Are you prepared?

March 19, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The days of punishment are coming,
      the days of reckoning are at hand.
      Let Israel know this.
Because your sins are so many
      and your hostility so great,
the prophet is considered a fool,
      the inspired person a maniac.
(Hosea 9:7 (NIV))

These words were written to and about Israel long ago, but do you see anything in them that is true today?

Let me rephrase that general question into a few distinct questions.

When you look at the things that are going on in this country and in the world, are you overcome with the vast number of ways that humanity has found to sin against God? We take innocent life and call it choice. We take all the things that God has called a sin and an abomination and call it good. Anyone who points out that the world is going against God is ridiculed, chastised and labeled an old-fashioned fool. Anyone who speaks about Jesus as the only begotten Son of God and the only way to get to the Father is labeled a bigot and a lunatic. Do I need to go any further? Do you see these things happening more frequently or are you looking at the world through blinded eyes?

If Israel was warned of days of punishment coming for doing these things, where does that leave today’s society and world?

You may call me a fool and a maniac, but I need to ask more questions. I will say that many people are thinking about the world in its current state, for I am seeing many people who are posting Bible verses, ideas on how to love our neighbors, and even very strongly worded instructions to pray for God to protect His people. With this in mind, I want you to seriously think about your answers to the questions that are probably already lingering in your thoughts and hopefully your prayers.

Are you following God’s Word and have you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?

Does it break your heart to see the things that go against God’s Word?

Is it possible that everything is coming to pass just as God has foretold?

Is it possible that we are too blinded by the world to truly recognize what is in front of our eyes?

Would you recognize unfolding events as part of God’s plan?

Do you believe that God will punish His creation for their sinful nature?

Do you believe that the world is becoming more engrossed in sin?

Sadly, most of us go about our daily lives with no thought about what is going on around us. We need to open our eyes. We need to be aware of the times and our surroundings. We need to wrap ourselves in God’s Word. We need to wrap ourselves in God’s love by accepting Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. We need to embrace the truth that God has a timeline and it is drawing close to His fulfillment of that timeline. We must be prepared to be called a fool for Jesus and a maniac for God.

Are you prepared?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to surrender your will to the Lord?

August 14, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
(Isaiah 6:8 (NIV))

Willingness!

This seems to be a characteristic that is disappearing from many aspects of society. Is it disappearing from the people who claim to be members of the Body of Christ? Are we willing to stand up and say that we will go where the Lord sends us? It’s time to be honest with yourself and truthfully acknowledge the last time that you stepped forward when you saw a need or felt the Holy Spirit tugging at you. In hindsight, did you respond in a way that left you sitting there or did you wholeheartedly embrace the unknown for the Lord?

Being willing to respond and carry through with that response often places us outside of our comfort zones. We feel uncertainty when facing the unknown even when it is the Lord who is calling us to go. Think about this in respect to Abram. He heard the Lord tell him to leave the country where he lived and trust the Lord to lead him to a new land. Consider how different the outcome if Abram had simply said that he was afraid and wanted to stay where he was.

The Old Testament as well as the New Testament are full of people who were willing to answer and go. Abram went and we now know him as Abraham. Noah went and built an arc. Moses went and lead God’s people out of Egypt. Jacob went and scouted out the land. David went and fought Goliath. The disciples answered the call and followed Jesus.

We have a choice, but how do you think the Lord responds when we make a choice that is contrary to His calling? The Old and New Testaments are also full of people who heard God’s call and decided not to follow. Jonah ran and was swallowed. He eventually surrendered to God’s will. The rich young man heard the call from Jesus and turned and walked away. We never hear of him again. The two thieves on the cross answered differently from each other. One accepted Jesus and is with Him in paradise. The other cursed Jesus, and . . .

Take a very serious soul-searching look at yourself. Are you willing to do what the Lord asks?

Are you willing to surrender your will to the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What will you bring to God?

September 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The LORD said to Moses, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke.
(Exodus 34:1 (NIV))

Do you recall how Moses was given the first two tablets?

When the LORD finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the Testimony, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God.
(Exodus 31:18 (NIV))

God gave Moses the tablets!

All that Moses had to do was receive what God had prepared for him and the Israelites. God came to Moses with the gift of the law.

When Moses descended from the mountain, the Israelites had sinned against God. The tablets were broken. Consequences of the sin had to be paid. People perished because of the sin.

