God’s Holy City of Jerusalem

November 16, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May those who love you be secure.
May there be peace within your walls
and security within your citadels.”
(Psalms 122:6-7 (NIV))

It seems that every time that you turn on the television or the radio, or read the news on the Internet or in a newspaper, there is something going on in Israel. Recent events are no exception.

Have you ever wondered why such a little nation is the focus of so much attention?

First of all, it is mentioned 760 times in the Bible. In 2 Chronicles 12:13, it is referred to as “Jerusalem, the city the LORD had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel.”

It is clear that Jerusalem has held a special place in the eyes of God. Perhaps more important is the role that it is to play in the fulfillment of God’s plan.

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
(Revelations 21:2 (NIV))

Jerusalem is the only city that is mentioned as being in existence after Jesus’ return. Perhaps even more important is the fact that is is called “the Holy City” and is remade in the way that God desires for it to be.

In the eyes of the world, Jerusalem is not that important. However, we must learn to look beyond the eyes of the world and see things through the eyes of God. To God, there is no city that is more important. According to His plan, all of history hinges on Jerusalem: history that has happened and history that has yet to happen. We must be prepared for what is to happen. We must read God’s Word and study what is said about this city. We must look at it through the eyes of an eternal God, for it is the home city of our faith.

Think about that last statement. Jerusalem is our spiritual home town. It is the root and we have been grafted into it as the branches.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you see yourself?

November 15, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: `God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, `God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
(Luke 18:10-14 (NIV))

Do you compare yourself to other people? Do you find their faults and fail to recognize the faults that you possess? Are you grateful that you are not like they are? Brace yourself ! Here it comes! Do you congratulate yourself on not being like others?

I know that these are painful questions, but they are questions that we must ask ourselves. We don’t want to get so full of ourselves that we think our set of filthy rags make us more righteous than someone else and their set of filthy rags. Even worse, we don’t want to get to the point where we think that we don’t have any filthy rags.

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

Once again it is a matter of attitude. We must not elevate ourselves to the point that we feel that we are better than others. We must see ourselves as the reflection truly is. We must see ourselves as the sinful creature that is in need of grace and mercy. If we see ourselves as anything else, we are lying to ourselves. We are also trying to lie to God. He sees the truth.

How do you see yourself? How do you see others?

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

November 14, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good–except God alone. You know the commandments: `Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’ ”
(Luke 18:18-20 (NIV))

People are still asking the same question today. The answer has not changed.

We are to keep the commandments, but we have been bought by grace for the times when we stumble.

This does not mean that we can apply the current feel good philosophy to these principles. We cannot take a look at ourselves and say that we had a difficult childhood, so that excuses my behavior. We cannot take a look at ourselves and proclaim that the reason we have sexual sin is because we were neglected as a child and are seeking love. We cannot claim that we were made fun of as a child because we were poor and that is the reason that we steal. We cannot claim that we were not told the difference between right and wrong and that is why we lie.

Society has taken the personal responsibility out of everything and look where it has gotten us.

The Bible did not tell us that we should not commit adultery or sexual sin unless we were born that way. The Bible did not tell us not to murder unless we were born with rage inside of us. The Bible did not tell us not to steal unless we were born with a disorder. The Bible did not tell us not to lie unless we would benefit from the lie.

We are told plain and simply “Do not” with no disclaimers and no exceptions.

If the Bible tells us not to do something, man has no right to claim that we are not bound by His instructions because we were created differently.

There is one sin that people are claiming that they were born that way. Consider another sin in comparison.

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.
(Ephesians 5:18 (NIV))

If people who are prone to alcoholism claim that they are born that way, does society, does the family and does the individual excuse the behavior and the sin? Does God excuse the behavior and the sin?

Each person has something that Satan uses to trap you. God does not tell us to stay strong in all areas of our lives except what Satan is attacking us with. We are told to turn from all attacks of the enemy whether they are pride, greed, lust, gluttony, envy, or any other thing. We are not told to pick a favorite and embrace it.

God gave us instructions for a reason. He gave us grace for when we truly desire to but cannot fulfill these instructions.

Grace is a choice. Fighting the temptations from Satan is a choice. We know that we are sinners, but if we accept the lie that we are born that way and cannot change, we have already lost our salvation.

God did not send Jesus to teach and to die on the cross so that we could claim a false reason to keep on sinning.

Stay strong in God’s Word.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Godly radiance illuminates us!

November 13, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The sun will no more be your light by day,
nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you,
for the LORD will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory.
Your sun will never set again,
and your moon will wane no more;
the LORD will be your everlasting light,
and your days of sorrow will end.
(Isaiah 60:19-20 (NIV))

There will come a day when the “light” as we now know it will no longer shine, for it is imperfect and will be replaced by perfection. One day, the radiance that is God will be the only light that we will need. God has given us a glimpse of this light through Jesus Christ.

