Godly love is tough love calling for repentance!

February 12, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
(1 John 3:11 (NIV))

I honestly believe that our society has twisted what it means to love each other.

Think about that for a moment. We used to correct and discipline each other because we loved each other. We, as a society, did not want to see each other fall into sins that became habits that became lifestyles. We loved each other enough to try and offer guidance and correction so that no one would stumble and fall. We literally took each other on as a responsibility because we understood the concept that it is easier to guide than it is to recover from a fall. We also understood the consequences of sin, both short term and eternal.

Sadly, in today’s society, we are considered hateful if we try to offer guidance. We are only looked upon as loving if we completely accept everything about each other.

If that is how love works, then we need to be honest with ourselves and admit that we hate ourselves. After all, everybody has something in their lives that they hate. By that logic, if we can’t accept everything about ourselves, then we must hate ourselves.

Human nature proves that statement to be incorrect, after all, self-preservation is a very strong human characteristic.

Godly love is not acceptance, but a desire to see what is best for each other.

Is addiction good for anybody?

Is hatred good for anybody?

Is rebellion against God good for anybody?

Is sin ever in anybody’s interests?

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

Is eternal separation from God good for anybody?

It is for this reason that we must tell people about Jesus, and not the watered down Jesus that accepts our sins without asking us to repent. Jesus showed tough love.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
(Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have evidence to support your faith?

February 11, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV))

Do you have evidence to support your faith?

Faith is a strange thing. Many people believe in something and they call it faith, yet, at the least little hint of something not going as planned, they abandon everything.

Faith is not faith of it is easily abandoned!

I would actually consider this a wish and not faith.

People wish for something and then become disconcerted when their wish doesn’t come true.

Faith is a conviction! Faith is a choice. Faith requires a commitment above and beyond what makes sense. Faith requires a hope, a very strong hope, that all is not lost.

Do you have faith that when you take a breath, your lungs will be filled with air? We cannot see the air, yet, we rely upon it to survive. Do you have faith that all promises are yes through Christ Jesus? Can you see Jesus? Can you see His promises? It is the same as the air. We cannot see it, yet we know without a doubt that it is there, that it is as real as what we can see. Perhaps it is even more real, for it is not clouded by the fallen nature in which we live.

Faith is an amazing thing. Just a little can grow into something so big that it can provide shelter for those around it just as the mustard seed grows into a large tree that provides shelter.

Can you see faith?

Can you touch faith?

Can you see faith manifested in your life and in the lives of those around you?

Faith is a powerful force. When we have faith, we have an insight into God’s kingdom.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you truly need?

February 10, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You say, `I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
(Revelation 3:17-18 (NIV))

Do you need anything?

The world has so many distractions, so many things that we consider to have great material value. We spend all of our lives struggling to accumulate these material possessions and we call them wealth. We look at gold and long for its accumulation. We look at fancy cars and long to own and drive the ones that make people turn their heads as we go by. We want big homes so that we can impress people, and then we have to build a wall and put up a gate to keep out the very people whom we want to impress.

In all of this, we focus on things that are of this world and can easily be taken away from us. We focus on what will make us look better than our neighbor. We focus on what will cause our family, friends and neighbors to devise plans to take what we have.

What good will a big bank account do you when you are standing before God? What good will a huge home do you when you are standing before God?

What is truly important to God? Does God care about your riches or does He care about your eternal salvation? He did not send Jesus to die on the cross so that we can accumulate more earthly wealth. God sent Jesus to show us how to attain true wealth, a wealth so great that it lasts all of eternity.

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?
(Mark 8:36 (NIV))

What is truly important to you?

What do you truly need?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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By what nature do you live?

February 9, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live
(Romans 8:13 (NIV))

By what nature do you live?

Do you long for the things of the world and the physical pleasures that they temporarily bring? Are you enthralled by what the world has to offer even when it brings harmful consequences to those who pursue them?

Lust, fame, fortune and greed are but a few of the things that manifest themselves as the sinful nature. Are these worth dying for? Are these worth an eternal separation from God? They definitely are not of the Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
(Galatians 5:22-26 (NIV))

In other words, truly belonging to Jesus will crucify the sinful nature.

There is an old saying that you are what you eat. This is also true at the spiritual level. Perhaps another way to say this is garbage in, garbage out. What you put into your heart will be reflected in your life by what comes out. The sinful nature brings death.

Jesus brings life!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Weakness or strength?

