Know that He is coming like the lightning

October 31, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“So if anyone tells you, `There he is, out in the desert,’ do not go out; or, `Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
(Matthew 24:26-28 (NIV))

Where do you spend your time looking for Jesus?

Think about that question. Do you spend your time looking for Jesus where those who are dying in their sin gather? He will not return there again. He will reach out to those who are still lost in sin, but He will not come again as He did two thousand years ago. Don’t expect Him to be as a man again. He has ascended into heaven and will return in power and glory. He will not return as a teacher and a healer. Do not look for Him as He once was.

Jesus came into this world to teach us how to live. He left us with great examples and written instructions. Jesus came into this world to die for our transgressions. He was nailed to the cross and He poured out His life blood for us. Jesus came to this world to defeat sin and death. He arose from the grave on the third day. He ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father. Why would He come back and do something that has already been accomplished? He asks us ot believe in what He has already accomplished and look for His next task, which is to return to earth in power and authority.

Do not look for Jesus as some would look for Him.

He will return. It will be just as it is foretold. When He returns, it will be like the lightning. He will be visible to all. You will not have to seek Him. He will be magnificently presented as He returns. Just as lightning shines with great light and carries great power, so too will be the return of Jesus.

We must spend our time looking for Jesus through the prophecies in the Old Testament. We must spend our time looking for Jesus through the teachings of the New Testament. We must spend our time looking for Jesus in the prophecies of His return. When we know Jesus in this manner, then we will be able to stand firm in our faith and know that He is coming like the lightning. We will not be fooled.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your heart troubled?

October 30, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.
(John 14:1 (NIV))

It seems like everything in this world is falling apart.

Wars and rumors of wars.

Catastrophic natural disasters of ever-increasing magnitude.

An ever-increasing hatred of anything righteous.

When will it end?

We sit poised at the precipice. We are at a point where the uncertainty of the world is closing in and bringing many people to despair. It is also bringing many people to completely reject God.

It also can bring isolated pockets of great joy into each life if we will simply open our hearts to what God is doing.

As believers, we have a choice to make. We can choose to let the troubles of this world get to us, or we can turn to Jesus and fully embrace the joy and the salvation that He has freely given to us. Through this salvation, we can also fully embrace the hope that things will be better.

It is my prayer for you and your family and friends that you will fully embrace the grace, mercy and joy that God has given to us through the gift of His son, Jesus Christ. I truly do not understand how those people who have not placed their faith and hope in Jesus can face each day, for they rely on the errant perception that humanity can make things better.

Let’s face it. Most times we can’t even agree on what we will have for dinner. How do you expect humanity to agree on anything that can make things better? It is human nature to insist that our way is right and everybody else is wrong. We firmly stand our ground because we don’t want to admit that we might be wrong. Many people think that they are not capable of making a mistake. To me, that is the biggest mistake that anyone can make.

When was the last time that you saw any person live their complete life without making any mistakes? Mistakes lead to troubles. Each life will eventually lead to trouble. There has only been one life that never made any mistakes, and through His life, we are given an amazing gift of grace, salvation, joy and hope.

I honestly cannot say how humanity’s troubles in the past compare to those of today. I do know that all throughout history, humanity has only recently come to the point where we are capable of destroying lives at an alarming rate. These and other things that I hope never happen can lead someone to be troubled.

Is your heart troubled? Trust in God and trust in Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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There is no fear for those who trust in Jesus!

October 29, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
(2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NIV))

I want you to read those words again.

I had to stop and read them again, and I was surprised at how much that I have taken these words for granted. These words jolted me back to reality.

I want you to be honest with yourself. Have the events of the world started to have an impact on your faith? Do you look upon what is going on and think that there is no way out of the problems that we see? Have you begun to feel the pressure? Have you felt despair and abandonment? Have you come close to having your faith destroyed by the events in this world?

It is so easy to feel all of these if you take your eyes off of Jesus.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

Jesus gives us relief when we are pressed. He gives us hope when we are perplexed. He gives us someplace to take refuge when we are persecuted. He will not allow the enemy to destroy us.

If Jesus does all of this for us, then why do we still find ourselves fearful of what the world, and the enemy, throws at us?

Perhaps it is due to worldly examples that we have had with respect to trust. I know that it is difficult to trust if you have had that trust broken in the past. It is difficult to comprehend the unfailing love of Jesus if your experience with love has been bad. It is difficult to understand that Jesus will not abandon you if you have had people walk out on you in the past.

Sadly enough, far too many people find themselves in one, if not all, of these types of situations. Life can throw things at us that are difficult to comprehend and as a result, many project their worldly experiences and expectations upon Jesus. Let’s face reality. We are all human and are all sinners. Even those of us who have been fortunate to be around people whom they can trust, things happen. I suppose that many people unknowingly live by the motto, “Trust but verify.”

Jesus is not like that. He will never let you down. He will never abandon you. He is the Good Shepherd.

