Have you returned? Are you still returning?

March 20, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.
(Joel 2:12-13 (NIV))

Are you ashamed of where you have been?

Perhaps I should ask if you are ashamed of where you are?

Let’s face the hard, unadulterated truth. We are all human, and human nature means that we are not perfect. We have all done things that are far from what Jesus calls us to do. Most of us like to think that this is all in our past, after all, we have accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior! In reality, we still sin. Our human nature doesn’t go away. We must allow the Holy Spirit to influence our lives, to control the sinful nature that lies within all of us.

We must repent daily!

When we repent, we turn away from our sin and return to God. It is an act of obedience that we must do daily, if not more often, for our sinful, human nature will try to make us return to our sin.

Accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is not the end of your walk with Jesus. It is only the beginning! When you go for a walk, do you ever find yourself making mid-walk corrections and adjustments to make sure that you end up at your ultimate destination. Sometimes you must turn left. Other times you must turn right. Along the way you may have to step over or around obstacles. Sometimes you must turn around or return. Walking with Jesus is much the same way. Our sinful nature will start to lead us down a path that is not right. We must be sure to listen for the call to return to the path that Jesus desires for us to walk.

Have you returned to the Lord to be able to begin anew? Are you returning to Him on a daily basis?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God’s Word truly is sweet to the taste!

January 5, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
(Psalms 119:103 (NIV))

Have you ever noticed how a new bride seems to hang on every word that her husband says? Have you noticed that a loving husband will listen intently to every word his new bride speaks? Unfortunately, this comes to an end. The newness wears off and every day life settles in. Soon, neither party truly hears what the other is saying.

Unfortunately, our relationship with God also starts to take on these characteristics of every day routine. One day we forget to pray and soon we are not reading His Word at all.

We must treat God and His Word just as we did when we first discovered it. We read His Word and eagerly took its wisdom to heart. It truly was sweet to the taste. We must return to that time. We must look upon God’s Word as we did when we were starving for His Truth. We must eagerly taste of His Word.

Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
(Psalms 34:8 (NIV))

God and His Word are good. They are sweet morsels in a world of bitterness. We must be willing, or perhaps I should say that we must be longing to overcome the bitterness through the sweet morsels that God has so graciously given to us.

Is God’s Word still as sweet to you today as it was when your faith was new?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the return of Jesus your biggest hope or biggest fear?

May 12, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.
(Revelation 22:12 (NIV))

This either is a blessed hope or a cause of extreme fear. How you look upon it is how you look upon Jesus Christ.

Even though these words speak of His return to bind Satan and judge those left on the earth or who have died without accepting Him, it is still a cause of fear or denial for many. True followers of Jesus will not have to face the judgement that He will dish out. Their judgement has been one of complete pardon by accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. All others who will face the judgement will have no where to turn to escape the consequences of what they have done in their lives, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Knowing that no one has lead a perfect, sinless life, how do you want to be judged? Do you have the hope and assurance of a complete pardon or do you have the fear of damnation?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you alert and ready?

June 6, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But keep on the alert at all times, praying in order that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.
(Luke 21:36 (NIV))

These words cause many to dismiss the promise that Jesus will return. If they don’t completely dismiss the promise, then they have an attitude that it is slow in coming.

The reason people have this attitude is the fact that believers have been looking for Jesus’ return for two thousand years and have not seen any indication that it will happen soon.

These words should be used as encouragement, for even when the world thinks that nothing is happening, we have been instructed to be on the alert and pray at all times.

There is one thing that Jesus tried to teach us when He walked the earth, and that is that we are to constantly pray to God the Father. We grow closer to God through this prayer, and through this closeness to God, we will better understand the timing that God is using.

I do not profess to know when Jesus will return, for it is said that no one knows the hour or the day. I do know that God will let the faithful know through their prayers and through signs that He will send. Even with these signs, if we do not pray and stay on the alert, it will be easy to miss the signs, or to not understand them.

Jesus could return tomorrow or one thousand years from now. The one thing that we, as faithful believers, must do is to be alert and continually pray for God’s Will to be done.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus is not an invented story!

September 27, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
(2 Peter 1:16 (NIV))

Are you able to tell when someone is trying to feed you a made up story?

