No matter what, the darkness will not win!

July 27, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
(John 1:5 (NIV))

I have a Bible app on my iPad that I use all the time. No matter what book, chapter and verse I may have been reading the last time I had it open, it always opens to the book of John, chapter 1. This has been going on for quite some time and I have been praying for discernment as to what God is trying to get me to know and understand.

Tonight was no different with respect to how the app opened. Once again, I started reading this chapter and asked God for wisdom and discernment. When I got to John 1:5, I froze with the following realization.

Many people believe that the enemy is increasing his boldness and his attacks. Once Jesus ascended, God sent the Holy Spirit to be with us and guide us. Another very important aspect of the power of the Holy Spirit is that He restrains the enemy. He restrains the darkness! The darkness appears to be increasing rapidly. There will come a day when the Holy Spirit will be removed and darkness will rule. I am not saying that the darkness will overcome the light. It is simply a matter of God saying enough is enough and removing the light. God will remove the restrainer! God will allow the world to have exactly what it wants.

That day is rapidly approaching. Darkness will never overcome the light, but the light can and will be removed. Many things point to that happening very soon. When the light is removed, where does that leave the Body of Christ? Where does that leave the church? Where does that leave you?

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.
(Matthew 5:14 (NIV))

If the Body of Christ is the light of the world and light cannot be hidden, how can darkness rule if the light is still here? I have never been someone who tries to find things that aren’t there or to try and fit something into what I see. I try to be a Berean. I study and search the scriptures. I will never set dates for what is written in God’s Word, but I feel something in my spirit. I feel a sense of urgency! Do you feel it?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you do?

July 17, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
(James 1:22 (NIV))

Some people do the bare minimum in order to get by. I’m sure you know the type. There is probably someone like this where you work. There may be someone in your family who is like this. I hope and pray that you are not the one who people think of when asked about people like this.

Based on this passage, what do you think the Lord thinks about people who think that all they have to do is read God’s Word? I realize that it is important to read and study God’s Word, but it is not the type of book that you read and study just for the knowledge that you will gain. If you can recite passages verbatim, yet not understand and put that understanding into action, what good does it do? If you can recite the fruit of the Spirit, yet you don’t exhibit any of those characteristics, what good does it do?

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
(Matthew 22:37-29 (NIV))

If you easily quote these words, but do not live it, all that you have accomplished is memorization. You have not grasped the meaning. You have not taken the words to heart and made them an integral part of your life!

God’s Word is truth! God’s Word is life! It has the power to transform you. Have you let it transform you?

Do you just listen or read God’s Word, or do you make it an integral part of your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Stay true to God’s Word. Don’t get polluted by the world!

July 6, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
(James 1:27 (NIV))

Too many people look at this as an either or situation where they look after orphans and widows or they try to keep themselves from being polluted by the world.

We are called to do both!

We are to reach out to those in need and give them help. There are many passages that can be used to temper this so that it is not a lifelong help. We are to assist those in need. For those who believe Jesus called us to minister to the poor, He did. We are not called to provide for their every need for the rest of their lives.

For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
(2 Thessalonians 3:10 (NIV))

You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.
(John 12:8 (NIV))

When we begin to feel that we have to take care of someone who is capable of taking care of themselves, are we truly doing as Jesus commanded? Jesus knew that people will always have physical needs, but He did not come to provide physical comfort. He came to bring salvation. He came to bring mercy and grace. He came to bring forgiveness of sins. Jesus did not die on the cross to bring three meals a day and an air conditioned house for everyone. Those things are fleeting. He came to offer eternity with the Father and not perpetual creature comforts in this life.

The other part of this passage is a command to not get polluted by the world. In other words, don’t adopt the ways of the world. Don’t give in to the temptations that are going on all around you. Stand firm in your faith. Don’t confuse the miracles and good works that Jesus did with His primary mission. Don’t buy into the world’s definition of “Jesus is love.” The polluted concept of Jesus is that since He loves everyone, then anything that they do is acceptable. Temper your view of the world with a very healthy dose of prayer and study of God’s Word.

Stay true to God’s Word. Don’t get polluted by the world!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you believe God’s Word? Do you believe Jesus?

February 27, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”
(John 5:39-40 (NIV))

Where can you find eternal life?

There is only one answer, but far too many people have wrong answers. Many people will reply with multiple answers. Sadly, people who profess a faith in Jesus can and do get the answer wrong. They are more in tune with the world than they are with God’s Word and what it says. They are more in tune with the world than they are the one to whom the Scriptures point.

