Are you ready to persevere?

March 24, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because,
(James 1:12a (NIV))

As believers, we are told to stand firm, to hold fast, and to persevere under trial. With everything that is going on in the world, hold fast to what you know to be true! Don’t let the things of this world sway you from your faith. We have been told that there would be trouble in this world that we must go through. We have also been told that Jesus, in whom we have placed our faith, has overcome the 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))

Did you notice the one word at the end of the scripture segment that starts today’s devotional. It is a word that we use all of the time, but we have probably overused it to the point where we no longer truly realize the implications that it contains. We are used to hearing people answer questions with “because” as if it is a reason in and of itself. According to Merriam-Webster, because means “for the reason that” and points you to the reasons for a thought process, a statement, or a fact. In this particular case, it points to what will be the result of persevering under trial.

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
(James 1:12 (NIV))

It points to the rewards that will be given for standing firm in our faith and loving the Lord!

Do you love the Lord?

Don’t let the things of this world change that love and that faith. Time is short and we are undergoing trials. Personally, I believe that what we are seeing is only the beginning. Things are ramping up fast. There are many people who study prophecy that have all independently stated that God’s end time plan is unfolding rapidly right before our eyes. If that is the case, we will face more trials.

Are you ready to persevere?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you preaching?

February 25, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And the gospel must first be preached to all nations.
(Mark 13:10 (NIV))

As believers, we long for this to happen, but are we truly ready for the rest of the things that will come with this?

When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 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.

“You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.

“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
(Mark 13:7-13 (NIV))

Did you notice that the part that most people cling to as a condition for the return of Jesus actually falls in the middle of these events. Let me paraphrase it based on what I am understanding. There will be wars and rumors of wars. There will be earthquakes. You will be persecuted and thrown in jail, but you still must preach the gospel to all nations while all of this is happening. You may be betrayed in this world, but don’t give up. Stand firm in your faith.

I know that this sounds a lot more hardcore than simply being told to share the Gospel, but is it?

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 know that not everyone will accept the truth of the Gospel. In fact, we know that there will come a time when sharing the Gospel will be hazardous to your physical life, but that shouldn’t stop us from sharing the truth with those who need to hear it. Many people are seeing this rapidly developing in our society today. What is good is now called evil and what is evil is now called good.

We must be willing to stand firm in our faith and share the Gospel no matter what the enemy may send our way.

Are you preaching?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Stand firm just a little longer!

February 8, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

We have heard this passage many times during our lives. I would even venture to say that each of us have been personally thankful that the Lord was willing to wait for us to come to repentance.

At what point does He say enough is enough?

Let me explain that question. The Lord longs for everyone to come to repentance and He gives us the time that is needed to come to that realization. He gives us opportunities to repent and to turn to Him, but there will come a day when His patience will be gone and His righteousness will demand justice. Is there a line that we collectively, as sinful humanity, must cross? How close are we to this point in history? Is there the same type of line for us as individuals? Have some people already crossed that line?

We seem to be seeing a wide chasm with respect to this. We are told about this in the following parable.

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
“‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
“‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'”
(Matthew 13:24-30 (NIV))

I find it interesting that the Lord said to let both the wheat and the weeds grow until the harvest. The concept is for each kind to mature so that it is fully recognizable. In other words, God is waiting for the true nature to be fully revealed. Think about that in terms of what we see going on in the world. We pray for God’s will to be done. We think that we see and understand what is wheat and what is weed, but is God telling us to be patient and let the weeds irreversibly tell on themselves as they mature in their nature?

We must learn to wait for the Lord’s timing. We must learn to be patient as we wait for His righteousness. We must allow the weeds to reveal their complete true nature!

Stand firm just a little longer!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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We must stand firm against the world and seek righteousness!

January 14, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 5:10 (NIV))

This may sound like a strange question, but are you willing to be blessed?

Most people long to be blessed. They long for the easy life. They long for financial freedom. They long for everything good that they think should be theirs, but are they willing to pay a price for this blessing? In the physical world, if you want something, you usually have to give up something else in order to achieve your goal. If you want a successful business or career, you have to be willing to give up time with your family, or possibly give up your family. Is that a fair trade? If you want fame, you usually have to give up true friendships and relationships. What happens after the fame is gone?

Does the same concept apply in the spiritual realm?

If you seek worldly things, you give up spiritual truth. If you focus on spiritual and Godly righteousness, then you give up worldly things. Doing this usually draws attention to yourself. The world sees that you want no part of what it has to offer and you will soon start facing ridicule. If you stay true to your course, then the ridicule will grow and soon people will torment you for your faith, especially if you are open about it.

