Don’t let the things of this world distract you from Jesus!

October 11, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, `I am he,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
(Mark 13:5-8 (NIV))

I know that things will get much worse than they are, but I honestly have to stop and make myself realize that what we are seeing could be just the beginning of the birth pains. We see the wars going on in Syria and in the lands surrounding Israel. We see other things, such as the terrorism, going on all around the world. I have seen reports that the main stream media has not and probably will not cover. I have seen reports that the Russian government is telling its citizens to prepare for nuclear war with the US.

I want to remind you that when this was written, a nation was considered a people group. Think about the stressed relations between different people groups in this country. I have also heard reports that this is happening in other parts of the world and it is not simply an isolated occurrence here.

There is something that I want you to consider with respect to kingdom against kingdom. For the longest time, this has been thought to mean actual governmental structures such as the United States and Russia. What if this actually means something more? I can think of two very distinct kingdoms right now that are definitely at odds with each other. One is the Kingdom of God or as some may refer to it, the Kingdom of Heaven. Then we have the kingdom of the prince of the air and this world. These two kingdoms have always been at war with each other since Satan rebelled against God. The attacks from the kingdom of the prince of this world are rapidly escalating to the point where God will soon say enough is enough.

The things that are going on in this world are enough to make anyone cringe out of fear. Sadly for the lost world, things will be getting worse. No matter what may happen, don’t lose faith. Don’t lose hope. We have a tendency to think that this presidential election can change things. I honestly pray that it does, but more importantly, I pray for God’s Will to unfold and not mine.

If the current state of the world makes you fearful, remember that we are not to place our hope in the things of this world. We are to place our faith and our hope solely on Jesus!

Look up!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Kingdom against kingdom!

November 17, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
(Matthew 24:7a (NIV))

I know that we are all very familiar with these specific words and with the whole passage of scripture that this is taken from. Last night I had a thought that sent chills through my body.

We all know that when this passage refers to nations, that it means people groups. We are very aware of the fact that people groups are rising up against each other. If you don’t believe this, then all that you have to do is turn on the news, any news, and you will see that almost every headline proclaims this loudly.

I have heard that the kingdoms referred to within this passage are human governments, and this makes sense. We see not only people groups, but governments turning against each other.

But, …

Or perhaps I should say “And, . . . “

We all know that God’s Word has multiple meanings. We, as the Body of Christ, long to see the kingdom of heaven. Many places within the Bible refer to God’s kingdom and the nations of the earth.

The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
(Matthew 13:38-39 (NIV))

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
(Matthew 24:14 (NIV))

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
(John 18:36 (NIV))

We also see that Satan is ascribed a kingdom.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
(Ephesians 2:1-2 (NIV))

It never ceases to amaze me that God will show us something new when His timing is right. I honestly don’t know how many times that I have read the words to Matthew 24. I honestly don’t know how many times that I have quoted these words in reference to what is going on in this world.

I find it amazing that what we read as simple words on a page take on so much more. How many of you have recognized that the kingdom against kingdom can actually mean the kingdom of God against the kingdom of the air? Are we seeing these kingdoms at war with each other? If you are like me, it appears that these two kingdoms are locked in a war that is rapidly coming to a point where only one will survive.

Take heart, for we know that God wins!

The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ,
and he will reign for ever and ever.”
(Revelation 11:15 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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More birth pains and they are closer together!

November 16, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

With recent events, I found myself returning to the following which was originally sent out on March 24, 2008. Stand firm in your faith! Do not be deceived!

******

Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, `I am he,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
(Mark 13:5-8 (NIV))

Birth pains!

Every day we read about still one more thing that could very easily be birth pains. There are wars and rumors of wars in many places. Terrorism is a war that is being fought on many fronts. Kingdoms are in constant struggle with one another. When these words were written, a nation referred to an ethnic people group such as the Israelites, the Hittites, and Assyrians. Today, it seems that ethnic struggles are increasing. Millions of people have been killed in Africa because they do not belong to the correct ethnic group. Israel is under constant threat because, in the eyes of the many Muslims, they are the wrong ethnic group.

Earthquakes are increasing. Everything seems to be going to the very extremes. One part of the world suffers a very severe draught while their neighbors suffer from very severe floods. One day we have winter. The very next is very warm. The next day we have rain. The next day we have very severe storms and tornadoes.

Man’s economies are getting further and further into trouble. According to the media, many people are losing their homes. To make matters worse, I saw a major headline today that said food prices are skyrocketing worldwide. Could we be far away from being able to buy a bag of gold with a piece of bread?

It is very easy to get depressed when you consider all that is going on in the world, but, don’t let the events of this world make you lose sight of your greatest hope. That hope is Jesus.

