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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Is Jesus your strong tower no matter what may come?

April 27, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
the righteous run to it and are safe.
(Proverbs 18:10 (NIV))

No matter what the world may say or do, God is not dead. No matter how many people say that right is wrong and evil is right, God is not dead. No matter how many things are ridiculed as old fashioned and bigoted, God is not dead.

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 13:23-30 (NIV))

We have been told that righteousness and evil will grow in the world. We have also been told that those who trust in the Lord shall be saved. The parable from Matthew 13 and the passage from Proverbs 18:10 tell us the very same thing. We are to turn to the Lord. He is our refuge. He is our shelter. He is our strength.

When was the last time that you willingly walked out into a violent storm? It is probably a safe assumption that instead of doing this, you took shelter in a warm and welcoming place of refuge. You spent the time watching the storm, knowing that you were safe from the bad things that the storm could bring. You found strength in the safety of your shelter.

Is Jesus your shelter in times of trouble? Is He your shelter only during these times, or do you take refuge in Him at all times? Just as a shelter is welcoming during a storm, it is also a bright and fulfilling place in other times. It is a safe harbor to call home. It is a place of familiarity and comfort. To most people, their home is such a place.

Is Jesus such a place? Is Jesus your home no matter what may come?

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

April 17, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
(Matthew 13:44-46 (NIV))

What is your greatest treasure?

Are you like some people and have a car that you keep spotless and in perfect condition? Do you have a home that is the epitome of what you have spent your life in pursuit of? Does your position bring you prestige and stroke your ego?

Sadly enough, these treasures are the misguided and fleeting possessions of someone who places their faith and trust in the wrong things. They are the treasures of someone who has their priorities all wrong.

Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with having these type of possessions if God has blessed you with them. What is wrong is an unhealthy obsession with these possessions that results in an exclusion of God’s Kingdom from your life.

Are you willing to give up your earthly treasures for what God has freely given to us through His son, Jesus Christ? Would you willingly give up your car that will eventually rust and stop running for a treasure in heaven that will never fade or diminish in value? Think about that question. What God offers us is far more valuable to possess than any possession that man can make, yet, we are often so reluctant to let go of what will rot and fade for something that will last for ever.

Are you willing to do what the people in this parable were willing to do?

They realized the uncompromised value of what they had found and realized that they needed to sell everything in order to obtain it. They were willing to let the things of man be set aside to allow the things of God to be obtained. It was a matter of priorities.

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?
(Luke 9:25 (NIV))

Are you willing to let go of your worldly treasures for the treasure that God has waiting for you?

Is that your final answer?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you whimpering in the dark?

December 3, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:

“A voice of one calling in the desert,
`Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’ ”
(Matthew 3:1-3 (NIV))

We think of John the Baptist as a strange character, after all, he lived in the desert and ate wild locusts and honey. Would any sane person do that?

Perhaps we should consider that John was probably the most sane person, next to Jesus, alive during his time. Sanity means that you are able to distinguish right from wrong and do what is best for yourself and all around you. Even though John’s message went against the thinking and social standards of the day, he did what he knew had to be done. It was a willful decision to obey. God had given him the task of letting people know that the Messiah was coming soon. John fulfilled his task with a dignity and an assurance that he was right.

We have been given a task by Jesus. We are to make disciples for Him. Do we approach our task with the same dignity and assurance that John the Baptist approached his? Are we calling people to repentance and forgiveness through the blood of Jesus with as much energy and assuredness as John called them to repentance almost two thousand years ago? Perhaps we need to reevaluate our focus and become more like John.

Are you a voice calling in the wilderness, or are you whimpering in the dark?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Whose kingdom do you belong to?

October 8, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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 13:8 (NIV))

I am sure that everybody is familiar with this passage. It is often quoted and many people read it and wonder what God is unfolding. I know that many people have their own understanding of this passage, but I came across something that caught my attention. When this was written, nation against nation did not mean the political and geographic boundaries that we think of. Nation against nation meant different people groups would rise up against each other. To put it in terms that our modern society has adopted, race would rise up against race. There will be hatred and fighting between the different races of humanity.

Sadly, we are seeing way too much of just that in our society and in our world. It is even coming from so called preachers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

There is something else that came to the forefront while reading this passage and that is in relation to kingdom against kingdom. Many people believe that this is what is referring to what we call countries. I believe that it is referring to this, but I also believe that it has another meaning.

Jesus referred to the kingdom of heaven. Satan was given dominion over the kingdoms of this earth. If you look at kingdom against kingdom in this manner, then we see the kingdom of Satan rising up against the Kingdom of Heaven. We see this every day in the way that good is called evil and evil is called good. We see this with the killing of Christians simply because they profess a faith in Jesus. We see this in far too many aspects of our society, most of which have rapidly become the norm. Satan’s kingdom is rising up against God’s Kingdom.

Take heart. Look up.

Keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

Birth pains are upon us.

If you have looked at any of the prophetic signs, you know about the moon turning to blood and the signs in the heavens. I know that we are told that we cannot know the hour or the day, but it sure feels like the season!

Whose kingdom do you belong to?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 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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Hold fast to the faith

July 7, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
(Matthew 5:10-12 (NIV))

Hold fast to what is of God and do not let the world distract you. The rewards of God are far better than anything the world has to offer. If you hold fast to God’s Word, then you will have the world trying to distract you. If they cannot distract you, then they will try to torment and persecute you. Unfortunately, persecution is a sign of righteousness and unswerving faith in God. Satan is trying with all of his arsenal to make you forsake God and accept the world view of things. Do not be dismayed! Hold fast to the faith and remember that the persecution that you are facing is not from God, but from Satan. If Satan is persecuting you, then he is afraid of what God will do through you and he is trying to stop it. Always remember that

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
(1 John 4:4)

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
(2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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