Have you forgotten how to follow this command?

January 24, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
(John 13:34 (NIV))

Let’s take a look at how Jesus loved when He walked this earth so that we can better understand how we are to love each other.

Jesus called people to repent, to turn from their selfish, sinful natures. He did this out of compassion for those caught in sin and the consequences of sin. He did not antagonize or mock sinners. He called to them out of a true love, a true desire to see them come to a saving knowledge of Him. He loved people because that is why He came!

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))

It is true that Jesus did get angry, but His anger was only manifested when God’s Temple was defiled or the religious leaders were making a mockery out of what God had intended. His anger was never focused on those whom He came to save. In fact, even in His anger, I think that it is safe to say that, just as a father’s heart breaks when his children misbehave, His heart broke for those who were doing the things that caused His anger.

Even in our darkest moments, He loves us!

Can we say that of each other? Can we love each other as Jesus loves us? Loving each other is part of loving God! It is part of our calling!

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
(1 John 4:20 (NIV))

Jesus has commanded that we love one another.

Have you forgotten how to follow this command?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you humble yourself and bow to the Lord?

December 2, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.
(Psalms 138:2 (NIV))

Awe and reverence!

Two characteristics that clearly manifest themselves in people who truly understand God’s power, majesty, grace, mercy and love. How can anyone who truly understands these godly traits do anything except bow down and praise God for what He has done?

No one else is capable of doing what God has done. Only God could have offered us grace and mercy that is eternal. Only God could have sent His Son to be an atoning sacrifice for our iniquities.

We did not ask Him to do it. He volunteered to do it because of His great love for us! How can we do any less that bow down and praise Him for what He has done, after all, He did not have to do any of it, for He is God. No one forces Him to do anything. No one can ever say that God has done something that goes against His very nature. If God cannot do anything that goes against His nature and He sent us Jesus to be our atoning sacrifice for our sins, then we have a Creator who truly loves us in spite of ourselves.

Have you bowed down in reverence and respect before God lately? Have you praised God for all that He has done for you? Have you actually thought about the grace and mercy that was freely given to you at the cost of God’s only Son, Jesus Christ?

Do you humble yourself and bow to the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will you be like Caleb and Joshua and enter into God’s promises?

August 5, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.
(Numbers 14:30 (NIV))

I was given a history lesson that I feel that I need to share with you from a perspective that most of us are not aware of.

We all know the story of how Moses sent people into the land that God had promised to give them so that they could spy out the land. When they returned, all but Caleb and Joshua report that the land is unconquerable. As a result, the people rebelled and cried out to be taken back to Egypt. What we read in Numbers 14:30 is part of God’s response to this rebellion, to this very public display of their distrust of God. What we don’t know as part of the Gentile world is the historical date that this happened on. Here is where I started to learn something of extreme interest. This event occurred on the 9th of Av in the Hebrew calendar.

We all know about Solomon’s Temple which is also known as the First Temple. It was destroyed in 423 BC by an invading army. Israel had rejected God and would not repent. They had fallen into sin. If you made the assumption that Solomon’s Temple was destroyed on the 9th of Av, you would be correct.

The Second Temple, the one present at the time of Jesus, was destroyed by the Romans in 69 AD after Israel had rejected Jesus as the Son of God. Jesus called them hypocrites for doing all of the right things for the wrong reasons. Once again, this happened on the 9th of Av.

There are numerous other events that have all happened on the 9th of Av.
– The Jews were expelled from England in 1290 AD.
– The Jews were banished from Spain in 1492 AD.
– World War I began in 1914 AD. Some historians believe that WWII and the holocaust were actually a continuation of WWI.

It is said that once you accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you become a temple for the Holy Spirit. Please don’t twist this. I am trying to convey a point without going into all of the details. In essence, the Holy Spirit comes to live in us.

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
(John 14:15-21 (NIV))

“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
(John 14:25-27 (NIV))

Based on the history of the importance of this date and the proposed explanations of the Temples:
– Solomon’s Temple was destroyed because of the Jews rejecting or turning away from God the Father,
– The Second Temple was destroyed because the Jews rejecting Jesus as the Son,
– It has been speculated that the temple to the Holy Spirit, the true church, will be removed, Harpazoed, Raptured, on the 9th of Av because those who don’t profess a faith in Jesus have not only rejected Jesus, they have rejected the Holy Spirit!

