Don’t focus on the things of this world!

June 14, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie
(2 Thessalonians 2:11 (NIV))

Is it just me, or are more and more people believing the lies of the enemy?

Have you ever stopped to consider why God would send a powerful delusion? I recently heard an explanation for this, and it is not because God has forsaken these people. It is because these individuals have made up their minds and they have forsaken God and His truths. They have completely rejected God and His offer of salvation. They love their sin more than they love themselves, and more importantly, they hate God.

They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
(2 Thessalonians 2:10b (NIV))

In my lifetime, I have seen lifestyle choices go from an attitude of shock to one of encouragement. I have seen a faith in Jesus go from a public embrace to a public ridicule. I have seen far more than these things and all of them are so much on the increase that it makes my head spin. It is for these reasons that I asked if more and more people are believing the lies of the enemy. Are we seeing the parable of the wheat and the tares unfolding right before our eyes?

My heart is heavy for those who have rejected God. We are now seeing that those who reject God are not even willing to have a conversation. They are so completely overrun with hatred of anything that speaks of God’s righteousness. Sadly, it appears that they have made their decision. As followers of Christ, we are called to make disciples, but we are also told that we are to draw the proverbial line in the sand.

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))

Don’t focus on the things of this world!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Why do people still try to find another way?

April 26, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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))

It couldn’t be said any clearer. There is only one way to the Father, only one way to heaven, and His name is Jesus!

Muhammad can’t save you. Confucius can’t save you. Buddha can’t save you. Mary can’t save you. Wealth can’t save you. Power can’t save you. Good works can’t save you, and you surely can’t save yourself.

The problem is that people don’t want to believe this or they think it is too simple. They think that something more must be done and they that must do it. In other words, they feel that they must earn salvation. That is where the other ways that people come up with all fail. Everything is based on works and salvation is a gift only given by God through Jesus.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
(Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV))

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 4:12 (NIV))

By definition, a gift is something that is voluntarily transferred from one person to another without any payment or compensation. It is a one way transaction where the recipient receives what the gift giver is giving. Nothing is owed in return. Does this sound like we have to work for it? Does this sound like we have to earn what we have been freely given?

This gift is given out of love!

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))

I want to present a scenario if I may. Imagine that an invitation was sent out to everyone inviting them to attend a party in a glorious mansion. The invitation was sent out through the son of the owner, and the only stipulation was that the people invited had to accept the invitation from the son. The son would be checking the list at the door to see if he had recorded your name in the registry of attendees as having accepted his invitation. Nothing could be simpler, yet, there will still be those who try to crash the party. There will still be those who try to break in through a back door. Sadly, they will be rejected even though all that they had to do was accept the invitation from the son and they would have been able to gain entry.

Trying to get to the Father in any other way but Jesus is like trying to crash a party. You will not be able to gain entrance.

Why do people still try to find another way?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you standing firm and fully ready?

March 17, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
(Ephesians 6:14-15 (NIV))

What do you envision when you think of standing firm?

Most people think of being resolute and immovable. They think of bracing for impact from an onslaught or attack. They think of never surrendering. They think of taking a stand and being willing to sacrifice all for that stance.

Have you ever thought of readiness as a characteristic of standing firm?

From a physical standpoint, when you make a decision to stand firm, that does not mean that you simply become a statue. Your senses are heightened. You constantly adjust back and forth on your feet and you stay alert and focused. Truly making a decision to stand firm is so much more than simply digging in and trying to present yourself as an immovable object. You are probably more alert than you have ever been. You are probably more agile than you have ever been, and you are probably more committed than you have ever been.

Based on this, if we stand firm in our faith in Jesus, we do not simply dig in our heals and wait for the enemy to overrun us. We prepare! We arm ourselves with His Word and we are constantly on the lookout for the attacks of the enemy, no matter how subtle.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
(Ephesians 6:13 (NIV))

How is your armor fitting?

Does God’s Word shield you from the attacks of the enemy or are you still trying to step into the protective power that is ours through His Word? Better yet, have you taken it to the next level where you are ready to fully embrace the power of His Word to defeat the enemy? Do you know how to defeat the enemy? That is something that everyone who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior must be ready to do.

Call upon His Name!

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
      in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
      to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:10-11 (NIV))

Call upon the name of Jesus in power and authority. God’s Word is our armor and the name of Jesus is our weapon to overcome the enemy!

