Where am I in the harvest?

October 6, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
(Matthew 9:37-38 (NIV))

There is one thing about a harvest that most people fail to realize. Eventually, anything and everything that can be harvested has been brought in and the rest is either plowed under or burned. In other words, the harvest will come to an end!

This is true of a physical harvest as well as a spiritual harvest. You can only pick so many apples before all of the good ones are taken. You can only pick so many ears of corn before all that is left is only worthy of feeding to the pigs. You can harvest only the wheat that is ready before you end up with chaff. Eventually, what is being harvested is all taken!

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))

If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you are part of that harvest. It doesn’t end there. God doesn’t want anyone to perish, so He has an assignment for you and for I. We are also called to work the harvest, but we know that God has hardened the hearts of those who only desire their sinful nature. We know that He has given them a delusional spirit because of their desires. They have rebelled against God for so long that He has given them exactly what they wanted. We know that in the end days, both the wheat and the weeds will grow up evenly. We know that at harvest time, the wheat will be brought into the barn and the weeds and chaff will be burned. This can only happen when the harvest is complete. This can only happen when the Lord of the harvest looks upon the harvest field, the earth, and sees that the harvest is complete.

Many people believe that the harvest is rapidly coming to an end. Once that end arrives, the field will be completely stripped of the wheat that was gathered during the harvest. Farmers throughout history have burned off the stubble and the chaff after a harvest. They have collected what was offered up and they have burned the rest to dispose of it. If we, as sinful humanity, are the harvest field, why would anyone choose to be left behind? Why would anyone choose to face the fires?

You need to ask yourself one very important question.

Where am I in the harvest?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you taken the action needed to be redeemed?

October 5, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
(Ephesians 1:7 (ESV))

Have you ever stopped to look up a dictionary’s definition of redemption or what it means to be redeemed? According to Merriam-Webster, the word “redeeming” means serving to offset or compensate for a defect. With that definition in mind, then it is safe to say that redemption indicates that we have had something done for us that has been done to compensate for a defect. All of humanity suffers from this same defect as a result of the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. Our defect is sin!

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

We all need something to compensate for, to offset the sinful nature that we are born with. Redemption is a legal process that requires an exchange. There must be someone with the authority to make the offer of redemption, and, once that offer is made, it requires action on the part of the one being redeemed. The offer was extended by the ultimate authority. It was extended by the Creator of everything. It was extended to sinful humanity by God!

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 they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

Our response, our reaction is simple. All that we have to do is accept! It is as easy as ABC.

A is admit that you are a sinner in need of a Savior.

B is for believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead.

C is for call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.

Once you have made this decision, once you have professed these truths, once you have accepted the free gift of God’s grace, then you have been redeemed. You have been washed white as snow. Your sins will be removed as far as the east is from the west. You will have been bought by the blood of the Lamb!

Have you taken the action needed to be redeemed?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Always keep your eyes on Jesus!

October 4, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
(1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (NIV))

Do you believe that this is true?

Do you look forward to the day that this will happen?

According to a recent article posted on a large news network’s site, if you fear this, then you are suffering from rapture anxiety. The article states that this is recognized by “some” faith experts and mental health experts as a type of religious trauma.

Do you feel traumatized?

The article equates this to a “scary campfire story.”

Do you feel scared?

They even tried to equate this with fear and rejection!

Are you fearful? Do you feel rejected?

The article proceeded to say that many feel that the church no longer matches their personal values!

There is so much wrong with this on so many levels. I am not even going to dig into these comments and provide a Biblical rebuttal. If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior and you hold fast to Biblical truths, then you can draw your own conclusions. My concern, and the concerns of many others as well, is that this is just a precursor to persecution of those who hold fast to Biblical truths. If someone who rejects Biblical teaching can claim that they suffered mental health issues because of the truth, then that opens things up for who knows what, including persecution of anyone who professes a faith in Jesus and His return! Many countries are now saying that sharing the Gospel is a hate crime!

We definitely are living in some very interesting times. Don’t let the world sway you. Don’t let the fear of persecution make your faith falter. We have nothing to fear. If we profess a faith in Jesus, we are made sons and daughters of the Living God! He doesn’t change for us. We approach Him in humble repentance! His truth is eternal. We approach Him only through the cross and Him crucified!

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

Always keep your eyes on Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you accepted the love that He has shown for you?

October 3, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
(1 John 4:10 (NIV))

I have been battling diabetes for far too many years to even count. Every once in a while my blood sugar drops dangerously low. Most of these instances seem to happen at night. So far, I have always woken up and been able to take measures to raise my blood sugar. It happened again and I am writing this at 2:30 in the morning as I wait for the side effects of a very low blood sugar to go away. As I often do when this happens, I start to pray. Tonight, I remember saying something to the effect that Lord, I wish that you would find another way to wake me up, but I do enjoy our time together, so it is okay!

I reached over and grabbed my iPad and opened up one of my Bible apps. I instinctively went to the verse of the day and clicked to read the full chapter.

This passage stood out!