While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
(John 9:5(NIV))

Jesus came into this world so that we could know God and fellowship with Him without the burdens of our sin and shame to keep us from God. Those who call upon the name of Jesus have the light of the Lord within them and we are called to share this “Light” with the world.

“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))

We do not have the awesome radiance that God’s presence will shine, but we have been given the Light of the Lord, Jesus Christ ,within us. If Jesus is the light of the world and we ask Jesus into our hearts, then our hearts should shine with the love of Jesus and the love of God, after all, Jesus told us that those who love Him would do the things that He did.

Jesus brought the light of God’s love into this world and let it shine for anyone who would see! Are you shining your part of the “Light” until God’s radiance illuminates us all?

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

November 12, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
(Ephesians 6:10-12 (NIV))

With Veterans Day prominent in many areas of our lives the last few days. I wanted to take a moment and thank those who have served. It was through your service and dedication that we enjoy our God given rights today.

Now, I want to bring to light another group of veterans that we need to all strive to be a part of. This group of people is not limited by military service. It is not limited by age, race, or sex. It is a group that fervently seeks after God’s own heart through prayer.

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

Are you a prayer warrior?

Do you seek God in times when most people simply choose to go about their lives? Do you feel God tugging at your heart when things are not right in the eyes of God? Do you utter prayers that are only groans because you cannot find the words to express what you know needs to be lifted up? Are you saddened by the state of the world and pray for revival? Do you feel the anguish that God must feel at the way that people are turning their backs upon God?

If you have prayed for God’s Will to be made manifest in this world and in your life, then you are a willing soldier in the spiritual warfare that is going on in this world. You have placed yourself in the line of fire from the enemy.

Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs–he wants to please his commanding officer.
(2 Timothy 2:3-4 (NIV))

Nobody likes to hear about enduring hardship for your beliefs or actions, but take heart, for we are clothed in Godly armor if we truthfully claim Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. To quote an old kid’s song – “I may never march in the infantry, ride in the calvary, shoot the artillery. I may never zoom over the enemy, but I’m in the Lord’s army!” Our primary weapon is prayer.

I pray that we may all become veteran prayer warriors.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you fully embrace His grace?

November 9, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you.
(Psalms 86:5 (NIV))

In this day and time when certain aspects of our society and our nation have made it “unconstitutional” to call upon the name of God, it is imperative that the Body of Jesus not forget why this nation was founded.

Several hundred years ago, many people gave their lives so that they could come to a land where they were free to worship God as they say fit, and not how the government said that they had to. This nation was founded on that principle, the principle of freedom of religion and not freedom from religion. Today, we have let a very vocal minority rewrite history to the point where they now say this country was founded on diversity. Exactly what is their idea of diversity? Perhaps we have let these people become the type of people that the early settlers came here to escape. They came here to escape people who tried to control their lives by saying where, when and how they could worship God. This sounds exactly like the vocal minority that we have today. They, too, wish to control our lives by saying where, when and how we can worship God.

The spirit of this nation is one that worships God. We chose then to call upon the name of God. We must not allow people today to keep us from calling upon the name of God. We must choose the same as our ancestors.

Based on the words of Psalms 86:5, we have a loving God who will help those who call upon Him. Think about the people who deny Him or who try to make us deny him. What do they have? What can they expect to have? We must pray for them!

But, above all else, we must call out to God for His Will to be done in our lives, in the lives of those who deny Him, in the life of our nation, and in the life of the nations of the world, for He will be sending His Son, Jesus to return for those who call upon His name. Perhaps this is the greatest forgiveness and love that God has 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))

Repentance simply means turning to God, His desires, and calling upon His forgiveness. It is a single instance that saves us and a continual process that matures us.

Do you truthfully call upon God in all that you do? Do you fully embrace His grace?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are your thoughts true and noble, right and pure in the eyes of God?

November 8, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praise-worthy, think about such things.
(Philippians 4:8 (NIV))

What do you find yourself thinking about?

With the state of the world it is easy to find yourself thinking about such things as terrorism, warfare, hunger, school shootings, and just about any other so-called news worthy event that transpires. It seems that the world is no longer interested in anything that remotely resembles what is written of in Philippians 4:8.

Whatever happened to the good things that used to occur in this world?

