Summer is near. It is right at the door!

June 22, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.
(Matthew 24:32-33 (NIV))

What is your understanding of the role that Israel plays in the current state of the world and it’s future?

Think about that in relation to this passage and the fact that the fig tree is a symbol of the nation of Israel. In fact, it is widely accepted that the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 marks the fig tree coming back to life! Its leaves are out after many years of dormancy. It is also accepted that when Jesus cursed the fig tree, He was using that as a teachable moment for His disciples. They understood the association of the fig tree with Israel.

Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.
(Matthew 21:18-19 (NIV))

Israel had rejected Jesus. They did not bear any fruit as a result of His coming to earth, and as such, Jesus pronounced judgment on Israel through the analogy of the fig tree.

But now, . . .

Israel has become a nation once again. The fig tree has sprouted leaves and summer is upon us!

Do you understand what that means? Do you understand that this indicates the soon end of the time of the Gentiles and that God will focus once again on fulfilling His dealings with Israel. We are very close to Daniel’s seventieth week!

It is well known that the generation that sees Israel return to their homeland shall not pass away before these things begin. Do you know anyone who was born in 1948? Do you know anyone who was born before 1948? I hate to say this, but each day sees fewer and fewer people alive who witnessed Israel become a nation again. This reminds me of an old saying that God is never early and that He is never late. Everything works according to His timing and based on the scriptures that we have been given, His timing is unfolding right before our eyes. It is unfolding in such a way that even though I was not alive in 1948, I expect to see God move in a mighty way very soon. I believe that we are in the days of the fig tree generation.

Summer is near. It is right at the door!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you truly ready for your salvation?

January 31, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
(Romans 13:11 (NIV))

This holds so true. Each day brings us closer to our salvation than when we first believed. Each day draws us closer to each of us meeting Jesus, whether at His return or in our passing from this earth. Since none of us know when either of those dates will occur, we should live our lives as if this day were our last.

Are you ready, are you at peace with either of these events happening at this very moment in your life?

I wish that I knew how to make you take a dramatic pause after that last question. I hope that you truly stopped to reflect on your salvation. I realize that many people believe the things that have been prophesied are unfolding, and that very well may be true, but are you truly ready to meet Jesus if your time should come before His return? Would you be judged or would you receive grace? If you are on this earth long enough to meet Jesus when He comes for His church, His bride, would you meet Him in the air or would you be left behind?

With all that is going on in this world, anything could happen.

I have often stated that I love to cross-reference multiple different translations to pick up on the subtle word nuances that the translators used to convey the thoughts and the words originally written in Hebrew or Greek. This one caught my attention.

Besides all this, you know at what point of history we stand; so it is high time for you to rouse yourselves from sleep; for the final deliverance is nearer than when we first came to trust.
(Romans 13:11 (CJB))

Do you know at what point in history that you stand?

Have you roused yourself from the slumber that this world has left us in?

Are you truly ready to meet Jesus face to face?

Salvation is as easy as ABC.

A is for admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior.

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

C is for call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.

If you have made this, or a similar profession of faith in Jesus, then you are ready. If you long to seek after Jesus in all that you do, then you are ready. If you feel remorse when you still sin and then willingly repent, then you are ready. I pray that you do not lose track of the times, for God is moving and the enemy doesn’t want you to know.

Are you truly ready for your salvation?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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There is no one like our God!

January 20, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

With whom will you compare me or count me equal? To whom will you liken me that we may be compared?
(Isaiah 46:5 (NIV))

Have you ever tried to fit God into your own image of Him, your own understanding of Him?

I know that we have all done something like this at one point in our lives, but if you truly think about this, then it sounds completely absurd. In essence, the creation attempted to re-create the Creator because the creation possessed a limited understanding of everything. As such, we want to make God into something that we can understand. If we fully understood, then He wouldn’t be God. What we would have is an idol of our own creation. Sadly, that is what many people try to do.

Do we know how to hang the moon and stars? Do we know how to turn day into night? Do we know how to control the passage of time? Do we know how to bring the rains? Do we know how to part the seas? Do we know how to raise the dead? Do we know how to redeem a sinful, fallen humanity?

