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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Are you prepared to preach the word?

March 2, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
(2 Timothy 4:2 (NIV))

Paul’s letters to Timothy provided some very clear instructions on what Timothy was to do while challenging the false doctrine that was being preached in Ephesus. These exact words are what we should be doing in our world today as we encounter the false teachings and the false gods espoused by the world. We, like Timothy, are to hold fast to the never-changing truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are called to share that truth. We are called to be His light in this dark and dying world. We are to stand firm in our faith and share that faith even when all around us appears to be lost. The truth of the Gospel can break through!

Sadly, there will come a day when no one will want to hear the truth. If you look at the current situations and events in this world today, we are getting closer and closer to that day. People are fulfilling the next words to Timothy in an ever-increasing, ever escalating fashion.

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
(2 Timothy 4:3-4 (NIV))

They will turn their ears away from the truth!

I am seeing more and more that people are calling good evil and evil good. I am seeing more and more where people will believe anything but the truth. I am seeing an outright hatred of the truth!

We are called to stand firm and to persevere even in the face of such adversity.

But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
(2 Timothy 4:5 (NIV))

Discharge all the duties of your ministry!

I can hear your thoughts as I write this. Many of you are thinking that you don’t have a ministry and that ministries are for the “professional” evangelists. If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then you have been given marching orders. How you carry out those instructions is your ministry!

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.
(Matthew 28:19-20a (NIV))

Are you prepared to preach the word?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you placed your faith in what endures forever?

February 21, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”
(Isaiah 40:8 (NIV))

If you have spent many years in this world, you understand that seasons change and with the changing seasons, what we took for granted in the spring and summer slowly starts to fade in the fall. and is completely gone by winter. The green grass that we used as a carpet for our springtime and summer activities soon turns brown. The beauty of the flowers fades as the last petal falls leaving only a stem that will also soon wither and die. Each day that we look in the mirror finds us growing older and soon, the face that we see starring back at us is so much different from the face that we remember from our youth.

It is often said that time is a cruel mistress. It takes the things that are beautiful and turns them to something we don’t recognize. It takes the things that we love and makes them old and run down.

Nothing in this physical world endures! Even the biggest structures in the world deteriorate and fall apart.

Thankfully, we have a hope that is not of this world! We have a hope that is firmly rooted in someone who is greater than the world.

But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children—
(Psalms 103:17 (NIV))

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.
(Psalms 145:13 (NIV))

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
(Isaiah 9:6 (NIV))

Our hope is forever and everlasting. It is limitless in time and continues indefinitely. Is that something that our human minds can truly comprehend? We are finite. He is infinite. We are mortal. He is immortal. We are the creation. He is the Creator. We are destined to die. He has overcome death! We often follow lies. He is the only truth. We are sinful by nature. He is righteousness!

If there is something that endures forever, I am so thankful that it is His word, for our thoughts and actions without Him are destined to wither and die.

Have you placed your faith in what endures forever?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Has the Word of God penetrated your life?

February 9, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For the word of God is alive 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))

What are some things that you consider to be sharp?

Perhaps you think of a sword. You might think of a broken piece of glass. If you can find your way around a kitchen, the knives may come to mind. If you have ever had a paper cut, an edge of a sheet of paper can bring on much agony. You may think of sewing needles, or perhaps even medical syringes, but have you ever thought about words being sharp?

Think about words for a moment.

The old saying that sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me is not entirely true. Words, if you let them, can penetrate deeper than almost anything. This is true because words can penetrate the soul. A wrong word can scar someone for life while the right word will change a life for the better. The Word of God does just that. The Word of God can and will change you if you will simply let it.

Many things that we consider to be sharp only penetrate our lives by accident. You will not deliberately cut yourself with a sword, a piece of glass, or a knife. A paper cut is never deliberate. Sticking yourself with a sewing needle is always by accident, and even medical syringes are introduced because of an accident or medical condition that must be addresses. I realize that there are exceptions to each of these, but for the most part, sharp objects are not willingly introduced into a person’s life.

If that is the case, then why do we introduce things into our lives through words that can cause just as much damage as a physical sharp object? What we watch, what we listen to, what we read and what we mindlessly fill our minds with penetrates deeply into our lives. If words can penetrate so deeply, then we must focus on words that will tear down our sinful nature and rebuild within us a righteous nature. We must make a decision to deliberately focus on the Word of God and allow it to penetrate our soul and spirit, joint and marrow, and judge our thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

It is a choice. It is our decision. What penetrates our lives is up to us.

Has the Word of God penetrated your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you rejoice that the Word became flesh?

November 30, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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))

What do you think of when you read this passage?

Without a point of reference, without a back-story that defines why glory, grace and truth were needed, this passage, even though it tells of His glory, doesn’t tell the whole story. It doesn’t tell why we need grace and truth.

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
(John 1:17 (NIV))

What do you think of when you think of the law? Do you think of man-made laws that recently seem to change with no rhyme or reason, or do you think of God’s law that is never changing? Do you think of the failure of Adam and Eve to keep God’s commands thus allowing sin into the world? Do you think of a righteous God who can not associate with sin? Do you think of a loving God who wants to restore us to a relationship with Himself?

Through Moses, God told us how He expected us to live. Through Moses, we have been shown how we are to love God, how we are to treat each other, and how we are to respect each other. Any deviation from God’s perfect plan is sin.

