Are you able to pray to love like this?

July 29, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV))

Have you ever been at a loss for words?

I, like many of you, have read this passage countless times, but tonight, the simple yet magnificent beauty of this type of love left me without words. I had to read it many times and pray for insight. As humans, we like to think that we are capable of love, but when compared to this standard, we fall very short of the ideal that God has defined for us. Sadly, I didn’t even make it past the third word. How far did you make it before you started feeling something tugging at your spirit?

This passage defines for us the ideal love that God desires for us to possess, but it also acts as a measuring rod that we should use as a basis for our desires and our prayers to possess a love like the love of the Lord!

Have you heard of the concept of praying the scriptures? Basically you take a passage and you pray for that passage to be made manifest in your life. You stand firm in the truth and the power of scripture.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV))

I can’t think of a better passage to pray in order to be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Lord, I long to love as You love. Make me patient. Make me kind. I don’t want to be envious or boastful. Correct me when I am arrogant or rude. Lord, help me to put others first and myself last. Give me Your joy and Your peace so that I am not irritable or resentful. Lord, give me a heart that breaks when I see wrongdoing. Let me delight in Your truth and in those who know Your truth. Lord, give me the ability to bear all things for the truth of Your love. Instill in me a belief that all things work for Your good. Lord, give me the ability to hope when it appears that all hope is gone, and grant me the endurance to see Your love made manifest in all the earth!

For the second time tonight, I am at a loss for words because of the sheer power of such a prayer.

Are you able to love like this?

Are you able to pray to love like this?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you sure you only want to hear pleasant things?

July 20, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

They say to the seers,
       “See no more visions!”
and to the prophets,
       “Give us no more visions of what is right!
Tell us pleasant things,
       prophesy illusions.
(Isaiah 30:10 (NIV))

Do you want to hear fairy tales, bedtime stories and other pleasant things, or do you want to hear the truth? Do you want to hear that the sinful things you do are okay, or do you want to hear the truth and repent of your sins? Do you want to be happy in your sin and lost for all eternity, or do you want to hear the truth that will lead you to an eternity with God?

Sadly, human nature seems to like pleasant things even if they are wrong. This seems to be getting more and more prevalent in the world today. Are we seeing what Paul wrote to Timothy coming to fruition?

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
(2 Timothy 4:3 (NIV))

Even Jesus experienced this with those who followed Him when He walked the earth. When He started teaching something that was difficult to hear, many would simply go home. At one point, He asked His disciples if they wanted to leave. I know that He already knew the answer to this question. He simply wanted them to search themselves and answer.

From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
(John 6:66-68 (NIV))

How do you respond when you read or hear passages that state things that you don’t like? Do you get offended and go home, or do you dig in and look at yourself in relation to that passage so that you can learn and mature in your faith? Do you only read the pleasant parts of the Bible or do you read and study all of it?

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV))

I know that those who profess a faith in Jesus cling to the solid promise of salvation that is only available through Him. I know that we like to make wide-sweeping statements such as I know who wins in the end, but have you ever stopped to consider that the Bible is a story of the battle between God and Satan, between good and evil, and as such, there will be things that we do not like. In order to be fully equipped with the full armor of God, we must hear the truth. We need to know how to wage warfare against the enemy.

Are you sure you only want to hear pleasant things?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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This is a must do!

May 28, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.
(John 4:24 (NIV))

All throughout human history since the fall from grace, man has wanted to be able to visualize what he has worshipped. Perhaps this is due to the limited capabilities of humanity to understand what he cannot see. Whatever the reason may be, God cannot be limited to physical dimensions such as time and place, size and shape. God is exactly what John told us. He is Spirit. We cannot see Him in our physical limitations. We must learn to see beyond what we are and learn to see God with our hearts and our spirits, and not with our limited physical bodies.

There is a saying that there is more to this world than meets the eye. How true this statement is. All around us is a spiritual world that we cannot see, but it interacts with us on a daily basis. God has reached out to us from this world that we cannot see by sending His Son, Jesus.

