Have these characteristics been produced in your life?

June 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
(Romans 5:3-4 (NIV))

Seeking maturity in Christ is an admirable desire, but most people fail to recognize that following Jesus will not be an easy thing to accomplish in this sinful, fallen world. The simple fact that you profess a faith in Jesus marks you as a target in the eyes of the enemy and in the eyes of the world.

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
(John 15:19 (NIV))

If professing a faith in Jesus instantly means that the world hates you, then it is important to understand that there will be suffering because of your faith in Jesus and at the hands of the world.

Are you ready?

Are you facing suffering in this world? Perhaps you embrace the things of this world and, as a result, the world embraces you in return. Is this what we, as the Body of Christ, are called to do? We are called to be in the world, but not of it. What we embrace is Jesus. It is impossible to embrace the grace and mercy that is given through Jesus and still cling to the sinful, fallen nature of this world. Accepting Jesus means turning your back on the world. Accepting Jesus means declaring war on sin and the enemy. If you declare war, you can’t expect to sit on the sidelines and only observe! You are called to be a faithful soldier of Christ.

You have chosen a side!

Is a soldier who is going into battle the same soldier who comes out of that battle? There will be sufferings. There will be things that are experienced when facing the enemy that will develop perseverance, character and hope. It is crucial to never forget that the battle has already been won, even though we have to face things that will cause suffering. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus and strive to develop these characteristics.

Have these characteristics been produced in your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you thoroughly equipped?

May 17, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV))

Do you have a favorite scripture passage? This passage is what many people refer to as a life verse and, if you are like me, it comes to mind many times a day. Most people have many different scripture passages that they also cling to for various reasons. These passages are important, but I have a serious question for you.

Are there passages of scripture, and perhaps even whole books within the Bible, that you find difficult to understand or that you even completely avoid? How can you put on the full armor of God if you ignore part of His Word? It can be very similar to the concept of being partially dressed for battle.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
(Ephesians 6:13-17 (NIV))

How well equipped would a soldier be if they only picked up a sword? How well equipped would a soldier be if they only grabbed their helmet? Even with today’s military weaponry, a soldier is not fully equipped with just a pistol!

How well equipped are we if we fail to read and follow some of God’s Word? What happens if I only choose to read the following passage?

Be still, and know that I am God,
(Psalms 46:10a (NIV))

I would miss out on so much, including the command to share what I know.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
(Mark 16:15-16 (NIV))

God’s Word is precious. It is of great value. We must equip ourselves by embracing all of it.

Are you thoroughly equipped?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you truly prepared to follow Jesus?

January 18, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn

” `a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law–

a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
(Matthew 10:34-39 (NIV))

When most people think of Jesus, they think of peace and love. Even the modern church thinks of Jesus in this way, but there is a side to Jesus, or should I say a side to proclaiming a faith in Jesus, that is far from what the world thinks.

Jesus came to this world out of love for God’s creation. He came so that sinners could be set free from the bondage of sin and death. Sadly, though, not everyone will accept that free gift. Not everyone will acknowledge that Jesus has the authority to offer the gift of grace. It is this aspect that brings the sword. In most cases, it is only a figure of speech, but in some cases, it is a literal result of the rejection of Jesus.

We have all seen families where some members of the family are very firmly rooted in their faith in Jesus while other family members vehemently deny Jesus. They are at odds. They are at war with members of their own family. In some cultures, proclaiming that you are a Christian and follow Jesus is a death sentence. Contrary to societal beliefs, following Jesus is not all acceptance, love and Kumbaya.

He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 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: 37-39 (NIV))

There is a growing hatred in this world for anything that points to Jesus. The enemy is planting weeds in the hearts of people while Jesus is planting good seed.

There is a battle taking place. That battle may divide families. It may divide friends. Don’t let that battle find you opposing Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Keep your eyes focused on Jesus and look up!

October 17, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: `Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.
(2 Chronicles 20:15 (NIV))

Once again, there is a vast army surrounding Jerusalem and they are threatening to take what belongs to God and Israel. In this case, the army is not a literal army, yet. However, it is the United Nations through a ruling by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. In one sense, all nations have turned against Israel in this ruling.

UNESCO has decided that the Jewish people have no historical or cultural claim to Jerusalem or the Temple Mount. They are claiming that it is Muslim history that has been crucial in building this city. Ironically, as I understand it, Jerusalem is not mentioned once in the writings of Mohammed, but it is mentioned 655 times in the Old Testament and 146 times in the New Testament.

He took the carved Asherah pole he had made and put it in the temple, of which the LORD had said to David and to his son Solomon, “In this temple and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my Name forever.
(2 Kings 21:7 (NIV))

This passage talks about Jerusalem, the temple and Israel. It is commonly accepted that 2 Kings 21 refers to approximately 680 BC It is also accepted that Solomon had the original temple built somewhere around 966 BC That is over 1500 years before Mohammed was even born.