February 6, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV))

Do you ever feel weak?

Do you like that feeling? Do you want to feel that way? Do you like to be thought of as being weak?

If you are like me, and probably all of the rest of humanity, you like to feel like you have everything under control. You like to feel like you are in charge and capable of handling whatever is thrown your way.

Do you realize that it is this very nature that has convicted us of sin. It is pride! It is the very same thing that brought Satan down. It is the attitude that we can take care of ourselves and that we don’t need anyone to help us that too many people never get over. It is this very thing that causes too many people to never seek salvation, grace and mercy.

I admit that I am weak.

I admit that I can’t do it on my own, even though there are times that I may come across as strong. Perhaps I should change that from strength to arrogance.

What is human strength in the grand scheme of things? Can it bring salvation? can it bring peace? Can it bring joy? Our understanding of strength will not bring any of these things. Our understanding of strength is a false facade that we hide behind in hopes that no one will see our true selves.

Only through surrendering to Jesus allows us to be strong, for we acknowledge our weakness and embrace His strength.

What do you embrace?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is the backbone of your hope and your salvation?

February 5, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.
(Romans 6:8-9 (NIV))

This is the backbone of our hope and our salvation. Death is the ultimate winner in our lives if we do not accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior.

Spiritual death is the eternal separation of creation from Creator. There is nothing that we can do on our own that will keep us from experiencing both a physical death and a spiritual death. Yet, there is someone who has overcome the physical death, and by doing this, has also overcome the spiritual death.

Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, came to die for us. But death did not hold Him. On the third day, He arose to defeat the power of death and ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father. All who call upon the name of Jesus have the assured hope that they too will overcome death.

This does not mean that we will not face the physical death, for even Jesus faced this. It does mean that we who place our faith in Jesus Christ will have a mediator who will intercede for us and keep us from the spiritual death that comes with the physical death.

These bodies that we now know as ours are only a shell for our true selves. They will pass away, but we shall live eternally with God and Jesus because we have placed our faith in Him!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you praise God at all times?

February 4, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.
(Job 1:21 (NAS))

Even after all that Job had experienced, he still felt the need to praise God. During all of his later trials and misfortunes, he still praised God.

True, there were times when he was angry at God, yet he still knew his respective place in the creation. He knew that God was the One who caused all things to be and that it was through this action that caused him to exist.

He praised his Creator even when he did not fully understand the circumstances that he was in. Only one other person in history has suffered more than Job did, and that was Jesus Christ. In both cases, God was praised for His power and authority in all things.

If these two can praise God even when faced with the things that they faced, then we can praise God in our daily lives when we think that all is wrong.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Does this sound familiar to you?

February 3, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God– having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.
(2 Timothy 3:1-6 (NIV))

Does this sound familiar to you?

Take a look at society today, and then compare what we are going through with what was written by Paul. The “good life” has turned us into the “me” society where most people are only concerned about themselves. We, as a society, are definitely boastful, lovers of self and money, abusive to everyone, ungrateful, and everything else that is wrong in the eyes of God. Take a look at road rage. That is a good example of the manifestation of this attitude.

Consider the acquisition of knowledge. We have become a knowledge driven society. This knowledge is based on things that are fleeting and have a value only because we are looking for a “richer” life. We can make a car that protects people during an accident. We can send people into space to study the effects of weightlessness on seeds. We can produce a round, flat disk that is capable of entertaining us, yet, we seem to have lost the ability to truly grasp what type of knowledge is important.

Another piece of knowledge for you – it has been determined that the human body was designed to react at speeds much slower than our cars travel. Perhaps this is part of what God means when He told us to

“Be still, and know that I am God;
(Psalms 46:10a(NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Following Jesus requires us to be deliberate!

February 2, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.
(Hebrews 3:1 (NIV))

What do you think about?

When you fix your thoughts on something, you make a deliberate effort to think about that one thing. Following Jesus is a deliberate process. You cannot simply set out to do whatever you want to and claim that you are a follower of Jesus.

Deliberate effort!

In other words, you must choose Jesus at all times. You must constantly think about Jesus and His actions and His teachings. These are the actions and the teachings that we are to follow. We are to fix our thoughts on these actions and teachings. We are to fix our hearts as well as our thoughts. We are to focus. We are to make every effort. We are to be deliberate in our thoughts and our actions so that they reflect Jesus in all that we do.

Following Jesus requires us to be deliberate!

We cannot be nonchalant in our faith.

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