It gave me peace and assurance that even if I didn’t wake up, everything would be okay.

I am His and He is mine!

My sins are forgiven and I am at peace! I rest confidently in the knowledge that the one who created the universe knows my name. I rest confidently knowing that I am loved, that my sins are forgiven, and that one day I will see Him face to face!

All of this because I chose to accept His love, mercy and grace that is freely given through His atoning sacrifice that was done once for all. All that you have to do is accept before it is too late!

Have you accepted the love that He has shown for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Everything is pointing to Jesus!

September 30, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
(Colossians 2:17 (NIV))

With this sentence, Paul was telling the church at Colossae that all of the things in this world all point to Jesus. He had just stated that they were not to be judged based on human traditions or on limited human understandings of the things that God had put in place, for these things that God has put in place are all pointing to Jesus.

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.
(Colossians 2:16 (NIV))

Do we, as the “modern” church, believe that everything that God has ordained points to Jesus? Do we truly understand how the Jewish festivals are all foreshadows of events that have been or will be fulfilled by the Lord on the exact day that the festival represents? We are told that His ways are not our ways, and that His ways are far above our ways. If God can make a bright star appear at the birth of Jesus, why do we fail to recognize that He can do amazing things again? If God can give us the perfect Passover lamb at Passover, and then raise Him from the dead on the feast of First Fruits, why do we think that the rest of God’s holy days will not bring the same powerful results? Why do we think that God is not following His timing according to His planned festivals? Why do we think that God is not following His timing as we see and often fail to even recognize the events that are happening all around the world, and at a rate that is ever increasing in frequency and intensity?

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 24:6-8 (NIV))

What happens with birth pains?

They increase in frequency and intensity!

Does this sound familiar?

We are told that no man knows the hour or the day, but that we can recognize the season. If you stopped your daily life long enough to sit and watch, to sit and wait on the Lord, what do you think that you would recognize? Would you see birth pains? Would you see everything increasing in frequency and intensity? Would you see that everything is converging on one promise, on one person, on one Lord and Savior? I honestly believe that now, more than ever, what Paul wrote to the church at Colossae is closer than we may realize.

Are you looking to where everything is pointing?

Everything is pointing to Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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It’s not too late to change to whom you belong!

September 29, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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))

Have you ever wanted fame and fortune?

Have you ever wanted to be in the spotlight and adored by countless numbers of people?

After reading the words that Jesus spoke, aren’t you glad that this never happened?

When the world loves you, you are probably pushing the proverbial envelope as to what is “new and trendy.” This is simply another way of saying how flagrantly can you sin and lead others to sin? This basically reinforces the simple fact that the world loves sin. Anyone who flaunts it and shows others new ways to sin is going to get their proverbial fifteen minutes of fame. If you are really good at it, you make a career out of leading people down a path that they shouldn’t venture down.

These are the people who belong to the world, but you don’t have to be in the public eye to belong to the world. You can simply be a follower of someone who is. You can simply be the “cool” person who always has something going on that makes others want to be like them. The world loves those who rush headfirst into the sin that is the latest trend.

That is why the world hates Jesus and those who follow Him!

When the world says that to be loved you have to sin and flaunt it, Jesus tells us that to truly be loved, we simply turn to Him and repent of our sin.

When the world says that to live life to the fullest, you have to grab for all that you can get, Jesus tells us that life to the fullest only comes through Him.

I could go on with examples, but it is clearly obvious that what the world wants and what God wants are polar opposites. They are so far apart that we can never bridge the gap from the sinful world to God on our own strength and on our own righteousness. It is true that if you are loved by the world, and that in turn you love the world, it is still possible to repent. You can turn to Jesus and forsake all that the world has put in your way.

Repent!

It’s not too late to change to whom you belong!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What is it that you seek?

September 28, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
(Matthew 6:33 (NIV))

What is it that you seek?

In our society, we have a tendency to seek after luxuries. That has been the human condition for as long as we have recorded history. To be honest with you, I am not exactly certain what God will give us, for He gives to each person according to His Will and His plan. All that you have to do is take a look at those whom He has blessed. Each blessing is different and each blessing is custom tailored to the person and their situation.

All throughout the Bible there have been examples of people that God has blessed with luxuries because they earnestly sought Him. Solomon comes to mind as one of these people whom God blessed with wisdom, power and riches. There are also examples of people who devoted their lives to God and only had locusts and wild honey to show for it. Don’t get me wrong. John the Baptist was thoroughly blessed by God for his devotion. It was simply a blessing that many people have trouble understanding.

Matthew, in writing this passage, speaks not of luxuries, but of every day necessities such as food and clothing. God provides exactly what we need. Take another look at John the Baptist. He was blessed by God for He provided John the Baptist with locusts and wild honey. I don’t think that we would consider that a blessing, but it truly was. It allowed John to preach repentance, to do God’s Will, and not worry about what he would eat or what he would wear. God provided just what John needed so that John could fulfill his unique calling.

This is an important concept!

God provided just what was needed! He does not send blessings in the same way to everyone. He knows us so well that His blessings are as unique as we are.

