What have the locusts eaten?

March 9, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten–
the great locust and the young locust,
the other locusts and the locust swarm–
my great army that I sent among you.
(Joel 2:25 (NIV))

Is there something in your life that you feel you have had taken from you through no fault of your own? It could be health. It could be finances. It could be family. It could be any number of things. We all have something that fits this definition.

Each of us who claim Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life can lay claim to the promises made in Joel. God will repay us for the years the locusts have eaten. We may not understand how or when, but they will be repaid. That is a promise made by God and God cannot go against His Word. That is impossible.

No matter what the enemy may have taken from you, rest assured in the promises of God. We must stand firm in our faith that what God says is true or will come true. When we doubt this, all we have to do is look at the life of Abraham and the promises that God made to him. At a very old age, God changed his name from Abram to Abraham, from what meant “exalted father” to “father of many.” Even though Abraham was almost one hundred before God began to fulfill the promise that He had made, God did keep His Word.

I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.
(Genesis 22:17-18 (NIV))

Abraham had a rocky road to travel during his life, but he faced it with the faith that God would keep His promises. Because of his faith, God did keep His promises and the descendants of Abraham are indeed as numerous as the stars.

What is it in your life that you need to have faith that God will repay you for even if the locusts have eaten it?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you know?

October 25, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.
When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me!” For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit!
(Mark 5:1-8 (NIV))

Don’t you find this story just a little ironic?

Think about that for a moment. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. He came to overcome the powers of sin and death. He came to defeat Satan and his demons. He came into this world to wage a battle for the very soul of each and every one of us, yet those whom He came to save did not recognize Him. Yet, those whom He came to wage war against knew Him and were afraid of Him.

Why do we, as created humanity, fail to recognize the divine when it is in front of us, yet we often embrace the sin before it even begins to get close to us? I find it amazing, yet sad, that the demons fear Jesus and far too many people could simply care less who He is. Sadder still, is that many people mock Him.

With this in mind, it is said that you cannot defeat your enemy unless you know your enemy. Do we, as the Body of Christ, know the enemy as well as the enemy knows Jesus? Do we proclaim the power that is ours through the atoning blood? Do we stand firm in the faith that Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords? Many battles throughout history have had decisive outcomes based on lies and deception – spies who infiltrated the ranks and helped to sabotage the other side. This is also true in the spiritual war that is being waged. We must know the enemy so that we can avoid the lies and the deception. We must know Jesus and God’s Word.

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
(Ephesians 6:11 (NIV))

The enemy is counting on us not being able to recognize the deception.

We must fully clothe ourselves in the Light of Jesus so that we may know His grace and mercy and also so that we may know the enemy.

What do you know?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Tough choices

October 20, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.
(Matthew 18:15 (NIV))

This is not such an easy thing to do. Most of us would rather simply hold a grudge instead of facing a confrontation, even if the potential outcome of that confrontation would have good results.

Human nature is such an interesting thing. We would rather bask in our anger, because it is what we know, than to take a chance of making peace. We have such trouble reaching out to each other. Perhaps that is why so many people also refuse to accept that God reached out to us. They simply cannot comprehend that someone is willing to bridge the gap and make peace.

Think about this passage. We are being told to do exactly what God did through Jesus. We had sinned against God. He came through Jesus to show us our faults so that we could be reconciled to Him. To those who listen, we have become members of the Body of Christ. To those who do not listen, they are still lost in their sin.

In other words, we are to treat each other as God has treated us. We are to seek reconciliation. We must be willing to reach out just as God reached out.

I am certain that each of us has at least one person who has sinned against us in such a way that we would prefer to never see them again, or to even think of them again.

What would Jesus do?

What would you do if you discovered that they had repented and were seeking reconciliation?

Sometimes faith is tough. Sometimes grace is tough. Sometimes obedience is tough. Sometimes love is tough, after all, love is a choice.

God made a tough choice to love us even when we did not love Him.

Are we ready to make that tough choice when it comes to others?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Remember His strength

September 6, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
(Hebrews 4:15-16 (NIV))

Have you ever felt that no one could possibly understand what you are going through?

Do you ever feel that the weight of this world is just too much for you to bear? Do you feel that you are completely alone and have no where to turn?

I am sure that we have all felt like that at some point in our lives. We just can’t seem to find anything that offers us any hope at all. All too true, if we only look upon our situations with worldly vision. Fortunately, we have another way to look at things. We can look with faith.

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

Jesus has been where we are. He understands how you feel. He has faced the very temptations that we face. He has faced the very struggles that we face. We can lean on His strength when we are weak. We can rely on His love when we feel unloved. We can rely on His truth when all around us is a lie. We can rely on His grace and mercy even when we feel that we do not deserve it.