The world will only attack those who do not belong to it!

Do you belong to the world? Do you seek the things that this world has to offer or do you seek the things that only the Lord can assuredly give?

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV))

Is righteousness your treasure?

Is God’s Word your treasure?

If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then He, along with righteousness and God’s Word are your treasure. If this is truly what you treasure, then be prepared for the earthly consequences.

“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))

We must hold fast to the One in whom we place our faith. We must stand firm against the world and seek righteousness!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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These truly are reassuring words for tough times!

December 4, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
(Isaiah 43:2 (NIV))

No matter what you may face in this world, you have this promise to hold on to.

God will not forsake us in our times of trouble. It is we who forsake Him. All throughout history, God has been faithful to keep all of His promises. It has always been humanity that breaks their promises to God.

Are you able to stand firm in your faith? Can you say with complete confidence that you will never stray from your faith and that you will never do something that breaks God’s heart? Sadly, human nature doesn’t have a very good track record, but God does! There are those two wonderful words…

But, God!

There was a time when the enemy thought that he had won, but God had another plan.

There was a time when the enemy killed Jesus, who was and is God’s plan, but God turned the tables on the enemy.

I could go on with many more examples. One thing that I do need to point out is the old saying that God is never late. He is also never early. Everything is according to His time. When things appear to be beyond all hope, look up! When things appear to be at the darkest that they can get, look up! We must remember the “but, God” aspect. Things always happen when the time is right so that it is obvious that it is not of our own doing. When we pass the the tough times in this world, when we pass through the waters, we must never lose sight of the hope that we have through Jesus!

We must cling to this passage, for these truly are reassuring words for tough times!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you filled with confidence and assurance?

November 12, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

With everything that is going on in the world, we see countless things that go against everything that we hope for. We see so much that goes against what God calls righteous and good. It has come to a point that many may begin to wonder if they have misplaced their faith. It is so easy to become blinded to the truth if all that we focus on are the lies of the world!

I have found myself focusing on faith quite often lately. The topic comes to mind every time that I see more news about the current state of our nation and the world. I have to remind myself that even though God created this world, it has been turned over to sin and depravity. We may find fleeting glimpses of beauty, but the true beauty has long faded and deteriorated from what God first created. It is at these moments that I remind myself of the truth that we may live in this world but we are not of this world. We must never lose sight of this truth. We must forever keep our eyes fixed on Jesus!

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.
(1 John 2:15-16 (NIV))

What we are seeing is a direct result of the love of the world. Stand firm, for we are not of this world. Life is a gift. That gift was tarnished and corrupted. We may see hardships. We may even experience hardships, but we must remember that this physical world is not what is important. No matter what we may face in this world, what matters is that we keep our eyes focused on Jesus, for where we focus is where we get our strength.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
(2 Corinthians 4:7-9 (NIV))

If we can stay focused on Jesus, then we can inherit His authority over the 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))

Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
(1 John 5:5 (NIV))

Are you filled with confidence and assurance?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you support those who support Israel and Jerusalem?

October 30, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing:
(Ezra 1:1 (NIV))

We know that God used Nebuchadnezzar as His servant to bring His judgment upon Jerusalem. Then at the appointed time, after the exiles had repented, He used Cyrus to bring about the return to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Temple. Both men had a part in God’s plans. Even though they did completely opposite things, they both fulfilled God’s plans. They were both servants of the Lord whether they knew it or not. God moves people to fulfill His will for the specific period in history. Nebuchadnezzar brought punishment and Cyrus brought restoration. Cyrus returned Jerusalem to the descendants of Israel. Cyrus also committed to rebuilding the Temple.

Jerusalem is the key!

But you are to seek the place the LORD your God will choose from among all your tribes to put his Name there for his dwelling. To that place you must go;
(Deuteronomy 12:5 (NIV))

That place is Jerusalem!

Cyrus knew this. That is why he listened to the Lord.

“This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:
“‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem, and may their God be with them. And in any locality where survivors may now be living, the people are to provide them with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.'”
(Ezra 1:2-4 (NIV))

Everything hinges on Jerusalem.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May those who love you be secure.
(Psalms 122:6 (NIV))

On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem.
(Zechariah 12:9 (NIV))

If we profess a faith in Jesus, who is the Jewish Messiah, then we should also stand firm in God’s Word when it comes to Jerusalem. The Body of Christ hasn’t replaced Israel. We are grafted into amazing grace. We should not do anything to bring destruction upon the city where God has placed His name! We must support the proclamation that Jerusalem is His city where His Temple shall be.

