What deceptive words do you need to let go of?

April 16, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless.
(Jeremiah 7:8 (NIV))

Why do we trust in things that are not true?

Jeremiah spoke to the Israelites what God wanted him to say. Many people were doing exactly that – trusting in deceptive words. I honestly think that we, as a nation, are doing exactly the same thing as the nation of Israel did. We are putting our trust in things that we should not trust. We are doing things that we should not be doing. We are living our lives as if we were the ones who decide what is right and what is wrong.

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Stand at the gate of the LORD’s house and there proclaim this message:
       ” `Hear the word of the LORD, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship the LORD. This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place. Do not trust in deceptive words and say, “This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD!” If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your forefathers for ever and ever.
(Jeremiah 7:1-7 (NIV))

Deceptive words!

How can we expect God to bless this nation, when we don’t bless God with what we hear and what we see? Think about that for a moment. Think about the history of Israel and hopefully you will see God’s truth about deception and turning to other gods. When Israel lost sight of who they worshipped and whose they were, the nation suffered. Only when they turned back to God did the nation prosper. In recent years, this nation has turned to deceptive words and ways, and now we are suffering. The world, and false gods, have taken over our society. People worship money, fame, power and many other things. Many still profess a faith in Jesus, but what is the priority when we sit in church and think about how we can make more money than the next person? Do thoughts about a new car, or a promotion, or a vacation find their way into your mind when you are in worship? Our deceptive words may be our own selfish thoughts and desires.

`Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, “We are safe”–safe to do all these detestable things? Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the LORD.
(Jeremiah 7:9-11 (NIV))

We all like to place our trust in many things. We want to trust in the economy. We want to trust in government. We want to trust in our family. We seem to place our trust in things that are human in nature, and as such, are prone to fail. We say that we trust in God, yet, we are removing Him more and more from our lives. When we remove God, we are doing the very things that Jeremiah spoke to the Israelites about. We can’t live our lives without God and contrary to God, and then put on a smile and attend church and expect everything to be a blessing.

We need to turn to God and follow His leading.

If someone like Jeremiah came today to this nation, would we listen? Would we believe? It is my prayer that we do listen and we do believe. God gave us His Word to guide us. We aren’t listening to His word like we should.

What deceptive words do you need to let go of?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you anxiously seek Godly knowledge?

February 18, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the scroll until the end of time. Many will go back and forth and search anxiously [through the scroll], and knowledge [of the purpose of God as revealed by His prophets] will [greatly] increase.
(Daniel 12:4 (AMP))

Have you ever heard this passage translated in this way?

Perhaps you are more familiar with it from this translation.

But you, Daniel, roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.
(Daniel 12:4 (NIV))

Most of us think of this passage with respect to the last sentence and take that to mean that people will be able to go everywhere easily and that human knowledge such as technology will increase. To be honest with you, this is a perfect picture of our world today. We have seen more advancements in the last one hundred years with respect to travel and human knowledge than we have over the last several thousand years.

I have a question for you to consider.

What was in the original Hebrew scrolls that made one translation allude to this as traveling here and there to increase knowledge while another translator chose to indicate that people will be going back and forth anxiously searching the scriptures for knowledge of the end of time?

I realize that everyone has their personal favorite translation that they like to use, but unless you are capable of fluently reading the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, we are all at the mercy of the people who translated God’s Word. We must learn to go beyond our favorite translation and cross reference other translations. We are to search the scriptures in such a way that we eagerly seek His insight into His Word, and if that means comparing translations to help us understand the intent of the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, then we must do so with prayerful consideration. Even if we only read one translation, we must pray for God to open our eyes, our hearts and our minds so that we truly understand His Word. We must be like the Bereans.

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 17:10-12 (NIV))

We must examine the scriptures!

We must be eager in our examinations!

Do you search anxiously through God’s Word? Do you cross-reference from one passage to another and from one translation to another? Let’s take that back to the context originally spoken of in this passage. Let’s look at the increase in the desire to understand the end of time. Have you seen an increase in the eagerness to understand this knowledge?

Daniel, I now command you to keep the message of this book secret until the end of time, even though many people will go everywhere, searching for the knowledge to be found in it.
(Daniel 12:4 (CEV))

God’s Word is much more than instructions on how to live our lives. It is an insight into the very heart and mind of the Lord. It is an insight into God’s very plan as it unfolds.

Do you anxiously seek Godly knowledge?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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These truly are reassuring words for tough times!

December 4, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

No matter what you may face in this world, you have this promise to hold on to.

God will not forsake us in our times of trouble. It is we who forsake Him. All throughout history, God has been faithful to keep all of His promises. It has always been humanity that breaks their promises to God.

