What is your desire?

June 30, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:12-17 (NIV))

Many people believe that Jesus promised a life of ease if you accept Him as your Lord and Savior. It is true in heaven, but it is not true in this world.

Paul, in his letter to Timothy, stated clearly that those who seek after God will be persecuted. Today, many preach that God wants to prosper believers, but they do not preach the fact that Satan wishes to crush believers.

All will be persecuted at some time in their lives. What we, as believers, must remember is that we are to be an example of God’s grace and mercy even during times of persecution. The sign of a true believer will be the way that we handle the persecution that is to come.

Stay in God’s Word so that you may be strong in the faith for when those times come. Paul is an excellent example of strong faith and great persecution. He was stoned, beaten, shipwrecked and left for dead on many occasions.

I do not know what persecutions that each of us may face, but I do know that Jesus said that in this world we would have troubles. Jesus always spoke the truth, no matter how harsh it may sound. Paul spoke what he had learned from studying and his desire to know Jesus more.

What is your desire?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is in your heart?

June 27, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.
(Luke 6:43-45 (NIV))

It is not possible for a person to bear fruit contrary to their heart. Can a lion be anything other than a lion? Can a lamb kill and destroy? Neither can a person do anything that is not in their heart.

If a tree starts to develop a blight, the gardener will remove the effected limbs so that the blight does not spread, for he knows that the tree is not made up of the blight. The blight is death for the tree. Sin is the same way in the hearts of people. It is death. We must remove the sin, but how can we do that? We are not capable on our own. We cannot approach God in our sin, for God cannot associate with sin. We need help. We must remove the blight, but keep the true nature of our heart.

Jesus came so that our hearts could be true and our lives made righteous in the eyes of God. All we have to do is accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, and the fruit that we bear will be tended so that it is a true reflection of the heart of Jesus, after all, we have asked Jesus into our hearts.

What is in your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you a viper?

June 26, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.
(Matthew 12:34 (NIV))

Isn’t it interesting that Jesus called these people a brood of vipers. Carefully consider what a viper is and then carefully consider what deceived Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Was Jesus comparing these people and their actions to the actions that deceived humanity and lead us into sin?

Satan was called a serpent in the Garden of Eden. A serpent is simply a snake, however, a viper is a deadly snake.

Was Jesus saying that the words and actions of this group of people were more deadly than those that originally lead humanity into sin? Let’s take a serious look at this concept. Satan introduced sin into the world by saying that man could be equal to God. How can the creation be equal to the Creator? These words and actions that lead to this deception have sentenced every person who has ever lived to live in sin and to suffer for it. In retrospect, I can see how a serpent fits.

Now, consider the people that Jesus was speaking to. He came into the world to bring grace, mercy and salvation from our sin. The people that He was speaking to were speaking what they, in their sin, wanted to be true. They spoke words that were intended to turn people away from the idea that there was a way to attain salvation. Now, consider what is worse, to lead someone into sin or to mislead someone by saying that they cannot escape from their sin. The first trapped us. The second attempts to keep us in the trap that leads to death. We know better than to be lured into staying in the trap of sin, for Jesus paid the price that allowed us to escape from the sin that has shrouded our lives.

Have you done anything that would be considered an act of a viper? Have you done anything that would cause someone to stay in their sin?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How far is your reach?

June 25, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV))

We must have faith. Faith in God is mandatory if we are to receive the kingdom of heaven. We must have hope. Hope for the future that it will be better than the today that Satan has a hold of. These are important for our life as a believer. But, it is important for us to recognize what is being said in the scripture.

We MUST have love. Jesus came in love from God. Jesus reached out in love and compassion to those who needed Him the most. Can we, as believers, do any less than what Jesus did? We cannot turn our backs on people who are seeking God just because they do not fit into our social circles, or because they are from a different country.

We must reach out to them in love! We must reach beyond our comfort zone.

How far is your reach?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are your motives?

June 24, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
(1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NIV))

The Bible states that a person can not gain access to heaven through good works. All of the things that are described here are useless if your heart is not right.

Take a look at the Pharisees. They did everything by the “book” in the eyes of the nation of Israel. To others, it looked like they did everything right. Yet, God knew their hearts. They did not do things out of love, but, rather out of ego and pride so that they could say that they were better than others. Their hearts did not reflect their actions. They were doing the right things for all the wrong reasons.

Sometimes I think that it is possible to do the wrong things for the right reasons. In our fallen state of humanity, we are not perfect. If we earnestly seek after God’s own heart and do things out of OUR love, we are bound to make mistakes. Even with the Holy Spirit guiding us, we will lapse into thinking that we know what is best and do what we think out of “love” or concern for others.

Even if we have love, we must not allow our own hearts to guide us. We must look to the Father who is perfect in Will and in Love. If we continually look to God for guidance, then we have placed our hearts in the hands of the Father who will teach us to do what is best in His site and provide us the proper motives for all that we do.

What are your motives?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you rejoice when you think of God?

June 23, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.
(Psalms 95:1-2 (NIV))

Do you rejoice when you think of God?

I believe that our human traditions have made it almost impossible to truly rejoice before God. Our worship services follow a set sequence and many of our churches sit quietly during the whole service. Don’t take this wrong. I am not against reverence. What I am suggesting is that we have lost our ability to shout, after all there is a time for both reverence and rejoicing.

I honestly believe that we can show reverence and rejoice at the same time. Unfortunately, the same person who shouts for their favorite college team on Saturday will not even clap on Sunday. Have we, as the Body of Christ, lost the ability to rejoice over what Jesus has done for us? Can we act in reverence and joy just as the early church did at Pentecost?

Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine. ”
Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
” `In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
(Acts 2:13-17 (NIV))

They were not ashamed. They did not squelch their joy. God sent His Holy Spirit and they embraced the Holy Spirit with reverence, joy and awe. Being Godly does not mean that you sit there with your nose up in the air. It means that you welcome and fully embrace God in His Triune Glory and allow Him to move in you and through you.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
(Philippians 4:4 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Fear and hatred or compassion and mercy?

June 20, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
(1 John 4:18 (NAS))

It has been said that there is a thin line between fear and hate. If you fear others, then it is because you are close to hating others. This is probably not intentional, but, it is true.

It is through love that hatred is abolished, and through this, fear is abated. You cannot fear someone that you love. They are opposite extremes and diametrically opposed to each other. You either love with no fear, or you fear with hatred as the root.

We are to live with Jesus as the example. Jesus did not know fear or hatred. He had compassion and mercy on all that He encountered. It was their reactions to Him that set the tone of the interactions. No matter what happened, Jesus always responded in love and mercy. If we are to be followers of Jesus, then we, too, should respond to all whom we see with love and mercy. Jesus gave us instructions on what to do.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
(John 13:34-35)

How well have you carried out this new commandment? Can others tell that you are a disciple of Jesus?

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