Are you standing firm and fully ready?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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We must listen to God’s Word and repent!

February 23, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Again and again I sent my servants the prophets, who said, ‘Do not do this detestable thing that I hate!’
(Jeremiah 44:4 (NIV))

The Lord spoke through Jeremiah and all of the other prophets and nobody listened. Is the Lord speaking to us today through His prophets? If so, have we become too jaded by our so-called intellectual superiority that we find ourselves doing the very same thing that was done by the people that God sent the prophets to? Do we keep doing the detestable thing that God hates? Can we even recognize when someone speaks God’s truth, or have we become so engrossed in our selfishness, ego and pride that we don’t even know His truth when it is right in front of us?

Do we, do you, look to Jesus?

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))

Have we become so comfortable in our faith in Jesus that we start slacking in our attention to His truth? Do we take our salvation for granted and assume that all is forgiven even if we continue to sin? Have we forgotten how to repent?

Think about that last question!

God sent the prophets to Israel when they started to fall away. Some people still thought that they were being faithful, but they still worshipped false gods. We profess a faith in Jesus, yet, do we worship false gods such as wealth, power, prestige, and personal choice? Aren’t these the very reasons that the Lord sent His prophets to call the people to repentance?

Are we missing His prophets today? Have we believed the lie that God doesn’t speak to us through His prophets anymore because that was an Old Testament practice? What about a New Testament passage that says He still gives us prophets?

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
(Ephesians 4:11 (NIV))

Is there someone in the world today that speaks God’s truth for this very moment in time? Is there someone in your life that speaks God’s truth into your life in such a way that you change directions, that you repent? Are you comfortable hearing from God and calling people to repentance?

We must listen to God’s Word and repent!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you still dead in your transgressions and sins?

December 1, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,
(Ephesians 2:1 (NIV))

I realize that this is not an easy way to start off, even if the statement is entirely true. Sometimes the truth hurts.

But, . . .

There is one key word in this passage that makes it oh so much more palatable. It makes it so much easier to claim this passage as your own. One little four letter word has changed the context and the perspective on your transgressions and sins.

“WERE”

Just for clarification, it could easily be replace with “ARE” and you will find yourself helpless, hopeless and lost. For anyone who has accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you can rest assured that you are no longer dead in your transgressions and sins. You are no longer helpless, hopeless and lost. You have been redeemed. All of that is in your past! They are as far as the east is from the west. Your sins have been washed white as snow!

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
(Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV))

With Christmas coming up very soon, we must choose to remember the reason for the season. We must choose to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus. He came as a baby, but that was only the beginning. Perhaps I should say that it was the beginning of the end. Jesus came to put an end to sin. He came to put an end to death. He came to put an end to our separation from God the Father. He came to put an end to sacrifices by becoming the one perfect sacrifice, and by doing this, He gave us the ability to proclaim that we “WERE” dead in our transgressions and sins.

Are you still dead in your transgressions and sins?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you rejoice that the Word became flesh?

November 30, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 (NIV))

What do you think of when you read this passage?

Without a point of reference, without a back-story that defines why glory, grace and truth were needed, this passage, even though it tells of His glory, doesn’t tell the whole story. It doesn’t tell why we need grace and truth.

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
(John 1:17 (NIV))

What do you think of when you think of the law? Do you think of man-made laws that recently seem to change with no rhyme or reason, or do you think of God’s law that is never changing? Do you think of the failure of Adam and Eve to keep God’s commands thus allowing sin into the world? Do you think of a righteous God who can not associate with sin? Do you think of a loving God who wants to restore us to a relationship with Himself?

Through Moses, God told us how He expected us to live. Through Moses, we have been shown how we are to love God, how we are to treat each other, and how we are to respect each other. Any deviation from God’s perfect plan is sin.

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

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

God took a look at the world and had a plan to redeem us. He knew that there was not a single person who could fulfill the letter of the Law perfectly, so He decided to take matters into His own hands and become a man so that He could live a perfect, sinless life for us. Through this perfect life, we are no longer under the law of sin and death. We are under the redemptive power of grace and truth through the atoning blood of Jesus! Is this what you think of when you read John 1:14? Do these two sentences cause you to reflect on your sinful nature and your inability to do anything about it? Do they give you reason to rejoice because you have accepted what God did for you when you couldn’t do anything for yourself?

Do you rejoice that the Word became flesh?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you truly understand the depths of God’s love?

