We must never forget this!

September 16, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

When you pass through the waters,
     I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
     they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
     you will not be burned;
     the flames will not set you ablaze.
(Isaiah 43:2 (NIV))

Do you ever feel that you are being led down a path and you have to stop and reflect on where you are being led?

For the last several years I have been led to scripture passages that tell us we have nothing to fear as long as we put our faith and trust in the Lord! This all started long before the pandemic. I firmly believe that this is true, and if you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, I pray that you believe this as well. There is something within me that knows that this world will never return to what we considered to be normal just a few short years ago. We are on a path that was set out before us long ago. This is a path that God has had planned ever since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. He knew that we had fallen into sin. The Lord knew that we could not save ourselves from the consequences of our sins. He knew that we needed a Savior to step in and fully take the consequences of our sin upon His shoulders. He knew that people would believe in faith. He also knew that the enemy would do all in his power to thwart His plan.

Old Testament prophets knew this. The Disciples knew this. Paul knew this.

Do we, as the modern church, still know this?

There is power in the name of Jesus. A time is coming where at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord. Why do we go about our daily lives as if we don’t have a powerful Savior? Why do we go about our daily lives thinking that our salvation is only powerful to save us from hell when we die? Why do we think that we are to have a comfortable life because we have professed a faith in Jesus?

We have been told that calling upon the name of the Lord comes with a cost. We are told that family members will turn against you. We are told that we will face persecution. We are told that we will face trials and troubles because the world hates Jesus.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

What other options do we have? I pray that your answer will be the same as Simon Peter’s when the Disciples were asked if they wanted to leave.

“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. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
(John 6:67-69 (NIV))

We can rest assured that our faith in Jesus is the only thing that will save us in times of trouble, both now and whatever may be coming. Are you fully secure in your faith? Do you know beyond any doubt that the Lord will see you through anything and everything that you may encounter. It is who He is. It is as He has promised.

We must never forget this!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you been purified by the blood of Jesus?

July 21, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
(1 John 1:7 (NIV))

This passage presents each of us a few questions that we must answer.

Do you desire to walk in the light?

Do you desire fellowship with those who have similar desires?

These should be simple questions to answer, for if we profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we know what our answers should be. But, when was the last time that you stopped and reflected upon what is truly in your heart? Do you find things that you try to hide from others and that you try to hide from Jesus? The darkness from things like hatred, lust, greed, and envy can hinder your walk in the light. They can hinder your fellowship with one another. They can hinder your true purification.

Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying. We are all sinners in need of a Savior, but we are called to repent. This means that we turn away from our sins and turn toward Jesus. It means that we turn away from the darkness that we still hide in our heart and keep our eyes focused on Jesus. We will slip, for we are still sinful by nature. Paul even wrote about his struggles with this as part of his letters to the church in Rome.

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))

We are called to walk in the light of Jesus, yet, the person that we understand to be responsible for witnessing to the Gentiles and starting what we know as the church struggled with sin in his life. How do you rectify this in your walk of faith?

I truly wish that the world understood the struggle. The world looks upon people who profess a faith in Jesus as hypocrites. They claim that we don’t always do what we say we need to be doing. To be honest with you, the world is right! What they don’t understand is that being a follower of Jesus does not instantly make you just like Jesus. It is a life long process. What makes the difference is our willingness to repent and try again. When we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we acknowledge that we need help. We acknowledge that we will stumble and that we will fall far more often than we care to admit. Jesus looks at the heart. When we accept Him, He only sees the grace that has been given to us. He doesn’t see the sin. Over the course of our walk of faith, He will teach us and guide us as the Holy Spirit works in us to remove the darkness. He works in such a way that even though we may still sin, He sees the grace and mercy and purity that we have accepted as our own.

What does the Lord see in you?

Have you been purified by the blood of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Has your hope in the Lord renewed your strength?

June 24, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But those who hope in the Lord
      will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
      they will run and not grow weary,
      they will walk and not be faint.
(Isaiah 40:31 (NIV))

How have you been the last few years?

Do you find yourself growing weak, weary and faint because of all of the things going on in the world?

To be honest with you, I personally do not understand how someone who doesn’t have a faith in Jesus can keep their sanity in all that has happened and continues to happen in this world. Perhaps that is why we see an increase in suicides and an increase in other choices that go against anything Godly and righteous. When things go badly in this world, too many people look for comfort in all of the wrong places. They should turn to Jesus!

I remember immediately after 9/11 and the massive influx of people into churches. They were looking for sense to be made out of the events that had transpired. I don’t know the percentage of people who quickly fell away, but they did turn to God for a while. Today, if people aren’t already in a church, if anything happens, they seem to ignore God completely, or even blame Him for the events. It is sad to see just how the attitudes towards God have changed in just a little over twenty years.

Hold fast to your faith!

Stand firm in the promises of God!

We must recognize that our hope is built on the rock, on the firm foundation that is our Lord Jesus. When we have accepted Jesus and fully rely on the hope that we have placed in Him, He will renew our strength. No matter what we may face in this world, we will not grow weary. We will not faint in the face of the enemy as he tries everything in his feeble power to turn the world away from God. I don’t often quote hymns, but this should be our anthem in times of worldly trouble, for we have a risen Savior who has overcome the world.