Are you able to stand firm in your faith? Can you say with complete confidence that you will never stray from your faith and that you will never do something that breaks God’s heart? Sadly, human nature doesn’t have a very good track record, but God does! There are those two wonderful words…

But, God!

There was a time when the enemy thought that he had won, but God had another plan.

There was a time when the enemy killed Jesus, who was and is God’s plan, but God turned the tables on the enemy.

I could go on with many more examples. One thing that I do need to point out is the old saying that God is never late. He is also never early. Everything is according to His time. When things appear to be beyond all hope, look up! When things appear to be at the darkest that they can get, look up! We must remember the “but, God” aspect. Things always happen when the time is right so that it is obvious that it is not of our own doing. When we pass the the tough times in this world, when we pass through the waters, we must never lose sight of the hope that we have through Jesus!

We must cling to this passage, for these truly are reassuring words for tough times!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have the faith to do something?

August 27, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

      What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
      But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
      Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder.
(James 2:14-19 (NIV))

We are told that we will be known by our fruit. What fruit do you bear?

We are told that we cannot earn our way to salvation through works. Does this mean that we do not do good works?

We are told that actions speak louder than words. Are you actions louder than a whisper?

Too many members of the Body of Christ cling to the notion that because we are saved by grace and that we are freed from the law of sin and death, we are also free from doing good works. Too many believe that since good works do not get you into heaven, they are not needed. Nothing could be farther from the truth!

Works without faith will not save us. Faith saves us. However, faith without works is not a true manifestation of faith. When we are fully aware of the grace that we have been given, we should fully desire to share that love and grace with all that we see. We should not simply sit upon our laurels and falsely profess that we have our salvation and the salvation of everyone else is not our responsibility.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
(Mark 16:15-18 (NIV))

Jesus gave us the responsibility.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said, “Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.”

Are you ready to accept the responsibility that Jesus has given us?

Do you have the faith to do something?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are we listening?

July 30, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!
(Acts 28:28 (NIV))

When Paul was in Rome, local Jewish leaders came to him. During the visit, Paul spoke of what was told to their ancestors through Isaiah. Some believed while many did not. The last words recorded of that conversation are shown above. For over two thousand years, we, as Gentiles, have listened. We have taken the Gospel that Paul preached and have been able to reach a large number of people. It is true, just as it was in Paul’s day, that some people have perverted the Gospel for their own gain, but for the most part, Gentiles have listened.

The time is now here when we must stand firm in our faith. We must proclaim Jesus loudly and boldly to a world that is falling apart. Time is running out!

Yes, I did just say that.

I have this feeling in my spirit that this world will not return to what we knew just last year. I actually have mixed feelings about this, for I love life. I love my family and I love spending time with those I love. But, I love Jesus more. After years of study, I believe that we are seeing things unfold as we have been told in God’s Word. With the things that are going on in this world, evil is rising. I am seeing things in this country that I would expect to only see in regions of this world that have been known for being oppressive. I am seeing a global hatred of people who profess a faith in Jesus. I am seeing ethnicity rising against ethnicity. Just for reference, this is often translated as nation rising against nation. I am seeing a push to go completely digital with money as well as a push to collect and destroy any physical money once the digital is implemented. I am seeing a big push to wear masks. I realize that the virus is real, so I don’t want to get into a debate about wearing masks. What I find sad is that the whole world is engulfed in this. There are those who are pushing a vaccine in order to be able to take part in society. In other words, get vaccinated and you can buy and sell. Would that vaccine leave a visible mark?

Paul was right.

The Gentiles have listened. But, do we know and understand God’s Word well enough to do something with what we have heard? Are we praying for God’s Will, even if it means things get much worse, or are we praying for our will and our comfort?

We need to truly seek the Lord. We need to listen for His voice and His guidance.

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
(Revelation 2:29 (NIV))

Are we listening?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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It is time to let your light shine!

July 29, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
(John 1:5 (NIV))

Do you believe these words?

With all that is going on in the world, do you believe these words?

With all of the evil that is rampant and when the good is vilified, do you believe these words?

It is so hard to look at the things that are happening in the world, and in our own country. It is as if the whole world has gone mad. It is as if the whole world is upside down. Darkness is spreading and it seems as if it can’t be stopped. To be completely honest with you, it cannot be stopped in the natural. It is a spiritual war and it has spilled over into the physical reality that we call the world. Because it is a spiritual war, we have hope. Because it is a spiritual war, we know the final outcome.

Darkness will not prevail!

