Don’t let the things of this world distract you from Jesus!

October 11, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, `I am he,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
(Mark 13:5-8 (NIV))

I know that things will get much worse than they are, but I honestly have to stop and make myself realize that what we are seeing could be just the beginning of the birth pains. We see the wars going on in Syria and in the lands surrounding Israel. We see other things, such as the terrorism, going on all around the world. I have seen reports that the main stream media has not and probably will not cover. I have seen reports that the Russian government is telling its citizens to prepare for nuclear war with the US.

I want to remind you that when this was written, a nation was considered a people group. Think about the stressed relations between different people groups in this country. I have also heard reports that this is happening in other parts of the world and it is not simply an isolated occurrence here.

There is something that I want you to consider with respect to kingdom against kingdom. For the longest time, this has been thought to mean actual governmental structures such as the United States and Russia. What if this actually means something more? I can think of two very distinct kingdoms right now that are definitely at odds with each other. One is the Kingdom of God or as some may refer to it, the Kingdom of Heaven. Then we have the kingdom of the prince of the air and this world. These two kingdoms have always been at war with each other since Satan rebelled against God. The attacks from the kingdom of the prince of this world are rapidly escalating to the point where God will soon say enough is enough.

The things that are going on in this world are enough to make anyone cringe out of fear. Sadly for the lost world, things will be getting worse. No matter what may happen, don’t lose faith. Don’t lose hope. We have a tendency to think that this presidential election can change things. I honestly pray that it does, but more importantly, I pray for God’s Will to unfold and not mine.

If the current state of the world makes you fearful, remember that we are not to place our hope in the things of this world. We are to place our faith and our hope solely on Jesus!

Look up!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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When you speak, what do you say?

September 20, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.
(John 7:16-18 (NIV))

When you speak, what do you say?

Do the words from your mouth glorify you or do they glorify the Father?

If Jesus, as part of the Trinity, never spoke to glorify himself, what should our words be doing?

It is human nature to be self-promoting. It is human nature to stroke our own ego and to make ourselves sound more important than we really are. I often think that the fall from grace in the garden took away more than most people realize, for it took our ability to be at peace with our gifts and talents in relation to everyone else. It made us feel inferior while giving us a major desire to make ourselves feel superior. We want, or perhaps I should say that we need to feel that we are much more than we are. Have we been hardwired with a desire to be what we were in the garden only to be left without any understanding of what that was or how to regain it?

All of human history, from the fall from grace to this very day, has been nothing more than billions of stories all focused around me, myself and I.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death–
even death on a cross!
(Philippians 2:5-8 (NIV))

Can any of us honestly say that we would be willing to humble ourselves in such a manner as to point completely to someone else? That is exactly how Jesus lives His life when He walked among us. Everything He said and everything He did pointed to God, the Father.

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

According to Jesus, we should be following His example!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you accept God’s authority?

August 22, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
(Romans 13:6 (NIV))

Too many people who are in authority seem to have forgotten that they are supposed to be God’s servants. Most of those people don’t even acknowledge that God exists, let alone serve Him. They do not give any respect to anyone or anything except their inner, sinful desires. Perhaps, if I may go out on a limb, this is why our society has sunk to new lows.

Even though many of the people who are in authority over us are there for selfish reasons, we must remember that they have been put there for a reason. We must pray that God will use them to His greater glory. Have you ever stopped to consider the fact that in the end times, the wheat and the tares are to grow up evenly and that maybe God is using these people to unknowingly fulfill His plans. Even so, we must pray that God’s Will be done. We must pray that we, on a personal level, may be able to accept God’s authority over that of human authority. We must be alert to the needs of the world and give what is needed when it is needed.

