Summer is near. It is right at the door!

June 22, 2022

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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 all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.
(Matthew 24:32-33 (NIV))

What is your understanding of the role that Israel plays in the current state of the world and it’s future?

Think about that in relation to this passage and the fact that the fig tree is a symbol of the nation of Israel. In fact, it is widely accepted that the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 marks the fig tree coming back to life! Its leaves are out after many years of dormancy. It is also accepted that when Jesus cursed the fig tree, He was using that as a teachable moment for His disciples. They understood the association of the fig tree with Israel.

Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.
(Matthew 21:18-19 (NIV))

Israel had rejected Jesus. They did not bear any fruit as a result of His coming to earth, and as such, Jesus pronounced judgment on Israel through the analogy of the fig tree.

But now, . . .

Israel has become a nation once again. The fig tree has sprouted leaves and summer is upon us!

Do you understand what that means? Do you understand that this indicates the soon end of the time of the Gentiles and that God will focus once again on fulfilling His dealings with Israel. We are very close to Daniel’s seventieth week!

It is well known that the generation that sees Israel return to their homeland shall not pass away before these things begin. Do you know anyone who was born in 1948? Do you know anyone who was born before 1948? I hate to say this, but each day sees fewer and fewer people alive who witnessed Israel become a nation again. This reminds me of an old saying that God is never early and that He is never late. Everything works according to His timing and based on the scriptures that we have been given, His timing is unfolding right before our eyes. It is unfolding in such a way that even though I was not alive in 1948, I expect to see God move in a mighty way very soon. I believe that we are in the days of the fig tree generation.

Summer is near. It is right at the door!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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God still saves those who call upon His name!

April 6, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Alas! That day is so great
      there is none like it;
it is a time of distress for Jacob;
      yet he shall be saved out of it.
(Jeremiah 30:7 (NIV))

What is your understanding of the importance of Israel in God’s timeline?

What is your understanding of the tribulation that is spoken of in Revelation and hinted at in Jeremiah and many other books?

There are many who believe that the tribulation is what is referred to in this passage. You may be more familiar with it being called the time of Jacob’s trouble. Based on this concept, many believe that what is spoken of in Revelation is God’s plan to redeem, to refine Israel and that the church will be gone before this happens. As God unfolds His plan, more and more will be understood. Now, we can only speculate as to what all of this means and how the Lord will unfold all of it as His plan comes to fruition. One thing is certain. God is not through with Israel. He has plans to redeem Israel for Himself. He has plans to redeem Jerusalem to Himself. With this in mind, we must be diligent in our prayers.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
(Psalm 122:6a (NIV))

We must also be like the Bereans and search the scriptures for the truth as God unfolds it.

Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
(Acts 17:11 (NIV))

God gave us His word.

I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.
(John 14:29 (NIV))

We must dive deeply into His word so that we are able to recognize when things happen and believe. We must also share the Gospel so that others will believe. We must lead people to Jesus before they are distressed and troubled. We must lead people to Jesus so that they may know of God’s grace and mercy before it is too late.

God still saves those who call upon His name!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Don’t wait any longer to accept Jesus!

August 26, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.
(Romans 11:25 (ESV))

What do you think of when you hear the word “full?”

Most of us associate this word with our appetites. We have no more room for anything else. We have taken in as much as we can possibly contain. Our appetite has been completely satisfied. If that is the case, then fullness, by definition, is simply the state of being full.

How does this relate to this passage? What does the fullness of the Gentiles imply?

I have never given this passage much thought beyond the obvious indications that God will change His focus back to Israel after the fullness of the Gentiles occurs. With all of the events that are transpiring in the world that many believe are direct fulfillment of prophecy, my attention was brought back to this passage. What happens if we are caught on the wrong side of the fullness of the Gentiles? I was instantly led to this 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.

At midnight the cry rang out: “Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!”

Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.”

“No,” they replied, “there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.”

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.

Later the others also came. “Lord, Lord,” they said, “open the door for us!”

But he replied, “Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
(Matthew 25:1-13 (NIV))

Biblical scholars have been studying these words for a long time. There are differing opinions on the text and what they mean, but I simply want to ask one question. What is keeping you from accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? Whether it be the possible fullness of the Gentiles, Jesus’ return, or your own mortality, now is the time to repent and accept the gift of grace that is freely given through the cross. 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.

Don’t wait any longer to accept Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Don’t wait until the next generation!

January 27, 2021

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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 all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.
(Matthew 24:32-34 (NIV))

Have you ever truly studied this parable of the fig tree?