He sent locusts and wild honey to John to sustain him. He also sent manna to the Israelites while they wandered in the desert. Even when they did not seek first His kingdom, He provided. He provided wisdom to Solomon because he wanted to rule justly and righteously. As a result, God provided so much more.

Take a look at all that you have. What do you seek first – more possessions or God’s Word?

Life is ironic at times. When we seek after earthly security, it never comes. When we seek after God, He gives us Himself, His security, and all of these other things, too.

Seek after God’s kingdom and not the luxuries of this world. He will surprise you with what He does give you, especially when you don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Seek after the peace that passes all understanding. Seek after the One who can overcome all the troubles of this world! If you seek after these things, He will provide all that you need. In addition, you will be given eternity in His presence!

What is it that you seek?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How are you at doing what God’s Word says?

September 27, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
(James 1:22 (NIV))

How many of us deceive ourselves when it comes to God’s Word? We all have passages that we read and tell ourselves, “Yeah. If only everybody would be like that, it would be great.” The bad part about that is that most of the time we have only a superficial desire to do what we are asking others to do. We never truly do what it says.

We read and study God’s Word, then almost immediately we do the very thing that it says that we should not do. It is like we are still in the Garden of Eden rebelling against God with Adam and Eve. We still only give a brief acknowledgment to the path that is right, but we never seem to follow the path to its destination. We soon get sidetracked and forget where we were desiring to go.

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.
(James 1:23-25 (NIV))

God desires for us to not only listen to the Word. He longs for us to do what it says. Listening to God’s Word does not make you a follower. Satan listened to the Word. He knows exactly what it says. I would venture to say that the biggest issue is that he doesn’t do what God’s Word says.

Is this the root of human rebellion? Is this the root of human sin? We miss the mark all too often. Perhaps we should start to do what God’s Word says. At least, we should desire to do what it says.

What is your desire?

How are you at doing what God’s Word says?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you ready for what the Lord is planning?

September 26, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Be still before the Lord, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.
(Zechariah 2:13 (NIV))

Does this frighten you or does this bring you joy?

It is all a matter of perspective!

If you delight in the things of this world, then at best, this frightens you. However, if you are delighted by the things of this world, then you have probably denied the very existence of the Lord. This results in the simple conclusion that you are probably complacent. Either way, your encounter with the Lord will be the same. The Lord is rousing himself from His holy dwelling to put a stop to sin once and for all. Just because you don’t believe in the laws of gravity does not mean that you can jump off of a tall building with no consequences. The very same thing is true with you denial of the Laws of God. Ignorance of the law does not make you innocent.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

But, . . .

On the flip side of that perspective is the personal recognition that what these two passage profess is true and that it applies to you!

That is where the “But, God!” actions comes into play.

If you follow the ABCs, then your perspective on the Lord rousing Himself from His holy dwelling is completely different.

A is admit that you are a sinner in need of a Savior.

B is for believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead.

C is for call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.

If you follow the ABCs, then you understand. You long for His return. You long for His righteousness to rule. You long to be in His presence. As you see the things that are unfolding in the world, we are to have faith in His Word. We are to be still before the Lord. We are to remember what the Israelites were told by Moses in Exodus and be obedient to these instructions today.

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
(Exodus 14:14 (NIV))

As the Lord unfolds His plans, we are to simply be still and rejoice. We are to watch in amazement as we truly see just how good that our God is! In all honesty, we are simply sitting on the sidelines. The only thing that we are called to do is invite others to join in on the side of the Lord.

Are you ready for what the Lord is planning?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Why do You still love us?

September 23, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“What is man, that you make so much of him, and that you set your heart on him,”
(Job 7:17 (ESV))

It is often said that the Bible is actually God’s love letter to His creation.

Is that how you see it?

It sounds like Job saw it this way. He knew that the Lord loves those who love Him. He knew that God wants people to come to Him of their own free will. He knew that God desires nothing more than a personal relationship with each and every person who has ever or will ever walk this earth. From this passage, it is clear that Job was amazed that God cared so much for His creation. To be honest with you, God created everything from the planets and the stars to the microscopic single cell animals and plants. In all of this vast creation, man is the greatest love of God’s. Everything that He has done or ever will do is for His creation.

I have often stated that I love to read and compare various translations, for the subtleties truly bring things to life. The Complete Jewish Bible translates this passage in this manner.

“What are mere mortals, that you make so much of them? Why do you keep them on your mind?”
(Job 7:17 (CJB))

We are told that where our treasure is there our heart will be also. We are also told that what we think about is what we treasure. In reading these two translations, we are clearly told that we are in God’s heart and on His mind. We are His treasure!

With all that humanity has done, God still loves us.

With all the rebellion that is in our hearts, God still loves us.

In fact, He loves us so much that He devised a plan to bring us to redemption.

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 they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

All that we have to do is accept this amazing grace for ourselves!

We know that God’s ways are far above our ways, yet, I often wonder what motivates God to do such an amazing thing for us even when we don’t deserve it.

Why do You still love us?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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