Are you focused on the future or His presence?

April 18, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
(Psalms 91:2 (NIV))

Far too many of us say that we trust the Lord, but we still want signs. We still want to know what is going to happen in this world as God unfolds His plans.

We look at the news and see things unfolding that bear a striking resemblance to things written about the end times. We see things that go against God’s Word as they are accepted as truth by the world and we wonder how long this will go on before we see things unfold as prophesied. We look at the state of the world and we long to see righteousness. We long to see the truth proclaimed and every knee to bow and every tongue confess. Sometimes we get carried away with our desires to see Jesus that we focus more on the events that are transpiring than we do on spending time in God’s presence.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
(Luke 10:38-42 (NIV))

It is so easy to become like Martha in our preparations for the coming of Jesus and miss the fact that we can sit at the feet of Jesus at this very moment. I, like many people, like to study prophesy because it is the hope to which we hold. It is the truth that hasn’t come to be. It is the fulfillment of God’s promises. Even though this is all true, we need to be careful that we don’t focus so much on what is to come that we miss out on what God is doing in this moment. Perhaps it is best stated by what a friend said has become her daily prayer.

Lord, I just want to know what you want me to know when you want me to know it!

I would just like to add the following.

Lord, it is not my world. It is yours. I love you and I trust you. You are my refuge in times of trouble. You are my fortress in this world that has turned away from you. I praise you for your goodness and mercy!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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When you focus on the signs, you miss Jesus!

March 23, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I will show wonders in the heaven 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.
(Acts 2:19-20 (NIV))

Many people, including myself, believe that we are seeing things that indicate that the time of the Gentiles is coming to an end. This indicates that we are close to seeing the end times that are so frequently written of in God’s Word. These end times will usher in the worst times that this world has ever seen. It will also eventually lead to Jesus returning in the clouds and splitting the Mount of Olives.

On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.
(Zechariah 14:4 (NIV))

I often see things in the news or read things that make me wonder what this means and what sign it points to. It is human nature to try to figure things out. As we are told, we are to know the signs off the times. Some people make a study of these signs a full time endeavor. It is fascinating to try to understand how God is working.

I want to stop and ask a question.

Have you ever loved something so much that you studied it, practiced it, or played it so much that you soon lost sight of your first love? In other words, you became so engrossed in the details that you lost sight of the reason you loved it to begin with.

Don’t let your study of the signs make you lose sight of Jesus. After all, He is the reason the signs will be and are happening.

There is an old saying that you can’t see the forest for the trees. Step back and see Jesus in the details. Step back and see Jesus in the moment.

I know that the signs that are still unfolding will come to pass. How do I know this?

We are about to celebrate the greatest sign of all this Sunday. Without the resurrection of Easter, we would have no hope that the signs of His Second Coming would ever come true!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can you interpret this present time?

September 8, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, `It’s going to rain,’ and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, `It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?
(Luke 12:54-56 (NIV))

Have we become like the people that Jesus was speaking to when He walked the earth? Are we so engrossed in our daily lives that we fail to see the very things that we say we are looking for?

Each one of us is probably guilty of saying things about how bad society has gotten since we were in school or when we were little. We pray for revival but ignore the obvious instructions that God has given us with respect to what is to come. This last century has brought about more rapid, and often drastic, changes than any other period of time in history. In fact, the most rapid changes in social structure have taken place since the Supreme Court banned public prayer in schools in 1963. After this, it became “okay” to kill unborn children in 1973. Since these two events, people have become more and more self-centered, ignoring social and Biblical principles for what they see as the more important things in life – themselves.

There are many prophecies that deal with the end times, all of which describe the social and economic issues that we face today more so than at any other point in history. People have become so self-centered that they refuse to see that what they are doing is not Biblical. This is happening even among the church.

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

“The owner’s servants came to him and said, `Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

” `An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, `Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

” `No,’ he answered, `because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ ”
(Matthew 13:24-30)

It is clear that Jesus knew the way things would be. It is coming close to harvest time. Will you be wheat and gathered to Jesus, or will you be weeds and burned?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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So be on your guard!

August 15, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“When you see `the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong–let the reader understand–then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down or enter the house to take anything out. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that this will not take place in winter, because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now–and never to be equaled again. If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them. At that time if anyone says to you, `Look, here is the Christ!’ or, `Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect–if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.
(Mark 13:14-23 (NIV))

Do you know what to look for? Do you know the signs?

I don’t profess to know, for no one knows the day or the hour, but many people strongly believe that the season is very ripe for God’s plans to unfold.

