Are you paying attention?

September 20, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

These are the Lord’s appointed festivals, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times:
(Leviticus 23:4 (NIV))

I love the fact that the Lord has given us things to look at that represent His perfect plan. The sad thing is that we, as the church, as the Body of Christ, do not fully understand the meanings of the events that are second nature to the Jewish community. In reciprocal nature, the Jewish community does not understand the symbolism of their events and how they point to Jesus as the one and only Messiah.

We look at the passage that says that no man knows the hour or the day and perhaps we miss the symbolism in that phrase. The next Jewish festival that is to occur is Rosh Hashanah. That festival, which means head of the year, is different every year for it depends on the moon to be just right. It is known as the festival that no man knows the hour or the day. For reference, Rosh Hashanah is celebrated as the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve.

I could probably go into many of the festivals and their symbolism, especially the ones that represent the events that transpired when Jesus walked the earth. Just suffice it to say that Jesus, as the Passover Lamb, went to the cross at Passover! He arose from the dead on First Fruits!

There are also many things within non-festival events, such as weddings, that point to Jesus. In a Jewish wedding, the bridegroom goes to prepare a place for his bride. Only when he is finished can the wedding take place. No one knows the day or the hour that he will return for his bride. Could this be a coincidence? For your information. this is where we get the parable of the ten virgins. I don’t want to digress and go into that, for that is not what I am trying to convey. What is important is that when the bridegroom does return for his bride, she is lifted up into the air to meet her bridegroom!

We, as the Body of Christ, must realize that we have been grafted into a lineage and history that is completely Jewish. We must watch and learn. God is unfolding things according to His timing and His calendar. He has given us hints as to what He is doing. No one person has the complete understanding for the time is not yet come when God will sound the last trumpet!

But, . . .

We must watch!

Are you paying attention?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t be deceived because of your preconceived ideas!

September 13, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
(Matthew 24:24 (NIV))

How well do you know God’s Word?

Can you tell the difference between the truth and a lie?

Do you think that you could be deceived by false messiahs and false prophets?

We think that we know Jesus, but does sitting in church for an hour a week bring you close enough to the Lord to be able to discern His voice over the many voices vying for your attention?

If a bank teller is taught how to recognize counterfeit money by becoming very familiar with the real thing, doesn’t it stand to reason that the only way for someone to truly recognize false messiahs and false prophets is to get to know the real Jesus, the true Messiah? In much the same way that money has a very distinguishable feel, Jesus has a very distinguishable truth to Him. You just need to take the time to know Jesus and not simply know a few sound bites that most people can relate to. Do you know why Jesus came into the world? Do you know what He taught about sin? Do you know what He taught about human traditions masquerading as worship? Do you know why He went to the cross? Do you know that the enemy knows God’s Word and will twist it to deceive you? Do you know that the enemy fears someone who truly relies on Jesus and who knows the power that is contained within the name of Jesus? Do you truly know Jesus?

There have been many false messiahs and false prophets throughout history. There will be a time when the ultimate false messiah will enter onto the world stage. Will you be able to recognize him when he performs his great signs and wonders?

We have all grown up hearing Bible stories. We have all heard preachers who put a twist to what they preach. Do you have any preconceived ideas because of these teachings? No one likes to be deceived. Now is the time to truly get to know Jesus. You must know Him as your personal Lord and Savior. You must know Him as the Lamb of God. You must know Him as the Mighty Warrior and the Prince of Peace. You must know that He hates sin but grace and mercy are freely given to all who will call upon His name and turn away from their sin. If someone or something does not call you to repent and turn away from your sin, then it is false. If someone or something doesn’t point to Jesus as the only way to the Father, then it is false. Do you have any preconceived ideas that are contrary to these two truths? It is time to know the real Jesus and not the sound bites.

Don’t be deceived because of your preconceived ideas!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Christmas is the celebration of the sign!

December 24, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
(Isaiah 7:14 (NIV))

Immanuel. God with us!

Contrary to what the retailers try to tell us, Christmas isn’t about gifts. Contrary to what movies try to tell us, Christmas isn’t about Santa, the Grinch, or any of those feel good stories. Christmas is about one thing and one thing only.

The birth of the promised Messiah! The birth of God’s Son! The birth of Jesus!

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

This was and still is the greatest gift that has ever been given. Through Adam, we were lost in sin with no way out. Through Jesus, we can be redeemed. We can be made righteous in God’s eyes.

All of heaven rejoiced at His birth. The angels proclaimed the Good News and glorified God for giving us His Son.

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
      and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
(Luke 2:11-14 (NIV))

The angels announced the sign at His birth! They did not announce a sale. They did not announce that Santa is coming to town. They announced the birth of the Messiah, the fulfillment of the sign foretold in Isaiah.

Christmas is the celebration of the sign!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you joined Simeon in praising God?

