Will this be changing soon?

May 19, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
(Matthew 5:45b (NIV))

I truly love the fact that God shows His mercies to everyone whether we deserve them or not. Based on this passage, He uses everything in His creation to draw people to Himself. Sadly, too many people simply ignore Him, or even worse, they curse Him. He even sent His Son, Jesus, to live in this world as a teacher and to die on the cross as an atoning sacrifice. He even resurrected Jesus from the dead to overcome the power of sin and death, and still, people ignore Him or curse Him.

We are told that a time will come at the end when His wrath will be poured out on the world!

What do you believe will happen with the righteous at this time?

I am sure that someone has drawn this conclusion before, but I want to present a passage that I believe tells us of God’s heart toward the righteous. It comes from the parable of the ten virgins.

At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
(Matthew 25:1-5 (NIV))

We know all too well God’s definition of a fool.

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

I believe that we can interchange righteous with wise and unrighteous with foolish. Based on that, I believe that we see the next obvious step in the process with those who are ready and waiting for Jesus will be taken to be with the bridegroom!

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))

I have never heard anything about Jewish wedding traditions that say those waiting for the bridegroom would undergo suffering. I have never heard anything about these traditions that indicate they would miss the joyous celebration. If Jesus is coming for His bride, His bride would be spotless!

We see the sun rising on both the evil and the good. We see rains falling on both the righteous and the unrighteous. I believe that this is in the process of changing.

Will this be changing soon?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you being powerful and effective?

May 9, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
(James 5:16 (NIV))

What do you pray for?

Perhaps I should ask if you even pray. Too many people think that they pray but in all honesty, all that they do is approach God with their wish list of things that will benefit them. Please don’t misunderstand that comment. We have a God who is concerned about our needs, but we are supposed to be concerned about someone besides ourselves. We are supposed to be concerned with being obedient to God’s will.

God desires our righteousness and not our selfishness.

What does God see as righteousness?

Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
(Genesis 15:6 (NIV))

And if we are careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.
(Deuteronomy 6:25 (NIV))

I could find many passages that define righteousness; but in essence it is being right with God! It is what God calls good.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good
     And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
     and to walk humbly with your God.
(Micah 6:8 (NIV))

Do you act justly in all that you do? Do you treat everyone with love and compassion?

Do you love mercy? Do you show mercy or do you only expect mercy to be shown to you?

Do you walk humbly with God? Do you understand that you are not the center of the universe and that God doesn’t love you more than He loves anyone else? Are you willing to put others first instead of being self-centered?

Based on these criteria, righteousness is not as easy as we would like to think. It results from a desire to be so in tune with God that we see the world and ourselves through His eyes. When this happens, we desire what God desires. Is this what you desire? If this is your desire, then your prayers for what God desires will be powerful and effective!

Are you being powerful and effective?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do your groanings mean?

March 10, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice;
      when the wicked rule, the people groan.
(Proverbs 29:2 (NIV))

I am going to ask a question that many people will say has an obvious answer, but just to make sure, here goes.

What are you hearing from the people, from the world today?

I honestly believe that the only people you hear rejoicing are the ones at the very heart of all of this mess. There is a big push by the global elite to do things that are fulfilling things foretold of long ago in God’s Word. Whether you believe that the new world order is planning a great reset or you believe that Planet X is making people crazy, one thing is certain – there is something big going on in this world. I want to let you in on a little secret that should put your mind at ease if you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. God is still in complete control! None of this has caught Him by surprise. We are the ones who are surprised.

Why?

Do we not spend enough time in His Word? Do we not know His Word well enough to know what He is allowing to happen as it happens right in front of us? Are we groaning because we are saddened by the state of the world as it has so rapidly changed? Are we groaning because we long for the way things used to be?

Personally, I like to believe that the groaning that we are hearing is from the Body of Christ as we pray through the Holy Spirit to express our desires for His righteousness and His plan as it unfolds.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
(Romans 8:26 (NIV))

This may sound strange, but I believe that those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior can groan in the Spirit, yet still be able to rejoice, for we know that Jesus will return sooner than any of us would have even considered ten years ago. We groan because we long for the evil to end and His righteousness to be established, and we rejoice because we know that it will come.

We don’t know what tomorrow will hold, but we do know who holds tomorrow. All that I know is that I pray to be able to be as faithful as those whom were fed to the lions in the Colosseum. It is written that they sang with eyes lifted toward heaven!

Are you prepared? Do you stand firm in your faith?

What do your groanings mean?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you truly desire to see His face?

