Are you appropriately dressed?

September 12, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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))

If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you have an assignment. You have been given marching orders. We are to go into all the world and share the Gospel. We are also told that we will face tribulation in this world, but to rely on Jesus because He has overcome the world.

We are also told to dress for battle!

If you believe that God is love and accepts everyone no matter what their lifestyle and the sin that they practice, then this doesn’t make sense. But, if you hold fast to the truth that Jesus came to set the captives free, to deliver the sinner from bondage, and to offer hope to a sinful, dying world by calling sinners to repentance, then you fully understand why we are to dress for battle. We will be facing the enemy. We will be facing the father of all lies. We will be facing an entity who utterly hates those who profess a faith in Jesus and in God the Father. In all of this, Jesus is our protector. He is our champion. He is our armor. He is THE full armor of God!

We are to fully clothe ourselves in Jesus, who is the Word made flesh!

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
(Ephesians 6:14-17 (NIV))

In light of the events that are transpiring in this world, we need to fully clothe ourselves with Jesus. We are to recognize and clothe ourselves with the armor that only He can provide. When we do this, we no longer fight the battles. The battle then belongs to the Lord!

With this truth, are you still fighting the battles based on your abilities or have you allowed the Lord to fight for you and to protect you? Are you trying to stand in your strength or are you standing in His strength?

It is time that you answered one very important question.

Are you appropriately dressed?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you truly taken refuge in the Lord?

July 8, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
(Psalms 18:30 (NIV))

Have you truly taken refuge in the Lord?

Think about that question, for your eternity lies in your answer.

Do the ever-increasing number of events unfolding in this world have you worried, or are you at complete peace that defies all worldly logic? Do you see the extremes that people will go to when things don’t go as they desire, even when their desires are far from godly? Do you find yourself heartbroken because these people have believed the lie from the enemy? Are you saddened when someone curses God? I recently saw a video that had a segment where a man about fifty years old got right in the lens of the camera and in a very demonic voice proudly proclaimed that he liked killing babies!

We are told that the wheat and the tares will grow up evenly. We are told that good will be called evil and evil will be called good. We are told that a great delusion will fall over those who do not fear the Lord. We are told that there will be wars and rumors of wars. We are told that people will be lovers of themselves!

I personally believe that my last sentence is the root cause of everything since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. We want to do what we want to do and we want everyone to accept what we want to do. We have come to the point where we love ourselves so much that we fail to even have any glimmer of love for anyone else. I don’t know about you, but this sounds just like the enemy when he was cast out of heaven. Satan wanted to be in control and he wanted to do things his way. Does this sound familiar to you?

There are two very distinct ways that we can be in respect to a relationship with the Lord. We can deny, despise, reject, and curse Him, or we can run to His open arms and find love, redemption, grace, mercy, and refuge. Now is the time to run to His open arms with a repentant heart. Do it before it is too late!

Once again I need to ask one very important question.

Have you truly taken refuge in the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will this be changing soon?

May 19, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
(Matthew 5:45b (NIV))

I truly love the fact that God shows His mercies to everyone whether we deserve them or not. Based on this passage, He uses everything in His creation to draw people to Himself. Sadly, too many people simply ignore Him, or even worse, they curse Him. He even sent His Son, Jesus, to live in this world as a teacher and to die on the cross as an atoning sacrifice. He even resurrected Jesus from the dead to overcome the power of sin and death, and still, people ignore Him or curse Him.

We are told that a time will come at the end when His wrath will be poured out on the world!

What do you believe will happen with the righteous at this time?

I am sure that someone has drawn this conclusion before, but I want to present a passage that I believe tells us of God’s heart toward the righteous. It comes from the parable of the ten virgins.

At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
(Matthew 25:1-5 (NIV))

We know all too well God’s definition of a fool.

The fool says in his heart,
     “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
     there is no one who does good.
(Psalm 14:1 (NIV))

I believe that we can interchange righteous with wise and unrighteous with foolish. Based on that, I believe that we see the next obvious step in the process with those who are ready and waiting for Jesus will be taken to be with the bridegroom!

But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
(Matthew 25:10 (NIV))

I have never heard anything about Jewish wedding traditions that say those waiting for the bridegroom would undergo suffering. I have never heard anything about these traditions that indicate they would miss the joyous celebration. If Jesus is coming for His bride, His bride would be spotless!

We see the sun rising on both the evil and the good. We see rains falling on both the righteous and the unrighteous. I believe that this is in the process of changing.

Will this be changing soon?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We should pay it forward in prayer!

