peace!

With the never-ending saga of the pandemic, I am at peace!

When the state of the nation and the world seems to be rapidly declining, I am at peace!

When things are on uncertain ground with finances, jobs, health, and whatever else may arise, I am at peace!

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 ‭4:6-7‬ ‭(NIV‬‬))

Do you worry? Do you find yourself in situations where you just can’t see any resolution? As prideful humans, we look inward to find solutions. We think that we can fix anything. We think that we are the masters of our own domains and our own destinies. As a result, we worry. We panic. We lash out at those we love, and nothing gets fixed. Nothing we can do will reduce our worry and give us peace. There is an answer! There is a source for true peace. We just need to look in the correct place.

Instead of looking inward, we must look up!

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

August 13, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
(Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV))

How true this is!

Our understanding of what happens in this physical world is only a small portion of what really happens. Now, consider that all events in the physical world have a corresponding event or series of events in the spiritual realm, and you soon realize that our understanding is practically nothing.

I once heard a commentary in which T.S. Elliot asked God why his wife had been taken from him in death. God told him that he could explain it to him, but he would not understand it. Think about that in the context of education and comprehension. Can you imagine a nuclear physicist telling an infant how things work at the atomic level. He could explain it all he wants, but the capability to understand is not there. The same is true of how things happen in this world. God could explain them, but we are as infants and lack the capability to understand. We are limited by our current state.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
(1 Corinthians 13:12 (ESV))

Consider how an infant must trust his or her parents for everything that they need. When we realize that we are truly infants in the faith and in our understanding, we soon come to the conclusion that all things work together if we simply trust in the Lord.

We must be as infants and trust in God to lead us and guide us in His truth just as an infant loves and trusts their parents. We learn as we go. We take a step and look back to see if God is still there. We take a few more steps and realize that He is walking at our side. We take a few more steps and realize that He is leading and guiding us.

It all starts with trust!

Do you trust in the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Hope, joy and peace come from trusting the Lord!

July 22, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
(Romans 15:13 (NIV))

With the current state of the world, we need hope. We need joy, and we need peace!

Can you imagine how people who don’t profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior are coping with what we have been facing? Even members of the Body of Christ can sometimes begin to feel the weight of the world crashing down on us, and we have the hope we have been given through Jesus to cling to! Can you imagine the weight that others are feeling when they have no hope to cling to?

We are all familiar with the often used saying that when things are looking down, look up. To be honest with you, I see more and more people boldly proclaiming their faith through social media than I have ever seen. It may just be the algorithms that are used, but it appears that over fifty percent of what I see is people sharing faith based content. I take this as an indication that people are spending more time in God’s Word and are clinging to the truth that it contains. People are looking up! Or, should I say that they are looking down into the pages of their Bibles? Can we take this as a sign that people are lifting their hearts and their hands to heaven? Can we take this as a sign the people are lifting up prayers to the Lord?

For those of us who cling to the promises that are “yes” in Jesus, we have hope. We have joy, and we have peace. We also have an assignment!

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV))

And, the harvest fields are ripe to hear the Gospel!

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
(Isaiah 6:8 (NIV))

There has never been a better time to share the Gospel of Jesus. The time may be short and for those who don’t trust in the Lord, we may be the only people who will share. We must tell them the truth!

Hope, joy and peace come from trusting the Lord!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the Lord truly your refuge?

May 20, 2021

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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))

With the escalation of all that has been happening in the world over the last several years, and especially this last year, have you taken refuge in the Lord?

I find great pleasure in the fact that the Lord is our refuge in times of trouble, especially since we seem to be facing troubles like we have never seen before. Based on Ezekiel, Daniel and Revelation, many people firmly believe that these troubles are just beginning. No matter what we may face in this world, we must keep our eyes on Jesus. We must remember the things that He has told us. We must cling to the promises that He has given us. We must turn our attention away from the troubles of this world and look to the One who created this world and the One who is unfolding His plan to restore this 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))

How is your relationship with the Lord? Do you completely trust in Him? Do you turn to Him in times of trouble? Perhaps I should ask if that is the only time that you turn to the Lord. Do you go about your life with no thought of God until times get bad? Do you only turn to the Lord when you want something or when you need the Lord to rescue you? If this is your idea of a relationship built on trusting the Lord, you may find yourself in for a surprise.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV))

Do you do the will of the Father? Do you spend enough time with the Father to even know what His will is? Do you spend enough time in His Word to truly know His heart? Do you truly know Jesus as your personal Savior and also as your Lord, for when you call someone Lord, they are in authority over you. When you call someone Lord, you have a responsibility to obey. When you call someone Lord, you can turn to them for refuge and shelter.

