Are you truly refreshed?

June 11, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.
(Jeremiah 31:25 (NIV))

I realize that these words were given to Jeremiah about Judah and Israel, but if you read them in context, they are a promise to the people who are obedient to the Lord. They are a promise to those who are faithful to the Lord that He will be faithful to them.

In the midst of everything that is going on in the world, have you been faithful?

Have you turned to the Lord for your strength when all around you has been chaos? Have you called upon the name of the Lord and asked for guidance and wisdom no matter what the world has sent your way? Have you persevered in your faith even when the world is calling a faith in Jesus evil and racist? Have you fallen to your knees and asked the Lord to show you His Will so you will know His heart during these trying times? Are you ready to stand firm in your faith in Jesus no matter what the world may say?

There is a saying that is often quoted.

I would rather stand with God and be judged by the world than to stand with the world and be judged by God.

Is this your attitude? Are you willing to make this claim no matter what the world may send your way? Are you willing to stand your ground even when facing physical consequences? Can you assuredly make the same claim as Joshua?

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.
(Joshua 24:15 (NIV))

If you make this profession and stand firm, the Lord will give you strength. He will walk with you. He will give you the strength to soar above the world.

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))

To put it simply. You will be refreshed.

Are you truly refreshed?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We have a Savior and He wins!

June 8, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
(Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV))

I am so very weary!

I don’t know just how much more of this world I can stand. Jesus is mocked and chastised while evil is declared truth. Common sense and civility no longer seem to exist.

The whole world simply seems to be upside down and getting worse!

Perhaps I spend too much time watching and reading about events in the world and the current state of what the world says is good. It is heartbreaking to see, but I believe that it is important to know what is going on so that I am at least aware and possibly prepared. We were told to know the seasons. We can’t live our lives in a vacuum where we are completely oblivious to what is going on around us. That is what the enemy wants us to do.

I am weary, or should I say saddened by the current state of the world. I am also very excited, for we have a promise from God. He sent His Son Jesus to be our Savior. Because of this, even when I am weary from what I see in the world, all I have to do is look up to see my Savior.

Don’t forget the promises that God has fulfilled in sending His Son!

I am eternally thankful for Jesus! Even in the midst of troubles, He is in complete control. Everything is unfolding just as the Lord planned. We have nothing to fear even when all seems lost.

“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))

Are you afraid of the events that are happening in the world? Are you weary and burdened by the things that you see unfolding? Are you saddened by the total rebellion against God? Does it break your heart to see evil being called good and good being called evil? There is an old saying that it is darkest just before the dawn. To put this saying into context – when it seems that things can’t get any worse, look up. When you can’t understand why things are happening as they are, look up. When you think that the world can’t do anything else that goes against God’s righteousness, look up. The dawn is coming!

Angels rejoiced when Jesus was born. The enemy rejoiced when Jesus was crucified for he thought that he had won. The disciples rejoiced at the resurrection. Each believer rejoices at the moment of accepting salvation. The enemy is rejoicing once again, but all of the heavenly host and all who call upon the name of Jesus will rejoice at His return.

We have a Savior and He wins!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We all need rest daily!

May 24, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
(Matthew 11:28 (NAS))

I have sent this before, but I feel that it bears repeating. I am sure that you will agree that there are some days where the world just seems to overwhelm you even when you know that you have a Savior who is there for you and will give you rest. Jesus did not tell us that we can only turn turn to Him once. In fact, we are often told that we need to repent daily, so why should we not be able to turn to Jesus on a daily basis for rest?

At this very moment, I feel extremely heavy-laden. I am weary in body and mind, but my spirit still knows that I have a place of strength to which I can turn and I do turn. The world has a way of beating each of us down, no matter how much we desire to stay focused on Jesus. We must never forget that He is our source of strength when the world oppresses us in any manner.

The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed,
    a stronghold in times of trouble.
(Psalms 9:9 (NIV))

It has taken me a long time to grasp this simple, yet profound truth. I know that I still have a long way to go in fully claiming this truth as my own, for in my humanity, I have times of weariness where it is difficult to stay focused. To be honest with you, I know that everyone does. It is only human nature. Rejoice, for we can overcome our nature if we keep our eyes focused on Jesus. Even in times of trouble, He is with us.

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
(Matthew 28:20b (NIV))

It is comforting to know that we have a place of refuge where we can go; that we have a friend who stays closer than a brother. We can always turn to Jesus, and I pray that we always do. Isn’t it good to know that He is always there when we feel that we are weary. We can rest in His grace and mercy. We can rest in His love. We can rest in the assurance that He has overcome the world.