Just for reference, a day in the Jewish tradition is marked from sundown of one day to sundown, or nightfall, of the next day. I find it interesting that many people believe the phrase “in the twinkling of an eye” is accurately used to indicate nightfall. This is when the sun vanishes and a last twinkle of light is seen! Think of that in terms of when Jesus said that we are the light of the world!

I am not setting dates, only presenting what I have recently seen. It is a very intriguing series of events that God has unfolded all on the same day in the Hebrew calendar. No matter what the date may be, we must be ready. If you are not ready, it is as simple as ABC.

Admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior.

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

Call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.

Are you ready? Will you be like Caleb and Joshua and enter into God’s promises?

Click here if you are curious as to when the 9th of Av falls in our calendar for the next few years.

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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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Is this continually on your lips?

September 8, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, “Great is the Lord!”
(Psalms 40:16 (NIV))

Do you proclaim the greatness of the Lord at all times?

Think about that question with respect to these situations. Are you able to proclaim the greatness of the Lord when you’ve just lost your job? What about when you have no money left and you still need food? What about when someone whom you love passes away? Is it easy to still proclaim the greatness of the Lord in these situations?

I realize that these are extreme examples and that everyone has times that they can think of when it was difficult to proclaim the greatness of the Lord. Have there been specific times in your life when you found this difficult to do? Did you ever get to the point where you could proclaim this again? Perhaps you are in a situation at this moment in time that you simply feel that the Lord has forsaken you. You are not alone!

Even David had these times in his life where he felt that the Lord had forgotten him or forsaken him. Let’s put this in perspective. David was the young man who faced and killed Goliath. David was the young man whom God anointed to be king over all of Israel. David was the man who defeated all the enemies of Israel. David purchased the land for the location of the Temple. David was called a man after God’s own heart. Still, in all the ways that the Lord blessed him, there were times when David felt that God had turned His back on him. We can read this in the Psalms that he wrote. He goes from praising God to asking why He has been forsaken. In all instances, David quickly comes full circles and praised God in the midst of the troubles because he has a history with the Lord. He knows that the Lord will do once again what He has done in the past. He knows that the Lord will not leave him in the situations that he found himself in.

In essence, David knew to praise the Lord for what He has done. He also knew to turn to the Lord and seek His blessing when the enemy was closing in, even when it appeared that the enemy was winning. David knew that he needed to lift up praise to the Lord for the greatness of the next thing that the Lord would do. It could easily be said that David’s praise could be broken down into two categories.

David praised the Lord for what He has done.

David praised the Lord for what He would do.

Do we have the faith to praise the Lord in this manner? Are we able to say “Great is the Lord” even when we don’t see what He is doing?

We must rejoice at all times for Great is the Lord!

Is this continually on your lips?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Hold on to what you have!

July 11, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
(Revelation 3:11-13 (NIV))

Hold on to what you have!

Have you honestly given thought to what you do have? What was the first thing that came to mind when you read that question? Was it your home? Perhaps it was your car. Perhaps you are not as material obsessed and what you thought of was your family. Perhaps you even went to the point of thinking about your life and all that you have been blessed with.

Now, step back and take a look at all of these things through the eyes of God. Did He send Jesus to die on the cross so that you could have a nice home or a nice car? Did He send Jesus so that you could have a loving family? Do you honestly think that Jesus came so that you could live your life in any manner that you choose?

Jesus came to offer to us the most prized possession that we could ever be given. He came to offer us salvation from our sins and the laws of sin and death. If you profess Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then that is what you have. It is a possession that cannot be taken away, but it can be relinquished by turning away. It can be lost by not recognizing the tricks and lies of the enemy and turning to these life robbing sins once more. Professing a belief in Jesus as your Lord and Savior is only the beginning. It is a starting point, but it is not the finish line of the race. Paul often spoke of faith in Jesus as a race, a race that we must not only start, but one that we must finish.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
(Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV))

We cannot sign up to run the race and then sit on the sidelines. We will not receive the prize. We must hold on to what we have. We must embrace what we have been given. We must not allow anything or anyone to keep us from the finish that will allow us to receive the prize.

Hold on to what you have!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you truly free?

July 2, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
(Ephesians 2:19-22 (NIV))

This was written to the church at Ephasus when Gentiles were not looked upon by Jewish believers as true heirs to the promises of God. Paul’s words were meant as a reassurance to those people at Ephasus, as well as to those of us today, who had heard all of the legalistic requirements that some people were trying to impose upon them.

Other people were saying that the promises fulfilled through Jesus Christ were only available to the Jews. Paul corrected these wrongs and set the record straight so that the freedom from the Law that Jesus brought would not be compromised by people who did not understand.

