Watch in hope for the Lord!

February 14, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of man.
(Matthew 24:37-39 (RSV))

Does anyone read this and come away with what I have understood from this passage?

Are we, will we, be so engrossed in our own lives that we completely miss what is going on around us?

Can anyone tell me about the sad turn of events that has our own government pushing for the division of Jerusalem by this April? Can anyone tell me about the growing saber rattling coming from Iran and their move to place armed naval vessels just off of our coast?

I hate to say this, but more people can probably tell me about the latest escapades of Justin Bieber than they can tell me about the current state of our own government.

Ignorance is not bliss!

We, as the Body of Christ, are called to be salt and light to a dark and dying world. How can we be doing what we are called to do if we don’t know what is going on in the world? How can we pray against the prince of this world if we are blind to his actions? How can we share the Gospel of Jesus if we don’t know the urgency of the message? How can we call ourselves followers of Jesus if we don’t live by His teachings?

We are to be prepared!

We are to be vigilant!

We are to be watchmen!

Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices;
together they shout for joy.
When the LORD returns to Zion,
they will see it with their own eyes.
(Isaiah 52:8 (NIV))

Sadly, we have grown complacent in our efforts. Still, we must persevere!

The best of them is like a brier,
the most upright worse than a thorn hedge.
The day of your watchmen has come,
the day God visits you.
Now is the time of their confusion.
Do not trust a neighbor;
put no confidence in a friend.
Even with her who lies in your embrace
be careful of your words.
For a son dishonors his father,
a daughter rises up against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law–
a man’s enemies are the members of his own household.
But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD,
I wait for God my Savior;
my God will hear me.
(Micah 7:4-7 (NIV))

Do you still watch in hope for the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will your heart keep you from seeing the glory of the Lord?

February 3, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The moon will be abashed, the sun ashamed; for the Lord Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before its elders, gloriously.
(Isaiah 24:23 (NIV))

When we think of something that shines, we always think of the best that it can be. Consider what is said when someone does extremely well at something. It is said that they really shine at that task or undertaking.

What do you think of that shines the brightest? If you are like most people, you probably answered the sun and then the moon. These two celestial bodies give us light by day and by night. We compare everything that we know of as good to these two bodies. However, they pale in comparison to the way that our Lord will shine when He reigns on this earth and in eternity.

The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
(Revelation 21:23(NIV))

What a glorious place we will be in! There will be no need for the sun or the moon, for the glory of the Lord will shine brighter than anything that is created. Who will get to see this glory? Only those who call upon the name of Jesus, God’s only Son, as their Lord and Savior.

Remember that the light of God looks beyond the outward appearances and sees the heart. What is in your heart? Will it keep you from seeing the glory of the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to do likewise?

June 10, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. `Look after him,’ he said, `and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
(Luke 10:30-37 (NIV))

I experienced something over the weekend that brings this parable to light in today’s world.

I had pulled into a McDonalds to get something to drink and I noticed a car that was in a very precarious predicament. The front tires had gone over a poorly marked construction barricade and had dropped off the edge until the only thing touching the concrete was about 1/4” of the frame leaving the driver side rear tire about a foot off of the ground. The occupants of the car were okay, but there was no way that they could get the vehicle out of the construction ditch.

During this time, I saw countless people drive by and look, but only two fifty-three year old men even thought of coming to help. They looked and drove on by. Many even actually hung out of the passenger windows to get a better look. Still, no one bothered to offer assistance.

It is a sad commentary on society and on the hearts of people when they see someone in need and only think of it as a situation to be gawked at. Thankfully, the other fifty-three year old lived nearby and he was willing to make several trips to his house to get additional tools as they were needed. Some people simply looked and drove right on by. This man went out of his way to offer assistance. He was inconvenienced. He offered to do things that were not in his plans. He went the extra mile to do what was right.

Thousands of people go by this place every single day. In the two hours that it took to get the car out of the ditch, there were probably hundreds of people who went by. What does that say about our society? What does that say about our priorities?

With the assistance of a young police officer, we finally got the car out and I drove it around the parking lot to make sure that everything was okay. The lady and her 8 year old grand daughter were very happy to be rescued from their predicament. After she thanked us, I got in my car and drove the last hour to get home.

I am not relaying these events to draw attention to myself, Rather, to point out the way in which most of the people simply ignored the situation, or they looked and went on about their business. It was a bother to them. It was inconvenient for them to help.

We are to be neighbors to those in need. We cannot have a society that turns a blind eye to those in need. We must be good neighbors to all. We must be the hands and feet of Jesus to all who are in need.

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
(Luke 10:37b (NIV))

Are you willing to do likewise?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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An amazing gift to be shared!

December 27, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.

When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord” ), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”
(Luke 2:21-32 (NIV))

Did you breathe a big sigh of relief yesterday? Or maybe yours came this morning because you went out to the after Christmas sales yesterday and you didn’t have time to do anything else. Whatever may have happened, many people look upon the day after Christmas as being the end of the season.

It is only the beginning! Just as Jesus’ birth marked the beginning of our promised hope and salvation, Christmas marks the beginning of our celebration of this gift from God. Simeon knew that Jesus’ birth marked the beginning of salvation, and not the salvation itself. Many things needed to happen before the promise would be fulfilled.

Jesus did not come into the world in a miraculous manner and then spend the next thirty years in quiet solitude preparing for His ministry and crucifixion. We know that He amazed the scholars and priests before His baptism and the temptation in the wilderness.

