Have you fully embraced the joy of the Lord?

May 23, 2018

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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))

I don’t know about you, but this describes something that I would love to be involved in!

Is this how you want to experience church?

It is amazing just how the early church was able to grow. I think that there is a valuable lesson to be learned from the early church. They did not simply meet for an hour or so once a week. They were a community. They were invested in the lives of each other. They embraced newcomers. They worshipped together. They ate together. They truly enjoyed being around each other. They recognized the value of being around the body of believers. They were truly filled with the joy that only comes from the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Over the many years that have transpired since the early church, the church has grown. I am truly thankful for that growth, for without that growth, chances are extremely great that the current members of the Body of Christ would not have heard the Gospel. We must not lose sight of the joy that the early church had. They were focused on Jesus.

We must return to that focus. We must return to that joy! We must focus on Jesus.

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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV))

Even though He suffered and died on the cross, He went through it all so that we could experience the joy of salvation. Now, we can experience the joy of His resurrection and redeeming grace. He is the only source of true joy in this world!

Have you fully embraced the joy of the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you accepted the salvation that has been prepared for you?

December 14, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.
(Luke 2:30-32 (NIV))

When Simeon spoke these words, Jesus was only a newborn infant and Mary and Joseph had brought him to the temple to consecrate him to God. Simeon had been looking for salvation all of his life. Perhaps that is why he so readily recognized it when it was presented to him, even though, to most people, Jesus was simply a baby just like all of the others. Simeon was able to look beyond the obvious and see the miraculous.

In just a few days it will be Christmas. On the day that we celebrate what Simeon was able to see, can we see the miraculous in what we have just experienced, or is it just the obvious?

Have you accepted the salvation that has been prepared for you?

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

November 30, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And King Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty-two thousand head of cattle and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep and goats. So the king and all the people dedicated the temple of God.
(2 Chronicles 7:5 (NIV))

If you are like me, you probably had to read this passage a few times to fully comprehend the size of the sacrifice that Solomon offered when the temple was dedicated. Perhaps the following will help you understand the size.

22,000 cattle at $500 a head equals $11 million in today’s value.

120,000 sheep and goats at $150 a head equals $18 million in today’s value.

In total, Solomon sacrificed approximately $29 million to dedicate God’s temple.

I can hear some people saying that the sacrifice could have been used to feed the hungry or could have been used to provide farm animals to the poor. Solomon, in all of his wisdom, realized that because God had blessed him so greatly, he needed to make sacrifices in proportion to the size of that blessing. Solomon was the wisest and richest man to have ever lived. How would you have expected him to praise the Lord for what He had done?

Think about what you give, what you sacrifice, for God. None of us can claim to be as blessed as Solomon, but do we give back to God with the same spirit and attitude that Solomon had? Do you tithe? Do you give offerings? Do you wish that your ten percent would increase as you see increase, or do you give less as you get more? Sadly, too many people who are blessed try to keep all of the blessings for themselves. Studies have shown that as people earn more money, they give less and less. Instead of giving ten percent, it decreases to less than two percent. Is this a sacrifice? Is this considered robbing God?

I have heard of some people who have increased what they give, what they sacrifice, without increasing what they receive. They are thankful for the blessings and are willing to sacrifice in thanks and praise to God.

What are you willing to sacrifice?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your one thing that you seek?

September 11, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.
(Psalms 27:4 (NIV))

Collectively, we ask for so many things of the Lord. Most of the requests seems to be physically self-serving. We ask for healing. We ask for a better job. We ask for love. We ask for money. We ask and we ask, but we fail to ask to be considered righteous in the eyes of the Lord!

Do you realize that what David is asking for in this verse is to be considered worthy, to be considered righteous in the eyes of God?

On first reading this passage, that may not sound like that big of a request in the grand scheme of things, but you have to stop and consider that God cannot associate with sin. In order to dwell in the house of the Lord and to gaze upon His beauty, you must be sin free. David was asking God to fulfill His promise of redemption. He was asking God to fulfill His promise to send the Messiah. Later generations knew that the Messiah would come from the house and lineage of David, but it is not understood at what point this promise was made. Did David know of this promise when he wrote this passage? I have read arguments both for and against, but one thing that I do know is that David asked for God’s mercy. He made it a point to seek God.