I want to start by making a statement that any time a fig tree is mentioned in the Bible, it represents Israel. If you look at Mark 11, you read about a fig tree that was cursed by Jesus because it was not time for it to bear fruit. At His first coming, Israel rejected Jesus. After His crucifixion, the people of Israel were scattered. This passage in Matthew tells of a time when Israel would be gathered back to their homeland. In 1948, the twigs were tender, for Israel was a small group of people back in the land. Many scholars believe that the leaves came out in 1967 and that the nation has grown stronger ever since that time.

This puts a whole new meaning into the last sentence of the passage from Matthew.

Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.
(Matthew 24:34 (NIV))

We have all heard this passage many times before, but I want you to actually think about this passage in relation to the average life span of a person. I want you to think about this passage in relation to the implications that it contains. With that said, does this mean that people who were alive to see Israel become a nation again will be alive to see the return of Jesus? Think about that! 1948 was seventy-three years ago. 1967 was fifty-four years ago. I honestly believe that we need to look at 1948 as the starting point, but even if it is 1967, we have to seriously face reality. Both of these are rapidly approaching the length of a human life! We also have to take into account that the return of Jesus is at the end of the seven year tribulation. I realize that if God wanted to, He could have a member of this generation live to be five hundred years old, but I do not believe that this is the case.

Time is short!

We don’t know when this generation will pass away.

Are you secure in your salvation?

It is a process as simple as A, B, C.

A. Admit that you are a sinner.
B. Believe in your heart that Jesus died for your sins, was buried and that God raised Him from the dead.
C. Call upon the name of the Lord by confessing that Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords.

Don’t wait until the next generation!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 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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Do you support those who support Israel and Jerusalem?

October 30, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing:
(Ezra 1:1 (NIV))

We know that God used Nebuchadnezzar as His servant to bring His judgment upon Jerusalem. Then at the appointed time, after the exiles had repented, He used Cyrus to bring about the return to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Temple. Both men had a part in God’s plans. Even though they did completely opposite things, they both fulfilled God’s plans. They were both servants of the Lord whether they knew it or not. God moves people to fulfill His will for the specific period in history. Nebuchadnezzar brought punishment and Cyrus brought restoration. Cyrus returned Jerusalem to the descendants of Israel. Cyrus also committed to rebuilding the Temple.

Jerusalem is the key!

But you are to seek the place the LORD your God will choose from among all your tribes to put his Name there for his dwelling. To that place you must go;
(Deuteronomy 12:5 (NIV))

That place is Jerusalem!

Cyrus knew this. That is why he listened to the Lord.

“This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:
“‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem, and may their God be with them. And in any locality where survivors may now be living, the people are to provide them with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.'”
(Ezra 1:2-4 (NIV))

Everything hinges on Jerusalem.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May those who love you be secure.
(Psalms 122:6 (NIV))

On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem.
(Zechariah 12:9 (NIV))

If we profess a faith in Jesus, who is the Jewish Messiah, then we should also stand firm in God’s Word when it comes to Jerusalem. The Body of Christ hasn’t replaced Israel. We are grafted into amazing grace. We should not do anything to bring destruction upon the city where God has placed His name! We must support the proclamation that Jerusalem is His city where His Temple shall be.

Do you support those who support Israel and Jerusalem?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Is this continually on your lips?

September 8, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, “Great is the Lord!”
(Psalms 40:16 (NIV))

Do you proclaim the greatness of the Lord at all times?

Think about that question with respect to these situations. Are you able to proclaim the greatness of the Lord when you’ve just lost your job? What about when you have no money left and you still need food? What about when someone whom you love passes away? Is it easy to still proclaim the greatness of the Lord in these situations?

I realize that these are extreme examples and that everyone has times that they can think of when it was difficult to proclaim the greatness of the Lord. Have there been specific times in your life when you found this difficult to do? Did you ever get to the point where you could proclaim this again? Perhaps you are in a situation at this moment in time that you simply feel that the Lord has forsaken you. You are not alone!

Even David had these times in his life where he felt that the Lord had forgotten him or forsaken him. Let’s put this in perspective. David was the young man who faced and killed Goliath. David was the young man whom God anointed to be king over all of Israel. David was the man who defeated all the enemies of Israel. David purchased the land for the location of the Temple. David was called a man after God’s own heart. Still, in all the ways that the Lord blessed him, there were times when David felt that God had turned His back on him. We can read this in the Psalms that he wrote. He goes from praising God to asking why He has been forsaken. In all instances, David quickly comes full circles and praised God in the midst of the troubles because he has a history with the Lord. He knows that the Lord will do once again what He has done in the past. He knows that the Lord will not leave him in the situations that he found himself in.

In essence, David knew to praise the Lord for what He has done. He also knew to turn to the Lord and seek His blessing when the enemy was closing in, even when it appeared that the enemy was winning. David knew that he needed to lift up praise to the Lord for the greatness of the next thing that the Lord would do. It could easily be said that David’s praise could be broken down into two categories.

