Don’t overlook what is right in front of you!

December 27, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”
(Luke 2:28-32 (NIV))

What do you do now that you have seen your salvation?

We just celebrated the birth of Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Unlike Simeon, we don’t have to wait our entire lives to see God’s promise fulfilled. We can see it every single day of our lives. We should see it in everything that we do. We have grace and mercy given to us in all circumstances of our lives. All that we have to do is repent and seek forgiveness for our sinful actions.

Have you ever thought that this is why we have things in our lives that we shouldn’t have? Let me ask this in a slightly different approach. Have you ever had something so readily available to you that you took it for granted? Have you ever gone to the extreme and waited until it was too late to realize just what you had available to you?

It is human nature to miss what is right before us. We do it with missed relationships, missed job opportunities, missed witnessing opportunities, and so many more. I have seen people, and I have also been one to miss opportunities. We all do it. Why do we miss things right in front of us while we long for the very things that we miss? Do we think things have to be complicated and because of this, miss the simple things that will have the most meaning and impact?

Simeon knew what he and the whole world were missing. He had prayed for salvation all of his life. He knew what it was that he was expecting and he knew it when he saw it. Why don’t we know God’s grace and mercy when we see it? Why do so many people look right at Jesus and see something else than what He truly is?

Do you recognize your salvation?

Don’t overlook what is right in front of you!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t be led astray!

November 3, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.
(Matthew 24:5 (ESV))

Have you ever stopped to count the number of people in your lifetime who have claimed to be a messiah, if not the messiah?

From the likes of Jim Jones to David Koresh, we have seen many people who claim to be from God. Some people have even made statements about political leaders being the messiah. One even went so far where his followers called him their lord and savior on a nationally televised event. And now, recent events in Israel have rabbis saying that their messiah is alive and that they are now meeting with him.

If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then you know that all of these individuals are not the real thing. There is only one Messiah, and His name is Jesus! He was born of a virgin. He taught. He performed so many miracles that they couldn’t all be recorded. He willingly went to the cross to die for our sins. On the third day, He was resurrected and walked among us once again. He ascended into heaven and now sits at the right hand of God the Father, and to all who will believe in Him, He intercedes for us and gives us eternal life in the presence of the Father. He will come again!

Are you ready to recognize the one true Messiah?

Will you be able to stand firm when others are being lead astray?

For those of you who are married, if you are put in a room full of people who claim to be your spouse, how do you recognize the true person that you are married to?

I realize that the answer to that last question is rather obvious, but I felt that it needed to be asked. The same way that we recognize our spouse is also the same way that we will recognize Jesus. Familiarity! This familiarity only comes from spending time together. It only comes from a familiarity that comes from an intimacy, a closeness, that is only found in that one relationship. It is found in no one else!

We know that Jesus will tell those who have not built that relationship to get away because He never knew them. I venture to say that this intimacy can go in the other direction. Put these false messiahs to the test, and don’t be afraid to tell them to get away because you don’t know them. This will require that you get to know Jesus and He gets to know you. Spend time in His Word. Spend time in prayer. Gather with other believers who are also seeking that intimacy with the Lord.

Can you recognize Jesus?

Don’t be led astray!

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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What are you able to recognize?

March 8, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,
(1 John 4:2 (NIV))

Each and every one of us has the proverbial gut feeling at times. You know the one where without any details or reason, you get a feeling about something or someone that you just can’t seem to shake. How many of you have had that gut feeling confirmed as time passed and the details came into focus? Some people refer to it as a discerning spirit. If you are someone who has professed a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then your discerning spirit is the Holy Spirit giving you insight.

Think about that last statement.

We all know people who are not believers and many are nice people, even friends and family, but there are those who just seem to exude evil even though they may put up a pleasing facade until the topic turns to Jesus. You know the type. Angry and lashing out at anything and anyone who disagrees with them about God. Not only do they just ignore Jesus, they vehemently deny that He is from God.

but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
(1 John 4:3 (NIV))

As members of the Body of Christ, we have professed a faith that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh and that He was sent by God the Father. We will encounter the spirit of the antichrist in this world. With all of the events transpiring in the world today, we are seeing that more and more. Some even say that we may be seeing the real antichrist soon appearing on the world stage. As believers, we have been told by Jesus that we would still have troubles in 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))

No matter what the world may send our way, we must stand firm in our faith in Jesus. We must rely on the discerning spirit that we have been given. We must be able to recognize evil when the world is calling it good. We must stay strong in His Word and put on the full armor of God so that we can discern evil and stand fully with God. We must be able to recognize the enemy.

What are you able to recognize?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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The Good News of Jesus is for all people!