Is the removal of any reference to Jewish history in Jerusalem another attempt at dividing Israel?

“In those days and at that time,
when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem,
I will gather all nations
and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat.
There I will enter into judgment against them
concerning my inheritance, my people Israel,
for they scattered my people among the nations
and divided up my land.
(Joel 3:1-2 (NIV))

My heart breaks at these happenings. I am angered by the audacity of those who attempt to revise history. I am eagerly anticipating the events that God will put in place as a result of this ridiculous proclamation.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Pray for God’s Will to be done. Pray that you may be found worthy through the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ!

Keep your eyes focused on Jesus and look up!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God’s timing is unfolding right before our eyes!

October 30, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore rejoice, you heavens
and you who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
because the devil has gone down to you!
He is filled with fury,
because he knows that his time is short.
(Revelation 12:12 (NIV))

Do you believe that the devil’s time is short?

It gets shorter every day!

I have a question for you and I want you to answer truthfully.

Are you aware of what is going on in the world or are you so focused on what you are doing that you are oblivious to anything else?

God created a great, big, beautiful world. Unfortunately, we, as fallen humanity, have allow things to happen that God never intended to happen. We have given the devil free reign over what God had intended for good. Lately, it appears that the devil is working overtime.

Things are escalating rapidly!

Evil is marching across the face of the earth in many different forms. We are faced with not just one enemy, but multiple enemies: False religions; Teachers of false doctrines; Persecution of those who earnestly and truthfully call upon the name of the Lord Jesus as well as many, many others.

Are you aware of the wars and the rumors of wars?

Are you aware of the financial issues that the whole world seems to be facing?

I could go on and on, but I hope that you get the picture. We, as the Body of Christ, must focus on more than what God can do for us in our daily lives. Far too many of us look upon the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit only in these terms. There is so much more than our little lives in this battle of good and evil. If we are not careful, we will fall in with the wrong side simply because we are blind to what is going on.

Don’t allow your life and your issues to blind you to the bigger picture that God is unfolding right before your eyes! Focus on Jesus! Focus on God’s word! Focus on God’s calling upon your life and not your desires. Your desires can lead to an undesirable end. God’s desires will lead to an eternity in His presence!

Do you know that the devil’s time is short?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How are we doing?

February 11, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
(Ephesians 6:12 (NIV))

Who do you get angry at when you see the state of the world?

Do you get angry at those who mock Jesus?

Do you get angry at those who try to take away your way of life?

Do you get angry with those who try to kill you because of your faith?

Where do you think that these people got the ideas from? Did they just come to them one day, or were they planted by the enemy and slowly matured by the enemy until they had lost all signs of anything righteous in their lives?

I honestly believe that these people have been lied to! In fact, I know that the they have been deceived.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
(Titus 3:3-7 (NIV))

Did you catch that?

At one time in our lives, we, as members of the Body of Christ, were just like those who are currently deceived. Our battle is not with the deceived, but with the deceiver. We must pray for those who are deceived. We must pray that their hearts will be opened to what Jesus offers. We must pray that they will be able to break the bondage placed upon them by the deceiver. We must be willing to go into battle with our Lord and Savior and confront the deceiver, the powers of this dark world. We must be willing to see those who are lost in the clutches of the enemy as Jesus sees them. Do you see them as the source of the problem or do you see them as pawns in Satan’s grand scheme?

Don’t be too fast to judge. In fact, we are not called to judge. We are called to bring them to repentance. To use the terminology of warfare, we do not want to inflict casualties, for that would mean that someone has been lost to all eternity. We want to take prisoners! We want to make converts! We want to get as many as possible to switch sides in this battle.

How are we doing?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your armor ready?

March 6, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
(Ephesians 6:13 (NIV))

Armor is something that is thought of as protection, as impenetrable. In the physical world, armor is often associated with metal, and is imposing in nature. In the spiritual world, armor is not something that you wear, but something that you carry. You carry it in your hands and in your heart. This armor is the Word of God and is a strong foundation on which to build everything that you do. The strength and protection that you receive from this armor is from fully knowing that God always keeps His promises, and that He always protects His children. It is this knowledge, and the faith to hold onto this knowledge no matter what the circumstances, that is the strongest armor that has ever been created.

All throughout history, men in armor have fought bravely and valiantly for something that they believed in. Even today, men in armor (military vehicles) continue this tradition. They are fighting for earthly causes. How can we, when equipped to battle in the spiritual realm with God as our commanding officer and protector, not fully train to be part of the battle? We must keep our armor ready for we do not know what tomorrow may bring.

Is your armor ready? Do you have the right equipment for the coming battle?

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