Stand firm in the presence of the enemy

November 16, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore rejoice, you heavens
     and you who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
     because the devil has gone down to you!
He is filled with fury,
     because he knows that his time is short.
(Revelation 12:12 (NIV))

Be honest!

How many have taken a look at all that is happening in this year and felt that this is now more truthful than ever before?

I see countless videos where people profess to have been given a dream or a vision about what is coming. I am not privy to the dreams and visions that they are having, so I am not able to truthfully discern many of these as they are presented. I even saw a video not too long ago where the person making the video declared that everything recorded in the Bible indicated that true prophets were few and far between. It is true that only a select few individuals were written about, but we must take into consideration another passage.

“‘In the last days, God says,
     I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
     your young men will see visions,
     your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
     I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
     and they will prophesy.
(Acts 2:17-18 (NIV))

This doesn’t sound like just a handful of individuals. It sounds just like it says – on all people. Are we seeing the beginning of this? We must learn to have a discerning ear. We must learn to have a discerning heart.

If you feel in your spirit that things are not as they have been and that they are rapidly progressing further down the path that God has established for the time of the end, then it is time to pray for this discernment. We must seek God’s truth for this season. We must be prepared to give an account of why we profess a faith in Jesus. We must be prepared to face worldly rejection and ridicule for that profession of faith.

Are you ready and willing to stand firm in the presence of the enemy?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How is your strength?

November 13, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He gives strength to the weary
     and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
     and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
     will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
     they will run and not grow weary,
     they will walk and not be faint.
(Isaiah 40:29-31 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but I am weary in my own strength. I don’t have the ability to face the world on my own. I am tired! Perhaps I could even go so far as saying that I am exhausted.

The world in which we live has become so polarized. People rage against anything and everything that God considers good. They openly embrace anything that God considers evil. They mock anyone who clings to the sole source of truth. They censor the name of Jesus who is the source of this truth because they don’t want to offend those who do evil. They don’t want to offend the enemy!

Do you understand why I am weary?

I, like every single person who has ever lived, do not have the strength to face the enemy on my own. Thankfully I can turn to the ultimate source of strength. I can rely on the strength of someone much greater than I. I can rely on the strength of my Lord and Savior. I can rely on the strength of my God! With this strength, I have the ability to face whatever the world may send my way. I have the strength to face whatever the enemy may send my way.

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
     my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
     and with my song I praise him.
(Psalms 28:7 (NIV))

He gives us strength by letting us rest in His presence. He gives us strength when we need shelter from the world. He gives us strength by equipping us with His truth. He gives us strength when we are still. When we desire to live out His truth, He fights the battles.

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
(Exodus 14:14 (NIV))

When you are on the side of the Lord, that should be enough to give you the strength to overcome the weariness caused by the evil in the world!

How is your strength?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you filled with confidence and assurance?

November 12, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

With everything that is going on in the world, we see countless things that go against everything that we hope for. We see so much that goes against what God calls righteous and good. It has come to a point that many may begin to wonder if they have misplaced their faith. It is so easy to become blinded to the truth if all that we focus on are the lies of the world!

I have found myself focusing on faith quite often lately. The topic comes to mind every time that I see more news about the current state of our nation and the world. I have to remind myself that even though God created this world, it has been turned over to sin and depravity. We may find fleeting glimpses of beauty, but the true beauty has long faded and deteriorated from what God first created. It is at these moments that I remind myself of the truth that we may live in this world but we are not of this world. We must never lose sight of this truth. We must forever keep our eyes fixed on Jesus!

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.
(1 John 2:15-16 (NIV))

What we are seeing is a direct result of the love of the world. Stand firm, for we are not of this world. Life is a gift. That gift was tarnished and corrupted. We may see hardships. We may even experience hardships, but we must remember that this physical world is not what is important. No matter what we may face in this world, what matters is that we keep our eyes focused on Jesus, for where we focus is where we get our strength.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
(2 Corinthians 4:7-9 (NIV))

If we can stay focused on Jesus, then we can inherit His authority over the world.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
(John 16:33 (NIV))

Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
(1 John 5:5 (NIV))

Are you filled with confidence and assurance?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It takes faith to turn to God and that pleases Him!