February 2, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For the Lord is righteous,
      he loves justice;
      the upright will see his face.
(Psalms 11:7 (NIV))

Do you see yourself in this passage? Do you truly desire His righteousness, His justice and to see His face? Is this your priority or do you desire the opposite of what the Lord desires? If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then it should be your desire to see Jesus, to follow Jesus, and to be washed in His blood so that you are imparted His righteousness. It is my prayer that you truly desire these things, for we are blatantly told what will happen to those who are false believers.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV))

I pray that you truly understand that missing the Lord’s definition of righteousness is considered sin. Falsely knowing Jesus is a sin. To claim His righteousness, we must claim Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior and cling to Jesus in all that we do. We must desire Him!

The Lord is in his holy temple;
      the Lord is on his heavenly throne.
He observes everyone on earth;
      his eyes examine them.
The Lord examines the righteous,
      but the wicked, those who love violence,
      he hates with a passion.
On the wicked he will rain
      fiery coals and burning sulfur;
      a scorching wind will be their lot.
(Psalm 11:4-6 (NIV))

We know that the Lord sees everything. We know that He sees our hearts. He knows our thoughts. Left to our own thoughts, we are wicked, and as such, we are helpless, hopeless and lost. But when we believe in our heart and profess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, then we will be saved. It takes more than lip-service. We must truly believe that Jesus is Lord, then we can rest assured in the best promise that has ever been made.

for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
(Romans 10:13 (NIV))

Do you truly desire to see His face?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you joined Simeon in praising God?

December 23, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God,
(Luke 2:25-28 (NIV))

Simeon’s faith was strong. He desired nothing more than to see the Lord’s Messiah. When the time was right, he was obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit and his sole desire was granted to him. He waited a lifetime to see the Messiah. He did not sway from his desires. He did not sway in his faith that he would see the Messiah. He stood firm on the promises of God.

Do you long to see Jesus?

Do you have the patience and the faith that Simeon possessed?

Think about that. Simeon was an old man. He had waited his whole life to see the Messiah, and he probably only spent just a few minutes in His presence. Would that be enough for you? To Simeon, that was enough. He knew that everything else that the Lord had promised would come to pass because of the fulfillment of the promised Messiah whom he had held in his arms. Because of the fulfillment of God’s promise to Simeon in those few minutes, Simeon was faithfully and boldly able to proclaim the following.

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
      you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
      which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
      and the glory of your people Israel.”
(Luke 2:29-32 (NIV))

Have you joined Simeon in praising God?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you accepted His mercy?

December 17, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

His mercy extends to those who fear him,
     from generation to generation.
(Luke 1:50 (NIV))

Have you ever read these words and realized that this is the reason that Jesus came into the world?

He came to bring us mercy. He came to bring us grace. He came to bring us hope. He came to bring us something that we could not achieve on our own, and that was a way to be reconciled, to be made righteous in the eyes of God the Father. If that isn’t mercy, then what is it? Perhaps you could say that it is love.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

When you think of the birth of Jesus, many things comes to mind, but the one thing that we must remember is that God came to be with us so that His mercy could be explained and offered firsthand. He came to fulfill the law so that we could be held blameless and righteous through His actions. He came so that we could have abundant life in this world and with Him in eternity.

He provided a way for us to escape the consequences of our sinful, human nature and all that we have to do to be shown this mercy is follow a plan as easy as ABC.

A is for admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior.

B is for believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead.

C is for call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.

Have you accepted His mercy?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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There is absolutely no one like our God!

November 19, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.”
(1 Samuel 2:2 (NIV))

Where do you place your trust? Perhaps I should ask in whom do you place your trust? Do you trust in a political leader? Do you trust in your boss? Do you trust in your family? I realize that this is going to sound strange, but do you trust in yourself?

There is not a single person in this world who will always do what is right, who will always do what is righteous and holy in the eyes of the Lord. That is why when we were trapped in sin and in need a savior, there was not a single person alive then, or ever, who could live up to the standards that the Lord has set for us. Only He is perfect. Only He is Holy. Only He could save us!

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
(John 1:1-5 (NIV))

In order to save us, He had to be above us. He had to be before us, and He had to be like us!

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 (NIV))

He had to be fully God and fully man. He had to have the power to forgive and He had to have the power to live a sin free life as one of us. There is no one like Him. We have no one else that we can turn to. Nothing can shatter the Rock that is our God. With this in mind, when someone claims to be completely worthy of your trust, turn to the Lord. When someone claims to be infallible, turn to the Lord. When the whole world is falling for a false messiah, turn to the Lord. Never take your eyes off of the Lord!

I love the wording in the Complete Jewish Bible and how it handles the translation from ancient Hebrew to English.