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 all mankind.
(John 1:1-4 (NIV))

Jesus taught us how to worship God in spirit and in truth. He came as the ultimate example of God’s love to make it possible for us to make it back to God even from our sinful, fallen nature.

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))

Only through Jesus will we be able to stand before God. Only through Jesus are we made righteous to be able to stand before a righteous God. Until that day, we must keep our eyes on Jesus as the only way to the Father.

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

In all things that Jesus did, He always pointed to the Father. He came to earth to show us the way to the Father. How well have you learned the truth of that lesson that Jesus taught?

This is a must do!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What do you claim about yourself?

May 6, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
(1 John 1:8 (NIV))

Do you think that you are a good person?

Have you bought into the lie of the enemy that we are basically good?

Even Jesus did not consider Himself to be good when He walked this earth.

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.”
(Mark 10:18 (NIV))

To be honest with you, this one has me a little perplexed.

Even if you look upon Jesus as God with us, He was fully human. Did He say this because of this human side that theoretically could sin, or did He say this because He had not completed what He came to do and had not been glorified yet? Perhaps it was for the same reason that He often told people whom He healed to not tell anyone. Perhaps it was because it was not part of the plan for Jesus to be glorified as a man before the appointed time.

One thing to look at during His time on earth is the simple statement of His mission.

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
(Luke 19:10 (NIV))

We are all lost because of sin. Not a single one of us is without sin. Not a single one of us is righteous on our own.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

Take a serious look at your life. Do you now or have you ever thought that you were a good person? Do you make claims that Jesus refused to make?

What do you claim about yourself?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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We must proclaim that only Jesus is the truth!

March 19, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
(John 8:32 (NIV))

If you truly stop to think about this passage, it completely destroys the concept that truth is relative. How can anything that is relative, that constantly changes, have the power to set you free. If truth is relative, then the one who espouses a relative truth is not constant. They change with the seasons. They change with the winds. They change with whatever crowd and whatever lie is most popular at the moment. What they say is their truth one day will not be their truth the next day. In fact, all that they proclaim is a lie. The last that I looked, a lie cannot set you free. In fact, all lies come from satan who is the father of all lies. His lies didn’t get him set free. His lies led to him being cast out of heaven and will lead to being cast into the lake of fire.

Does this sound like any “truth” that you want to be associated with?

Does that sound like freedom to you?

We only need to turn to the words of Jesus to find the real truth. We only need to turn to Jesus to find a truth that is not relative and constantly changing. We only need to turn to Jesus to find the absolute truth that can only come from God!

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))

Too many people simply do not understand or they choose to reject what this means. These are the people who proclaim that there are many ways to God and that Jesus is only one of those ways. If they had actually read and understood this passage, along with many others, they would not be able to make such a claim. They do not see the God of the Bible. They see a god of their own personal designs. They have bought into the lie that God is relative and that He is whatever you wish Him to be!

We, as the Body of Christ, know that only Jesus, as the only begotten Son of God, is the truth. With this concept firmly rooted in Scripture, let’s paraphrase John 8:32 with a simple word replacement.

Then you will know Jesus, and Jesus will set you free.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
(John 8:36 (NIV))

With all that is going on in the world, we must pray for people to come to the realization that there is only one truth and His name is Jesus! We must do all that we can to show that truth is not relative and that those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior know the truth and that they have indeed been set free!

We must proclaim that only Jesus is the truth!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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I have no desire to know anything other than God!

February 4, 2021

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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 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
(2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 (NIV))

Have you ever wondered what the powerful delusion might be?

We know that those who will be effected will be so because of their wickedness, but what exactly is the delusion? What makes them believe the lie? Is it possible that we are seeing the results of this delusion in our society and in our world today?

Think about that for a moment.

Far too many people don’t recognize the truth about anything. Men can be women and women can be men simply because they say that they are. Evil is called good and good is called evil. Sin is no longer called sin. It is now called a lifestyle choice. Truth is not recognized as truth. What passes for truth is open for interpretation and can change based on emotions even when the facts say something different. Absolute truth does not exist. Truth is now relative. Anything can be a god, but if you mention Jesus you are a bigot.

Does this sound familiar?