I know that we all have limited life experiences and that there are not too many people left who can remember the events of World War II. I do know that what we are facing today seems to be just as ominous, if not more so, than the things that have been faced by previous generations. Never before in the history of the world has there been a group of people who are willing to kill the whole world because they do not believe as they do. To be honest with you, the reports of children being beheaded are horrendous. Who would be so evil that they would do such a thing?

We are told to be on the lookout for the abomination that causes desolation. We are told to flea when we see this. Do you know what to look for?

Sadly, I have read reports, and you should pray for discernment about these and anything that you hear, that state that Israel is being cut off. No mail service or bank transfers from many countries, including the US, and weapons shipments to Israel are being cut off as well.

The evilness in the world is trying to isolate Israel. It is also trying to turn believers in Jesus into a thing of the past. Whole cities are being told to convert to Islam, leave or die.

There are things going on in this world that without a faith in Jesus, I would be terrified and rightly so, but I know who wins! I know that Jesus will return. I know that what we face here on this earth will probably get a lot worse before the church is removed. I also know that it will literally be hell on earth after the church is removed.

I know that many people do not like to think about end-time prophesies because they either don’t understand them or they are scared of the events. I have a question for you. Do you live in a home with smoke detectors? You take the precautions necessary to avoid a scary situation in your home. You should be willing to take the precautions necessary to avoid a scary situation in your life.

We live in a time when things are unfolding rapidly, so be on your guard!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do we recognize God’s season?

September 17, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

“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. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.
(Mark 13:28-34 (NIV))

We are told that no one knows the day or hour, but we are also told that we will know the season.

What season are we in?

I recently saw a report that indicated that 77% of the church in the United States believes that we are seeing the signs of the season of the end times. All of the people who are biblical scholars that I keep track of are also saying the same thing. They recognize the season. Many say that the season started when Israel became a nation after almost two thousands yours of nonexistence.

I could spend hours going over the things that I have seen reported. Signs and wonders in the skies, good being called evil, the persecution of the Body of Christ in all parts of the world, the sudden arise of the problems in Syria, Israel completely surrounded by enemies, the increase in unexplained mass animal, bird and fish deaths, a religion that is intent on killing all who do not convert, and many more all coming down to a single point in time.

I recently read that some state governments are preparing disaster drills for the consequences of very large earthquakes. I realize that these types of reports can be considered “prepper” talk and can often be taken at face value, but why all of the sudden talk about such things and how to prepare for them?

No one knows about that day or hour.

Sometimes I think that we, as humanity, are blinded to what is going on around us. We are focused entirely on what influences our lives directly and ignore all else. What are we ignoring that we should be paying attention to?

Do we recognize God’s season?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We all need rest!

August 16, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV))

I want to start off by saying thank you to all that have supported this ministry.

With that said, we all need rest. We need time to get away from the world and slow down and enjoy what God has created. We all need to spend time refreshing and strengthening our relationships whether these relationships are between a married couple or between yourself and Jesus. We need to take the time to recharge our batteries so that we can face the things that this world throws at us. Lately, I have seen far more than I could ever imagine being thrown at the Body of Christ. I feel a heaviness in my spirit. I need rest.

I have been blessed with a lovely lady as my wife for twenty-five years. I have been blessed with a family that loves the Lord. I have been blessed by God in so many ways. One blessing that I never imagined happening is my sharing of God’s Word through this devotional ministry. I may not have riches as the world thinks of riches, but I am rich in ways that the world can’t imagine.

There is a spiritual war that is unfolding. It is spilling over into the physical world. We all need to rest in Jesus so that we may be prepared for what is coming. Take the time to slow down and spend time with God. Listen for the Holy Spirit. Follow the words of Jesus. Spend time with God.

“Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
(Psalms 46:10 (NIV))

I love the first line of this passage. Many people use it and ignore the next two lines, but today, I feel that the last two lines of this passage need to be used and heard. We are to be still and listen to God. This gives us insight into His heart and His desires. Many people, and I probably have been guilty of this, use the first line of this passage to show what you need to do to get to know God without stressing the last two lines, which tell us why we need to know God.

The world is falling apart and many people believe that we are in the End Times. We are to know God so that we may tell a fallen, sinful world about salvation and grace. We are to exalt God and tell of His plan for redeeming each of us. God is to be exalted so that others may see Him and what He offers to those who will simply ask.

Sometimes we need to reset our priorities. Sometimes we need to spend time in our relationships. Sometimes we need to listen more than we talk. Sometimes we need to rest so that we may be better prepared to continue.

See you in a week.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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