“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.
(John 3:16-17 (NIV))

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
(1 John 4:18 (NIV))

There is no fear for those who trust in Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Great adversity brings great triumph

October 26, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these miraculous signs of mine among them that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the LORD.”
(Exodus 10:1-2 (NIV))

Would you have remembered the way God saved the Israelites from captivity in Egypt if Pharaoh had let them go the first time Moses approach him? Would God’s miracles have been able to have been manifested for all of history to read about?

It is highly likely that if Pharaoh had given in the first time Moses came to him asking for the freedom of the Israelites, we would not remember the greatness of God, for He would not have needed to perform the miracles that He did.

Great adversity brings great triumph.

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
(1 John 4:4(NIV))

God is greater than he who is in the world. If Satan can raise his ugly, sinful head, then God will bring about redemption in a mightier way than Satan rebelled. This is always true. When was the last time that you thought you had a winless situation only to find that God delivered you through the situation? You and everyone around experienced the awesome power of God.

Now, consider how much Satan rebelled against God and how the world followed him.

It took a mighty act from God to put Satan in his place!

What was that mighty act? Can you pinpoint the one ultimate act of God that has sealed the fate of Satan?

God hardened the hearts of the people two thousand years ago so that He could be glorified through the death and resurrection of Jesus, His only Son!

Today, we know the outcome. We are only waiting for the fulfillment of God’s plan.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God, help me. I don’t know what to do.

October 25, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
(James 5:16b (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but there are many times that I just don’t feel effective. I simply feel overwhelmed, overpowered and overshadowed by the things in my life. These are the things that have a tendency to make us grown in agony because we simply have no other response that we can bring forth. I simply utter a few simple words and they always help me through whatever I am facing.

“God, help me. I don’t know what to do.”

Have you ever uttered these or similar words? I often wonder just how many people do say things likes this on a daily basis. I believe that everyone utters words like this at some point in their lives, whether they believe in God or not. I firmly believe that those who are strong enough in their faith to admit that we need God each and every day are the ones who will usher up simple prayers like this on a daily basis. We might even find ourselves saying them all throughout the day.

Perhaps this is what makes someone righteous in the eyes of God. We turn to Him daily because we cannot make it without Him. Contrary to what the world may say, I do not see this as a weakness. I see this as a strength that is firmly rooted in a hope and a faith that this world does not understand. When you see acts of terrorism, do you rejoice in what the world is doing or do you offer up a prayer to God? When you see wars and rumors of wars, do you find comfort in the circumstances or do you go to God and ask for peace? When you see injustice, do you think that this is how it should be or do you ask God for the strength to help you change it? When you see the lost, do you turn up your nose and think that they deserve what they get, or do you pray that God will touch them through you?

These types of prayers do not take long, but they show your heart. It shows a desire for the things that God calls righteous. If you seek the things that God calls righteous, then it stands to reason that God will call you righteous. It is when you pray for God’s Will that you find your prayers become powerful and effective, even when you do not feel powerful and effective.

Do you feel effective? Keep praying those short prayers asking for God’s help. He will show you His Will and then you will be effective.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Does this sound familiar?

October 24, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
(Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV))

When was the last time that you heard anything like this?

Today’s society is bombarded with words and images that tell us that we deserve better than what we have simply because we have earned it, or because we have succeeded where others have failed. We judge success on how much we have accumulated and not on how much we have given to others.

What would you think of someone who spent their whole adult life roaming from town to town without a true home to call their own? What if this person often slept outside and ate whatever they picked off of trees as they walked from one place to another? What would you think of that person if they chastised the church and its leaders for losing touch with God? Would you think of that person as a part of society that should be locked up, or perhaps killed? What if that person did nothing wrong, but taught people to love God and each other?

Does this sound familiar?

Would you have been one of the people shouting “Crucify Him!” almost two thousand years ago?

The person that did all of these things is Jesus.

We cannot even begin to imagine a life that gives of itself so freely that it thinks nothing of itself, yet, that is exactly what Jesus did when He walked the earth. Jesus was God with us. If God can humble himself and place others first, then how can we elevate ourselves above God by placing ourselves first?

Jesus is our example. Are you living according to the example of a Godly life that we were shown, or are you still an infant in the faith that always wants to be taken care of first?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to accept it?

October 23, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.
(Luke 5:12-13 (NIV))

Isn’t that just like Jesus? He was willing to do just about anything for His Father’s creation.

We was willing to leave His place in heaven. He was willing to give up His authority. He was willing to become a man. He was willing to live as we live. He was willing to cleanse the leper when touching someone with leprosy meant becoming unclean. He was willing to heal the sick and to raise the dead. He was willing to die on the cross. He was willing to take the weight of all of the sins that had ever happened or would ever happen and bear them so that we would not have to. He was willing to give us His glory in exchange for our sins.

All that we have to do is accept that gift.

We must be willing to extend our faith. We must be willing to admit that we are sinners. We must be willing to admit that we cannot do it on our own. We must be willing to surrender ourselves to Him.

To me, it is a simple decision. We gain everything while He willingly gave up everything.

Jesus is still willing to give you everything that He willingly paid the price for two thousand years ago.

Are you willing to accept it?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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