So be on your guard!

August 15, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“When you see `the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong–let the reader understand–then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down or enter the house to take anything out. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that this will not take place in winter, because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now–and never to be equaled again. If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them. At that time if anyone says to you, `Look, here is the Christ!’ or, `Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. 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 13:14-23 (NIV))

Do you know what to look for? Do you know the signs?

I don’t profess to know, for no one knows the day or the hour, but many people strongly believe that the season is very ripe for God’s plans to unfold.

I know that we all have limited life experiences and that there are not too many people left who can remember the events of World War II. I do know that what we are facing today seems to be just as ominous, if not more so, than the things that have been faced by previous generations. Never before in the history of the world has there been a group of people who are willing to kill the whole world because they do not believe as they do. To be honest with you, the reports of children being beheaded are horrendous. Who would be so evil that they would do such a thing?

We are told to be on the lookout for the abomination that causes desolation. We are told to flea when we see this. Do you know what to look for?

Sadly, I have read reports, and you should pray for discernment about these and anything that you hear, that state that Israel is being cut off. No mail service or bank transfers from many countries, including the US, and weapons shipments to Israel are being cut off as well.

The evilness in the world is trying to isolate Israel. It is also trying to turn believers in Jesus into a thing of the past. Whole cities are being told to convert to Islam, leave or die.

There are things going on in this world that without a faith in Jesus, I would be terrified and rightly so, but I know who wins! I know that Jesus will return. I know that what we face here on this earth will probably get a lot worse before the church is removed. I also know that it will literally be hell on earth after the church is removed.

I know that many people do not like to think about end-time prophesies because they either don’t understand them or they are scared of the events. I have a question for you. Do you live in a home with smoke detectors? You take the precautions necessary to avoid a scary situation in your home. You should be willing to take the precautions necessary to avoid a scary situation in your life.

We live in a time when things are unfolding rapidly, so be on your guard!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who will represent you?

August 14, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He who overcomes shall thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels.
(Revelation 3:5 (NAS))

The end of the Time of the Gentiles is getting closer every day. We do not know the exact day or hour, but, simply by the fact that as each day passes, logically we are getting closer to the day.

Jesus told us through John that we are to hold steadfast in our faith so that we may overcome the world and the ruler of this world. We are not to be deceived or waiver from our faith. Keep your eyes upon Jesus and follow His teachings, allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you. Test everything against God’s Word to verify its origin.

God’s Word is unwavering. It is always the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow. Jesus tells us that for those who can overcome the world and its deceptions by focusing on Him, they will be represented before God by Jesus Himself. What better witness can someone have? God, the Son interceding for us before God the Father! Satan doesn’t stand a chance!

Who will represent you when you stand before God the Father?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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I will place my trust in the Father and in His Son!

August 13, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.
(Revelation 21:7 (NIV))

WIth what is going on in the world today, it is evident that faith is a source of many things. All religions have the need to be in their god’s will, yet, all too many of these faiths have a god that demands death for those who do not believe as they do.

God created a beautiful place when He placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The faiths that many other religions demand call for war which results in destruction and death. The God of the Bible, which is the only book to accurately predict events before they have happened, is a Creator and not a destroyer. The one problem that I have with other religions is that they believe in a god who would have them destroy everything.

Revelation speaks of many hardships and tribulations that are to come as a result of humanity’s sin. I can’t help but speculate that the one true God is using the sin of the world to bring about His WIll through Jesus Christ. Why would a god create something and then desire for it to be destroyed by his creation? That is a premise about many other faiths that I find hard to accept. God has created and has sent us a Savior in Jesus Christ. A Savior who tells us that their is a way to escape the death and destruction that sin has brought.

No one knows what the future holds, but I do know that I will place my faith in the God of Israel and in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Listen to God’s explanation!

August 12, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.
(Luke 19:10 (NIV))

What was and is the sole purpose of God sending Jesus to this world?

Did He come to bring social justice and bring financial equality?

You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.
(John 12:18 (NIV))

Did Jesus come so that people could continue to live the lifestyles that they wanted to live?

“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:11 (NIV))

Jesus came to seek and save the lost!

All that we have to do is believe.

“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 he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

Contrary to the popular theology of today, Jesus came to call us to repentance and to a restored relationship with God the Father. Jesus did not come into the world to tell us that it is okay to continue living in our sins. He called us to grace and mercy.