Is the Lord truly your refuge?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you trust in the Lord?

April 12, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.
(Proverbs 29:25 (NIV))

Do you fear the events of the world?

Think carefully about that question before you answer, for the events of the world are all caused by man. God foretold of them, but what is playing out is the direct result of our sinful, fallen nature. Wars and rumors of wars are all caused by human nature. Calling evil good and good evil is a direct result of our rebellious, sinful nature. I could go on, but everything since Satan deceived Adam and Eve has been a direct result of our sinful, fallen nature.

Back to the events of the world. Do you fear COVID? Do you fear the vaccine? Do you fear lawlessness and hatred? Do you fear evil? Do you fear war? Is your fear increasing as these things and many more increase in the world? What does that say about where you are focusing your attention and your trust?

If you focus on the world, we lose hope. All that we see and will see is the ever-increasing sin and rebellion of humanity. We must focus our minds, our hearts and our spirits on the one thing that will allow us to overcome the world.

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

When we look at the world, we know fear. When we look to Jesus, we know peace. Where do you look? What do you desire to know? Where do you desire to place your trust?

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 an overcomer?

Do you trust in the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t trust in any other name!

April 8, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.
(Matthew 24:23 (NIV))

I saw something just a few days ago that made me stop in my tracks. Since then, I have seen many more things that confirm what I saw.

You may want to sit down for this!

Many of the rabbis in Israel, including whom I have been told is one of the top rabbis, are saying that their Messiah is here. I have seen videos coming out of Israel of a man whom they are proclaiming is their Messiah. He was praying at the Western Wall and a very large crowd of men were gathered around him. Everyone was trying to touch him. He even sat down and the rabbis were kissing his hand as they passed him in procession! I’ve done some research and some of my findings indicate that this man may be half Jewish and half Muslim. They are even calling him the son of David. And, he is thirty years old!

I honestly don’t know what to think of these events!

As the Body of Christ, we must remember what Jesus told us in Matthew. We must remember the writings that tell us that the next time that Jesus returns He will come as a conquering hero. He will split the Mount of Olives as He descends!

On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.
(Zechariah 14:4 (NIV))

We must stay focused on Jesus and not be fooled by people proclaiming that the Messiah is here. He has already been here and was rejected. He was already here and was crucified, died and was buried. He arose on the third day. When He ascended into heaven, angels foretold of His return.

“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
(Acts 1:11 (NIV))

Every day I see more and more that has me apprehensive and fearful for those who have not accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, for it appears that time is running out. At the same time, I am filled with joy at the prospect of the very soon return of Jesus to gather His church. As His church, we must stay focused on Jesus for He is the true Messiah. We must know what He has told us of the events of the times. We must know God’s Word so well that we will not be tricked into believing that their is another Messiah.

Jesus is

“‘the stone you builders rejected,
     which has become the cornerstone.’

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
(Acts 4:11-12 (NIV))

Don’t trust in any other name!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you possess the eagerness of the Bereans?

January 26, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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))

To put this concept into context with something that was said about 40 years ago, “Trust but verify!”

The Bereans believed what Paul told them, but they took it one step further. They searched the Scriptures to verify the truth and they found it to be exactly as Paul taught. Do we do as much? Do we listen to someone in a pulpit and take what they say as truth, or do we search the Scriptures to verify for ourselves? Do we use these weekly teachings as a springboard to dive deeper into God’s Word? Do we study and follow God’s leading to wherever it may go, or do we only rely on human teachers to tell us what we need to know?

In other words, do you hunger to know the truth of God’s Word?

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
(Psalms 34:8a (NIV))

If you truly hunger for God’s Word, an hour every Sunday will not satisfy that appetite. It will become a craving that can only be satisfied by spending more and more time in the presence of the Lord and in His Word. You will find yourself doing what the Bereans did. You will read and study and cross reference and pray and take notes and then start all over again as you discover a new truth that the Lord has waiting for you!