We can approach anything with confidence if we fully rely on Jesus. He may not keep us from the trials and tribulations, but He will see us through them if we only have faith. Too many times, people forget that He never leaves us, and they leave Him when things go bad. They try to face the trials and tribulations relying on their own strength and not the strength of the one who is with them.

The next time that you feel that you are facing life’s trials and tribulations on your own, remember that Jesus has been there. Remember that He is with you. Remember that His strength will carry you through our weaknesses.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you know the difference?

August 16, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group. They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach–and that for the sake of dishonest gain.
(Titus 1:10-11 (NIV))

For the sake of dishonest gain.

When this was written, there was a big debate over whether Gentile believers must be circumsized. People were teaching false doctrine around this and led many people astrray.

Today, we have similar debates over many other things, such as denominations, prosperity, healings, speaking in tongues, and many more. Could we be in the same situation with these as was spoken of in Titus? Are we being deceived because someone is an eloquent speaker? Are we being led astray because someone is out to fill their bank account?

It is so easy to be led astray. It only takes a good sounding speach filled with quick references to things that we know catch our attention. Once we acknowledge that there is a spark of familiarity in what is being taught, we make an assumption that the speaker knows the material. It is with sadness that I fear this is where we fail to validate the message. We accept it as truth without testing it against God’s Word. We have the basic belief, but fail to verify eveything else.

Satan counts on this. His demons count on this. They know the truth.

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder.
(James 2:19 (NIV))

They twist the truth.

They entice people to twist the truth.

Truth, once it is twisted, is no longer truth. It has become a deception.

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
(Ephesians 6:11 (NIV))

We must know the difference between truth and deception. We must be able to discern the lies of the enemy, even when they are shrouded in words that seem true.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
(Ephesians 6:12-18 (NIV))

Do you know the difference?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Divisions!

July 20, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
(Mark 3:24-25 (NIV))

Truer words cannot be spoken, especially when you consider our country and our world in today’s circumstances.

In my lifetime, I have seen things change so rapidly, yet, not all change has been good.

One thing that appears to have changed for the worse is the deep divisions that are now so prevalent between people.

It used to be said that people could disagree and then put their disagreements aside and be friends. Now, if you disagree with someone, it is as if you are personally attacking them. There is too much selfish ego involved and no thought given to the simple fact that we are all human, and no one is perfect. Not a single one of us is right on everything. In fact, I think that I can safely say that most of us are wrong more times than we are right.

Are we so willing to alienate and create division when perfection is out of our grasp?

I understand the desire to create policies that take care of those who can’t take care of themselves. I understand the need to defend ourselves. I understand the need to be responsible to God, to others, and to ourselves.

I understand the need to be good stewards.

We must look upon everything that we have as a blessing from God and not as if it were ours to take and do with as we please.

Have you ever thought how history will look upon us?

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: ‘From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to selfishness; From selfishness to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.'”
– quote attributed to Alexander Fraser Tytler (1747?1813)

I am not trying to be political, but rather bringing something to light. We, as a society have become far too divided, with far too little common ground in the middle. For a country that was founded on freedom of religion, it has now come to mean freedom from religion in the eyes of far too many people. Our ancestors fought to break the bondage that tthey were under. Jesus died to free us from the bondage of sin and death. Why are we headed back into bondage?

This must change.

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 7:14 (NIV))

It is time to return to prayer and earnestly seek God’s face. We must turn from our wicked ways and pray that God will heal our land. We must pray that the words of Alexander Fraser Tytler, through God’s grace, will not come true.

Although, there is something else to consider.

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 root up 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))

Is the world becoming divided, even polarized, in preparation for this to be fulfilled?

Whether this division is man made or all a part of God’s plan, we, as His church must pray, for without prayer, we are lost.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you fully dressed?

July 19, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
(Ephesians 6:11 (NIV))

We all think that we could recognize the devil’s schemes. Sometimes I wonder if that is possible without putting on the full armor of God.

Think about that for a moment.

When we put on the full armor of God, we clothe ourselves in God’s Word. We fully embrace the Holy Spirit’s presence within our lives. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is the Messiah. He is our personal Lord and Savior. In other words, we long to know God and His commands. We should be able to discern what is from God and what is from the enemy. It should be second nature to us. We should know the voice of our Lord, Savior and Master.

Now consider that Satan will often masquerade as an angel of light. Is our faith and understanding of God strong enough to distinguish a false angel of light from the voice of God? I would like to think that each of us is to that point in our faith. I would like to think that we are fully clothed in the full armor of God so that Satan cannot catch us off guard through one of his deceptions. Unfortunately, none of us is perfect. We can fall if we let down our guard.

We must be prepared!

Study God’s Word. Pray for guidance and discernment. Pray for wisdom. Be ready to recognize God’s voice and reject the devil’s schemes.

Are you fully dressed in the armor of God or do you have areas that leave you vulnerable to attack?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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