Our home is with Jesus!

June 30, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
(Psalms 91:1 (NIV))

I have seen the last few months almost take away my joy.

I have often looked at the state of the world and wondered why things are happening as they are. I know that God is unfolding time according to His purpose, but I can’t help but look at the things that are unfolding and feel saddened by these events.

I don’t feel sad for myself or for anybody who calls upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Rather, I feel sad for all of the people who have bought the lie of the enemy. I am saddened by the fact that what they have signed on for will lead them to eternal separation from God. Let’s be honest. It will lead them to hell!

God’s laws do not change because society says that they do!

I have had to remind myself that this is a fallen world and that I should not expect it to follow God’s laws or God’s Word. If it did follow them, I honestly believe that the fall from grace would never have occurred. Even in the best of times, the Body of Christ has lived in a fallen world. It is how we respond to that fallen world that makes a difference.

Do we simply accept the state of the world and adapt or do we continue to live according to the teachings of Jesus and the guidance of the Holy Spirit?

We are called to be salt .

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
(Matthew 5:13 (NIV))

Is the Body of Christ being trampled? Is the Body of Christ still able to be salt to the world?

Do we dwell in the shelter of the Most High? Do we know His will well enough to realize that this world is not our home and that it will not behave like we expect it to?

In the days that are ahead, I honestly believe that the Body of Christ will be in for more things that will try to take our joy. No matter what the world may send our way, we must never lose site that this world is not our home. Our home is with Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must call upon the name of the Lord at all times!

June 29, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But I call to God,
and the LORD saves me.
(Psalms 55:16 (NIV))

We all face troubles. We all face hardships, trials and tribulations. How you handle these circumstances in your life tells a great deal about who you are.

Where do you turn when you face something so difficult that you cannot handle it on your own? What would you say defines these difficult times? At what point do things become difficult and at what point do things cease being difficult? How quickly can this line be crossed?

I realize that I am asking a lot of questions, but I want you to stop and reflect upon your answers to these questions. What is your “line of demarcation” that you have mentally set as the point where “when the going gets tough, the tough get going?”

Why do we handle difficulties differently than we handle things that go smoothly? Perhaps it is a matter of ego. When things go smoothly, we falsely take the credit for the events in our lives. When things go badly, we often blame others and then we turn and expect others to bail us out of our troubles. Most of the time, the one that we turn to is God.

Why do we only acknowledge God when things are not going as we want them to go? We have a tendency to look upon God as a big life guard who will come to our rescue when we get in over our heads. We only turn to Him we start to sink. Perhaps we should turn to God in the good time so that we can learn to “swim” in the bad.

God is more than willing to teach us how to live our lives according to His Will. It is His plan for our lives that will allow us to truly call upon His name in both good times and in times of trouble.

The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
(Psalms 9:9 (NIV))

We must call upon the name of the Lord at all times.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Listen for God. Listen to God.

June 26, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
(Colossians 2:8 (NIV))

Remember that the world was turned over to Satan and all things of the world are his. This includes human tradition, false religions and many of the things that we take for granted as routine. With this in mind, it can be easy to be deceived. We must keep our eyes on Jesus and follow His tradition of doing only what the Father does.

For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me
(John 6:38)

Jesus did only what the Father instructed him to do. We should keep this in mind when we go into the world for our daily lives and routines.

Listen for God. Listen to God.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we a church based on God’s Word or on people’s opinions?

June 25, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, `I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
(Revelation 3:14-22 (NIV))

I read something last night that I had forgotten about the church in Laodicea. Actually, it was more about the long term meaning of the passage and the translated meaning of the name of the city – Laodicea.

Before we get into the name’s meaning, I want to make sure that everybody understands that the church at Laodicea was one of the worst churches of the seven that are mentioned in Revelation. Many theologians actually believe that the long term prophesy applies to the general church of today. With what I was reminded of in my readings last night, I sadly agree with them.

Laodicea literally translates to something like “People’s opinions,” or “People judged.” Some have even stated that it can be translated as “The will of the people.”

Think about this meaning and the fact that this type of church is considered to be one of the worst.

What do you see when you read about the different denominations. They started because of division and people wanted to change a few things that they didn’t agree with. What about the current issues facing society? Many people who profess a faith in Jesus are ignoring the Bible and are teaching what they want to teach. If I were a betting man, I would venture to say that most people who sit in the pews of the churches around the world don’t actually know what the Bible has to say. They rely on the person in the pulpit and don’t read it for themselves.

I have read the warnings that have been given to the church in Laodicea, the church based on people’s opinions. Frankly, I am scared to death to be outside of God’s Word for I know what awaits those who preach the will of the people instead of God’s Will.

