Do you sow generously or sparingly?

January 31, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
(2 Corinthians 9:6 (NIV))

There are several other ways of saying this that are probably a little more familiar to most people.
Perhaps the best one is that you get out what you put in. With not too much of a stretch of the imagination, you could also apply the old saying, “Garbage in. Garbage out.” No matter how you look at it, the concept comes down to one simple, yet valid truth. A little effort will yield a little result and a big effort will yield a big result.

We understand this concept when it comes to work, but have you stopped to think about the universal truth to this. It applies to all aspects of our lives!

Relationships. School. Athletic endeavors. Careers. All of these, and many others, follow the concepts as espoused in 2 Corinthians 8:6. It also applies to Biblical understanding and our relationship with God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We can’t expect something for nothing. Everything requires an effort on our part before we see the fruits of our labors. If you love to play baseball, then you spend countless hours giving of yourself to the sport that you love. If you are madly in love, then you spend countless hours with the person that you love. If you love the Lord, then you spend all of the time that you can in study, prayer and communication so that you can get a better understanding of God’s heart.

“Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV))

It sounds like Jesus is telling people to sow generously in their relationship with Him.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you weary in your walk with Christ?

January 30, 2017

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))

Do you get tired of seeing the terrible, ungodly things that happen in the world? Do you ever think that you are only one person and are not capable of changing anything on your own? Do you grow tired of doing what is right in the eyes of God and not seeing anything happen?

It is so easy to get discouraged by the events in this sinful, fallen world, especially when your only desire is to see God glorified through His Son, Jesus. Sadly, too many people rely on their strength to do what God has called them to do. Are you strong enough to carry the weight of sin on your shoulders? Are you strong enough to provide a way for people to escape their sin? Are you strong enough to bridge the gap between humanity and God?

None of us are strong enough!

Thankfully, we are not called to be strong enough. We are called to allow God to work through us. We are not the ones called to carry the burdens. We are called to be obedient and answer God’s call. If we become weary, there is a good chance that we are trying to rely on our strengths and not on God’s strengths. I can think of so many mental pictures for this concept, but the one that seems to represent this concept the best is the story about the footprints in the sand. In this story, we learn of Jesus walking side by side with an individual. Then, all of a sudden we see only one set of footprints. Jesus is asked why He abandoned them and He replies that He did not abandon them, but He was carrying them!

Do the things of this world make you weary? Keep in mind that Jesus bore all of this for us. It is not our calling to reinvent grace. It is not our calling to save people. Only Jesus can save. It is our calling to be willing to answer His call. He will equip the called. He will give you His strength and His peace to do what He has called you to do.

Don’t try to do it on your own!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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There is definitely power in the Word!

January 27, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
(John 1:1 (NIV))

Have you ever heard that there is power in the spoken word?

Perhaps you’ve heard the saying that the pen is mightier than the sword?

If you stop to think about these two statements and what they convey, then it makes perfect sense if you fix the foundation for both of these firmly in the Word of God. Can you think of any other word that has the power that is contained within the Word of God? It can bring the earth, moon and the stars into existence. It can bring beauty out of a formless void. It can bring life with the mere mention of life existing!

I realize that we are far from being able to do what God can do with words, but we seem to be able to do a great deal of wrong with our words. Think about that for a moment. Humanity turned over dominion of the earth to the greatest liar of all time. We turned it over to the father of all lies.

We, as a fallen creation, are torn. We are divided. We are made in the image of God, and inherently, that means that we have the power to speak good into the world. We have fallen as a result of believing the lies of the enemy, and as a result, we have learned to lie. Our words can be used to lift up or they can be used to tear down. Even on our best days, we are not capable of firmly following good no matter how hard we may try. It is just not possible for a sinful creation to be perfect.

It is said that the tongue is the strongest muscle in the body. It’s wag can be extremely hurtful if we don’t control it. If we watch what we say and exercise it sparingly, the tongue can have the opposite effect. We must remember that we have the power to speak into existence either love or hate, wisdom or foolishness, peace or hostility. If we base all of our words on the Word of God, then the outcome is much better for everyone.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you ashamed of or embarrassed by Jesus?

January 26, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
(Romans 1:16 (NIV))

Have you ever been ashamed of something or someone? Have you ever been ashamed of your own actions and thoughts?

Think about that for a moment in relationship to the meaning of the word ashamed. It means to feel shame, guilt or disgrace. It also means a reluctance or unwillingness to do something because of shame or embarrassment.

Embarrassment!

Are you embarrassed by Jesus? Do you feel that Jesus does not fit in with your friends and that you have to make excuses, or even worse, you have to hide?

