Are you diligently keeping watch?

January 22, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’
(Mark 13:37 (NIV))

Are you diligently watching and waiting for the Lord’s return?

These words from Mark are recorded as the last words in a brief story about a man leaving his servants in charge while he is gone. In this example, the man did not tell his servants when he would return. He simply told them to watch and be prepared.

Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping.
(Mark 13:33-36 (NIV))

If Jesus were to return for His church today, how would He find you? Would He catch you off guard or would you recognize that He is coming and would you be prepared to meet Him? Sadly, too many people who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior simply go about their daily lives with no thought to the question of “What if Jesus returned today?” It is the farthest thing from their minds, yet it should be the most important thing on their mind at all times.

Think about that in terms of a job. You are employed to do a certain task and when the boss is there, you perform the task as expected. But, when the boss is away for a day or two, do you perform your duties as you would if your boss were there?

Absence makes us lose sight of the importance of what we have been assigned to do! I’ll let you in on a little secret, though, with respect to the Lord. Unlike your boss, Jesus still knows your every thought and action. He knows who is diligently watching and waiting for Him.

We are to watch and wait for the Lord to return. Are you diligently keeping watch?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Celebrate Jesus!

December 23, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
(Luke 2:8-14 (NIV))

What an honor it must have been to be the first to hear the good news! The shepherds must have been terrified by the presence of the angels, after all, angels were not, and are still not an every day occurrence.

Luckily for us, God’s plan does not discriminate against us for not being there. In fact, it is probably with mixed blessings that we are embraced as part of God’s Kingdom. We do not have the first hand experience of having seen the angels, the star, or Jesus’ life. Sometimes, I wonder if I would have believed if I lived at the time of Jesus!

On the other hand, we have the faith of millions of people who have gone before us. We have the New Testament, the hundreds of years of prophesy study that proves Jesus is King of kings, the Messiah. It may be easier for someone today to come to faith than it was in Jesus’ day. Yet, through all of this “historical proof”, I sometimes feel empty. I think it is the desire of every believer to be able to go back in time and be a witness to the miracles and hear the teachings of Jesus firsthand.

We celebrate the birth of Jesus and look back in awe to the miracles. At the same time, we should look around us in awe of what God is doing today and look to the not-to-distant future and know what God is going to do. We celebrate the First Coming. Some tomorrow we will celebrate the Second Coming.

Merry Christmas!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Nothing is too difficult for our Lord!

December 12, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Lift up your heads, O you gates;
    be lifted up, you ancient doors,
    that the King of glory may come in.

Who is this King of glory?
    The LORD strong and mighty,
    the LORD mighty in battle.

Lift up your heads, O you gates;
    lift them up, you ancient doors,
    that the King of glory may come in.

Who is he, this King of glory?
    The LORD Almighty–
    he is the King of glory.
(Psalms 24:7-10 (NIV))

David gave us a look into the future when Jesus returns not as Savior, but as a mighty warrior reclaiming what is God’s. It is amazing that God gave this message to us through David, when Jesus was several generations from being born. Yet, God gave David this psalm describing exactly what would happen not at Jesus’ first coming, but at His second coming. If David, who was looking at this as if looking through a telescope, could have the faith to believe God, then we, who have the advantage of being able to look back at Jesus’ first coming, should have all the more faith that what God said through David will come to pass.

True, David was a man after God’s own heart, yet, David was not free from sin. God used David in all his human failings to not only give us these words, but to also give us Jesus himself.

If God can use David, who was a sinner, to give us a sinless Savior, how can God use you? Nothing is too difficult for our Lord!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

May 3, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.” So shall it be! Amen.
(Revelation 1:7 (NIV))

Do you long to see the day that Jesus returns?

One thing is certain. Those who see it will have survived the worst times that the world has ever or will ever see. It will be a time when His return will see the end of troubles and the establishment of His kingdom.

Whether you believe in the catching away of believers, or think that believers will go through these troubling times, one things is certain. The vantage point may be different than you expect, but everyone will see Him. Everyone will realize just who He is. For those who truly seek Him, His return will be a blessing. It will be the culmination of every hope and prayer ever lifted up. It will be the most amazing day that anyone could ever see, for our hope and our salvation will be coming on the clouds to set the world right. For those who reject Him, this sight will be the most terrifying thing that they ever see. It will mean that they have waited too long and salvation is no longer available for them. That single fact sheds some insight into the following passage.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

This is a fine line to walk. Every believer longs to see Jesus. Every believer also knows that the Lord doesn’t want any to perish. We have to realize that it is not our call. We have to realize that God’s timing is perfect. His coming for His church will come at just the right time. His return will come when it is also the right time.

