Do you long for His return?

May 16, 2017

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. 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. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
(1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (NIV))

What is on your mind and in your heart?

Do you love the world so much that you forget about Jesus, or do you long for His return? Do you grow tired of seeing the sin that runs freely everywhere you look, or do you see the things of this world and find yourself wanting to participate? Do you long for righteousness and peace or do you dread hearing anything to do with God and His Word?

It is a matter of your personal priorities!

I recently have seen several people who speak about our desires to see Jesus. Most of them have presented a very interesting point with respect to what the church is calling the rapture. I am not going to get into the pre, mid and post arguments, but rather the honest desires of our hearts. Many of these people are espousing a point of view that states that only those who are earnestly waiting for His return will be raptured. I want you to consider two people from the time when Jesus was born. Simeon was a very devout and righteous man. Anna was an old woman who spent all of her time at the temple. Both Simeon and Anna longed to see the coming of the Messiah. In the midst of a nation who was trying to find the Messiah, these two people apparently lived this desire full time and as a result of their longing, they were allowed to witness what they longed for.

I cannot begin to say that I know how God will work, but I do know that, based on His previous track record, He reveals Himself to those who earnestly and fervently seek Him.

With this in mind, do you need to reevaluate your priorities? Do you need to take a long, hard look at your heart and take a look at the thoughts that fill your mind? If God will rapture only those who earnestly long to see Jesus, where does that leave you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you really lack for anything in order to spread the Gospel?

January 25, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
(2 Corinthians 9:8 (NIV))

Do you have all that you need?

Before you answer that question, step back and take a look at your life from both a worldly point of view and then a spiritual point of view. Hopefully, you recognize that the things that you think you need in the physical world are not needs. They are wants.

Has God blessed you with a family? Has He blessed you with a place to sleep and a place to call home? From a worldly perspective, all of us think that we need a bigger house and better cars. We all think that we need more money, but in all reality, what would we do with these things? The more worldly things we have, the more that we think we need to have. We all think that we would be more generous if we had an abundance. Ironically, studies have shown that this is not the case. It is true that there are always exceptions, but for the most part, people who have more are less willing to give freely. They get tied down and bound to their worldly possessions.

Take a look at your life from God’s perspective!

What do you see?

I bet that your understanding of needs are much different if you will only allow yourself to see things from God’s perspective.

Do you have a heart filled with love and compassion for your fellow man? Do you need to fellowship with others?

Do you have a love for God and His Word? Do you need God and His Word? Do you need to share His Word? Do you need to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

All that you truly need is God. If He is your priority, all of your other needs will be met. Don’t get me wrong and take this to mean that I believe that God will take care of us all in the same manner. God will use us where we are to reach out to those around us. He is not going to place all members of the Body of Christ in a single, upscale subdivision and ignore the rest of the world! He needs to have people in all walks of life to be able to minister.

There is an old saying to grow where God plants you. You have been equipped with all that you need to abound in good works where you are.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you someone for whom the law was made?

January 20, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers–and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
(1 Timothy 1:8-11 (NIV))

Everyone knows that we are supposed to obey laws, but have you ever thought about why laws exist to begin with?

It took someone stealing something to make people realize that we needed laws against stealing. It took someone driving too fast to make people realize that we needed laws on how fast we could drive. It took Cain killing Abel to make people realize that we needed laws to keep people from killing each other.

Do you see the trend?

It took someone doing something bad that made others realize that type of bad behavior had to be prevented!

How many people do you know who have to be told not to murder anyone?

How many people do you know who have to be told not to steal anything?

As we are told in 1 Timothy, laws are not made for the righteous, they are made to remind people who don’t follow God and His Word how they should behave. They are made to set boundaries on people who will not set boundaries on themselves. Do you know someone like this? I know that it is human nature to rebel, but do we have to take it so far that we steal, kill and destroy? Does that sound familiar? If you stop to think about it, laws based on God’s Word are designed to make us stop and think about not following the lies of the enemy.

Are you someone for whom the law was made?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you been cleansed and renewed?

October 21, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (KJV))

How many times have you heard this passage quoted or read this passage? If you are like me, you are probably well acquainted with the words contained in this short sentence.