“No one is as holy as Adonai, because there is none to compare with you, no rock like our God.”
‭‭(1 Samuel‬ ‭2:2‬ ‭(CJB‬‬))

No one!

None to compare!

To put it as clearly as possible, there is absolutely no one like our God!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you living by faith?

November 8, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

but my righteous one shall live by faith,
(Hebrews 10:38a (ESV))

Do you try to live by faith?

Everyone who professes a belief in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior prays that they can live by faith, but in order to live by faith, we must know what faith is.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
(Hebrews 11:1 (ESV))

Another translation words it like this.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

In essence, faith is confidence, assurance and conviction that what you profess to believe is true and then you act on it no matter what the circumstances are in the world. It requires that you believe that God is real. It requires that you believe that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. It requires that you believe that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. It requires that you believe that Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected on the third day. It requires you to believe that the only way to escape the punishment of sin is to call upon the name of Jesus. It requires that you believe that Jesus has the power to save, and it requires you to surrender your life to Jesus not only as Savior but also as Lord! It requires that you trust in the promises even though you cannot see them yet.

Can you do all of these with confidence, assurance and conviction?

Noah built an ark because he confident, assured and convicted.

Abraham went on a journey to an unknown destination because he was confident, assured and convicted.

Moses led the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt because he was confident, assured and convicted.

To simplify this, they lived by faith!

Are you living by faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Confession is good for the soul!

October 7, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.
(James 5:16a (NIV))

They say that confession is good for the soul. If that is the case, what good have you done for yourself lately?

When we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we admit that we are a sinner in need of a savior. We admit, or should I say that we confess, that we are sinful, but does our confession end there? Do we feel that once we confess our sinful nature that all of our sins are never to surface again? Do we feel that our sins are completely removed from our lives so that we will never sin again?

I pray that this were true, but for those of us who have accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we don’t do it because we are perfect. We do it because we truly understand just how sinful our human nature can be. We realize that we cannot do it on our own. We realize that we need a savior. To use an old saying, the church is not a country club of perfect people. It is a hospital for broken people who realize that they need help.

Have you come to that realization?

It is as easy as ABC.

A is for admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior.

B is for believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead.

C is for call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.

Once you do this, you will need accountability. You will need people whom you can confess to and pray with. It is amazing what this combination can do when done in the spirit of love for each other and for Jesus.

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
(James 5:16b (NIV))

Confession is good for the soul!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Wait for it!

June 29, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.
(Habakkuk 2:3 (NIV))

Do you await the appointed time?

Sadly, too many people who profess a faith in Jesus only look to Him as their assurance of eternal life once they die, but what about all of the other aspects of Jesus? What about the promise to return for His church? What about the promise to return as a mighty warrior who will defeat Satan and cast him into the Abyss for one thousand years? I know that I summarized all of these events, but we need to realize that Jesus is more than a get out of hell card that we can play if we profess a faith and belief in Him. I know that my wording may make some people question my understanding of Jesus as our Lord and Savior, but we have to look beyond our personal desires and look at what Jesus actually came to do.

Jesus came to bring salvation by living the perfect, sinless life that we are not capable of living. Every single human who has ever lived has been cursed with the results of the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. Jesus came to offer each of us a way out of the results of that sin by willingly paying the price that our sin merits. Jesus came to give us a gift! Jesus came to defeat death!

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

Human nature has made too many people stop there.

Not only did Jesus come to offer us salvation by exchanging our sin for His righteousness as He suffered the death that was meant for us, He also came to defeat and bind the devil so that the father of lies could not deceive anyone else. Jesus came to restore the perfect creation that God had planned.

We like to think of Jesus as a baby, as a teacher, preacher and a miracle worker. We also think of Jesus as crucified, resurrected and ascended to the Father. We also think of spending eternity in heaven with Jesus, but we have a hard time with the righteous warrior aspects of Jesus. We don’t like to think about the state of the world that will trigger His return for His church. We don’t like to think of the wrath that will be poured out on the earth because humanity has gone too far and God’s appointed time has come.

Does this frighten you, or, does it make you look up in hopeful anticipation of His return? It is a matter of perspective. If you look at His return through the eyes of one who has accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, the prospect of His soon return should excite you. If you look at His return through the eyes of one who has rejected Jesus, it is not too late to change your mind. It is as easy as ABC.

A is for admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior.

B is for believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead.

C is for call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.

Once you do that, I pray that you don’t stop there. Embrace Jesus in all aspects of His glory. Do not fear Jesus as the righteous warrior. Wait for the appointed time.

Wait for it!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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