I am beginning to think, and I pray that I am correct, that those who truly call upon Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior will only see the results of the powerful delusion. We may never fully understand exactly what it is, but we will encounter those who do experience it. They will be easy to distinguish since they will reject God’s truth and His righteousness and they will fully embrace the lies of the enemy and all wickedness. What makes someone reject righteousness and truth and embrace sin?

It makes no logical sense!

I have no desire to know anything other than God!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Will you be able to withstand the deception?

February 2, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

At that time if anyone says to you, `Look, here is the Christ!’ or, `Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect–if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.
(Mark 13:21-23 (NIV))

How well do you know Jesus? How well do you know God’s Word?

Do you know them well enough to be able to discern the difference between the truth and a lie?

All too often, the enemy will shroud his lies in bits and pieces of the truth. He will use just enough of the truth to make his lies sound plausible. He will count on people not knowing God’s Word well enough to tell the difference between the truth and his lies. He will use just enough to entrap people.

Entrapment!

Do you honestly think that Satan cares how he tricks people into missing out on God’s grace and mercy? He only cares that he does trick people. It does not matter to him that he deceives people. It does not matter to him that he misuses God’s Word to deceive. He has only one goal and that is keeping as many people as possible from the redeeming grace offered through Jesus. Satan thinks that if he can’t be worshipped, then he will take that from God.

In the high-speed, fast-paced world that we now find ourselves in, we must know what we believe in. We must know what we have faith in.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 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. 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. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
(Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV))

Are you fully armed with the knowledge and truth that is God’s Word? Will you be able to withstand the deception?

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.
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Have you gotten lost on a detour?

December 9, 2020

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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))

According to the world, there are many different ways to get to heaven.

What do you believe? What do you know to be the truth? Do you believe that they are the same thing?

Each religion in the world professes that they have the only path to get to god. You will notice that I chose to use a little “g,” for the gods that they claim to be able to reach are not the God of the universe. Each religion sets out a path that you must follow to achieve a higher level. Everything that they claim gets you closer to their god is something that you must do, but our God, the God of the universe did something to reach us!

He sent His Word! He sent His only begotten Son.

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 all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
(John 1:1-5 (NIV))

Jesus came to shine the light!

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))

Jesus came as one of us, a living man of flesh. We can never be good enough. We can never earn our way to God. Because of this, God came to us! Jesus was sent by God, as God made man, to bring us back to Himself.

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. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

The world tells us that we have to get better in order to see God. God tells us that He is better than the world. He has reached out to us to share His goodness, righteousness, mercy and grace. Personally, I know that I am not capable of anything on my own. I was drowning in a sea of sin. God reached out and rescued me. I didn’t have to rescue myself. Grace was and forever will be a gift. All that you have to do is accept it. If you are required to do something of your own strength, then you are on the wrong path.

Have you gotten lost on a detour?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you chosen the way of truth?

November 18, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws.
(Psalms 119:30 (NIV))

How many times have you wished that the people that you encounter had that philosophy? What a difference it would make in the world if more people had the desire to be righteous and obey the laws that God has ordained for our good. How can we, as a society, obey the laws that God has ordained for us if we have blatantly removed those laws from our central core? How can we expect society to follow the laws that God has set forth if we have allowed society to remove those laws from everything?

How can a fish survive if we remove the water? How can a bird fly if we remove the air? How can we, as God’s creation, live as we were created to live if we remove God from the picture?

It is an individual choice that each of us must make. We must choose to follow God by accepting His Son, Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. We must then share this truth and light with anyone and everyone whom we encounter. We have an inner joy from knowing Jesus. Joy is addicting. It is also contagious. When was the last time that you saw a grouch who was not overcome by someone who was truly joyful? I am sure that there are times when this happens, but, it only happens when the grouch has hardened his or her heart and will not let anyone or anything bring them joy. Joy is not something to be kept away. It is something that is to be embraced and welcomed. True joy comes from God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. If you have the joy that they give, then you have the truth and the fundamentals behind all of God’s laws, for a joyful heart will keep the laws out of a love and respect for what God has created.

Have you chosen the way of truth?

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