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))

It is my prayer that everyone finds true rest in Jesus.

We all need rest daily!

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

April 27, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
(Matthew 11:28 (NLT))

There is something about the words that the New Living Translation has used in translating this passage as compared to other translations.

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

They say the same thing but with different words. The New Living Translation’s use of the phrase “carry heavy burdens” paints a more vivid mental image than the single word “burdened.” According to Merriam-Webster, burdened means heavily laden or encumbered. In essence, one translation uses what could be considered the definition of the word while most of the other translations simply use the word itself.

What do you think of when you hear the word burdened?

Is it different than what you think of when you hear the phrase “carry heavy burdens?”

Human nature is a strange thing. We try to simplify certain aspects of our lives, but when we do, we have a tendency to lose the full meaning behind what was simplified. Today, when we think of being burdened, we think of mental and emotional stress caused by work, finances or relationships. When you think of carrying heavy burdens, you switch your thinking to a physical stress. In our modern mind set, they paint completely different imagery. When Jesus spoke these words, life was physically hard. I am certain that it was also mentally difficult simply because of the physical difficulties. Today, many of us sit down for a living, or we do far less physical labor than our ancestors had to do. What we consider burdens now primarily tax our hearts and minds instead of our muscles.

No matter the type of burdens that we may face, Jesus still gives us rest.

Are you physically tired or are you mentally and spiritually taxed?

What burdens do you carry?

Have you surrendered them to the Lord?

Have you found true rest in Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Trust in Jesus to give you rest!

January 28, 2021

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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))

Sometimes it seems that I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders.

How about you?

Do you ever feel that you bear more than it seems possible to manage?

Life in this world is full of burdens. Every day presents each of us with troubles and pressures that seem to grow bigger and bigger as time goes on. It seems that we have no escape from what the world sends our way.

Fortunately, we have someone to turn to. We have someone who understands the burdens and will walk with us through them.

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))

Jesus told us to come to Him and bring all of our burdens and troubles with us. He will make our path more joyful. He will make our path have a light that guides us. He will make our path to have a destination that is truly restful as we rest in the presence of God.

The next time that you feel overwhelmed, remember that Jesus bore the weight of the world for our sins when He was sin free. Can you imagine how weary He was during this ordeal – the physical weight of the cross and the emotional weight of all of the sins of all time?

Are you struggling under your own power, or are you resting in the assurance that Jesus will do as He says He will do?

Trust in Jesus to give you rest!

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

December 2, 2020

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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. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV))

When was the last time that you truly felt rested?

Was it when you got away to your favorite vacation spot and did only what you wanted to do? Was it a rest that lasted beyond the few days away from the hectic pace of everyday life? Chances are very good that even this rest left you empty and soon feeling weary once again.

The rest that Jesus speaks of is far more than simply doing nothing. The rest that Jesus speaks of leaves you refreshed deep within your spirit. It leaves you with a peace. Even in the midst of this hectic life that society says we have to live, we can find rest. We can find a perfect rest. Jesus will refresh us and restore us. He will exchange our burdens for His grace, mercy and peace.

When I first read this passage many years ago, I felt perplexed. My understanding of a yoke was a heavy piece of farm equipment used to keep oxen in line to pull a plow. How could this be restful? Later, I learned that when Jesus spoke these words, a rabbi’s interpretation of the scriptures was called his yoke. When you studied under a particular rabbi, you took his yoke upon yourself. All of the rabbi’s yokes placed a strong emphasis on the Law and keeping God’s Laws. Jesus’ yoke was different. He came to give us the intent or the heart of the Laws, and not the letter of the laws. He freed us from the heavy burden of the Law. He offered us grace and mercy.

Jesus gives us rest in more ways than one. It is true that He walks with us and guides us and gives us peace when we face tough times. He also gives us joy in our lives because He has lifted the heavy yoke of the Law. He bore that burden for us. We do not need to.

Have you learned to rest under Jesus’ yoke? The burden has been lifted. Accept His grace and mercy. Have you taken His yoke?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How is your strength?

November 13, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He gives strength to the weary
     and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
     and young men stumble and fall;
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 40:29-31 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but I am weary in my own strength. I don’t have the ability to face the world on my own. I am tired! Perhaps I could even go so far as saying that I am exhausted.

