Are you ready for whatever may come?

April 24, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down.”
(Revelation 10:1-4 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to think about this passage?

Explicit instructions were given to John to not write down what he heard. Up until this point, he was told to record everything to give to the churches.

In all of my study, this is the only time that we are left without any clue whatsoever as to what will happen. In all honesty, if it were a trivial matter, John would not have even mentioned the angel and the seven thunders.

Just what does this foreshadow?

I know the old saying that curiosity killed the cat. I completely place my faith in trust in the Lord, but this has me curious.

I have come to read this passage with trust and faith. I know that I am in the hands of the Lord and if there is something that I need to know, I will be told. There is an old saying that a little bit of knowledge is dangerous. I also know human nature. If John had recorded what the seven thunders had said, I believe that people would spend enormous amounts of time trying to figure out when the events would happen, and possibly try to avoid them happening.

Perhaps these events are not relevant to our faith. We all take advantage of modern transportation. We get in a car and we travel to our destinations. We know the basics of how a car works. We know how to follow road signs or the GPS. What we don’t need to know in order to get to our destination is how the cylinders and the fuel create the explosions that rotate the shaft that propels the car. We know what we need to know in order to reach our destination. In this particular instance, our destination is following Jesus. We know that there will be bumps along the way. We don’t need to know in detail the size and severity of these bumps or when they will happen.

Faith is built through studying God’s Word. Faith is also built by understanding that we don’t know all that God knows. To be honest with you, I wouldn’t want to. I can’t comprehend the vastness of His wisdom.

We are told to have the faith of a little child. Does a child know where his or her parents are leading them? Do they care? They know that they are loved and will be protected.

Like I said, I often wonder what John was told to not write down. However, this does not hamper my faith. it does not have me fixated on what may be coming. I simply place my faith and trust in the Lord and I know that He will see me through whatever may come.

Are you ready for whatever may come?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Isn’t it time to seek the Lord and His help?

March 27, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I lift up my eyes to the hills–
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
(Psalms 121:1-2 (NIV))

Where do you turn to when you are in need of help?

Perhaps I should simply ask, “Where do you turn?”

People are strange when it comes to where they place there trust, where they turn in times of trouble and where they turn in times of joy.

For many people, they have different answers to each option. Some will turn to a best friend, some will turn to alcohol or drugs, and some will simply turn inward. Some people will turn to the same thing no matter what the circumstances. It is the very heart of these people that causes them to seek comfort in a single solution. They will turn to it when they are seeking trust. They will turn to it when they are in trouble, and they will turn to it in times of joy. Alcohol is a good example of this kind of comfort and help.

Have you stopped to think that there is another single source that is there no matter what you may face. This source of comfort will never let you down. It will never turn on you. It will never leave you lonely.

It is a strong person of faith who turns to the Lord in all instances. Many people will turn to the Lord only in times of trouble trying to make a deal. They are the very same people who ignore the Lord when things are good. God is not a magic genii who is there only for your troubles and hard times. He is there for all times – good, bad and in-between.

Think about that for a moment while I ask another question or two.

I want you to think of your best friend. Have they ever abandoned you in times of trouble? Have they been there to help you rejoice when things are good?

A man of many companions may come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
(Proverbs 18:24 (NIV))

There is someone who will always be there. He will always help. He will always rejoice. He will always guide, and He will always love.

Isn’t it time to seek the Lord and His help?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What if God removed the offer of salvation?

March 13, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
(Psalms 51:11 (NIV))

Can you imagine, can you understand the ramifications of such actions by God?

Think about what this means.

We, as sinful humanity, are always getting into some type of mischief, some type of sin. God, in all of His infinite mercy and grace, is always there waiting for us to repent and return to Him. Perhaps these verses makes my point.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
(Psalm 139:7-13 (NIV))

There is no place that we can go where God is not there. He is guiding us, and for those who have not accepted His grace and mercy, He is there waiting for us to turn to Him.

What happens when God gets so fed up with us and our sinful actions that He turns His back on us?

I can imagine that some of you who are reading this are thinking that God would never do that.

What happens when God gets so tired of waiting and He gets angry because we are moving further and further away? Will He eventually give up on us?

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

God will eventually get to the point where His time has come that He will not longer be waiting. He has been, and is still giving people a chance to repent. At some point, this option will be removed.

