Only Jesus will lead you through the deceptions!

June 21, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

for your merchants were the great ones of the earth,
     and all nations were deceived by your sorcery.
(Revelation 18:23c (NIV))

The original passage was written in Greek, and the word that has been translated as sorcery in most of the English translations is the word “pharmakeia.” Pharmakeia means the use of medicine, drugs or spells. In essence, it is drug-related or drug-enhanced sorcery. What caught my attention is that all nations are to be deceived by this practice. In other words, could this be a worldwide deception based on pharmaceutical drugs?

Is that possible?

Can the whole world be deceived in such a manner?

I don’t know what your thoughts are on the recent global pandemic, but at present, it appears that the whole world is in unison when it comes to the recommended treatments for the pandemic. If we measured this response using a tachometer, we went from zero to red lined in a matter of a little over a year. Are the nations being deceived by the pharmakeia? Are the nations being deceived by the great merchants of the earth? To be honest with you, only time will tell, but I do not believe that we have much time left to be deceived. You will either place your faith in the things of this world or you will place your faith in Jesus. If you place your faith in the things of this world, you will face a seven year period of time that has many names, but it all comes down to the fact that those who reject Jesus will be the ones who face this period of time.

You may disagree with the concept of the rapture, but I have a few questions for you. Why is there no mention of the church after a certain time in Revelation? Why is this period of history referred to as the time of Jacob’s trouble, especially when you understand that God changed Jacob’s name to Israel? Many people try to say that the church has replaced Israel. We are not Israel. No matter how you look at it, most of the people who profess a faith in Jesus today would be considered Gentiles. Many people try to say that the church has been grafted into Israel. If you look at the history of Israel, you see rebellion against God after rebellion against God. Why would God graft those who made a conscious decision to love and follow Jesus into a lineage of people who have constantly rebelled against Him?

I am only making speculations based on what I have studied for the last twenty plus years, and I admit that I may be wrong. No one alive today knows God’s plans with enough accuracy to say exactly what will happen and when it will happen. All that we have are signs. All that anyone can do is study God’s Word and watch as things unfold. Will we be one hundred percent accurate in our understanding? We are only human, so the answer to that question is a “No!”

One thing that I can say with complete certainty is that there has never been a better time to repent and follow Jesus!

Only Jesus will lead you through the deceptions!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Lord, help us to surrender all authority to you!

June 20, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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))

Do you treat Jesus as if He has all authority in heaven and on earth, or do you treat Him as your personal servant – a servant who bows to your authority?

Sadly enough, too many people treat Jesus as their personal servant. They treat Him as if His only reason for existence was to take care of their every whim and desire. They have no understanding of who Jesus truly is and, therefore, they have no desire to do what He asks of us. They simply expect Him to do what they ask of Him. They will not relinquish the authority.

Who has authority in your life?

Do you follow Jesus or do you expect Him to follow you?

Do you tell others about Jesus and what He has done in your life, or do you tell others about “your” accomplishments and never mention Jesus?

Do others see Jesus in you, or do they express astonishment when someone tells them that you are a Christian?

Do you make disciples for Jesus or do you have to be reminded that you are a disciple?

Do you follow His teachings, or do you only acknowledge them for an hour on Sunday?

I know that these are tough questions, but they are questions that we must constantly ask ourselves. It is so easy to begin to believe that we are the ones in charge of our lives.

We have no authority.

Can we, by our own doing, extend the number of our days? Can we create life out of nothing? Can we stop the sun from rising or the winds from blowing?

If we are to truly fulfill the task that Jesus gave us in this passage, we must recognize that He is in authority and not us. He is not ours. We are His. I know that I have failed many times, but it is my desire to place Jesus in authority. I do not want to stand before Him and hear Him say that he does not know me.

Lord, help us to surrender all authority to you!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your greatest treasure?

May 12, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal
(Matthew 6:19 (ESV))

What type of person do you think of when you think of someone who lays up treasure for themselves?

