Are you ready for the lightning?

May 29, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
(Matthew 24:27 (NIV))

Do you ever sit outside and watch the lightning as a storm approaches? Everything gets dark as the storm begins to build. The darker it gets, the worse the storm. Then, out of what seems like nowhere, lightning breaks forth and illuminates the sky. You never know where and when it will come, but you know that it will. You sit there in anticipation of the lightning. You sit there in awe of the splendor and the power. You sit there and watch in amazement at the lightning in the distance and you know that it is coming your way.

Take a serious look at the darkness of the storm that the world is currently facing. I am certain that some people will remember dark periods in their lives. There have been dark periods in not too distant history. The one thing that gave the world hope was a resolve to defeat the darkness. Today, too many people are more than willing to embrace the darkness.

We need the lightning!

We need Jesus!

I don’t know about you, but this passage gives me a mental image of Jesus coming in power and in light. He breaks the darkness with just His presence. He touches people here. He touches people there. His coming is like the lightning. It is a magnificent vision for those who have called upon His name as Lord and Savior. For those who have denied Him, it is one of sadness and fear.

Some believe that the Body of Christ will see this from the earth. Some believe that we will be by His side as He comes down from heaven. Either way, I can rest assured that this will be the most glorious entrance that the world has ever seen. It will be the most powerful display in all of history.

It will be a lightning show magnified by a heavenly host.

It will pierce the darkness. It will be a resounding victory just as we have been told.

Are you ready for the lightning?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you lost your focus?

May 28, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
(Colossians 3:12 (NIV))

Have you ever seen the cartoon with the two vultures who are waiting for something to die so that they can eat? The captions go something like this. One vulture says, “Be patient.” The other vulture says, “Patience ! I want to kill something !”

Let’s face it, we have all had times when we just couldn’t wait any longer for what we were hoping would happen. We pace the floor. We become very short tempered and as a result, we are anything but compassionate, kind, humble and gentle.

What does the world think of us at these times? What does the world think when they see us acting exactly opposite of what we say we strive to be?

Everyone has moments of weakness. Everyone has momentary lapses of sanity. Unfortunately, it is these very moments when we are at our lowest that the world chooses to recognize us for our faith. They recognize us out of ridicule. Regardless of the times that we are able to follow Colossians 3:12, the world sees us at the very times that we fail.

We are to strive to be perfect, yet, we know that we can never be. We are sinners, and are not capable of perfection on our own. There is a saying that Christians are not perfect, just forgiven. When we fail at perfection, we must fully embrace God’s grace that allows us to pick ourselves up and keep going. We must also embrace the need to show that grace to those who witnessed our stumble. We must not lash out at them when they ridicule us for not being perfect. We must show Jesus to them. We must be as Jesus was on the cross. He did not lash out. He did not condemn. He did not bring down wrath upon those who witnessed His crucifixion.

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
(Luke 23:34 (NIV))

When the world sees us stumble, remember how Jesus reacted. When you fall, your eyes may be temporarily diverted from your goal, but when you get up and resume your path, you see your way once again. The key is to get back up and to focus once again upon Jesus.

Have you lost your focus?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We will be held accountable!

May 27, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:12-13 (NIV))

We just finished a three day weekend in which we were supposed to stop and remember those who have given their lives so that we could have the freedoms that we have. I am extremely thankful to those who have served in the US military and have fought for our freedoms. We, as a nation, owe them more than we can ever begin to repay.

There is another group of people whom we need to be thankful to. A group that we, as the Body of Christ, must remember for their sacrifices that helped to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We must remember the heroes of the faith. Some call them saints. Some call them out as torchbearers. Whatever you may call them, the people who have gone before us and paved the way for our faith must be remembered. They must be thanked, for without them, we would not have been handed the mantle of faith that we possess.

We, as the current standard bearers in the faith, must be vigilant in our faith. We owe it to the next generation to pass the truth of God’s Word to them. We must not alter it to meet society’s expectations. We must not alter it to meet our own desires. We must not change what God is saying.