Can you tell when someone is sincere in what they are communicating to you?

What is the difference?

What made the difference in the lives of the Disciples? Why were they willing to go and boldly proclaim the Gospel?

Would you be willing to face persecution, and possibly death, for an invented story? I have yet to meet anyone who is willing to face death for a lie, yet, people still find it difficult to believe that these men could suddenly be empowered with boldness and enthusiasm for what they preached. Many feel that they decided that it was better for them to have faced death than to recant on what they preached.

If you were witness to the things that Peter is referring to, would you be willing to spread the Gospel in the same manner as these men did? Would you be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and tell the world what you had witnessed?

Too many people believe that God does not work miracles in today’s age.

What do you think?

I personally believe that God is unfolding things right before our eyes and many are ignorant of this. I feel that we are seeing possibly the biggest move of God in all of history unfold right before our eyes. I know that we cannot know the hour or the day, but we are told that we will recognize the season. We, as the Body of Christ, have something wonderful to tell the world. It is not an invented story. It does not try to rewrite history. It does not go against what the church has been teaching for two thousand years. It does not have Jesus returning at the side of an imam.

It has Jesus returning in glory!

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:

KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
(Revelations 19:11-16 (NIV))

We have good news to tell the world!

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

Jesus is not an invented story!

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

January 9, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“When you see `the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong–let the reader understand–then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down or enter the house to take anything out. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that this will not take place in winter, because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now–and never to be equaled again. If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them. At that time if anyone says to you, `Look, here is the Christ!’ or, `Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect–if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.
(Mark 13:14-23 (NIV))

The Disciples expected Jesus to return in Glory during their lifetimes. Each generation since then has expected it in their lifetime.

The words that Jesus spoke of do not paint a pretty picture of His return for those who do not put their faith in Him. Yet, the Rapture is also expected for those who today put their faith in Him. Even so, man cannot understand these things at this point in time. Jesus will return, yet even He did not know when that would be.

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
(Mark 13:32(NIV))

All we can be certain of is that He will return. First, He will return for His true Church and then He will return in Glory to deal with the rest of the world who have rejected Him.

Nothing speaks of God’s Love and His Wrath more than the return of Jesus. When He returns, will you experience God’s Love or God’s Wrath?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Stand firm in your faith

October 21, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
(Galatians 6:7-8 (NIV))

Deception seems to run rampant lately.

Are you able to discern what is the truth and what is a lie?

Think about that in context of the words from Galatians. God cannot be mocked! When all else fails, use this simple statement to guide you. All else will fall into place if this is your guiding thought.

If someone sows to please their sinful nature, this mocks God. Anger, jealousy, vengeance, hatred, aggression, and a mean spirit all mock God. Judging by other passages, there are many other things that mock God. Sexual immorality, lying, stealing, murder and anything that goes against His Word are all things that please the sinful nature.

I am sure that you have heard the old saying, “What goes around, comes around.” Look at the recent events in the world. Dictators who ruled with an iron hand have been brought down in just the same way that they ruled. There is also another saying that I firmly believe in, and that is “If you do not study history, you are bound to repeat it.” We, as a nation and a world, are reaping what has been sown. History books have been rewritten. We have found ourselves in a bad predicament.

It is said that you can put a frog in a pot of water and then slowly bring the water to a boil. The change is so gradual that the frog does not notice it until it is too late. Have we seen our society and institutions change in the same way that the frog found the water changing? We no longer hold true to the basic moral principles that helped to build this nation. Ironically, it is these very principles that have been under attack.

We need to sow to please the Spirit. We need to turn to God and pray, both as individuals and as a nation. We have become so divided that there is a widening gap between those who profess a faith in Jesus and those who do not.

There is a feeling within me that things will get worse before they get better. I do not wish to sound like I am spreading doomsday fear, but rather I hope that I am able to call upon the Body of Christ to stand firm in your faith. Do not waiver in the face of sinful nature, whether that sinful nature is internal or external. The world can and will send much our way, and if we do not stand firm in who we are and in whose we are, then the world will tell us.

If the world tells you who you are, I know that you will not like what it tells you.

Stand firm in your faith and tell the world that you belong to Jesus.

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