After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: “I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.”
(Acts 13:22 (NIV))

God found David to be a man after His own heart. God wants to redeem His creation to a full relationship with Him. It makes sense that David would seek the same thing.

What is your one thing that you seek?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you long for His return?

May 16, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
(1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (NIV))

What is on your mind and in your heart?

Do you love the world so much that you forget about Jesus, or do you long for His return? Do you grow tired of seeing the sin that runs freely everywhere you look, or do you see the things of this world and find yourself wanting to participate? Do you long for righteousness and peace or do you dread hearing anything to do with God and His Word?

It is a matter of your personal priorities!

I recently have seen several people who speak about our desires to see Jesus. Most of them have presented a very interesting point with respect to what the church is calling the rapture. I am not going to get into the pre, mid and post arguments, but rather the honest desires of our hearts. Many of these people are espousing a point of view that states that only those who are earnestly waiting for His return will be raptured. I want you to consider two people from the time when Jesus was born. Simeon was a very devout and righteous man. Anna was an old woman who spent all of her time at the temple. Both Simeon and Anna longed to see the coming of the Messiah. In the midst of a nation who was trying to find the Messiah, these two people apparently lived this desire full time and as a result of their longing, they were allowed to witness what they longed for.

I cannot begin to say that I know how God will work, but I do know that, based on His previous track record, He reveals Himself to those who earnestly and fervently seek Him.

With this in mind, do you need to reevaluate your priorities? Do you need to take a long, hard look at your heart and take a look at the thoughts that fill your mind? If God will rapture only those who earnestly long to see Jesus, where does that leave you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What signs do we see today?

April 21, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
(Matthew 27:51-53 (NIV))

Do you gloss over these words when you read about the crucifixion? Do you stop reading when it says that Jesus yielded up His spirit? That was not the end of the miracles!

The veil of the temple was so tall that no one could reach the top, yet it tore from the top down. The earth groaned and quaked at the death of God’s only Son. The rocks, and I would probably bet that they were huge stones, broke from the anguish of God the Father. What I find so amazing is that the graves gave up the bodies of the people who had longed for the Messiah to come.

Can you imagine what Jerusalem was like when this happened? The sun had already darkened, and then all of these things occurred after Jesus died. How would you have reacted?

What I find interesting is that all of these things happened at His death, yet, the account of the resurrection does not tell of anything like this happening. It is as if the world had been in grief and then all is peaceful and right. However, that concept makes me think about the correlation between the crucifixion and the second coming. If the world groaned when Jesus died, even though it knew that Jesus would arise, what will the world do when it knows that Jesus is returning? Can we expect more of what was seen at the crucifixion? Can we draw any correlation between the resurrection and the second coming?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do we have a right to be angry at the world?

October 27, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!”
(John 2:15-16 (NIV))

Do you ever get mad at those who ridicule and mock God?

I can hear the wheels turning inside the heads of many people right about now. It is believed that if you follow Jesus that you are not supposed to get mad. It is believed that you are supposed to just let people run over you and your faith because that is what Jesus would do. After reading the passage above, do I need to remind you what Jesus would actually do?

As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!
(Galatians 5:12 (NIV))

Did you ever read this passage that was written by Paul? He got mad at people twisting God’s word, too. He never went so far as to do what Jesus did, but he did get extremely mad. He got so angry that he wished that those people would emasculate themselves.

If Jesus, who is God’s only begotten Son, and Paul, who spread the Gospel to the Gentiles, could both get mad at those who abused God’s temple and His Word, why do we sit back and take what society sends our way? I am not saying that we should be violent, but what I am saying is that the events of this world should make us extremely angry. If they don’t make us angry, what does that actually say about our faith? Do we lack the faith to stand up to the world for what we know to be true? Do we simply look at the events of this world and say to ourselves that Jesus must be coming for us at any moment, so why do we bother? Have we been so conditioned by the world that we believe that we can’t do anything about it?

I will say this. The things that I see in this world do make me angry. They make my spirit groan. At what point do we, as the Body of Christ, fall to our knees in earnest prayer because the things of this world make us extremely angry?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Keep your eyes focused on Jesus and look up!