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
     neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
(Isaiah 55:8 (NIV))

I am truly thankful that His thoughts and His ways are not like our thoughts and our ways. If we tried to make God to be like us, He wouldn’t be God! We also would not have a Savior, for the god that we create to be like us would not have the power over sin and death.

Each one of us have a mental image of how we see God. Even though we profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, our understanding is still very limited. We can pray. We can read God’s word and study it our whole life, but when we see Him face to face, He will be so much more than we could ever imagine. Let go of the small gods that you have created. Stop trying to put God into your image of Him and fully embrace our Lord God for the majesty and glory that is His alone. Be prepared to be amazed for He alone is good. He alone is God.

There is no one like our God!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What is your understanding?

October 25, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
(Proverbs 9:10 (NIV))

Is there anything in this world that you fear?

For those who profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, that is an extremely loaded question, for we have accepted God’s love, grace and mercy through the gift of His Son, Jesus.

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))

God’s gift is perfect! God’s love is perfect!

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
(1 John 4:18 (NIV))

As believers in Jesus, we have nothing to fear in this world. Even when everything all around you appears to be falling apart, you have nothing to fear. Even when the enemy is knocking on your door, you have nothing to fear. Even when your physical life may be threatened, you have nothing to fear. As believers in Jesus, we must fully embrace the truth of the words written by Paul.

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
(Philippians 1:21 (NIV))

What we should fear are the consequences of not accepting the gift of perfect love as expressed at the cross. What we should fear is an eternity cast away from the presence of the Lord because we are too proud to admit that we are a sinner in need of a Savior. What we should fear is a righteous God who will judge us on one simple plan of salvation that is freely offered to all who will receive.

Are you ready to admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior?

Are you ready to believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead?

Are you ready to call upon the name of the Lord Jesus?

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, for it leads us to the realization that without Jesus, we are lost. With Jesus, we have eternal love, grace and mercy.

What is your understanding?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you have the light that comes from God’s Word?

October 18, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.
(Psalms 119:130 (NIV))

The Word of God is many things. It brings wisdom, understanding, truth, and light.

Let’s take a look at this in a different context from what we normally think about with respect to God’s Word.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God– children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:1-14 (NIV))

The psalmist hit the nail on the head when he wrote those words. The Word of God does give light. Jesus is the Word made flesh. Jesus is the light of the world. Jesus gives understanding.

Isn’t it amazing how God will pre-tell what He is going to do even through people who do not realize that they are His prophets. I doubt that the psalmist actually knew that these words would literally come true in the form of Jesus, God with us.

I am so very thankful that they did come to pass!

Do you have the light that comes from God’s Word?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Instead of looking inward, we must look up!

August 19, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
(Proverbs 3:5 (NIV))

Recent events should have me flabbergasted and extremely worried, To be honest with you, there was a time in my life when I would have been beyond worried as I witness and experience the ever increasing uncertainty and evil in this world.

But, now!

But, God!

With all of the events transpiring in the world, I am at peace!

With the never-ending saga of the pandemic, I am at peace!

When the state of the nation and the world seems to be rapidly declining, I am at peace!

When things are on uncertain ground with finances, jobs, health, and whatever else may arise, I am at peace!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
‭‭(Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭(NIV‬‬))

Do you worry? Do you find yourself in situations where you just can’t see any resolution? As prideful humans, we look inward to find solutions. We think that we can fix anything. We think that we are the masters of our own domains and our own destinies. As a result, we worry. We panic. We lash out at those we love, and nothing gets fixed. Nothing we can do will reduce our worry and give us peace. There is an answer! There is a source for true peace. We just need to look in the correct place.

Instead of looking inward, we must look up!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you trust in the Lord?

August 13, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
(Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV))

How true this is!

Our understanding of what happens in this physical world is only a small portion of what really happens. Now, consider that all events in the physical world have a corresponding event or series of events in the spiritual realm, and you soon realize that our understanding is practically nothing.

