Are we listening?

July 30, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!
(Acts 28:28 (NIV))

When Paul was in Rome, local Jewish leaders came to him. During the visit, Paul spoke of what was told to their ancestors through Isaiah. Some believed while many did not. The last words recorded of that conversation are shown above. For over two thousand years, we, as Gentiles, have listened. We have taken the Gospel that Paul preached and have been able to reach a large number of people. It is true, just as it was in Paul’s day, that some people have perverted the Gospel for their own gain, but for the most part, Gentiles have listened.

The time is now here when we must stand firm in our faith. We must proclaim Jesus loudly and boldly to a world that is falling apart. Time is running out!

Yes, I did just say that.

I have this feeling in my spirit that this world will not return to what we knew just last year. I actually have mixed feelings about this, for I love life. I love my family and I love spending time with those I love. But, I love Jesus more. After years of study, I believe that we are seeing things unfold as we have been told in God’s Word. With the things that are going on in this world, evil is rising. I am seeing things in this country that I would expect to only see in regions of this world that have been known for being oppressive. I am seeing a global hatred of people who profess a faith in Jesus. I am seeing ethnicity rising against ethnicity. Just for reference, this is often translated as nation rising against nation. I am seeing a push to go completely digital with money as well as a push to collect and destroy any physical money once the digital is implemented. I am seeing a big push to wear masks. I realize that the virus is real, so I don’t want to get into a debate about wearing masks. What I find sad is that the whole world is engulfed in this. There are those who are pushing a vaccine in order to be able to take part in society. In other words, get vaccinated and you can buy and sell. Would that vaccine leave a visible mark?

Paul was right.

The Gentiles have listened. But, do we know and understand God’s Word well enough to do something with what we have heard? Are we praying for God’s Will, even if it means things get much worse, or are we praying for our will and our comfort?

We need to truly seek the Lord. We need to listen for His voice and His guidance.

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
(Revelation 2:29 (NIV))

Are we listening?

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

January 9, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

At once they left their nets and followed him.
(Matthew 4:20 (NIV))

When was the last time that you reacted immediately to a situation?

If you are like me, this probably doesn’t happen very often if at all. To be honest with you, most days I have trouble deciding what I want for dinner.

Each one of us who profess a faith in Jesus did not come to this decision as quickly as Peter and Andrew did. We had heard of Jesus most of our lives before we came to the decision to give our hearts to Jesus. Could we have and would we have been so quick to follow Jesus if He had appeared to us at our work and told us to follow Him? Would we have believed Him? Would we have left the comfort of what we knew and in an instant make a decision to leave it all behind and follow who in essence was a complete stranger? From a logical perspective, this sounds like lunacy. From a worldly perspective, it sounds like lunacy, but from a Godly perspective, it sounds like redemption, grace and salvation!

I have often wondered how I would have reacted if I were Peter or Andrew. Would I have been able to take that leap of faith? Would I have recognized that moment in time that would change my eternity? Would I have been able to place my trust in Jesus so quickly?

Think about that with respect to your life and how you came to faith in Jesus. Was it a well thought out decision or was it a quick and bold move? No matter how quickly the decision was made, the important truth is that you did make that decision. Even so, I want to give you something to think about. Peter gave his commitment “at once.” We do know that Peter was sometimes quick to do things, such as stepping out of the boat to walk on water. We also know that Peter vowed to never abandon Jesus, yet he denied Him three times. We also know that Jesus restored and forgave him. Perhaps Jesus saw something in Peter that is something that we should be willing to take hold of. Peter was willing to place his faith in Jesus even if he didn’t understand. He made the commitment and then relied on Jesus to see him through. We rely on our intellect to come to the decision and then we rely on our intellect to determine how we react. Is this really faith?

Are we able to decide at once to follow Jesus?

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.
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Do you fully understand the mystery of godliness?

July 1, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.
(1 Timothy 3:16 (NIV))

What power these words hold!

What power these words speak of!

How many times in the history of the world has somebody fit the description that these words invoke? Only one man has ever fit this and only one man ever will.

It is human nature to try to attain a status equal to that of God. Yet, God, in all His infinite wisdom, mercy and grace, felt that it was better to come to us as one of us.

Our human frailties and shortcomings will never allow us to reach God on our own. God needed to come to us, and that is exactly what He did through Jesus. I cannot begin to fathom the magnificence of heaven and why anyone would willingly leave there to come to earth, yet that is exactly what happened, and because of that decision, we now have a means to approach the Throne of God completely spotless.

Do you fully understand the mystery of godliness?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you believe the Lord?

June 28, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
(Genesis 15:6 (NIV))

What is your definition of righteousness?

If you are like me, it is probably not an easy thing to define at the personal level. We see ourselves and all of our flaws and we come to the conclusion that we can’t truly call ourselves righteous. We know all of our faults and imperfections. We probably even know some that are only faults and imperfections in our own minds. We see people who seem to have it all together and we compare ourselves and all of our known issues with a false perception of these individuals.

Did this passage in Genesis say that Abram was better than his neighbors? Did it say that he was wealthier or better looking than his neighbors?

No!

It simply says that he believed the Lord!

Do you believe the Lord?

