Are you alert and fully sober?

January 7, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.
(1 Peter 1:13 (NIV))

Are you looking for Jesus?

In other words, are you alert and fully sober in spite of what the world says that we should be? Think about that for a moment.

What do you spend your time thinking about? What does your bank account say about your priorities? What do your entertainment choices say about your relationship with the world? What does your time spent in God’s Word say about your relationship with the Lord? What does your computer or phone time say about your focus, and what does your attitude say about you as a person?

I could go on and on, but it is obvious that if you are human, you fall short of God’s idea of righteousness. Even if you have professed a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, there is always room for improvement, for maturity in your faith. We are called to be holy, but even on our best day, we fall short!

Perhaps our definition of being holy has been polluted by the world. Too many people think of a self-righteous attitude when asked about being holy. I sometimes wonder if there is God’s holiness, which is perfect, and our attempt at being holy, which is flawed drastically by our sinful, fallen nature. We can’t seem to get it right. We are not capable of anything more than a failed attempt at fulfilling our interpretation of God’s ideal holiness. Enter Jesus! He paved a way for us to exchange our filthy rags for His righteousness, His holiness. Through this action, and our acceptance, we can be considered holy, especially when you consider that one way to look at that word is that it means to be set apart.

Are you set apart?

Do you desire to follow Jesus? If you truly desire to follow Jesus, then you are set apart. You have made a proclamation that you no longer wish to live a sinful, fallen life. You have made a proclamation of faith that you will follow Jesus. Will you be able to walk this path perfectly? Will you keep your eyes focused on Jesus? It is a matter of attitude. It is a matter of priorities. Do you wish to be set apart from the world? I long to follow Jesus. Even on my worst days, I still long to focus on Jesus. There is a quote going around in today’s society that sums it up quite nicely.

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

If we can make this commitment, then we are alert and fully sober. We have a hope beyond what this world can offer. We have placed our faith and our hope in Jesus. We deliberately set ourselves apart and faithfully look for His coming. We can decide to be set apart!

Are you alert and fully sober?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you looking for Jesus?

November 11, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Look, he is coming with the clouds,”
      and “every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him”;
      and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”
So shall it be! Amen.
(Revelation 1:7 (NIV))

With the current state of the world, more and more people firmly believe that this day is getting closer and closer. Many believe that this is so close that it could happen any day. I don’t want to get in a debate about the Rapture and when it will occur. I don’t want to get into a debate about when we can expect to see Jesus coming with the clouds. My only concern is expressing the urgency of the need to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.

Have you found yourself thinking that God could set things in motion at any moment?

Are you ready for that moment?

According to this passage, the people on the earth will mourn at seeing Jesus. This sounds like the only ones left on the earth will be the ones who have not accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Where will you be? Will you mourn His return or will you rejoice as you return with Him? If we are to return with Him, that means that we must first go up to where He is.

Are you ready?

Give your life to Jesus before it is too late, and lift up your head. Lift up your eyes for He is coming soon.

Are you looking for Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 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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It may look dark, but hope is coming!

April 2, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
(Matthew 27:31 (NIV))

The events of the long night and morning were over. Jesus had been arrested, beaten, falsely accused and judged, and then sentenced to die a horrible death. The only thing left of God’s plan was the actual crucifixion. Think on those events as you read this, for many will be reading it at the time of day that things actually unfolded.

How are you spending your morning? Is it filled with reverence and thanks for what Jesus endured? As you pour yourself another cup of coffee, does the impact of Jesus’ suffering bring you to tears or do you even think of it at all? As you head to that meeting, do you reflect upon just how things would be if Jesus had not had His meetings with Pontius Pilate? When you feel the burdens of the day come crashing in around you, do you stop to think of the burden that Jesus bore as He carried His cross?

It is so easy to get lost in the trivial details of our own lives. We think that they are so important. We think that if we don’t close that next big sale, the world will fall apart. We think that if our children don’t get into that private school, their lives are over. All that we bear is the burdens and sins from our own lives. Imagine having the weight of the sins of the world hoisted upon you. Imagine the world being so engrossed in the usual activities that your sacrifice becomes trivialized. Imagine taking on the burden anyway because you love the people of the world.