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

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

God took a look at the world and had a plan to redeem us. He knew that there was not a single person who could fulfill the letter of the Law perfectly, so He decided to take matters into His own hands and become a man so that He could live a perfect, sinless life for us. Through this perfect life, we are no longer under the law of sin and death. We are under the redemptive power of grace and truth through the atoning blood of Jesus! Is this what you think of when you read John 1:14? Do these two sentences cause you to reflect on your sinful nature and your inability to do anything about it? Do they give you reason to rejoice because you have accepted what God did for you when you couldn’t do anything for yourself?

Do you rejoice that the Word became flesh?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you truly understand the depths of God’s love?

November 29, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
(John 1:1 (NIV))

Is this concept so simple that we try to make it complicated? Is it so complicated that we try to make it simple, or is it truly clear and understandable?

I have read this passage many times and I have come to the conclusion that is is only truly understood once you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. Up until that time, it seems paradoxical in nature. Up until that time, the very message that is conveyed within these words simply falls on deaf ears. We have no point of reference to allow us to understand.

We cannot comprehend the truth that nothing existed except His Word, and that through His Word, everything came to be. We simply cannot comprehend the truth that through words alone God spoke everything into existence. We cannot understand that there is this type of power in God’s Word. We cannot fathom the possibilities that this is true simply because we fail to see the power of words in our lives. Think about that. When was the last time dreams were shattered by someone’s words? When was the last time that your life was completely changed by someone’s words? If our words can alter lives, why do we fail to recognize that God’s Word has the power to create lives and to create everything?

To get back to my statement that these words truly become understood only after accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you have to understand just who Jesus is!

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))

In other words, Jesus is God’s Word made flesh! To simplify this, let’s use some mathematical symbolism. Jesus = the Word.

Only when you realize that you can do simple substitution because of this fact do you truly come to the following realization.

In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God.

This should put a completely new understanding on a passage that we all know.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

I pray that this gives you something to think about as we enter into this Christmas season.

Do you truly understand the depths of God’s love?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you shining His light for the world to see?

November 18, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
(Psalms 119:105 (NIV))

God’s Word is Truth. Truth is spiritual light. Are we shining the light that God has given us so that others may see their path clearly?

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:14 (NIV))

Take it one day at a time. Take it one hour at a time. Take it one second at a time. We cannot plan how to shine God’s light, we can only be a willing vessel when the opportunity arises. Do you have a second to spare?

Take each second as it comes and shine forth the light that God has placed within you, the Light of Jesus Christ.

Think of all the people who you meet every day who need God’s Light.

Are you shining His light for the world to see?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How are you at waiting?

October 12, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
     and in his word I put my hope.
(Psalms 130:5 (NIV))

Do you have patience?

Let me rephrase that last statement.

Have you grown tired of waiting for the Lord?

That sounds awfully harsh, but if you stop to think about it, we are all guilty of that very thing. We have grown to expect instantaneous rewards and solutions to our problems. We have become expectant of the fast food type of response from anyone and everyone in our lives.

Think back on the stories from the Bible. Did any of them have an instantaneous answer from God? Did Abraham become the father of many nations overnight? Did David become the king of Israel when God selected him from among his brothers? Did Noah go out and buy a boat the day that he heard God tell him it was going to rain? Did Moses lead the Israelites our of Egypt the day he returned from the desert? We all know these answers, yet we have grown to expect much more than these fathers of our faith ever would have imagined. We must take a lesson from these very people and take these words to heart.

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

To know God is to trust in Him. To know God is to place all of your hope in Him. We must be willing to go the distance with God and not grow tired of waiting for Him. I know that we are only human and at times, we will grow weary in our patience. The key is to realize that He is maturing us and those around us so that we may know His fullness. We must realize that we are not waiting for Him. On the contrary, He is waiting for us!

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

I am so very thankful that God has waited for me!

How are you at waiting?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How sharp do you want to be?

September 22, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

As iron sharpens iron,
     so one person sharpens another.
(Proverbs 27:17 (NIV))

There is an old saying that you are what you eat. I can hear your thoughts now as you ask what does this have to do with this passage. To put it concisely, who you associate with is who is being used as the sharpening tool for your life.

Who are the people that you surround yourself with?

Are they sharpening and maturing your faith or are they making you dull and immature? Are you sharpening others?

I realize that not everyone in our lives will profess a faith in Jesus. There will be family who are not believers. There will be people whom you work with who will not be believers. There will definitely be people you encounter in the public spaces of this world who are not believers. The key to these interactions is that we must realize that sometimes we are being sharpened and at other times we are being used by God to sharpen others. We must pray for discernment so that we can identify which is which. Perhaps the easiest way to address this issue is to pray that we can be consistent in our thoughts, words and actions no matter who we are around. We must pray for the strength to keep our eyes on Jesus no matter where we are and who we are with!

Can you make that claim?

We may never know how our words and actions will impact others. We may be the only one in someone’s life who attempts to show them Jesus by the simple things that we say and do. We may add a little sharpness into a dull life and that glimpse of sharpness may be just the thing that makes someone want more. We should also strive to sharpen each other so that our faith, our knowledge and our understanding is continually being honed.

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

For the word of God is alive 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))

To clarify, it is our use of God’s Word that sharpens us. It is our desire to learn and mature and discuss our thoughts with those who also desire to learn and mature in and through God’s word.

How sharp do you want to be?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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