Are you willing to have this done in you?

May 13, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
(John 15:2 (ESV))

Let’s face facts. We don’t like change, especially if it takes us outside of our comfort zones. Even when dealing with things in our lives that we know need to be addressed, we would rather simply ignore them instead of dealing with them. It is just human nature.

That is not how God works.

“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))

We like to hold onto our sins. God calls us to let them go.

We like to hide our sins. God calls us to confess them.

We like to embrace our sins. God calls us to embrace Him.

In essence, God calls us to accept the gift of salvation freely offered through the cross. Through this gift, He is calling us to allow our sins to be removed from our lives and replaced with His righteousness. I don’t know about you, but I like His ways far more than I like my ways. I long to freely surrender what needs to be taken away and to allow other areas to be pruned. I long to bear so much more fruit according to His will.

Are you willing to have this done in you?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We don’t have to sweat the details!

March 4, 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))

Are you confused and stressed out about the events in the world? As the Body of Christ, we know that we should have peace, but at the same time, I am sure that many of us are wondering exactly what is going on. We may not understand it in detail, but rest assured that everything is unfolding just as God desires. It is according to His plan!

We have been given the proverbial highlight reel of His plan so that we would know that He is in control!

We don’t have to sweat the details!

All that we have to do is trust in the Lord and rely on His thoughts and not our thoughts. We are to rely on His ways and not our ways. We are to be in this world but not of it. We are simply passing through as we rely on the Lord for His peace that passes all understanding.

I met a man in the parking lot of a local grocery store tonight. His comments about the price increases and the shortages seemed to consume him. He was worried about the next three years and what we would be facing. I actually had trouble getting in a word, but I did my best to assure him that God is in control. To be honest with you, I am not sure he heard me since he was so consumed by his worry. Sitting here tonight as I write this, I realize that this man represents those in the world who are only looking at the physical. They, like he, see no hope in our current situation. They feel completely helpless, hopeless and lost!

As a believer, do you currently feel helpless, hopeless and lost? Your answer reflects your relationship with the Lord. Do you need to take this time to repent and rely on His grace and mercy? Are you ready for whatever His plan unfolds because you fully trust in the Lord?

I am saddened by the things that I see, for they mean that those who do not know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior do not share in the hope that we have. I am saddened for these individuals because they are on the brink of eternal separation from God. I pray that their eyes would be opened to His grace and mercy. At the same time, I am amazed and I am at peace. I am amazed that I get to live in such a time as this. I am also at peace for I know that my Savior lives!

Have you ever stopped to thank God for His thoughts and His ways? Have you ever stopped to thank Him for loving you enough to send Jesus? He has every single detail of His plan unfolding just as He is orchestrating it. He is in complete control.

We don’t have to sweat the details!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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There is no one like our God!

January 20, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

With whom will you compare me or count me equal? To whom will you liken me that we may be compared?
(Isaiah 46:5 (NIV))

Have you ever tried to fit God into your own image of Him, your own understanding of Him?

I know that we have all done something like this at one point in our lives, but if you truly think about this, then it sounds completely absurd. In essence, the creation attempted to re-create the Creator because the creation possessed a limited understanding of everything. As such, we want to make God into something that we can understand. If we fully understood, then He wouldn’t be God. What we would have is an idol of our own creation. Sadly, that is what many people try to do.

Do we know how to hang the moon and stars? Do we know how to turn day into night? Do we know how to control the passage of time? Do we know how to bring the rains? Do we know how to part the seas? Do we know how to raise the dead? Do we know how to redeem a sinful, fallen humanity?

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
     neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
(Isaiah 55:8 (NIV))

I am truly thankful that His thoughts and His ways are not like our thoughts and our ways. If we tried to make God to be like us, He wouldn’t be God! We also would not have a Savior, for the god that we create to be like us would not have the power over sin and death.

Each one of us have a mental image of how we see God. Even though we profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, our understanding is still very limited. We can pray. We can read God’s word and study it our whole life, but when we see Him face to face, He will be so much more than we could ever imagine. Let go of the small gods that you have created. Stop trying to put God into your image of Him and fully embrace our Lord God for the majesty and glory that is His alone. Be prepared to be amazed for He alone is good. He alone is God.

There is no one like our God!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must always acknowledge His ways!

November 1, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:9 (NAS))

How many times have you heard someone ask, or perhaps you have asked, why did something happen? It is human curiosity that makes us want to know what we do not know.

Perhaps it is because of our fall from grace when our eyes where opened to good and evil. Perhaps it is an inborn need to belong to something of value. Whatever the reason, it is human nature to want to know “all of the details” about everything, even why God allows things to happen.

