Are you facing persecution for your faith?

May 26, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.
(John 15:20 (NIV))

Many people have taught that to follow Jesus means no troubles in this world and that you will be blessed with abundance in all that you do and in worldly possessions.

This teaching is not what Jesus spoke of!

Can we expect more than what was shown to Jesus when He walked the earth? To be truly like Jesus, we need to accept the fact that we will have troubles.

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33b (NIV))

When a believer faces hardship or persecution, it should be a witness to others about our faith in Jesus Christ. We will face hardship and persecution, but how we face it is what makes us different from the world.

Will your actions during hardship convict you of being a disciple of Jesus?

Are you facing persecution for your faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you truly accepted the peace that Jesus gives?

March 30, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
(John 14:27 (NIV))

Are you at peace with what is happening in the world?

Perhaps I should ask if you are at peace in spite of what is happening in the world. I honestly believe that every believer is watching and wondering what is going to happen next. We know that the world is a sinful, fallen place and that the things of this world will just continue to get worse. With that in mind, even those who profess a faith in Jesus are probably experiencing some concerns as things unfold. Thankfully, our concerns are not the end of our story, for our story is eternally tied to the story that God is unfolding through Jesus. Our concerns should be for the lost who are caught in the middle of the present circumstances for they see no hope in sight. Our worries should be for those individuals who have not accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. If you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and savior, you have a peace that passes all understanding. You have a peace that is evident in spite of what is going on in the world.

Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.
(Daniel 12:10 (NIV))

We must pray for a harvest! We must pray for an increase. We must pray for the atoning Blood of Jesus to cleanse, to purify, to make spotless, and to refine those who will answer His call. We must pray for an outpouring so that people will understand that they need to repent and turn to Jesus.

It breaks my heart to see people who have apparently lost all semblance of common sense. They just don’t seem to understand the basic principles of life. They just don’t seem to understand that there is an absolute truth and an absolute righteousness. They have abandoned the truth and believed the lie. The peace that I have in spite of the world is what I long to be able to share with these people, but they simply do not understand. I hate to draw this conclusion, for they are someone’s brother or sister, father or mother, son or daughter, but based on what Daniel has written, what does that make them in the eyes of God?

I am not at peace when I see what is happening in this world simply because I know far too many people who need Jesus, and they need Him now!

If it is possible to grasp, at the very same time, I am at peace in spite of the circumstances in the world. This comes only through knowing that I have personally placed my hope and trust in Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. That does not mean that my heart doesn’t break when I see the things that break the very heart of God. I just realized that my peace comes from Jesus changing me to the point where I now know what breaks the very heart of God. If you then expand that knowledge to a desire to not break His heart, but to fill your heart with Him, then you truly possess a peace that passes all understanding.

Have you truly accepted the peace that Jesus gives?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Fix your eyes upon Jesus!

March 29, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.
(Habakkuk 3:19 (NIV))

Do you ever feel like the weight of the world is crashing in on you? If you are like most people, that has grown exponentially over the last few years. When this happens, and yes, it happens even to believers, what do you do? Do you have a favorite scripture passage that restores the peace and the calm? Do you go into your prayer closet? Do you listen to a favorite song? Do you pick up God’s Word and dive into the truths that it contains? Do you fully embrace that Jesus is still with you and is walking with you through all of your troubles?

“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))

Human history has been full of troubles. Many people who study prophecy believe that these troubles are now escalating and converging to the point where we can see the unfulfilled prophecies being fulfilled very rapidly. If this is true, then we must rely on the Lord as our strength, for it will be more than we can bear. If these events are still years down the road, we still must rely on the Lord as our strength, for the current state of the world is very troubling now and will only get worse.

Is the Lord your strength?

