How does Jesus know you?

January 26, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
(Matthew 15:20 (NIV))

With this statement from Jesus, nothing could be clearer!

That only leaves the obvious next question.

Are you doing the will of the Father?

This requires a complete surrender to the Lord and an understanding of what His Will is in order to answer truthfully. Perhaps it is better to ask if it is your desire to do the will of the Father, for even after professing a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you will falter in your walk of faith. You will inadvertently give in to your sinful human nature even though you desire to live a righteous life. Even Paul had these moments.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
(Romans 7:15-20 (NIV))

Do you truly desire to do the will of the Father?

If you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you have realized that you are a sinner in need of a savior. You have realized that you are not capable of perfection in the eyes of God, but through Jesus, God sees you as He sees Jesus. He sees a spotless, sinless person. With that in mind, I venture to say that one of the most important parts of doing the will of the Father is accepting the grace and mercy that He freely offers through the cross of Jesus. Since God does not wish for anyone to perish, it is His will that you accept the grace and mercy given through Jesus.

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))

How does Jesus know you?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How are you at treating each other with love?

January 20, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
(Matthew 7:12 (NIV))

Do you like it when others mistreat you?

I realize that this question is one that appears to have an obvious answer, still we often treat others in ways that we would never want to be treated ourselves. I believe that this is rooted in the fall from grace. Humanity was lied to and told that we could be like God, so now we apply the power without the compassion. We apply the authority without the understanding, and we provide the condemnation without the love. Human nature wants to do exactly the opposite of what God calls us to do. We have a tendency to place ourselves above everyone else, and because of this, we mistreat each other because we think that we are better than they are.

Wrong attitude!

We are no better than anyone else.

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

No matter what you may think of yourself, God sees the real you. He knows all of your sinful past, yet He loves you anyway. When He looks at humanity, He sees a sea of sinful, fallen people who all need a savior. He does not see certain people as better than others. He doesn’t treat anyone differently. What He does do is provide an opportunity of redemption to all who will simply profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Once this happens, He sees you as a redeemed child, but that redemption is nothing that should make us feel superior to anyone else. All that it means is in the sea of sinful, drowning people, we have gotten on the life boat. We should be reaching out to others offering to help them receive what we have received. We must show them the same compassion, understanding and love that we were shown as we found our salvation.

I want to challenge you to look at your actions during the next twenty-four hours. Pray to have your eyes opened to the instances where you treat others in a way that you would not want to be treated. Pray to be able to show God’s love in those situations instead of your shortcomings. I want you to also pray for those who mistreat you, for they may not realize what they do. It is said that it is hard to hate someone when you are praying for them. I think that we can also safely say that it is hard to mistreat someone when you are praying for them.

How are you at treating each other with love?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Why do we think we have it under control?

January 12, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

What is it about human nature that makes us think that we are smart enough to be the masters of our own fate? Why do we think that we can control anything in our lives when we can’t even control the events of a single day?

If you stop and analyze the fall from grace, it was a sin of pride. Humanity was tricked into wanting to be just like God, and as a result, all of human history has been about our feeble attempts to be our own gods, to be in control. We like the self-made man concept. We like the long shot. We like the one who bucks the status quo and does it there way. In fact, there was a very popular song titled “I Did it My Way!”

If you look at the history of humanity since the fall from grace, it has been a shambles. One person wants to be in control and the next thing we have is conflict due to the fact that what one person wants is not what another person wants. Everyone trusts only in themselves! Everyone is only looking out for the best interests of numero uno, number one, themselves.

Can you tell with one hundred percent certainty what a day will bring?

Can you tell with one hundred percent certainty that you will even live one more day?

If we are not capable of answering yes to these two questions, why do we only put stock in our own understanding? Why do we only trust in ourselves?

Take a look back on your life. We all have times where we feel that we are facing stress, and there are also times when we feel that we have a glimpse of peace. These is a very good probability that stress far outweighs any peace that you may have had due to your own endeavors. I have found that even in the midst of stress all that I need to do is turn it over to the Lord in prayer. I have found that He is so much better at being God than I am or could ever be.

To put it simply, let go and let God . . .

Why do we think we have it under control?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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I pray that the new year brings a renewed relationship to Jesus.

December 30, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.
(Mark 13:32-33 (NIV))

I am constantly reading and studying. I said the same thing in 2013 about 2014, but 2023 looks to be a very interesting year in God’s time table. I do not profess to know the day or the hour, but the season is rapidly changing.

There are things going on in this world and in the heavens that are too numerous to simply be coincidence. They are increasing in frequency and in magnitude. Even with this increase, we, as the Body of Christ, must test everything against God’s Word. We must not be found guilty of falsely proclaiming things that do not match what we are told through God’s Word.

None of us know what tomorrow will bring.

Pray for wisdom.

Pray for discernment.