God’s grace prevailed. He allowed Moses to intervene on behalf of the people once again. But, this time God required Moses to do the work of providing the tablets. Moses, as the liaison between God and humanity, had to take a step on behalf of humanity. He had to show a desire and a willingness to approach God.

We are forgiven by grace. We still sin. When we sin, we must be willing to repent and meet God in a humble attitude.

Our sins have left us in need of providing the tablets. We must be willing to bring something to God. What will you bring to God?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have we surrendered our power and effectiveness?

June 16, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
(James 5:16 (NIV))

Have you noticed the sequence of events in this passage?

As the Body of Christ, we are to confess our sins to each other and to pray for each other. These steps lead to healing, but did you notice that there is a followup statement? It is actually a declaration. If you believe in logic, then what is presented makes perfect sense. Do steps A and B and then D will result. The reason is because A and B leads to C, which leads to D.

It looks like we have been given a roadmap on how to get to the power and effectiveness of a righteous person. If that is the case, do we truly follow these simple, yet profound, directions? Do we follow the roadmap that we have been given, or do we like to think that we can find our way on our own?

Do we confess our sins to each other or do we just get together and gossip?

Do we truly pray for each other or do we simply give lip service to the needs of others so that we can focus on our needs?

Do either of these sound like they would lead to healing?

Would a righteous person gossip? Would a righteous person focus on their own needs? Is this why our prayers are going unanswered?

Personally, I believe that we need to stop our detours and get back to the roadmap that has been given to us. Because we have strayed, we have surrendered our power and effectiveness.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you surrendered in your mind?

April 11, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).
(John 19:17 (NIV))

I just love the way that God works in symbolism!

As we approach Easter and the resurrection, we must remember that in order for Jesus to be resurrected, He first had to die. He had to go willingly to the place of the Skull to die to himself so that God’s plan could be fulfilled.

Isn’t it interesting how we, before we can embrace the resurrection, must also go to our own place of the skull. We must be willing to die to our reasoning and intellect and follow solely on faith. We must accept something that makes absolutely no worldly sense. We must die to our inability to believe in something without seeing it. We must die to our own place of the skull.

It is amazing how God will work in us and through us once we have willingly laid ourselves at the foot of the cross once we surrender our own place of the skull.

We are now ready to fully embrace the resurrection and the grace and mercy that it brings. This knowledge has not only transformed our minds, it is now ready to transform our lives. It can now travel the longest distance known to humanity – the eighteen inches from our mind to our heart – and truly have an impact on us.

Have you died to your place of the skull?

Have you fully embraced the resurrection?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We all need to lean on God’s understanding!

January 10, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
(Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV))

Do you like to be the master of your own destiny?

Are you the type of person who has to fix all of the problems?

Do you think of yourself as self-sufficient in all that you do?

These are all traits that our society has instilled in us as traits to be admired. We have been conditioned to look upon people who look to someone else for support as weak and less than worthy of success. We have been conditioned to respond to any problem in such a manner that we think that we can do anything. We have to be able to solve anything that we face all on our own wisdom and insight. This is expected even when we literally know absolutely nothing about what we are facing.

Take a long and serious look at your life.

What if you lost everyone that you love in an accident? What if you had to face what Job faced? Could you find the strength to continue based on your own understanding? Could you truly say that you could fix this problem?

Human life is frail. We are not designed by God to lean on our own understanding. We were created to be in constant communication with God. When this constant communication ended because of the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden, we lost our “Father” with whom we could talk and confide in. We lost that intimacy that allows us to lean on God. Ever since then, we have been trying to say to God that we don’t need Him. Just like a two year old who thinks he is a big boy, our desires are saying that we can do it, but the results are saying that we need God.

Do you want to do it, or do you lean on God?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How have you responded to God’s gift?

November 25, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death–
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:5-11 (NIV))

It is hard for us to imagine that God could send Jesus who willingly gave up HIs authority while on this earth. He humbled himself to the point of servanthood and, eventually, death. Even in our best moments, we could not be capable of doing this, let alone planning to do it.

It is true, that under certain circumstances, people will rise to the occassion and do something that is selfless. Yet, could you imagine planning to be a servant and knowing that you would die a horrible death because you made the choice to do so? Self centeredness and self-preservation are too strong in us to willingly accept what Jesus accepted on our behalf.