A little over twenty years ago, I was working from home. I have multiple computers on my desk and this particular day found me with only one computer actually turned on. Imagine my surprise when the second computer just turned on and a web browser opened up and loaded a site with what they claimed was over 30,000 pages of Bible prophecy and proof that the Bible was true. The site was put together by an atheist who set out to prove that the Bible wasn’t true. By the time that he finished his research, he was no longer an atheist. I spent the rest of that day and several others following his study and his proof. I was a good Berean and verified for myself as I read what he wrote. Ever since that day, which still gives me chills when I think about it, I have found myself digging deeper than I ever thought I would. I read books and watch videos and verify as I go. I have a physical Bible, but I have come to rely on a Bible software that allows me to cross reference every single translation that there is. At present, I am drawn to read from the 1599 Geneva Bible translation, even with the 420 year old spellings.

I am not saying this to brag, but to use as an example of how once we taste and see that the Lord is good, we should desire more and more of Him. How can we truly know the Lord if our only exposure to Him is through the words of someone else? Think about that for a moment. Think about Paul and his testimony of being the perfect Jew before his Damascus Road experience. The Bereans probably knew of Paul’s history, yet they chose to not simply believe what he told them. They eagerly studied and verified for themselves!

Do you possess the eagerness of the Bereans?

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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Do you fully rely on the Lord?

October 21, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
(Psalms 23:4 (ESV))

Has this year felt like this valley to you?

In the face of everything that is going on in the world and with the near misses that we see coming at the world, it is easy to find yourself fearful. To be honest with you, I don’t understand how people who don’t trust in Jesus are making it. Lies abound, and we all know who is the father of lies. Fear abounds. If you don’t believe me, simply walk into a grocery store without a mask. You will see those who are wearing a mask stop and look at you like you have two heads. Most will do all that they can do to stay away from you. Anger and violence abound. Depending on the angle of the cameras reporting these instances, they are either peaceful protesters or they are full blown riots. Usually, it is the very same event being portrayed.

Evil is running rampant. Common sense, mutual respect and decency appear to no longer exist. Child trafficking is taking place. It is not safe for women with small children to be out. Arrogance seems to control the day. People will look you in the eye and tell you that they never did something while there is recorded footage of them doing what they vehemently deny.

Thankfully, we have a place of refuge in the midst of all of this chaos and evil. We can turn to the Lord for He is the Good Shepherd. His rod is a weapon of defense against the evils that surround us. His staff is a tool of rescue. It is used to lead and guide us through the evils of this world.

Do you trust in the Lord to protect you? Do you trust in the Lord to be your place of refuge? For those who love the Lord, we have been promised this and so much more.

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 fully rely on the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
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We must confidently cling to Jesus!

September 25, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
(Hebrews 10:35-36 (NIV))

Do you think of yourself as a confident person? Does this confidence extend to your hope and trust in Jesus?

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

In other words, do you think that your faith is solid? Are you still standing firm on the solid rock that is Jesus Christ?

With everything that the world has gone through, are you still able to proclaim your confidence and your faith in Jesus? I don’t profess to know everyone’s situation, but as for me, this year has been strange. Everyone in my family has faced something way beyond the ordinary from college classes from home, to quarantining, and even to a confirmed case. I see families that have been devastated. Unfortunately, I have seen lives lost. I have seen social unrest and violence that just doesn’t make sense. I have seen calls for the police to be defunded and then the very same people are complaining when no one responds to a 911 call. I have seen wars and rumors of wars, and perhaps the single most interesting thing that I have seen is a peace treaty between Israel and several Arab nations. On the surface, the peace treaty sounds wonderful, but, have you read anything about a peace treaty just like this in the Bible?

There is so much going on in the world. If you are not firmly rooted in God’s Word and understand God’s ultimate plan, then your confidence and faith can be seriously impacted. Your outlook is based on the events of the world from a human perspective and not from God’s perspective as laid out in His Word. If you are firmly rooted in God’s Word, then you understand that when you see these things unfolding, you will know exactly what to do.

There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.
(Luke 21:25-28 (NIV))

I realize that there is some disagreement on these events, but lets take them at face value. There have been signs with eclipses, blood moons and what many are calling the Revelation 12 sign. In addition, we are seeing earth “near-misses” being reported and predicted. Nations are in anguish. People groups are in anguish. This year has seen more hurricanes than I can remember in one season, and it has just started. The only thing that I see that hasn’t come at us full force is the shaking of the heavenly bodies. Is it time to look up?

We have two basic reactions. We can look at the world and panic, or we can look at the world from a Biblical perspective no matter what we may face and faithfully and confidently proclaim that Jesus is Lord!

We must confidently cling to Jesus!

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