I once heard a commentary in which T.S. Elliot asked God why his wife had been taken from him in death. God told him that he could explain it to him, but he would not understand it. Think about that in the context of education and comprehension. Can you imagine a nuclear physicist telling an infant how things work at the atomic level. He could explain it all he wants, but the capability to understand is not there. The same is true of how things happen in this world. God could explain them, but we are as infants and lack the capability to understand. We are limited by our current state.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
(1 Corinthians 13:12 (ESV))

Consider how an infant must trust his or her parents for everything that they need. When we realize that we are truly infants in the faith and in our understanding, we soon come to the conclusion that all things work together if we simply trust in the Lord.

We must be as infants and trust in God to lead us and guide us in His truth just as an infant loves and trusts their parents. We learn as we go. We take a step and look back to see if God is still there. We take a few more steps and realize that He is walking at our side. We take a few more steps and realize that He is leading and guiding us.

It all starts with trust!

Do you trust in the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you prepared to obey God?

March 2, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!”
(Acts 5:29 (NIV))

With everything that is going on in the world, do you believe that this is still true?

When you have governments telling people that the churches must close, is this still true?

When you have people saying anything is valid except professing a faith in Jesus, is this still true?

I am sure that I could keep finding examples where some form of human organization is telling us that we must obey them and not obey God. I used to believe that the time was coming that we would be called to make a decision, but now I believe that the time is here!

If you are told to stop worshipping Jesus, who do you obey?

If you are told to stay away from church or get arrested, who would you obey?

If you are told to swear your allegiance to an evil, authoritarian government, who would you obey?

What is your decision?

It is time to pray for discernment and understanding of God’s Will. We must dive deeper into God’s Word and seek His truth. We must see the world through God’s eyes and stand against anything that He calls evil.

Are you prepared to obey God?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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We were made to praise!

February 16, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

From the rising of the sun to its going down
The Lord’s name is to be praised.
(Psalms 113:3 (NKJV))

Everyone knows this passage, but have you looked at it in other translations. In this translation it appears to be talking about a period of time from sunrise to sunset, but is it? We know that when this was written, people lived their lives based on the rising and setting of the sun. It was understood that they were to praise the Lord every waking moment of every day. Each translation handles this just a little differently with the possible subtleties of the English language. They all convey the same thing, but some seem to take it to the next level.

From the rising of the sun to its setting,
    the name of the Lord is to be praised!
(Psalms 113:3 (ESV))

With the translator’s choice of words, the ESV begins to take on more possibilities, but the NIV fully expounds on the possibilities that are conveyed just through the choice of a few different words that still mean the same thing, but now, through the choice of words, we get a richer and fuller understanding.

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
    the name of the Lord is to be praised.
(Psalms 113:3 (NIV))

Not only is this passage speaking of a time period, but, it is also speaking of an unlimited location. We know that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, but since the earth is in constant motion we know that there is always a sunrise and a sunset at any moment of the day at various places around the world. If we expand the concept of praising the Lord during your waking hours to the understanding that there will always be people who are awake, we understand that there should always be constant praise being lifted up to the Lord!

We know that we were created to be in fellowship with the Lord and to praise Him. The subtleties in translations of this passage prove the infinite wisdom of the Lord. His understanding is far greater than ours. The earth is indeed His and all that is in it should praise His glorious name!

We were made to praise!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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We must be thankful and not anxious!

November 26, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV))

Patience is a virtue.

We all know that patience is a fruit of the Spirit. If that is the case, then anxiety is what? A fruit of Satan? I don’t admit to knowing, but it would appear that it is not a desirable trait.

Patience comes from an inner peace. This peace can only come from God. Anxiousness does not come from peace. It comes from an inner restlessness and a thirst that is longing to be quenched. There is only one way to quench that thirst, and that is by accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Once you do this, God’s peace will come upon you.

Still, the world has a way of creeping into our lives even when we do not want it to. If we are not anxious, but are patient and wait on God, then He will provide and protect us from the world. It is when we do not wait on God that the world gets into our lives and ruins the peace.

Are you anxious for anything? We must learn to be thankful in all circumstances and surrender our anxiety to the one who is in control!

We must be thankful and not anxious!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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