We must be prepared to give respect and honor for God loves everyone and does not wish for any to perish. God may plan to use us to show the love of Jesus to these people. We may be the one who plants the seed within their lives. If we do not honor and respect the authority, how can we expect them to honor and respect the authority that is God? We must teach by example. We may not like the actions of those in authority over us, but we must remember that no one is perfect and that we are all sinners in need of a Savior. What if you had not been shown enough respect and had not been shown salvation, after all, Jesus came to this earth not as a ruler, but as a common man?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you on the right path?

August 3, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
(Matthew 7:13 (NIV))

Sin takes on many forms and the road that we travel on is wide because of this. Think of the multitude of sins that we can commit. It only takes one to stray from God’s Will. Lay out all of the sins that you can think of side by side. You have a wide road upon which to travel, and the bad thing about it is that no two people have to really travel the very same path to get to the end of the road and it’s promised death.

Now, take away all of those sins and replace it with a single, straight line that leads you to your goal. You can even think of this straight line as a tight-rope. Any deviation from that straight line is going to get you back on the wide road that we have paved with sin. The task of reaching the goal without swerving from our desired path is not physically possible.

Now, take a look at Jesus and that same path. If we call upon Jesus to carry us, then imagine the security in knowing that Jesus can walk that path, and has walked that path, without a single deviation. Because of His unswerving devotion to doing the Father’s Will, we can call upon Jesus to carry us on that straight path even though we may drag our feet on the wide road.

Through Jesus, we will be made whole and our sins will be forgiven.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you really want God’s Will?

May 31, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron: “How long will this wicked community grumble against me? I have heard the complaints of these grumbling Israelites. So tell them, `As surely as I live, declares the LORD, I will do to you the very things I heard you say:
(Numbers 14:26-28 (NIV))

Imagine a country that says that God doesn’t belong in our schools. What do you think God will do? What happens when we say that God doesn’t belong in our government? What happens when we say that God doesn’t belong in our daily lives? What happens when we say that God only belongs in our churches and then only if He follows our schedule and agenda?

Based on what He told Moses and Aaron, we know exactly what will happen.

He will give us exactly what we ask for!

Think about that for a moment as you take a serious look at the current state of our society. We are reaping what we have sown. We are getting exactly what we have asked for, or, in the case of the Body of Christ, what we have not prayed to stop.

God has a timeline for things that He is unfolding that cannot be stopped. I am not sure where we are on that timeline, but I do know that the Body of Christ needs to pray for God’s will more than ever before. We like to pray for things that fit our will, such as a new job, a happy marriage, and a life free from trouble, but are we willing to truly pray for God’s will to be done?

Think about that last question as you read Daniel! Think about that last question as you read Revelation!

Do we really want God’s will or do we want our version of God’s will?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must make sure that we worship the Creator!

April 19, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Have I looked at the sun shining in the skies, or the moon walking down its silver pathway, and been secretly enticed to worship them? If so, I should be punished by the judges, for it would mean I had denied the God of heaven.
(Job 31:26-28 (NLT))

The earth and all of creation are things of beauty, but we must not forget that that they are a part of God’s creation.

We are to hold His creation in respect. We are to be good stewards of His creation. We are not to worship the creation as some people have become prone to do. We are to worship the Creator who made the sun shining in the skies, the moon walking its silver pathway, and our own magnificently created bodies.

We must not allow ourselves to be tricked into worshipping the creation. We must not allow the creation to become our god.

Jesus answered, “It is written: `Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’ ”
(Luke 4:8 (NIV))

It is true that God’s creation is a thing of majestic beauty, but it can be re-created at God’s will. In fact, the earth will be made anew. We have been promised that there will be a new heaven and a new earth. God will remake the earth as He originally intended for it to be.

But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
(2 Peter 3:13 (NIV))

Don’t get caught up in the trap of worshipping the creation when the Creator is calling out to you. God’s creations are for our pleasure and ultimately His pleasure. Ultimately, we are His greatest pleasure.

Worship God !

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How good is your soil?

February 5, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.
(Matthew 13:23 (NIV))

Which part of a person is the “soil?”