At the risk of sounding selfish, it is my prayer that the Body of Christ proclaim loudly and with one united voice, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus!”

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you long for His return?

May 16, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
(1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (NIV))

What is on your mind and in your heart?

Do you love the world so much that you forget about Jesus, or do you long for His return? Do you grow tired of seeing the sin that runs freely everywhere you look, or do you see the things of this world and find yourself wanting to participate? Do you long for righteousness and peace or do you dread hearing anything to do with God and His Word?

It is a matter of your personal priorities!

I recently have seen several people who speak about our desires to see Jesus. Most of them have presented a very interesting point with respect to what the church is calling the rapture. I am not going to get into the pre, mid and post arguments, but rather the honest desires of our hearts. Many of these people are espousing a point of view that states that only those who are earnestly waiting for His return will be raptured. I want you to consider two people from the time when Jesus was born. Simeon was a very devout and righteous man. Anna was an old woman who spent all of her time at the temple. Both Simeon and Anna longed to see the coming of the Messiah. In the midst of a nation who was trying to find the Messiah, these two people apparently lived this desire full time and as a result of their longing, they were allowed to witness what they longed for.

I cannot begin to say that I know how God will work, but I do know that, based on His previous track record, He reveals Himself to those who earnestly and fervently seek Him.

With this in mind, do you need to reevaluate your priorities? Do you need to take a long, hard look at your heart and take a look at the thoughts that fill your mind? If God will rapture only those who earnestly long to see Jesus, where does that leave you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What signs do we see today?

April 21, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
(Matthew 27:51-53 (NIV))

Do you gloss over these words when you read about the crucifixion? Do you stop reading when it says that Jesus yielded up His spirit? That was not the end of the miracles!

The veil of the temple was so tall that no one could reach the top, yet it tore from the top down. The earth groaned and quaked at the death of God’s only Son. The rocks, and I would probably bet that they were huge stones, broke from the anguish of God the Father. What I find so amazing is that the graves gave up the bodies of the people who had longed for the Messiah to come.

Can you imagine what Jerusalem was like when this happened? The sun had already darkened, and then all of these things occurred after Jesus died. How would you have reacted?

What I find interesting is that all of these things happened at His death, yet, the account of the resurrection does not tell of anything like this happening. It is as if the world had been in grief and then all is peaceful and right. However, that concept makes me think about the correlation between the crucifixion and the second coming. If the world groaned when Jesus died, even though it knew that Jesus would arise, what will the world do when it knows that Jesus is returning? Can we expect more of what was seen at the crucifixion? Can we draw any correlation between the resurrection and the second coming?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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When you focus on the signs, you miss Jesus!

March 23, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I will show wonders in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
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 glorious day of the Lord.
(Acts 2:19-20 (NIV))

Many people, including myself, believe that we are seeing things that indicate that the time of the Gentiles is coming to an end. This indicates that we are close to seeing the end times that are so frequently written of in God’s Word. These end times will usher in the worst times that this world has ever seen. It will also eventually lead to Jesus returning in the clouds and splitting the Mount of Olives.

On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.
(Zechariah 14:4 (NIV))

I often see things in the news or read things that make me wonder what this means and what sign it points to. It is human nature to try to figure things out. As we are told, we are to know the signs off the times. Some people make a study of these signs a full time endeavor. It is fascinating to try to understand how God is working.

I want to stop and ask a question.

Have you ever loved something so much that you studied it, practiced it, or played it so much that you soon lost sight of your first love? In other words, you became so engrossed in the details that you lost sight of the reason you loved it to begin with.

Don’t let your study of the signs make you lose sight of Jesus. After all, He is the reason the signs will be and are happening.

There is an old saying that you can’t see the forest for the trees. Step back and see Jesus in the details. Step back and see Jesus in the moment.

I know that the signs that are still unfolding will come to pass. How do I know this?

We are about to celebrate the greatest sign of all this Sunday. Without the resurrection of Easter, we would have no hope that the signs of His Second Coming would ever come true!

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