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.
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If you don’t turn to Jesus, there is no other option!

September 28, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
(Hebrews 10:26-27 (NIV))

I recently heard this passage explained in a way that I had never thought of, and it makes perfect sense!

When we read this passage, we come to the conclusion that if we continue to sin after accepting Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we will have no recourse, no way to redeem ourselves. Is that truly what this passage means? If we choose to follow Jesus, we will still sin because we are only human. We will still make mistakes. We will still sin. The key to this is that we have professed a faith in Jesus and we are striving to walk in His ways. We have not only received the knowledge of the truth, but we have accepted it as well. We can repent and return to what is right.

Perhaps the easiest way to explain this is to clarify that there is a difference between receiving the knowledge of the truth and accepting the knowledge of the truth. To use an example, if someone gives you a Bible, you have received the knowledge of the truth, but until you open it and understand that we are all sinners in need of a Savior, you have not personally accepted the life giving message that it contains. If you go so far as to make a proclamation that the message of the cross is foolishness and that it could never be how God plans on offering grace, then you have rejected the knowledge of the truth. God has established one way to receive salvation and if you reject that one way that He created, there is absolutely nothing else that you can do. We can’t tell God that our way is better!

The old covenant required continual sacrifices. We could never be made eternally clean by these sacrifices. The new covenant requires us to accept the perfect sacrifice of Jesus as our single and eternal way to redemption.

If we reject God’s plan of redemption that replaced the continual sacrifices with a single, perfect Lamb, then nothing can ever be used to replace Jesus. Nothing more can ever be used redeem us. Jesus is 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.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

If you don’t turn to Jesus, there is no other option!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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We must share the truth!

August 25, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness,
(Romans 1:18 (NIV))

Have you ever just stopped and looked around at all that is going on in the world and wondered if all that is unfolding is all part of God’s plan because of the world’s godlessness and wickedness?

To the world, that question seems like the rantings of a lunatic, but for the members of the Body of Christ, that question makes perfect sense. What do you think of that question? Do you think that anyone who professes a belief that God is beginning to exact His wrath on a wicked world is insane, or do you understand God’s plan well enough in relation to what is unfolding to see things from His perspective?

We are told what happens to those who deny anything to do with God.

Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.
(Romans 1:28 (NIV))

Simply stated, this translation implies that they did not wish to hold God in their minds or in their memories so He gave them depravity. Another translation states it this way.

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.
(Romans 1:28 (ESV))

This translation implies that they refused to recognize the authority of God so He lowered the quality of their minds. Perhaps the best translation of this passage that I have read comes from the Complete Jewish Bible.

In other words, since they have not considered God worth knowing, God has given them up to worthless ways of thinking; so that they do improper things.
(Romans 1:28 (CJB))

In other words, they were given a choice and they decided that God was not worth it! This results in worthless ways of thinking and improper actions. Is it just me, or does this sound just like what we are seeing in the world right now? Good is called evil and evil is called good. Sin is called a lifestyle and Biblical values are called bigoted and hateful. Anything and everything is accepted as long as it is not the truth.

When I see things like this in the world, I feel a wide range of emotions. I feel sadness. I feel pity. I feel anger. I feel helpless, hopeless and lost because these people don’t even recognize that they are making an eternal mistake.

Do you consider God worth knowing?

Do you recognize the authority of God?

Do you keep God in your memory and on your mind?

The time is short. From what I have seen, there is an increasing intensity and a rapidly increasing convergence of things happening in this world. Pray for your families. Pray for your city. Pray for you region, your country and the world. Pray that the hearts and minds of those who deny God will be softened and changed before it is too late! There has never been a more urgent time to share the Gospel!

We must share the truth!

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