Can you spot the wolves before they attack?

February 7, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.
(John 10:12 (NIV))

Have you ever noticed that sometimes the one from whom the attack comes is not that obvious?

Think about that for a moment.

We are always on the lookout for the wolves that come our way, but not every attack from the enemy will be a direct and an announced attack. We are all on the lookout for the obvious, but are we so acutely aware that many times the attacks come from an unlikely source? Many times the greatest attacks that we will ever face come from sources that are familiar to us. They appear to be safe, and then when we least expect it, they become the source of all of our troubles. These literally are the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Thankfully, Jesus is our good shepherd. He loves us and cares for us. He walks with us and protects us from the attacks of the enemy. He will not abandon us to the ravenous enemy.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
(John 10:11 (NIV))

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—
(John 10:14 (NIV))

Call out to Jesus. Spend the time needed to get to know Him. Take the time to learn His voice. Let Him guide you through the trials and tribulations that you will face in this life. He will show you the wolves in sheep’s clothing!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What if you had been the earthly parents of Jesus?

December 21, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

This is a repost, but it is worth sharing again. What if you had been the earthly parents of Jesus?

All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.
(Isaiah 53:6 (NAS))

This time of year is when we think about the birth of Jesus and celebrate what God set in motion in these simple events.

We realize that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Have you ever stopped to consider what that entails or have you thought about it from the view point of Mary, His mother?

Could you honestly feel no emotion if you knew that an infant would suffer and die for something that you had done?

What did Mary feel when she held Jesus for the first time? Did she see what was to come, or did she see only a baby? We may never know the answer to that question in this lifetime. We can know what we would feel if we were placed in that situation where we know that an infant was born to suffer and die for us. Thinking of Jesus as an adult, as the Son of God, makes it easier to comprehend and think about.

Think about Jesus as the infant who was sent by God to suffer and to die for us. Think about being the parents of that infant and having knowledge of the prophecies of what is to come. Jesus was fully God, yet He was fully man. He had earthly parents who loved Him and fully understood what was to happen.

What if you knew?

Could you face that in the life of “your” child?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Why did the crowds turn on Jesus?

March 30, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A huge crowd of Passover visitors took palm branches and went down the road to meet him.
(John 12:12 (NIV))

Jesus made a very triumphant entrance into Jerusalem. It fulfilled prophesy. It ignited the hopes of the people. It united the people in believing that Jesus was a king, but not in the way that He truly was and is.

What happened in the few days from Sunday to Friday?

Why did the crowds turn on Him?

What made them go from enthusiasm to what can only be called rebellion and hatred?

I have often heard the saying that a person is intelligent, but people are dumb. They are like sheep when in a mob. The mob mentality was and still is something that can turn very quickly from a positive to a negative. Satan used this for what he thought would be his victory.

Are we still falling prey to the mob mentality today? Is the Body of Christ easily swayed by lies planted by the enemy? Do we simply accept things without verification when we are in large crowds? Why do we lose our ability to discern the truth? Are we afraid to stand apart from the crowd?

Think about these questions.

What happens to us, individually, as members of the Body of Christ if we fall into the mob mentality and go along with the mob? What happens if we deny Jesus? What happens if we go along with the mob to save our physical existence but lose our eternal existence with God?

Human nature is a fickle thing. One day we can be enthusiastically embracing something and the next day we can be vehemently denying it. It is my prayer that we can stay focused on Jesus and learn to deny our human nature. I know that I can trust Jesus. I am positive that I cannot trust myself.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you follow the good shepherd?

February 16, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
(John 10:1-5 (NIV))

Sadly, in today’s society, it has come to the point where more and more people do not recognize the shepherd.

Do you recognize the shepherd?

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
(John 10:11 (NIV))

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me– just as the Father knows me and I know the Father–and I lay down my life for the sheep.
(John 10:14-15 (NIV))

Too many people are turning to whatever they think will make them feel good, whatever will satisfy the emptiness that they feel. All too often, what they turn to is just that – it is something that they turn to and in the process, they turn away from Jesus. Sadly enough, far too many never knew Jesus to begin with.

