Are you in danger of becoming lukewarm?

January 6, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
(Revelation 3:16 (NIV))

We know that this is the message to the church in Laodicea. When we think of this passage, we instantly think about a faith that is neither hot, nor is it cold. They do not possess a faith that is on fire, yet they don’t possess a faith that is nonexistent. They are somewhere in the middle.

They believe in Jesus, but they believe in the power of their wealth and self sufficiency more!

Don’t be so self sufficient that you become lukewarm!

Did that last statement catch you off guard?

Think about that for a moment. Are you more concerned about your house and cars than you are about your faith in Jesus? Do you pay more attention to the things that make you money than you do to the One who brought you salvation? Do you think that your lifestyle is because of the things that you have done? Have you relegated God to be a distant second, or even lower, in your priorities? When things look bad, do you look to your own understanding to get you onto a firmer foundation, or do you turn to the Lord in prayer?

Professing a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is a choice!

It is a choice I pray that everyone will make.

Becoming lukewarm is also a choice, and it is a choice of neglect. It happens when you neglect to spend time daily in His Word and in prayer. It happens when you neglect to place God above all other gods. It happens when you neglect to love the Creator more than the creation. It happens when you neglect to realize that faith must be nurtured, and, as a result, you become so comfortable in your faith that you think that you have it made! It comes when you neglect to realize that you cannot handle anything that the world sends your way. It comes when you neglect to realize that your self sufficiency means absolutely nothing.

Are you in danger of becoming lukewarm?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must occupy until He returns!

October 11, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’
(Luke 19:13 (ESV))

Engage in business until I come!

If you read this parable and miss that the master is Jesus, then engage in business means just that. However, if you make the connection that Jesus is telling His disciples that He will be leaving, then you understand that engaging in His business is telling the world about the grace and mercy that is only found through Himself. Another translation puts it this way.

And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
(Luke 19:13 (KJV))

As followers of Jesus, we are to occupy until He comes. This translation brings to the table a different, more emphatic instruction set for those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. We are to occupy this world. When I read this translation, my mind automatically thinks of an occupying army. They do what they are commanded and do not fear the consequences, for they have an authority that is not native to the land that they answer to. They are to carry out the instructions that they have been given. As the Body of Christ, we have been given instructions that we are to perform until His return.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV))

The church, the Body of Christ, is an occupying army. We are instructed to take captive those who are currently not following Jesus. We are instructed to share the Gospel of salvation with a sinful and dying world. We are to rebuke the enemy. We are instructed to bind the power of the enemy and to show people how they can break the chains of bondage to sin.

The translations that refer to engaging in business don’t paint the complete picture in my mind. Most people think of buying and selling and making a profit when you mention business. I am not capable of reading this passage in the original language, so I have to rely on the people who have performed the translations. Word choice can make a big difference. I know that it does for me.

What about you?

What translation conveys this passage in the best way, the most understandable way, for you?

No matter which translation you choose, we are called to be doing the work that Jesus instructed us to do until He returns. Many people, myself included, believe that recent world events indicate that the time of the end is rapidly approaching. We are called to be His light in a dark and dying world. We are called to share the Gospel into the lives of sinners in need of a Savior. We are called to be about His business!

Are you performing the duties that we have been given?

We must occupy until He returns!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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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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.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

September 15, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“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))

For years I have not only studied God’s Word, but I have also watched the news and have found pastors who have studied prophecy. I watch multiple different sources and weigh each source’s material against God’s Word. I recently became aware of a video that I feel that I need to share. This video was put together by the underground church in Iran. We know that the church in Iran is facing severe persecution, yet they felt that they needed to warn the church in America and in other parts of the western world! They see the signs even when we fail to recognize what is happening in our own back yard!

In America, we think that we are the ones going into all the world, but when believers in persecuted parts of the world reach out to warn us because they have been given insight by the Lord, we MUST listen. We must prepare. We must stop thinking that nothing like this could ever happen where we live. We must realize that the enemy is angry at those who profess a faith in Jesus no matter where we may live. We must be ready and willing to stand firm in our faith in Jesus even if it means persecution or death.