Stop to think just what Jesus went through so that you can have grace and salvation. Retrace His steps as He carries His cross to Calvary. Put yourself in His place as the nails pierced His hands. Imagine how He felt looking down through history as He looked upon you at this very moment in time. He suffered and died for you and I. He did it willingly so that we may have grace and mercy.

Spend the day embracing His sacrifice, feeling His pain and emotions. Look upon your life as He looked upon it. Jesus felt that His sacrifice was worth everything that He endured. He felt that you and I were worth whatever price He had to pay.

Today, Good Friday, stop and thank God for His Son, Jesus, and His willingness to go to the cross for you and I. This day is a day of agony and fear, but through the fear we have a shining ray of hope – the resurrection on Easter morning!

It may look dark, but hope is coming!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What will you be given?

March 12, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.
(Revelation 22:12 (NIV))

According to what they have done?

Does this make you stop and ask yourself what are you doing for the Lord?

I realize that grace is freely given, but what we do once we have accepted that gift determines more than we care to admit. We are not saved by works, but once we are saved, we are called to share that saving grace with others. Each of us will receive unique rewards based on how well we have followed the Lord’s instructions in much the same manner as we are told of in the parable of the talents. The servants who used the talents wisely were rewarded.

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
(Matthew 25:23 (NIV))

And what instructions are we supposed to follow?

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))

We have been given an assignment. We are to share the light of Jesus. In fact, once we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we are to shine His light through our lives.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV))

To be honest with you, there are many more analogies from scripture that I could reference, but to put it simply, we have been given an assignment. Our sole job responsibility is sharing the Gospel. Just as the faithful servants in the parable of the talents, we will be rewarded for obedience to this assigned task. Have you been obedient?

What will you be given?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you want to be credited as righteous?

October 14, 2020

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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))

Based on this passage, would we be considered righteous in God’s eyes?

Think about that for a moment. Abram was promised to be the father of multitudes too numerous to count. He was promised to be taken to a place where his descendants would possess all of the land that he could see. Abram believed that the Lord would keep these and other promises and the Lord credited this to Abram as righteousness.

How do we stack up in comparison to Abram?

We have been promised that the Lord would return for His church. We have been told what to look for as the beginnings of the worldly events that will happen just before He returns. We have seen signs in the heavens. We have seen nation rise against nation. We have seen kingdom rise against kingdom. We have seen wars and rumors of wars. We have seen good being called evil and evil being called good, yet, too many people who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior are going about their lives hoping that the situation in the world gets better. They are hoping that things will return to normal. They aren’t looking to the promises of the Lord!

Does this sound like we are believing the Lord?

We should respond to these events with the assurance that our Lord and Savior is coming soon. We should respond by looking up. We should respond by telling everyone that now is the time to repent and accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. We act as if we only believe the Lord when it has anything to do with what we read about in His Word that has already happened. We choose to ignore or not believe the one quarter of the Bible that is prophecy. Abram believed the Lord’s prophecy of his descendants. Why do too many people today have trouble believing the Lord when He says He will do something?

Now is not the time to play church. Now is not the time to ignore what the Lord has foretold. If believing the Lord is credited as righteousness, those who are called righteous will be with Jesus. Do you want to be credited as righteous?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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The Good News of Jesus is for all people!

September 15, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your young men will see visions,
    your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
    and they will prophesy.
I will show wonders in the heavens above
    and signs on the earth below,
    blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood
    before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
And everyone who calls
    on the name of the Lord will be saved.
(Acts 2:17-21 (NIV))

On all people?

Not just believers?

I just watched a video from a pastor and he made a very interesting point that I hadn’t considered before. I believe that it may also be something that you may not have considered before.

In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
(Acts 2:17a (NIV))

Another translation says it like this.

And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
(Acts 2:17a (NKJV))

Most people read this and we automatically assume that it means “on my people” or “on those who believe,” but it clearly states “on all people” or “on all flesh.” Think about this from God’s perspective. If He is trying to get the attention of the people of the world, why would He limit what He does to only those who call upon His Name? Why would God not try one last time to reach those who have rejected Him?

