Do you feel like a stranger in this world?

December 5, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
(1 Peter 2:11-12 (NIV))

By definition, an alien is someone who is in a land that is not their own home land. They feel out of place and long to return to familiar countryside where sites and sounds will not be an occasion to constantly try and figure out what is going on. Their home land will bring familiarity and peace.

How do you feel in this world? Do you feel at home and part of the crowd, or do you long for a place that you have never been to, but yet, you still know is home?

A person who is not in their home land is under constant scrutiny. Everyone looks at them to see how they will react in any given situation, after all, they may not be familiar with the local customs. It is almost always a guaranteed good show to watch an alien try to maneuver through a setting that they are not familiar with. With this in mind, it is human nature to watch the “new kid” or the “stranger” to see what they will do and how they will make a fool of themselves.

We may be strangers in this land, for our home is not of this world, but, we have a tour guide who will assist us in our daily walk among the strangers. That guide is the Holy Spirit. He will guide us in what to say and do, and maybe even more importantly, He will guide us in what not to say and do. He will instruct us in the ways that are appropriate for any situation. He will lead us in a pure direction if we will only listen to His guidance. To hear His guidance, we must have allowed Him into our lives in the same manner that we allow Jesus into our lives. Jesus becomes our Lord and Savior and the Holy Spirit becomes our instructor in righteousness.

What does the world see when they see you? Are you a stranger or are you embraced by the world?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you call man’s wisdom?

December 2, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made them all look foolish and has shown their wisdom to be useless nonsense.
(1 Corinthians 1:20 (NLT))

Useless nonsense!

Does this sound like anything you have seen or heard lately?

I honestly think that humanity has gotten lost in the vicious cycle of intellect. If you think about our college systems and the degrees that you can receive – Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate – it has been said that you learn more and more about less and less. You start off with a fairly broad study, then with the next degree, you narrow the focus. You finally narrow the focus so much that you learn as much as you can about such a narrow topic that you know almost nothing about anything else. Ironically, it seems that our society then looks to these people who have focused on such a narrow aspect of knowledge as the wiz-kids of all knowledge. We then have people who are so totally inept at anything that resembles an overall big picture giving our society directions on everything.

I realize that there are always exceptions to this rule, but it seems like our society has become so fixated on this type of knowledge that we tend to ignore what is truly important. It is this type of knowledge that has caused people to believe that humanity is capable of doing anything, It is this type of knowledge that makes people think that we are our own moral compass. It is this type of knowledge that tells us that a person’s usefulness is gone when they are 75 years old.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

What happens to people when we focus so much on what we can comprehend? We use logic to make ourselves believe that there is no higher authority than us. We use this false logic to make all kinds of bad decisions and we call it wisdom.

God calls it useless nonsense!

What good does it do if we can circle the world with technology and we ignore the Creator of the world? What good does it do if we can build huge cities but lose the compassion to reach the people who live there? What good does it do if we can have hundreds of “friends” and never know them or share the Gospel with them?

What do you call man’s wisdom?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who owns the world that you live in?

October 30, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
(Psalms 24:1 (NIV))

Too many people in our world today seem to have forgotten this simple fact. They go about their daily lives as if they owned everything that they touch. They think that the world was created just for them and that it owes them everything that they can get from it.

Exactly what makes someone forget the truth extolled in Psalms 24:1? What makes someone think that they are the owner of all they see? They have nothing that gives them the rights of ownership. They did not create the world. They did not buy the world. They did not do anything that would entitle them to this belief, for only God can claim any of these actions as His.

for he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the waters.
(Psalms 24:2 (NIV))

Ownership requires authorship, or at least having paid a high price to take possession of it. God has done both. He is the Creator. After we were given dominion of the world in Genesis, we also gave it away. God, in all of His grace and mercy, paid the price through His Son, Jesus to take possession of it again.

Legally, this would stand up in any court in the land, yet, we treat the world as if it were our own.

We are simply stewards. We must remember who owns everything. God reminds us.

for every animal of the forest is mine,
and the cattle on a thousand hills.
(Psalms 50:10 (NIV))

Who owns the world that you live in?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you do when the world starts to get to you?

