Do you truly long to see Jesus?

August 11, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
(2 Timothy 4:8 (NIV))

Do you long for the appearing of Jesus?

Are you looking for Jesus to come for His church? Do you read God’s Word and look for evidence of His soon return in the world around us? Do you have a strong desire to see Jesus, or are you apathetic about His return?

I know that I ask a lot of questions, but these are questions that most people don’t ask of themselves. The answers that you provide for these questions are telltale of what you expect. There is a concept that says that you will find what you are looking for. That may sound obvious, but think about it for a moment. If you are looking for treasure, you will only stop once you find it. What if that treasure is also looking for you to seek it? What if the very thing that we treasure also treasures us?

That is exactly what Jesus is doing! He is our treasure. He knows our hearts. We are His treasure. He died on the cross so that we could be called righteous because He is righteous. If we seek Him as our treasure, then He will find us as His treasure. If we do not seek Him, then we will not find Him as a treasure. We will know Him as the righteous Judge. We are at a point in history where we must decide to take Jesus as our treasure. We must long to see Him. We must call upon His name as our personal Lord and Savior. When we see Him and how we see Him depends on our desire to see Him!

We can desire to see Him as our personal Lord and Savior and we will see Him when He returns for His bride, or we can ignore Him and then we will see Him as Judge. It is our choice. It is a choice that cannot wait!

Do you truly long to see Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must focus on being lovers of God!

June 5, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-
(2 Timothy 3:1-4 (NIV))

I am sure that you have seen the jokes and the memes on social media about the type of year that 2020 has been so far. We hope and pray that things will get better, but I honestly think that what we are seeing is becoming the norm, especially when you read about what people will be like in the last days. In fact, when I first read this passage this evening, I did not have to struggle to think up very public examples of each one of these traits. I am certain that you can probably think of prime examples of each one of these traits as evidenced in our society as well.

Why have people become so blinded? Why have people become so self-centered and hate-filled? These traits go against every single one of God’s commandments. They also go against other traits that we are told we should strive to possess.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Sadly, these traits are not what seems to be front and center in today’s world. Far too many in this world are being led astray by the enemy. They are being led down a path that comes in direct conflict with anything good – with anything from God! They are being led down a path of sin and evil.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
(Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV))

I am sure that we have all heard that as followers of Jesus, we live in the world, but we are not of the world. How are we, as the Body of Christ, to respond to people who are in open rebellion against God?

We are to share the Gospel! We are also told what to do if people will not listen.

If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
(Matthew 10:14-15 (NIV))

We are to pray! We can’t soften hearts. Only God can. We must pray that those who rebel will repent and turn to the Lord. And, we must stand firm in our faith so that we are not led astray.

We must focus on being lovers of God!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Stay focused on Jesus!

December 31, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

Nothing is ever the same in this life. It is impossible to ground yourself in anything in this world. Just when you think things are as they should be, something terrible happens and things are a complete mess.

If you base your perspective of life on things worldly, then you are going to be let down at every turn. If you base your life on things that are of God, with the center of your focus on Jesus Christ, then you will never be let down. With the end of the year rapidly approaching, keep your perspective clearly focused on Jesus, for He never changes.

Stay focused on Jesus!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How good are you at seeing the unseen?

September 9, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
(2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV))

Human nature likes the easy way out!

If something is directly in front of us, do most of us go searching for something better?

If we can see, do most of us make a choice to gamble on the uncertainty of the unseen? This concept has been put to the test many times. Popular television game shows use this concept to get contestants to agonize over a decision to keep what they have or go after what is behind the door. Human nature likes a gamble, yet, at the same time human nature likes certainty. We always make decisions based on what we think will be best for us, whether immediately or long term.

Think about that with respect to your life. Unless you are striving for something that satisfies a personal desire, most things that you do are the easy option. We take advantage of what we can see and plan. Even with this in mind, it is almost a certainty that the difficult things that a person chooses to do are so that they will have an easier life later. All that you have to do is look at your educational choices and then your career choices to see how this pans out for most of us.

What if we could be guaranteed that what is behind God’s door is so much better than what we can see in this world? The things of this world are in a sinful, fallen state. Do we want to trade sin for sin? What we are promised from God is so much better. We are promised to have our sins removed! We are promised to be able to spend eternity in His presence! Unlike the trickery and uncertainty of the television game shows, what is behind God’s door is so much better than what the world has to offer. The treasure that God promises is worth whatever we have to do in order to attain it!

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
(Matthew 6:19-20 (NIV))

The treasures on earth are seen. The treasure of heaven are only seen through faith!

How good are you at seeing the unseen?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you desire to be focused on Jesus?

April 4, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
(1 Corinthians 2:2 (NIV))

What is it that you find yourself focusing on? What is it that commands all of your attention? What is is that you treasure more than anything else in all of creation?

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

Are you willing to admit what has your focus, what has your attention and what has your heart?

This is a very tough question and one that I am sure many of us have wanted to avoid at some point in our lives. Be completely honest with yourself. Can you openly admit in front of family and friends the one thing that is your treasure? Can you admit to what is the one thing that has your focus? I can’t answer those questions for anyone except myself. No one can answer for you and you definitely can’t answer for anyone else.

