Don’t be deceived because of your preconceived ideas!

September 13, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
(Matthew 24:24 (NIV))

How well do you know God’s Word?

Can you tell the difference between the truth and a lie?

Do you think that you could be deceived by false messiahs and false prophets?

We think that we know Jesus, but does sitting in church for an hour a week bring you close enough to the Lord to be able to discern His voice over the many voices vying for your attention?

If a bank teller is taught how to recognize counterfeit money by becoming very familiar with the real thing, doesn’t it stand to reason that the only way for someone to truly recognize false messiahs and false prophets is to get to know the real Jesus, the true Messiah? In much the same way that money has a very distinguishable feel, Jesus has a very distinguishable truth to Him. You just need to take the time to know Jesus and not simply know a few sound bites that most people can relate to. Do you know why Jesus came into the world? Do you know what He taught about sin? Do you know what He taught about human traditions masquerading as worship? Do you know why He went to the cross? Do you know that the enemy knows God’s Word and will twist it to deceive you? Do you know that the enemy fears someone who truly relies on Jesus and who knows the power that is contained within the name of Jesus? Do you truly know Jesus?

There have been many false messiahs and false prophets throughout history. There will be a time when the ultimate false messiah will enter onto the world stage. Will you be able to recognize him when he performs his great signs and wonders?

We have all grown up hearing Bible stories. We have all heard preachers who put a twist to what they preach. Do you have any preconceived ideas because of these teachings? No one likes to be deceived. Now is the time to truly get to know Jesus. You must know Him as your personal Lord and Savior. You must know Him as the Lamb of God. You must know Him as the Mighty Warrior and the Prince of Peace. You must know that He hates sin but grace and mercy are freely given to all who will call upon His name and turn away from their sin. If someone or something does not call you to repent and turn away from your sin, then it is false. If someone or something doesn’t point to Jesus as the only way to the Father, then it is false. Do you have any preconceived ideas that are contrary to these two truths? It is time to know the real Jesus and not the sound bites.

Don’t be deceived because of your preconceived ideas!

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

August 23, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
(Revelation 3:16 (NIV))

Laodicea literally means the will of the people!

They professed a faith, yet lived as if they didn’t. They thought that they were rich in both the ways of the world and in spiritual matters. They didn’t look to God. They looked to themselves. The letter to Laodicea was far from encouraging. This is the only letter of the seven written to the churches that had nothing good to say about their faith.

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
(Revelation 3:14-22 (NIV))

If I were to venture a few speculations, I think that I could safely say that they had taken worship out of their assemblies if they even met at all. They didn’t need to worship for they felt that they had it all. The Lord was not the center of their assemblies or their lives, and I think that it is safe to say that they barely gave what I refer to as lip service. Their hearts were not in it because they felt that they had to reason to worship in truth for they had made themselves rich.

Does that sound familiar in the society that we see today? We see people engrossed in what they have accomplished and in what they want that they completely forget to even acknowledge the Lord in any way at all.

We have become a society where anything and everything is feasible because truth is relative. Each person has their own truth, but how has that gone for us the last several years? We are now a society that is triggered by facts and the truth. Feelings and personal desires are now what is important. Dare I say that we are even seeing this in our churches? Some churches are no longer preaching the saving grace of the Gospel of Jesus, but are preaching a gospel of social justice or personal empowerment. If there is no absolute truth, everything breaks down. With all that is happening in the world, are we seeing this happening in real-time? Has insanity become the new normal? I heard someone say the following in reference to what is happening in the world, and in the church.

Is the tail wagging the dog?

We should recognize this to mean that things are out of order. Perhaps the following makes that statement better.

Is the cart before the horse?

Personally, every single time I see something ungodly happen, the following comes to mind. I think that it says it best, especially when God told us that He would give people over to their reprobate minds.

Are the inmates running the asylum?

In the days ahead, we, as the Body of Christ, must stay true to His Word. We must cling fast to the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and never allow anything to work its way into our lives and dilute the truth. As believers, we are supposed to be on fire for the Lord. We are supposed to be the light of the world. Don’t allow that fire to die down and the light to be put out. Don’t let your flame become just a warm ember.

Fully commit yourself to the Lord!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you want to see with open eyes?

August 22, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.
(Psalms 119:18 (NIV))

Do you pray to see things come to fruition that you want or do you pray for what God wants?