The pastor in the video made a very interesting comment about the number of nonbelievers who feel that something big is about to happen in the world. They see what is happening and they have a feeling that they can’t explain. As believers, we recognize that feeling as the prompting of the Holy Spirit, but for those who do not believe, they do not understand. All that they know is that a still, small voice is telling them that something big is about to unfold.

I don’t profess to know if this is true, after all, we are told that His ways are greater than our ways. All that I know is that we are seeing the whole world professing that something different is happening and the world will never be the same. All that I do know is that we, as the Body of Christ, should be witnessing to the world and explaining to them what we profess to believe, after all, the good news of Jesus is for all people!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you like the sound of trumpets?

August 13, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
(1 Thessalonians 4:16 (NIV))

Do you like the sound of trumpets?

When we think of trumpets, we have a tendency to think of jazz music or big band swing, but do you realize that God has used the sound of a trumpet as a way to announce things of great importance to His people? The sound of a trumpet cuts through any other sound. It rises above the noise of the world and boldly proclaims to listen. It boldly proclaims to pay attention. It boldly announces that something is coming!

In this passage, the sound of the trumpet is announcing that those who have professed a faith in Jesus will arise from the dead. That, in and of itself is amazing, but there is more. There is something even more amazing. There is something that only the all powerful Lord God could make happen!

After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
(1 Thessalonians 4:17 (NIV))

To many people, the sound of a trumpet is shrill and harsh, but it is rapidly becoming the instrument that I long to hear above the din of the world! I long to hear the trumpet call of God, for I believe, . . . No! I know beyond any doubt exactly what that will mean! I know that when I hear the trumpet call of God, these events will rapidly take place and the desire to be with the Lord will instantly come true. Does that explain why I like the sound of trumpets?

What about you?

Do you like the sound of trumpets?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you ready for Jesus?

July 22, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
(Matthew 24:27 (NIV))

Do you ever sit outside and watch the lightning as a storm approaches? Everything gets dark as the storm begins to build. The darker it gets, the worse the storm. Then, out of what seems like nowhere, lightning breaks forth and illuminates the sky. You never know where and when it will come, but you know that it will. You sit there in anticipation of the lightning. You sit there in awe of the splendor and the power. You sit there and watch in amazement at the lightning in the distance and you know that it is coming your way.

Take a serious look at the darkness of the storm that the world is currently facing. I am certain that some people will remember dark periods in their lives. There have been dark periods in not too distant history. The one thing that gave the world hope was a resolve to defeat the darkness. Today, too many people are more than willing to embrace the darkness.

We need the lightning!

We need Jesus!

I don’t know about you, but this passage gives me a mental image of Jesus coming in power and in light. He breaks the darkness with just His presence. He touches people here. He touches people there. His coming is like the lightning. It is a magnificent vision for those who have called upon His name as Lord and Savior. For those who have denied Him, it is one of sadness and fear.

Some believe that the Body of Christ will see this from the earth. Some believe that we will be by His side as He comes down from heaven. Either way, I can rest assured that this will be the most glorious entrance that the world has ever seen. It will be the most powerful display in all of history.

It will be a lightning show magnified by a heavenly host.

It will pierce the darkness. It will be a resounding victory just as we have been told.

Are you ready for the lightning? Are you ready for the power? Are you ready for Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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We must pick up our cross no matter the cost!

July 7, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.
(Acts 20:22-23 (NIV))

How many of us would willingly go somewhere knowing that there is a very good possibility that you would face great danger? Would you be willing to stand up for your faith even in the midst of hardships and prison? Would you go headlong into the situation even if you knew that this would be the outcome?

Paul faced many hardships during his travels to spread the Gospel, yet nothing that he faced was able to convince him to stop sharing the good news of Jesus. It was more important to him than his own life!

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
(Acts 20:24 (NIV))

Can we make that same profession of faith?

For years I have been saying that a time is coming when speaking the name of Jesus would carry dire consequences from beatings to even death. That time is drawing closer. We are seeing things escalate at a rate that I would have never imagined being able to happen in my lifetime. Just look at what has happened in the last few years. What about the last few months? What will we be facing next? Are we ready, willing and able to have the same attitude as Paul did during his lifetime? Will we head into the hardships if that is where we are called? Are we ready to die to self and pick up the cross without counting the cost of our actions?

We must pick up our cross no matter the cost!

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