April 13, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:

   “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
      if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
   In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
(Romans 12:17-20 (NIV))

When Jesus was being beaten before His crucifixion, He could have been angry and vengeful. In the world’s point of view, He had every right to want to repay what He was receiving. Yet, Jesus did not exact revenge. Even though He was and is the Son of God, God With Us, He left the revenge to God the Father. It was not time. Jesus came to be a sacrifice so that many could live. If he had exacted vengeance at that time, it would have voided the reason that He came. If Jesus, who is Emmanuel, God with Us, can leave vengeance for God the Father, then we can too.

We need to treat our enemies as Jesus would treat them, for God loves everyone and He does not wish for any to perish, but when God’s vengeance does come, it will come swiftly. With that in mind, we must pray for our enemies. We must pray that they receive the same grace and mercy that we received when we accepted what Jesus did on the cross.

We should pay it forward in prayer!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you think God is saying to us?

February 7, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But you have behaved more wickedly than your ancestors. See how all of you are following the stubbornness of your evil hearts instead of obeying me.
(Jeremiah 16:12 (NIV))

If God was speaking to Israel through Jeremiah because of their sin, what would He be saying to this world today?

God was using Jeremiah to remind Israel of the covenant that He had made with their ancestors to bring them out of Egypt and to give them the land if they would be obedient to His commands. He also used Jeremiah to remind the people of the consequences of their ancestors forsaking Him.

“When you tell these people all this and they ask you, ‘Why has the Lord decreed such a great disaster against us? What wrong have we done? What sin have we committed against the Lord our God?’ then say to them, ‘It is because your ancestors forsook me,’ declares the Lord, ‘and followed other gods and served and worshiped them. They forsook me and did not keep my law.
(Jeremiah 16:10-11 (NIV))

It did not stop there. He then used Jeremiah to tell the people that they were worse than their ancestors!

We don’t have a way to look back in history and see Israel’s society firsthand. All we have is God’s Word and that they followed other gods. What do you think that they did?

Did they sacrifice their children? We do this to the god of convenience.

Did they worship and idolize wealth and fame? Our society does.

Did they ignore God? We do much more than this.

Did they lust after things of the flesh and abandon God’s order? It is called a lifestyle choice.

Did they practice witchcraft and sorcery? Do I even need to say what our society does?

I could probably go on and on with speculations on what they did. I could also go on and on about the things that are happening in our society today, and even in our churches, and I am certain that you would sadly see many similarities. Do I venture to say that you would even see worse things today?

Are there any Jeremiah’s in the world today? Is there anyone who is telling God’s truth and telling the world that we are behaving more wickedly than our ancestors? Is there anyone who is calling people to repent of their wicked ways and to turn to Jesus? We think that we are better than our ancestors, but how many people spend time daily in God’s Word? Our ancestors did? How many people fear the consequences of sin? Our ancestors did. How many people have accepted sin as a lifestyle choice? Our ancestors didn’t do that! If we profess to have a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, but do not hold fast to the truths that He taught, have we forsaken our faith? Have we accepted a sugarcoated false gospel?

What do you think God is saying to us?

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

March 10, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan.
(Proverbs 29:2 (NIV))

Sadly, people have been groaning ever since the fall from grace!

There are many times throughout history where the wicked have ruled. It is not difficult to identify many of these. Each continent has had their share of wicked rulers. Some are currently groaning under the weight of oppression. If you stop to honestly think about it, God’s Word has many examples of wicked kingdoms from the past. We are even given a very detailed picture of many of them from the stories of the Tower of Babel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace, Daniel in the lion’s den, the Roman occupation of Jerusalem and all of Israel, and the crucifixion of Jesus at the hands of the Romans.

We are also told of a time when wickedness will rule the whole world. When good is called evil and evil is called good. The whole world will be groaning in anguish during this seven year period of tribulation. With what is going on in the whole world at this moment and what is currently happening in this country, many people are in anguish. They are groaning because of what they see currently and what they see as the next logical step as it leads down a path from which many feel there is no return to what we now long for as normal.

Privacy is going.

You have to think a certain way. Anything different is vilified.

Sin is embraced and righteousness is ridiculed.

There is talk in many countries and regions in this world of having to have a vaccine passport in order to take part in society. Some places are even going so far as to hint at requiring this to even go to work, or to buy and sell basic commodities such as food. This is rapidly looking like it could evolve into what the Body of Christ refers to as the mark of the beast.