What makes soil good?

What makes this part of a person good?

Have you ever stopped to think that your heart is the soil in which the Word of God is planted? What makes your heart fertile? Is it a desire to know the truth? Is it a desire to know yourself? Is it a desire to help your fellow man? Is it a desire to know God and His Word?

Perhaps the best way to think of your heart being good soil is to think of your inner desires. Your heart will be good soil if you despise things that are not from God. Your heart will be good soil if you earnestly seek after God’s Will in all things. Your heart will be good soil if you cultivate it daily with the seed that is the Word of God.

When we cultivate our good soil, we will produce a crop. Some will become teachers and preachers who will teach the Gospel. Some will become evangelists who will spread the Gospel. Some will be called to be God’s witnesses where they work. No matter what crop your soil produces, tend it wisely. God will use it for something great. You may not be the person who tells millions of people about Jesus. God may be calling you to only tell one. The numbers do not matter, for they are in God’s hands. He is calling you to use your good soil to plant the seeds so that others may see the harvest.

How good is your soil?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready for a transformation?

January 18, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
(Romans 12:2 (NIV))

Do you conform to this world?

Think about this and what it truly means!

Do you do and say things in order to get what you want? Do you steal what is not yours so that you can have it? Do you think about lustful things? Do you want to be rich? Do you watch things that you shouldn’t see?

I could go on and on, but I believe that my point is one that you understand. The things of this fallen, sinful world are things that we, as the Body of Christ, should not seek after. We should seek after things that are righteous in the eyes of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

If you seek after something that is contrary to any or all of the fruits of the Spirit, then it should be avoided. Seek to be transformed into a person whose life reflects these characteristics.

Are you ready for a transformation?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Focus on Jesus and not on man-made theology!

October 28, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
(Hebrews 10:19-23 (NIV))

No matter what denomination you may be a member of, the true source of our faith is Jesus and Him crucified and resurrected. All else is trivial, for the differences that we have established in the name of our particular brand of faith in Jesus are all man made attempts at reaching God.

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6(NIV))

We cannot reach God through our own righteousness. God had to reach us and pull us out of our sin. We could not lift ourselves out of it. We are completely helpless without God and His gift of grace and mercy through the blood of Jesus.

Reread Hebrews 10:19-23. There is even an illustration of one of the primary differences that marks our denominations today, the debate over baptism and whether to sprinkle or submerge. This passage clearly states that our hearts have been sprinkled and our bodies washed. Baptism is, first and foremost, an act of total submission to God. We cannot judge others in their outward expression of this submission. Only God can judge, for He sees the heart.

Consider John the Baptist. His methods and outward appearance were contrary to everything the established religion of the day said he should be. Who did God’s Will? John the Baptist or those who condemned him?

How can we, who are not worthy to judge, judge each other in the trivial issues yet ignore the true source of our common faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Praise the LORD, O my soul!

October 14, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits–
(Psalms 103:1-2 (NIV))

It seems that every day something terrible happens in this world. Terrorism, assassinations, plagues, wars, rumors or wars, droughts, floods, and much, much more. Are things truly getting worse or have we just become so obsessed with these things that when something happens, it takes center stage in our lives? Personally, I think that it is both.

We have ways of knowing what is going on around the world almost at the very moment that it happens. We sit on the edge of our seats as we wait to hear the latest updates on the most recent tragedy. In all of this, how many of the inhabitants of this earth actually take time to stop and pray for God’s Will to be done? Do we pray for an end to these events that have us so captivated or do we forget God and wonder how humanity will solve the problems?

We are told to praise God. It does not say to only praise Him when things go good. We are to praise Him in all things. We are told to not forget His benefits. What could possibly be the benefits of praising God? I can think of many.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (NIV))

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature 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))

Only God knows what each day will bring. We can face it with fear and trepidation or we can praise God and face it with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Lord, grant me the ability to welcome each day earnestly praising you !

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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