Pray for understanding.

Pray for the strength to follow God.

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
     “For your sake we face death all day long;
        we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:31-39 (NIV))

I pray that the new year brings a renewed relationship to Jesus.

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Happy New Year!

December 29, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
(Matthew 11:28 (NIV))

Do you long for rest?

I long for true rest where all of my cares and worries are wiped away never to return!

Do you long for peace?

I long for true peace that passes all understanding.

I realize that these are difficult things to actually have, but I want to tell you that these, and so much more, can be yours if you simply place your faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. Through Jesus, I have found true rest. Through Jesus, I have found true peace, and I can confidently claim that there is nothing better!

At the chance of sounding simplistic, which it is, all that you have to do is come to Jesus!

The world that we live in is falling further and further into a deprived, sinful state. Are you tired of the things that you see happening in the world? Does your heart break when you see the evil that permeates the thoughts and actions of those who are rebelling against God? Do you have a sense that society has lost its mind, and that what is good is now called evil and what is evil is now called good? You are not alone. More and more people are recognizing that God’s plans are unfolding right before us. We may not know the hour or the day, but we can recognize the season, and that season is upon us.

If you have not professed a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, do not wait another minute! It is time to make that profession of faith now!

No one knows what the future holds, but we can know who holds the future. Trust in the Lord and I can guarantee that your future will be an eternity with the Father in paradise! I can’t think of a better way to end a year and to start a new year than resting in the assurance that your eternity rests safely in the loving arms of Jesus!

Happy New Year!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Lord, give me wisdom to know what You want me to know!

November 10, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
     neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
     so are my ways higher than your ways
     and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

Some of you will realize that I have referenced this passage each of the last two days. I was given something this morning about this passage that I feel I need to share.

Have you ever heard the old story of a group of blind men trying to experience an elephant?

They all gather around an elephant and feel what they are in front of. One feels a tusk and replies that the elephant is like a spear. One feels a leg and proclaims that an elephant is a mighty tree. One feels the tail and proclaims that an elephant is like a strong rope. One feels the trunk and comes to the conclusion that it is like a huge snake. Another feels an ear and believes that the elephant is like a giant fan. Still one more feels it’s side and proclaims that an elephant is like a giant wall.

In their limited understanding, they are not wrong. They just don’t see the whole picture! In fact, they argue amongst themselves because they all believe that they are right.

Does this sound familiar?

Are we the proverbial blind men trying to understand God and His plans?

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
(1 Corinthians 13:12 (NIV))

In this case, I love the way that the King James Version translates this passage.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
(1 Corinthians 13:12 (KJV))

If you profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, you see and understand more than someone who doesn’t. This insight still doesn’t give us a complete picture of what God is up to. All that we can know is the part that we have been given. If we are given one part, we should not argue with someone who claims to have been given another part, for what they have been given may be intended to round out what you have been given. None of us has a complete understanding of God and His plans. In fact, I truly believe that we, as sinful fallen humanity, are not capable of comprehending the vastness of all that He is. With that in mind, it only makes sense that God would only give each of us glimpses into His thoughts and His ways because He knows that we cannot comprehend the fullness that is our God.

Until we can fully understand, I wholeheartedly cling to the words that a friend once told me. She prayed to be able to know what God wants her to know when He wants her to know it, and to trust in Him even when He doesn’t tell her anything. Is this your prayer?

Lord, give me wisdom to know what You want me to know!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you watching and waiting with high expectations?

October 25, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way.

For the Day will not come until after the Apostasy has come and the man who separates himself from Torah has been revealed, the one destined for doom.
(2 Thessalonians 2:3 (CJB))

There are times that I wish that I could read the scriptures in the original Hebrew or Greek with a full understanding of those original languages. There are subtleties and nuances in these words that have baffled translators for countless years. For example, the word translated as “Apostasy” comes from the original Greek word “apostasia.” The Liddell and Scott Greek Lexicon defines apostasia first as “defection, revolt;” then secondly as “departure, disappearance.” Depending on which definition you use, the whole meaning of this passage can change.

Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.
(2 Thessalonians 2:3 (NIV))

Most translations use the first definition, but since we don’t truly know what Paul intended, and the possibility that the definitions may have shifted over the years, the best that anyone can do is make an educated guess based on the context of the passage. If we simply use a word substitution, you begin to see the conundrum. One speaks of a rebellion while the other speaks of the Rapture.

…that day will not come until the revolt occurs
or
…that day will not come until the disappearance occurs

It is in these situations that I rely on a different source than human translations. I seek the Lord in prayer and prayerfully ask for discernment and understanding. As is the case for this passage, I often have to wait for the Lord’s timing. We know that we cannot know the hour or the day, but we can know the season. I venture that this also applies to God giving us insight into the clarity of passages such as this. If you think about it, people have been debating over the meanings of Scripture passages for a very long time. Only as the events described within the passage come into focus does the true meaning come to light.

