Are you ready and willing to gather for the harvest?

February 15, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son,
but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.
(Proverbs 10:5 (NIV))

When I read this passage today, I froze!

We are all aware of the physical world implications of this passage. The thoughts of an actual harvest are important, especially when you consider that the harvest was the in-gathering of all crops for the year. The very crops that were to be prepared and stored for food during the coming months. It was, and is, important to have everyone take part in this activity so that nothing was missed, so that nothing was cast aside because there weren’t enough workers to bring in the full harvest. Sleeping, or being lazy, was not an option. It was a disgrace to do such a thing. The very survival of the family and the community depended on everyone working.

What hit me today with this passage are the spiritual implications of these very words.

How many times have you read passages where Jesus talks about the harvest?

He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.
(Luke 10:2 (NIV))

Think about something for me.

If we have received Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we are called sons and daughters of God. Does that mean that we get a free ride, that we get to sit back and watch everyone else bring in the harvest? If we do just that, I honestly believe that we would be disgraceful sons and daughters.

We must each do our part so that the full harvest is brought in.

Are you ready and willing to gather for the harvest?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have a daily time to spend with God?

February 12, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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

As I sit here exhausted, I realize just how easy it is to become so engrossed in the things of the world that we call our lives. It is so easy to let God slip to a second, third or even a fourth priority. The sad part about this when it happens is that we don’t realize that it is happening until it has already happened.

We need to establish something that becomes a constant in our lives. Something that we do on a daily basis that forces us to be still in the presence of God. This must be something that we do no matter whether we want to or not, no matter whether we feel that we can take a day off because no one will notice.

If you are reading this, then you are a part of my daily routine. I know that to many people the word routine signifies that you do something over and over again and get stuck in a rut. When you are studying and sharing God’s Word, you may be in a routine, but it is never a rut.

God’s Word is alive!

God shares His heart through His Word.

The trick is to be open and to not take things out of context. You must dive deep and explore the mysteries that God has in store for you. The Bible is called the Living Word for a reason. No matter where you are in your walk with God, there is something for you to learn. What I find so intriguing is that you can learn something from one passage and as you mature, you can learn something different from the same passage. This knowledge does not replace what you have learned before. It expands, it builds upon the previous knowledge to give you a deeper understanding.

I have been writing and sharing these devotionals since 1998. It is my routine. It is not my rut. I learn so much as I explore God’s Word and share it with you. It is my daily time to be still in the presence of God.

It is my prayer that each of you develop a routine in which you set aside time each day to spend in God’s presence.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you been given to Jesus?

February 11, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
(John 17:24-26 (NIV))

To be with Jesus where He is!

We have been given to Jesus. We have been called to know Him and to love Him when all around us deny Him. We have also been called to make Jesus known so that He can continue to make the Father known.

Are you able to say that you can be found in Jesus? Are you able to say that you belong to Jesus? Are you able to claim the redemptive love as your own?

I realize that I am asking a whole lot of questions, but these are questions that must be asked. Far too many people skirt around the question and never address it head on. They never truly proclaim that Jesus is their personal Lord and Savior. It is a simple profession of faith, but it must be made by each one of us. No one can make that profession for us, just as we cannot make it for someone else. Just as the gift of salvation is a personal offer, accepting that gift is a personal response. Each of us must accept for ourselves and respond for ourselves.

Have you been accepting? Have you been responsive?

Can you be numbered among those who have been given to Jesus as His bride?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do we praise God like David did?

February 10, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD’S name is to be praised.
(Psalms 113:3 (KJV))

I want you to think about this passage. Do you truly realize what it is saying?

Think about the time in history when this was written. Most people were up and working when the sun was coming up and most people went to bed with the sun going down. The sun actually reflected the waking hours of most people when this was written. Perhaps we should read it with a fresh perspective and a slightly paraphrased translation.

From the time that you wake up until the time that you go to sleep, praise God!

Doesn’t that make more sense to you as we place the passage in the context of our lives today?

I honestly believe that this is what David was telling us when he wrote this Psalm. We are to praise God with every waking breath that we take. We are to live our lives fully devoted to God. No wonder that David was known as a man after God’s own heart. He spent every waking moment in praise of the God that he longed to be with.

Can we honestly say the same about our praise?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you a visual person?

February 9, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”
(John 4:48 (NIV))

Are you a visual person? Do you learn only when you see it before your own eyes?

Where is the faith in this?

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

There are just some things that you must accept without seeing. Faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is one of those things. We do not have the good fortune of having been alive when He walked the earth. We will never see the miracles that He performed. Perhaps that is a good thing, for those who actually saw them wanted more before many of them would believe.

Where does that leave us?

We must be certain in our hope that Jesus is who He says He is. We must be certain of what we do not see. We will be blessed if we can go beyond our physical limitations and start to believe even if we do not see. We must remember what Jesus told Thomas.

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
(John 20:29 (NIV))

This world teaches us that we must see it in order to believe it. That is true of anything of this world. Faith in Jesus is not of this world. We must be sure of the hope that Jesus brings even though we may not see it.

Are you sure of your faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you believed?

February 8, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–
(John 1:12 (NIV))

Have you been given the right to become children of God?

It is an offer that is open to anyone and everyone, but it is not an offer that all will accept.

I know that it is sad, isn’t it?