October 21, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
(Galatians 6:9 (NIV))

Sometimes it seems that doing what God wants us to gets us nowhere in this world except laughed at and ridiculed by everyone around us.

Don’t give up. What you do does not go unnoticed.

The world may not appreciate the fact that you desire to be Godly and righteous, but there is one who notices your heart and will reward you based on your true intentions. God sees everything that you do and knows the true reasons that you do them. He will reward you for your faithfulness. He will reward you for your faith and integrity. He will prepare the harvest for you based on your heart.

The next time that the world starts to get to you, remember that God does not judge as the world judges. He does not care for the things of this world or the games that the world plays. God looks at the heart.

What will God see when He sees your heart? Will He see an eagerness to do His Will, or will He see that the world has begun to take its toll on your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Whose kingdom do you belong to?

October 8, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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.
(Mark 13:8 (NIV))

I am sure that everybody is familiar with this passage. It is often quoted and many people read it and wonder what God is unfolding. I know that many people have their own understanding of this passage, but I came across something that caught my attention. When this was written, nation against nation did not mean the political and geographic boundaries that we think of. Nation against nation meant different people groups would rise up against each other. To put it in terms that our modern society has adopted, race would rise up against race. There will be hatred and fighting between the different races of humanity.

Sadly, we are seeing way too much of just that in our society and in our world. It is even coming from so called preachers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

There is something else that came to the forefront while reading this passage and that is in relation to kingdom against kingdom. Many people believe that this is what is referring to what we call countries. I believe that it is referring to this, but I also believe that it has another meaning.

Jesus referred to the kingdom of heaven. Satan was given dominion over the kingdoms of this earth. If you look at kingdom against kingdom in this manner, then we see the kingdom of Satan rising up against the Kingdom of Heaven. We see this every day in the way that good is called evil and evil is called good. We see this with the killing of Christians simply because they profess a faith in Jesus. We see this in far too many aspects of our society, most of which have rapidly become the norm. Satan’s kingdom is rising up against God’s Kingdom.

Take heart. Look up.

Keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

Birth pains are upon us.

If you have looked at any of the prophetic signs, you know about the moon turning to blood and the signs in the heavens. I know that we are told that we cannot know the hour or the day, but it sure feels like the season!

Whose kingdom do you belong to?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Just whose yeast is changing whom?

October 6, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.”
(Galatians 5:9 (NIV))

The Body of Christ is supposed to change the world just as yeast, when added to dough, changes the dough.

Sadly, the world has recently had more changes to the church than the church has had on the world.

Just whose yeast is changing whom?

The world says that evil is now good and good is now evil. I know of several “churches” that are now accepting this evil as part of their teachings. The world says that God is love and they leave out the reason that Jesus came to this earth and the need to repent. The world says that because God is love, there is no hell. If that is the case, then why did Jesus have to die? The yeast of these teachings has changed the church.

It is said that Satan is the father of lies. He knows God’s Word and he can twist it to the point where it sounds correct, but with one minor lie. Even if it is 99% true, it is still a lie. Satan can use that 1% that is the lie to trick and trap people. Test everything against God’s Word. Don’t let the wrong yeast get into your dough and make your life change in the wrong direction.

Be careful of what you put into your life. Just like with yeast, it only takes a little sin to make your life something bloated and unrecognizable. Allow the yeast that is God’s Word to work through your life and wait for the beauty that God will make through you.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine

October 3, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
(2 Timothy 4:3-5 (NIV))

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine!

I firmly believe that this day is rapidly approaching.

It may be closer than anyone cares to admit!

Terrorism. Wars. Rumors of wars. The Body of Christ is facing persecution and death in many parts of the world. In the United States, we are losing ground in what has become a twisted, and not even valid, interpretation of the Constitution with the so-called separation of Church and state. And let’s not forget about the name calling and the twisting of words. Does it sound like sound doctrine when a group of people take someone’s comments about his belief in traditional marriage and turn them into so-called hatred? What about people trying to take freedom of religion and making it freedom from religion? There is a group of atheists who live elsewhere who are suing anyone and everyone in the government if they express their belief in God.