Are you embarrassed by the Gospel? Do you love your sin so much that you would choose to stay in your sin because you are embarrassed to admit that you need a Savior?

I have one simple, yet profound question to ask.

Are you willing to pay the price for your sin because you are embarrassed by the one and only way to receive salvation? Are you willing to go to hell because your are embarrassed? This sounds like a severe case of pride and ego. Too many people hate to admit that they are not capable of doing good on their own. They don’t want to publicly admit to anyone that they need Jesus. They would rather wallow in their shame because they are too afraid to face their embarrassment. Instead they hide the light from themselves and others.

Personally, I would rather be like Paul and proudly proclaim that I am not ashamed!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you really lack for anything in order to spread the Gospel?

January 25, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
(2 Corinthians 9:8 (NIV))

Do you have all that you need?

Before you answer that question, step back and take a look at your life from both a worldly point of view and then a spiritual point of view. Hopefully, you recognize that the things that you think you need in the physical world are not needs. They are wants.

Has God blessed you with a family? Has He blessed you with a place to sleep and a place to call home? From a worldly perspective, all of us think that we need a bigger house and better cars. We all think that we need more money, but in all reality, what would we do with these things? The more worldly things we have, the more that we think we need to have. We all think that we would be more generous if we had an abundance. Ironically, studies have shown that this is not the case. It is true that there are always exceptions, but for the most part, people who have more are less willing to give freely. They get tied down and bound to their worldly possessions.

Take a look at your life from God’s perspective!

What do you see?

I bet that your understanding of needs are much different if you will only allow yourself to see things from God’s perspective.

Do you have a heart filled with love and compassion for your fellow man? Do you need to fellowship with others?

Do you have a love for God and His Word? Do you need God and His Word? Do you need to share His Word? Do you need to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

All that you truly need is God. If He is your priority, all of your other needs will be met. Don’t get me wrong and take this to mean that I believe that God will take care of us all in the same manner. God will use us where we are to reach out to those around us. He is not going to place all members of the Body of Christ in a single, upscale subdivision and ignore the rest of the world! He needs to have people in all walks of life to be able to minister.

There is an old saying to grow where God plants you. You have been equipped with all that you need to abound in good works where you are.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you sarcastically reluctant or are you obedient?

January 24, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
(Luke 5:5 (NIV))

Because you say so!

Those words go against every natural, worldly human reaction that I have ever seen or heard. Perhaps we should think of them slightly reworded to fully understand the sarcastic emotion that they normally convey.

If you say so!

Think back on the last time that you said these words. I would venture to say that they were uttered as a biting, sarcastic comment to something that someone had just told you. Come on! Admit it. We have all been guilty of saying these very words with this very attitude.

Now for the sixty-four thousand dollar question!

Were you ever completely surprised by what happened immediately after you said these words?

Think about Simon. Have you ever stopped to think about his reaction after the events that followed his comment to Jesus? Have you ever heard the saying that he ate crow? Literally, the expert fisherman had to swallow his pride and stand there completely and utterly amazed and confused when a carpenter showed him up. I admire Simon for his attitude. He was willing to humble himself. He was willing to acknowledge that because of his obedience, he was shown something amazing.

He was also willing to take a step of faith and see where that step would take him. He left his boats and nets and followed Jesus.

He became a fisher of men.

That is quite a big change in attitude from what was probably said in sarcastic frustration. I just love the way how Jesus can take our obedience, even our halfhearted obedience, and turn it into something amazing.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you pray that you will be found faithful?

January 23, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.
(1 Timothy 1:12 (NIV))

How do you react when you are asked to do something?

Typically, human nature can be boiled down to just a few basic types of responses. You get angry and proclaim that you already have too much to do. You run from the question. You say yes with the intent of not fulfilling your word. You say no and feel bad about your answer and do it anyway. You say yes and willingly step up to the task.

How do you typically respond to someone asking you to do something?

How do you respond when you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach and you have a feeling that God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit is calling you to service?

Saul, in his Damascus Road experience and his ultimate conversion to Paul, could possibly have responded with all typical human responses. Fortunately for us, the Gentile believers, Paul ultimately accepted that calling and responded. If Jesus can take someone who was persecuting the Body of Christ and turn him into the person who would be responsible for spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles, then why do we limit what Jesus can do in our lives?

We should proclaim our trust in Jesus. We should acknowledge that Jesus has given us strength to do the things that He has called us to do. We should be faithful in our calling as we serve Him!

Do you thank Jesus for the strength and the faith to be of service to Him?

Do you pray that you will be found faithful?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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