This is the best new years resolution ever!

January 2, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Be still, and know that I am God.
(Psalms 46:10a (ESV))

Did you make a new years resolution?

If you are like many each year who do just that, I hope that you know the probability of those resolutions being kept. I don’t have the official stats, but I know that they are not good. Too many people simply give up far too soon!

If you want to make a resolution that will benefit you far greater than the proverbial exercise more, lose weight, find love, or change jobs, then I recommend that you do what the Lord told us to do in Psalm 46. I challenge you to take time each day and be still in the presence of God.

You don’t have to buy a gym membership. You don’t have to update your resume. You don’t have to go on some fad diet, and you don’t have to be someone whom you are not in order to find someone to spend time with. All that it takes is a Bible or Bible app, and a commitment to spend time getting to know the very heart of God. I realize that this sounds scary, but it is anything but scary. When you spend time diving deeper into His Word, you will find that it is actually a loving message from a Father to His children. I urge you to recall when you were young and your father or grandfather would have you climb up on their lap and then shower you with love. Getting to know God will give you the same type of feeling.

When you are still in the presence of God, it is a matter of reading His Word, talking to Him, and listening for His still, small voice.

In today’s hectic world, this can mean many different things for different people. It can mean getting up earlier and opening up your Bible before anyone else is up. It can mean staying up after everyone else is in bed and diving into His Word. It can mean changing what you listen to in the car on your daily commute to an audio Bible. There are no right or wrong ways if you are truly earnest about your desire to know God. Don’t think that you don’t have the time. Take a serious look at your day and where you can make a few adjustments to be still in His presence.

Don’t miss out on what He has in store for you!

This is the best new years resolution ever!

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Did you experience the real Jesus this Christmas?

December 28, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 (ESV))

We just celebrated Christmas, but how many people actually celebrated the birth of Jesus?

Too many people simply go through the motions where they partake only of society’s consumer driven spending frenzy. They buy gifts for each other, but fail to realize why this tradition started. They fail to recognize the true reason for the season and the greatest gift that was ever given.

It all started with God’s perfect plan of redemption! We couldn’t save ourselves from the consequences of the fall from grace. We inherited our sinful nature. We we helpless, hopeless and lost in a sinful, dying world, and God knew it.

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

Jesus stepped out of heaven to be born and live as one of us. He came to live the perfect, sinless life that we could never live. He came to offer His life of righteousness for our lives of sinfulness. He gave each of us the opportunity to receive the greatest gift of all, and all that we have to do is accept that gift.

That gift is priceless!

That gift is beyond measure!

That gift is eternal life through His righteousness!

That is the real reason for our Christmas celebrations!

That is the best gift that we can receive until we are able to see Jesus face to face.

We must look beyond the boxes, beyond the lights, and beyond the celebrations to experience the real reason for the season. We must long to experience Jesus not only on Christmas day, but on every day of our lives.

Did you experience the real Jesus this Christmas?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus is the Word made flesh!

December 14, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
(Isaiah 55:11 (NIV))

I have read this passage numerous times, but tonight I was given insight that made me stop as I fully realized the implications of these words! It became more than clear to me when I was directed to this passage about Jesus. In fact, what made me take notice of this passage from Isaiah was that it does not say So shall My words. It is singular just as it is in identifying Jesus.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 (NIV))

Jesus was sent forth to accomplish God’s will and He did not return void. He accomplished what pleased the Father. Salvation is the thing for which Jesus was sent, and He prospered in fulfilling the Father’s desires by providing salvation to a sinful, fallen world! All that we have to do is accept what the Father has provided.

I love how God’s Word comes to life! The more that you read and study, the more that you see Jesus even in passages where you may not have seen Him before. As your desire to understand increases, He gives you more understanding. He unfolds His truth to those who earnestly seek Him. I don’t know how many times that I have read a passage and then the very next time that I read it, I am given new insight. I am given new understanding.

Do you hunger and thirst for the truth of His Word? Do you hunger and thirst for Jesus? Do you bury yourself in His Word in order to know the very heart of God?

God showed us His heart when He sent Jesus. We are told that where your treasure is there your heart will be also. God treasures His creation. He treasures us so much that He sent His Son, whom He loves. Jesus was and is the Word made flesh. Jesus fulfilled everything written in Isaiah.

God’s Word is still going forth. Jesus is still accomplishing what the Father pleases. Jesus is still increasing the numbers who have accepted this gift of salvation.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

Jesus is the Word made flesh!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you accept the Word made flesh!

October 28, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
(Hebrews 4:12 (NIV))

Perhaps this is why so many people do not spend time in God’s Word!

It makes then reflect on what they are doing!

We are creatures of habit. Human nature is far too predictable. When people reflect, they do not like what they see, so instead of changing to fit what God has called them to, they ignore God and continue in their sin. They put away what makes them see the things within themselves that they don’t like. In their minds, it is so much easier to live with the sin that they know instead of taking a chance to be free from their sin.

The Word of God is not something to be taken lightly, or, for granted. It is alive and has meaning for every person who has ever lived, whether they choose to accept that meaning or not.

