Where am I in the harvest?

October 6, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
(Matthew 9:37-38 (NIV))

There is one thing about a harvest that most people fail to realize. Eventually, anything and everything that can be harvested has been brought in and the rest is either plowed under or burned. In other words, the harvest will come to an end!

This is true of a physical harvest as well as a spiritual harvest. You can only pick so many apples before all of the good ones are taken. You can only pick so many ears of corn before all that is left is only worthy of feeding to the pigs. You can harvest only the wheat that is ready before you end up with chaff. Eventually, what is being harvested is all taken!

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you are part of that harvest. It doesn’t end there. God doesn’t want anyone to perish, so He has an assignment for you and for I. We are also called to work the harvest, but we know that God has hardened the hearts of those who only desire their sinful nature. We know that He has given them a delusional spirit because of their desires. They have rebelled against God for so long that He has given them exactly what they wanted. We know that in the end days, both the wheat and the weeds will grow up evenly. We know that at harvest time, the wheat will be brought into the barn and the weeds and chaff will be burned. This can only happen when the harvest is complete. This can only happen when the Lord of the harvest looks upon the harvest field, the earth, and sees that the harvest is complete.

Many people believe that the harvest is rapidly coming to an end. Once that end arrives, the field will be completely stripped of the wheat that was gathered during the harvest. Farmers throughout history have burned off the stubble and the chaff after a harvest. They have collected what was offered up and they have burned the rest to dispose of it. If we, as sinful humanity, are the harvest field, why would anyone choose to be left behind? Why would anyone choose to face the fires?

You need to ask yourself one very important question.

Where am I in the harvest?

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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Are you able to pray to love like this?

July 29, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV))

Have you ever been at a loss for words?

I, like many of you, have read this passage countless times, but tonight, the simple yet magnificent beauty of this type of love left me without words. I had to read it many times and pray for insight. As humans, we like to think that we are capable of love, but when compared to this standard, we fall very short of the ideal that God has defined for us. Sadly, I didn’t even make it past the third word. How far did you make it before you started feeling something tugging at your spirit?

This passage defines for us the ideal love that God desires for us to possess, but it also acts as a measuring rod that we should use as a basis for our desires and our prayers to possess a love like the love of the Lord!

Have you heard of the concept of praying the scriptures? Basically you take a passage and you pray for that passage to be made manifest in your life. You stand firm in the truth and the power of scripture.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV))

I can’t think of a better passage to pray in order to be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Lord, I long to love as You love. Make me patient. Make me kind. I don’t want to be envious or boastful. Correct me when I am arrogant or rude. Lord, help me to put others first and myself last. Give me Your joy and Your peace so that I am not irritable or resentful. Lord, give me a heart that breaks when I see wrongdoing. Let me delight in Your truth and in those who know Your truth. Lord, give me the ability to bear all things for the truth of Your love. Instill in me a belief that all things work for Your good. Lord, give me the ability to hope when it appears that all hope is gone, and grant me the endurance to see Your love made manifest in all the earth!

For the second time tonight, I am at a loss for words because of the sheer power of such a prayer.

Are you able to love like this?

Are you able to pray to love like this?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

May 4, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
(Romans 12:12 (NIV))

Are any of us truly able to do these three things?

Some of us may be good at one of these three, but it is a rare individual who can honestly do all three on a regular basis.

We have all known the individual who was always joyful, hopeful and optimistic. We have all known people who, no matter what hardships come their way, they patiently move in the same direction without complaining. We also have all known people who are powerful prayer warriors and will willingly petition the Lord on any occasion.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
(Philippians 4:12 (NIV))

Am I the only one who sees all of these characteristics in Paul?

Take a look at his life after his Damascus Road experience. From the writings that we have, we see that he was always joyful and hopeful, even in the midst of troubles. We see that he was patient in his afflictions. His writings tell us that he was willing to face affliction if it meant that the Gospel would be spread as a result. We also see from his writing that he was always praying for those whom he had discipled and he was always praying for the Gospel to be made known among the nonbelievers.

What made Paul this unique individual that seems to have possessed all three characteristics and lived them out to the glory of the Lord?

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
(Philippians 4:13 (NIV))

In other words, Paul kept his eyes on Jesus! He knew where his strength came from. He knew that as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, he would be guided to live out these characteristics and so much more.

When do you lose joy?

When do you lose hope?

When do you lose patience?

When do you fail to be faithful in prayer?

If you are like me, the answer to all of these questions is the same. All of these happen when we fail to keep our eyes on Jesus. We fail to look to Him. We fail to rely on His strength. We fail to surrender authority to the name that we profess as having all power and authority. If we keep our eyes on Jesus, He is our joy. He is our hope. He is our patience and He is our faithfulness.

Keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you finding strength while you wait?

April 22, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
(Psalms 27:14 (NIV))

If you are like me, you are probably asking when the Lord will set things right, especially as we see things rapidly turning further and further away from righteousness and common sense. In fact, I am certain that you have seen or heard someone say something to the effect that common sense is no longer common. All that you have to do is look at the events unfolding in this world and you quickly can agree to this claim. You probably will come away with a perplexed sadness about the inability of far too many people to make any type of logical and intelligent thought patterns. Is this the beginnings of the powerful delusion?

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
(2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 (NIV))

God is unfolding things according to His timeline. If you truly follow the Lord and long for His righteousness, then you are probably like me and desire to see that sooner than later. Be patient!

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

God is never early, and more importantly, He is never late. There is a moment in time when the Lord will increase the events and the rapidness of their timing as they unfold culminating in His return. We may be days away. We may be months, or we may even be years, but one thing is certain. We must take heart for we know that His promises will come to pass. We must pray for His strength. We must patiently wait for the Lord.