Are we the prophesied church of Laodicea? Can we escape what is to come? Can we repent and turn into a church based on God’s Word?

Thankfully, we know that there will be those who overcome. It will take more than sitting in a pew for an hour and accepting whatever the preacher says as truth. We must read God’s Word. We must live, eat, sleep and breathe God’s Word. We must hold each other accountable and not allow people’s opinions to dictate the truth that we know to be God’s truth.

It is important to remember that God’s Word never changes! People and their opinions do.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How are we to go into the world?

June 24, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”
“Nothing,” they answered.
He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: `And he was numbered with the transgressors’ ; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”
The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”
“That is enough,” he replied.
(Luke 22:35-38 (NIV))

What do you see in these passages above?

There is so much involved in these few words that I wonder if most people understand what is going on and what Jesus is telling His disciples.

Jesus had sent His disciples out without any money, possessions or anything to use for self defense. I believe that He had them go this way to help build their faith. It was a lesson in trusting God and in building their trust in Him.

The next part makes me wonder.

Jesus, immediately after asking about that first time, instructs the very same disciples to go prepared into the world. He even instructs them to take weapons for self defense. Is Jesus telling the disciples that He is not able to protect them at all times? I honestly believe that what Jesus was doing was trying to teach the disciples to use common sense. It is a fallen world, and you don’t venture out into the world without knowing what you may face and without at least preparing for some possibilities of what you may encounter. Jesus never told the disciples that they would have it easy. In fact, they had seen the instances where the crowd wanted to kill Him. Jesus did not tell the disciples to go unprepared!

I realize that there is much more that Jesus was saying in these passages, but for the sake of length, I will stop at this point.

We, as the Body of Christ, must realize that the world is fallen. We must realize that even Jesus told His disciples to be prepared.

I can hear you thinking!

Many are thinking that Jesus preached peace. Why did Jesus heal the man’s ear when it was cut off with the sword? Why did Jesus not resist when He was put on trial and placed on the cross?

Jesus was called as the Lamb of God. He was to go quietly to the slaughter. It was all part of God’s plan. This is the Jesus that most people know. What they fail to realize is that He will return as a mighty warrior, a mighty king, who will deal with sinful humanity. In the interim, we are to go into the world. We are to walk where sinners walk. We are to use common sense. We are to use Godly wisdom. We are to use the power of God!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your understanding of God’s truth?

June 23, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.
(Mark 16:19-20 (NIV))

Right after Jesus gave us the great commission, He was physically taken up into heaven. Can you imagine the reaction of the people who were fortunate enough to have witnessed this awesome sight? If they were like most people, they were probably left dumbfounded at the sight of this event, for nothing had ever happened like it before this time, and nothing has ever happened like it since then.

Let’s take a look at this from a different aspect. One that almost all of us have heard, but do not truly understand. The aspect that Jesus now sits at the right hand of God, the Father.

From a human point of view, would you expect anything less from someone who was physically taken up into heaven right before your eyes? Even in today’s society in which we see special effects and stunt people performing all kinds of theatrical stunts, no one besides Jesus has ever been physically taken up into heaven right before our eyes. Even those who had never seen death in the Old Testament did not go to heaven in such a manner. This indicated a devine presence.

This served many purposes. The first one was to show that Jesus was truly the Son of God. The second purpose was motiviational in that the disciples, who had been timid and unwilling to follow Jesus to the cross, now preached boldly everywhere they went. They did this with authority that could only come from knowing that what they spoke of is absolutely true.

Do you possess that same knowledge of the truth that empowered the people who witnessed Jesus’ ascension? Does Jesus work through you in the same manner that He worked through these disciples?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you possess God’s gift of grace and peace?

June 22, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
(Galatians 1:3-5 (NIV))

Grace and peace! What a wonderful concept! I did not fully understand how wonderful until I sat down this morning.

I have the NIV Bible on my computer and I am capable of doing searches for words and phrases. I performed a search for “grace” and “peace” so that they must appear in the same passage together. It returned 18 different verses. What was surprising to me was the fact that all 18 verses are from the New Testament. No where in the Old Testament (at least in the NIV version) are grace and peace mentioned together.

This was a concept that was not known to people before Jesus came to walk on this earth! Yet, after Jesus came to die for our sins, God gave us grace and peace through Him, and people spoke freely of this grace and peace that is from God and Jesus.

When was the last time someone gave you something that you considered precious? Take a look at what that gift was. No matter how fantastic it may be, it cannot compare to the gift that was given to all who would receive it freely – grace and peace. Grace for the forgiveness of sins. Peace for the inner realization that your sin debt will not have to be paid by you!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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