You just need to be willing to see!

June 13, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip.
(John 1:46 (NIV))

Humanity is so strange!

We are willing to travel half way around the world to see something in a major city because we think that is where the good things are. At the same time, we think that anything from a small, out of the way place can’t be any good. Why do we always think that bigger is better? Why does human nature have to elevate what is big and put down anything that is small in our perception?

If you stop to think about God’s plan, it makes perfect sense for Jesus to have come to humble beginnings and live in a small town. It was exactly opposite of what the world expected. It was a deliberate decision to not be who the world expected Him to be. God wanted to not appeal to the masses with glitz and glamour. He did not want the gift of salvation to be just another fad that was here today and gone tomorrow. He wanted people to seek and find something precious and not be bombarded with another societal hype.

He wanted to draw those who were willing to see the unexpected.

Have you seen the unexpected in Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Pray for the children of sin and slavery!

December 30, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. But what does the Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
(Galatians 4:28-31 (NIV))

We are the children of promise. All who believe in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior hold fast to the promises that He made and fulfilled. Jesus came so that all who believe could be granted salvation. That is a promise for all who are not ashamed to call upon His name.

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
(Romans 1:16 (NIV))

Jesus came as a Jew to the Jews. We who believe in Jesus as Messiah are able to do so because of the Jews. They were chosen as the descendants of Abraham even when Abraham and Sarah tried to make God’s plan come true on their own. As a result, Ishmael was born of the slave girl. According to the customs of man, Ishmael was the first born and everything was rightfully his. God had other plans. Ishmael was not supposed to have happened. Ishmael’s little brother was who God had planned. In the eyes of that society, Ishmael was ridiculed. Satan has used this as a weapon against God’s intended heir ever since. It was used as a weapon when this passage was written. It is being used as a weapon now. Satan is ramping up the attacks.

It is nothing but a family fight manifesting itself in various ways! It is a struggle between the children of the law who are bound to man’s ways and to Satan versus the children of the promise of God. We no longer have to be children bound to the laws of sin. We have been allowed to break the bonds of slavery and claim our place as children of the promise. We, as believers in Jesus, are reborn as children of the free woman. Our sins have been forgiven.

We must pray for the children of sin and slavery. Pray that they will be able to break the bonds that keep them in their slavery. Pray that they will know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready for Jesus to come?

December 15, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times. ”

Therefore Israel will be abandoned
until the time when she who is in labor gives birth
and the rest of his brothers return
to join the Israelites.

He will stand and shepherd his flock
in the strength of the LORD,
in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God.
And they will live securely, for then his greatness
will reach to the ends of the earth.

And he will be their peace.
(Micah 5:2-5 (NIV))

This prophecy speaks clearly of the coming of Jesus. During this time of year when we celebrate the birth of our Savior, we must also keep in mind that He is first a light to the Jews and then to the nations.

The covenant that God made with Israel was for this nation to be a light unto the world. Yet, they took the meaning of “God’s Chosen People” to mean that they had special privileges that set them above every other nation.

There are many words within this passage that can be interpreted to reflect what has happened in the history of Israel. When it speaks of Israel being abandoned … and the rest returning to Israel, this could be taken to mean the upper tribes being taken into captivity from which they never really returned. Now, the nation of Israel is once again a nation, and people from all over the world are returning to their “home land.” Perhaps, many of these people are descendants of those who were taken into captivity from the Northern Kingdom.

God has always used “near-term” and “long-term” prophecy within the same words. This passage obviously points to the first coming of Jesus. It also gives hints and glimpses of what will be in the second coming.

After two thousand years since Jesus’ birth, it is right that we celebrate this coming and the gift that was given through this coming. We must also not forget that He will return. Every Christmas that we celebrate brings us closer to the time of this much anticipated, often ridiculed, and greatly controversial event.

We need to be ready for the second coming.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t waste the talents that God has given you!

October 23, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
(Matthew 25:15-18 (NIV))

I find it interesting that the word for an amount of money was a talent. Have you ever stopped to think of this with the meaning that we associate with the word talent?

Both forms are valuable. Both forms are meant to be put to use.

What talents have you been given?

Are you using them?

If God gives you talents, He intends for you to use them to His glory. God has given each of us unique talents to fulfill His plan for our lives. If you do not use them, they will be taken away and your life will be unfulfilled.

Have you ever felt that God is asking you to use your talents beyond what you are currently doing? Have you ever had someone ask you to use your talents?

Think about that last question for a moment.

Does God work through people? If He is calling you to use your talents, do you think that He will place people in your life who will confirm that request? Do you think that the request can come through people? Do you ignore when people ask you to use your talents?

You may be missing out on the very thing that God has planned for you. Are you thinking that because the request came through a person it couldn’t be from God?

God uses people to accomplish His will. If we are not responsive, He will use someone who is responsive to His call.

Don’t waste the talents that God has given you!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is what you fear bigger than God?

September 28, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10 (NIV))

Are you fearful of what is to come?

Do you look at the things that are happening in this world and tremble? Do the things of this world cause you to worry or do you have the peace that passes understanding?

It is so easy to look at the world and to fall into the trap that says the world is a fearful place. If all that you do is look at it from a physical, worldly perspective, it is a fearful place.

Take a look at it through Kingdom eyes. Take a look at it through the timeline that God has laid out. We can see His hand at work as His plan unfolds before our eyes. We may not know exactly when things will happen, but we can rest assured that they are happening according to God’s plan.

If they are unfolding according to God’s plan, then if we are in God’s Will, then we have nothing to fear!

Have you accepted His Son, Jesus, as your personal Lord and Savior?

Have you repented of your sins?

Have you earnestly studied God’s Word so that you can understand God’s plan?

I want to ask you a simple question.

What are you fearful about?

Think about that question and try to be as honest with yourself as you can.

Now, I want you to think about your faith and the One that you place your faith in.

Is what you fear bigger than God?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is it that you pray for?

July 17, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
(Acts 1:7-8 (NIV))

With all that is going on in the world, I know that many people long to know the times and the dates that God is using to unfold His plan. With what happened recently in Charleston and now what has happened in Chattanooga, I know that many people are praying for God’s grace. Many are praying for His mercy.

Are we praying for the right things?

Many of us are praying for peace in our neighborhoods, in our cities, in our nation and in the world, but is peace what we should be praying for?

We are told that certain things must transpire before the return of Jesus. We also know that all of these things are not only not pleasant, but are downright dangerous and evil. Are we seeing these events unfold? Are we praying for peace because we want to get back to the status quo for our lives. Lives that used to be consumed with family, friends, jobs and the future. Should we be praying for peace when we know that God’s plans do not call for peace? Should we possibly be praying for God’s plans to be made manifest among us? Should we be praying that God will use us mightily for His Kingdom?

It is true that we do not know the times or dates, but that does not mean that we simply stick our heads in the sand and ignore what is going on in hopes that it will go away. If all of the things that we see simply went away, would we truly have peace? Would we turn to God during these times? Would we truly have the faith to stand firm in God’s promises?

We must keep our eyes on Jesus! We must keep looking up to the true source of peace. We must earnestly seek God and be willing to discern His true intentions.

What is it that you pray for?

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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