Have you recognized what is within your heart?

February 22, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.
(Psalms 40:8 (NIV))

The things that are nearest and dearest to us are the things that are said to be in our hearts. When they have become an integral part of us, many people say that they become second nature, but that is not the case. They become our primary nature! It is at this time that people refer to these things as being written in our hearts. They have become as intimate and personal as we can possibly make them. They become central to what makes the individual who they are.

I count an individual blessed if they have discovered the things in their life that are truly written within their hearts. Sadly, not everyone can claim to have something so much a part of their life that it is written within their heart. Do you have such a thing?

What is it in your life that if it were taken away, would so change your existence that you would not be recognizable as the same person? Are you able to identify this in yourself? Are other people able to identify this in you? It is often easier for others to see this in you than it is for you to see it in yourself. When we do the things that are an integral part of ourselves, we don’t truly see the outward signs. We just see things as what we love. With that in mind, have you ever had someone point something out to you in a way that you had not realized or thought of in that manner? Were you surprised at their insight into you?

Does it surprise you that David, who was called a man after God’s own heart, wrote that God’s law was within his heart? With all that David faced in his life, he desired to know God no matter what the situation. Did he always succeed at living his life according to what God called him to do? David was human, so that answer should be obvious. Still, David had made God’s law the one thing that was central to his life. David desired to follow God so earnestly, that God promised him that one of his descendants would always sit on the throne.

Hopefully, what is within my heart becomes visible through these devotionals. Even after twenty years, I see things in God’s Word that touch me and I hope that they touch you as well.

It is my prayer that you will desire to place God’s law within your heart.

Have you recognized what is within your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is it that you possess?

February 21, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked;
(Psalms 37:16 (NIV))

What is it that you desire?

Do you seek after the riches of the world or the righteousness that is only available from the Lord?

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
(Matthew 6:19-20 (NIV))

Human nature is such a strange thing. To be honest with you, I am surprised that we can even begin to say that we long for the righteousness of the Lord when we are so self centered by nature. The fall from grace in the Garden of Eden really placed us in a no win situation. We say that we want to be righteous in God’s eyes, but we do so many things that take us in the exact opposite direction. That has been our lot in this sinful, fallen world ever since we disobeyed God in the garden. Even the strongest of us fail to do what we know that we should do. Paul, who is credited with spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles, fought with this.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
(Romans 7:15 (NIV))

Thankfully, we have a God who knows that we are not capable of overcoming this on our own. He has provided His Son as a Savior to those who truly desire to overcome human nature and seek after righteousness. Even so, we all face the wickedness of the world. We all face the glitter of the gold.

I have read studies that show the most generous group of people by income levels are those who we consider the middle class, and some studies actually say the lower middle class. On average, they give so much more as a percentage than those who are considered wealthy. People whom you would think can afford to be generous are actually the least generous. Have they been blinded by wealth to the point that it has become their god? How sad it is to see people place their priorities and faith in something that can be gone in an instant.

I have come to the conclusion that there are two possible scenarios in this life. We can have and use possessions, or they can have and use us!

What is it that you possess?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you confident and assured?

February 20, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

I find it ironic that the world loves people who are confident and assured, but the world hates people who profess a faith in Jesus!

I know that I have referenced this old song before, but the world loves the “I did it my way” type of mentality. In fact, if you look at the current societal philosophy that states tolerance and acceptance of every way of life, then you quickly see that whatever an individual chooses to do is supposed to be acceptable and God’s Word is not tolerated. The world applauds confidence and assurance when it is placed within yourself and abhors it when it is placed in a higher authority. I don’t know how much more we can slide down the slippery slope, but I feel that society is becoming more and more rebellious. Society is increasingly looking inward to find what is right instead of looking upward to find what is right.

How many people do you think have ever lived since creation? In all of human history, what has been the results of those individuals who were narcissistic enough to have the confidence and assurance that they knew better than everyone else on how to rule? From the very beginning of time, people have placed confidence and assurance in themselves for various reasons. From the very beginning of time, we have these very same individuals either killing or being killed because of their misplaced confidence in themselves.

We don’t even deserve to be able to have confidence in ourselves!

A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart.
(Proverbs 21:2 (NIV))

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

How can we, as a fallen sinful creation, have confidence in ourselves when all that we have ever done has earned us death?

There is only one thing that we can be confident of!

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))

I am confident in the hope that we have in Jesus! I am assured that my Lord and Savior lives!

Are you confident and assured?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the Lord delighted in you?

February 19, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.
(Psalms 147:11 (NIV))

How do you think the Lord feels about society in today’s world?

Is He pleased? Is He delighted, or is He saddened by what He sees?