With that in mind, how do you see His law? Are they simply suggestions or are they the very foundation that you attempt to live you life upon? Do you simply read God’s Word and let is spend as much time in your thoughts as it takes to move to the next sentence or do you read and reflect on each morsel of truth that His Word and His Law contain?

If you are like many people who give the proverbial lip service to worship, then your attitude toward His laws leaves something to be desired. There is no Reader’s Digest condensed version that allows you to fully understand His truths. There is no Bible for Dummies that allows you to grasp the full meaning of what God wants us to know. There is no Cliff Notes on how to live a Godly life.

There are no shortcuts!

It takes a commitment and it takes time. It takes a commitment to spend time daily in His Word. It takes time to read, pray and truly understand His Word. This is especially true when you consider that the Bible is the Living Word. The more that you read and study, the more that you understand. It is possible to read the same passage each day for the rest of your life and come away each day with new insight into what God is saying through the very same words as each and every single day before. Don’t adopt the attitude that you have read it and there is no need to read it again. Read and study it every single day of your life! Pray for discernment as you read. Pray for insight as you read. Pray for wisdom as you read.

Most of all, pray that God will open your eyes to the truly wonderful things that are in His Word and in His Law.

What do you want to see with open eyes?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must learn to see others through God’s eyes!

August 4, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
(1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV))

How many times have you made a false judgment about someone simply based on their outward appearance?

If you are like me, you probably needed a little bit of time to be honest with yourself, especially when you come to the realization that we are all sinful, fallen creatures who are more concerned with the pretentiousness of the physical than any other aspects of our lives.

I believe that this happens as a result of our sinful, fallen nature. Let’s face the truth. We lost so much when humanity believed a lie and fell from grace. We lost the direct connection with God the Father, and as a result, we lost our ability to truly discern things based on God’s standards. Because of this, humanity has repeatedly fallen for the richest, the strongest, the tallest, the best looking, the most charismatic, and the most deceptive simply because we can only see the outer appearances. We can’t see people the way that God sees them. In fact, we don’t even see ourselves as God sees us. We see ourselves as worthless because we compare ourselves to what we can see in others. What we don’t see is the hidden secrets behind the veil of the outward appearance. We make the assumption that what is on the inside is just as good as what we see on the outside.

When you look in a mirror, what do you see?

I would safely assume that you see more in yourself than your outer appearance, yet, still not as much as what God sees in you. If we know that we are more than our outer appearances, why do we make the assumption that others are not like that? We falsely judge the proverbial book by its cover while completely ignoring the chapters contained within. We see a pretty face. God sees a shallow heart. We see a handsome athlete. God sees a self-centered arrogance. We see a rich young man. God sees a lost soul. We see someone who seems to love the spotlight. God sees a lonely heart.

Appearances can be deceptive. Things are not always as they seem. We must learn to look beyond the superficial and learn to see people the way God sees them. If you stop to think about it, when you hear someone say that a certain person has a good heart, that is usually a slight backhanded stab at their outer appearance. The same can be said for when you refer to someone as having a great personality. Have you ever said anything like that about someone? If so, have you repented for this and asked God to let you see them as He sees them?

We must learn to see others through God’s eyes!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What sustains you in your hunger?

July 13, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
(Matthew 4:4 (NIV))

People are hungry!

People are starving for the grace and truth that can only be found in God, and the sad part is that they don’t realize it. They try to satisfy their hunger with anything and everything that catches their attention, while ignoring the only thing that can truly satisfy their longings. It is said that we have a God-shaped hole within us and I honestly believe that to be true. We try to fill this hole, this void, with anything and with everything that we can possibly imagine. Some turn to alcohol. Some turn to drugs. Others turn to money, and still others will turn to the lusts of the flesh. Nothing that this world can offer can fill this void. Nothing that this world can offer can satisfy this hunger.

Jesus came into this world to save us from our sins. He came into this world to satisfy our hunger.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
(John 6:35 (NIV))

Jesus satisfies our hunger. Jesus satisfies our soul. Jesus fills the God-shaped hole within each of us.

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))

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us
(John 1:14a (NIV))

I love how God does things. Jesus is the Bread of Life. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, which means house of bread. Jesus, the Bread of Life, was born in the house of bread. This sheds light on the Passover Seder when Jesus broke the bread and told His disciples to take and eat, for it is His body. It can’t get any clearer than that. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost, and by doing this, He satisfies the hunger within us.

What sustains you in your hunger?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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