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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Are you praying?

May 8, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV))

Did you know that yesterday was the National Day of Prayer?

Does it even matter to you?

There is so much that is wrong with society now. It breaks my heart to see things that go against what God has commanded. I honestly believe that people take great pleasure in finding ways to flaunt their favorite sin in ways that will get attention. It is as if they are deliberately telling God that they don’t care what He thinks. It even looks like they are trying to outdo each other with who and what is the most vile.

Things have been set in motion since the beginning of time that only God knows when they will reach the culmination. It appears that they are rapidly escalating. It wasn’t that long ago that everything that is now being flaunted in our faces wasn’t even mentioned at all. Now, common sense and any ideas of righteousness have all but died. We are seeing things happen that I would never have believed would happen in my lifetime.

To be honest, it scares me!

I am not scared for myself, for I know where I have placed my faith and I know how the story ends. I am scared for those who don’t know that they are caught in a terrible cycle of sin and death. I am scared for those who will realize too late that they have made an eternal mistake.

I see things every single day that make me saddened, that make me groan in agony. I try to put my feelings into prayers, but all that I can do is groan. I know that our heavenly Father understands the groans, but from a human perspective, I long to put things into words so that I can understand. I am sure that I am not alone in this desire.

I wonder how many of the prayers that have been lifted up on the National Day of Prayer were the groanings of the members of the Body of Christ? Can we agree to groan in the spirit continually so that the Lord will hear us continually?

pray continually;
(1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NIV))

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
(Ephesians 6:18 (NIV))

If my people will pray!

Are you praying?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Through the eyes of a little child!

December 17, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all–he is the greatest.”
(Luke 9:48 (NIV))

I have read this passage many times and tonight it hit me in a way that I had not thought of before. Perhaps it is the time of year with Christmas very close, but something made me look at this in a different light.

I know that many Christians have trouble with the idea of Santa Claus, but if you consider the roots of this “person,” you come away with a different perspective. Nicholas was a 4th century Christian who was known for helping children. He is also known for other things, but his love and help of children has gained him much notoriety. There are various different stories about Nicholas, but the one thing that stands out is how he used his love for Jesus to reach out to the little children.

Perhaps our understanding of Santa Claus could use a true historical perspective based on church history and not on what society has made him. Perhaps our understanding of many things could use a true historical perspective based on church history.

Could you imagine a Christmas not tied up in gifts and decorations, but in the grace and mercy that God gave us through the manger? Could you imagine a Christmas based on the greatest gift of all times instead of the “perfect gift” that will be obsolete in a short time?

Nicholas came to mind because of his ministry to children. Jesus told us that we are to be as little children. We need to look at His love without the sins of the world trying to cling to everything and distort the truth about the greatest gift that humanity could ever be given.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Perhaps we need to look at the gift of Christmas through the eyes of a little child once again!

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who holds your future?

December 19, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. This will result in your being witnesses to them. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. By standing firm you will gain life.
(Luke 21:12-19 (NIV))

It doesn’t seem like we are too far away from the time that Jesus is speaking of when He says that all men will hate us because of Him. Think about that for a moment.

How many Christmas Nativity scenes have had to be altered because someone filed a lawsuit? How many court cases have there been because a student or group of students decided to pray in school? How many times have people attempted to remove God and Jesus from the history of this nation? How many times have other religions been tolerated while the name of Jesus is forbidden to be spoken?

Do you see a developing trend? Things have drastically changed since prayer was removed from the schools. Violence has increased. Divorce has increased. Drugs have increased. We have become a society that wants nothing to remind us that what we have become is wrong. The further we turn from God, the further we want to go and the more that we need to return to the One who created us.

People who profess a faith in Jesus are being persecuted and put to death all over the world. Our nation has come to the point where we no longer value the Judeo-Christian ethic. We are rapidly moving toward the time when we go beyond the court cases to remove the words “In God We Trust” from our money to the time when just the mention of Jesus will have people wanting to harm us. We must be prepared. We do not know what the future holds, but we do know who holds the future.

Who holds your future? Where does your future lead?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Stand firm and fall to your knees in prayer

November 5, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (NIV))

Lately, I feel anguish. I feel sorrow.

I know that the world will never live in true peace until Jesus returns, but the things of this world are still very disheartening. Looking back at the events of my life, things have changed drastically. I realize that my earliest understandings of worldly issues are clouded by parents who sheltered me from such things, but even with this sheltered view, things today seem so much out of balance with the way they used to be.

I am not condoning any of the previous racial issues, nor do I condone them now, for we are all created the same in the eyes of God.

What I am talking about is the anguish and the sorrow that I feel when I see the hatred that people are expressing for God’s Word. It sorrows me to see the divisiveness that is all too prominent within our country. It saddens me to no end to hear the lies, the negativity and the name calling that has become our political process.

I know that many people are saying that they will be glad when the election is over. I know that I will be. However, the election has only brought to the surface what is in need of deep heeling. We used to be “One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” I honestly believe that has become something that is in need of repair.

The secular component of our society is removing God from all aspects of society.

We are more divided today than any other time that I can remember.

Our freedoms are being challenged.

Our churches are being punished for following faith principles.

I realize that God is in control. I know that He has a plan set forth that is unfolding. I know that we are told that good and evil will grow in the last days. I know that God tells us that good will be called evil and evil will be called good.

That does not mean that the church simply sits back and watches these things unfold. We are called to be the light into the darkness. If we, as the Body of Christ, do not shine, how can we truly claim to be the Body of Christ?

We have one thing that we can do.

We must pray!

Pray for God’s will.

Pray for those who are lost.

Pray for those who are your enemies.

Pray for those who are in positions of authority.

Pray for guidance.

Pray for our nation.

Pray for our world.

The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
(James 5:16b (NIV))

Stand firm in your faith by falling to your knees and pray!

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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