I pray that the new year brings a renewed relationship to Jesus.

December 30, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.
(Mark 13:32-33 (NIV))

I am constantly reading and studying. I said the same thing in 2013 about 2014, but 2023 looks to be a very interesting year in God’s time table. I do not profess to know the day or the hour, but the season is rapidly changing.

There are things going on in this world and in the heavens that are too numerous to simply be coincidence. They are increasing in frequency and in magnitude. Even with this increase, we, as the Body of Christ, must test everything against God’s Word. We must not be found guilty of falsely proclaiming things that do not match what we are told through God’s Word.

None of us know what tomorrow will bring.

Pray for wisdom.

Pray for discernment.

Pray for understanding.

Pray for the strength to follow God.

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
     “For your sake we face death all day long;
        we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:31-39 (NIV))

I pray that the new year brings a renewed relationship to Jesus.

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Can the world tell that you are a disciple of Jesus?

December 12, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
(Galatians 3:26-28 (NIV))

This merits repeating!

This may sound like a silly question, but what is it that we celebrate at Christmas?

Is it the denominational differences that we, humanity, have placed as barriers between ourselves? Is it how we profess our faith? Is it how we sing praises? Is it the color of the skin of the congregation?

Or is it the birth of Jesus?

I often wonder what Jesus would say of He were to come to earth and give us a report card update on how we are doing? Would he commend us or condemn us?

Personally, I believe that we would most likely get a mixed review. One in which we would receive severe judgment for the way that we have allowed the Gospel to be removed from society. I believe that we would be held accountable for the way that we still segregate the Body of Christ I believe that we would also be held accountable for not doing enough to share the Gospel, for it is a gift to everyone, and not just those who look, act and think like us.

It is for Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female.

In other words, it is for those who may not be like you. It is also for those who may be just like you. Think about that last statement. I know that if I found someone “just like me,” I would pray for them continuously, for I know the sins that they would be fighting.

We, as the Body of Christ, come from many different backgrounds. We must prevent these differences from separating us from the rest of the Body of Christ, and from Jesus. We come from many different traditions. Traditions are a funny thing. A tradition is simply a routine way of doing something. They are man-made and must not get in our way of rejoicing with each other about the birth of Jesus.

I once heard someone tell a story about a young bride who, after getting married, wanted to cook a pot roast for her husband. She bought the needed pot and the roast. She then called her mother to get instructions. After listening to her mother, she asked a very serious question. “Why did you always cut off the end of the roast? I want to do it exactly like you.” Her mother’s response was that she cut the roast because her pot was too small. It appears that not all traditions are ones that we need to continue.

Since we are all one in Christ Jesus, what “traditions” do we allow to keep us separated? If we are all sons of God through faith in Christ, why do we often treat our brothers and sisters like we do? I can hear some of you thinking that this is what brothers and sisters do. I honestly hope that the Body of Christ does not act like natural brothers and sisters. We should show the world a different side.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
(John 13:34-35 (NIV))

Can the world tell that you are a disciple of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you long for the sacred times with the Lord?

November 9, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years,
(Genesis 1:14 (NIV))

How do you plan and track the events in your life?

If you are like everyone else in the modern world, you plan things on a calendar and even perhaps on a digital calendar down to the year, month, day, hour and minute. You look at the calendar and know how far away a certain event will be. You trust that calendar and your clocks to tell you when something is to happen. For those who have ever owned, or knew someone who owned a very intricate grandfather clock, you know the precision movement of the mechanical pieces that track the time. Some even will track years, months and days. I believe that this passage from Genesis tells us that God has created such a calendar in the heavens with a more precise movement and accuracy than anything that humanity has imagined.

The sad thing is that we try to impose our calendar, along with our will, on God!

We try to force God and His majestic splendor into a box that we define so that we can try to understand Him. Ironically, we even do this when we look to the Lord for the things that He has promised are yet to happen. We read His Word and see what He has laid out according to His Will and then we try to figure out everything according to our understanding and our calendar. Just as you and I cannot truly understand the inner mechanical workings of a fine Swiss watch, we cannot fully understand the more intricate workings of God’s calendar. Even the closest man-made calendar is not perfectly aligned with God’s calendar. There is disagreement as to the accuracy of the current Hebrew calendar, and that was man’s attempt at following what was given to us by God!

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
     neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
     so are my ways higher than your ways
     and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

It is my prayer that we, as the Body of Christ, learn to submit our desires to God’s Will and to His calendar.

I realize that we long to see the Lord, but we cannot see God’s calendar from His perspective. He has set everything in motion and we are simply called to be obedient until He comes. We must stand firm in our faith and keep our eyes focused on Jesus. One day soon we will see God’s calendar from a different perspective. The day will come that He takes us to be with Him. That is a sacred time that I am sure He has marked in His calendar that He spoke of in Genesis, the lights in the vault of the sky.