November 11, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
(Hebrews 11:6 (NIV))

I’ve read this particular passage many times and I thought that I understood it, but recently I had an epiphany. I had a new understanding of this passage and I don’t understand why the obvious had not made itself known to me before. It all starts with a fresh understanding of faith.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

Have you ever seen God? Are you confident that He exists? If you firmly believe that He exists, that is faith. In this physical world, it takes faith to even acknowledge that God exists. If you do not possess faith the size of a mustard seed, then it is impossible for your mind to even conceive of the idea of God. Faith is the key! Without faith, God doesn’t exist in your heart or in your mind. You have made a decision to shun the Creator of all things! That breaks the very heart of God, for He longs to draw each of us closer to Himself. It only takes a little faith to grow the idea that God is real. Once you have the faith to make this proclamation, you have taken the first step in your journey with the Lord. Each step of that journey draws you closer to the Lord and builds a stronger faith. It pleases the Lord when you draw closer to Him. It pleases the Lord as your faith matures.

How do you grow faith?

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
(Romans 10:17 (NKJV))

We must spend time daily in His Word, for His Word is His heart! When we know His Word, we know Him intimately.

Do you possess a faith that seeks intimacy with the Lord?

It takes faith to turn to God and that pleases Him!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you truly long for the Lord?

November 10, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Why do you make me look at injustice?
    Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?
Destruction and violence are before me;
    there is strife, and conflict abounds.
(Habakkuk 1:3 (NIV))

Habakkuk knew what injustice was. He saw it in the society of his day. He saw it in Jerusalem. He had grown tired of the sinful practices that he saw on a daily basis. He pleaded with the Lord to do something that would make the people repent and return to the Lord. The people had rebelled against the Lord to the point that the Lord decided to have the Babylonians invade.

Think about that for a moment!

We pray for God to do something in this nation. We grow tired of the injustices, the evil, the wrongdoing, the destruction and the violence. We can’t seem to go more than an hour without hearing about a new conflict that has people polarized in their responses. We pray that the Lord would heal this land, but what if the first step in the healing process takes us down a road similar to what the Lord told Habakkuk would happen? When the Babylonians came, it was not just the people who were doing evil who where affected? The consequences impacted the whole region.

With the events in the world and the alignment of nations, the peace treaties and all other factors, we realize that we will probably soon be facing end time events. We long for the moment when the Lord will come for His church. Until that time, we must be prepared for much worse than we have seen. We should continue to pray for repentance and healing. We must pray for eyes to be opened and hearts to be turned to Jesus.

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV))

If we, who are sinful by nature, grow weary of all of the sin that surrounds us, how much more does this bother the Lord? We know that the Lord will win in His time, for He, too, is growing tired of the things in this world. Until that time, we must stand firm in our faith. We must stand firm in proclaiming the Gospel. We must stand firm in showing the world what God calls righteousness and justice.

Do you truly long for the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Which side of the division are you on?

November 9, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.
(Matthew 12:25 (NIV))

Division!

Is this what you think of every time that you watch the news or read about any topic of concern? Do you see a vast chasm in our society between people who prefer what God calls good and what God calls evil? Do you also believe that you are seeing some of this same chasm between people who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior? It has come to the point where everyone believes their own truth which is based on their own personal desires.

Truth is truth!

God’s Word is the absolute truth.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
(John 1:1-5 (NIV))

Jesus is the Word made flesh and He never changes!

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8 (NIV))

We have come to a point in the history of the world in which common sense and a moral compass no longer exist for far too many people. Up is down. Good is evil. Evil is good. Right is wrong and wrong is right. We have become so divided that I almost believe that people would argue over whether it is day or night. They certainty argue over murder and sin. They argue over basic biology. They argue against anything that God calls good. Is this what was written about in the parable of the wheat and the tares?

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
“‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
“‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'”
(Matthew 13:24-30 (NIV))

Why have we become so divided?

Which side of the division are you on?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where are you looking?

November 6, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
(Acts 1:11 (NIV))

I realize that it wasn’t too long ago that I wrote about this passage, but I feel compelled to share more on this topic.

Far too few of those who profess a faith in Jesus actually look to the future. We only have enough faith to believe what is written about the past. We focus on the certainty of the past. Perhaps we even look to our daily lives and cling to God’s Word to help us through this physical world, but we fail to look to the future with a faith that clings to the promises that are yet to be fulfilled.