In all reality, our world is in a pretty disheartening state. Society states that anything goes, and it often does. It saddens me to say that some groups who claim to follow Jesus have allowed sin to infiltrate what they teach and preach. How do you think the Lord feels about this?

I want to ask those of you who are parents a few questions.

Do you love you children unconditionally? Would you say that your love for your children is unfailing? How do you feel about your children if they do something that is against all that you have taught them? Would it break your heart? Would you still love them if they rebelled against you? Do you think that your children fear you? Let me rephrase that last question if your children are adults. I realize that fear is a harsh word, but do you think that your children feared you when they were growing up? Is it possible for a child to love their parents yet still fear them? Is it possible to love someone and realize that the one who is the center of that love is also rightfully the one who is in authority over you?

Going back to the concept of parents with children, if you have a child who rebels, do you delight in them? You still love them, but they cause heartache and not delight.

Is the Lord delighted in you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you put your childhood ways behind you?

February 16, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
(1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV))

Spiritual maturity is a wonderful thing. When you are new in your faith, it is easy to become disoriented and allow the world to knock you off balance. You have a hunger, but you are uncertain about what you are feeling and experiencing. At this early stage of faith, just as in the childhood years, you are limited in your understanding and your ability to fully comprehend all that you experience. You are still being spoon fed. Perhaps I could and should say that you are still in the milk stages of your faith.

Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
(Hebrews 5:13-14 (NIV))

In essence, being a child can mean that you are naive to the ways of the world and the enemy. Spiritual maturity brings an understanding, an ability to discern what is right and wrong in God’s eyes. It means that you are diving deeper into God’s Word and your understanding is getting much deeper. Consider this case in point as an example. When you were a child, could you comprehend and solve complex mathematical problems? Could you develop and communicate complex thoughts in such a manner so that others could understand?

Being a child is supposed to be a simple, joyful time. It is the time to develop trust and belief.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
(Matthew 19:14 (NIV))

Even though we are called to be like little children in our faith, we are also called to a maturity. This is a maturity that prepares us to face the enemy. It is a maturity that firmly grounds us in Jesus.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
(Ephesians 4:14-15 (NIV))

As members of the Body of Christ, we are all called to maturity in Christ. We must long for the substance of solid faith. We must realize that faith is something that we are to desire to grow and mature. We are to change our ways of thinking so that we are in line with what Jesus desires. We are to desire to mature into the likeness of Christ!

Have you put your childhood ways behind you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Hold on!

February 15, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
(Hebrews 10:23 (NIV))

Does this world make your weary? Do you ever simply want to give up, to throw in the towel?

That is what the enemy wants us to do, but we are called to persevere in our faith.

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
(James 1:12 (NIV))

The weight of the world and the pressures, trials and troubles that it can bring are an extreme burden, but we do not have to carry that burden alone. Jesus has overcome the world and He walks with us through this life to give us joy, strength, courage, hope and faith. He is calling us to complete the journey before us. He is calling us to stay strong and reach for the goal that He has set before us.

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 3:14 (NIV))

That goal is to live a life of faith in Jesus. That goal is to keep our eyes on Jesus even when things are tough. That goal is to finish the race of faith that has been set out before us.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
(1 Corinthians 9:24 (NIV))

Are you still running your race of faith? Are you holding on to the hope that we profess?

Hold on!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Pray from the heart for God knows what you need!

February 14, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
(Matthew 6:7-8 (NIV))

Do you babble?

Do you ramble on and on when you pray?

We are all guilty of opening our mouths way too much when we talk, why would it be any different when we pray? It is human nature to want to be heard and we feel that the more we say the better our chances are of getting our point across. Do you have a memory of a time that you wouldn’t stop trying to get your point across? How did that turn out for you? Did you sway your audience to your side? Did you convince anyone besides yourself that you were right?

Excessive words do not mean sincerity. Excessive words often mean a prideful spirit.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
(Proverbs 11:2 (NIV))

Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life.
(Proverbs 22:4 (NIV))

I have heard someone define humility as not thinking less of yourself, but rather, it is thinking of yourself less. I like this definition. How do we put this into practice? Can we start with closing our mouths and stop trying to convince everyone, including God, that we know best? Can we let our hearts and our actions speak for us? Is it humanly possible to keep things short and sweat?

When we humble ourselves before God, we turn our hearts to Him. We seek after His heart and not our own. When we truly seek His heart, we don’t need to spend our time babbling. We don’t need to spend our time trying to convince Him of what we want, for He knows what we need. I honestly believe that when we babble, we are actually trying to convince ourselves.

Pray from the heart for God knows what you need!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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