Jesus came as a means of God’s grace. Grace does not require legalism or any other human intervention in order to work. It does not apply only to a certain group of people. It is available to everyone who will ask. As we remember a day that is celebrated for our political freedom, we must not lose sight of the true freedom and the one who brings it!

Are you truly free?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are we gathering in Jesus’ name?

May 14, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
(Acts 2:46-47 (NIV))

We must not forsake fellowship with other believers. God intended for this fellowship to strengthen us, encourage us, and enable us to reach others for Jesus. It is tremendous how the early church grew even under the persecution that they faced for their beliefs. This growth was made possible by the fellowship and strengthening that comes from sharing and encouraging others in the faith.

The church was not intended to be buildings as so many today think of it. The church is the Body of Believers, no matter where we may be gathered. The early church gathered in homes and grew strong in the faith. Today’s church meets in buildings once or twice a week and many see it as a duty, not as a time for fellowship with other believers and with Jesus.

“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”
(Matthew 18:19-20)

Are we gathering in Jesus’ name or are we just gathering to be seen by man?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Step forward into God’s promises!

May 6, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.
(Joshua 1:3 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to think about what would have happened if the Israelites had not stepped forward to receive what had been promised to them?

I want you to truly think this question through and not just the superficial answer you subconsciously gave as you read the question.

Would Israel ever have existed as a nation in the Promised Land? Would Jerusalem exist? Would David ever have been a king? Would Solomon have existed? Would the temple ever have been built? Without David as king, would that lineage even matter? Would Jesus have been born into this world? Would Jesus suffer on the cross, died and buried? Would the resurrection ever have occurred?

If you stop to think about the promise given in Joshua, it is important to remember that this in actually a continuation of the promise given to Abram as it unfolded with God changing his name to Abraham. The promises that God has given to us are more than just for our immediate gratification. In fact, besides the birth of a son, Abraham never saw the fulfillment of these promises.

We have a different perspective than either Abraham or the Israelites under the leadership of Joshua, but we still have yet to see the fulfillment of all of God’s promises. I actually believe that humanity since the fall from grace is too frail to see fully all of the promises especially since God’s promises are tied to his glory. Think about God’s appearance to Moses. We know that God did not show Himself fully to Moses, but we also know that God gave promises to Moses. The promises that we have today are the same promises that God has given before. The only difference is that we have seen some of the promises come to fruition. This should give us faith to know that the rest will eventually come to fruition.

But what happens when we don’t step forward into God’s promises? I know that we all long for good things for ourselves, but if we don’t step forward to claim what God has promised, we are also impacting others who will follow. Just as if the Israelites had not stepped forward, what will happen if we don’t step forward?

Step forward into God’s promises!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What are we guilty of doing in our churches?

April 16, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When Jesus entered the temple courts, he began to drive out those who were selling. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be a house of prayer’; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.'”
(Luke 19:45-46 (NIV))

We, as the Body of Christ, have a tendency to gloss over the events between Palm Sunday and the Upper Room, but it is crucial to remember one important event in relation to the temple during this time. Jesus made it a point to criticize the established practices of the day. He made it a point to let Jerusalem and all of Israel know that what they were doing in the temple was not acceptable in the eyes of God. They had turned the concepts of prayer, repentance and sacrifice into a business.

I want you to think about this for a moment. Most people who came to the temple came a long way so it was not easy for them to bring animals to sacrifice. As a result, someone started the practice of having animals and other offerings for sale within the outer courtyard. I am sure that these people thought that they were providing a service to their fellow Israelites who had come a long way, but it appears that they were more concerned about helping themselves get rich by charging high prices for their goods. It appears that they were so much more concerned about profit than honesty and righteousness. Jesus saw their hearts and reacted accordingly.

I want you to stop and consider some of the things that we allow to take place within the boundaries of our churches!

As we move from Palm Sunday into Good Friday and then Resurrection Sunday, it is my desire that everyone who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior would take a serious look at their actions and their motives for these actions. It is my prayer that each of us would reflect on what faith in Jesus and church has become. I want you to ask yourself a few simple questions.

Is this what Jesus had in mind when He went to the cross?

Do my actions and my motives glorify Jesus or do my actions and my motives glorify me?

In essence, we need to make sure that we treat the Lord’s house with the same zeal we know that Jesus had for the temple. Are we doing things that would make Jesus chase us out?

What are we guilty of doing in our churches?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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