October 17, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: `Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.
(2 Chronicles 20:15 (NIV))

Once again, there is a vast army surrounding Jerusalem and they are threatening to take what belongs to God and Israel. In this case, the army is not a literal army, yet. However, it is the United Nations through a ruling by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. In one sense, all nations have turned against Israel in this ruling.

UNESCO has decided that the Jewish people have no historical or cultural claim to Jerusalem or the Temple Mount. They are claiming that it is Muslim history that has been crucial in building this city. Ironically, as I understand it, Jerusalem is not mentioned once in the writings of Mohammed, but it is mentioned 655 times in the Old Testament and 146 times in the New Testament.

He took the carved Asherah pole he had made and put it in the temple, of which the LORD had said to David and to his son Solomon, “In this temple and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my Name forever.
(2 Kings 21:7 (NIV))

This passage talks about Jerusalem, the temple and Israel. It is commonly accepted that 2 Kings 21 refers to approximately 680 BC It is also accepted that Solomon had the original temple built somewhere around 966 BC That is over 1500 years before Mohammed was even born.

Is the removal of any reference to Jewish history in Jerusalem another attempt at dividing Israel?

“In those days and at that time,
when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem,
I will gather all nations
and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat.
There I will enter into judgment against them
concerning my inheritance, my people Israel,
for they scattered my people among the nations
and divided up my land.
(Joel 3:1-2 (NIV))

My heart breaks at these happenings. I am angered by the audacity of those who attempt to revise history. I am eagerly anticipating the events that God will put in place as a result of this ridiculous proclamation.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Pray for God’s Will to be done. Pray that you may be found worthy through the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ!

Keep your eyes focused on Jesus and look up!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you believe that you need to be ready?

October 3, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
(Matthew 25:13 (NIV))

I have been reading testimonies and watching videos about visions that people have been having, and I honestly have to ask a very important question.

Are you ready?

Think about that for a moment in context with the fact that you can’t know the day or the hour. That means that you must be ready at any moment. Jesus could come next year, next week, tomorrow or at this very moment!

If Jesus called His church to Him at this very moment, would you be ready? Would you be gone in the twinkling of an eye, or would you be left behind?

Each day I see things happening that make me wonder what is going on and exactly where we are in God’s perfect timeline. Many people believe that things are lining up in such a way that could mean that the times foretold of in Daniel and in Revelation are about to happen. They also believe that the events that many people refer to as the Rapture are also able to occur soon because of the way things are lining up. Many of the experts are saying that for these events to line up again like they are lining up now is so unlikely that it is impossible to say if they ever would align like this again.

Israel is back in their land.

There are wars and rumors of wars. Terrorism is higher than ever.

The Temple is ready to be rebuilt.

All of the nations are turning against Israel.

Good is called evil and evil is called good.

There are more earthquakes than ever.

Faith in Jesus is ridiculed publicly.

These are but a few of the overviews of things that I see. I want to stress that I do not profess to know, but I can see the signs.

“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
(Luke 21:25-28 (NIV))

What do you see?

Are you ready?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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I love to be in the presence of the Lord!

April 8, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I love the house where you live, O LORD,
the place where your glory dwells.
(Psalms 26:8 (NIV))

I know that I have read this passage before. I know what it says and the meaning behind the words.

Tonight, I read these words and froze!

Chills ran through my body. Tears came to my eyes! This should be the proclamation of every single member of the Body of Christ. Each person who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior should loudly and proudly proclaim that they love being in the presence of the Lord!

I realize that this was written about the Temple in Jerusalem many, many years ago, but it should still hold true today. Unlike the Temple, we have direct access to the throne of God because of our redeemer sits at the right hand of God the Father. We no longer need to go to the Temple to have a priest intercede for us. Jesus intercedes for us no matter where we are.

Today, we have numerous buildings that society labels as churches. What society and the Body of Christ seem to forget is that the church is not a building, it is the Body.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
(1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV))

I know that this passage is the tail end of a passage that tells us to stay away from sexual immorality, but in all honesty, we should stay away from all immorality. In other words, we should keep our bodies pure, for it where God’s Holy Spirit dwells if we allow Him. I am not saying that we should love our bodies. What I am saying is that if we allow it, God’s glory dwells anywhere. We no longer have to have a Temple. We can be in the presence of God no matter where we are. We can be in the presence of God any time that we want.

I love to be in the presence of the Lord!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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