Are we too busy to be still and listen?

October 19, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”
(Psalms 46:10 (NIV))

I realize that I use this passage quite often. In fact, everything that I do has a basis in the first part of this passage, for we must learn to be still in His presence in order to subdue our sinful nature and place ourselves completely at His feet and in His will.

How are you at being still in His presence?

I realize that is what is often referred to as a loaded question, but it is a question that we all must learn to truthfully answer. We must then learn to take steps to humble ourselves and submit to His authority. Better yet, we must learn to submit to His great love!

Have you ever given any thought as to why we are told to be still, to listen for that still, small voice, and to be still and let God fight for us?

We are facing something far greater than what our limited minds can fathom. We are facing something that requires us to place our complete faith and trust in the very one who is planning it. Many people simply believe that the Bible is “basic instructions before leaving earth,” and that it provides us insight into how we are called to live out our walk of faith. That is true, but there is so much more. God’s Word is a love letter from a loving Creator to His creation outlining how He created everything, how Adam and Eve fell from grace, how humanity has tried everything to bridge that grace gap, how God devised a plan to do just that, and how He sent Jesus to seek and to save the lost.

But, if that was all that there was for us in God’s Word, it would have ended with the ascension of Jesus, after all, Jesus taught us all that we needed to know in order to live a Godly life!

We know that God’s plan of salvation through the atoning blood of Jesus is something that is beyond amazing, for we were all sinners in need of a Savior. However, we overlook the parts that are still unfolding. We overlook the parts that have not happened yet. We are so engrossed in our daily lives that we miss the big picture. We live in a microcosm of our own creation. Our lives only interact with just a few hundred, perhaps even a few thousand people out of the vast numbers of individuals who are alive now, let alone those who have ever or will ever live. God is doing something far greater than our limited circle of influence. He is doing something far greater than just our nation. He is doing something that reaches out of heaven and addresses sinful humanity and the one who tricked us into falling for the lie.

When you take the time to be still and sit in His presence, what is your spirit telling you? What is the Holy Spirit telling you?

God is definitely up to something that will exalt Him among the nations. He will be exalted in the earth! Only in our humility will we truly understand. Only in our humility will we be able to know the very heart of the Father who is trying to tell us to fix our eyes upon Jesus! With all of the gadgets and distraction that our world sends our way, we must learn to turn them off and tune them out. We must learn to not spend so much time in facebook, but rather we must spend our time seeking His face!

God is trying to tell us something!

Are we too busy to be still and listen?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Always keep your eyes on Jesus!

October 4, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
(1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (NIV))

Do you believe that this is true?

Do you look forward to the day that this will happen?

According to a recent article posted on a large news network’s site, if you fear this, then you are suffering from rapture anxiety. The article states that this is recognized by “some” faith experts and mental health experts as a type of religious trauma.

Do you feel traumatized?

The article equates this to a “scary campfire story.”

Do you feel scared?

They even tried to equate this with fear and rejection!

Are you fearful? Do you feel rejected?

The article proceeded to say that many feel that the church no longer matches their personal values!

There is so much wrong with this on so many levels. I am not even going to dig into these comments and provide a Biblical rebuttal. If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior and you hold fast to Biblical truths, then you can draw your own conclusions. My concern, and the concerns of many others as well, is that this is just a precursor to persecution of those who hold fast to Biblical truths. If someone who rejects Biblical teaching can claim that they suffered mental health issues because of the truth, then that opens things up for who knows what, including persecution of anyone who professes a faith in Jesus and His return! Many countries are now saying that sharing the Gospel is a hate crime!

We definitely are living in some very interesting times. Don’t let the world sway you. Don’t let the fear of persecution make your faith falter. We have nothing to fear. If we profess a faith in Jesus, we are made sons and daughters of the Living God! He doesn’t change for us. We approach Him in humble repentance! His truth is eternal. We approach Him only through the cross and Him crucified!

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

Always keep your eyes on Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How are you at doing what God’s Word says?

September 27, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
(James 1:22 (NIV))

How many of us deceive ourselves when it comes to God’s Word? We all have passages that we read and tell ourselves, “Yeah. If only everybody would be like that, it would be great.” The bad part about that is that most of the time we have only a superficial desire to do what we are asking others to do. We never truly do what it says.

We read and study God’s Word, then almost immediately we do the very thing that it says that we should not do. It is like we are still in the Garden of Eden rebelling against God with Adam and Eve. We still only give a brief acknowledgment to the path that is right, but we never seem to follow the path to its destination. We soon get sidetracked and forget where we were desiring to go.

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.
(James 1:23-25 (NIV))

God desires for us to not only listen to the Word. He longs for us to do what it says. Listening to God’s Word does not make you a follower. Satan listened to the Word. He knows exactly what it says. I would venture to say that the biggest issue is that he doesn’t do what God’s Word says.

Is this the root of human rebellion? Is this the root of human sin? We miss the mark all too often. Perhaps we should start to do what God’s Word says. At least, we should desire to do what it says.