Are you prepared?

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))

We have been told that troubles will come.

Are you prepared?

Do you follow Jesus?

Are you prepared?

Are you at peace even in the midst of chaos?

Are you prepared?

Keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Fully commit yourself to the Lord!

August 23, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
(Revelation 3:16 (NIV))

Laodicea literally means the will of the people!

They professed a faith, yet lived as if they didn’t. They thought that they were rich in both the ways of the world and in spiritual matters. They didn’t look to God. They looked to themselves. The letter to Laodicea was far from encouraging. This is the only letter of the seven written to the churches that had nothing good to say about their faith.

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
(Revelation 3:14-22 (NIV))

If I were to venture a few speculations, I think that I could safely say that they had taken worship out of their assemblies if they even met at all. They didn’t need to worship for they felt that they had it all. The Lord was not the center of their assemblies or their lives, and I think that it is safe to say that they barely gave what I refer to as lip service. Their hearts were not in it because they felt that they had to reason to worship in truth for they had made themselves rich.

Does that sound familiar in the society that we see today? We see people engrossed in what they have accomplished and in what they want that they completely forget to even acknowledge the Lord in any way at all.

We have become a society where anything and everything is feasible because truth is relative. Each person has their own truth, but how has that gone for us the last several years? We are now a society that is triggered by facts and the truth. Feelings and personal desires are now what is important. Dare I say that we are even seeing this in our churches? Some churches are no longer preaching the saving grace of the Gospel of Jesus, but are preaching a gospel of social justice or personal empowerment. If there is no absolute truth, everything breaks down. With all that is happening in the world, are we seeing this happening in real-time? Has insanity become the new normal? I heard someone say the following in reference to what is happening in the world, and in the church.

Is the tail wagging the dog?

We should recognize this to mean that things are out of order. Perhaps the following makes that statement better.

Is the cart before the horse?

Personally, every single time I see something ungodly happen, the following comes to mind. I think that it says it best, especially when God told us that He would give people over to their reprobate minds.

Are the inmates running the asylum?

In the days ahead, we, as the Body of Christ, must stay true to His Word. We must cling fast to the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and never allow anything to work its way into our lives and dilute the truth. As believers, we are supposed to be on fire for the Lord. We are supposed to be the light of the world. Don’t allow that fire to die down and the light to be put out. Don’t let your flame become just a warm ember.

Fully commit yourself to the Lord!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God still saves those who call upon His name!

April 6, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Alas! That day is so great
      there is none like it;
it is a time of distress for Jacob;
      yet he shall be saved out of it.
(Jeremiah 30:7 (NIV))

What is your understanding of the importance of Israel in God’s timeline?

What is your understanding of the tribulation that is spoken of in Revelation and hinted at in Jeremiah and many other books?

There are many who believe that the tribulation is what is referred to in this passage. You may be more familiar with it being called the time of Jacob’s trouble. Based on this concept, many believe that what is spoken of in Revelation is God’s plan to redeem, to refine Israel and that the church will be gone before this happens. As God unfolds His plan, more and more will be understood. Now, we can only speculate as to what all of this means and how the Lord will unfold all of it as His plan comes to fruition. One thing is certain. God is not through with Israel. He has plans to redeem Israel for Himself. He has plans to redeem Jerusalem to Himself. With this in mind, we must be diligent in our prayers.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
(Psalm 122:6a (NIV))

We must also be like the Bereans and search the scriptures for the truth as God unfolds it.

Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
(Acts 17:11 (NIV))

God gave us His word.

I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.
(John 14:29 (NIV))

We must dive deeply into His word so that we are able to recognize when things happen and believe. We must also share the Gospel so that others will believe. We must lead people to Jesus before they are distressed and troubled. We must lead people to Jesus so that they may know of God’s grace and mercy before it is too late.

God still saves those who call upon His name!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you invited Jesus to be part of your gatherings?

January 11, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
(Matthew 18:20 (NIV))

Do you love to gather in His name?