What type of faith is that?

We only believe the fulfilled historical aspects of our faith, and what we can learn from the past. We want to be able to point to something and clearly see God’s plans as they unfolded, yet we fail to see them unfolding right before our eyes. We even fail to have faith that His plans and promises will unfold.

How many times have you heard preachers teach through books of the Bible and concentrate on how we can learn to live our lives from these stories and examples?

How many times have you heard preachers teach on His return and the glorious promises still to come?

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10:10b (NIV))

Have you ever contemplated the possibility of the fullness of life actually referring to eternal life in heaven and not just the possibilities of a better life on this earth? We spend too much time looking at today. We spend some time looking back at what God has done, but we don’t spend enough time focusing on His unfulfilled promises.

His best is yet to come!

When we look back, we learn. When we look at today, we live out each moment in faith. When we look to the future, we cling to God’s promises that are as of yet unfulfilled.

Where are you looking?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you found rest?

November 5, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Be at rest once more, O my soul,
    for the LORD has been good to you.
For you, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death,
    my eyes from tears,
    my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before the LORD
    in the land of the living.
(Psalms 116:7-9 (NIV))

The Lord gives us rest. In a world where uncertainty is the way, one thing is certain. God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. If we rest in His presence, then we can truly be at rest.

God is in control!

With everything that is going on in this world this year, this is very comforting. It is very reassuring to know that the Creator of all things is still in complete control. Even when it seems like the world is in total chaos, He is in complete control. It is all part of His plan. It is unfolding just as He told us that it would so that we would be aware of what is going on.

I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.
(John 14:29 (NIV))

Do you believe?

With everything that is happening in the world, do you believe?

With good being called evil and evil being called good, do you believe?

Belief and faith go hand in hand. By placing our faith in Him, all the worldly matters no longer are important. We rest in the knowledge that God will guide us in His will and if we keep focused on Him, He will guide our paths so that no matter what the world sends our way, we can have peace and rest in Him.

Have you found rest?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Will you continue to stand firm in God’s authority?

November 4, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
(Romans 13:1 (NIV))

As I sit down to write this, I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

I wonder what the weather will be like. I wonder how my day will go. I wonder what the outcome of the election will be, but I do not wonder who is ultimately in charge!

Can you say the same thing?

No matter who may win the election, it will not come as a surprise to God. He will not look down on this nation and say that He didn’t see it coming. In fact, everything that is happening is happening as a part of His plan. The stage has been set. Whether the same players come back for the next act or new people come into the spotlight, the results that God has planned since the beginning will still unfold according to His purpose. If we truly have placed our faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, then we know who ultimately wins. Based on world events, many people believe that His victory is closer than we know.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (NIV))

Will you be at peace no matter the outcome of this election?

Will you continue to stand firm in God’s authority?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must humble ourselves to His desires!

November 3, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (NIV))

The Bible instructs us to pray for those who are in authority over us. The need to pray for the President of the United States and other world leaders has never been more urgent. This country, and the world, are at a strategic point in history. We can turn towards God or turn farther from God.

It is our choice.

Our leaders reflect this choice, and often guide this choice. It is for this reason that we should pray for the President. We must pray for God’s Will in the election. Do we, as a nation, vote for a platform that has removed God or one that has embraced God? All that we have to do is look at Israel. Their ancient history is filled with them not only turning their back on God, but embracing the gods of the world. Every time that they did evil in the eyes of God, they faced wars and captivity. When they embraced the Lord and followed His ways they were blessed. Our choices are not about the individuals who are running. It is about the ideals that they have embraced. Pray for wisdom. Pray for discernment.

I would rather have a brash person who seeks the will of God over a likable person who flaunts corruption and evil.

As we enter the final day of this election, we must pray for God’s guidance. We must pray for His Will. We must act as the Body of Christ and seek to further His kingdom in this world. We must continue to do so until He returns!

We have a choice! We can turn towards God or away from God.

“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
(Joshua 24:14-15 (NIV))

If we choose to serve the Lord, that means that we must learn to listen. We must learn to discern His Will. We must learn to be obedient to what He calls good and shun what He calls evil. We must stand firmly with Him and not against Him.

I would rather stand with God and be judged by the world than stand with the world and be judged by God.

We must humble ourselves to His desires!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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