Do you find joy in knowing that He is in control? Do you find peace in knowing that there is absolutely nothing that happens in this world that He does not know about? In other words, He knows the end from the beginning! We have nothing to fear. We have no reason to be downcast and disturbed because He is our strength.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
      Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
      for I will yet praise him,
      my Savior and my God.
(Psalm 42:5 (NIV))

When you are feeling like the weight of the world is making you downcast, look up! Our Lord is our perfect strength. We must look to Him. I find hope and strength that one day when I look up, I will see Him coming for His bride, for those who call upon His name as Lord and Savior!

Fix your eyes upon Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you called upon the name of the Lord?

February 1, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
     abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
(Psalms 86:5 (ESV))

What do you tell people who claim that God won’t send them to hell because He is love, and why would a loving God do such a thing?

Let that question sink in!

Do you know anyone who professes this belief? Have you ever professed this belief? On the surface, it sounds so appealing and accurate, but is it accurate?

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))

If it is accurate, then why did God send His one and only Son? Why did He have to go to the cross? Why did He have to die in order to pay for our transgressions, for our sins?

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

Too many people have accepted the lie propagated by the enemy that says that since God is love, He accepts you just as you are and that you do not have to change. They forget one important fact that clearly modifies those with whom God shares His steadfast love.

“to all who call upon you.”

Too many people ignore the fact that we have to call on the Lord to save us, and then His love is poured out upon us. He does love everyone, but He desires for you to repent, accept His gift of grace and mercy, and then follow Him. There is nothing in His Word that says that He will show His redeeming love to those who rebel against Him. All that you have to do is read about Adam and Eve, the flood, the Tower of Babel and many others to see what happens to those who rebel. Countless times, He pleads with those who are in rebellion to turn to Him and live! That is why He sent His Son.

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

Have you called upon the name of the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you one in Christ?

January 13, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
(Galatians 3:28 (NIV))

How do you see yourself?

How do you think the world sees you?

Based on this passage, how do you think the Lord sees you?

Out of these three questions, which one really matters in the final outcome? We can see ourselves as invaluable, but the Lord knows our value. He died on the cross because we are of value to Him. The world can see us as invaluable, but, again, the Lord knows our value. The world weighs us down, but 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))

In essence, when you accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, all of your past sins are washed white as snow. He sees us as His. He sees us as someone worthy of saving. It doesn’t matter what your background may be, He loves you. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, He loves you. It doesn’t matter if you are male or female, He loves you. There is an invitation to all who will come, but you must respond. What is your response?

Are you ready to put your past behind you and walk into the light?

It is as easy as ABC.

A is for admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior.

B is for believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead.

C is for call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.

Are you one in Christ?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Happy New Year to those who desire to overcome!

December 31, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“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 at peace with what is going on in the world?

What does your answer tell you about your relationship with Jesus?

I realize that we are only human and we live in the physical world, but if we have accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, then we do not truly live here. This world is not our home. We are only passing through. Our true home is an eternity spent with Jesus!

My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
(John 14:2-3 (NIV))

Let me present a question for your consideration.

If you were on a journey to get home and you saw terrible thing along the way, would you forget that you were going home and focus on the troubles along the way?

Sadly, that is what too many people who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior end up doing. We focus on the troubles in this world and lose our focus on Jesus. It is true that we do have to live in this world, but we must remember that what we see unfolding is all part of God’s plan. As such, we must keep our eyes focused on Jesus, for when we focus on Jesus all the troubles of this world seem to fade away.

As we face the upcoming new year, it is my prayer that each of us can keep our focus where it should be.

Happy New Year to those who desire to overcome!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Even the powerful fulfill His Will!

December 20, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.
(Luke 2:1 (NIV))

If I were a betting person, I would say that Caesar Augustus probably thought that the census was his idea.

I love how the Lord makes things happen according to His purpose. I love how He uses people to fulfill His plans. Without the census, Joseph and Mary would not have had to make the trip to be counted. Without the census, Jesus would not have been born where the prophets had said that He would be born. Without this census, God’s timing would not have unfolded as we know it.