“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))

When the events of this world have you looking down, look up! Our hope is built upon the Son of God who sits at the right hand of God the Father. We have nothing to fear. All around us may fall apart, but we have a hope. We have a peace that passes all understanding. No matter what the world sends our way, we must keep our eyes focused on Jesus.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
(Hebrews 12:2-3 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Whose kingdom do you belong to?

October 8, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
(Mark 13:8 (NIV))

I am sure that everybody is familiar with this passage. It is often quoted and many people read it and wonder what God is unfolding. I know that many people have their own understanding of this passage, but I came across something that caught my attention. When this was written, nation against nation did not mean the political and geographic boundaries that we think of. Nation against nation meant different people groups would rise up against each other. To put it in terms that our modern society has adopted, race would rise up against race. There will be hatred and fighting between the different races of humanity.

Sadly, we are seeing way too much of just that in our society and in our world. It is even coming from so called preachers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

There is something else that came to the forefront while reading this passage and that is in relation to kingdom against kingdom. Many people believe that this is what is referring to what we call countries. I believe that it is referring to this, but I also believe that it has another meaning.

Jesus referred to the kingdom of heaven. Satan was given dominion over the kingdoms of this earth. If you look at kingdom against kingdom in this manner, then we see the kingdom of Satan rising up against the Kingdom of Heaven. We see this every day in the way that good is called evil and evil is called good. We see this with the killing of Christians simply because they profess a faith in Jesus. We see this in far too many aspects of our society, most of which have rapidly become the norm. Satan’s kingdom is rising up against God’s Kingdom.

Take heart. Look up.

Keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

Birth pains are upon us.

If you have looked at any of the prophetic signs, you know about the moon turning to blood and the signs in the heavens. I know that we are told that we cannot know the hour or the day, but it sure feels like the season!

Whose kingdom do you belong to?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Birth pains seem to be getting so much closer!

September 3, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, `I am he,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
(Mark 13:5-8 (NIV))

I know that Jesus told us that these things would occur and that they would increase. I know that Jesus is returning. I know that God’s plan is unfolding. I know that the prophesies will come to pass, still, I find it very sad that our world has come to this.

We see not only wars, but outright slaughter of whole groups of people. Most of them are part of the Body of Christ. We see Israel being attacked. We see people denouncing Israel as barbaric and many are comparing Israel to Nazi Germany. All of this while the true barbaric activities go unanswered and unchallenged. Sadly, it appears that our own government now has policies in place that deny Israel and support the barbaric groups that are attacking them.

The anniversary of 9/11 is rapidly approaching. I just read something that makes my heart very heavy with grief. It is reported that eleven commercial aircraft have been confiscated, or should I say that they were stolen, by Islamic extremists. I pray that these reports are wrong, but my spirit tells me otherwise.

How is your relationship with God?

How is your relationship with Jesus?

Is your name written in the Lambs Book of Life?

Would you, could you proclaim Jesus as your Lord and Savior even if it meant your physical death?

Birth pains seem to be getting so much closer!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Tomorrow is in God’s hands

November 12, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
(Matthew 24:7 (NIV))

All throughout history since Jesus ascended into Heaven, man has thought that His return was going to be in their lifetime. We cannot know exactly when He will return, but we can know the season.

War has been on the increase since 1900. It has been reported that there have been more ethnic wars and major wars this century than in any time before. The famines that have hit Africa are the worst in recorded history. In any given week, it is probably safe to say that there have been at least three major earthquakes throughout the world. It is reported that there have been more earthquakes this century than ever before. It is also reported that the frequency of these earthquakes is increasing. Just as birth pains increase in frequency and strength before child birth, so to are the “birth pains” that the world is experiencing before the return of Christ.

We may not live to see His return, yet the signs are obvious. The season is upon us and the time is getting closer. Jesus may return for His true church next week, next month, next year or next century. God did not say how long the “birth pains” would last before Jesus returns. God did say that at a certain point in those birth pains, the antichrist would arise and then there would be a last period of seven years before Jesus returns to put an end to sin.

All we can do is pray for God’s will to be done in our lives and in the world and be ready for whatever today may bring. Tomorrow is in God’s hands.

Are you in touch with the frequency of wars, rumors of wars, famines and earthquakes? Is it time for us, as believers, to call for the Great Physician to come?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready?

October 24, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
(Revelation 21:5 (NIV))

We are between the Creation and the re-creation that this passage speaks of. Exactly where we are is only known to God, but we are given some insight into which end of the timeline we are living in.

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, `I am the Christ, ‘ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
(Matthew 24:4-8 (NIV))

With all of the events in the world at this time, we are seeing wars and rumors of wars. We are seeing conflicts that only a few short years ago would have been considered atrocities and would not have happened. Now we see innocent children brutally murdered all in the name of a “holy war.”

I do not venture to say that I have any insight into what is in God’s timeline. All I know is that each of us must be ready to be the witness for God that He calls us to be in these uncertain times.

Are you ready?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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