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

What is sin? God’s definition of sin is not what the world says it is. The world says that if it feels good, do it. The world says that we can claim that we were born that way. The world says that truth is relative and that what one person considers a sin, another person does not.

Sin is defined by God.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

Salvation is defined by God as explained in John 3:16-21.

Society has tried to redefine the reason that Jesus came to this world. Don’t listen to society’s explanation.

Listen to God’s explanation!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who then can be saved?

August 11, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
(Mark 10:24-27 (NIV))

Who then can be saved?

This is a question that humanity has asked for a very long time. Sadly, too many people believe that they are beyond salvation, that their sins are too great for God to forgive them.

Is that you?

Do you feel that your sins are so great that there is no way that they could be forgiven? What have you done that would bring you to this conclusion?

Do you feel that salvation is available to anyone and everyone no matter how many sins and how great they had been? I have often asked one question of people who feel that God’s grace can only extend so far.

What would your reaction be if you get to heaven and you find that Adolph Hitler was there?

In our human understanding, he was responsible for so much death and destruction that his sins must be too great for God to forgive. I don’t try to say that I know that he repented or if he was forgiven, but I do present that scenario for you to think about. How would you react? Would you be outraged that God had forgiven such a person, or would you be filled with joy that such a person had found salvation through Jesus? We are told in Mark 10:27 that things are not impossible with God. It is our human understanding that places the limitations on our salvation.

Who then can be saved?

I believe that God has many things that are beyond our comprehension and we will probably be surprised by His plan. I know that I can only claim to know Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. Anything else, to use a common phrase, is above my pay grade.

Don’t place human limitations on who can be saved. God doesn’t place any limitations on who can call upon the name of Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you think of when you think of the kingdom of God?

August 8, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.”
(Mark 4:30-32 (NIV))

What do you think of when you think of the kingdom of God?

Do you think of the pearly gates and the streets paved in gold? I know that we have all read the passages that describe it as such, but have you ever stopped to think about the kingdom of God beyond these stories?

How does faith relate to the kingdom of God?

How does faith work in your life?

It starts small and as you see things that God does, faith grows. Just like the mustard seed, a small amount of faith can blossom into a life of faith that is bigger than we could ever have imagined.

Do you think that God’s kingdom is bigger than we could ever have imagined? Have we put God in a box of our own design and limited understanding of size? There is so much more to God than we can understand in this lifetime.

Picture yourself as the mustard seed. You would feel small and insignificant. You would feel like your were worth nothing. But, . . .

All it takes is for the mustard seed to be planted and nurtured and soon you would feel the majesty of what you have become. You would be able to face anything that your part of the world could send your way. You would no longer be that small, insignificant and weak mustard seed. you would be strong and mature and able to face whatever the world would send your way.

Faith is the same way!

God’s kingdom is the same way!

We think that it is small and insignificant and it grows beyond our feeble attempts at understanding it and is the strongest think in our world. God’s strength is there for us if we simply accept it. God’s grace is there for us if we simply accept it.

God’s kingdom is there whether we accept it or not. We can allow it to be planted into our lives and watch it grow, or we can reject it and it will never take root in our lives.

Do you allow the seed of God’s kingdom to grow, or do you let it die within your life?

It is your choice!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are your walls strong?

August 7, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.
(Proverbs 25:28 (NKJV))

In Biblical days, a city relied heavily on its walls for protection from its enemies. Today, nations rely on military strength and other means for security and protection, yet, the idea is the same. This idea consists of being prepared for whatever the enemy may throw at you at any time of the day or night. Many times, the enemy is unknown until it is too late.

The same thing is true of our spiritual lives and spiritual enemies that we may encounter. Our spirit, when guided by the Holy Spirit, is our primary defense against the attacks of the enemy, Satan. We must keep our spirit in top condition just as a city’s walls had to be maintained. If a city’s walls deteriorated, then the city was vulnerable to attack and defeat by an enemy. If we allow our spirit to become weak and “deteriorated,” then we are also vulnerable to attack by the enemy.

Strengthen your spirit daily by feeding on the Word of God. Test all things against God’s unwavering standards. Do not be deceived by false appearances as the residents of Troy were with the “gift” of the Trojan Horse. Satan is a master at deception and lies. Arm your spirit with the proper implements of battle.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is sincerity your goal?