My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand:
all other ground is sinking sand;
all other ground is sinking sand.

I bet that you started singing this as you read it. It should be so ingrained in the hearts and minds of those who profess a faith in Jesus that we sing it loudly and proudly as He renews our strength; as He lifts us up to soar on wings like eagles; as He gives us strength to run and not grow weary; and as He gives us strength to walk and not be faint.

Has your hope in the Lord renewed your strength?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How is your strength?

April 20, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

but those who hope in the LORD
      will renew their strength.
   They will soar on wings like eagles;
      they will run and not grow weary,
      they will walk and not be faint.
(Isaiah 40:31 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but sometimes the weight of the world just seems to come crashing in. I know that we just celebrated the resurrection of Jesus, but I wonder how much of what we do could go away? I wonder how much of our “traditions” make us weary and burdened. I wonder how much of the “traditions” could simply stop so that we can focus on what is truly important. We need to focus on the fact that Jesus was resurrected from the grave!

I am tired! I am weary from and of the things that this world says that we have to do. Sometimes I feel like Elijah when he ran from Jezebel. I don’t fear for my life and want to die, but I do want to escape and find rest. I am sure that I am not the only one who feels like this, especially with all that has happened and is happening in the world. Even Jesus had to get away and reestablish His connection with the Father through prayer.

In much the same way that we plug in our cell phones to a power source to recharge so that we can take them back out into the world, we must plug into our power source and recharge. We must renew our strength. We must tap into the source that allows us to run and not grow weary. We must find ourselves hoping in the Lord. We must find ourselves turning to Him when we feel drained and unable to go any further. We must realize that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is also with us. We must realize that if we place our hope in the Lord then God is for us!

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
(Romans 8:31 (NIV))

How is your strength?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you hope in the Lord?

March 11, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

but those who hope in the Lord
      will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
      they will run and not grow weary,
      they will walk and not be faint.
(Isaiah 40:31 (NIV))

It is so easy to focus on the physical when everything that we see and experience is the physical world. Lately, everything around us seems to be wars and rumors of wars. Evil is called good and good is called evil. Shortages and inflation are beginning to be the new normal. And, many experts, both Biblical and worldly, are saying that it is just going to get worse. I recently read and wrote briefly on the rising death rate among the group that we call the millenials. They see no hope in sight and choose to end their lives. I realize that no one has probably looked at the following passage from this perspective, but we are seeing this very thing happen.

Even youths grow tired and weary,
      and young men stumble and fall;
(Isaiah 40:30 (NIV))

It is amazing what a change of perspective can do. Their only hope was in the world because that is all that they knew. They had not placed their hope in the Lord. When you place your hope in the Lord, you see things from His perspective. You see things in a whole new light and the darkness of the world is only a passing thing. Placing your hope in the Lord allows you to not be overwhelmed by the problems in this world. We still see them, but we know that with the Lord’s help, we will soar on wings like eagles. We will be kept away from the eternal harm this is running rampant in the world. We will realize that the world is fleeting and that only eternity matters. Jesus gives us that hope of eternity with Him.

He will renew our strength!

He will give us power to do things in His name!

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

I recently heard someone talk about a concept that sounds interesting and may need to be investigated further. She stated that since the church age started with miracles and power at Pentecost, it would not surprise her to see the church age end in the same manner. If you stop to think about that concept, isn’t that what the Rapture would be?

I know one thing for certain.

No Jesus. No hope.
Know Jesus. Know hope!

Do you hope in the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you fulfilling His requirements?

January 5, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
     And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
     and to walk humbly with your God.
(Micah 6:8 (NIV))

Sometimes we get so caught up in what the world calls good that we lose sight of what is truly good.

Lately, we have seen things in this world that no one in their right mind would call good. In fact, many would say that the world is calling evil good and good is being called evil. Where do you stand on the things that have been happening in this world? Do you think that they are escalating in frequency and intensity? Do you long for things to return to some type of normalcy or have you started looking up?

If you love the world, you are probably focused on being able to return to the things that you used to know. How does that appear to be going? Do you see any signs of this happening in the near future?

If you love the Lord, you are probably looking around at what is going on and, as a result, your gaze has shifted. Have you started looking for the Lord? I honestly believe that many who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior are doing just that. We see signs and know that the time is close. Still, what do we do while still in this world? What do we do when we encounter those who have fallen for the delusion and believe that good is evil and that evil is good?

That is a very tough question, but it has a very simple answer!

We are to treat them in the same manner that we long to be treated. We are to act justly.

We are to show mercy when our human nature eggs us on to fall back into our depraved, sinful nature. We are to love mercy even when we are not shown mercy by this world, for we have been shown the greatest mercy of all.

We are to live out our lives in humility for we are all sinners in need of a Savior. We must not allow our ego and pride to be the stumbling block that prevents someone from coming to a saving relationship with Jesus.

Only God knows what tomorrow will bring. We must allow ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit in such a way that we are being obedient to His calling no matter what the circumstances. We must always keep our eyes on Jesus!