Consider the words from Isaiah and how they impact your life. God is telling us that we are not capable of understanding His ways and His thoughts. Perhaps this is where we must simply trust in God to have our best interests in mind.

We already know who wins. What else do we need to know at this point?

It is said that we see as if through a glass darkly, but our eyes will be opened when we are in heaven. The things that we see in this world are only the surface of what is really happening. We must simply “let go and let God” take care of the details.

We must always acknowledge His ways!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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His ways are perfect!

March 4, 2021

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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))

Have you ever found yourself asking, “What is God doing?”

If you are like a vast number of people, this has probably come to mind quite often in recent history. To be honest with you, if you aren’t asking this, then it means that you aren’t paying attention to the world and what is unfolding right before our eyes. If you stop to consider that there are two ways that this question can be asked, then it opens up a complete new perspective on this question and how that you view God’s authority.

If you ask this question sarcastically, then it shows your contempt and disdain for how God is handling things. In essence, you are fed up with what is unfolding and are frustrated with God for not fixing it according to your desires. Be careful with this, for this is pride and has caused many to stumble and fall harshly.

What if you are asking this question with a curiosity and an eye to God’s Word? Are you searching God’s Word for insight and understanding?

Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
(Acts 17:11 (NIV))

Are you excited to think that you get to be alive during this time as God unfolds His plans? Do you ask this question in awe and wonder of God’s eternal plan and where we might be in His timing?

The next time that you find yourself looking around and asking “What is God doing?”, I pray that it is with an attitude of awe and wonder, after all His ways are higher than ours. We are only the creation. He is the Creator! His timing is perfect.

His ways are perfect!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t look at the world!

January 29, 2021

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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))

Do you truly trust in the Lord? Then why do we, as the Body of Christ, pay so much attention to the things of this world? How can we understand what God is doing when we are focusing on the world instead of focusing on Him. Instead of worrying about the current state of this nation and the world, we should be praising the Lord for the promises that He has given, for we know that the promises will be kept. We need to focus our eyes not on the things of this world, for they are fleeting. We should be focusing our eyes elsewhere.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
(‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:18 (NIV))

When we fix our eyes on something, it becomes clearly focused and everything else becomes unimportant. Everything else loses focus. Everything else becomes blurry. Everything else is not seen clearly. It is our human nature that makes it so difficult to focus on the unseen when what is seen is so distracting to our sinful, fallen natures. How can we even begin to know God’s heart and His ways if we focus on the world? With everything that is going on in the world, we need to keep our eyes focused on the One who will give us peace in the midst of the troubles. We need to make the Lord our priority.

We are not capable of the thoughts that the Lord has. We are not capable of the ways of the Lord. We are too easily distracted. Only the Lord can keep everything in focus at all times. Only the Lord can manage an eternity and make it work as He desires. Only the Lord can make history unfold to achieve His purpose. When we see things unfolding in this world that we do not understand, we need to relinquish our thoughts and ways. We need to stop looking at the world and look to Him, for everything is working according to His plan.

We must learn to completely trust His thoughts and His ways, and no matter what we may see in this world, we must always look to Him.

Don’t look at the world!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The Good News of Jesus is for all people!

September 15, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your young men will see visions,
    your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
    and they will prophesy.
I will show wonders in the heavens above
    and signs on the earth below,
    blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood
    before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
And everyone who calls
    on the name of the Lord will be saved.
(Acts 2:17-21 (NIV))

On all people?

Not just believers?

I just watched a video from a pastor and he made a very interesting point that I hadn’t considered before. I believe that it may also be something that you may not have considered before.

In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
(Acts 2:17a (NIV))

Another translation says it like this.

And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
(Acts 2:17a (NKJV))

Most people read this and we automatically assume that it means “on my people” or “on those who believe,” but it clearly states “on all people” or “on all flesh.” Think about this from God’s perspective. If He is trying to get the attention of the people of the world, why would He limit what He does to only those who call upon His Name? Why would God not try one last time to reach those who have rejected Him?

The pastor in the video made a very interesting comment about the number of nonbelievers who feel that something big is about to happen in the world. They see what is happening and they have a feeling that they can’t explain. As believers, we recognize that feeling as the prompting of the Holy Spirit, but for those who do not believe, they do not understand. All that they know is that a still, small voice is telling them that something big is about to unfold.

I don’t profess to know if this is true, after all, we are told that His ways are greater than our ways. All that I know is that we are seeing the whole world professing that something different is happening and the world will never be the same. All that I do know is that we, as the Body of Christ, should be witnessing to the world and explaining to them what we profess to believe, after all, the good news of Jesus is for all people!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is there a difference between gathering and assembling?