That question may be as difficult to answer as my previous request to define righteousness. First of all, there is a difference between believing “in” the Lord and believing the Lord. Let me explain with an example. I believe in gravity. The concept makes sense, but do you believe gravity? Have you ever put gravity to the test? Have you ever said to gravity, I believe in you, but can I believe that you will keep me from floating away? If we believe in something, we acknowledge its existence. If we believe something, then we hold fast to the truth that it represents. Using the gravity example, we can say that we believe in it, but we have to believe the principle that if we step off of a cliff, we will fall to our death.

Believing in the Lord does not stop your from doing your own thing. Believing the Lord means that you trust Him and you know that His guidance is perfect. Believing the Lord is a major step to obeying the Lord. Being obedient to the Lord is a very good definition of righteousness. Abram, in his belief, was obedient.

Do you believe the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you accept the mystery of godliness?

April 5, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.
(1 Timothy 3:16 (NIV))

Many people find the words expressed in this passage difficult to comprehend. Some even deny that it could have ever happened at all. The simple fact is that the way that a person accepts these words and their meaning is the direct determination to the relationship that they have with God. If someone believes God is a loving Creator who cares about each one of us, then they readily accept the fact that He sent Jesus Christ to this earth for us. If someone does not comprehend that God the Father is a loving Creator, then they have difficulty grasping the concepts presented here.

Still, there are those who deny that God even exists because they choose not to believe, or they cannot see Him. These are the people who won’t accept because they don’t want to believe that there is a God, let alone one who loves us.

Isn’t it sad how people will not acknowledge the truth even when it is right in front of them? Those people who saw Jesus perform all of the miracles when He was on this earth rejected Him when He did not fit their expectations of what the Messiah should be. People are still rejecting Him because of the same reason.

Rejection of Jesus is a matter of pride and arrogance. People feel that either they are not worthy of God, or they have the attitude that they do not need (or want) a superior entity in charge of their lives. They will not make an effort to approach God, even though He made a great sacrifice to approach us!

Do you accept the mystery of godliness?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you love the Son?

November 29, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”
(John 16:25-28 (NIV))

When Jesus walked the earth, He spoke in parables. Even His disciples did not fully understand His meaning. But, there is no mistaking the meaning behind the words that He spoke here. Clearer words could not be stated.

God allows us access to Himself because we have called upon the name of Jesus. Jesus said that He does not ask the Father on our behalf. We have direct access to God through Jesus. We do not need to petition Jesus and then have Him petition God.

The Veil of the Temple has been torn, allowing humanity to approach the Throne of God directly. The Veil was not torn from bottom to top as it would have been if done by human hands! It was torn from top to bottom by God! He has allowed us the access. It was not earned, but granted through grace.

To receive this access, all we have to do is acknowledge Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Don’t let pride stand between you and God. He has reached out to you. Reach out to Him by accepting His Son!

Do you love the Son?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you accepted the invitation to enter through this Temple?

November 15, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

The Jews replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.
(John 2:19-22 (NIV))

It is amazing how the religious authority of the day completely missed the boat. They had been misinterpreting the Scriptures for their own benefit for years. They did not realize that the Savior they were looking for was not a mighty warrior to overthrow their worldly enemies, but a mighty warrior in spiritual matters who had come to overthrow the power of sin and death for all mankind.

They also did not understand, due to their proximity to the events, that Jesus always spoke in parables or examples, and His words were not always what they appeared to be to the world. When Jesus spoke these words, the “Temple” that He spoke of had not yet been glorified. Now, we worship through the “Temple” of Jesus Christ glorified. We have been allowed direct access to God through this “Temple”. Before this happened, only the priests could enter the Temple. Now, anyone can enter if they enter through Jesus Christ.

Have you accepted the invitation to enter through this Temple?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What are the reasons for what you seek?

October 16, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.
He replied, “When evening comes, you say, `It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, `Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.
(Matthew 16:1-4 (NIV))

Ouch !

I often wonder how Jesus would have answered if they had come honestly seeking the truth instead of seeking to test him. They were asking for a sign to prove to them who He is. They came in their doubt. How would Jesus have reacted if they had honestly came in faith?

Think about that and then think of the following story told in Matthew.

The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, `Go,’ and he goes; and that one,`Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, `Do this,’ and he does it.”
(Matthew 8:8-9 (NIV))

What was the difference in attitude of the people coming to Jesus? What was Jesus’ reaction in both cases?

Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.
(Matthew 8:13 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to think that the way that we approach Jesus actually makes a difference? Have you ever approached Jesus and then later realized that you were testing Him, and not approaching Him in faith?

The Pharisees and the Sadducees came to Jesus seeking a miracle so that they could test him and then decide whether to believe. The centurion came to Jesus seeking a miracle because he believed.

Jesus could see within their hearts. He knew the reasons behind their requests. It was, and still is, a matter of priorities and faith.

What are the reasons for what you seek?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your armor ready?

August 9, 2018

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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 something 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 it is a strong foundation on which to build everything that you do. The strength and protection that you receive from this armor comes from fully knowing that God always keeps His promises. He always protects His children. It is this knowledge, and the faith to hold on to this knowledge no matter 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 such 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.

Do you have the right equipment for the coming battle?

Is your armor ready?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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