Have we become the very people that Jesus told us about?

July 17, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, `I am he,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
(Mark 13:5-8 (NIV))

Are you holding fast to your faith? Are you secure enough in your faith and understanding to not be deceived?

Each generation has felt that they are the generation that is seeing wars and rumors of wars. Each generation since Jesus said these words has looked for His return.

Think back over the course of your life. Do you remember every war that has been fought? Do you remember every earthquake that has happened? Do you remember every famine? God does. Many people who keep records of these things say that they are increasing.

Now, I want you to think about something.

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.

Our understanding of a nation today is very different from what it was when this was written. A nation has always referred to a group of people, such as the Israelites or Canaanites. What we think of as a nation today is a political kingdom in the Bible. In other words, we are told that different people groups will fight each other. We see this escalating in today’s world with the cries of racism in our country. We see members of each group of people straining the bonds that we should all have through Jesus. We see riots between different people groups within our own political kingdoms. We see political kingdoms at odds with each other.

In essence, we are all rising against each other.

Have we become the very people that Jesus told us about?

Are we being deceived by false teachings and deliberate lies so that we will be a part of what Satan is doing in this world? There are far too many things going on in this world to keep up with all of them, but I do know that what I see appears to hold true all across the world. There are wars and rumors of wars. There are fights between different people groups and there are other things happening that simply make me wonder how humanity has become so depraved so fast.

No matter what happens, the Body of Christ, which crosses all nationalities and political kingdoms, must hold fast to Jesus. We must not fall for the wars. We must not fall for the racism issues. We must keep our eyes upon Jesus.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you praise God?

July 16, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Clap your hands, all you nations;
shout to God with cries of joy.
(Psalms 47:1 (NIV))

How do you praise God? Do you sit quietly in the “traditional” view of church or do you rejoice in all that God has done? Personally, I believe that there is a time and a place for both approaches as long as they are done with the correct attitude.

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

God calls us to be still in His presence. This is so that we may listen. This is so that we may speak. This is so that we may get to know God. This is not to be a time of self-righteous indignation if someone does not do exactly as you are doing. This is personal time with God the Father, and not a time to judge others.

Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the King of all the earth;
sing to him a psalm of praise.
(Psalms 47:6-7 (NIV))

I want you to think about someone who is very close to you. Perhaps your mother or father. It may even be your spouse or a child. In your relationship with that person, you have moments of quiet personal time. You also have moments of fun where you are simply happy that they are who they are. This is the same way that we should be with God. When we are joyous for whom He is, then we should sing praises to Him, for He is worthy of all praise.

Clapping your hands and shouting to God in joy does not contradict the quiet times that He longs to have with us. God created us to be in balance. Without the quiet times, we cannot embrace the praise. Without the praise, we cannot comprehend whose presence we enter into when we have the quiet times.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Commitment shows in all that you do

July 15, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. 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. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
(2 Timothy 2:1-10 (NIV))

How true these words are! If you are committed to something, it shows in all that you do.

A good soldier lives, eats and breathes military issues. Are we not soldiers of Christ? Then we should live, eat and breathe only righteous issues, things that Jesus would deal with if He were here in our places. If we do as the world does, and focus on our objective, then we will be rewarded as those in the world are rewarded: We will be the first to receive a share of what is righteous.

The world receives worldly things that will tarnish and fade with time. Our reward will be eternal salvation and glory with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All the rewards the world has to offer pale in comparison to the reward that will be ours if we are strong in our faith and witness reliably to all who can hear.

Is your witness reliable and are you focused on Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How can God use you?

July 12, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Lift up your heads, O you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.

Who is this King of glory?
The LORD strong and mighty,
the LORD mighty in battle.

Lift up your heads, O you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.

Who is he, this King of glory?
The LORD Almighty–
he is the King of glory.
(Psalms 24:7-10 (NIV))

David gave us a look into the future when Jesus returns not as Savior, but as a mighty warrior reclaiming what is God’s. It is amazing that God gave this message to us through David, when Jesus was several generations from being born. Yet, God gave David this psalm describing exactly what would happen not at Jesus’ first coming, but at His second coming. If David, who was looking at this as if looking through a telescope, could have the faith to believe God, then we, who have the advantage of being able to look back at Jesus’ first coming, should have all the more faith that what God said through David will come to pass.

True, David was a man after God’s own heart, yet, David was not free from sin. God used David in all his human failings to not only give us these words, but to also give us Jesus himself.

If God can use David, who was a sinner, to give us a sinless Savior, how can He use you?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Rest!

July 11, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV))

This world piles burden upon burden on us in our daily lives. Our jobs, our obligations, our financial needs, and sometimes even our families and our church become burdens. We must step back and focus on the words of Jesus.