Are you finding strength while you wait?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Stand firm just a little longer!

February 8, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

We have heard this passage many times during our lives. I would even venture to say that each of us have been personally thankful that the Lord was willing to wait for us to come to repentance.

At what point does He say enough is enough?

Let me explain that question. The Lord longs for everyone to come to repentance and He gives us the time that is needed to come to that realization. He gives us opportunities to repent and to turn to Him, but there will come a day when His patience will be gone and His righteousness will demand justice. Is there a line that we collectively, as sinful humanity, must cross? How close are we to this point in history? Is there the same type of line for us as individuals? Have some people already crossed that line?

We seem to be seeing a wide chasm with respect to this. We are told about this in the following parable.

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
“‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
“‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'”
(Matthew 13:24-30 (NIV))

I find it interesting that the Lord said to let both the wheat and the weeds grow until the harvest. The concept is for each kind to mature so that it is fully recognizable. In other words, God is waiting for the true nature to be fully revealed. Think about that in terms of what we see going on in the world. We pray for God’s will to be done. We think that we see and understand what is wheat and what is weed, but is God telling us to be patient and let the weeds irreversibly tell on themselves as they mature in their nature?

We must learn to wait for the Lord’s timing. We must learn to be patient as we wait for His righteousness. We must allow the weeds to reveal their complete true nature!

Stand firm just a little longer!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you wait patiently for the Lord?

May 7, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be astounded. They will put their trust in the Lord.
(Psalms 40:1-3 (NLT))

What do you see in this passage? Is it that God rescued David or is it that David waited patiently for God?

All too often we see the first option where God rescues someone and then we impatiently ask why doesn’t He rescue us. What we fail to see is the patience that is exhibited FIRST by those whom God rescues!

There is a consistent message throughout God’s Word. He longs for us to know Him intimately and not just look upon Him as the one to turn to when we need help.

God asks us to seek Him!

Think about one of the things in your life that you worked hard to get. Did you give up after only a few minutes? A few days? A few months? Chances are that it took a long time to achieve what you sought. You desired it more than anything. You did not give up. That is what God desires of us. He wants us to seek Him with all that we are. He wants us to be patient in seeking Him.

Why does God desire patience when we seek Him?

Perhaps this is a test of our true desires. If He answered immediately, would we truly realize how much we desire Him. In addition, God wants us on His timeframe. We have become so fixated on instant gratification as a society that we have lost touch with the fact that we are often told to be still and to be patient.

It is true that God rescues, and when He does, we need to exalt Him, but there is a saying that God’s timing is perfect. He is never early and He is never late. He is always on time. It is we who are impatient.

Do you wait patiently for the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Don’t be caught off guard!

April 20, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Look, I come like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed.
(Revelation 16:15 (NIV))

Those who profess a faith in Jesus longingly await His return, but will we be ready when He does return?

It is human nature to let our guard down. We work for something or we desire something, and the longer we wait, the less devoted we seem to be. I fully understand how the old saying, “Out of sight, out of mind” came into existence. Human beings are so easily sidetracked. We soon loose sight of what we strive for once the reminders are removed from our immediate perception. How many families have been broken apart because of long distances? How many dreams have been set aside because of a perceived, more immediate need?

How long has it been since you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?

Is your faith as strong now as it was when you first believed? Have you found yourself slowly losing sight of Jesus in your daily life? Have you found yourself questioning whether you believe at all because you don’t see any movement on His promise to return? One thing is certain!

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
(2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV))

Just because we don’t see God moving according to our desires and our timing doesn’t mean that He is not moving. Don’t give up! Stand firm in your faith while He completes His task of bringing others into His grace.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

Don’t let the world make you lose sight of Jesus. Don’t lose hope in His promises. He will come when you least expect it.

Don’t be caught off guard!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Does this describe you?

May 9, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
(Romans 12:12 (NIV))

It is so easy to let this world get to you!

How many of us start the day less than enthusiastic and then it goes downhill from there? We face traffic, long days at work and then more traffic to get back home. We turn on the news and see things that bring us to tears. We watch as people profess that what the Bible calls sin is now acceptable and that believing in Jesus is wrong. In our despair, we simply shake our heads and ask why?

Are we missing something?

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 I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV))

Are we, as the Body of Christ, giving up or are we standing firm in our calling to be joyful and patient prayer warriors? We know that God’s plans are unfolding, but that does not mean that we simply sit back and watch as spectators who don’t have a stake in the outcome. We have professed a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, yet we act like we expect everything to be done for us. Too many of us fail to realize that we are at war and if we don’t wage war against the enemy, the enemy will gain ground in areas of our lives and in the lives of our families, friends and communities. We must remember that we are called!

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
(James 5:16 (NIV))

Does this describe you?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How do you define love?

April 1, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
(1 Corinthians 13:4 (NIV))

Love can possess many different characteristics in the minds of those who try to define it. To some people, it is a strong affection such as what a mother has for her child. Others think of love as a sexual attraction. Some people even go so far as to define love by the things that they like.

What is your definition of love? Does it encompass any or all of the above?

How does God define love?

God’s love is not too proud to keep Him from reaching out to save. God’s love for us is kind. He does not reach out to us to condemn us. God’s love for us is not proud. He willingly did what He had to do to bring us salvation.

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.
(John 3:16-17 (NIV))

God’s love is patient.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

I could spend countless hours documenting the depth of God’s love for His creation. It is boundless, yet, it is simple at the same time. It is everlasting, yet it is concerned about your individual moments. It is powerful, yet it is gentle enough to hold each of us in our moments of weakness. It is all encompassing, yet it is able to focus on each of us individually. In essence, God’s love is perfect!

How do you define love?

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