We must focus on being lovers of God!

June 5, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-
(2 Timothy 3:1-4 (NIV))

I am sure that you have seen the jokes and the memes on social media about the type of year that 2020 has been so far. We hope and pray that things will get better, but I honestly think that what we are seeing is becoming the norm, especially when you read about what people will be like in the last days. In fact, when I first read this passage this evening, I did not have to struggle to think up very public examples of each one of these traits. I am certain that you can probably think of prime examples of each one of these traits as evidenced in our society as well.

Why have people become so blinded? Why have people become so self-centered and hate-filled? These traits go against every single one of God’s commandments. They also go against other traits that we are told we should strive to possess.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Sadly, these traits are not what seems to be front and center in today’s world. Far too many in this world are being led astray by the enemy. They are being led down a path that comes in direct conflict with anything good – with anything from God! They are being led down a path of sin and evil.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
(Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV))

I am sure that we have all heard that as followers of Jesus, we live in the world, but we are not of the world. How are we, as the Body of Christ, to respond to people who are in open rebellion against God?

We are to share the Gospel! We are also told what to do if people will not listen.

If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
(Matthew 10:14-15 (NIV))

We are to pray! We can’t soften hearts. Only God can. We must pray that those who rebel will repent and turn to the Lord. And, we must stand firm in our faith so that we are not led astray.

We must focus on being lovers of God!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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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Is what you value seen as valuable by God?

March 7, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.
(Luke 16:15 (NIV))

What do you value?

Are you blinded by what the world considers to be valuable? Do you long for fame and fortune, money and power? These things are fleeting. They will pass. They will even cause problems in and of themselves, for if you seek after them, your heart longs for these things above all else. When this happens, you lose sight of the truly important things in life.

Which would you rather have?

Fame or peace of mind
Fortune or love
Power or grace

When you focus on the things of the world, you lose sight of what God wants you to focus on. Humanity is easily swayed by flash and glitz that soon fades and rusts. Only the things of God are eternal and have true value.

When you are about to die, do you think that you will say something about having made more money or will you wish that you had been a better friend, spouse, and parent? It is at this time that your true values will surface. Don’t wait until then to let them be right in the eyes of God.

Is what you value seen as valuable by God?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you delusional?

January 23, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
(2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 (NIV))

What do you believe in this sinful, fallen world?

Think about the powerful delusion that this passage speaks of and take a good, long look at our world, our country and our society in general. Do you see a vast number of people rebuking and raging against God’s Word and the ultimate truth that it contains? People curse the name of Jesus and anyone who professes a faith in Jesus. They flaunt their sin as if it were a direct challenge for God to do anything about it. They have gotten to the point where they believe their own lies. They have become blinded to the truth. For the sake of time and space, I am not even going to begin listing all of the things that I have seen, for they are far too numerous and heartbreaking to give any thought to.

By definition, the word “delusion” can be defined as a persistent false psychotic belief that is held contrary to the evidence available. People can have delusions of grandeur. They can have delusional thoughts about anything, but perhaps the saddest is the delusion where people say that there is no God! They fail to recognize the truth and find delight only in their sinful pleasures. Not only do they flaunt their sin, but they utterly hate anyone who recognizes their sin for what it is. They despise God’s truth!

They completely reject God’s gift of grace and mercy.

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Sadly, they don’t believe. They turn to their own desires and believe only what their heart tells them.

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
(Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV))

If this is the powerful delusion, are you delusional?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you long for the light?

December 12, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
(Romans 13:12 (NIV))

We have been called out of darkness into His marvelous light!

When Romans was written, Saul had already experienced his meeting with Jesus on the Damascus Road. He was left blinded but he was also left with a new perspective. It was only a few days before his eye sight returned, but he gained so much more than just the return of his physical eyes. He had witnessed the darkness of the world through the eyes of Jesus. He had come away with the realization that he had been a part of that darkness. He had come away from this experience with a new name. He was no longer called Saul. He was to put the past behind him and follow Jesus wherever He would lead. He was to be a witness to the Gentiles of the power of the light. He was to be called Paul! He was called out of the darkness of his former self and called into the marvelous light as a servant of the Lord Jesus!

Think about that. Paul was given the light. He knew that his path was to follow Jesus, yet, he still had to navigate through the darkness of this world. The darkness tried to stop him. Even so, Paul pressed on toward the light. He made it a priority to always pursue the light and to show others how to find it themselves.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV))

Once you have found the light and have accepted His saving grace over your life, your night is nearly over. There will always be things in your life that remind you of the darkness. They will try to drag you back into it, but take heart. You have seen the light! You have encountered Jesus!

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
(John 8:12 (NIV))

Do you long for the light?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is it that you possess?

February 21, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked;
(Psalms 37:16 (NIV))

What is it that you desire?

Do you seek after the riches of the world or the righteousness that is only available from the Lord?