November 29, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
(John 1:1 (NIV))

Is this concept so simple that we try to make it complicated? Is it so complicated that we try to make it simple, or is it truly clear and understandable?

I have read this passage many times and I have come to the conclusion that is is only truly understood once you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. Up until that time, it seems paradoxical in nature. Up until that time, the very message that is conveyed within these words simply falls on deaf ears. We have no point of reference to allow us to understand.

We cannot comprehend the truth that nothing existed except His Word, and that through His Word, everything came to be. We simply cannot comprehend the truth that through words alone God spoke everything into existence. We cannot understand that there is this type of power in God’s Word. We cannot fathom the possibilities that this is true simply because we fail to see the power of words in our lives. Think about that. When was the last time dreams were shattered by someone’s words? When was the last time that your life was completely changed by someone’s words? If our words can alter lives, why do we fail to recognize that God’s Word has the power to create lives and to create everything?

To get back to my statement that these words truly become understood only after accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you have to understand just who Jesus is!

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 (NIV))

In other words, Jesus is God’s Word made flesh! To simplify this, let’s use some mathematical symbolism. Jesus = the Word.

Only when you realize that you can do simple substitution because of this fact do you truly come to the following realization.

In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God.

This should put a completely new understanding on a passage that we all know.

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))

I pray that this gives you something to think about as we enter into this Christmas season.

Do you truly understand the depths of God’s love?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you shining His light for the world to see?

November 18, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
(Psalms 119:105 (NIV))

God’s Word is Truth. Truth is spiritual light. Are we shining the light that God has given us so that others may see their path clearly?

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:14 (NIV))

Take it one day at a time. Take it one hour at a time. Take it one second at a time. We cannot plan how to shine God’s light, we can only be a willing vessel when the opportunity arises. Do you have a second to spare?

Take each second as it comes and shine forth the light that God has placed within you, the Light of Jesus Christ.

Think of all the people who you meet every day who need God’s Light.

Are you shining His light for the world to see?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you possess what it takes to understand the Scriptures?

November 3, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.
(Luke 24:45 (NIV))

Have you ever truly thought about this passage and this concept?

Most people believe that they can understand what they read, but most things that people read are written for their level of comprehension. For example, how many people do you know who could read a book on an advanced science and fully understand the concepts being presented? First, you would need to have an interest in the subject. You would also need someone to explain the concepts in order to understand it accurately. Once it is explained, then you have a basis of understanding and can read and understand other similar material.

The same is true of the Scriptures and who better to explain it than the One that everything is written about?

We know the story of the Road to Emmaus, and how Jesus opened their minds to better understand what they had been taught all of their lives. We know how they went to tell the Disciples what had happened, and then we know that Jesus appeared in the midst of those who were gathered. We know that He then explained everything to them.

Jesus opened their minds!

I don’t know about you, but if I had witnessed the crucifixion and then was presented with Jesus alive and well, I would listen very intently to what He had to say. I would cling to His every word in the hope of receiving insight and truth.

Why don’t we do that today?

We have His words. We have the words written about Him that told of Him long before He walked the earth. We have the same human understanding and inquisitive minds as they possessed then, but why do we fail to allow His Word to open our minds and our hearts? Have we become shallow in our pursuit of truth? Have we become shallow in our pursuit of understanding? Have we lost our ability to study and reason? Have we become so distractible that we can’t focus long enough to have our minds opened to the truth?

There is only so much that we can have spoon fed to us. At some point, we need to say that we understand the basics and then continually read and study for ourselves while always keeping a prayerful heart and a mind open to understanding God’s Word. It requires effort. It requires an interest. It requires dedication.

Do you possess what it takes to understand the Scriptures?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you have the light that comes from God’s Word?

October 18, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.
(Psalms 119:130 (NIV))

The Word of God is many things. It brings wisdom, understanding, truth, and light.

Let’s take a look at this in a different context from what we normally think about with respect to God’s Word.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God– children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:1-14 (NIV))

The psalmist hit the nail on the head when he wrote those words. The Word of God does give light. Jesus is the Word made flesh. Jesus is the light of the world. Jesus gives understanding.

Isn’t it amazing how God will pre-tell what He is going to do even through people who do not realize that they are His prophets. I doubt that the psalmist actually knew that these words would literally come true in the form of Jesus, God with us.

I am so very thankful that they did come to pass!

Do you have the light that comes from God’s Word?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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