What is your desire?

How are you at doing what God’s Word says?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you need to learn to be still?

August 12, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
(Exodus 14:14 (NIV))

This goes against everything that we know as sinful, fallen humanity. It is human nature to take matters into our own hands. When things don’t go as we want, we inherently get all puffed up and ready to go to battle to get what we feel we deserve. In essence, it all comes down to ego and pride. To put it simply, we are all too willing to go to battle without waiting for the Lord. We don’t stop to think about if what we want is what is wanted for us by the Lord.

We need to learn to be patient.

We need to learn to listen.

We need to learn to recognize that our desires are not always the right choice!

We need to learn to be still and wait for the Lord no matter what may happen in this world. He has His timing and we can’t rush it, even though we may try.

Be still before the Lord
     and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
     when they carry out their wicked schemes.
(Psalm 37:7 (NIV))

Do you have trouble waiting for the Lord? You are not alone. I am constantly reminded to do just that. In fact, for anyone who knows me, or has followed these devotionals for very long, you will know that everything is predicated on the following passage.

Be still, and know that I am God;
(Psalm 46:10a (NIV))

In order to trust that the Lord will fight for you, you must know Him. In order to wait patiently for Him, you must trust Him. In order to be still in His presence, you must desire what only He can offer.

What is it that you desire?

Do you need to learn to be still?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is it that you do?

August 3, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
(James 1:22 (NIV))

Are you content to hear a twenty minute sermon once a week and then profess to know how God desires for you to live?

If you want to learn how to be a better musician, you practice your instrument often. If you want to be a better tennis player, you practice and play often. If you want to run a marathon, you train and you run often. If you want to be good at your job, you go to school to learn the details about your chosen profession. Why do we think that we can do any different when it comes to living our lives according to God’s Word? Why do we think that we’ve got this “Christianity thing” down pat when we can’t even go one minute without failing miserably at putting our faith into action?

James tells us to do what the Word says, but how many of us actually spend enough time alone in God’s Word to know what it says? How many of us truly understand the concept of taking up our cross daily and following Him daily?

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
(Luke 9:23 (NIV))

If we don’t do what His Word says, if we don’t take up our cross daily, if we don’t follow Him daily, are we doing anything more than giving lip service to something that we truly don’t understand? Are we guilty of simply being a poser?

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV))

I long to hear completely different words when I stand before Jesus!

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
(Matthew 25:21 (NIV))

We know that only by professing a faith in Jesus will we be saved. Works will not do it. Associating with someone who professes a faith will not do it. Only by professing a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior will bring you the gift of salvation, but we are called to put our faith into action. We are called to live according to God’s Word. We are called to emulate Jesus in all that we do. We are called to walk with Jesus and imitate what we see in Him. If we profess a faith in Jesus, then our heart should desire to do what He calls us to do, but we must do it only as He directs. It is so easy to see things that we think we should be doing and go off and do them without Jesus in our lives. If you consider Jesus in context to the passage from James, it bring clarity. Jesus was God with us, yet, He didn’t do what He wanted to do. He only did what God’s Word instructed.

Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
(John 5:19 (NIV))

What is it that you do?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you like a great mystery?

June 23, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.
(1 Corinthians 15:51 (NIV))

Perhaps this is one of those mysteries of the faith that we cannot fully understand until it happens. Whatever does transpire, it is a promise that we have to hold onto even when all around us is chaos and uncertainty.

God loves us!

He loves us enough to have sent Jesus to die for our transgressions. If God allowed that to happen because of His love for us, then what else does He have in store for us? The Bible has given us many promises, and it also tells us that they are all “Yes” through Jesus.

We don’t know when the last trumpet will sound, but we do know that if it is written in God’s Word, then it will happen.

We do not fully understand at this time, but there will come a time when we will see clearly just what God has for us. Perhaps that is why things like this are referred to as mysteries of the faith. We choose to believe even though we may not understand.

Do you like a great mystery?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is this easier said than done?

April 5, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
(James 1:22 (NIV))

What is your reaction to these simple words?

Is this easier said than done?

Most of us think that we are good at putting our faith into action, but if we are serious with ourselves, we fail miserably more often than not. If we were good at putting our faith into action, the pain-in-the-neck next door neighbor wouldn’t be such a pain. If we were good at putting our faith into action, the homeless would not be in need of anything. If we were good at putting our faith into action, the people who don’t look like us would be welcome in our homes and in our churches.

I honestly am not trying to ruffle feathers. What I am trying to do is make a case that all of us need improvement. We all need to still take lessons from Jesus on how to live according to His word. When we give up pursuing actions that follow His word, then we have become members of the group who have heard but do not do what it says.

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
(James 1:23-25 (NIV))

Do you intentionally want to be a part of this group, or has society distracted you to the point where you are unintentionally doing what is wrong in the Lord’s eyes? Is it time to take a long, hard look at your life and your faith? Are you spending time daily in His Word? Are you spending time daily in prayer? Are you spending time daily sharing the Gospel to those who are in need?