It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.
(Revelation 13:16-17 (NIV))

There is a time rapidly approaching when the father of lies will have his way with the whole world. Does this make you groan? I know that this is all part of God’s plan, but it still makes me groan deep in my spirit. I ache for those who have not come to a saving knowledge given to all through the atoning blood of Jesus. I can only imagine that if this makes my spirit groan, what is it doing to God?

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

If you are hearing groans or are groaning yourself, imagine what this is doing to the very heart of God!

Are you hearing groans?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How is your strength?

November 13, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He gives strength to the weary
     and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
     and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
     will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
     they will run and not grow weary,
     they will walk and not be faint.
(Isaiah 40:29-31 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but I am weary in my own strength. I don’t have the ability to face the world on my own. I am tired! Perhaps I could even go so far as saying that I am exhausted.

The world in which we live has become so polarized. People rage against anything and everything that God considers good. They openly embrace anything that God considers evil. They mock anyone who clings to the sole source of truth. They censor the name of Jesus who is the source of this truth because they don’t want to offend those who do evil. They don’t want to offend the enemy!

Do you understand why I am weary?

I, like every single person who has ever lived, do not have the strength to face the enemy on my own. Thankfully I can turn to the ultimate source of strength. I can rely on the strength of someone much greater than I. I can rely on the strength of my Lord and Savior. I can rely on the strength of my God! With this strength, I have the ability to face whatever the world may send my way. I have the strength to face whatever the enemy may send my way.

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
     my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
     and with my song I praise him.
(Psalms 28:7 (NIV))

He gives us strength by letting us rest in His presence. He gives us strength when we need shelter from the world. He gives us strength by equipping us with His truth. He gives us strength when we are still. When we desire to live out His truth, He fights the battles.

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
(Exodus 14:14 (NIV))

When you are on the side of the Lord, that should be enough to give you the strength to overcome the weariness caused by the evil in the world!

How is your strength?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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We must humble ourselves to His desires!

November 3, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

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

It is our choice.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We must humble ourselves to His desires!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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The struggle is all too real!

November 2, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
(Ephesians 6:12 (NIV))

How do you see the world?

Perhaps I should ask it in this way. What is your world view?

If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then your world view should reflect that in all that you do. It should not be limited or confined to the hour or so that you spend in church on Sunday. It should not be something that you decide to leave at home when you go to work. It is not something that you can turn off and on to suit you. It is not something that you hide when the circumstances are not favorable. It is a choice that you must make every single minute of every single day of your life!

If you choose to leave your faith behind because of your environment, how do you think that you will be rewarded by Jesus? I venture to say that you will not be rewarded, for rewards are for those who are faithful.

Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:22-23 (NIV))

It is time to take stock of your life. It is time to take stock of your actions and your choices. If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior but repeatedly choose to do something that is contrary to what Jesus desires, are you truly walking in His will? Emotions have nothing to do with it. Personal desires and likes have nothing to do with it. Our emotions, our desires and likes are sinful, yet far too many of us who proclaim Jesus as Lord still choose to follow our sin instead of submitting to the authority and Lordship that is only in Jesus. We submit to the powers of this dark world!

Think about that the next time you decide to watch something on television. Think about that the next time you choose to get mad at other drivers. Think about that when you make a decision to go along with anything that you know goes against what Jesus would desire for you to do. Think about that when you vote for someone who supports anything that goes against God’s Word!

We must stand firm in our faith!

The struggle is all too real!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you possess the Spirit?

October 26, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.
(1 Corinthians 2:14 (NIV))

When you take a look at the world today and you see the things that are going on, it is easy to draw assumptions that the Holy Spirit is not within the people who are rioting and looting. It is easy to see that the Holy Spirit is not within the people who call good evil and evil good. It is easy to see those who truly follow Jesus as opposed to those who follow the world.

If things are this bad when the Holy Spirit and the true church are still on this earth doing all that can be done to restrain the enemy, can you imagine just how bad things will be once the Lord declares that it is time for His Holy Spirit and His church to be removed? God will soon decide that time is up and when He does, the rest of His plan will unfold. It will start with the very rapid removal of the Holy Spirit and the church and all of the restraining influence on society. There will be nothing standing in the way of the enemy and his plans. Evil will run rampant. Every sick and perverted thing that humanity has ever desired will be commonplace.

Today, a person without the Holy Spirit is a lost individual. As the Body of Christ, we must pray for those who are lost so that they can avoid the time that is coming when the whole world will be without the Holy Spirit. The whole world will mock God and everything that He calls good.

In essence, a world without the Holy Spirit is hell on earth!

Do you possess the Spirit?

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