Keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

September 15, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

For years I have not only studied God’s Word, but I have also watched the news and have found pastors who have studied prophecy. I watch multiple different sources and weigh each source’s material against God’s Word. I recently became aware of a video that I feel that I need to share. This video was put together by the underground church in Iran. We know that the church in Iran is facing severe persecution, yet they felt that they needed to warn the church in America and in other parts of the western world! They see the signs even when we fail to recognize what is happening in our own back yard!

In America, we think that we are the ones going into all the world, but when believers in persecuted parts of the world reach out to warn us because they have been given insight by the Lord, we MUST listen. We must prepare. We must stop thinking that nothing like this could ever happen where we live. We must realize that the enemy is angry at those who profess a faith in Jesus no matter where we may live. We must be ready and willing to stand firm in our faith in Jesus even if it means persecution or death.

Are you prepared?

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
(Ephesians 6:13 (NIV))

We have been told that troubles will come.

Are you prepared?

Do you follow Jesus?

Are you prepared?

Are you at peace even in the midst of chaos?

Are you prepared?

Keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you been praying?

September 2, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
     “May those who love you be secure.
(Psalms 122:6 (NIV))

Do you love Jesus?

Do you love what Jesus loves?

What do you think of Jerusalem? Does it match what the Lord has said?

but I have chosen Jerusalem that my name may be there,
(2 Chronicles 6:6a (NIV))

Even when the people rebelled, He still looked on in love.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!
(Matthew 23:37 (NIV))

Jerusalem is important to God. Jerusalem is crucial to God’s plans. Jerusalem, and Israel, were supposed to be the beacon shining God’s light to the world. They were chosen to serve this purpose and no matter how many times they rebelled against God, He still has a purpose for Israel and Jerusalem. Many scholars believe that prophetic events that we know as the end times, even though they will impact the whole world, are God’s call for Israel to accept their Messiah. Everything that happens during the end times are focused in and on Jerusalem and Israel. We know that they will be attacked and miraculously saved. We know that the antichrist will allow the temple to be rebuilt in Jerusalem. We know that the antichrist will go into the temple and declare himself to be God. We know that all nations of the world will turn on Israel, and we know that the battle in the valley of Har Megido, otherwise known as Armageddon, will take place in the land of Israel.

There is also one other thing that we must be aware of. God set the land aside for Israel as an inheritance.

for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever.
(Genesis 13:15 (NIV))

I realize that they did not possess the land for centuries, but it still belongs to the offspring of Israel. If you find this difficult to comprehend, all that we have to do is consider this passage and how Israel became a nation again after almost two thousand years. This basically transpired with the stroke of a pen!

Who has ever heard of such things?
     Who has ever seen things like this?
Can a country be born in a day
     or a nation be brought forth in a moment?
Yet no sooner is Zion in labor
     than she gives birth to her children.
(Isaiah 66:8 (NIV))

It is clear that the Lord loves Israel and Jerusalem. We know that He has warned against dividing the land since they returned.

I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. And I will enter into judgment with them there, on behalf of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up my land,
(Joel 3:2 (NIV))

He does not like anyone to divide what He has given. In fact, many of the natural disasters and attacks that have happened in this country have happened on the very same days that plans we presented or agreed to that divided up Israel. We have to stop trying to take what God has declared as His and giving it away. Why are we, as humanity, so arrogant that we think that we can do whatever we want?

We must pray for the peace of Jerusalem!

Have you been praying?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What will you gain when you die?

August 19, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

To me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
(Philippians 1:21 (NIV))

I haven’t written about this passage much before, but today I was going through my files and this particular passage and devotional caught my attention. I found myself reading it and I believe that someone needs to hear this at this point in their life.

I want you to carefully reread these words from this passage. Do they have a sound that is contrary to what we, as a society, tend to think about this world, life and “religion?”

Most people think of Jesus as a safety net for when we die, not as a way in which we can live in freedom.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10:10 (NIV))

We are told that Jesus gives us life to the full, yet, we ignore Him until we face dying. Isn’t it just like human nature to have our priorities turned around. We look to the promise of life when we are dying and look to sin and death when we are alive. For those who understand the truth behind these words, life is better with Jesus. There is hope. There is peace and there is grace.

Without Jesus, death is to be feared. We end up eternally separated from God and eternally cast away with Satan. With Jesus, death is not to be feared, for we will see the reward for our faith. We will walk with Jesus in the Kingdom of Heaven where we will be eternally at peace and in God’s presence. When we look at it like this, death for a believer is gain. It is not to be feared. It is a reward for our faith and our priorities in this life. We have all heard that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. If we are present with the Lord at our death, then we have “gained” eternal life through grace and mercy. This is truly gain.

What will you gain when you die?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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His plans are out of this world!

July 22, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
(Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV))

Do you feel like you have hope and a future?

Your answer to that question is all a matter of perspective.