Most of us think of church when we think about this, but why do we limit our fellowship with Jesus to the walls of a church building? Why don’t we invite Jesus to be with us when we gather socially with friends or family? Why don’t we invite Jesus to be with us when it is only our immediate family and we are at home? We need to get in the habit of asking Jesus to be in our midst at all times, and not just when we gather at a church. One day, we may find that such a gathering is no longer an option. We must take responsibility for our relationship with Jesus and with others. We should never simply rely on a local church to spoon-feed us our weekly dose of spirituality. We need Jesus each and every moment of each and every day!

We know that a time is coming when the antichrist will target anyone who will not worship him. We know that a time is coming where people will face death if they profess a faith in Jesus. If we are part of that generation that will see this unfold, we must be prepared to rely on Jesus. We must be prepared to stand firm in our faith even if we can only gather with a few other believers. We must truly understand what it means to gather in His name!

Can you pray powerful and effective prayers? Can you offer encouragement in the face of adversity? Can you discern truth and call evil exactly what it is? Can you focus on eternity when all around you is falling apart? Can you keep your eyes focused on Jesus?

Only God knows what tomorrow may bring. If His plan unfolds in our lifetimes, and we have to rely on other believers, will you be ready to invite Jesus into your midst even if you are in chains? I realize that this sounds doom and gloom, but we must remember that we are told that it will happen. We are also told that those who persevere will be given a crown. We know who wins.

Have you invited Jesus to be part of your gatherings?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Hold on!

May 11, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.
(Revelation 3:11 (NIV))

What do you think of this passage?

If you are like most people, even members of the church, you see this as still a far off fulfillment. It is easy to see why this may be the mindset since these words were recorded almost two thousand years ago to the church in Philadelphia. These words were written as a promise to one of the two churches that Jesus did not rebuke. Both churches, Smyrna and Philadelphia, were told that they had been faithful to what Jesus had commanded and to stay faithful as things progressed. The church at Philadelphia was given still another promise.

Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.
(Revelation 3:10 (NIV))

It was after this promise was recorded that John recorded the promise that Jesus was coming soon. Jesus is going to keep those who are faithful in keeping His command from seeing the hour of trial that is coming. There has been conjecture that the aspect of Jesus coming soon has been interrupted by the church age, and that once the church age ends, He will come for those who are His true church.

It will be quick.

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))

What if the definition that Jesus used for the word “soon” means this very minute?

Are you looking for His return or are you telling yourself that He isn’t coming back because He hasn’t come back yet?

Stand firm in your faith. Hold on to the promises that He has given us.

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

Are you confident that He is coming soon?

Hold on!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you truly long for the Lord?

November 10, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Why do you make me look at injustice?
    Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?
Destruction and violence are before me;
    there is strife, and conflict abounds.
(Habakkuk 1:3 (NIV))

Habakkuk knew what injustice was. He saw it in the society of his day. He saw it in Jerusalem. He had grown tired of the sinful practices that he saw on a daily basis. He pleaded with the Lord to do something that would make the people repent and return to the Lord. The people had rebelled against the Lord to the point that the Lord decided to have the Babylonians invade.

Think about that for a moment!

We pray for God to do something in this nation. We grow tired of the injustices, the evil, the wrongdoing, the destruction and the violence. We can’t seem to go more than an hour without hearing about a new conflict that has people polarized in their responses. We pray that the Lord would heal this land, but what if the first step in the healing process takes us down a road similar to what the Lord told Habakkuk would happen? When the Babylonians came, it was not just the people who were doing evil who where affected? The consequences impacted the whole region.

With the events in the world and the alignment of nations, the peace treaties and all other factors, we realize that we will probably soon be facing end time events. We long for the moment when the Lord will come for His church. Until that time, we must be prepared for much worse than we have seen. We should continue to pray for repentance and healing. We must pray for eyes to be opened and hearts to be turned to Jesus.

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 I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV))

If we, who are sinful by nature, grow weary of all of the sin that surrounds us, how much more does this bother the Lord? We know that the Lord will win in His time, for He, too, is growing tired of the things in this world. Until that time, we must stand firm in our faith. We must stand firm in proclaiming the Gospel. We must stand firm in showing the world what God calls righteousness and justice.

Do you truly long for the Lord?

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