Do you know true peace?

September 6, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
(1 Thessalonians 5:3 (NIV))

Everyone desires peace and safety. It is also something that has eluded this world ever since the fall of Adam and Eve.

There is a time that is coming when people will be patting themselves on the back because they will think that they have finally achieved that elusive peace and safety. They will think that human reason and achievement have finally resulted in a world society in which all people can live in safety and peace. Ironically, this all centers around Israel.

For over the last 60 years all eyes of the world have been focused on the Middle East. There have been wars and rumors of wars. There has been fighting in the streets. There is a “man” who is coming who will negotiate a peace that will have everyone fooled. Everyone, except those who have read the author’s script and know how the scene plays.

Peace is an admirable goal, but when a deal is made with the enemy of God in order to achieve that peace, can it truly be a real peace?

As believers, we must watch and pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Yet, we must recognize that when this peace actually comes, it is not the peace that comes from God, but is a signal of extremely difficult times to come. Whether you have a Biblical foundation for believing in a pre-Tribulation Rapture or a post-Tribulation Rapture, those who live through this “peace” will know no peace without knowing Jesus.

Do you know true peace?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you a new creation or do you still worry?

June 29, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?’ or `What shall we drink?’ or `What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
(Matthew 6:28-34 (NIV))

God created us to enjoy life! Life is not yesterday. Life is not tomorrow. Life is today! Once this moment is gone it can never come back.

We do not need to worry for worry takes away from today. God gave us the ultimate relief from worry when He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to die for our sins. Once we accept this gift, we no longer have to worry about tomorrow and the consequences of sin.

If we have accepted this gift, we have died to our sin and are new creations through Jesus Christ!

Are you a new creation or do you still worry?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How rich is your life?

June 17, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

How happy are those who fear the Lord—all who follow his ways! You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How happy you will be! How rich your life!
(Psalms 128:1-2 (NLT))

Where does your happiness come from?

I can honestly say that I never thought about my happiness coming from fear. I bet you probably didn’t either. If you stop to think about this, it makes perfect sense.

Let’s look at it from a few different perspectives, shall we?

Think about your one worldly fear that bothers you the most. For some, it may be heights. For others, it may be water. You do whatever you have to in order to avoid the thing that you are fearful of. You are happy as long as you avoid what you fear. You respect the thing that brings fear to you and you desire to avoid what brings you fear. You have established ways to avoid this and these ways make you happy.

Now, think about your relationship to your earthly father. I know that not all earthly fathers are good examples of what a father should be. I hope that yours was. You love your father and you know that your father loves you. You still know that if you do something terrible, your father would punish you. Hopefully, you realized this as a fear and lived within godly ways with you family. Your fear of punishment hopefully kept you in a place where you were happy. Hopefully, you were not one who rebelled and lived in anger and rage.

In both of these examples, boundaries were set. If you stayed within the boundaries, you enjoyed the fruit of your labor. You enjoyed the happiness within the safety of those boundaries. You felt the happiness and the richness that life can bring.

Think about your relationship with the Lord. Hopefully you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God loves you. Hopefully, you can say with no hesitation that you love God. His ways are true. His ways are good. His ways are righteous. When you follow His ways, you are inside boundaries that God has defined. These boundaries keep you safe. True happiness and peace can be found inside these boundaries. These boundaries, like the other boundaries that I referred to, are not there to keep you from having fun. They are there to keep you safe. They are there to define the safe areas where you can go. Anything outside of those safe areas can result in consequences that would be extremely bad. Just like a father who would punish you for taking the car when you didn’t have permission to, God will allow the physical consequences of your actions to apply to your lives.

How rich is your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready, willing and able to work?

March 30, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
(1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV))

Do you ever get discouraged with all that is going on in the world?

Do you ever feel like it is too much to bear when all around us the world is rejecting God, rejecting Jesus, and all that is righteous and true?

There has not been a day in a very long time that I have not been saddened by the world as it has rapidly turned away from the things that are of God to the things that are of sin. I know that this has been going on for a long time, but it seems to be getting worse and on a very accelerated rate. I could probably go on for a very long time and list all of the things that have saddened my heart when I look at this world, but it all pales by comparison when I keep my eyes focused on Jesus.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

I long for the day that I will see Jesus face to face. I know that I have not lived a perfect life in the eyes of God, but I rest assured that my hope and my faith are placed solely on the redeeming grace and the blood that was freely given on the cross at Calvary. It is because of this hope that I press on. It is because of this hope that I share my thoughts as words of encouragement. This is my work and I have fully given myself to it. It is not in vain.

