Whose kingdom do you belong to?

October 8, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
(Mark 13:8 (NIV))

I am sure that everybody is familiar with this passage. It is often quoted and many people read it and wonder what God is unfolding. I know that many people have their own understanding of this passage, but I came across something that caught my attention. When this was written, nation against nation did not mean the political and geographic boundaries that we think of. Nation against nation meant different people groups would rise up against each other. To put it in terms that our modern society has adopted, race would rise up against race. There will be hatred and fighting between the different races of humanity.

Sadly, we are seeing way too much of just that in our society and in our world. It is even coming from so called preachers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

There is something else that came to the forefront while reading this passage and that is in relation to kingdom against kingdom. Many people believe that this is what is referring to what we call countries. I believe that it is referring to this, but I also believe that it has another meaning.

Jesus referred to the kingdom of heaven. Satan was given dominion over the kingdoms of this earth. If you look at kingdom against kingdom in this manner, then we see the kingdom of Satan rising up against the Kingdom of Heaven. We see this every day in the way that good is called evil and evil is called good. We see this with the killing of Christians simply because they profess a faith in Jesus. We see this in far too many aspects of our society, most of which have rapidly become the norm. Satan’s kingdom is rising up against God’s Kingdom.

Take heart. Look up.

Keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

Birth pains are upon us.

If you have looked at any of the prophetic signs, you know about the moon turning to blood and the signs in the heavens. I know that we are told that we cannot know the hour or the day, but it sure feels like the season!

Whose kingdom do you belong to?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are your walls strong?

August 7, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.
(Proverbs 25:28 (NKJV))

In Biblical days, a city relied heavily on its walls for protection from its enemies. Today, nations rely on military strength and other means for security and protection, yet, the idea is the same. This idea consists of being prepared for whatever the enemy may throw at you at any time of the day or night. Many times, the enemy is unknown until it is too late.

The same thing is true of our spiritual lives and spiritual enemies that we may encounter. Our spirit, when guided by the Holy Spirit, is our primary defense against the attacks of the enemy, Satan. We must keep our spirit in top condition just as a city’s walls had to be maintained. If a city’s walls deteriorated, then the city was vulnerable to attack and defeat by an enemy. If we allow our spirit to become weak and “deteriorated,” then we are also vulnerable to attack by the enemy.

Strengthen your spirit daily by feeding on the Word of God. Test all things against God’s unwavering standards. Do not be deceived by false appearances as the residents of Troy were with the “gift” of the Trojan Horse. Satan is a master at deception and lies. Arm your spirit with the proper implements of battle.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you a viper?

June 26, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.
(Matthew 12:34 (NIV))

Isn’t it interesting that Jesus called these people a brood of vipers. Carefully consider what a viper is and then carefully consider what deceived Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Was Jesus comparing these people and their actions to the actions that deceived humanity and lead us into sin?

Satan was called a serpent in the Garden of Eden. A serpent is simply a snake, however, a viper is a deadly snake.

Was Jesus saying that the words and actions of this group of people were more deadly than those that originally lead humanity into sin? Let’s take a serious look at this concept. Satan introduced sin into the world by saying that man could be equal to God. How can the creation be equal to the Creator? These words and actions that lead to this deception have sentenced every person who has ever lived to live in sin and to suffer for it. In retrospect, I can see how a serpent fits.

Now, consider the people that Jesus was speaking to. He came into the world to bring grace, mercy and salvation from our sin. The people that He was speaking to were speaking what they, in their sin, wanted to be true. They spoke words that were intended to turn people away from the idea that there was a way to attain salvation. Now, consider what is worse, to lead someone into sin or to mislead someone by saying that they cannot escape from their sin. The first trapped us. The second attempts to keep us in the trap that leads to death. We know better than to be lured into staying in the trap of sin, for Jesus paid the price that allowed us to escape from the sin that has shrouded our lives.

Have you done anything that would be considered an act of a viper? Have you done anything that would cause someone to stay in their sin?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How far is your reach?