Are you fulfilling His requirements?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready to walk through the valley with the Lord?

March 9, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Even though I walk
      through the valley of the shadow of death,
   I will fear no evil,
      for you are with me;
   your rod and your staff,
      they comfort me.
(Psalms 23:4 (NIV))

I recently had an interesting revelation about this passage from of all people, Mr. T.

I remember watching something on television many years ago and he was preaching.

He brought a very valid point about this passage. We all walk through the valley at some time in our lives. We do not walk in the valley. God does not leave us in the valley, He walks with us through the valley. He strengthens us during our walk so that we may grow and mature in our faith. When we are “in” something, that indicates that we are there for a long time, and perhaps, even permanently. When we go “through” something, the word denotes an action that is temporary and will come to an end.

Re-read Psalms 23:4.

God will not leave you in the valley if you call upon the name of Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. He will walk with you and lead you through that valley to salvation. He will then use your experience in that valley to reach out to others who are still there. Remember that we are supposed to be ministers to each other. We minister best when we have the experience to be able to relate to others.

Allow God to walk you through your valleys, and then allow God to use you to walk with others through theirs. Keep your eyes on Jesus and walk where He leads you, for He will not lead you wrong. He will lead you where He needs you in order to be in ministry to others.

Do not fear where God leads you, for He will not lead you into anything that will lead to eternal harm.

Are you ready to walk through the valley with the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you found rest?

November 5, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Be at rest once more, O my soul,
    for the LORD has been good to you.
For you, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death,
    my eyes from tears,
    my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before the LORD
    in the land of the living.
(Psalms 116:7-9 (NIV))

The Lord gives us rest. In a world where uncertainty is the way, one thing is certain. God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. If we rest in His presence, then we can truly be at rest.

God is in control!

With everything that is going on in this world this year, this is very comforting. It is very reassuring to know that the Creator of all things is still in complete control. Even when it seems like the world is in total chaos, He is in complete control. It is all part of His plan. It is unfolding just as He told us that it would so that we would be aware of what is going on.

I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.
(John 14:29 (NIV))

Do you believe?

With everything that is happening in the world, do you believe?

With good being called evil and evil being called good, do you believe?

Belief and faith go hand in hand. By placing our faith in Him, all the worldly matters no longer are important. We rest in the knowledge that God will guide us in His will and if we keep focused on Him, He will guide our paths so that no matter what the world sends our way, we can have peace and rest in Him.

Have you found rest?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you fully rely on the Lord?

October 21, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
(Psalms 23:4 (ESV))

Has this year felt like this valley to you?

In the face of everything that is going on in the world and with the near misses that we see coming at the world, it is easy to find yourself fearful. To be honest with you, I don’t understand how people who don’t trust in Jesus are making it. Lies abound, and we all know who is the father of lies. Fear abounds. If you don’t believe me, simply walk into a grocery store without a mask. You will see those who are wearing a mask stop and look at you like you have two heads. Most will do all that they can do to stay away from you. Anger and violence abound. Depending on the angle of the cameras reporting these instances, they are either peaceful protesters or they are full blown riots. Usually, it is the very same event being portrayed.

Evil is running rampant. Common sense, mutual respect and decency appear to no longer exist. Child trafficking is taking place. It is not safe for women with small children to be out. Arrogance seems to control the day. People will look you in the eye and tell you that they never did something while there is recorded footage of them doing what they vehemently deny.

Thankfully, we have a place of refuge in the midst of all of this chaos and evil. We can turn to the Lord for He is the Good Shepherd. His rod is a weapon of defense against the evils that surround us. His staff is a tool of rescue. It is used to lead and guide us through the evils of this world.

Do you trust in the Lord to protect you? Do you trust in the Lord to be your place of refuge? For those who love the Lord, we have been promised this and so much more.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
(2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV))

Do you fully rely on the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Does what you ask glorify the Father?

October 9, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
(James 14:13-14 (NIV))

I don’t know just how many times that I have read or heard this passage, but tonight, I saw something that I understood in a new light. As believers, as Christians, we have taken this passage and condensed it to something that only represents the half truth that whatever we ask in the name of Jesus will be done for us. Read the passage again and stop to think about the things that you ask in the name of Jesus. Looking back on your faith walk, do your answers make you feel shameful for the things that you have asked for? What are some of the things that you remember asking? Did you receive an answer that matched your prayer request?

Human nature is selfish and as a result, even people who profess a faith in Jesus still possess this characteristic. Most people ask for things that benefit themselves either directly or indirectly. Even praying for healing of a loved one can be considered selfish if the reason that you pray is because you will miss them. It is a matter of motives. Do the things that you ask bring glory to yourself or to the Father? Do they stroke your ego or do they truly glorify God? Do they fuel a lust for fame and fortune or do they seek to follow God’s own heart?

You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
(James 4:2-3 (NIV))

Do your pleasures glorify God? Do your wrong motives guide you to seek after God’s heart? Each of us ask so much of God and from God, but why do we ask? What are our motives?

Does what you ask glorify the Father?

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