David praised the Lord for what He has done.

David praised the Lord for what He would do.

Do we have the faith to praise the Lord in this manner? Are we able to say “Great is the Lord” even when we don’t see what He is doing?

We must rejoice at all times for Great is the Lord!

Is this continually on your lips?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you still weary and faint?

August 28, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.
(Jeremiah 31:25 (NIV))

Is the world beating you down to the point that you are just drained, weary and faint?

I realize that this question is probably too close to the truth for many of us today. I fully understand just how someone could feel this way. It seems as if each day brings something new and different to the forefront for us to be concerned about. These words were written long before Jesus came into the world. These words were written long before the nation of Israel was scattered. They were written long before Israel was brought back into their land. This whole passage in Jeremiah describes the promises that the Lord has made. It also describes promises fulfilled, for we see these things right before our eyes as God unfolds them for Israel.

Do you think that what is happening in the world has caught God off guard? Do you think that He had no idea what this year would bring? If you answered “Yes” to these questions, you need to take another look at your definition of God. If you answered “Yes” to these questions, you need to stop worshipping the little god that you have put in a box and start worshipping the true God who is Creator and Lord of all.

I realize that the promise God made was to Israel, but if we place our faith and trust in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, then that promise is also for us. In fact, every promise that God has ever made is extended to those who believe in Jesus.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
(2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV))

If the Lord has said that He will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint, then we should claim this promise as our own. We should proclaim it to the world so that others may know that they, too, can be refreshed and satisfied simply by professing a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

Are you still weary and faint?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Does your life reflect your hope?

April 6, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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 40:31 (NIV))

We have been told in other Scripture passages that we would face troubles. We have been told that there would be people who would faint from the things that they would face. Ezekiel wrote about Babylon coming against Israel and what would happen.

And when they ask you, ‘Why are you groaning?’ you shall say, ‘Because of the news that is coming. Every heart will melt with fear and every hand go limp; every spirit will become faint and every leg will be wet with urine.’ It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign Lord.”
(Ezekiel 21:7 (NIV))

We aren’t yet to the point that Luke writes of, but the description is of something that we don’t want to see.

People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.
(Luke 21:26 (NIV))

We are facing worldwide troubles. I am certain that some people are in a state of panic and could very easily faint from fear. Others have a peace that passes understanding. We have a hope that brings about a renewed faith even in the face of adversity.

I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.
(Jeremiah 31:25 (NIV))

I love how the Lord tells us to place our hope in Him, and that He will give us strength so that we don’t grow faint. I did a search for the word “faint,” and I found that thirty-five of the returned passages in one translation are in the Old Testament. I find it interesting that the only passage that is in the New Testament in this translation is Luke 21:26. I love how after Jesus came to the earth to bring us hope and salvation, the only reference to fainting is of a future event and those who are fainting are those who do not know Jesus!

Do you know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? Do you place your hope in Jesus as Lord?

Does your life reflect your hope?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
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Have you been strengthened?

March 27, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10 (NIV))

The circumstances may have changed from when this was originally recorded but the message is still the same.

Has there ever been a generation of humanity that did not need the assurance that is spoken in these words? Israel had Babylon. Skipping ahead to more recent times, the whole world had World War I and World War II. We have had terrorists and now we have a worldwide pandemic brought about by an enemy so small that it can’t be seen. We are told to not even get close to each other out of fear of spreading this contagion. It’s as if the enemy is trying harder and harder to make all of creation fear the glory of God’s creation. Now, just as it was all throughout history, humanity has faced things in this world that bring fear, but just as we were told in Isaiah, we have nothing to fear!

God had chosen the nation of Israel to bring forth His greatest promise. The enemy did all that he could to prevent that. Israel faced slavery in Egypt. Israel faced captivity by Babylon. They faced occupation by Roman armies. Even through all of this, and much more, God’s greatest promise, a savior, was fulfilled in Jesus. All along the way, God raised up individuals whom He used to remind the people to keep their eyes on Him, not to be afraid and to be confident of His strength. We are no different today. God is still raising up individuals to remind us of His promises and to not be afraid no matter what the enemy may send our way.

Right now, the enemy is working overtime. He knows that his time is short. He is doing all that he can to set the stage for his unholy trinity of the false prophet, the antichrist and himself. If you have professed a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then you have nothing to fear from what the world or the enemy may send your way. Through Jesus, we have been promised salvation from an eternity in hell and promised an eternal home in heaven with God the Father.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
(2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV))

If we can count on all of God’s promises being fulfilled, why should we fear anything that the world or the enemy may send our way? When we begin to grow fearful, we must remember that the Lord of all creation has told us do not fear! This single fact should be enough to give us strength!

Have you been strengthened?

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