We will be held accountable!

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
(Ephesians 4:11-13 (NIV))

Our generation are the apostles. We are the prophets. We are the evangelists, pastors and teachers. It is our responsibility to pass this on just as we received it. Society may try to change God’s Word, but we must be steadfast and use God’s Word to change society.

Think about these questions.

Do you want future generations to look upon us as the ones who corrupted God’s Word?

Do you want God to look upon us as the ones who corrupted His Word?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you thirst for the living water?

May 23, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.
(Psalms 63:1 (NIV))

All too often we hear words that speak of a dry and weary land where there is no water. Stop to think about this statement. Without water, we die. We start to lose conciousness and eventually lose all touch with reality because our body has started to shut down.

We can go for days and even weeks without eating, yet, we cannot go for much more than twenty-four hours without water. Just as our bodies need water to survive, our souls need God to survive. We need to drink deeply of the life-giving “water” that freely flows from God through Jesus Christ. This water is freely given. It is available to any who desire it. There is only one stipulation, and that it can only be received by receiving Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.

We thirst for water to satisfy our bodies. Do you thirst for the living water from God to satisfy your soul?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Lead and guide me Jesus!

May 22, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Since you are my rock and my fortress,
for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
(Psalms 31:3 (NIV))

This should be the prayer of every believer. We made a decision to follow Jesus Christ, yet do we truly want Jesus to lead and guide us?

Our answer should be “YES”.

If we do not follow the lead of Jesus, then we are held more accountable than a non-believer. We will still have salvation, but we will not be rewarded for our faith. We call on the name of Jesus to be our Savior, yet we are reluctant to call Him Lord.

It is so hard to let human nature take a back seat. Human nature, due to the fall from grace, calls for us to be in control, for us to be our own lord and master. We must give this up and let Jesus truly be our Lord and lead and guide us in all that we do.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What prize do you really seek?

May 21, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
(1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NIV))

What is the prize that you seek in this race that we call life? Is it fame, fortune, wealth, power? Or is it something of far greater value?

If you look at life through the eyes of the world, you may be asking yourself what is of greater value than these things. Look inward! God has created something of far greater value that He watches it daily.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
(Matthew 6:26 (NIV))

What value do birds have? How could that be more valuable than fame, fortune, wealth or power?

God looks at things very differently than the world does. He can make gold if He desires. He can perform miracles that bring fame if He desires. God does not love these things. He loves the birds of the air and He feeds them. The good news is that He loves each of us more than He loves the birds.

With this in mind, the prize that we seek should not be of this earth. It should be an earnest and sincere faith in God, in Jesus, and in the Holy Spirit. This faith will get you the ultimate prize – eternal life. What prize could compare with that?

What prize do you really seek?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you listen to advice?

May 20, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.
(Proverbs 19:20 (NIV))

Do you listen to advice or do you try to do things on your own?

There is an old saying that says that two heads are better than one. In essence, advice is a wise thing to receive. It often gets you to stop and think things through. It often gets you to look at things from a different perspective. It gets you to slow down before you act without thinking.

Of course, not all advice is good. We must learn to balance where the advice comes from with the credibility of the one giving the advice. In other words, don’t be foolish and accept marriage advice from someone who has never been married. Definitely don’t accept advice about spiritual issues from someone who thinks that each of us is a god. Weigh the credibility and discern which advice to listen to.

Perhaps wisdom comes from being able to discern the fact that you need advice and the ability to discern that not all advice is good. Only one source of advice is completely correct all of the time. That is the source that you should trust implicitly for all of your instruction. Turn to the one who made everything. Turn to the one who wrote the instruction manual. Turn to God and His Word for all of your advice and instruction. Rely on Godly counsel also, but test their counsel to make sure it follows God’s Word.

Wisdom comes slowly. It comes from knowing that you do not know everything. It comes from knowing that other people do not know everything. It comes from realizing that God, who created everything, is the only true source of instruction. It comes from realizing that God is God and we are in need of Him. Rely on God’s Word and wisdom will follow.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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