June 25, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV))

We must have faith. Faith in God is mandatory if we are to receive the kingdom of heaven. We must have hope. Hope for the future that it will be better than the today that Satan has a hold of. These are important for our life as a believer. But, it is important for us to recognize what is being said in the scripture.

We MUST have love. Jesus came in love from God. Jesus reached out in love and compassion to those who needed Him the most. Can we, as believers, do any less than what Jesus did? We cannot turn our backs on people who are seeking God just because they do not fit into our social circles, or because they are from a different country.

We must reach out to them in love! We must reach beyond our comfort zone.

How far is your reach?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Submission, Pride and Authority!

April 14, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.
(1 Peter 2:13-17 (NIV))

Submission is probably one of the hardest things that a human has to do! The very act requires that you admit that someone has authority over you and you are not the ultimate power in your life.

Just where does this “rebellion” come from?

It appears to be an inborn trait in each and every one of us. Perhaps it comes from the Fall from Grace in the Garden of Eden. Let’s face it, Satan did not want to submit to God. He deceived us and now we have turned over the earth to sin and death. It was the sin of pride that made Satan not willing to submit. Now, the same pride permeates the world because of the incident that happened in the Garden long ago.

Perhaps it is exactly for this reason that we are called to submit. It goes against everything that the world expects of us in our sinful nature.

Do you submit willingly, or do you still fight the sin of pride that has caused so many to not submit to the ultimate authority within their lives. That authority is Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and the only King of kings and Lord of lords.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we guilty of following these ideas?

March 28, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith. Grace be with you all.
(1 Timothy 6:20`-21 (NIV))

Just what are the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge?

Are we guilty of following these ideas?

How can we recognize these ideas that are falsely called knowledge?

I don’t often look at the Amplified Bible, but the added notes and words make a lot of sense.

O Timothy, guard and keep the deposit entrusted [to you]! Turn away from the irreverent babble and godless chatter, with the vain and empty and worldly phrases, and the subtleties and the contradictions in what is falsely called knowledge and spiritual illumination. [For] by making such profession some have erred (missed the mark) as regards the faith. Grace (divine favor and blessing) be with you all! Amen (so be it). (1 Timothy 6:20, 21 AMP)

Do you see the wording used in this version?

Subtleties and contradictions are the key issues. Satan is the father of lies. What better lie to tell than one that sound almost true. A lie that has just enough wrong that it is not blatant. It is not obvious. Soon, everyone thinks the subtle lie is the truth, and then it is time for the enemy to introduce another subtle lie that contradicts God’s word.

If we do not stay in God’s Word, then we will not recognize the subtleties and the contradictions. We will accept the ideas that are falsely called knowledge.

Test everything to make sure that it is one hundred percent accurate with respect to God’s Word. We must realize that if it is one percent wrong, then it is totally wrong. God does not change. He does not place subtleties and contradictions within His Word to try and trick us. If something does not completely go along with God’s Word, then it is not God’s Word.

Take John 3:16 as an example.

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

It would be so easy to change the meaning of this in numerous ways that would still sound almost right.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever knows his name shall not perish but have eternal life.

Close, but no cigar!

Test everything!

God’s Word does not change. We must know it so that we can be prepared to recognize the false knowledge.

I want you to think about this. Is there something that has crept into the church that is close to be God’s Word, but yet is wrong enough to be false knowledge? Are we strong enough in our understanding of true knowledge to recognize false knowledge? Do we know God’s Word well enough to know when lies are being introduced?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do not be deceived

February 21, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 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, 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 4:1-3 (NIV))

In today’s world, deceit is everywhere. The prince of this world tries to deceive the faithful by wrapping his deception in a cloak that imitates the Truth.

Be careful in what you allow into your heart. Test everything. Satan can also appear as an angel of Light. If something does not acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, run from it.

All of God’s Truth throughout the history of the Bible has pointed to one man through many prophecies. If something professes to be from God, yet does not acknowledge that Jesus is the only begotten Son, it is not from God.

Jesus foretold of this and left us a warning.

For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect–if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.
(Mark 13:22-23)

Do not be deceived, but keep your eyes focused on God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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