Do you look at your life in relation to how things are in the world around you or do you look at your life in relation to whose you are?

You can feel helpless, hopeless and lost if you focus on the things of this world, especially when the things of this world are progressing as they have been for the last few years. If your hope is based on worldly things, then you truly are helpless, hopeless and lost for the things of this world are rapidly turning evil and depraved. We can focus on the troubles that we are walking through, or we can focus on the promises that are at the end of those troubles and we can focus on the one who is with us even in the midst of those troubles. Even the disciples of Jesus knew that they would face troubles. They also knew that they had placed their faith in the one who has overcome the troubles of this world.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

The words from Jeremiah were recorded when many had been carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. In essence, they were taken captive and taken to another country. Babylon was not a country you went to for a vacation. They took captives from all of the lands that they had defeated in war. They attacked the other countries in order to extend their kingdom! The words recorded within Jeremiah were a promise to those who were in the midst of very difficult times. They were a promise from the Lord that He still had plans for them. He still knew what the future held even though the people in captivity could see no possible reason to have any hope.

The Lord is still saying this today to those who call upon His name!

He has plans for us. He has given us a hope far greater than the promise of the hope that He gave to the exiles. They were looking for freedom in the physical world. We have been given freedom from the consequences of our sins. He has such amazing plans for those who call upon His name. We should know a peace that passes all understanding even in the midst of the chaos of this world. Our peace comes from the One who has overcome the world by defeating sin and death. Our true prosperity is coming as we are given an eternity in His presence.

His plans are out of this world!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t be a fool in the eyes of God!

June 17, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The fool says in his heart,
     “There is no God.”
  They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
     there is no one who does good.
(Psalms 14:1 (NIV))

Who would consider you to be a fool? Would the world say that of you or would God?

You cannot appease both. Either you throw your faith with God and the world thinks you a fool or you stand with the world and God knows you for what you are. Either way, we make a decision that leaves us a fool in the eyes of someone.

Each of us is born with a void inside of us. That void can only be filled by God. Many people try to fill it with other things, but they can never be satisfied. To those who say that there is no God, they have attempted to fill that void with worldly things and have found no peace. Since they cannot find peace in this manner, they assume that God does not exist. They reason that how could a being who created us leave us with such an emptiness? Since we have an emptiness, then there must be no God. They marvel at their reasoning.

The way of a fool seems right to him,
   but a wise man listens to advice.
(Proverbs 12:15 (NIV))

They lack the very peace that they seek.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (NIV))

Peace comes from only one source. It is that source that can also fill the void within us. When that void is filled with God, then we have a change of heart. We realize that there is a God and that He loves us. He guides us in our deeds. We learn to walk in His ways. We realize that we have been the very fools that we claimed others to be.

If you have to chose who will label you as a fool, who will it be?

Don’t be a fool in the eyes of God!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How is your attitude through all of the world’s troubles?

April 27, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
(James 1:2 (NIV))

I think that the enemy is testing our ability to find joy under trial. Perhaps I should rephrase that to say that I know that the enemy is testing our ability to find joy under trial. Personally, I do not see how anyone who does not profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior can make it through what we have been through and what I am certain that we will be going through in the not too distant future.

When we face trials of many kinds, we must have joy.

When we face worldly uncertainty, we must have joy.

When we face persecution, we must have joy.

In all circumstances, whether good or bad, as believers in Jesus, we must have joy, for He is our joy.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

If we profess a faith in Jesus and we do not have joy, what does that say about our faith? What does that say about our relationship with Jesus? Jesus told us to rejoice and be glad! Jesus told us that if we follow Him, we would face persecution. Thankfully, we have His promises to stand firm in.

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
(Matthew 5:11-12 (NIV))

How is your attitude through all of the world’s troubles?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We should pay it forward in prayer!

April 13, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:

   “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
      if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
   In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
(Romans 12:17-20 (NIV))

When Jesus was being beaten before His crucifixion, He could have been angry and vengeful. In the world’s point of view, He had every right to want to repay what He was receiving. Yet, Jesus did not exact revenge. Even though He was and is the Son of God, God With Us, He left the revenge to God the Father. It was not time. Jesus came to be a sacrifice so that many could live. If he had exacted vengeance at that time, it would have voided the reason that He came. If Jesus, who is Emmanuel, God with Us, can leave vengeance for God the Father, then we can too.

We need to treat our enemies as Jesus would treat them, for God loves everyone and He does not wish for any to perish, but when God’s vengeance does come, it will come swiftly. With that in mind, we must pray for our enemies. We must pray that they receive the same grace and mercy that we received when we accepted what Jesus did on the cross.

We should pay it forward in prayer!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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God still saves those who call upon His name!

April 6, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Alas! That day is so great
      there is none like it;
it is a time of distress for Jacob;
      yet he shall be saved out of it.
(Jeremiah 30:7 (NIV))

What is your understanding of the importance of Israel in God’s timeline?