How many different lies about Jesus have you heard recently? I am sure that it is far too many to count, yet, these lies are what people believe. The lies have come from the thief. They are a very focused effort to steal and keep as many people from receiving salvation as possible. In my opinion, it was a very well orchestrated plan that relied heavily on removing prayer from public schools. It doesn’t end there.

We have seen circumstances that have allowed the thief to enter in and falsely lead people into things that are not of God. They have listened to false shepherds. They have listened to the thief. Pray that they quickly learn to recognize the true shepherd’s voice.

Do you follow the good shepherd?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Hypocrisy or true faith?

September 11, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
(John 10:16 (NIV))

Do you ever feel that you and those who are just like you are the only ones that truly obey God’s Word and earnestly seek after His face? Do you find yourself looking at other “so called believers” and ridiculing their faith simply because they don’t worship exactly like you do?

Hypocrites!

Jesus had to face them in the days that He walked among us. We still have them today.

The human ego is a strange thing. Sometimes it keeps us humble and sometimes it steps way out of line and elevates our sense of self worth. It is ridiculous how we start to think that out of all of the vast nations of people in this world, He would be so selective as to deliberately keep many different groups of people from Him.

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 he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

This does not read “For God so loved the Methodists,” or “For God so loved the Baptists.” It reads “For God so loved the world.” The world is a big place.

After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands
(Revelation 7:9 (NIV))

We, as believers are sheep. We hear the masters voice. We are all part of the one flock and Jesus is the shepherd.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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By His stripes we are healed!

April 18, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
(Isaiah 53:5-7 (NIV))

These words do not paint a very pretty picture! The agony of the events of Jesus’ crucifixion are vividly portrayed through these words. They speak of the events in an historical perspective, yet when this was written, the events would not take place for several hundred years! God knew what would happen long before it actually came to pass, and he told Isaiah the events long before they really happened. God IS in control! He was then. He is now, and He will be in the future, as we perceive time.

I don’t know how many actual prophecies that Jesus fulfilled. I do know that the odds against all of them being fulfilled in one person are astronomically impossible, yet, this is exactly what happened. Jesus fulfilled every single prophesy that God had ever given anyone concerning the Messiah about His first coming.

God has given Daniel and John, in Revelation, prophesies concerning Jesus’ second coming. With such astronomical odds against the first event happening, it does not make sense from the world’s point of view that He will return. But, if I were a betting man, I would place my money on God! His record is flawless. His timing is impeccable. His grace is sufficient! His mercy endures forever!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Be still and rest in the presence of God

April 7, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
(Mark 6:30-34 (NIV))

We are told many times to be still and rest in the presence of God. We need to spend quiet time with God so that He may pour out His teachings and His blessings upon us through the Holy Spirit. This cannot be done when we are busy all of the time.

Jesus had sent the disciples out to minister and to teach. When they got back, He knew that they had probably exhausted themselves in the works that they did and that they had probably been under attack from the enemy. Jesus knew that they needed to rest and to recharge themselves so they could continue.

Doing the work of God is not a race that must be finished quickly. It is an endurance race that requires rest and rejuvenation along the way.

Even when we plan to get the rest that we need, God may place people in our lives who need to have some of our time. Just as the crowd followed Jesus when He was taking the disciples to get some rest, sometimes, unexpected people come into our quiet time. This is not a bad thing if what they are seeking is also to learn and to be still with God. Solitude is not necessarily the prerequisite for being still before God.

You can be still and listen to God even in the middle of a large crowd. Jesus spoke many times to groups of different sizes. Do you suppose that the people in the large crowds listened to His voice as if He were speaking only to them? It is possible to hear God no matter where you are. All you have to do is be still.

When was the last time that you took the opportunity to be still and listen to God?

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