They are still there. As long as the Body of Christ stands determined to not give in to the pressures and the sins of our world, then things that are true and noble will remain. The problem seems to be that we don’t spend enough time within God’s Word, which is the ultimate truth. We spend more time reflecting upon the wrongs of our society and not enough time searching God’s Word for ways to fix our society. I am guilty of this. News events upset me to no end, but I don’t stop and earnestly pray. I don’t seek God’s heart and wisdom as I should.

If I am not part of the solution, then I am part of the problem.

God has a plan for this world. He has a plan for you and I. In order for us to fulfill God’s perfect plan, we must learn to focus on His Will. We must learn to recognize that this world is not our home. It is a battlefield between the forces of God and the forces of the enemy. We must stay true to our calling. We must think about what God would have us to do. We must pray. We must listen for God’s still, small voice for guidance. We must not think of things that are detestable to God.

Are your thoughts true and noble, right and pure in the eyes of God?

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

November 7, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
(Ephesians 4:31 (NIV))

These traits are not from God. In fact, they go against everything that we are told is a fruit of the Spirit if we are truly a follower of Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
(Galatians 5:22-25)

We are to follow this example if we truly belong to Jesus. How can anyone who claims to have allowed Jesus into their lives as Lord and Savior exhibit the traits that are spoken of in Ephesians? If we truly allow Jesus into our hearts, then the Holy Spirit will enter our lives and begin to transform us into the likeness of Jesus.

Did you ever see Jesus exhibit bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, or any other negative trait that was directed at a person? Jesus was angered by the money-changers’ actions, but He would not have kept them from asking for forgiveness if they had approached Him with that in mind.

We must not allow any of these traits to enter into our lives or they will destroy us by separating us from the saving grace that God has given us through Jesus Christ.

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

November 6, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But select capable men from all the people–men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain–and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.
(Exodus 18:21 (NIV))

We think that who we elect to our public offices doesn’t really matter, or, even worse, we don’t think that what we have to contribute will make a difference. God is calling us, just as He called righteous people in the days of Moses, to assume positions of Godly authority or to support people who will support Godly authority.

The people that have authority over us direct the way that our nation turns. They also direct the way that God will deal with us as a nation. If we have Godly authorities who desire to do God’s Will in all things, then God will bless that desire and bless us as a nation.

If we elect people who will appoint judges who say that there is no God and that anything is all right in our society, except the mention of God, then we will suffer and our children will suffer.

Truth is truth and is not dependent upon the circumstances. If we cannot be a nation that does not waiver on our convictions before God, then we will slowly cease to be in God’s favor. Perhaps we have gotten to the point were we are now rapidly descending into a place that is not only no longer in God’s favor, but rapidly turning to where we are considered as an enemy. I pray that we are not descending so rapidly that our descent cannot be reversed!

Pray for God’s guidance in how you vote this election. Don’t assume that God does not want His people in positions of authority. Our nation was founded by people who held fast to the very Word of God. How would they react to what they would see today?

How do you think that God is reacting?

Pray as if your future depends upon who has authority over us, for your future and that of your children’s children will be determined by the laws that they make and interpret.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Stand firm and fall to your knees in prayer

November 5, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (NIV))

Lately, I feel anguish. I feel sorrow.

I know that the world will never live in true peace until Jesus returns, but the things of this world are still very disheartening. Looking back at the events of my life, things have changed drastically. I realize that my earliest understandings of worldly issues are clouded by parents who sheltered me from such things, but even with this sheltered view, things today seem so much out of balance with the way they used to be.

I am not condoning any of the previous racial issues, nor do I condone them now, for we are all created the same in the eyes of God.

What I am talking about is the anguish and the sorrow that I feel when I see the hatred that people are expressing for God’s Word. It sorrows me to see the divisiveness that is all too prominent within our country. It saddens me to no end to hear the lies, the negativity and the name calling that has become our political process.

I know that many people are saying that they will be glad when the election is over. I know that I will be. However, the election has only brought to the surface what is in need of deep heeling. We used to be “One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” I honestly believe that has become something that is in need of repair.

The secular component of our society is removing God from all aspects of society.

We are more divided today than any other time that I can remember.

Our freedoms are being challenged.

Our churches are being punished for following faith principles.

I realize that God is in control. I know that He has a plan set forth that is unfolding. I know that we are told that good and evil will grow in the last days. I know that God tells us that good will be called evil and evil will be called good.

That does not mean that the church simply sits back and watches these things unfold. We are called to be the light into the darkness. If we, as the Body of Christ, do not shine, how can we truly claim to be the Body of Christ?

We have one thing that we can do.

We must pray!

Pray for God’s will.

Pray for those who are lost.

Pray for those who are your enemies.

Pray for those who are in positions of authority.

Pray for guidance.

Pray for our nation.

Pray for our world.

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

Stand firm in your faith by falling to your knees and pray!

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