Are you prepared for His coming?

November 30, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
(Matthew 25:5 (NIV))

You probably recognize this as part of the parable of the ten virgins. What follows is the remaining part of this parable and what happens when they are awakened.

“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
“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.
“Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’
“But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’
(Matthew 25:6-12 (NIV))

A recent non-scientific survey indicated that 75% of the respondents believe that our churches have fallen asleep and are unprepared for the return of Jesus. The same survey indicated that approximately 33% of the respondents didn’t have a church home. These respondents stated this because all of the churches in their area were completely ignoring this part of His promise and focusing on social issues! This is just as Jesus foretold in the parable of the ten virgins. Are you prepared? Would you be a part of the wise or the foolish? Is the return of Jesus even one of your priorities?

With that question asked, exactly what are your priorities?

Do you look forward to your office parties more than you look forward to the return of Jesus? Do you look forward to the championship football game more than you look forward to the return of Jesus? Do you look forward to your vacations more than you look forward to the return of Jesus?

I could provide many more examples, but I pray that you understand what I am trying to convey. We need to take a serious look at what our priorities truly are. We must be wise and prepared. We must keep watch for the return of Jesus. It must be our greatest priority!

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
(Matthew 25:13 (NIV))

It is true that we do not know the day or the hour, but we can rest assured that we can know the season. Many are saying that now is that very season! What do you recognize as happening in the current season? Is the season making you weary?

We all need rest. We will become drowsy and fall asleep, but it is what we do in our waking hours that determines whether we are prepared. What we set as our priorities in our waking hours will determine if we are prepared. Is Jesus your greatest priority?

Are you prepared for His coming?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Fight the good fight! Finish the race! Keep the faith!

October 21, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
(2 Timothy 4:7 (NIV))

Have you fought the good fight? Are you still fighting the good fight? Are you even aware of what fighting the good fight means?

Paul loved to use sports analogies. He often spoke of running the race, finishing the race, running in such a way as to get the prize, and fighting the good fight. But, just what did all of this mean according to the one who gave us the encouragement to do just that?

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
(2 Timothy 4:1-2 (NIV))

To put this in a nutshell, we are to never stop telling people about Jesus. We are to never stop shining His light to a dark and dying world. We are to live, eat, and breathe Jesus so that in all we do, others will see Jesus in us. We are to never let the enemy stop us. I realize that I indicated that I could rephrase Paul’s words and put them in a nutshell, but everything that I attempt to do gives me more that I feel needs to be said. Maybe I should just take a step back and ask one simple question.

Do you love Jesus with all of your heart, with all of your mind, and with all of your spirit?

If your answer to this question is a resounding “Yes,” then let the world see what you have. Let the world learn of the grace and mercy that is freely given to all who would simply accept. Let the world see that you are set apart from the world, that you choose to not follow the sinful ways of this world. It is said that the Word of God is sweeter than honey, and we know that Jesus is the Word made flesh. Share the sweetness of Jesus with the world. Let them see what He has done in your life. Let them know that what He did for you, He can and will do for all who will simply ask.

We are in a spiritual battle. If we choose to fight the good fight, that means that we do not simply sit on the sidelines. Professing a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is not a spectator sport. We are called to go and share the good news. We are called to share the love of Jesus with a world that hates Him and us. We are to take the fight, with His help and His presence, to the very ones whom the enemy has blinded with his lies. We are to share with them a lifeline to salvation!

Fighting the good fight is living your whole life for Christ!

Fight the good fight! Finish the race! Keep the faith!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you prepared for?

October 20, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
(Ephesians 6:1 (NIV))

How good are you at facing the things of this world on your own strength?

I can almost hear your thoughts on this. Everyone likes to put on a false front and tell the world that they have everything covered, while inside they are falling apart.

Are you like most people and tell everyone that you have everything covered? Do you tell yourself that as well? Do you honestly believe the lies that you tell yourself? What happens at the first sign of trouble?

I realize that I am asking a lot of questions, but in all honesty, what good is reading God’s Word if you don’t feel uncomfortable. It is intended to make you reflect, to make you stop and take a good, long, hard look at your life in relation to the passage in question.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
(Hebrews 4:12 (NIV))

With that in mind, are you tired of trying to face things on your own strength? You don’t need to do this. You don’t need to rely on what you can do. You don’t need to lie to the world and to yourself. You don’t need to sacrifice your joy for a false facade. You don’t need to listen to the lies of the enemy. Turn your eyes toward Jesus!

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))

Just how do you have life to the full? How do you rely on the strength of the Lord? How do you rely on His mighty power?

I am sure that you have thought of these questions yourself, but there is something else that came to my mind. The following words are often seen on bumper stickers, on social media, and many other places, but they hold true.