What is your understanding of the tribulation that is spoken of in Revelation and hinted at in Jeremiah and many other books?

There are many who believe that the tribulation is what is referred to in this passage. You may be more familiar with it being called the time of Jacob’s trouble. Based on this concept, many believe that what is spoken of in Revelation is God’s plan to redeem, to refine Israel and that the church will be gone before this happens. As God unfolds His plan, more and more will be understood. Now, we can only speculate as to what all of this means and how the Lord will unfold all of it as His plan comes to fruition. One thing is certain. God is not through with Israel. He has plans to redeem Israel for Himself. He has plans to redeem Jerusalem to Himself. With this in mind, we must be diligent in our prayers.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
(Psalm 122:6a (NIV))

We must also be like the Bereans and search the scriptures for the truth as God unfolds it.

Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
(Acts 17:11 (NIV))

God gave us His word.

I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.
(John 14:29 (NIV))

We must dive deeply into His word so that we are able to recognize when things happen and believe. We must also share the Gospel so that others will believe. We must lead people to Jesus before they are distressed and troubled. We must lead people to Jesus so that they may know of God’s grace and mercy before it is too late.

God still saves those who call upon His name!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you truly accepted the peace that Jesus gives?

March 30, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
(John 14:27 (NIV))

Are you at peace with what is happening in the world?

Perhaps I should ask if you are at peace in spite of what is happening in the world. I honestly believe that every believer is watching and wondering what is going to happen next. We know that the world is a sinful, fallen place and that the things of this world will just continue to get worse. With that in mind, even those who profess a faith in Jesus are probably experiencing some concerns as things unfold. Thankfully, our concerns are not the end of our story, for our story is eternally tied to the story that God is unfolding through Jesus. Our concerns should be for the lost who are caught in the middle of the present circumstances for they see no hope in sight. Our worries should be for those individuals who have not accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. If you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and savior, you have a peace that passes all understanding. You have a peace that is evident in spite of what is going on in the world.

Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.
(Daniel 12:10 (NIV))

We must pray for a harvest! We must pray for an increase. We must pray for the atoning Blood of Jesus to cleanse, to purify, to make spotless, and to refine those who will answer His call. We must pray for an outpouring so that people will understand that they need to repent and turn to Jesus.

It breaks my heart to see people who have apparently lost all semblance of common sense. They just don’t seem to understand the basic principles of life. They just don’t seem to understand that there is an absolute truth and an absolute righteousness. They have abandoned the truth and believed the lie. The peace that I have in spite of the world is what I long to be able to share with these people, but they simply do not understand. I hate to draw this conclusion, for they are someone’s brother or sister, father or mother, son or daughter, but based on what Daniel has written, what does that make them in the eyes of God?

I am not at peace when I see what is happening in this world simply because I know far too many people who need Jesus, and they need Him now!

If it is possible to grasp, at the very same time, I am at peace in spite of the circumstances in the world. This comes only through knowing that I have personally placed my hope and trust in Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. That does not mean that my heart doesn’t break when I see the things that break the very heart of God. I just realized that my peace comes from Jesus changing me to the point where I now know what breaks the very heart of God. If you then expand that knowledge to a desire to not break His heart, but to fill your heart with Him, then you truly possess a peace that passes all understanding.

Have you truly accepted the peace that Jesus gives?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Fix your eyes upon Jesus!

March 29, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.
(Habakkuk 3:19 (NIV))

Do you ever feel like the weight of the world is crashing in on you? If you are like most people, that has grown exponentially over the last few years. When this happens, and yes, it happens even to believers, what do you do? Do you have a favorite scripture passage that restores the peace and the calm? Do you go into your prayer closet? Do you listen to a favorite song? Do you pick up God’s Word and dive into the truths that it contains? Do you fully embrace that Jesus is still with you and is walking with you through all of your troubles?

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

Human history has been full of troubles. Many people who study prophecy believe that these troubles are now escalating and converging to the point where we can see the unfulfilled prophecies being fulfilled very rapidly. If this is true, then we must rely on the Lord as our strength, for it will be more than we can bear. If these events are still years down the road, we still must rely on the Lord as our strength, for the current state of the world is very troubling now and will only get worse.

Is the Lord your strength?

Do you find joy in knowing that He is in control? Do you find peace in knowing that there is absolutely nothing that happens in this world that He does not know about? In other words, He knows the end from the beginning! We have nothing to fear. We have no reason to be downcast and disturbed because He is our strength.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
      Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
      for I will yet praise him,
      my Savior and my God.
(Psalm 42:5 (NIV))

When you are feeling like the weight of the world is making you downcast, look up! Our Lord is our perfect strength. We must look to Him. I find hope and strength that one day when I look up, I will see Him coming for His bride, for those who call upon His name as Lord and Savior!

Fix your eyes upon Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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