Do you believe the Bible?

Do you believe what it says to be the ultimate truth, and not just true?

Do you believe the Old Testament prophets who pointed to Jesus with what they were given to prophesy about?

John recognized this and wrote about it.

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))

Do you believe the New Testament? Do you believe that Jesus was and is the Word made flesh?

Do you believe God’s Word? Do you believe Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Never stop studying God’s Word!

November 2, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.
(Matthew 22:29 (NIV))

I know that Jesus spoke these words to the Sadducees when they were trying to trick Him with a question about the resurrection, but I often wonder if He looks at me and thinks that of me?

Let’s face facts. We have all had these feelings and thoughts, for the more we study God’s Word, the more we realize that we don’t know. I often wonder about this aspect of God. We are told that His ways are not our ways and that our understanding is as if we were looking through a dark glass. Just when we think we understand what we see through the dark glass, God turns up His light just a little and He shows us more about Himself. After this had happened to me a few times, I realized that I knew nothing of God’s infinite wisdom and His power.

All that I was seeing was the proverbial tip of the iceberg. There is so much more to truly knowing God. It takes a lifetime of studying God’s Word. It takes a lifetime of prayer. It takes a lifetime spent in His presence to ever begin to fathom the depth and breadth of God and His love for us.

I want you to promise me something. Actually, I want you to promise yourself something, and that is that you will never stop studying God’s Word, that you will never stop praying, and that you will never stop seeking to be in God’s presence. I pray that as we all do these things, that there will eventually be fewer times where Jesus will tell us that we are in error because we do not know the Scriptures. I also want you to promise that your study will not simply be for gaining head knowledge. Let the power of God’s Word permeate your thoughts and the wisdom settle in your heart!

I long to truly know the Scriptures and the power of God!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you faithful with your praise?

September 27, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For what you have done I will always praise you
in the presence of your faithful people.
And I will hope in your name,
for your name is good.
(Psalms 52:9 (NIV))

God is faithful and worthy to be praised!

Every promise that He has ever made has come true or is in the process of coming true. I don’t recall the number of prophesies that have come true. I realize that there are still some that have not come true, but we have to consider that God’s timeline is not complete. If we saw that every one of God’s promises had come true, we would not be sitting in the current state of this world. We would see all prophesies from the other end of time. We would be looking back on the events of Daniel and Revelation and praising God for always keeping His promises. Until that day, we must simply rely on faith to know that what has yet to happen will happen exactly as God has foretold that it would.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

We must be faithful in our belief.

We must be faithful in our understanding.

We must be faithful in our study.

We must be faithful in our praise!

If God is faithful to fulfill all of His promises, we should be faithful to praise Him no matter what we may see. We are limited in our understanding, yet, we proclaim that we believe. If we believe, then we should praise!

What do you do when your favorite football team wins all the time?

It is human nature to praise, but what happens when you start to see things go a little differently than you expected? Do you still praise or do you complain? Are we guilty of doing the very same thing to God when things don’t go as we expect them to go? Since when are we privileged to know God’s complete will and His complete plan?

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
(1 Corinthians 13:12 (NIV))

If we trust God to fulfill His promises, why don’t we trust Him enough to praise Him at all times?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you accept the hard teachings?

July 25, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
(John 6:60 (NIV))

We don’t have the market cornered today on not being able to accept some of the teachings of Jesus. Many of those who heard the words straight from Jesus had much difficulty with many of the teachings. Why should we think that we would be any different?

In any classroom or subject of study, there will always be certain concepts that are more difficult than others to understand, accept and apply. This is true no matter what the subject, whether it is algebra, philosophy, medicine, or religion. Each subject has concepts that are easily grasped and applied, and at the same time, each subject has concepts that are difficult to grasp and apply. If everything were easily mastered, we would not have the satisfaction of a job well done when we do master a particularly difficult task.

The same is true of the things that Jesus taught us. Some things we can accept and apply almost instantly, while others we would prefer to ignore. We must not ignore the difficult teachings. It is these teachings that help to mature us in our faith. Perhaps it is also a maturation of our intellect as well, for the wisdom that comes from mastery will often lead us to understand and apply even more difficult teachings.

It is human nature to want to shun the difficult. We often take the path of least resistance. What do we get for this lack of effort? We do not get what God wants us to get. The next time that our human nature takes over and we want to ignore the hard teachings, we must remind ourselves of the nature of God’s Word.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV))

Are you open to the hard teachings?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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