No Jesus. No peace.
Know Jesus! Know peace!

To be strong in the Lord means that you truly know Him. It means that you cling to His every word and to His every promise. It means that you know Jesus so well that you know without a doubt that all of His promises are Yes and Amen! You may recognize that Ephesians 6:1 is the beginning of the passages where we are told to put on the full armor of God. We are to surround ourselves with His Word. We are to understand that His Word is power. We are to understand that His Word is our protection against the enemy. We are to understand that His Word will defeat the enemy. We are to know His Word and His truth so well that we are prepared for anything that the enemy may try to send our way!

What are you prepared for?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you prepared to preach the word?

March 2, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
(2 Timothy 4:2 (NIV))

Paul’s letters to Timothy provided some very clear instructions on what Timothy was to do while challenging the false doctrine that was being preached in Ephesus. These exact words are what we should be doing in our world today as we encounter the false teachings and the false gods espoused by the world. We, like Timothy, are to hold fast to the never-changing truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are called to share that truth. We are called to be His light in this dark and dying world. We are to stand firm in our faith and share that faith even when all around us appears to be lost. The truth of the Gospel can break through!

Sadly, there will come a day when no one will want to hear the truth. If you look at the current situations and events in this world today, we are getting closer and closer to that day. People are fulfilling the next words to Timothy in an ever-increasing, ever escalating fashion.

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
(2 Timothy 4:3-4 (NIV))

They will turn their ears away from the truth!

I am seeing more and more that people are calling good evil and evil good. I am seeing more and more where people will believe anything but the truth. I am seeing an outright hatred of the truth!

We are called to stand firm and to persevere even in the face of such adversity.

But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
(2 Timothy 4:5 (NIV))

Discharge all the duties of your ministry!

I can hear your thoughts as I write this. Many of you are thinking that you don’t have a ministry and that ministries are for the “professional” evangelists. If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then you have been given marching orders. How you carry out those instructions is your ministry!

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
(Matthew 28:19-20a (NIV))

Are you prepared to preach the word?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you prepared to give an answer?

March 11, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
(1 Peter 3:15 (NIV))

Do you know why you have the hope that you have?

Can you put your hope into words in such a way that you can answer people when they ask you why you believe in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?

Sadly, most people simply are not able to share their personal story with others. They know it in their heart, but too many have a complete disconnect from the heart to the mind. Since most people have a tendency to over think things, they simply cannot string together the words that match what they know to be true.

Does this sound like you?

Is this why you don’t share the Gospel?

Perhaps it is time to stop and pray for wisdom as to what you can and will say. Each of us have a testimony. Our testimony is what the Lord will use to reach others. If we can’t put our testimony into words, no one is being reached. I realize that it is said that actions speak louder than words, but we need to be able to follow up our actions with words that shine the light on Jesus as the only way to salvation. We can’t rely on others to do this for us.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
(Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV))

We can’t make disciples if we can’t give an answer.

Are you prepared to give an answer?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you fully prepared for what tomorrow may bring?

October 5, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Do not boast about tomorrow,
for you do not know what a day may bring.
(Proverbs 27:1 (NIV))

Have your plans, like those of everyone else, been turned completely upside down this year?

Did you tell friends that you had a big vacation planned only to find yourself stuck inside your home for months on end? Perhaps there was a new activity that you wanted to take up, but couldn’t because of the uncertainty in this world. I remember sitting in a hotel on a little getaway with my wife when we started hearing that the stores were out of toilet paper near our home. By the time we left to head home, we decided that we should probably stop along the way to make a few purchases of our own! Every grocery store along the way was either sold out or almost sold out of toilet paper and paper towels. Only twenty-four hours earlier everything was normal.

If this year has taught us anything, it is the accuracy of this passage. We do not know what a day may bring!

I want you to consider another day that is coming. This day will find us waking up and going through our usual morning routines. It is possible that this day will begin just like any other day that any of us have experienced, but something will happen during the course of the day that will change everything. One scenario is that your physical life will end. If that is the case, are you prepared to stand before God and give an account of your life? Are you ready to face the consequences if you have not accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? The other scenario is that Jesus returns for His church. Will you be left behind to face the worst times in human history or will you be celebrating in heaven?

There is so much that can happen in the span of a single day!

Are you fully prepared for what tomorrow may bring?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you a member of God’s household?

August 31, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household,
(Ephesians 2:19 (NIV))

Think about this passage for a moment.

When darkness falls and the doors to the home are locked, who remains inside the home when the homeowner turns out the lights? Who relies on the head of the household to provide security and rest?