Most people think of someone who is greedy, miserly and selfish. Does that fit your mental image of someone who lays up treasure for themselves? Do you know anyone like this? Is it a joy to be around them?

Is it possible for someone to do this and still profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior?

Everything that we think of when we think of someone who seeks treasure goes against what we know to be our calling as followers of Jesus. This type of treasure is worldly. This type of treasure is fleeting. This type of treasure leads to conceit and envy. I think that I can safely say that it does not lead to love and kindness.

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. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
(Galatians 5:22-26 (NIV))

As I see more and more things unfolding in this world, we must not focus on the world! We must not focus on the treasure that is fleeting. We must focus on the one true treasure that is eternal. We must focus on the greatest treasure that has ever existed or will ever exist. We must focus on Jesus, for He is our greatest treasure. Ironically, what we treasure is not to be hoarded. It is to be shared.

Do you like to share your greatest treasure?

Do you lay up treasures for yourself on earth?

What is your greatest treasure?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Oh, what a day that will be!

March 25, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name.
(Zechariah 14:9 (NIV))

What are your thoughts on this passage?

In all honesty, how you view the day that this speaks of depends completely on how you view Jesus. Zechariah speaks of those who will fight against the Lord at His return. It also speaks of those who will flee from the Lord at His return. If you have truly accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then this day will be one of great rejoicing, for the Lord will establish His authority, His kingship, over all of the earth.

Do you long for this day or do you fear this day? Do you eagerly watch and wait for His return or do you go about your life as if His return to deliver justice is only a fairy tale? Do you believe in heaven or do you simply hope that there is no hell? Do you believe that accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is the only way to salvation, or do you think that all of this is simply the ravings of people who are uneducated?

There are many things that are unfolding in this world that bear a striking similarity to events foretold in God’s Word. If you met someone who had a perfect track record when it came to telling events years before they happened, you would probably believe their every word. Why do so many fail to believe when that timeframe is extended to hundreds of years. Think about all of the prophecies in God’s Word that have come true. All of them, so far, have been one hundred percent accurate. The chances of all of these occurring by coincidence are staggeringly astronomical, yet they all happened just as foretold. The only ones in question are those that have not been fulfilled as of yet.

Are you looking for the fulfillment of the ones that have not been fulfilled yet?

We should be, for they are the ones that appear to be the beginnings of the birth pains that we have been told of. Are you ready for the birth pains? Are you ready to be on the right side when the Lord returns? It is as easy as ABC.

A is for admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior.

B is for believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead.

C is for call upon the name of the Lord Jesus as your Lord and Savior!

Are you truly ready to make this proclamation? “Come, Lord Jesus, come!”

Oh, what a day that will be!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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We don’t have to sweat the details!

March 4, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“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))

Are you confused and stressed out about the events in the world? As the Body of Christ, we know that we should have peace, but at the same time, I am sure that many of us are wondering exactly what is going on. We may not understand it in detail, but rest assured that everything is unfolding just as God desires. It is according to His plan!

We have been given the proverbial highlight reel of His plan so that we would know that He is in control!

We don’t have to sweat the details!

All that we have to do is trust in the Lord and rely on His thoughts and not our thoughts. We are to rely on His ways and not our ways. We are to be in this world but not of it. We are simply passing through as we rely on the Lord for His peace that passes all understanding.

I met a man in the parking lot of a local grocery store tonight. His comments about the price increases and the shortages seemed to consume him. He was worried about the next three years and what we would be facing. I actually had trouble getting in a word, but I did my best to assure him that God is in control. To be honest with you, I am not sure he heard me since he was so consumed by his worry. Sitting here tonight as I write this, I realize that this man represents those in the world who are only looking at the physical. They, like he, see no hope in our current situation. They feel completely helpless, hopeless and lost!

As a believer, do you currently feel helpless, hopeless and lost? Your answer reflects your relationship with the Lord. Do you need to take this time to repent and rely on His grace and mercy? Are you ready for whatever His plan unfolds because you fully trust in the Lord?