I want to share a redeeming thought with you. Out of all of history, only Jesus was able to perfectly do what the Word says to do. He was the only one who didn’t miss the mark. He was the only one who did not sin. When you find that you aren’t doing what you know that you should be doing, simply turn to Jesus and repent. Pray for insight and wisdom so that you can mature into His image. Never simply turn away. Always turn toward Jesus!

Living in this world is hard. Following Jesus is hard, but it is definitely better than not following Jesus. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus and know that you will makes mistakes.

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It is time to listen to the watchmen!

March 3, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.
(Ezekiel 33:7 (NIV))

Do you feel safe and secure in this world?

In the past, people used to build fortified walls around the perimeter of their cities in order to keep enemies out. They used to lock the gates in order to make it difficult to gain access into the city. They used to post people on the walls as watchmen to keep an eye on the surroundings and sound the alarm if an enemy came to break down the gates. In essence, these watchmen were to keep an eye out for anything that was out of the ordinary that could bring harm and destruction to their homes. They were to sound the alarm if any threat came their way.

Today, we no longer keep our cities behind walls, but we still have need for watchmen. In today’s world, the watchmen employ many more tools but they are still supposed to sound the alarm if an enemy comes near.

As members of the Body of Christ, we are called to be watchmen and alert others to the dangers that come from the enemy. The tools that we use are God’s Word and prayer. We are called to alert people to the times and the seasons as God’s plans unfold. This requires that we truly know and understand God’s Word and what it has to say about the times and the seasons. In my lifetime, I have seen a handful of people saying that the end is near. Typically, these people were on the fringes of society and their comments weren’t based on Scripture. That no longer appears to be the case.

In the last days, God says,
      I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
      your young men will see visions,
      your old men will dream dreams.
(Acts 2:17 (NIV))

You may not claim to be able to prophesy or see visions or dream dreams, but you have a spiritual awareness that something is happening. For those who have felt God’s Spirit, I have seen a tremendous increase in the number of individuals who boldly profess what they have been shown. They may not agree on the doctrines and the interpretations of what they have been shown, but they are letting the Body of Christ know that there is something coming and that we are in great need to prepare.

There are many people who are boldly declaring the warnings. Are you prepared?

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.

It is time to listen to the watchmen!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do we listen to His voice?

December 16, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
(John 10:1-3 (NIV))

Whom do you follow?

Whom do you trust?

All throughout history humanity has been deceived by one lie after another. Why do we look for something and expect it to be as promised when we can’t verify the credibility of the source? There is only one source that is credible. There is only one source that knows us by name. There is only one source that enters through the gate.

Why must people make it so difficult?

Why do people take a look at what Jesus teaches and tell themselves that it cannot be that simple? Why do they think that it will work for everyone else except them? Why do they listen to those who have come into their lives through something other than the “gate?” Why do we, as humanity, prefer to listen to the thief and the robber? Is this the same desire or gullibility that has allowed con men and the proverbial snake oil salesmen?

What is it about human nature that makes us want to look for an alternative when we are told that there is only one way? Why do we want to test the warning signs that boldly proclaim danger, yet ignore the wisdom and direction that leads to life?

With Christmas rapidly approaching, why do so many ignore the gift that God gave to His creation? Why do we look for alternatives to what God has given?

Perhaps it is due to the old saying, “It is too good to be true.”

Think about that. Our society has been telling us for a while that we must beware of things that are too good to be true, because they are not true. I honestly believe that our society has become jaded by this and now, too many apply this to faith in Jesus.

Jesus is not too good to be true! He is the truth.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
(John 14:6-7 (NIV))

Jesus is the shepherd. He enters through the gate. He knows our names. He calls us out.

Do we listen to His voice?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you like the sound of trumpets?

August 13, 2020

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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.
(1 Thessalonians 4:16 (NIV))

Do you like the sound of trumpets?

When we think of trumpets, we have a tendency to think of jazz music or big band swing, but do you realize that God has used the sound of a trumpet as a way to announce things of great importance to His people? The sound of a trumpet cuts through any other sound. It rises above the noise of the world and boldly proclaims to listen. It boldly proclaims to pay attention. It boldly announces that something is coming!

In this passage, the sound of the trumpet is announcing that those who have professed a faith in Jesus will arise from the dead. That, in and of itself is amazing, but there is more. There is something even more amazing. There is something that only the all powerful Lord God could make happen!

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.
(1 Thessalonians 4:17 (NIV))

To many people, the sound of a trumpet is shrill and harsh, but it is rapidly becoming the instrument that I long to hear above the din of the world! I long to hear the trumpet call of God, for I believe, . . . No! I know beyond any doubt exactly what that will mean! I know that when I hear the trumpet call of God, these events will rapidly take place and the desire to be with the Lord will instantly come true. Does that explain why I like the sound of trumpets?

What about you?

Do you like the sound of trumpets?

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