I don’t know about you, but I have never seen someone who had the lives of family and friends under the safety of their roof leave doors unlocked so that the enemy could attack. By professing a faith in Jesus, we have been welcomed into the household of God. We have been given not only grace and mercy. We have been given a home that is far more secure than anything we can ever imagine. This world is not our home! We must never forget that we are only passing through on our way to a place that the Lord has prepared for us. We are to be citizens of heaven and we are to be called children of God. Human nature is sinful, but most of us love and provide for our children. How much more will the Lord do for us?

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
(Matthew 7:11 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to truly think about what actually happens when we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior? I realize that there is so much more, but the symbolism of these are represented very eloquently in Ephesians 2:19.

We trade being foreigners and strangers with God to being His children.

We trade being children of sin to being foreigners and strangers to the sinful world.

With all that is happening in this world, we must remember to not be a stranger to God. Are you a member of God’s household?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What are you clothed in?

August 25, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
(Colossians 3:12 (NIV))

Is it just me, or do these sound very similar to something else that we are told about?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

We are to clothe, or cover, ourselves with these traits. We, as the Body of Christ, are to strive to live our lives in such a way that we shine the light of Jesus in our circle of influence. When the world shows us sexual immorality, idolatry, hatred, jealousy, rage, selfish ambition, envy and drunkenness, we are to show them the light and love of Jesus.

I want you to think of this in relationship to putting on the full armor of God. Nobody puts on armor without clothing themselves with the proper attire beforehand. We must prepare ourselves with the correct attire before put on the armor and before we are truly prepared to go into battle for the Lord. We do battle against the enemy because we love the light. We do battle against the enemy because we long to see his captives set free. We are former prisoners and must clothe ourselves with compassion for the lost, kindness to the sinner, humility to the enemy, gentleness and patience with the captives as we share the good news of salvation. Without these as a proper foundation, are we truly able to put on the full armor of God?

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
(Ephesians 6:10-17 (NIV))

There are certain seasons of the year where it is recommended to dress in layers. We are in a season where we must spiritually dress in layers, starting with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Once we are clothed in these, we will be better prepared to add armor!

What are you clothed in?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you gaining perseverance?

August 18, 2020

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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, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
(James 1:2-3 (NIV))

This has been the year for trials!

How is your faith holding out? Are you worried or are you at peace?

It seems as if every day we are told of something new to be concerned about. In fact, if it weren’t so unusual and unpredictable, I would find it rather amusing. I’m sure that everyone has seen the memes on facebook that joke about what is going on. People are laughing at the current state of things because if they don’t laugh, they could possibly cry. I’m sure you’ve seen things that you agree with, such as a rating for 2020 at only 1 star and a “Do not recommend” comment. Or perhaps you have seen things where people are asking if we skipped the murder hornets. Have you seen the one where they claim that 2020 is the new curse word?

It seems as if every time we turn around there is something new. Have you been able to stand firm in your faith during all of the events of this year? What does your faith tell you about the near future? Do you feel the Holy Spirit telling you anything about what we are going through?

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.
(2 Timothy 3:1 (NIV))

Are you prepared for whatever may come? Are you able to stand firm? Are you able to face tomorrow knowing that your faith in Jesus as the Lord and Savior is what will see you through? I’m sure that you have heard the expression thick skinned. We, as the Body of Christ, must be thick skinned when it comes to the sinful, fallen world around us. We must realize that this is not our home. We are only here for a little while and then we will be with the Lord. We must never take our eyes off of Jesus. We must not allow the attacks, trials and testings from the enemy make us swerve to the right or to the left. We must persevere!

Are you gaining perseverance?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you truly prepared?

August 10, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
(1 Peter 3:15 (NIV))

Can you truly say that you have placed your hope in Jesus?

Can you explain why you answered as you did?

Two simple questions, but do they have simple answers? Hopefully, you can say a resounding “Yes” to the first question. This question is the most important for you, for it determines your salvation status with God. God sees your heart and He knows if this is true. He also knows your reasons without you having to put them into words. But, that does not mean that we are off the hook when it comes to being able to explain why we answered as we did to the first question!

Think about that. If God knows our heart, then who are we giving an answer to?

If you read the passage again, you see that we are to be prepared to give an answer to everyone. In essence, our answer is our testimony. It is our witness. It is the story of how the Lord has saved us told in such a way that it draws others to Jesus!

We are to share the Gospel. We are to share Jesus in such a way that it is personal, after all, Jesus doesn’t save us by nation, or by state, or by city. He saves us individually, one heart and one life at a time. We must be prepared to share Jesus in such a way that others can understand what He has done for us, He can do similar for them.

Are you truly prepared?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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