September 1, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
(Hebrews 10:25 (NIV))

It is amazing how subtle nuances in a translation can make something take on a completely different meaning. Since we have to rely on translations from the original Aramaic and Greek, the understanding of the full meanings of the original language and how it is translated into English can vary slightly. Each translation conveys the meaning, but sometimes the subtleties give a much better understanding of the depth of the original language. This is why I like to cross reference between many different translations to try and fully understand the intentions behind the words. This passage is an excellent example of just this.

What do you think of when you read the phrase “meeting together”? Do you simply think of a gathering of individuals that come together for a short time and then go their separate ways?

Now, let’s take this one step further and reference a different translation.

not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
(Hebrews 10:25 (NKJV))

What do you think of when you read the phrase “assembling of ourselves together”? Does this paint a mental picture of unity and purpose where people come together for a common goal?

I heard something today that brought these two phrases into a much better understanding. I think that this analogy will also paint a very interesting picture for you as well.

The example was of a watch. When you gather the components of a watch into one location, everything is there, yet it has no purpose. They are still just individual parts that do not work together. But, when those parts are assembled in the correct way, the result is a fully functioning time piece. Now, how does this apply to believers who simply gather together versus being assembled into a functioning body of believers? We, as the church, should be more than the sum of our individual parts. We should rely on the Lord to assemble us in such a way that we bring glory to Him by uniting in the task that we have been assigned.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
(Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV))

If all that we do is gather, then we are not fulfilling our calling. We must be willing to assemble!

Is there a difference between gathering and assembling?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you called by His name?

July 15, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV))

It’s happened again! Or perhaps I should say that it is still happening. We can’t go a day without seeing something horrendous in the news. We can’t go a day without seeing the work of the enemy as he tries to divide us. We can’t go a day without seeing good being called evil and evil being called good.

I’m at a loss for words. All that I can do is feel the groanings of my spirit as it cries out to God. I honestly don’t know what the prayers from my spirit are saying. I just know that they are asking God to send His Spirit and bring peace to this troubled world. Still, in the midst of all that is happening, I know that everything is unfolding according to God’s perfect plan, even though all we see is chaos. I know that the enemy is not going to go quietly. His time is short and he knows it. We will see more evil arise. It is time that the Body of Christ unite and stand firm in our humility and in our prayers.

We must pray according to God’s Will. We must stand firm in our faith. We must also realize that this world is not our home. This world is sinful and will never be the world that we long for. The events that will lead to the fulfillment of the promises of an eternal home in paradise are unfolding. I realize that no one knows the day nor the hour, but I do believe that it will be sooner than the world thinks. All I know is that we, as the Body of Christ, should be praying for God’s perfect will. We should be praying for those who don’t know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

In essence, if we are called by His name, we should be praying!

Are you called by His name?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you see the Lord as Holy Glorious?

June 10, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And they were calling to one another:
    “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
     the whole earth is full of his glory.”
(Isaiah 6:3 (NIV))

There are two basic premises outlined in this passage. Two very true details that we need to fully embrace. How we embrace them determines our whole outlook and understanding of God the Father, Jesus His Son, and the Holy Spirit.

First and foremost, the LORD is holy. I am not certain if the word “holy” is repeated three times because of a subliminal reference to the Trinity, or whether it is repeated simply as a matter of driving the concept home. It may even be both. No matter why it is repeated, we must never forget that the LORD is holy. If we treat God in any way less than holy, we have sinned. We have taken the Creator of all things and redefined Him within our comfort zone. We do not praise Him if we make Him less than He is.

Ouch!

I hate to say this, but human nature finds us doing just that. We have a tendency of not understanding just how magnificent that He is. We tend to define God and our relationship to Him by our own thought processes and our own relationships. God is holy.

“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))

We cannot comprehend God. We must simply trust Him and accept that He is holy.

The second premise that is presented is the fact the the whole earth is full of His glory.

Everywhere that you look, you see wondrous things that God has created. Can man imagine a rainbow into existence? Can humanity divide the waters above from the waters below? Can anybody create a continent and clothe it in the vast splendor that we see?

God’s glory is manifested through His creation. Not only is He holy, but everything that He creates is glorious.

I hope that you fully caught what I just said. Everything that God creates is glorious. God created you and I. It is simple deductive reasoning that allows us to draw the conclusion that we are intended to be glorious. Even though we have fallen from grace through our sin, we are intended to be glorious. Even though we may not always follow God’s call, we are intended to be glorious.

God sent His glory into the world so that we could gain salvation and grace. Jesus, the son of God and the son of man, came into this world so that we could be washed clean and reunited with God in all of His glory.

Holy. Glory.

How do you see God in relationship to these two simple words? Do you see the Lord as Holy Glorious?

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