Do you take them to heart?

Do you honestly desire to have a clean heart? Do you want God to search you and to cleanse you of anything that is less than righteous in His eyes? Take a look at your life. Take a look at your heart. What do you find yourself doing when you think that no one is looking or when you are by yourself? Do you need a clean heart?

What about your spirit? It is human nature to have a rebellious spirit. You can blame that on the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. Do you truly wish to get rid of the spirit that was in you at birth? Do you wish to rid yourself of the very nature that has condemned you, along with all of humanity, to an eternity away from God? Hopefully, your answer is a resounding yes.

Let’s be honest. We all need a clean heart. We need to rid ourselves of the things in this life that distract us from what God has called us to be. We need to replace our sinful spirit with a right spirit. We need to focus on God and His Word. We can do that by surrendering our lives. We can do that by professing a faith in God’s Word made flesh. We can accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. We can earnestly seek after God’s own heart.

We never know what tomorrow may bring. It may be too late. With the state of the world, we never know what day may be our last, or when Jesus will come to remove those who earnestly seek to follow Him. Shouldn’t we turn Psalms 51:10 into a daily prayer for our own souls?

Do you want a clean heart and a right spirit?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do we gather or do we sleep?

September 6, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Lazy hands make a man poor,
but diligent hands bring wealth.
He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son,
but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.
(Proverbs 10:4-5 (NIV))

Whenever God speaks through His Word, it always seems to have both a near and a long term impact. When taken literally, this speaks of actual physical labor here on earth for our sustenance. Nothing could be more true.

Take a look at the same passage through “Kingdom Eyes” and it takes on a whole new meaning. When we consider that all who accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior are to be saved, that is grace. Just like the son who sleeps during the harvest is fed by his earthly father, God will “feed” His spiritual son. But that son will not receive a reward for his labors. Those “sons” who work the harvest of God’s Kingdom will be rewarded with positions of authority within Heaven.

The summer of gathering is upon us. Will we gather and prove to be a wise son, or will we “sleep” during the harvest of souls and be disgraceful?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are the things of God clear to you?

August 9, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.
(Philippians 3:15 (NIV))

I know that this passage was written by Paul to explain that what we hold important in our physical lives has all been turned upside down by Jesus. This comes right after Paul told the church at Philippi about his former standing as a Jewish citizen where he was considered a member of the elite. It comes right after Paul telling them that his old priorities no longer mattered and his new top priority is knowing Jesus.

Are you willing to profess such a bold statement? Are you willing to give up everything that you used to hold dear and follow Jesus?

The passage above reflects Paul’s decision and his desire for believers to mature in their faith and seek Jesus as their new and only priority. However, I find it interesting that these very words also serve to instruct people to seek not their interpretation of God, but the truth as it is written in His Word. It is human nature to read something and take it completely out of context to the point where we see what we want to see. Paul, in his wisdom, told us that if we don’t understand something the way that God wants it to be understood, keep studying. Keep praying. Keep seeking God and He will open our eyes to the true meaning of what He is saying.

We don’t want our spin on God’s Word. We don’t want society’s spin on God’s Word. We want to know God’s Word through His heart and His mind.

Are you willing to allow God to make things clear to you?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your delight?

June 14, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands are my delight.
(Psalms 119:143 (NIV))

In the events that we face in our lives, I don’t know too many people who can’t claim the first part of this passage as their own for we have all had trouble and distress.

But what about the second part?

Are the commands of God your delight?

Even when we face the troubles that the world throws at us, we should rejoice in the commands of God, for these commands lead us to righteous living and to eternal salvation through God’s only Son, Jesus Christ!

We can either delight in God’s commands or we can delight in the ways of the world. The two are diametrically opposite from each other. You cannot embrace both. You must embrace the one and reject the other. Which one you embrace and make your delight is your decision. Keep in mind that a lukewarm decision for God is the same as a decision for the ways of the world. God does not want you to pick and choose which parts of His Word and commands you wish to follow. You cannot be divided.

If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
(Mark 3:24-25 (NIV))

How do you stand?

What is your delight?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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