Is your faith mature enough to place others as a priority?

November 28, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
(Colossians 1:9 (NIV))

Do we, as the modern church, follow this example?

I know that the Body of Christ prays, but what do we honestly pray for?

Have you ever noticed that prayer comes in levels. Someone new in their faith will pray for things that directly effect them. A little maturity shifts the focus and slightly enlarges the circle of inclusion. As maturity increases, prayers are offered up for those who we don’t personally know.

Where are you in the process? How mature is your faith? Do you pray for those whom you do not know? Are you like Paul and willing to pray for those that you hear about even though you may never meet them? Paul was willing to pray for those whom he heard about. He was also willing to go to these very people and give them more than his prayers. He was willing to take his time to go and share the gospel with people whom he had never met.

Are you willing to do what Paul did? Are you willing to go as well as pray?

Is your faith mature enough to place others as a priority?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we His people?

November 7, 2016

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))

I know that I wrote about this passage just a few days ago, but, with the current state of affairs in this nation, I have been given a different understanding of this passage.

We keep saying that we are praying for this nation, but are we praying from our perspective or are we praying from God’s perspective? Are they the same? Should they be the same?

We, as the Body of Christ, in this nation, long to see repentance occur. We long to see hearts turn to Jesus. We long to see a return to Biblical values. Don’t misunderstand me. These things are good and we should pray for them, but are we being selfish in our prayers? There are numerous things that are going on in the world and in our nation that many people believe are the fulfillment of prophesies, with more to soon follow. Do our prayers for our nation line up with what God has planned? Are we praying for things that are contrary to God’s Will, for it is widely accepted that this country does not seem to be mentioned in God’s End Time events. Are we praying for our will or for God’s Will to be made manifest in this nation?

I realize that this is a tough concept to accept and to agree with. I earnestly ask that you pray for God’s Will to unfold and not our own selfish will. We, as humans, would love to see peace and prosperity during all the days of our lives, but we know that this may not happen. We do know that God will win in the end. What we do not know is our individual and collective actions between now and then. We, as the people who are called by God’s name, should make it a point to pray for His will to be done and not ours!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t follow the crowd. Answer for yourself!

August 2, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”

They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.”

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”
(Luke 9:18-20 (NIV))

Do you tend to follow the crowd?

Sometimes it is easy to simply follow the crowd. You don’t really have to think for yourself. You simply go along with whatever everyone else is doing. In today’s world, following the crowd seems to mean that you deny Jesus. Following the crowd seems to mean that you mock Jesus and anyone who proclaims a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. If that is the case, is following the crowd something that you truly want to do.

I have heard it said that a person can be intelligent but people are mindless. There is something about the crowd mentality that makes intelligent individuals cast aside all appearances of intelligence. What is it about human nature that makes us want to belong to a group, even if that group goes against everything that we think is true?

I love the way that Jesus started speaking to His disciples at the crowd level and then focused in on them at the individual level. Was Jesus telling them, and us, to break free of the crowd mentality and to embrace Him on an individual level. Everyone knows that we cannot be saved because our mother was a believer, or because everyone else in our family is a believer. Salvation requires a personal commitment. It requires a personal realization that Jesus is the Messiah and that salvation comes only through proclaiming faith in Him.

Don’t go along with the world. Don’t go along with the crowd. Don’t go along with your friends. Stop and listen to your heart. Stop and listen to that still small voice that is gently calling you.

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

How will you answer Him?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you feel the urgency?

June 21, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.
(Revelation 3:11 (NKJV))

Another translation says it in this way.

I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.
(Revelation 3:11 (NIV))

We could get very analytical and start looking at the differences in the words quickly and soon. Unless you are able to read the original texts in the original language, we will not be able to understand the subtle nuances of the original words. It is these subtle nuances that made the translators pick the English words that they eventually used. Regardless of which translation you prefer, there is a sense of urgency in these words.

Do you feel the urgency in your heart? Do you feel the urgency in your spirit?

I see things on a daily basis from all across the world that make me wonder how much longer before God sends Jesus to come for His bride. Wars and rumors of wars are rampant. Lies have become truth and truth has become ridiculed and attacked. I know that I don’t need to tell you about all of the things in this world that seem to be unfolding at breakneck speed. What I do need to ask you is a simple question.

Are you ready to face Jesus in the air if He were to come for His church this very day?

Are you praying in the urgency of the situation? Are you watching? Are you prepared? Don’t be like the virgins who did not come to wait for the bridegroom prepared.

But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
(Matthew 25:10 (NIV))

They thought that they had more time!

We don’t know how much time we may have. I urge you to be prepared. It is my prayer that you fully understand the urgency of the times.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you alert and ready?

June 6, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But keep on the alert at all times, praying in order that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.
(Luke 21:36 (NIV))

These words cause many to dismiss the promise that Jesus will return. If they don’t completely dismiss the promise, then they have an attitude that it is slow in coming.