Many people think that Jesus was only a good man, yet, even the best of men could not have done what he did? Only the Son of God could have willingly accepted the burden that he bore, for he knew the rewards that would be gained for all who called upon his name. He went willingly to be our sacrifical lamb so that we would not have to face eternal separation from God.

We have a great gift that has been given to us.

Are you thankful for that gift?

How have you responded to that gift? Are you one who bows your knee and confesses before man, or will you be one who confesses too late?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you withdraw to lonely places and pray!

April 8, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
(Luke 5:16 (NIV))

If Jesus, who was God made man, needed to be by himself with God, why do we, who are mere creation, think that we do not need to spend time talking to God? We seem to think that we can get our lives right on our own.

We are so wrapped up in our daily lives that we seem to forget what is the order of things. We think that we are in control of our lives and that if we don’t do those things that seem so important at that moment. our lives will fall apart. Have you ever stopped to think that our lives have already fallen apart, and that we are just too busy pretending that we don’t notice?

The more that we attempt to control our lives, the worse things get. When we surrender to God and allow Him to guide our lives, things go much better. In order for God to guide our lives, we must listen to God. We must respond to Him. We must be open to do what God asks of us. Isn’t that what Jesus did when He withdrew to pray? He was allowing time to spend with the Father. He knew the importance of this communication. He knew the importance of God’s guidance. He knew the importance of obedience.

Do we?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready to surrender your life for the testimony?

October 4, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

They overcame him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.
(Revelation 12:11 (NIV))

It is often thought that those who call upon Jesus as their Lord and Savior are not supposed to love their life. This false belief is based on this passage from Revelation. It is often misquoted or misunderstood to mean that we should not love our life and fully embrace death.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10:10 (NIV))

If Jesus came that we may have life to the full, then why should we not love our life? Life is a precious gift from God. It is to be loved.

What is in question is not whether we are to love the life that God has given us, but do we love God’s Word and His truth more? Will we be willing to lay down our life, which is a gift from God, for the ultimate gift from God? Can we see beyond our limited perspective and realize that God is capable of so much more than our individual lives? Can we understand the simple truth that God created us and has something far greater in store for us?

Jesus knew this. Jesus lived this.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

Do you know it? Are you ready to live it? Are you ready to surrender your life for the testimony?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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“Surely he was the Son of God!”

March 26, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”
(Matthew 27:50-54 (NIV))

We are all familiar with the crucifixion account. We know that there were earthquakes. We know that the curtain of the temple was torn in two. We know that the centurion came to believe that Jesus was and is the Son of God. There is one thing in the account of the crucifixion that many overlook.

The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
(Matthew 27:52-53 (NIV))

Why do we overlook this? Why do we ignore one of the greatest resurrection accounts of what God has done? I know that our focus is on the death and resurrection of Jesus, but I find it extremely interesting that at the moment of His death, people arose out of their tombs.

Who were these people? Even before Jesus came into the world, people where longing for His coming. They believed even before Jesus physically walked the earth. They were looking at salvation through eyes that longed to see it. We look at salvation through eyes that have read it as it actually happened.

Why did they arise at Jesus’ death? That is an interesting question and I am probably going to open up some debate, but I believe that it is simply a matter of timing. Humanity has been given grace and mercy through the atoning blood of Jesus. Jesus had to die in order for our salvation to be redeemed. Those people who believed in Jesus before He walked the earth had to wait until He had fulfilled the plan of salvation. Once He breathed His last, the debt had been paid.

If we truly perceived the events that happened during the crucifixion, we would undoubtedly come to the same conclusion that the centurion came to. The sky grew dark, the earth shook, the rocks split, the holy people were raised from the dead and the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

I honestly don’t think that any script writer could come up with something as awe inspiring as what actually happened.

There is a saying that truth is stranger than fiction. There is also a famous line from a movie that states, “You can’t handle the truth!” I also find it interesting that people base their perception of the truth upon their limited understanding. They refuse to believe until they see. I have never seen a millions dollars, but I know that it exists. Perhaps that is the limit to the faith of some people. They can believe things that they have never seen only if they are of a physical nature.

I know that people believe when they see miracles. I also know that we are told that we need to have faith without seeing miracles. Still, it is my desire to see people who are not believers come to the same saving knowledge as the centurion.

“Surely he was the Son of God!”

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