Those who accept the Word of God and Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, will have their lives examined and changed by the Holy Spirit. They will find themselves worthy to stand before the Father. Those who do not accept the Word of God will be told that Jesus never knew them and will be cast out from the presence of God.

When was the last time that you actually picked up a Bible and diligently read more than a single passage? It is true that their is power in all Scripture, but it was never intended for you to just read a single passage on a random basis. Just as a single one of your cells is considered alive, it takes the complete collection to fully come to life. The same is true of God’s Word. To fully comprehend the life that is contained within the pages of the Bible, you have to read and study the whole thing. Only then will you truly begin to know the heart of the Father.

Do you spend time in God’s Word?

Do you truly accept the Word of God?

Do you accept the Word made flesh!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How are you at doing what God’s Word says?

September 27, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
(James 1:22 (NIV))

How many of us deceive ourselves when it comes to God’s Word? We all have passages that we read and tell ourselves, “Yeah. If only everybody would be like that, it would be great.” The bad part about that is that most of the time we have only a superficial desire to do what we are asking others to do. We never truly do what it says.

We read and study God’s Word, then almost immediately we do the very thing that it says that we should not do. It is like we are still in the Garden of Eden rebelling against God with Adam and Eve. We still only give a brief acknowledgment to the path that is right, but we never seem to follow the path to its destination. We soon get sidetracked and forget where we were desiring to go.

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.
(James 1:23-25 (NIV))

God desires for us to not only listen to the Word. He longs for us to do what it says. Listening to God’s Word does not make you a follower. Satan listened to the Word. He knows exactly what it says. I would venture to say that the biggest issue is that he doesn’t do what God’s Word says.

Is this the root of human rebellion? Is this the root of human sin? We miss the mark all too often. Perhaps we should start to do what God’s Word says. At least, we should desire to do what it says.

What is your desire?

How are you at doing what God’s Word says?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is it that you do?

August 3, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
(James 1:22 (NIV))

Are you content to hear a twenty minute sermon once a week and then profess to know how God desires for you to live?

If you want to learn how to be a better musician, you practice your instrument often. If you want to be a better tennis player, you practice and play often. If you want to run a marathon, you train and you run often. If you want to be good at your job, you go to school to learn the details about your chosen profession. Why do we think that we can do any different when it comes to living our lives according to God’s Word? Why do we think that we’ve got this “Christianity thing” down pat when we can’t even go one minute without failing miserably at putting our faith into action?

James tells us to do what the Word says, but how many of us actually spend enough time alone in God’s Word to know what it says? How many of us truly understand the concept of taking up our cross daily and following Him daily?

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
(Luke 9:23 (NIV))

If we don’t do what His Word says, if we don’t take up our cross daily, if we don’t follow Him daily, are we doing anything more than giving lip service to something that we truly don’t understand? Are we guilty of simply being a poser?

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV))

I long to hear completely different words when I stand before Jesus!

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
(Matthew 25:21 (NIV))

We know that only by professing a faith in Jesus will we be saved. Works will not do it. Associating with someone who professes a faith will not do it. Only by professing a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior will bring you the gift of salvation, but we are called to put our faith into action. We are called to live according to God’s Word. We are called to emulate Jesus in all that we do. We are called to walk with Jesus and imitate what we see in Him. If we profess a faith in Jesus, then our heart should desire to do what He calls us to do, but we must do it only as He directs. It is so easy to see things that we think we should be doing and go off and do them without Jesus in our lives. If you consider Jesus in context to the passage from James, it bring clarity. Jesus was God with us, yet, He didn’t do what He wanted to do. He only did what God’s Word instructed.

Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
(John 5:19 (NIV))

What is it that you do?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you found your refuge and shield?

August 2, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

You are my refuge and my shield;
    I have put my hope in your word.
(Psalms 119:114 (NIV))

This passage is sandwiched right in the middle of two very interesting passages.

I hate double-minded people,
    but I love your law.
(Psalm 119:113 (NIV))

The Psalmist starts off with what he hates, but quickly counters with what he loves. He lays open his heart to the Lord by describing the things that he wishes were not around him. He then quickly counters this with the very thing that he longs to always be in the midst of.

Away from me, you evildoers,
    that I may keep the commands of my God!
(Psalm 119:113 (NIV))

Again, we see that the Psalmist longs for evil to be completely removed from his presence so that he can focus on God and His Word.

Nestled between these two verses is a passage where the Psalmist opens up his heart completely to the Lord. In the midst of double-minded people, he takes refuge in the Lord. In the midst of evildoers, he keeps the commands of the Lord. He is not swayed by those who are double-minded and those who do evil. He keeps his eyes firmly on the Lord.

With all that is happening in the world today, do you hate those who are double-minded? Do you desire to flee from those who do evil? Do you long to find refuge in what you love? Do you long to walk humbly in obedience to God’s law? Do you turn to the Lord for shelter and protection? Is your only hope found within His word?