Do you support those who support Israel and Jerusalem?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are we listening?

July 30, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!
(Acts 28:28 (NIV))

When Paul was in Rome, local Jewish leaders came to him. During the visit, Paul spoke of what was told to their ancestors through Isaiah. Some believed while many did not. The last words recorded of that conversation are shown above. For over two thousand years, we, as Gentiles, have listened. We have taken the Gospel that Paul preached and have been able to reach a large number of people. It is true, just as it was in Paul’s day, that some people have perverted the Gospel for their own gain, but for the most part, Gentiles have listened.

The time is now here when we must stand firm in our faith. We must proclaim Jesus loudly and boldly to a world that is falling apart. Time is running out!

Yes, I did just say that.

I have this feeling in my spirit that this world will not return to what we knew just last year. I actually have mixed feelings about this, for I love life. I love my family and I love spending time with those I love. But, I love Jesus more. After years of study, I believe that we are seeing things unfold as we have been told in God’s Word. With the things that are going on in this world, evil is rising. I am seeing things in this country that I would expect to only see in regions of this world that have been known for being oppressive. I am seeing a global hatred of people who profess a faith in Jesus. I am seeing ethnicity rising against ethnicity. Just for reference, this is often translated as nation rising against nation. I am seeing a push to go completely digital with money as well as a push to collect and destroy any physical money once the digital is implemented. I am seeing a big push to wear masks. I realize that the virus is real, so I don’t want to get into a debate about wearing masks. What I find sad is that the whole world is engulfed in this. There are those who are pushing a vaccine in order to be able to take part in society. In other words, get vaccinated and you can buy and sell. Would that vaccine leave a visible mark?

Paul was right.

The Gentiles have listened. But, do we know and understand God’s Word well enough to do something with what we have heard? Are we praying for God’s Will, even if it means things get much worse, or are we praying for our will and our comfort?

We need to truly seek the Lord. We need to listen for His voice and His guidance.

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
(Revelation 2:29 (NIV))

Are we listening?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What desires rule over you?

July 17, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
(Galatians 5:17 (NIV))

Whatever you want!

Do you desire to do whatever you want? Is that your definition of freedom? Based on this passage, does that desire come from the flesh or from the Spirit? Don’t rush to a quick answer, for your quick answer will probably be heavily influenced by your own desires. Think about that for a moment. Since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, our flesh is sinful. Everything that we do according to our flesh is sinful and we are fully aware of the wages of sin.

For the wages of sin is death,
(Romans 6:23a (NIV))

We are given a gift that allows us to receive salvation, to receive grace.

but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23b (NIV))

When we accept that gift, we receive the Holy Spirit to guide us in what we should do. The Holy Spirit will guide us contrary to our sinful nature. It is up to us to accept that guidance. Have you ever done something and instantly knew that it shouldn’t have been done? Have you ever wanted to do something, but a still, small voice wouldn’t let you? We choose to listen to the Holy Spirit. We choose to accept His guidance. Sadly, sometimes the flesh wins out and we do things that we instantly regret. Other times we listen to the Holy Spirit and obey. Have you noticed in your life the types of circumstances that you follow the flesh and the types of circumstances that you follow the Holy Spirit? Give God praise for the faith to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, and pray for the ability to stand firm in the face of those circumstances that lead to actions that you regret. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom to allow you to overcome the desires of the flesh!

What desires rule over you?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you called by His name?

July 15, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV))

It’s happened again! Or perhaps I should say that it is still happening. We can’t go a day without seeing something horrendous in the news. We can’t go a day without seeing the work of the enemy as he tries to divide us. We can’t go a day without seeing good being called evil and evil being called good.

I’m at a loss for words. All that I can do is feel the groanings of my spirit as it cries out to God. I honestly don’t know what the prayers from my spirit are saying. I just know that they are asking God to send His Spirit and bring peace to this troubled world. Still, in the midst of all that is happening, I know that everything is unfolding according to God’s perfect plan, even though all we see is chaos. I know that the enemy is not going to go quietly. His time is short and he knows it. We will see more evil arise. It is time that the Body of Christ unite and stand firm in our humility and in our prayers.

We must pray according to God’s Will. We must stand firm in our faith. We must also realize that this world is not our home. This world is sinful and will never be the world that we long for. The events that will lead to the fulfillment of the promises of an eternal home in paradise are unfolding. I realize that no one knows the day nor the hour, but I do believe that it will be sooner than the world thinks. All I know is that we, as the Body of Christ, should be praying for God’s perfect will. We should be praying for those who don’t know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

In essence, if we are called by His name, we should be praying!

Are you called by His name?

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