All that anyone has to do is receive Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior and believe that Jesus is the Son of God. I know that it sounds simple, yet, far too many people choose to make it complicated. They look at this whole thing with human eyes and a physical perspective. They fail to receive and fail to believe because it doesn’t make sense from a worldly point of view.

They fail to look beyond the world!

It takes the ability to see the universe with something other than your eyes. It takes the ability to let yourself go and rely on something, on someone, more than you can see and understand. It takes faith!

Think about faith.

Our society relies on the media to entertain us, to inform us, and far too often, to educate us. We see media magic and we are no longer willing, we are no longer able, to believe that things can be more awesome than the tricks we see on television or at the movies. We fail to realize that no matter what we may see, it is only a trick. it is not real. Perhaps this a one of the ways that the enemy gets us to believe the lies he tells. We see things and we no longer are awed by the things that God has done. We no longer have the faith to believe because we think that we understand how the awe and wonder is created. We don’t receive and we don’t believe because we can choose to see things that make it hard to believe.

Think back on your childhood.

Wasn’t it a time of innocence? Wasn’t it a time when faith played a bigger part of your life?

We can all be given the right to be children of God. All it takes is a simple act of belief.

Have you believed?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How good is your soil?

February 5, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.
(Matthew 13:23 (NIV))

Which part of a person is the “soil?”

What makes soil good?

What makes this part of a person good?

Have you ever stopped to think that your heart is the soil in which the Word of God is planted? What makes your heart fertile? Is it a desire to know the truth? Is it a desire to know yourself? Is it a desire to help your fellow man? Is it a desire to know God and His Word?

Perhaps the best way to think of your heart being good soil is to think of your inner desires. Your heart will be good soil if you despise things that are not from God. Your heart will be good soil if you earnestly seek after God’s Will in all things. Your heart will be good soil if you cultivate it daily with the seed that is the Word of God.

When we cultivate our good soil, we will produce a crop. Some will become teachers and preachers who will teach the Gospel. Some will become evangelists who will spread the Gospel. Some will be called to be God’s witnesses where they work. No matter what crop your soil produces, tend it wisely. God will use it for something great. You may not be the person who tells millions of people about Jesus. God may be calling you to only tell one. The numbers do not matter, for they are in God’s hands. He is calling you to use your good soil to plant the seeds so that others may see the harvest.

How good is your soil?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your heart with Jesus or on some useless treasure?

February 4, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.
(Philippians 3:7 (NIV))

Do you let anything stand in the way of your relationship with Jesus?

Do you value anything more than you value Jesus?

Paul was a man who had it all in the eyes of his society. He was born into the right class. He was well educated in the eyes of his society. He was a Roman citizen, and he was a member of the elite class at the Temple, yet, he was willing to give all of this up in order to follow Jesus!

What have you given up to follow Jesus?

Have you lost friends?

Have you alienated family?

Have you lost jobs?

Is there anything that you should give up in order to gain Jesus?

Perhaps I should word that question differently. Is there anything that you don’t want to give up? Is there anything that is standing in the way of becoming closer to Christ?

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV))

Is your heart with Jesus or on some useless treasure?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t be a fool!

February 3, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God.”
(Psalms 14:1a (NIV))

Is it just me, or do you see an increase in fools?

I am not trying to be judgmental, just looking at the world from a Biblical perspective.

Why do so many people in our society today believe that there is no God? Why do they look at the very same things that believers see and fail to see the majesty of the creation and the awesomeness of the Creator?

Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone who is adamant about the absence of God? They are often bitter, self-centered and focused on what they can get in this life. I often wonder how they perceive the world. I often wonder what their motivations are for the life that they have been given.

To be honest with you, it breaks my heart to encounter people who say that there is no God. Where is their joy? What is their basis, their reason for living? I realize that each and every person is unique and that each person will have a different answer, but what do they do to fill that emptiness? What do they do to fill the proverbial God-shaped hole that is in their hearts?

I am sure that each of you is familiar with the old saying, “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” Have these people truly been blinded to the magnificence of God’s creation? Have they looked so much at the details that they fail to see the bigger picture? Have we become a society of people who focus so much on something so small that too many of us fail to see what is right before our very eyes?

If we focus on details, we see details and we often fail to understand the bigger picture. If we focus on God, we see God and we the details, and we see the bigger picture. We realize that it is us who is of little significance in this world. Thankfully, to God, we are of great significance!

Maybe that is why we are told that a fool says there is no God. They deny the one who created them and they deny the love that God has for them.

Don’t be a fool!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is the Lord to you?

February 2, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever.
(Psalms 23:1-6 (NIV))

Have you ever truly stopped to think about these words?

How many of us can truly say that we live a life that is not filled with stress? How many of us do not fear? How many of us do not have people who are enemies? Do any of us not need calm surroundings and rest?

What about restoration?

What about comfort?

Are you in need of goodness and love?

The words that David recorded speak to the inner desires of every human being to ever live. Even if you think that you are a tough cookie, deep inside of you, you desire the very things that David wrote about.

Can we find these things in worldly possessions? Can we find them in other people? Can we find them in our own strengths?

There is only one source for the peace that David wrote about. It can be found in no other place, no other person, than in the Lord our God. We cannot run from Him. We cannot hide from Him,. We can run to Him. We can hide within His love. He can find rest within His mercy. We can find salvation within His grace.

God is good! He is our rest. He is our restoration. He is our righteousness. He is our protection. He is our comfort. He is our protector. He is our Father!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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