I am saddened by the things that I see, for they mean that those who do not know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior do not share in the hope that we have. I am saddened for these individuals because they are on the brink of eternal separation from God. I pray that their eyes would be opened to His grace and mercy. At the same time, I am amazed and I am at peace. I am amazed that I get to live in such a time as this. I am also at peace for I know that my Savior lives!

Have you ever stopped to thank God for His thoughts and His ways? Have you ever stopped to thank Him for loving you enough to send Jesus? He has every single detail of His plan unfolding just as He is orchestrating it. He is in complete control.

We don’t have to sweat the details!

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

October 28, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
(Matthew 5:13 (NIV))

No one wants to be discarded, to be thrown out. It is human nature to walk away from something if we think we are going to be let go, terminated or thrown out. Chalk it up to pride, but we do this because we want to convince ourselves that it was our idea to leave or change directions. We are not willing to admit that we have failed and that we are no longer good at something. We try to turn the tables so that it looks like we still have the upper hand.

Do you know anyone who has ever done this?

Are you that person?

No one is perfect in this fallen world. There will be times that we all face circumstances just like the ones described above, but there is one endeavor that we do not want to be discarded from, let go from or thrown out from. We do not want to lose our zeal for the mission that we have been given.

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 28:19-20 (NIV))

We are to go and make disciples. We are to reflect the light of Jesus to a dark and sinful world. We are to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to the world. We are to share God’s plan for having an abundant life both here on this earth as well as in eternity. We are to add the “salt” that adds flavor, that adds hope to a world that has lost all hope. If we, as members of the Body of Christ, lose that hope, then what good can we do? We can’t share what we no longer have. We will have become just like the darkened world that has lost all hope.

The phrase, “Once saved, always saved,” comes to mind in relation to people losing their saltiness. If we can lose our saltiness, our hope, our faith, and be thrown out and trampled underfoot, then what does that mean in relation to salvation? Suffice it to say that this is a topic for many more words and discussions than what can be easily conveyed here. It is something that everyone who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior must stop and take a serious look at with respect to their life, their faith, their hope, and, of course, their saltiness.

Are you still salty?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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When the Lord returns, will He find you faithful?

September 17, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name.
(Zechariah 14:9 (NIV))

Do you look forward to this day?

Did you answer with an emphatic and enthusiastic “Yes” or did you find yourself thinking that there are things that you want to do and see in this world before this happens? What did your answer tell you about your priorities?

I realize that I just asked a string of questions, but these questions are designed to get you to take an honest look at your life, your faith, and your relationship to the Lord. If you find yourself hoping that the day spoken of in Zechariah doesn’t happen anytime soon, what does that say about your priorities? Do you love the world more than you love the Lord? Are you holding out hope that things will get better in this sinful, fallen world, or do you truly desire to see the Lord?

It is time to commit! It is time to stand firm in your faith. It is time to focus on the Lord. Don’t be lukewarm!

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.
(Revelation 3:15-17 (NIV))

Stop looking to the world!

Start looking only to Jesus!

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 3:21-22 (NIV))

When the Lord returns, will He find you faithful?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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He is the eternal constant that we all need!

July 7, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
(Matthew 24:35 (NIV))

With everything that is going on in the world, is there anything that is constant in your life? Is there anything that you can always count on to be the same no matter when you encounter it and where you encounter it?

If the last year or two has taught us anything, it has taught us that nothing in this world can be trusted to never change. We have seen this exact thing with basically everything that we took for granted being completely upended. Be honest with yourself. Is there anything that has remained constant for you over the last two to three years? Have you changed how you do your job? Have you changed where you do your job? Have you changed how you look at public events and gatherings? Have you changed how you interact with people in general? Do you find yourself saying that you wish things would get back to normal?

What if they never do?

What do you cling to when all around you is chaos?