Rest! Everyone desires it, but in this world, true rest cannot come. Rest only comes when one is at peace. Peace is a concept that the world wants but can not grant. True peace only comes from the source of all creation through His Son Jesus Christ. Trade burdens with Jesus and gain peace and rest.

The burden that Jesus bore has paid in full your burden of sin and death. Whatever you are carrying now, He carried to the cross almost two thousand years ago. Give Him your burdens and He will give you rest.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Has your faith grown or is it still the smallest of all seeds?

July 10, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.”
(Matthew 13:31-32 (NIV))

The kingdom of heaven is indeed like a mustard seed. Like something small, it is there for us to find. Yet, if you are not looking for it, it will be missed. Once it is found, it grows within us until it is all consuming, until it is the focus of our lives.

God intended it to be this way. We must find it by faith. If it were visible to everyone, where would faith be? God planned it that way. He knew that if everyone could see the visible effects of the kingdom of heaven, then people would choose without testing their faith. God wants people to come to Him of their own free will, not because of His power.

How big is your mustard seed? Has it grown or is it still the smallest of all seeds?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Our understanding

July 9, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.
(Proverbs 3:5-7 (NIV))

Our understanding is like that of a very small child. We see the world through limited vision and understanding. When you were a small child, you looked to your parents for guidance, comfort and strength. We lean on their understanding to guide us and keep our paths straight. As adults, we are still very small children in the eyes of God. We see and understand in a very limited way.

God is our Heavenly Father. He desires to show us His creation through His eyes and through His understanding. He knows what guidance, comfort and strength we need better than our earthly fathers. We must turn to His understanding and rely on His guidance so that our paths do not wander into evil.

This is hard for many people to do. Human pride does not easily allow us to admit that we are not in control, and that we must turn to someone more powerful than ourselves for guidance and direction. God has given us a mind. He does not wish for us to waste that gift, yet, He wishes to guide us so that we will not misuse that gift. We must always look to the source of all wisdom and knowledge, and not look upon ourselves as the source of that knowledge. If we look to ourselves, then we do not turn to the ultimate understanding, which, eventually will lead to evil.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you walking with Jesus?

July 8, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?
(Amos 3:3 (NIV))

Life is too short to spend time with people who do not agree with you!

That sounds like a worldly philosophy, but consider that what we are talking about agreeing upon is a firm foundation in Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. Once you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you desire to walk with others who have made that same commitment.

Can you honestly say that you would walk with someone who has made a commitment to be exactly opposite of what God has called you to? Would you associate with someone who is trapped in a life of sin to the point where they are opposed to everything that you believe to be Godly and true? Would a rich man walk with a beggar if they did not have anything in common? Would an avid hunter and fisherman walk with someone who preferred to remain indoors?

What is the one thing that can bring all types of people together in a common walk? What one thing unites us all no matter how God has made us?

It is the grace and mercy that was freely given and willingly accepted as our own through the Blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. Through Jesus, all believers have a common bond that unites us in our “walk” through this world. Our task on this “walk” is to invite others to join us and walk with us in agreement in the salvation that is ours only through Jesus.

How is your walk? Are you in step with other believers and walking with Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you accepted your freedom?

July 5, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.
(1 Peter 2:16-1 (NIV))

We have just celebrated another July 4th. It is a day of celebration for the freedoms that we enjoy in this country. It is a day that we celebrate the resolve of our founding fathers to break the chains that tied them to a king and country that did not see them as equals.

What was done by our founding fathers was great, but I want you to think about what Jesus did.

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 the Father had the resolve to break our captivity to sin. Jesus the Son had the resolve to do what was needed to break our chains of bondage. He willingly went to the cross so that we could be free; so that we could have salvation. He freed us from a far greater bondage than any physical oppression. He freed us from sin!

“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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
(Romans 8:1-2 (NIV))

Please think about the fact that nothing in this world lasts. It is possible that something will happen and we will lose some or all of our freedoms that our founding fathers fought for.

The freedoms that are given through the Blood of Jesus can never be taken from us. We, in our human frailty, can turn our backs on the freedom from sin, but Jesus will never take it from us.

Jesus has broken every chain that can bind us to the law of sin and death!

All that you have to do is accept it.

Have you accepted your freedom?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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True Freedom!

July 4, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
(2 Corinthians 3:12-18 (NIV))

On this 4th of July, the day that we as a nation celebrate our freedom, we must remember who really gives us our freedom. No matter what the political climate in the country where we may live, true freedom comes only from knowing Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior.

Look at the nation of Israel. They are the nation that God used to give us Jesus. Yet, despite this favorite nation status, to use a term from our society, most of the people living at the time did not accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. They were looking for a different type of freedom and this blinded them to the real freedom that was readily available to all who would accept it.

What is your view of true freedom?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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