To Caesar Augustus, ordering the census was probably all part of an egotistical idea to see how many people fell under his rule, but to God, this was all part of His plan to accurately fulfill the many prophecies of the birth of Jesus. God is the master architect of all creation. He has been working His plan according to His purpose and His timing ever since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. This census did not take God by surprise. He knew it would happen exactly when it happened. He knew that it would be the catalyst for Joseph and Mary to be in the right town when Jesus was born.

Do you think that Caesar Augustus understood all of the ramifications of his census? Do you think that he knew what God was using him to bring about?

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

We may not fully understand the details of things that God unfolds as He is unfolding them, but we do know that His plan is the victor in the end. We may not see every single little step or detail, but we know how it ends. We are to keep our eyes on Jesus and firmly place our trust in Him even when things look like they are completely falling apart. Think about that. The last thing that the Jews wanted to do was to be subjugated under Roman authority, yet it was that Roman authority that set in motion the very thing that allowed the birth of Jesus to fulfill prophecy.

Are we seeing anything in the world today that God could be using to fulfill His Will?

Even the powerful fulfill His Will!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It doesn’t matter what the world thinks!

October 6, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated.
(Hebrews 10:33 (NIV))

Think about this passage for a moment.

Did you come to any conclusions or did you have any insights that you hadn’t had before?

Perhaps what caught my attention is related to the following passage.

“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))

If you truly stop to think about this, the world does not insult and persecute those who belong to it. If we are to face insult and persecution because of our faith, there is only one way that we, as members of the Body of Christ, should respond.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
(James 1:2-4 (NIV))

Are you truly prepared for what the world will probably be sending your way?

I realize that there isn’t a single person who looks forward to insults and persecution, but we must be prepared for whatever the world may send our way. We must stand firm so that we do not fall away when our faith is tested. We may face things individually, or we may face them together as members of the Body of Christ. No matter what the world may send our way, we must remember that the world is not our savior. With that in mind, there is only one thing left to say.

It doesn’t matter what the world thinks!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you long to conform to Jesus?

September 30, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
(Romans 12:2 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but I want to have nothing to do with the world as it is!

There is absolutely nothing in what is happening that is patterned after what God desires. It may be in His plans, but He does not desire to see any perish. He knows that evil will make one last stand against His plans. Even so, the Lord desires righteousness. He does not desire good being called evil and evil being called good. He does not desire sin to be tolerated, yet it is openly embraced. He does not desire to see the persecution of His church. He does not desire to see people who profess a faith in Jesus distort His teachings. He does not desire to hear His name profaned, yet that is where we are in history. It is true that things have been happening all throughout history, but there is an acceleration, there is a convergence of events like never before.

Do you feel it?

Do you understand that something is not status quo?

The whole world is seeing things like never before. Do you recognize these events?

Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.
(Luke 21:11-12 (NIV))

If this is what conforming to the world looks like, I don’t want any part of it!

I only want Jesus!

I want to conform to Jesus. I want to mature in my faith to be like Jesus even if it means persecution.

“But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name.
(Luke 21:12 (NIV))

Now is the time to immerse yourself in His Word. Renew your mind so that it desires His righteousness and detests the evils of this world. Renew your mind so that you can recognize God’s will and run from the lies of the enemy.

Do you long to conform to Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you believe?

September 20, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
(1 John 4:1-3 (NIV))

In today’s world, deceit is everywhere. The prince of this world tries to deceive the faithful by wrapping his deception in a cloak that imitates the Truth.

Be careful in what you allow into your heart. Test everything. Satan can also appear as an angel of Light. If something does not acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, run from it.

All of God’s Truth throughout the history of the Bible has pointed to one man through many prophecies. If something professes to be from God, yet does not acknowledge that Jesus is the only begotten Son, it is not from God.

Jesus foretold of this and left us a warning.

For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect–if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.
(Mark 13:22-23 (NIV))

Do not be deceived, but keep your eyes focused on God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

What do you believe?

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