What can we count on to provide us with that constant, eternal guidance and direction when all around us is constantly changing right before our eyes?

As for God, his way is perfect;
     the word of the LORD is flawless.
(2 Samuel 22:31a (NIV))

The grass withers and the flowers fall,
     but the word of our God stands forever.
(Isaiah 40:8 (NIV))

In this world of uncertainty and change, isn’t it good to have something that you can lean on not only in times of trouble, but also in times of good. God’s Word is our strength. It is our hope.

In God, whose word I praise,
     in God I trust; I will not be afraid.
     What can mortal man do to me?
(Psalms 56:4 (NIV))

Jesus is that Word. He is our hope. He is our salvation.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 (NIV))

Jesus is the Word made flesh. He has given us promises. He has given us hope. Even though He was crucified, dead and buried, He arose on the third day and now sits at the right hand of God the Father. He is our eternal King. He is our eternal hope. His words never change just as He never changes. He has told us that we would face troubles in this world, and troubles are ever increasing. He has also assured us that He has overcome the world. When this world overwhelms you, simply look to Jesus.

He is the eternal constant that we all need!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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His Word is truth!

June 23, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
(Matthew 28:18 (NIV))

Timing is everything. If Jesus had spoken these words earlier in His time on earth, He would have given those who sought to crucify Him just that much more evidence to support their plans, but Jesus spoke them after His resurrection. He spoke them to His disciples after He had been crucified and they saw Him die. He spoke them to His disciples after they had seen Him buried. He spoke them after His resurrection and after He had appeared to them various times. He spoke them at a point in time when those who witnessed all of these events would fully understand that what He said was true.

Could you imagine witnessing all of these events? Could you imagine hearing these words as Jesus spoke them? Could you imagine being so on fire for the Lord that you are willing to do anything that He asks, even if you knew that there was a chance that it would mean hardship and more?

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 28:19-20 (NIV))

Many scholars have come to the conclusion that the resurrection was real simply based on the lives of the disciples from that moment on. They realized that no one is willing to die for a lie, but all of them were willing to die for the truth of the Gospel. They had witnessed something so amazing that their very lives were transformed.

Do you hold fast to the truth of the authority that Jesus has been given? Has your life been transformed?

As believers in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we long to hear words spoken by Jesus as well.

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 25:21 (NIV))

Can you imagine what it will be like to hear Jesus say these words? Timing is everything. Each day brings us closer to that day. Whether it is at the end of our life, or at His return for His church, everyone who professes a faith in Jesus longs to hear these words. Until that day, we must hold fast to the promises that we have been given. We must keep our eyes focused on Jesus and remember one simple truth. When things look bad, we must look up!

He is coming again!

His Word is truth!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you recognize His ownership?

April 23, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;
(Psalms 24:11 (NIV))

Do you know anyone who acts like the world is theirs? Are they arrogant and self-centered? Are they always demanding things of others because they think they are better and more important than everyone else? I realize that I am not painting a very pretty picture of this type of person. They fail to realize that they are just a small part of God’s creation and that all of us are equally loved by the Lord.

If you look at copyright laws, the creator of any work is in complete control of that work. They own it. They have all rights to do with that work whatever they choose to do. According to the creation account in Genesis, God is the Creator of all things and as such, He owns all things. He is Creator. He is eternal. We are like grass.

For,

“All people are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of the Lord endures forever.”
(1 Peter 1:24-25 (NIV))

Who is the Lord?

He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
he remains faithful forever.
(Psalm 146:6 (NIV))

We can’t even claim to own ourselves! We are filthy rags.

We can’t save ourselves. We need a Savior.

Thankfully, God loves His creation. As a loving Creator, He is also a loving owner. Thankfully, God sent us a Savior.

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))

When we acknowledge that we are not the center of our world and that we don’t own anything, we can take the next step and rightfully relinquish ownership of our lives. We can accept the gift of grace from the One who is the true owner of all things.

Do you recognize His ownership?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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