Each of us are called to a certain task, a certain work that we do unto the Lord. Stand firm in that task. Don’t let the enemy and his lies keep you from fulfilling your work for the Lord. Whether you are called to witness to millions or just to one, God has set aside for you a task that no one else can do. It is important. It is not in vain.

Are you ready, willing and able to work?

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

September 3, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
(Exodus 20:8-11 (NIV))

We, as a society firmly believe in the idea of a break from work. We even have instituted legal holidays that honor our labors by giving us the day off, yet, we have forgotten why we rest. Mention that God has proclaimed that we are to rest and it becomes a breach of “separation of church and state.” Proclaim that humanity has reached a point that we can honor ourselves by taking a day off from our labors and it becomes politically correct.

Let’s take a look at the verses just before this.

“You shall have no other gods before me.
“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
“You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
(Exodus 20:3-7(NIV))

Our society has told us that whatever we long for can be our god. We have taken this and turned anything and everything into an idol that we worship. As a result of these atrocities, we have quickly and repeatedly taken the name of God in vain. Is it any wonder why we have removed the idea of Godly rest from not only our Saturdays (the true Sabbath) and our Sundays (the weekly celebration of the Resurrection), but also from our holidays as well.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Pray that we know what to watch for

August 23, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Unless the LORD builds the house,
its builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchmen stand guard in vain.
(Psalms 127:1 (NIV))

Every night that I sit down to write, I pray for guidance as to what God wants me to convey. I have a database of scripture verses that I have selected and tonight, I closed my eyes and “randomly” stopped on this verse. I do not think that this is an accident or a coincidence, for right before this happened, I was reading about the two conventions coming up for the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates. These two parties will officially select the individuals who will be in contention for the White House.

God is up to something in this world. He is up to something big!

Israel is surrounded by people who want to destroy her. Iran is threatening just that. Israel is preparing it’s citizens for 30 days of shortages and is giving out gas masks. They are also preparing their citizens for massive amounts of missile strikes in retaliation IF they decide to be preemptive with Iran. Russia is standing firm in their lack of support for Israel and support for Iran.

Does this sound familiar?

There are countless things that I see that trouble me with respect to how our world is heading. At the same time, these things intrigue me for they offer glimpses into the things that the prophets have written about. Could these things that are unfolding be the very things that we have read about?

We, as the Body of Christ, must stand firm in our faith. We must pray for God’s guidance and seek to follow His will for our lives, our families, our neighborhoods, our country and the world.

You are probably asking how this ties in with Psalm 127:1 and the current state of things.

We have been given God’s plans for His creation. It will be His plans that prevail. We may not like the state of things or the things that must happen, but they all part of God’s plans.

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”
Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”
(Matthew 16:21-23 (NIV))

Jesus rebuked Peter for wanting his agenda and not God’s. We see things from a different perspective and even though we see things that go against what we have been taught to believe in, God has an eternal plan.

Think about that for a moment from Peter’s persepctive.

If you had been in Peter’s shoes, how would you react if Jesus told you the details about the painful death that He would face? Would you have stood as Peter did and try to physically protect Jesus? I honestly think that we would not, nor do we, understand exactly what God is unfolding. We see glimpses and we wonder if this is what we have been told to watch for.

Pray for God’s guidance and follow Him.

Pray for God’s Will and wait for miraculous things to happen.

Pray for wisdom to discern the worldly from the Godly.

Pray that the Lord watches over us as we stand in watch.

Pray that we know what to watch for.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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To what end do you labor?

September 22, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.
(Colossians 1:28-29 (NIV))

I read this, and then I read it again. I read it one more time before it actually hit home.

Paul’s sole task after his Damascus road experience was teaching and admonishing, or urging, people to follow Jesus. Everything else that he did was secondary.

He did not live to work as so many of us do today.

He did not work to live. He had no vineyards to tend, or fields to plow. He had no business to run. He only labored to provide for his needs.

Paul’s mission in life was proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That was his passion. That was what consumed his time.

It is said that if you look at a person’s calendar and checkbook that you can clearly see what that person’s priorities are. I venture to say that Paul spent very little time and money on things that did not forward God’s Kingdom.

I know that not all of us are called to be another Paul, yet, I often wonder if we are falling short on what we are called to be. I enjoy my time within God’s Word. I am happy to see that God is using this to touch people’s lives, yet, I often wonder what I would be like, what we all would be like, if only we could labor as Paul.

What would our lives be like if we could double our labor for the Gospel? What would be the impact on family, friends, coworkers and even strangers? What would that do for the harvest?

He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.
(Luke 10:2 (NIV))

To what end do you labor?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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