September 15, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your young men will see visions,
    your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
    and they will prophesy.
I will show wonders in the heavens above
    and signs on the earth below,
    blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood
    before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
And everyone who calls
    on the name of the Lord will be saved.
(Acts 2:17-21 (NIV))

On all people?

Not just believers?

I just watched a video from a pastor and he made a very interesting point that I hadn’t considered before. I believe that it may also be something that you may not have considered before.

In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
(Acts 2:17a (NIV))

Another translation says it like this.

And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
(Acts 2:17a (NKJV))

Most people read this and we automatically assume that it means “on my people” or “on those who believe,” but it clearly states “on all people” or “on all flesh.” Think about this from God’s perspective. If He is trying to get the attention of the people of the world, why would He limit what He does to only those who call upon His Name? Why would God not try one last time to reach those who have rejected Him?

The pastor in the video made a very interesting comment about the number of nonbelievers who feel that something big is about to happen in the world. They see what is happening and they have a feeling that they can’t explain. As believers, we recognize that feeling as the prompting of the Holy Spirit, but for those who do not believe, they do not understand. All that they know is that a still, small voice is telling them that something big is about to unfold.

I don’t profess to know if this is true, after all, we are told that His ways are greater than our ways. All that I know is that we are seeing the whole world professing that something different is happening and the world will never be the same. All that I do know is that we, as the Body of Christ, should be witnessing to the world and explaining to them what we profess to believe, after all, the good news of Jesus is for all people!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you put on your armor?

September 4, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
(Romans 13:12 (NIV))

I’m feeling weary tonight!

I’m sure that you have felt this way at some point in this last year. There is more worldly uncertainty and pressure than any of us have ever experienced before. I don’t need to tell you that we are living in and through very unusual times. We are seeing good being called evil and evil being called good. We are seeing lawlessness. We are seeing saber rattling and wars. We are seeing peace treaties that are foretold in prophecy. We are seeing what the world labels as racial tensions. We are told that nation will rise against nation. The original Greek could actually be translated as ethnicity groups.

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.
(Matthew 24:7 (NIV))

And the one thing that is on everyone’s mind, whether you believe that it is a true risk or greatly exaggerated, is COVID-19. I’ve even read that the suicide rate is up for a group of people that should know where to turn for their strength. Perhaps you have seen this as well. The reports are saying that pastors are committing suicide at an alarmingly high rate. Why has faith disappeared? Why are people who should be encouraging the Body of Christ to look up now doing such a thing as what is being reported? The Body of Christ should recognize the signs and dress for battle for our Savior will soon be here!

When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.
(Luke 21:28 (NIV))

With everything that is going on in the world, who can you turn to in order to get an unbiased and honest perspective on events? We are to look up! We are to keep our eyes focused on Jesus. We are to prepare for what is coming. We are to arm ourselves with His Word, for when we know God’s Word, we don’t lose site of the promises that God is unfolding before us.

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))

Have you put on your armor?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you been caught in your foolishness?

August 4, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”
(1 Corinthians 3:19 (NIV))

Can you imagine what God thinks of our attempts at solving the world’s current problems?

In all honesty, I could probably stop after asking that one question and let your imagination run wild. You can probably paint a very vivid mental picture quite easily of God’s reaction to everything that is going on in the world today. Do you envision the Lord doing a face palm and shaking His head? Do you envision Him shedding a tear because of our so called wisdom? I am sure that what we have done and what we are doing breaks the very heart of God!

Where do you stand with respect to the wisdom of the world?

Perhaps I should ask a different question.

Do you believe that there is any wisdom to be seen in this world?

I pray that you haven’t fallen into the prideful human characteristic that thinks, “If they would only listen to me!” Far too many people can claim this arrogant attitude when they should be prayerful and seek the Lord for His wisdom.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
    and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
(Proverbs 9:10 (NIV))

If our righteousness is as filthy rags, and we see as if through a dark window, then how can we truly possess any real wisdom? What we call wisdom is merely a series of glimpses of the infinite picture and we have the arrogance to believe that we know everything about the infinite picture! Now I understand why the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.

We must turn to the Lord and seek His wisdom. We must be willing to abandon our wisdom and recognize it as foolishness, for our wisdom will soon be recognized for what it truly is.

Have you been caught in your foolishness?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you prepared for what’s next?

July 21, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.
(Luke 21:29-31 (NIV))

What is it that you see going on in the world?

Do you even care?

There is so much happening in the world that it makes me wonder what people are thinking anymore? There is so much turmoil. There is so much hatred. There is so much persecution, and there is so much mockery of Jesus and the Body of Christ.

Has the world turned its back on things that are good? Has the world replaced good with evil?