December 23, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God,
(Luke 2:25-28 (NIV))

Simeon’s faith was strong. He desired nothing more than to see the Lord’s Messiah. When the time was right, he was obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit and his sole desire was granted to him. He waited a lifetime to see the Messiah. He did not sway from his desires. He did not sway in his faith that he would see the Messiah. He stood firm on the promises of God.

Do you long to see Jesus?

Do you have the patience and the faith that Simeon possessed?

Think about that. Simeon was an old man. He had waited his whole life to see the Messiah, and he probably only spent just a few minutes in His presence. Would that be enough for you? To Simeon, that was enough. He knew that everything else that the Lord had promised would come to pass because of the fulfillment of the promised Messiah whom he had held in his arms. Because of the fulfillment of God’s promise to Simeon in those few minutes, Simeon was faithfully and boldly able to proclaim the following.

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
      you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
      which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
      and the glory of your people Israel.”
(Luke 2:29-32 (NIV))

Have you joined Simeon in praising God?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you recognize the spotless lamb?

December 21, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
(Luke 2:8 (NIV))

We all know the story. Angels appear to the shepherds, but is there more to this than angels appearing to whom we think of as the lowest rungs on the ladder of society?

I have read articles and I have seen video accounts that speculate that these shepherds had a special flock to attend to. There is historical evidence that indicates that the flocks for the temple sacrifices were the animals that these shepherds were watching over. If that is the case, then they were watching over the very animals that would be offered as atoning sacrifices for the sins of Israel. I have not had an opportunity to validate this next statement, but think of the implications if this is true. I recently read that when a spotless lamb was born, it was wrapped in cloth and placed in a manger to separate it out from the rest of the flock. It was set aside to be the sin offering for the people of Israel. If that is true, then these shepherds knew the meaning of what the angel told them. They knew that the child was the perfect, spotless lamb of God!

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
(Luke 2:11-12 (NIV))

Is it any wonder why the shepherds left their flocks? Is it any wonder why they instinctively knew what was transpiring?

We are separated by over two thousand years since these events took place, but it seems that we are also separated by much more than that. The things that we read have so much more behind them than just a set of circumstances, a set of events that unfold as we read the words. If we truly knew and understood the Jewish society, the Hebraic Laws, the traditions and the geography of the area, we would have so much more understanding. Our eyes would be opened and our faith would soar!

The shepherds knew!

They left their jobs where they looked after the sheep that would be used as a method to temporarily atone for sins to go see the perfect lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world.

Do you recognize the spotless lamb?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Don’t trust in any other name!

April 8, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.
(Matthew 24:23 (NIV))

I saw something just a few days ago that made me stop in my tracks. Since then, I have seen many more things that confirm what I saw.

You may want to sit down for this!

Many of the rabbis in Israel, including whom I have been told is one of the top rabbis, are saying that their Messiah is here. I have seen videos coming out of Israel of a man whom they are proclaiming is their Messiah. He was praying at the Western Wall and a very large crowd of men were gathered around him. Everyone was trying to touch him. He even sat down and the rabbis were kissing his hand as they passed him in procession! I’ve done some research and some of my findings indicate that this man may be half Jewish and half Muslim. They are even calling him the son of David. And, he is thirty years old!

I honestly don’t know what to think of these events!

As the Body of Christ, we must remember what Jesus told us in Matthew. We must remember the writings that tell us that the next time that Jesus returns He will come as a conquering hero. He will split the Mount of Olives as He descends!

On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.
(Zechariah 14:4 (NIV))

We must stay focused on Jesus and not be fooled by people proclaiming that the Messiah is here. He has already been here and was rejected. He was already here and was crucified, died and was buried. He arose on the third day. When He ascended into heaven, angels foretold of His return.

“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
(Acts 1:11 (NIV))

Every day I see more and more that has me apprehensive and fearful for those who have not accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, for it appears that time is running out. At the same time, I am filled with joy at the prospect of the very soon return of Jesus to gather His church. As His church, we must stay focused on Jesus for He is the true Messiah. We must know what He has told us of the events of the times. We must know God’s Word so well that we will not be tricked into believing that their is another Messiah.

Jesus is

“‘the stone you builders rejected,
     which has become the cornerstone.’

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
(Acts 4:11-12 (NIV))

Don’t trust in any other name!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What victory does your faith desire?

March 22, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
(1 John 5:4 (NIV))

What type of faith do you possess?

Do you look upon the Bible as God’s Word as it relates to what He has done in the past as an example of how you should live your life in the present?

If you answered yes to this question, you are correct, but is it possible that you have overlooked the fact that the Bible unfolds God’s plans for humanity from creation to the fall, from perfection to sin, from hopelessness to redemption, from crucifixion to resurrection, from ascension to return, from belief to redemption, and from rejection to glorious return? God’s Word is so much more than stories to set examples for your lives. If you read the Bible and come away with an understanding that it is only for improving your life in this world, you are missing out on God’s plans for redeeming the fallen and defeating the enemy once and for all. It is true that He sent Jesus as an atoning sacrifice to redeem us from the consequences of sin and death, but He has also unfolded a plan to restore perfection to His creation once and for all!