The world in which we live has become so polarized. People rage against anything and everything that God considers good. They openly embrace anything that God considers evil. They mock anyone who clings to the sole source of truth. They censor the name of Jesus who is the source of this truth because they don’t want to offend those who do evil. They don’t want to offend the enemy!

Do you understand why I am weary?

I, like every single person who has ever lived, do not have the strength to face the enemy on my own. Thankfully I can turn to the ultimate source of strength. I can rely on the strength of someone much greater than I. I can rely on the strength of my Lord and Savior. I can rely on the strength of my God! With this strength, I have the ability to face whatever the world may send my way. I have the strength to face whatever the enemy may send my way.

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
     my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
     and with my song I praise him.
(Psalms 28:7 (NIV))

He gives us strength by letting us rest in His presence. He gives us strength when we need shelter from the world. He gives us strength by equipping us with His truth. He gives us strength when we are still. When we desire to live out His truth, He fights the battles.

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
(Exodus 14:14 (NIV))

When you are on the side of the Lord, that should be enough to give you the strength to overcome the weariness caused by the evil in the world!

How is your strength?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you put on your armor?

September 4, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
(Romans 13:12 (NIV))

I’m feeling weary tonight!

I’m sure that you have felt this way at some point in this last year. There is more worldly uncertainty and pressure than any of us have ever experienced before. I don’t need to tell you that we are living in and through very unusual times. We are seeing good being called evil and evil being called good. We are seeing lawlessness. We are seeing saber rattling and wars. We are seeing peace treaties that are foretold in prophecy. We are seeing what the world labels as racial tensions. We are told that nation will rise against nation. The original Greek could actually be translated as ethnicity groups.

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.
(Matthew 24:7 (NIV))

And the one thing that is on everyone’s mind, whether you believe that it is a true risk or greatly exaggerated, is COVID-19. I’ve even read that the suicide rate is up for a group of people that should know where to turn for their strength. Perhaps you have seen this as well. The reports are saying that pastors are committing suicide at an alarmingly high rate. Why has faith disappeared? Why are people who should be encouraging the Body of Christ to look up now doing such a thing as what is being reported? The Body of Christ should recognize the signs and dress for battle for our Savior will soon be here!

When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.
(Luke 21:28 (NIV))

With everything that is going on in the world, who can you turn to in order to get an unbiased and honest perspective on events? We are to look up! We are to keep our eyes focused on Jesus. We are to prepare for what is coming. We are to arm ourselves with His Word, for when we know God’s Word, we don’t lose site of the promises that God is unfolding before us.

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.
(Ephesians 6:10-17 (NIV))

Have you put on your armor?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you still weary and faint?

August 28, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.
(Jeremiah 31:25 (NIV))

Is the world beating you down to the point that you are just drained, weary and faint?

I realize that this question is probably too close to the truth for many of us today. I fully understand just how someone could feel this way. It seems as if each day brings something new and different to the forefront for us to be concerned about. These words were written long before Jesus came into the world. These words were written long before the nation of Israel was scattered. They were written long before Israel was brought back into their land. This whole passage in Jeremiah describes the promises that the Lord has made. It also describes promises fulfilled, for we see these things right before our eyes as God unfolds them for Israel.

Do you think that what is happening in the world has caught God off guard? Do you think that He had no idea what this year would bring? If you answered “Yes” to these questions, you need to take another look at your definition of God. If you answered “Yes” to these questions, you need to stop worshipping the little god that you have put in a box and start worshipping the true God who is Creator and Lord of all.

I realize that the promise God made was to Israel, but if we place our faith and trust in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, then that promise is also for us. In fact, every promise that God has ever made is extended to those who believe in Jesus.

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))

If the Lord has said that He will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint, then we should claim this promise as our own. We should proclaim it to the world so that others may know that they, too, can be refreshed and satisfied simply by professing a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

Are you still weary and faint?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Come to Jesus and find rest!

June 19, 2020

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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. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV))

All of us need rest in the physical world!

How many have thought about spiritual rest and the impact that it has on our physical existence? If we are truly at rest in the Lord, our physical world, no matter what we may face, will also be at rest. We will be at peace. If we focus on finding rest in the physical world first, we will never find true rest and our spiritual rest will also be nonexistent.

Think about your priorities.

God does not want us to be burdened and heavy laden. He wants us to have the peace that only He can provide. He has even given us a way to get that peace, because there is nothing that we can do to achieve it ourselves. Jesus is the peace that God has given us. He is our rest and our hope. He is our spiritual big brother who is looking out for us. We can have rest. It is a rest better than any we have ever known.

Come to Jesus and find rest!

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