Sound doctrine has gone the way of common sense. It is no longer something that a large portion of our population has. In fact, what God has called good since the beginning of time is now called evil and what has been called evil and despised in the eyes of God is now called good.

What can we, as the Body of Christ, do in these current times?

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction.
(2 Timothy 4:1-2 (NIV))

Don’t give up!

Don’t give in!

Preach the Word!

We are to be prepared.

Are you prepared?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Hypocrisy or true faith?

September 11, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
(John 10:16 (NIV))

Do you ever feel that you and those who are just like you are the only ones that truly obey God’s Word and earnestly seek after His face? Do you find yourself looking at other “so called believers” and ridiculing their faith simply because they don’t worship exactly like you do?

Hypocrites!

Jesus had to face them in the days that He walked among us. We still have them today.

The human ego is a strange thing. Sometimes it keeps us humble and sometimes it steps way out of line and elevates our sense of self worth. It is ridiculous how we start to think that out of all of the vast nations of people in this world, He would be so selective as to deliberately keep many different groups of people from Him.

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 he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

This does not read “For God so loved the Methodists,” or “For God so loved the Baptists.” It reads “For God so loved the world.” The world is a big place.

After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands
(Revelation 7:9 (NIV))

We, as believers are sheep. We hear the masters voice. We are all part of the one flock and Jesus is the shepherd.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Rejoice in Jesus at all times!

August 28, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
(Matthew 5:4 (NIV))

Mourning indicates an extremely sincere dislike of the current situation in which you may find yourself.

Mourning may take on many different forms. Most people associate mourning with the loss of a loved one. Other things can cause one to mourn as well. The sadness caused by events that do not effect you directly. A heartfelt sympathy to anyone who is suffering. There are many other situations that may cause one to mourn. Yet, the basic principle behind the mourning is one of an extreme dislike of the current situation.

If we mourn, it shows that we are not so engrossed in this world that we accept anything and everything that it sends our way. On the contrary, this world has been turned over to sin and our mourning indicates the extreme dislike of that situation.

We are to rejoice for we have been given a Savior in the name of Jesus Christ, yet we still mourn the lives that are lost, both physically and spiritually, all around us.

It is a common human trait for people to pray when they mourn. Even those who do not believe in God will pray when they are faced with distress. If we are in mourning for the world around us, we should pray without ceasing for all whom we encounter.

Our mourning over the current sinful nature of this world has lead us to Jesus, and hopefully will lead others to Jesus. Knowing that we are His provides us with the assurance that eventually our mourning will turn to joy when we are with Jesus in the Father’s Kingdom and all sin and sorrow are gone.

It is our responsibility to mourn and pray for those around us who need that salvation that is available only through Jesus Christ.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you paying attention to God?

July 16, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, `A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”
Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, `The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”
(John 1:29-34 (NIV))

Do you listen to the Holy Spirit?

Do you even try?

Is there something that God is trying to tell you, but you are too engrossed in the world that you don’t even know that He is talking to you?

Unfortunately, today’s society is all about “me.” It is all about self gratification. It is all about self fulfillment. It is all about drawing your attention away from God and focusing it on you!

How can we focus on God when we focus on our smart phones? How can we focus on God when we focus on our bank accounts? How can we focus on God when we focus on our careers?

This passage is a prime example of what God can accomplish if we will simply focus on Him.

Can you imagine how frustrated God gets with us when we pay more attention to digital angry birds than we do to Him?

I am so glad that John was willing to listen to God. I am so thankful for the important role that John played in introducing Jesus to the world. I am so thankful for the selfless acts that John and countless others have been willing to do to further God’s kingdom.

They did these selfless acts without thinking about themselves. They allowed God to speak to them and through them. They allowed God to use them to get the attention of the world.

Is God trying to use you? Are you paying attention, or are you so engrossed in yourself that you fail to recognize God at all?

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