I realize that Psalm 51:11 is not referencing the End Times directly, but I want you to think about this passage in personal terms. What if you were cast away from God’s presence? What if the Holy Spirit was removed?

Can you imagine what your life would be like if there was no hope of salvation because God had removed the offer?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t wait too late to seek God!

March 3, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.
(Isaiah 55:6 (NIV))

Don’t wait until it is too late to earnestly seek God. There will come a time that it will be too late and no matter how much you may want to call upon the Lord, He will not be there!

Just when will it be too late to call upon the Lord?

We have been given a mortal lifetime to seek and find God, or should I say, to recognize that God is always there. Once we have passed beyond our physical mortality, it will be too late to call upon God. We must make that decision while we are still alive. Since no one knows when they will face death, it is imperative that we seek God today.

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
(James 4:14 (NIV))

We are not promised tomorrow. We are only promised the moment in which we live. During this very moment, God is near you, for He is always near. He is waiting for us to turn to Him and accept the grace and mercy that He has freely given to all who will simply call upon the name of Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Are you seeking God? Have you already found Him, or have you put off for tomorrow what must be done today?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you desire the things of God or the things of man?

January 12, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But give what is inside the dish to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.

“Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.

“Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.
(Luke 11:39-43 (NIV))

What do you love?

Do you long for the adulation of man? Do you do all within your power to make sure that the things you do are seen by man?

Think about these last two questions.

What does man see?

What does God see?

All too often, when we try to look good in the eyes of man, we only present a false facade. It is this facade that we use to hide the filth that is inside of us. What happens when this false facade springs a leak? What happens when what is truly on the inside becomes visible to those on the outside? It is this that causes fear in people. They are afraid that others will find out how they truly are.

God sees us from the inside. He knows our hearts. He knows our thoughts. If we clean up the inside, we don’t have to be afraid of what will show when we allow it to be seen. Also, when the inside is clean, the outside is easier to clean. We spend less time worrying about what others will find out about us and we spend more time focused on God.

Do you desire the things of God or the things of man?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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You can’t follow Jesus on your terms!

January 9, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.”
“Which ones?” the man inquired.
Jesus replied, ” `Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and `love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
(Matthew 19:16-22 (NIV))

Some theologians say that this man’s sin was greed. Others say that it was placing something above God. No matter what his sin truly was, there was an unwillingness to give up that sin, for he was comfortable within his sin. He wanted to follow Jesus on his terms.

It is true that Jesus came preaching that God is love, yet, He also wanted people to repent of their sins when they chose to follow God. God does love everyone. He desires for everyone to be saved, yet He does not want them to stay within their sin. Those who say that it is ok to continue to live in sin and be a follower of Jesus are simply not facing the truth of God’s Word.

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

Take a serious look at the last word in that passage. “Repentance.” He does not want us to come to Him and stay within our sin. The rich young man was not willing to repent and turn away from his sin. He wanted his sin to be justified. He wanted Jesus to tell him that he was “good enough” and that his “little” sin was not enough to keep him away from God.

We know that God cannot associate with sin. Sin is direct disobedience of God’s will. God cannot be disobedient to His own self.

Take a look at society today. What do you think of when you see groups of people wanting to change the teachings of the church because they are no longer relevant to today’s society? Basically, they are attempting to do what the rich young man was trying to do. They are trying to validate their sin. They are trying to have the church, which represents Godly authority, change what sin is so that they can continue to live the way they want.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8 (NIV))

Jesus is the Word made flesh. God’s Word does not change. God’s Word speaks of righteousness. If we attempt to change what is considered righteous, what does that truly mean?

Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.
(3 John 1:11 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God is definitely doing something!

December 19, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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

I just read something that sent shivers all over my body. I am not sure just how to tell you about what I just read. It is not a bad thing, but rather a very good thing.

According to Revelation, we know that the temple will be rebuilt and that it will be ready and functioning during the end times. I have found an organization that is preparing for the temple to be rebuilt. I have also read that the perfect and spotless red heifer needed for sacrifice has been found. Tonight, I read that the pure oil used in the temple has been made for the first time in 2000 years. This oil is used to light the Temple Menorah. In addition to this, it is reported that there will be a processional of priests who will present the oil and then dedicate a new stone alter. It is my understanding that all of the Temple instruments have been made and are ready. Now, they are going to dedicate the stone alter just three days before the day that we celebrate the birth of Jesus.

God is definitely doing something!