I follow numerous prophecy sites just as a way to get the latest on what is happening. I want to say that I don’t take everything literally as the truth from these sites. I weigh what is presented and compare it to Scripture. I also compare the sites to other sites to see if there is any continuity between the messages that are given. I study and pray for discernment.

It is true that many things contradict each other. I do not argue that fact. What I do see is an increase in the things that are being reported. I see an awareness that is growing. I am also seeing more and more things that are in agreement from sources that have no way of being able to corroborate what they are presenting. In essence, they are witnessing to what God is in the midst of doing! More and more are pointing to the very same thing!

A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.
(Deuteronomy 19:15b (NIV))

Many sites are saying that something major is going to happen soon and that what is going to happen will be widely known by the whole world by September. I am by no means date setting, but with the confirmation from more sites than I can count, we must be ready for whatever the Lord has planned no matter what day or hour that it is planned for!

Think about that for a moment.

For almost two thousand years, people have been looking for the events that will lead to the return of Jesus. At no other time in history have all of the events lined up as they do right now. They line up so perfectly that many Bible scholars are calling this the Great Convergence. Things are happening all over the world at a rate that most people can’t even begin to comprehend. Would you be caught off guard if God’s plan began to rapidly accelerate even more and things did unfold today, tomorrow or perhaps even in September?

Do you recognize the things that are happening? Do you find yourself anticipating more events to unfold as foretold?

There are things that are happening all around the world that appear to make the case for the time getting closer.

No matter when the true church is removed and when Jesus does return, we must realize that we cannot sit idly by and accept what the world is telling us. If we do, are we truly followers of Jesus? If we do, are we truly part of the Body of Christ?

What is it that you see going on in the world?

Are you prepared for what’s next?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are we thoroughly equipped to be God’s servants?

June 23, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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))

Most believers are familiar with this passage, but most read it as I have presented it here. We have a tendency to take it as a stand-alone passage and forget the context that it was originally written. It is true that as a stand-alone passage, it does speak truth, for anything from God’s Word is God-breathed and useful in all righteousness, but there is more to this passage than this. These words about all scripture close 2 Timothy 3 after it is opened with these words about the last days.

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
(2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV))

We, as the Body of Christ, have taken these two passages and have made them unrelated. We look at the warning about the last days but fail to realize that the closing words from 2 Timothy 3 are instructions for us when we see the things of the last days unfolding right before our eyes. The words written by Paul to Timothy are instructions to continue in the faith. We are to stand firm in the face of adversity. We are to stand firm when we see people are becoming lovers of themselves. We are to stand firm in our faith when we see the world turning into lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. We are to stand firm by firmly rooting ourselves in the scriptures, and not just our favorite passages.

In order to recognize the truth, we must be firmly rooted in God’s truth. There are gems of godly wisdom and truth in every passage. Some truths are only recognizable when you understand the complete truth, for God’s Word is not just a collection of individual, unrelated nuggets. God’s Word is life!

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
(Genesis 1:1 (NIV))

From the first words in Genesis 1 to the last words in Revelation 22, there is an unfolding of God’s truth and in order to understand it, we must read and study it all.

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.
(Revelation 22:20-21 (NIV))

It is said that all of scripture after the fall from grace details God’s plan to bring salvation and to restore His creation. How well do you know the story? How well do you know what the outcomes are for those involved in this story?

Are we thoroughly equipped to be God’s servants?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the world about to go into labor?

June 15, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
(Matthew 24:6-8 (NIV))

Is it just me or do you see an ever increasing frequency of events happening not only in our country, but worldwide?

To use the analogy that is used in Matthew, the pains associated with birth are getting more intense and closer together. Just as contractions increase in intensity and frequency right before a birth, the events in this world are increasing in similar manner. Just like in childbirth, there will come a point at which everything breaks loose.

How close are we?

No one really knows, but one thing is sure. Once real contractions start, there is no turning back!

With everything going on in the world, those who do not claim Jesus as their Lord and Savior have come up with a name for what is happening. Many are calling it the great reset, in which everything that has been will not longer be. Think about that for a moment! It appears that we are to the point where those who choose the world and the enemy see what is coming. They have given it a name that matches their expectations of a world without God, without Jesus, without the Holy Spirit and without anyone who follows righteousness and order.

As the Body of Christ, we are seeing things happening that we recognize from scripture. We know what this means for those who truly profess Jesus as their Lord and Savior, but do we truly know what will be birthed here on earth? From what we have been told in scripture, it is not going to be someplace that anyone in their right mind will desire to be.

It is time to fall to our knees and pray for those who have not accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Honestly, it is past time to pray. Until the actual antichrist system is fully birthed and the church is gone, we must pray, for birth pains appear to be rapidly increasing!

Is the world about to go into labor?

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