Are you aware that about twenty percent of the Bible is prophecy?

We read the prophecies that point to Jesus and we often ask ourselves how those people could have been so blind to what was unfolding? How could they have not recognized that Jesus was the Messiah whom they longed for? We see in hindsight that Jesus fulfilled every single prophecy about His first coming. We can look back on that and feel that we have proof that it happened, yet, we fail to see the prophecies that God is unfolding right before our eyes! We have been told what to look for in the time of the end, but how many believers are paying attention to the events in this world? Are we becoming just like the generation that was told what to look for when Jesus came? Are we guilty of being just as blind to what God is unfolding today?

Do you possess a faith to look beyond your personal life and realize that God is still unfolding things according to His purpose right before your eyes?

As believers, we look to Jesus as a guarantee of salvation from an eternity in hell. But, do you look to Jesus as the King of kings and Lord of lords who is doing the will of the Father? Do you have the faith to realize that God’s plans are unfolding and rejoice as things unfold in anticipation of the final outcome? Do you long to be in His presence or do you long to return to the worldly normal?

What victory does your faith desire?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who do you say that Jesus is?

July 23, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
(Matthew 16:15-16 (NIV))

What about you?

Have you truly given thought to the question that Jesus asked Peter? Have you proclaimed your answer? Where you confident in your proclamation?

If the time comes that proclaiming an answer like Peter’s answer means that you will be killed, will you still boldly proclaim that Jesus is the Son of the living God?

My heart is heavy. I pray for those who have not, nor will not, proclaim that Jesus is their Lord and Savior. I suppose that having a heart after God’s heart means that your heart breaks when you see people who simply refuse to repent. All they have to do is accept the grace and mercy that is theirs through Jesus. Even without the current state of the world, we are not promised tomorrow. Our worldly existence could end with the very next heartbeat. If that were to be the case, are you confident of your eternal destination?

It is simple. It is a gift from God. All that we have to do is accept that gift by believing that Jesus is that gift!

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

What about you?

Who do you say that Jesus is?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Everyone must answer this question for themselves!

January 6, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.”
(Luke 9:20 (NIV))

We should all be familiar with the events that transpired right before this particular passage. Jesus was asking the disciples who the crowds of people say that He is. He received numerous answers and then He did the unthinkable. He turned the question to them. He made it personal. He made them profess. He made them take a stand!

Isn’t that what we are supposed to do with Jesus? We are to either profess that He is Lord or we deny Him. To this day, and until He returns, the same question is asked of each of us. We may hear the things that the world is saying of Jesus. We may hear the things that our family and friends are saying of Jesus. We may give some type of acknowledgment to what they are saying, but that is different from saying something yourself. What you speak becomes your reality.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
(Romans 10:9 (NIV))

But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.
(Matthew 10:33 (NIV))

According to Romans 14:11, we know that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess, but when you speak it determines your eternity. Take a serious look at Jesus and ask yourself one question. Who do you say that He is? If you acknowledge Jesus as Messiah during this lifetime, you will bow out of thankfulness and humility. If you ignore this question or simply reject Jesus, then you will bow out of submission and shame.

Jesus is asking, “Who do you say I am?”

Can you answer with the same proclamation that Peter gave? Can you honestly claim that Jesus is God’s Messiah? It doesn’t matter what others say of Him. They don’t answer for you! Everyone must answer this question for themselves!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Celebrate Jesus!

December 23, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
(Luke 2:8-14 (NIV))

What an honor it must have been to be the first to hear the good news! The shepherds must have been terrified by the presence of the angels, after all, angels were not, and are still not an every day occurrence.

Luckily for us, God’s plan does not discriminate against us for not being there. In fact, it is probably with mixed blessings that we are embraced as part of God’s Kingdom. We do not have the first hand experience of having seen the angels, the star, or Jesus’ life. Sometimes, I wonder if I would have believed if I lived at the time of Jesus!

On the other hand, we have the faith of millions of people who have gone before us. We have the New Testament, the hundreds of years of prophesy study that proves Jesus is King of kings, the Messiah. It may be easier for someone today to come to faith than it was in Jesus’ day. Yet, through all of this “historical proof”, I sometimes feel empty. I think it is the desire of every believer to be able to go back in time and be a witness to the miracles and hear the teachings of Jesus firsthand.

We celebrate the birth of Jesus and look back in awe to the miracles. At the same time, we should look around us in awe of what God is doing today and look to the not-to-distant future and know what God is going to do. We celebrate the First Coming. Some tomorrow we will celebrate the Second Coming.

Merry Christmas!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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