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.
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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.
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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.
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Do you long to do as He says?

August 3, 2020

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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))

Does that passage hit you in the same way that it hits me?

Far too many times it convicts me, for I know that no matter how hard I try, there will be times that I fail. I listen to the word. I long to do what it says. And still I fail.

Failure is not deliberate. Failure is not my goal. Failure is a setback and an obstacle to overcome.

God’s word is alive. It is the truth and it is how we should live our lives. It is a choice and it is one that I take very seriously. I desire to live my life the way that God desires me to live. Yet, I find myself in the same predicament as Paul when he wrote to the Romans.

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
(Romans 7:14-20 (NIV))

We all have times when we do what we know we shouldn’t. It is our recognition of these times that helps us to mature in our faith. If we desire to do what God’s word says, then we will hate our failures. We will long to be obedient. If we only listen and do not have a desire to do, then we do not hold God’s word in our heart. We do not long to be what God calls us to be.

We can listen to God’s word in the same way that we listen to the radio. When you turn off the radio, do you honestly remember the songs that you heard? Or, we can listen to God’s word in the way that you listen to things that are close to your heart. It is a matter of priorities.

When you listen to God, do you long to do as He says?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are we listening?

July 30, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!
(Acts 28:28 (NIV))

When Paul was in Rome, local Jewish leaders came to him. During the visit, Paul spoke of what was told to their ancestors through Isaiah. Some believed while many did not. The last words recorded of that conversation are shown above. For over two thousand years, we, as Gentiles, have listened. We have taken the Gospel that Paul preached and have been able to reach a large number of people. It is true, just as it was in Paul’s day, that some people have perverted the Gospel for their own gain, but for the most part, Gentiles have listened.

The time is now here when we must stand firm in our faith. We must proclaim Jesus loudly and boldly to a world that is falling apart. Time is running out!

Yes, I did just say that.

I have this feeling in my spirit that this world will not return to what we knew just last year. I actually have mixed feelings about this, for I love life. I love my family and I love spending time with those I love. But, I love Jesus more. After years of study, I believe that we are seeing things unfold as we have been told in God’s Word. With the things that are going on in this world, evil is rising. I am seeing things in this country that I would expect to only see in regions of this world that have been known for being oppressive. I am seeing a global hatred of people who profess a faith in Jesus. I am seeing ethnicity rising against ethnicity. Just for reference, this is often translated as nation rising against nation. I am seeing a push to go completely digital with money as well as a push to collect and destroy any physical money once the digital is implemented. I am seeing a big push to wear masks. I realize that the virus is real, so I don’t want to get into a debate about wearing masks. What I find sad is that the whole world is engulfed in this. There are those who are pushing a vaccine in order to be able to take part in society. In other words, get vaccinated and you can buy and sell. Would that vaccine leave a visible mark?

Paul was right.

The Gentiles have listened. But, do we know and understand God’s Word well enough to do something with what we have heard? Are we praying for God’s Will, even if it means things get much worse, or are we praying for our will and our comfort?

We need to truly seek the Lord. We need to listen for His voice and His guidance.

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
(Revelation 2:29 (NIV))

Are we listening?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What desires rule over you?

July 17, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
(Galatians 5:17 (NIV))

Whatever you want!

Do you desire to do whatever you want? Is that your definition of freedom? Based on this passage, does that desire come from the flesh or from the Spirit? Don’t rush to a quick answer, for your quick answer will probably be heavily influenced by your own desires. Think about that for a moment. Since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, our flesh is sinful. Everything that we do according to our flesh is sinful and we are fully aware of the wages of sin.

For the wages of sin is death,
(Romans 6:23a (NIV))

We are given a gift that allows us to receive salvation, to receive grace.

but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23b (NIV))

When we accept that gift, we receive the Holy Spirit to guide us in what we should do. The Holy Spirit will guide us contrary to our sinful nature. It is up to us to accept that guidance. Have you ever done something and instantly knew that it shouldn’t have been done? Have you ever wanted to do something, but a still, small voice wouldn’t let you? We choose to listen to the Holy Spirit. We choose to accept His guidance. Sadly, sometimes the flesh wins out and we do things that we instantly regret. Other times we listen to the Holy Spirit and obey. Have you noticed in your life the types of circumstances that you follow the flesh and the types of circumstances that you follow the Holy Spirit? Give God praise for the faith to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, and pray for the ability to stand firm in the face of those circumstances that lead to actions that you regret. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom to allow you to overcome the desires of the flesh!

What desires rule over you?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you willing to listen to God?

May 15, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue,
      to know the word that sustains the weary.
   He wakens me morning by morning,
      wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.
(Isaiah 50:4 (NIV))

What can sustain the weary?

Think about that question.

What makes you weary? Is it the world? Is it your job? Is it relationships that you wish were different? Is it the state of the world with all of the trials and tribulations that we must face? What sustains you in the midst of these trials and tribulations? What sustains you when you feel that you cannot go on?

Isaiah was given words to say to people who were weary. God gave him words of hope to speak to the people of Israel. Many of the prophesies regarding the coming of Jesus were spoken through Isaiah. What made Isaiah different from all of the people around him? Why was he able to hear God when the others did not? Perhaps we are given a clue as to Isaiah’s abilities in the remaining lines of the passage. God awoke Isaiah every morning and taught him. God spoke to Isaiah because Isaiah was willing to listen. What made Isaiah willing to listen?

What makes you willing to listen to someone? I believe that there are two primary reasons someone willingly listens to someone else. They love the person speaking, or they are interested in the topic. In Isaiah, I believe that we have found both. He loved the Lord and, because of this love, he also was very interested in what God had to say. He listened because he longed for God’s truth. This, alone, is enough to sustain the weary. Simply listening to God and taking his Word to heart is sufficient to sustain even the most weary of individuals.

Are you weary? Do you listen to God? Do you embrace every word that He has given us?

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
(Matthew 11:28 (NIV))

Have you found rest?

Are you willing to listen to God?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Will your harvest be plentiful?

March 26, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
(2 Corinthians 9:5 (NIV))

I think that it is safe to say that most people are not currently thinking about sowing, especially if it involves sowing into the lives of others. Think about that in the context of the life of Jesus. When He came into the world, it was not exactly a safe place to be. Did that stop Him from coming? He came into the world to teach and go to the cross to save us from our sins. He came knowing that He would die! Did that stop Him from coming? He had a mission and He did not let anything get in the way of bringing salvation to those who would listen and believe.

The current situation in this world is unprecedented, but we, as the Body of Christ, still have a mission.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
(Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV))

We are to make disciples!

We are to sow the seeds of salvation into the hearts of all whom we encounter. How do we do this when the world is in such a state? There is a quote that is attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. It says, “Preach always. When necessary, use words.” We can share the Gospel by living our lives as a living testimony to the power of grace. We can live our lives in such a way that people see a peace in us that just doesn’t make sense in this otherwise hectic world. We can live our lives in such a way that people ask why we are different. We can sow based on how we live our lives. We can plant the seed that others will nurture and God will reap.

So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.
(1 Corinthians 3:7-8 (NIV))

Do you sow into the lives of those whom you encounter? Do they see something in you that is different from the world? Do they want to know what makes you different?

Will your harvest be plentiful?

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