Do you long for the sacred times with the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you paying attention?

September 20, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

These are the Lord’s appointed festivals, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times:
(Leviticus 23:4 (NIV))

I love the fact that the Lord has given us things to look at that represent His perfect plan. The sad thing is that we, as the church, as the Body of Christ, do not fully understand the meanings of the events that are second nature to the Jewish community. In reciprocal nature, the Jewish community does not understand the symbolism of their events and how they point to Jesus as the one and only Messiah.

We look at the passage that says that no man knows the hour or the day and perhaps we miss the symbolism in that phrase. The next Jewish festival that is to occur is Rosh Hashanah. That festival, which means head of the year, is different every year for it depends on the moon to be just right. It is known as the festival that no man knows the hour or the day. For reference, Rosh Hashanah is celebrated as the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve.

I could probably go into many of the festivals and their symbolism, especially the ones that represent the events that transpired when Jesus walked the earth. Just suffice it to say that Jesus, as the Passover Lamb, went to the cross at Passover! He arose from the dead on First Fruits!

There are also many things within non-festival events, such as weddings, that point to Jesus. In a Jewish wedding, the bridegroom goes to prepare a place for his bride. Only when he is finished can the wedding take place. No one knows the day or the hour that he will return for his bride. Could this be a coincidence? For your information. this is where we get the parable of the ten virgins. I don’t want to digress and go into that, for that is not what I am trying to convey. What is important is that when the bridegroom does return for his bride, she is lifted up into the air to meet her bridegroom!

We, as the Body of Christ, must realize that we have been grafted into a lineage and history that is completely Jewish. We must watch and learn. God is unfolding things according to His timing and His calendar. He has given us hints as to what He is doing. No one person has the complete understanding for the time is not yet come when God will sound the last trumpet!

But, . . .

We must watch!

Are you paying attention?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What are you waiting for?

August 10, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Clap your hands, all you nations;
shout to God with cries of joy.
(Psalms 47:1 (NIV))

With all that is going on in the world, this sounds like it is so far off from becoming a current reality. I realize that the world has never been a righteous place, but it seems like it is slipping further and further away from God’s plans.

Is there an end to this descent in sight?

We must remember that God is in charge and that things are happening according to His timing. The wheat and the weeds may be growing up evenly, but I have a question for you. Just because the wheat is planted among weeds, does it stop being wheat? Does it stop producing grain that takes root and grows more wheat plants? Why do we, as the Body of Christ, look around with an attitude of despair because we are surrounded by evil? I realize that we feel compassion for those who are lost, but we are still called to be the Body of Christ where we are planted. We are to do exactly as the psalmist wrote.

We are to clap our hands in praise to God!

We are to shout to God with cries of joy!

What we are not to do is let our circumstances keep us from praising our God!

We are to do exactly what Jesus told the Pharisees His followers would do when the Pharisees tried to rebuke those who shouted.

“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
(Luke 19:38-40 (NIV))

We know what we are supposed to do. Do you want to let a stone out-praise you?

What are you waiting for?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you still dull?

August 27, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
(Proverbs 27:17 (NIV))

This is a fantastic way of saying that members of the Body of Christ need each other. We hold each other accountable. We lift up each other when we need support. We encourage each other to stay strong in our faith. When we see each other faltering and straying, we can come in along side of each other and support each other as we repent and redirect our focus back to Jesus. We are there to encourage each other and lift up each other in our unique giftings as we all function as individual members of the unified Body of Christ.

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
(Romans 12:4-5 (NIV))

If we belong to each other, then when one of us trips and falls, all of us should hurt. When one of us brings glory to the Body, all of us should rejoice. When one of us is in pain, we should all bring comfort. Did you notice one very important word in all of these sentences?

Should!

These are things that we are supposed to be doing as members of the Body of Christ, but how well do we do what we should?

If our fellowship with each other is supposed to hold us accountable and sharpen our faith, are we truly sharpening each other?

Are you still dull?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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We must persevere as the race unfolds!

May 10, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
(Hebrews 12:1 (NIV))

How has the last year or so been for you?

I could probably stop there and say something about keeping your eyes focused on Jesus, but I feel that there is so much more to say about being able to persevere. With all of the things that have happened in the last year, and all of the things that continue to happen, we must not lose sight of where our hope comes from. With prices soaring for basic materials and supplies can’t keep up with the demands, we appear to be facing the beginning of shortages. Now we are facing cyber attacks that threaten to bring us to a halt because oil and gas cannot flow. I honestly believe that things are going to get much worse than most people expect.

How does society handle this?

How do we, as the Body of Christ, handle this?

If ever there was a time to throw off everything that hinders, I believe that time is now. If ever there was a time to repent of the sin that entangles us, that time is now. We need to make sure that our lives are singularly focused on Jesus and not the world. If we look to the world, we will faint out of fear. If we look to Jesus, we can rest assured that He is our hope, that He is our strength, and that He is our strong tower!