If you primary focus is not a relationship with Jesus, what does that say about your life and your salvation? You claim to know who Jesus is, but does He know you?

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV))

As a professing believer in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, He should be the primary authority and focus in your life.

Do you desire to be focused on Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you looking to yourself instead of Jesus?

November 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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.
(Revelation 3:17 (NIV))

Do you consider yourself a follower of Christ?

Do you like to be self-sufficient?

Are you the type of person who has to take care of everything yourself?

Do you feel that unless you do it, it isn’t done right?

Would you rather starve than ask for assistance?

Do you look around and think to yourself that you have your life in order and are prepared for anything that may happen?

Hopefully, everyone who reads this will answer the first question with a resounding “Yes!”

The other questions fall into an area where human ego and pride come into play far too often. To be honest with you, I am guilty of answering these questions with a “yes” more often than I care to admit. Everyone likes to be self-sufficient. Do you feel guilty asking for help? I understand.

For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
(2 Thessalonians 3:10 (NIV))

Everyone has a certain way that you want things done. Everyone would love to have a nest egg to know that they are taken care of. We like to be able to predict our comfort and our future. But is this what God wants?

He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”‘
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
(Luke 12:17-20 (NIV))

In case you did not realize this, Revelation 3:17 is about the church at Laodicea. This is the church that Jesus called lukewarm. He even said that He was about to spit them out of His mouth. They had accepted Jesus, yet they failed to leave the comfort of their physical lives. They thought that they had everything covered. They thought that they were self-sufficient. They thought that they didn’t need any assistance and that everything was in order. The sad part of this is that is was all based on their efforts and not on the strength of Jesus! If we take a look at the next sentence from Luke, we see exactly what will happen to those who fail to look to the Lord.

“This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
(Luke 12:21 (NIV))

Don’t be caught up in your ability. Don’t be so arrogant that you rely on your feeble works. Look to the Lord and grow in your faith.

Are you looking to yourself instead of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 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 if Jesus decided that He was not fully committed?

May 29, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.
(Hebrews 13:4 (NIV))

Today’s society seems to have forgotten this. Everywhere you look, you see the results of marriages that have seen the effects of unfaithfulness. According to the politically correct way of thinking, many people are saying that it just isn’t working, or they no longer want to be with their spouse, regardless of the consequences on anyone but themselves. Is this just another result of the “me first” mentality that has permeated our society lately? What has happened to the concept of for better or for worse?

What if Jesus decided that He did not want to stay around and fulfill the promise of salvation for you because He needed “space”? He made a committment to be our atoning sacrifice that would give us grace and mercy. He had the most to lose of anyone who has ever lived, yet, Jesus did not stop while He was on the cross and say that he didn’t want to be in this relationship anymore. He stuck with it and did what was best for everyone. It eventually was even best for Him. Perhaps we should focus more on Jesus and each other as a society and not on “me.”

Who do you focus on?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Which master do you serve?

May 15, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.
(Proverbs 28:20 (NIV))

In this world that we live in, wealth is the goal for many. The desire to retire early is widespread anymore. How many times do you see people who desire to get rich achieve their goal, yet they squander everything or commit serious crimes to attain their wealth?

Faith is the benchmark for all things in this world. With faith comes Godly wisdom. With wisdom comes the desire to be responsible for what God has entrusted to you. Maybe it is the faith that leads a person to be responsible with what you have so that you do not make foolish and ungodly decisions.

Perhaps, the best way to express what is stated in Proverbs is in Matthew 6:24.

“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
(Matthew 6:24)

If you focus on wealth, then you despise God and will do anything to attain your wealth. If you serve God, then He will supply what is needed, and your life will prosper.

Which master do you serve?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you focused on?

February 25, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
(Galatians 5:16-18 (NIV))

Do you ever feel that you are in conflict with yourself? Do you find yourself doing things that you don’t want to do? Do you regret doing things that you do?

Human nature is a very strange thing. We have strong desires to do what is righteous in the eyes of God, yet we do exactly opposite of what we want to do. There is an amusing story about this. I have even seen this presented as a prayer.

Lord, so far so good. I have not lied. I have not stolen anything. I have not gotten mad at anybody. I have not taken your name in vain. I am about to get out of bed, and I know that this is going to go downhill from here.

Do you ever feel like this? Do you feel that life causes you to do things that are not righteous in the eyes of God?

What do you look at? What do you focus on that causes you to falter in your daily walk? What is it that feeds your sinful nature and keeps you from living by the Spirit? Satan knows how to trigger our sinful nature. He knows how to distract us.

Keep your eyes focused on Jesus! Keep your thoughts focused on God’s Word. The old saying, “You are what you eat” is true. What you put into your life is what you become. When you succumb to the sinful nature, repent and redouble your focus. We are only human and will need to make numerous corrections each day. When we see something that we know will lead us astray, focus on Jesus! When we hear something that we know will lead us astray, focus on Jesus!

What are you focused on?

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