Have you ever been in a room so dark that you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face? What happens when you are able to light a small candle? The light from the candle prevails over the darkness. No matter how dark something may seem, it only takes a little light to bring hope. It only takes a little light to bring clarity and vision.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
(John 8:12 (NIV))

Perhaps this is why the powers that be want to remove any and all reference to Jesus. They are trying to remove the light. Perhaps this is why the powers that be want to push other beliefs. These beliefs are contrary to Jesus and are darkness. Contrary to what the enemy may think, darkness cannot drive out light. It can make it grow dim, but it cannot engulf the light. Light will prevail.

There are many books and passages in the Bible that speak of terrible times when the darkness will try to overcome the light, but we, as the Body of Christ, know what happens in the end. We know that the light of Jesus will defeat the darkness. The darkness will not be able to overcome what God has planned.

Do you feel that you are overcome with the darkness that is all around?

“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 5:14-16 (NIV))

As a member of the Body of Christ, it is time to let your light shine!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do these words echo your heart?

July 9, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.
Those who are far from you will perish;
    you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
But as for me, it is good to be near God.
    I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;
    I will tell of all your deeds.
(Psalms 73:25-28 (NIV))

Have you told anyone about what God has done?

If you are like most people, you probably are more willing to tell what He has done specifically for you. No matter who the recipient of God’s actions may be, have you told someone of the greatness of God?

How can we fulfill the command from Jesus if we don’t tell anyone?

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.
(Mark 16:15 (NIV))

In order to preach the good news, we must be willing to tell of God’s deeds, for it is those deeds that have allowed us to be saved. We have no other recourse to salvation. We have no other means by which we can be saved.

David wrote about this, for he had experienced the abundance of God firsthand. He was willing to tell others about what God has done for him. He was willing to tell of God’s deeds even before God sent His Son, Jesus, to die for our salvation. Now, we have an even greater message to tell about.

Are you telling others about what God has done for you?

Do these words echo your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you comfortable in this world?

June 16, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
(John 15:9 (NIV))

I want to get something straight. I want it to be known by anyone and everyone who sees me.

This world is not my home!

I may live in it, but I do not like the things of this world. My focus is on Jesus! I cling to the words from what Jesus prayed for His disciples while in the Garden of Gethsemane.

I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.
(John 17:14-18 (NIV))

In other words, we, as the Body of Christ, are to occupy until we are called home. We are to spread the Gospel. We are to pray. We are to be salt and light in this earth, but we are not to get comfortable here. We are called to not be content in a sinful, fallen world. We are called to not find our security in this sinful, fallen world. The only place that we, as the Body of Christ, should be comfortable is in the will of the Lord.

The world has many things that can be used to distract us. We must be on our guard against the distractions of the enemy and focus solely on Jesus. He is our true source of all comfort!

Are you comfortable in this world?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Is the light of Jesus visible in you?

June 9, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“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 5:14-16 (NIV))

It is impossible to be a “quiet” believer.

I think everyone has met someone who says that they believe but they do not wish to “force” their beliefs on others. They are not fully aware of what Jesus meant when he spoke the words that Matthew wrote down. A light shines because it is light. You cannot stop a light from shining. By it’s very nature, it will illuminate everything that comes into contact with it.

The same is also true of people who have experienced the “Light” of Jesus Christ. If they truly have been exposed to this “Light”, then they will radiate with it in all things that they do and to all people that they see. It is not something that you can keep inside, hidden from the world.

These people quote, “My belief is a personal matter.” They are correct. Every person must decide for themselves. But, once you make that decision, it will work in your life and your “glow” will become evident by your actions, words, and deeds.

Do not hide the “Light” that has illuminated your life. Share it. Someone else needs to have the “Light”. Do not be pushy with the Light. Let Light do what it does naturally. Expose something to light, and it becomes radiant in color, completely washed by the light. Are you radiant?

Is the light of Jesus visible in you?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you heard the Lord say to get moving?

May 13, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.
(Exodus 14:15 (NIV))

God spoke these words to Moses when the Egyptians were pursuing them and had them cornered at the sea. To the Israelites, it looked like they had two choices – die at the hands of Pharaoh’s army or die in the sea.

God had other plans!

The Israelites were looking at their situation through worldly eyes. Many of them even vocalized their lack of faith.

They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt?
(Exodus 14:11 (NIV))

It is human nature to see the worst in a situation. It is hope that allows us to see the best in the very same situations. It is faith that allows us to take action on our hope and have results that astound the world. In this story, the Israelites overcame their worldly viewpoint and literally stepped out in faith and gave us a glimpse into the majesty and power that God has over His creation. Without their faith and this story, we may not realize that God controls His creation.

It took faith! It also took a direct command from God to Moses to get the people moving.

Do you have that type of faith?

Have you heard the Lord say to get moving?

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