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.
(Proverbs 18:10 (NKJV))

We can’t claim righteousness if we cling to things that hinder and to the sin that entangles us. We can only claim righteousness if we accept the gift of grace that was freely given at the cross. We must repent! We must persevere in our faith. We must hold fast to the promises that we have been given through Jesus.

No one knows what tomorrow will bring, but we can have a good understanding of what is to come by staying in God’s Word. We must be as diligent as watchmen. We must be constantly on guard for what the enemy is doing. We must not fall for the lies and the traps of the enemy. We must be alert and prepared. We must come together as the Body of Christ and hold fast to Jesus like never before!

We must persevere as the race unfolds!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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We must humble ourselves to His desires!

November 3, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (NIV))

The Bible instructs us to pray for those who are in authority over us. The need to pray for the President of the United States and other world leaders has never been more urgent. This country, and the world, are at a strategic point in history. We can turn towards God or turn farther from God.

It is our choice.

Our leaders reflect this choice, and often guide this choice. It is for this reason that we should pray for the President. We must pray for God’s Will in the election. Do we, as a nation, vote for a platform that has removed God or one that has embraced God? All that we have to do is look at Israel. Their ancient history is filled with them not only turning their back on God, but embracing the gods of the world. Every time that they did evil in the eyes of God, they faced wars and captivity. When they embraced the Lord and followed His ways they were blessed. Our choices are not about the individuals who are running. It is about the ideals that they have embraced. Pray for wisdom. Pray for discernment.

I would rather have a brash person who seeks the will of God over a likable person who flaunts corruption and evil.

As we enter the final day of this election, we must pray for God’s guidance. We must pray for His Will. We must act as the Body of Christ and seek to further His kingdom in this world. We must continue to do so until He returns!

We have a choice! We can turn towards God or away from God.

“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
(Joshua 24:14-15 (NIV))

If we choose to serve the Lord, that means that we must learn to listen. We must learn to discern His Will. We must learn to be obedient to what He calls good and shun what He calls evil. We must stand firmly with Him and not against Him.

I would rather stand with God and be judged by the world than stand with the world and be judged by God.

We must humble ourselves to His desires!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you support those who support Israel and Jerusalem?

October 30, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing:
(Ezra 1:1 (NIV))

We know that God used Nebuchadnezzar as His servant to bring His judgment upon Jerusalem. Then at the appointed time, after the exiles had repented, He used Cyrus to bring about the return to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Temple. Both men had a part in God’s plans. Even though they did completely opposite things, they both fulfilled God’s plans. They were both servants of the Lord whether they knew it or not. God moves people to fulfill His will for the specific period in history. Nebuchadnezzar brought punishment and Cyrus brought restoration. Cyrus returned Jerusalem to the descendants of Israel. Cyrus also committed to rebuilding the Temple.

Jerusalem is the key!

But you are to seek the place the LORD your God will choose from among all your tribes to put his Name there for his dwelling. To that place you must go;
(Deuteronomy 12:5 (NIV))

That place is Jerusalem!

Cyrus knew this. That is why he listened to the Lord.

“This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:
“‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem, and may their God be with them. And in any locality where survivors may now be living, the people are to provide them with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.'”
(Ezra 1:2-4 (NIV))

Everything hinges on Jerusalem.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May those who love you be secure.
(Psalms 122:6 (NIV))

On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem.
(Zechariah 12:9 (NIV))

If we profess a faith in Jesus, who is the Jewish Messiah, then we should also stand firm in God’s Word when it comes to Jerusalem. The Body of Christ hasn’t replaced Israel. We are grafted into amazing grace. We should not do anything to bring destruction upon the city where God has placed His name! We must support the proclamation that Jerusalem is His city where His Temple shall be.

Do you support those who support Israel and Jerusalem?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What are you doing?

October 8, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

I may offend a few people with today’s passage and thoughts. I pray that perhaps I will make you think about this passage and the things that we, as the Body of Christ, should be doing.

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))

Do you believe in Jesus? Do you believe that Jesus is God’s one and only Son? Do you claim the gift of eternal life that this belief entitles you to? Sadly, that is where far too many people stop with their faith. They fail to respond by putting their faith into actions such as sharing the Gospel. We are called to go into all the world and preach the good news, but how many of us actually do anything for the Lord? How many of us read these passages that tell us that we have a responsibility and then simply choose to ignore them. What is recorded in John tells us that Jesus expects those who believe in Him to do what He spent His life doing. What is recorded tells us that He expects even greater things from us.

Are we living up to expectations?

We are not saved by works, but since we have been given the greatest gift that has ever been given, we should desire to share this gift with others. We should desire to do all that we can do to share the good news of Jesus!

What are you doing?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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