Something just made my whole body tingle. We know that God’s Word often has a short term and a long term meaning. Is it possible that Paul’s choice of the word “apostasia” and the two very distinct meanings was intentional? Let’s try one more word substitution in order to convey what just came to mind.

…that day will not come until the revolt and the disappearance occur

Does this make sense? Humanity has to cross a line of no return in their rebellion against God AND the true church has to be taken out of the picture before the man of lawlessness will come on the scene. Does this indicate that God will judge the world’s rebellion and then remove the church based on His judgment? In many of my readings, this coincides with what many people believe will happen. Is it possible that the translators picked a single definition when Paul meant that both definitions were to be applied?

No matter how you choose to translate that word, one thing is certain. We must not allow ourselves to be deceived. We MUST keep our eyes focused on Jesus.

Are you watching and waiting with high expectations?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you ready?

October 14, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
(Luke 12:40 (NIV))

Preparation is essential in just about any undertaking.

It means that you have an understanding of what is needed to succeed at what you desire to do. It means that you have done your best to get ready. It means that you are prepared mentally or physically for some experience or action. It means that you are available and willing. It means that you are anticipating what you have prepared for!

Are you anticipating the coming of the Son of Man?

Are you currently available and willing?

Are you prepared mentally, physically, but most importantly, spiritually for the coming of Jesus?

Are you eager to see Jesus face to face? Do you long to sit at His feet? Do you hunger and thirst for His righteousness? Are you ready to say goodbye to this sinful, fallen world and spend eternity in His presence?

God loves us so much that He has made it easy to get ready!

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.
‭‭(John 3:16 (NIV))

Have you believed in Jesus?

Are you ready?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Everything is pointing to Jesus!

September 30, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
(Colossians 2:17 (NIV))

With this sentence, Paul was telling the church at Colossae that all of the things in this world all point to Jesus. He had just stated that they were not to be judged based on human traditions or on limited human understandings of the things that God had put in place, for these things that God has put in place are all pointing to Jesus.

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.
(Colossians 2:16 (NIV))

Do we, as the “modern” church, believe that everything that God has ordained points to Jesus? Do we truly understand how the Jewish festivals are all foreshadows of events that have been or will be fulfilled by the Lord on the exact day that the festival represents? We are told that His ways are not our ways, and that His ways are far above our ways. If God can make a bright star appear at the birth of Jesus, why do we fail to recognize that He can do amazing things again? If God can give us the perfect Passover lamb at Passover, and then raise Him from the dead on the feast of First Fruits, why do we think that the rest of God’s holy days will not bring the same powerful results? Why do we think that God is not following His timing according to His planned festivals? Why do we think that God is not following His timing as we see and often fail to even recognize the events that are happening all around the world, and at a rate that is ever increasing in frequency and intensity?

You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
(Matthew 24:6-8 (NIV))

What happens with birth pains?

They increase in frequency and intensity!

Does this sound familiar?

We are told that no man knows the hour or the day, but that we can recognize the season. If you stopped your daily life long enough to sit and watch, to sit and wait on the Lord, what do you think that you would recognize? Would you see birth pains? Would you see everything increasing in frequency and intensity? Would you see that everything is converging on one promise, on one person, on one Lord and Savior? I honestly believe that now, more than ever, what Paul wrote to the church at Colossae is closer than we may realize.

Are you looking to where everything is pointing?

Everything is pointing to Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you possess understanding?

September 5, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
   ” `You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
      you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
(Matthew 13:14 (NIV))

It seems like every generation has its doubters. People who simply choose to ignore what their heart is longing for them to see. I don’t know what they use as an excuse, but these are the very people that were written about in Matthew. They are the ones who think that they are so sophisticated because they think they have a scientific explanation for everything. They think that anyone who believes is an uneducated idiot.

Am I the only person who feels that the number of these people is on the increase. It may simply be that they are getting more vocal about their lack of faith. Personally, I feel that these times are described by God. God has planted the wheat. Satan has planted the seeds that grow the weeds of discord and both are growing.

Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.
(Matthew 13:30 (NIV))

It is sad to think that there are people who, no matter how much they see, will vehemently deny the very thing that can save them. They will fulfill the prophesy of Isaiah. They will fulfill the retelling of that prophecy.

We must pray for these people. Perhaps you know of someone like this. Perhaps they are a loved one. Dare I say that perhaps someone who is reading this in mockery is such a person. We must pray for them so that their hearts will be softened and their eyes opened. We must pray for the fulfillment of another passage of scripture.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

Faith is a simple, yet complex thing. Perhaps it doesn’t really call for understanding. Perhaps it simply calls for acceptance – an acceptance of one’s own faults and sins and an acceptance that we all need a savior.

Do you possess understanding?

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