We do not need to celebrate His birth and the promise that He fulfilled only on the days that we have set aside to remember His birth and His resurrection. We need to look at Christmas as the start of our opportunity to present His light to others as it was presented to us. We have several months until we celebrate His resurrection at Easter. What can we do to show the world the amazing gift that God gave us through Jesus Christ, His only Son? What can we do that will make those around us amazed at the resurrection and the promise fulfilled by it?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do we go out of our way to find Him and to worship Him?

December 20, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
(Matthew 2:1-2 (NIV))

Do we earnestly seek Jesus?

Do we go out of our way to find Him and to worship Him?

Would you be willing to travel to the ends of your known world in hope of finding salvation?

In today’s world, it is not uncommon for people to travel further than the Magi did for something that is of little importance. We have churches in every community, yet, many people will never step inside of one. These same people will drive hours to see a favorite sports team, yet willingly ignore the grace and mercy that is there for the taking. Our society may be more technologically advanced, but are we wiser than our ancestors? Are we wiser than the Magi?

We seek superficial rewards!

What is of importance to you?

Do you feel that what the Magi sought was and still is of importance?

Where does it rank in importance to you?

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?
(Mark 8:36 (NIV))

I honestly believe that our society has turned this upside down. We do not care about our souls. We only care about what the world has to offer. We only partake or participate in something if we are guaranteed a reward or a personal gain.

Too bad that the world does not consider gaining eternal life a big enough reward.

The Magi were considered to be wise men. I honestly believe that our modern interpretation of wisdom is all wrong. Wisdom is not worldly knowledge and power. In the eyes of God, this is foolishness. True wisdom comes from seeking God and recognizing what you seek when it does present itself. The Magi brought expensive gifts. They were kings. They were learned men. In their worldly status, they chose to humble themselves and seek God’s Son.

We should willingly do the same. We should seek Him to whom all praise is due.

It is my prayer that we find our true reward through Jesus this Christmas.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Pray!

November 19, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And afterward,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
I will show wonders in the heavens
and on the earth,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.
And everyone who calls
on the name of the LORD will be saved;
for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem
there will be deliverance,
as the LORD has said,
among the survivors
whom the LORD calls.
(Joel 2:28-32 (NIV))

This passage has been quoted for many years to bring both fear and hope to those who hear it.

For those people who do not have the grace and mercy that is freely theirs through the gift of salvation brought by Jesus Christ, it is a time to fear. All who do not believe in Jesus as God’s only begotten Son choose to reject these words as the false ramblings of an old book that no longer has any meaning in the world today. They choose to believe that they are in control of themselves and they only have to answer to themselves. These people do not know that they have anything to fear, yet, they should be very fearful for what they will surely face.

For those people who know the grace and mercy freely given to them through the blood of Jesus, and who study God’s Word to know Him, they know that God always keeps His word. They know that He has promised salvation to those who call upon His name in earnestness and honesty. They know that they will not face this, but will have deliverance. These people know the hope that these words speak of.

Which of these two groups honestly knows the fear that these words speak of? It is not those who do not believe, for they are in a false peace brought about because of their ignorance. It is the body of believers who also know the fear. They fear, and hopefully pray, for the those who do not believe, for ignorance will not save them.

Pray for those who are trapped in their own ignorance of their sin and their need for grace and mercy through our Savior, Jesus Christ!

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Pray that we know what to watch for

August 23, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Unless the LORD builds the house,
its builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchmen stand guard in vain.
(Psalms 127:1 (NIV))

Every night that I sit down to write, I pray for guidance as to what God wants me to convey. I have a database of scripture verses that I have selected and tonight, I closed my eyes and “randomly” stopped on this verse. I do not think that this is an accident or a coincidence, for right before this happened, I was reading about the two conventions coming up for the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates. These two parties will officially select the individuals who will be in contention for the White House.

God is up to something in this world. He is up to something big!

Israel is surrounded by people who want to destroy her. Iran is threatening just that. Israel is preparing it’s citizens for 30 days of shortages and is giving out gas masks. They are also preparing their citizens for massive amounts of missile strikes in retaliation IF they decide to be preemptive with Iran. Russia is standing firm in their lack of support for Israel and support for Iran.

Does this sound familiar?

There are countless things that I see that trouble me with respect to how our world is heading. At the same time, these things intrigue me for they offer glimpses into the things that the prophets have written about. Could these things that are unfolding be the very things that we have read about?

We, as the Body of Christ, must stand firm in our faith. We must pray for God’s guidance and seek to follow His will for our lives, our families, our neighborhoods, our country and the world.

You are probably asking how this ties in with Psalm 127:1 and the current state of things.

We have been given God’s plans for His creation. It will be His plans that prevail. We may not like the state of things or the things that must happen, but they all part of God’s plans.

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”
Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”
(Matthew 16:21-23 (NIV))

Jesus rebuked Peter for wanting his agenda and not God’s. We see things from a different perspective and even though we see things that go against what we have been taught to believe in, God has an eternal plan.

Think about that for a moment from Peter’s persepctive.

If you had been in Peter’s shoes, how would you react if Jesus told you the details about the painful death that He would face? Would you have stood as Peter did and try to physically protect Jesus? I honestly think that we would not, nor do we, understand exactly what God is unfolding. We see glimpses and we wonder if this is what we have been told to watch for.

Pray for God’s guidance and follow Him.

Pray for God’s Will and wait for miraculous things to happen.

Pray for wisdom to discern the worldly from the Godly.

Pray that the Lord watches over us as we stand in watch.

Pray that we know what to watch for.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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