Think about what the Psalmist was portraying in these three passages. He is surrounded by evil, yet he finds complete shelter and hope in the midst of these things by focusing only on the Lord. It doesn’t matter what comes before or what comes after. He is safe and secure in the midst of all troubles because he trusts in the Lord. Is that what you desire when you find yourself in the midst of double-mindedness and evil? Is this what you desire when the whole world is falling apart? Is this what you desire even when things are going good? Have you found shelter in what you love?

Have you found your refuge and shield?

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

July 8, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
(Psalms 18:30 (NIV))

Have you truly taken refuge in the Lord?

Think about that question, for your eternity lies in your answer.

Do the ever-increasing number of events unfolding in this world have you worried, or are you at complete peace that defies all worldly logic? Do you see the extremes that people will go to when things don’t go as they desire, even when their desires are far from godly? Do you find yourself heartbroken because these people have believed the lie from the enemy? Are you saddened when someone curses God? I recently saw a video that had a segment where a man about fifty years old got right in the lens of the camera and in a very demonic voice proudly proclaimed that he liked killing babies!

We are told that the wheat and the tares will grow up evenly. We are told that good will be called evil and evil will be called good. We are told that a great delusion will fall over those who do not fear the Lord. We are told that there will be wars and rumors of wars. We are told that people will be lovers of themselves!

I personally believe that my last sentence is the root cause of everything since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. We want to do what we want to do and we want everyone to accept what we want to do. We have come to the point where we love ourselves so much that we fail to even have any glimmer of love for anyone else. I don’t know about you, but this sounds just like the enemy when he was cast out of heaven. Satan wanted to be in control and he wanted to do things his way. Does this sound familiar to you?

There are two very distinct ways that we can be in respect to a relationship with the Lord. We can deny, despise, reject, and curse Him, or we can run to His open arms and find love, redemption, grace, mercy, and refuge. Now is the time to run to His open arms with a repentant heart. Do it before it is too late!

Once again I need to ask one very important question.

Have you truly taken refuge in the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How is your hearing?

June 30, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
(Romans 10:17 (NKJV))

How did you come to faith in Jesus?

I realize that this is a rhetorical question, since someone had to tell you about the saving grace that could be yours through the atoning blood of Jesus. I do not know anyone who simply woke up one morning with a newfound faith in Jesus. I do realize that Jesus has made appearances to people in countries where the Gospel is banned, but even these newfound believers heard the Gospel before coming to faith.

In essence, someone had to share the Gospel in order for someone else to receive it! They had to explain that we are all born sinners and that the wages of sin is death. They had to explain that God loved the world and sent His Son, Jesus, to pay the price for our sins. Someone had to explain that because that price was paid by a sinless man, we have the ability to have our sins forgiven so that we can stand in God’s presence with our sin debt fully paid! That is how someone comes to faith in Jesus!

But, what is faith?

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV))

When you think of something of substance, you think of truth. You think of solidness. You think of something that is satisfying. When you think of evidence, you think of undeniable facts.

Another translation states it like this.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

When you think of confidence, you think of undeniable truth and strength. You might even say that it borders on assuredness. I love how this translation ties that together in the next part of the passage. We have assurance, a firm foundation built upon a promise, that what we believe is true.

Faith is built upon the hope that we have in Jesus. There is evidence to support what we profess. It is documented in the Gospels. It is documented by other historians. We are confident in what we profess. We have placed ourselves squarely and solely on the promises that God has given to us. We have a firm foundation with Jesus as our cornerstone!

How is your hearing?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is this easier said than done?

April 5, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
(James 1:22 (NIV))

What is your reaction to these simple words?

Is this easier said than done?

Most of us think that we are good at putting our faith into action, but if we are serious with ourselves, we fail miserably more often than not. If we were good at putting our faith into action, the pain-in-the-neck next door neighbor wouldn’t be such a pain. If we were good at putting our faith into action, the homeless would not be in need of anything. If we were good at putting our faith into action, the people who don’t look like us would be welcome in our homes and in our churches.

I honestly am not trying to ruffle feathers. What I am trying to do is make a case that all of us need improvement. We all need to still take lessons from Jesus on how to live according to His word. When we give up pursuing actions that follow His word, then we have become members of the group who have heard but do not do what it says.

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
(James 1:23-25 (NIV))

Do you intentionally want to be a part of this group, or has society distracted you to the point where you are unintentionally doing what is wrong in the Lord’s eyes? Is it time to take a long, hard look at your life and your faith? Are you spending time daily in His Word? Are you spending time daily in prayer? Are you spending time daily sharing the Gospel to those who are in need?

I want to share a redeeming thought with you. Out of all of history, only Jesus was able to perfectly do what the Word says to do. He was the only one who didn’t miss the mark. He was the only one who did not sin. When you find that you aren’t doing what you know that you should be doing, simply turn to Jesus and repent. Pray for insight and wisdom so that you can mature into His image. Never simply turn away. Always turn toward Jesus!

Living in this world is hard. Following Jesus is hard, but it is definitely better than not following Jesus. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus and know that you will makes mistakes.

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