The reason people have this attitude is the fact that believers have been looking for Jesus’ return for two thousand years and have not seen any indication that it will happen soon.

These words should be used as encouragement, for even when the world thinks that nothing is happening, we have been instructed to be on the alert and pray at all times.

There is one thing that Jesus tried to teach us when He walked the earth, and that is that we are to constantly pray to God the Father. We grow closer to God through this prayer, and through this closeness to God, we will better understand the timing that God is using.

I do not profess to know when Jesus will return, for it is said that no one knows the hour or the day. I do know that God will let the faithful know through their prayers and through signs that He will send. Even with these signs, if we do not pray and stay on the alert, it will be easy to miss the signs, or to not understand them.

Jesus could return tomorrow or one thousand years from now. The one thing that we, as faithful believers, must do is to be alert and continually pray for God’s Will to be done.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Then I saw a Lamb . . .

October 8, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song:

“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased men for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation.

You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth.”

Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang:

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!”

Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing:

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”

The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
(Revelation 5:6-14 (NIV))

Are you anticipating this scene as it unfolds in heaven?

Do you think that it will happen?

Perhaps the most important question is are you praying for it to happen?

We, as the Body of Christ, must not be focused on the things of this world. We must focus on the Will of God and having it unfold. We should not be so engrossed in our physical surroundings and the lives that we have been blessed with that we miss God’s bigger picture, His bigger plan.

Do you study God’s Word with a heavenly perspective, or do you simply study God’s Word to help you live your physical life? Both are important. Unfortunately, too many members of the Body of Christ focus on the physical realm and ignore the spiritual realm. Too many members of the Body of Christ say that it confuses them or that they don’t understand it.

We need to understand it. We need to recognize the spiritual implications of the things that we see. We need to recognize the physical manifestations of things that happen in the spiritual world.

Are we seeing the manifestation of spiritual events in the physical world? Are we prepared for these events?

Or, are we so focused on our daily lives that we are missing what God is telling us?

Do we join the four living creatures in saying “Amen” to the things that are unfolding?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your answer to His question?

August 30, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”
(Luke 9:18 (NIV))

It all boils down to this simple question.

Jesus asked it when He walked the earth. He has asked it to millions of people since His crucifixion and resurrection. He is asking it to each of us today.

“Who do the crowds say that I am?”

Let’s get a little more personal and ask it as if Jesus were asking you.

“Who do you say that I am?”

That single question has caused so much division throughout history. You either believe that Jesus was a lunatic, a liar, a good man, or who He claimed to be. Your answer to this single question will determine not only how you spend the rest of your life, but it will also determine how you spend eternity.

If Jesus was a lunatic or a liar, He went to the cross out of a deranged desire to die and you are lost in your sins and have no hope.

If Jesus were simply a good man, then, once again, we have no hope, for a good man cannot atone for the sins of many. All throughout history, many “good” men have sacrificed themselves for others, yet the ones they made the sacrifice for have still perished.

If Jesus is who He claimed to be, then He knew exactly what He was doing and how it would end. His every action was a part of God’s plan of salvation and grace. If Jesus is who He claimed to be, then we have a hope that cannot be destroyed.

Jesus asked an important question two thousand years ago. He is still asking it today..

What is your answer to His question?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready?

October 22, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
(Ephesians 3:16-19 (NIV))

I cannot imagine a more fitting prayer to be prayed for the Body of Christ, for it asks some wonderful things of God. We would be truly blessed if we became as described in this prayer.

I long to be a person who is blessed with the power of God’s Holy Spirit so that Jesus may fill me completely. I long to be so rooted in God’s Word and established in His love, that I will truly understand how wide and long and high and deep is the love that Jesus has for us. I long to be filled with the fullness of God.

This may sound selfish, but carefully consider the outcome of the change in character of each person who earnestly seeks these traits. As you become more rooted in God’s Word and established in His love, we grow and mature. When we become filled with the fulness of God, we grow and mature. We start to take on the characteristics that God desires each of us to possess.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
(Galatians 5:22-26 (NIV))

Praying for each of us to be strengthened with the power of God is an awesome prayer. Do you pray that for yourself? Don’t take this lightly, for it is asking to receive the fulness of God. You must be ready to receive it if you ask for it. You must be ready to use it once you receive it.

Are you ready?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you need to forgive someone?

July 20, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
(Mark 11:24-25 (NIV))

How many times have you heard Mark 11:24? It is a verse that we know quite well, and we rely on it and count on it because it is a promise from God. God always keeps His promises.

How many times have you heard Mark 11:25 in context with Mark 11:24? God has placed a “condition” on us. It is easy to stand firm in the promise that is made in Mark 11:24, but it is not so easy to take Mark 11:25.

God clearly wants us to forgive others as He has forgiven us. To put it simply, if we are not able to give forgiveness, we are not able to be forgiven. The ability to forgive is Christ-like and God-like. If we cannot show these traits as believers, we are not true followers of Christ.

Do you need to forgive someone?

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