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
(Matthew 6:19-20 (NIV))

Human nature is such a strange thing. To be honest with you, I am surprised that we can even begin to say that we long for the righteousness of the Lord when we are so self centered by nature. The fall from grace in the Garden of Eden really placed us in a no win situation. We say that we want to be righteous in God’s eyes, but we do so many things that take us in the exact opposite direction. That has been our lot in this sinful, fallen world ever since we disobeyed God in the garden. Even the strongest of us fail to do what we know that we should do. Paul, who is credited with spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles, fought with this.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
(Romans 7:15 (NIV))

Thankfully, we have a God who knows that we are not capable of overcoming this on our own. He has provided His Son as a Savior to those who truly desire to overcome human nature and seek after righteousness. Even so, we all face the wickedness of the world. We all face the glitter of the gold.

I have read studies that show the most generous group of people by income levels are those who we consider the middle class, and some studies actually say the lower middle class. On average, they give so much more as a percentage than those who are considered wealthy. People whom you would think can afford to be generous are actually the least generous. Have they been blinded by wealth to the point that it has become their god? How sad it is to see people place their priorities and faith in something that can be gone in an instant.

I have come to the conclusion that there are two possible scenarios in this life. We can have and use possessions, or they can have and use us!

What is it that you possess?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Stand firm on the Word of God

May 23, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
(2 Timothy 4:2-5 (NIV))

People not putting up with sound doctrine. People doing things after their own desires. People listening only to what they want to hear. People turning away from truth.

Does this sound anything like what we are seeing in our society today?

As I think about the state of the world, I can’t help but stop and say a prayer for the people who are caught up in the lies of the enemy. They have been blinded to the truth by the enemy to the point where they now hate the truth. They have refused to believe the truth, so it is only logical that they would believe the lie.

and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
(2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 (NIV))

What is it about human nature that makes some people refuse to accept the truth? There are some people who would argue with you if you tell them that the sky is blue. That is simply a combative spirit, but what about the people who will yell obscenities at you for telling them that God loves them?

It is so easy to become overwhelmed with all that is going on in the world.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
(John 16:33 (NIV))

Don’t allow the world to keep you from doing what you know to be right in the eyes of God. Preach the Word. Endure hardship and do the work that God has called you to do! Stand firm!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you confident and assured?

April 27, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

With all of the things that are going on in the world, how is your faith holding up? Are you confident and assured even after seeing the events in the news every day?

Do you find yourself getting fearful? Do you find yourself getting anxious?

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:6-8 (NIV))

When I see the events of the world, I find myself running the full gamut of emotions, but not in the ways that you might think. I find myself getting fearful, but not for events, but for the people who have been blinded by the world. I find myself getting anxious for these same people in realization that time to accept Jesus is running short. I find myself feeling sorry for the very people who call the followers of Jesus close-minded and bigoted.

About a year ago, I ended up in an emergency room trauma unit. Thankfully I have recovered, but looking back, I had a peace. I had a confidence. I was assured that no matter what happened, I was in God’s hands. How many people can say that when times are good? How many people can say that when times are bad? How many people will be able to say this as the events of this world unfold before us?

Are you confident that Jesus is the Son of God?

Are you confident that your faith has been placed in the only one who can save us?

Are you confident of your salvation through the atoning blood of Jesus?

Are you confident that Jesus is your personal Lord and Savior?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you yoked by the burden of slavery to sin?

April 3, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
(Galatians 5:1 (NIV))

If you are caught in a trap and will surely die, how do you react if someone rescues you?

Do you turn away from the trap and promise to never go back there again, or do you fight the one who rescues you and jump right back into the trap?

Human nature is a funny thing!

When the dangers are physical and immediate, we have a tendency to thank the one who rescues us. We have a tendency to embrace the rescue and turn away from the danger, but we seem to be blinded when the danger is not immediate. The danger may be just as real, but because it is not immediately life threatening, we think that we have time to address the issue before it takes its toll.

We also seem to be blinded when the danger is spiritual.

Many times it is a spiritual danger that temps us into the physical dangers. The enemy knows that if he can trick us into believing that the spiritual side of things are not important at the moment then he can subject us to the physical dangers. He knows all too well that the physical dangers can lead to death. He knows that if we have not accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, then our physical death will also mean our spiritual death.

The enemy knows that sin leads to death!

Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?
(Romans 6:16 (NIV))

Are you yoked by the burden of slavery to sin?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you ignore or embrace Jesus?

June 3, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other:
” `We played the flute for you,
and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
and you did not cry.’
For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, `He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, `Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.” ‘ But wisdom is proved right by all her children.”
(Luke 7:31-35 (NIV))

No matter how God manifests Himself in this world, there will always be someone who claims that His actions are inappropriate. Those who seek to ignore God will always find something wrong or something that they can point to that they use to try to convince themselves that God is not involved in what they are seeing. Jesus encountered people like this all of the time.

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebub. Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you.
(Luke 11:17-20(NIV))

These people are blinded. Perhaps they are blinded by the sin of the world; perhaps by their own ignorance; perhaps even by their own desire to avoid the truth. Whatever the reason, there will always be people who will choose to ignore God.

Even though there will be people who will choose to ignore God, we must do our part to open the eyes of the lost. We do not hold the truth about anyone. We cannot know whether they will ignore God. All that we can do is present God to them in every opportunity that we may be given. If we do not, then we are also guilty of ignoring God.

What would you do if Jesus were to walk into the room at this moment? Would you be like those who choose to ignore Him and claim that He was a demon or would you embrace Him as the Son of God?

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