The Body of Christ needs to be alert and be true to our first love! We need to focus on Jesus! We need to share the Light of Jesus with a dark and dying world before it is too late.

We are seeing things come to pass that I am just now beginning to fully grasp what they could mean. These things all point to one conclusion – that the life that we know will probably be turned upside down very soon. With all that is going on in the world and the plans for the alter stone, I believe that God will work His Will in such a way that those who are not prepared will be wondering what happened.

I do not believe in scaring people and trying to set dates. What I do believe in is Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. No matter what the future may hold, cling to Jesus. Cling to the promises that have been fulfilled through His first coming. Cling to the promises yet to be fulfilled in His Second Coming.

This Christmas, I pray that you embrace the power of the promises fulfilled in Jesus. It is not about the presents. It is not about the songs. It is not about family time. It is about celebrating the birth of our Savior and His power over sin and death!

When was the last time that you had shivers after seeing what God is unfolding in the world?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We need to return . . . to God!

December 18, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.
(Psalms 29:2 (NIV))

In today’s society, too many people attribute things to God that just aren’t true. These include a false understanding of God’s glory, splendor and holiness.

Does God love us unconditionally?

Does God accept sin?

How many ways are there to God?

Does God accept our definition of Him?

Does God accept our attempts at working our way to Him?

I could go on and on, but I believe that you can understand when I say that we ascribe attributes to God that just are not true. We, as a society do this because we no longer find it appropriate to study God’s Word. As a result, we honestly don’t know any different. We don’t find it appropriate to talk about God in public. We have turned the Creator of all things into a subject that we feel is unfit for public display and consumption. We don’t find it appropriate to allow God in schools, and as a result, we wonder why our society is full of people who have no moral basis.

We need to return to giving God the glory. We need to return to worshipping God. We need to return to the realization that God is holy.

In other words, we need to return to God!

We are only a few days away from when we celebrate God reaching out to His creation to offer us salvation, to offer us a way out of our sin. Now is an excellent time for us to show the world that we accept that offer and that the offer is available to anyone.

God, in all of His splendor, sent His Son, Jesus, to bring us back to Him. Through Jesus, God has ascribed to us the righteousness that we seem to want to deny to Him.

It is time to return to a full understanding of God and not the watered down person that the world claims that He is!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you whimpering in the dark?

December 3, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:

“A voice of one calling in the desert,
`Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’ ”
(Matthew 3:1-3 (NIV))

We think of John the Baptist as a strange character, after all, he lived in the desert and ate wild locusts and honey. Would any sane person do that?

Perhaps we should consider that John was probably the most sane person, next to Jesus, alive during his time. Sanity means that you are able to distinguish right from wrong and do what is best for yourself and all around you. Even though John’s message went against the thinking and social standards of the day, he did what he knew had to be done. It was a willful decision to obey. God had given him the task of letting people know that the Messiah was coming soon. John fulfilled his task with a dignity and an assurance that he was right.

We have been given a task by Jesus. We are to make disciples for Him. Do we approach our task with the same dignity and assurance that John the Baptist approached his? Are we calling people to repentance and forgiveness through the blood of Jesus with as much energy and assuredness as John called them to repentance almost two thousand years ago? Perhaps we need to reevaluate our focus and become more like John.

Are you a voice calling in the wilderness, or are you whimpering in the dark?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you thankful for unmerited divine favor?

November 20, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
(1 Chronicles 16:34 (NIV))

What do you have in your life that you consider to be good?

Where did it come from?

If you are honest with yourself, you will realize that everything that you have that you consider to be good did not come from anything that you may have done. You did not cause your life. You did not create your salvation. You did not earn your family. You did not earn God’s love.

It is so interesting and sad that too many people still feel that they can earn God’s love and salvation. They see God as someone that they have to impress and work to earn whatever He gives to them. They simply do not understand grace.

Grace has been defined as unmerited divine assistance.

Unmerited – unearned. In other words, we can do nothing to earn God’s grace and mercy. All that we have to do is accept it. It is free!

Once we realize that God’s grace is free, we begin to realize that all things that are good come from God. God is the creator of life. Life is good. God is the creator of love. Love is good. You never hear of someone who is dying say that they wish they could have a new car. It is not important. You never hear them say that they wished they could have lived life alone. They long for love. Love is important.

This Thanksgiving, reflect upon your life and count your blessings. Give thanks to the one who gave you those blessings. Let those around you know of your thankfulness.

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