August 6, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
(Romans 12:9-16 (NIV))

Simple rules to live by. A simple philosophy to hold fast to when all around you is falling apart.

If that is the case, then why do many of us cling to what is evil and reject what is good? Perhaps we will never truly know why human nature has sunk to a point where sin and Satan cloud our hearts, minds and spirits. They are clouded so much that we cannot see what is good when it is right before our eyes. Even believers in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior have trouble with these characteristics and discerning which is from God.

I cannot remember who said it, but there is a quote that says something to the effect that Christianity is a good thing, but it is too bad that nobody has ever practiced it. Following Jesus is a good thing, however, in our human nature and in our sinful flesh, we cannot follow Jesus on our own without making mistakes. Perhaps the person who spoke those words did not understand that we are not perfect, and as a result, our worship of Jesus as Lord and Savior, and our attempts to follow Him are far from perfect. Perhaps the most important aspect that they missed is that they are not perfect and are in need of a savior to justify themselves to God.

We must strive to be like Jesus in all that we do, yet, we must not be proud or conceited, for it is not anything that we have done that has allowed us special favor with God. It was a sacrifice planned by God that has allowed us to be forgiven when we are less than perfect. Perhaps the person who spoke about nobody practicing Christianity did not take into consideration the word “practice.” The last time I looked, the word “practice” meant to do something over and over again in hopes of getting better at it.

This is my goal, to get better at following Jesus. I desire to practice Christianity so that the words in Romans are more than mere words. What is your goal?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What does the world think of you?

August 5, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
(Matthew 10:21-22 (NIV))

What does the world think of you? Does it welcome you with open arms as one of its own, as one who embraces the lies that the world passes as truth? Do you feel at home in this world or do you long for a place that God calls you to?

This world is beautiful, after all it was created by God, but we must not lose sight of the fact that we, through the sin of Adam and Eve, have relinquished this world over to the enemy. Because of this, the world is not what it may seem. When we see forests that God has created, the world sees a chance for monetary gain by “harvesting” the trees. When we see love, the world sees lust. When we see salvation through the gift of Jesus Christ dying on the cross, the world sees foolishness. The world sees us as fools and it will soon come to the point where the world will see us as criminals because of what we believe and whom we believe in!

When the world hates you, take heart, for the world hated Jesus!

Because of this hatred, Jesus was crucified. We must not forget that He arose, and because He arose, we have the gift of eternal salvation if we call upon His name.

It is true that the world hated Jesus when He walked among us. It is also true that those who hate Jesus today will hate you as well, but we must take heart, for we have overcome this hatred and this world through the blood of Jesus. There is one catch. We must tell others of this grace and mercy. We must identify ourselves with Jesus. We must open ourselves up to the world by proclaiming Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We must stand firm. We must not take our eyes off of Jesus.

Again, I ask you to stop and reflect on this one simple question. What does the world think of you?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus is our refuge, our rock and our salvation!

August 4, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
Those who know your name will trust in you,
for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.
Sing praises to the LORD, enthroned in Zion;
proclaim among the nations what he has done.
(Psalms 9:9-11 (NIV))

Now, more than ever in my lifetime, we need to earnestly and sincerely seek the Lord.

Don’t take that last statement wrong. We should always seek the Lord, but with what is going on in the world now, we seem to need Him more than ever.

Do you need Jesus more today than you did last year? Do you need Him more today than when you first accepted Him as your personal Lord and Savior?

For those who truly know Jesus as their Lord and Savior, they tend to rely more on Jesus each and every day. We face things in this life that we simply cannot comprehend or make it through without Jesus.

Can you make it through the stresses of life after losing your job without knowing that Jesus is there with you?

Can you make it through the loss of a friend or family member without knowing that Jesus is there bringing comfort into your situation?

Can you make it through a critical illness without the faith that you will be healed, either physically or spiritually?

Can you look at the situations in the world today and not feel hopeless and lost except for the reassurance that Jesus is with you?

Too many people never seek refuge in Jesus. Too many people face the oppression of this life without ever knowing that they have a place of refuge, someone to turn to when the world is overwhelming. In today’s world, it is becoming more and more overwhelming every single day.

Jesus is our refuge, our rock and our salvation!

Don’t be left behind because you never turned to Jesus.

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