Have we surrendered our power and effectiveness?

June 16, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
(James 5:16 (NIV))

Have you noticed the sequence of events in this passage?

As the Body of Christ, we are to confess our sins to each other and to pray for each other. These steps lead to healing, but did you notice that there is a followup statement? It is actually a declaration. If you believe in logic, then what is presented makes perfect sense. Do steps A and B and then D will result. The reason is because A and B leads to C, which leads to D.

It looks like we have been given a roadmap on how to get to the power and effectiveness of a righteous person. If that is the case, do we truly follow these simple, yet profound, directions? Do we follow the roadmap that we have been given, or do we like to think that we can find our way on our own?

Do we confess our sins to each other or do we just get together and gossip?

Do we truly pray for each other or do we simply give lip service to the needs of others so that we can focus on our needs?

Do either of these sound like they would lead to healing?

Would a righteous person gossip? Would a righteous person focus on their own needs? Is this why our prayers are going unanswered?

Personally, I believe that we need to stop our detours and get back to the roadmap that has been given to us. Because we have strayed, we have surrendered our power and effectiveness.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Has your salt been trampled on?

June 15, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
(Matthew 5:13 (NIV))

What do you do with things when they get worn out and ineffective?

We live in a world where things degenerate. Do you still have the same shoes that you did two years ago? If you do, are they still in the same shape they were when you first got them? If you have worn them at all, then I can safely say that they are not in that same shape. This world has a habit of wearing things down. Even our bodies are not immune to the effects of this world.

The sad thing is that too many people allow the world to have the same impact on their faith as it does on all other things in this life. We need to be careful to not let the temptations of this world distract us. We don’t need to lose sight of the power that is in the name of Jesus! That power is enough to sustain us for all eternity, but if we don’t keep our eyes on Jesus, we lose sight of that power and then we lose that power.

Salt has many uses. Most people today only think of salt as a seasoning for food, but it has far greater capabilities. For centuries, salt was used to preserve meat and fish. It would be packed around the meat or fish and it would draw out the moisture. It would draw out the very thing that, if left, would have caused things to deteriorate. This left the meat or fish in a state where it would provide life giving nourishment to those who would eat it. If we are the salt of the earth, it is our job to draw out the very thing that brings death to the world. It is our job to fill the world with the Gospel. If we lose sight of what we are called to do, then we are not fulfilling our purpose.

Don’t let your faith be trampled on so much that you lose sight of God’s purpose for you!

Has you salt been trampled on?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your worship based on?

June 14, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”
(Isaiah 29:13 (NIV))

Are you the type of person who likes to follow a ritual and a routine? Do you freak out if something disrupts that ritual and routine? Who is it that says that you must follow a set order for anything? Do you even bother to ask why the routine is what it is?

Personally, I am a creature of habit, but I like to have a reason for my habits. I don’t like doing something just because everyone else is doing it. I don’t blindly follow a routine just because it has always been done that way. If you truly stop to think about most rules, regulations and routines, they were all started by people who thought that they had a better way to do things. People who all had a similar approach to how they thought things should be done banded together so that they could all do things the same way. Years passed and the reasons became lost, and today, we blindly follow someone else’s plan for doing any number of things.

Sadly, this even extends to the worship of the Lord. People blindly do things simply because that is how it has always been done. It is tradition.

Did Jesus come to tell us that the traditions of the Jewish people were correct as carried out by the Pharisees and Sadducees, or did He come to show us a better way? The Holy Spirit was sent as a guide, as a teacher and as a companion so that we would not lose site of the fact that human rituals, routines and traditions are not what God ordained. We are to worship Him as the Holy Spirit directs.

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
(John 4:23 (NIV))

What time do you have?

What is your worship based on?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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You just need to be willing to see!

June 13, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip.
(John 1:46 (NIV))

Humanity is so strange!

We are willing to travel half way around the world to see something in a major city because we think that is where the good things are. At the same time, we think that anything from a small, out of the way place can’t be any good. Why do we always think that bigger is better? Why does human nature have to elevate what is big and put down anything that is small in our perception?

If you stop to think about God’s plan, it makes perfect sense for Jesus to have come to humble beginnings and live in a small town. It was exactly opposite of what the world expected. It was a deliberate decision to not be who the world expected Him to be. God wanted to not appeal to the masses with glitz and glamour. He did not want the gift of salvation to be just another fad that was here today and gone tomorrow. He wanted people to seek and find something precious and not be bombarded with another societal hype.

He wanted to draw those who were willing to see the unexpected.

Have you seen the unexpected in Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do we love and teach like the early church?

June 12, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
(Acts 2:46-47 (NIV))

I have often heard that non-believers are not reached through preaching, but through fellowship.

God came to earth as Jesus to fellowship with His creation face to face. Jesus taught, ate and lived with the people that He was trying to reach. He taught His disciples to reach out to people in the same way. They did not meet with people only on Sunday. They did not meet with people who happened to show up for an hour once a week to hear a message. They spent their time with the people, living, eating, teaching and enjoying each other’s company. They brought people to Jesus through a fundamental principle of friendship and love.

People are hungry for the Truth. They are hungry for the Love of the Father. This love can be shown by people. It is when this love is shown by people, when people can see Jesus in someone, that they are honestly and genuinely drawn to God. Once they are drawn, they need feeding and nurturing. It is this feeding and nurturing that continual fellowship in Jesus satisfies.

Jesus did not condemn when He taught. He came to bring life and more abundantly. Life is a gift from God. It is to be enjoyed. People come to know Jesus through true fellowship with believers.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you look to the strength of man for help?

June 9, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the LORD.
(Isaiah 31:1 (NIV))

It is human nature to seek help from those whom we consider stronger, more financially endowed, in positions of power, and, oh, yes, that we can see!

Even though someone’s power and authority may be more than ours, in God’s scheme of things, just how much more power and authority can any human have? Can the mayor of a large city mandate that all will be fed and it happen? Can the commander of an army go into battle and tell his army that they will all survive? Can we turn to the President of the United States for assurance that natural disasters will not harm or kill anyone within our borders? Can we turn to any person and ask them to miraculously heal us of a deadly illness?

We are only human!

In our humanity, even the mightiest among us is nothing compared to the Lord our God. No one can compare with Jesus who brought salvation and healing. No one can compare with the Holy Spirit who brings comfort and guidance. No one can compare to the Father, who loves us so much that He sent Jesus to save us and the Holy Spirit to guide us.

When we have all of this, why do we turn to man when they are not capable of any of the things that the Lord has done for us and will do for us!

The next time that you find yourself in need of strength, turn to the only source of strength that is eternal and all powerful. Don’t look to the strength of man. Humble yourself. Bend your knees and lift your hearts to the Lord.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
(Psalms 46:1 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Does creation think it is better than the Creator?

June 8, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, “You did not make me”? Can the pot say to the potter, “You know nothing”?
(Isaiah 29:16 (NIV))

I have read this passage many times before, but reading it today made me hang my head in sorrow and shame!

What is it about human nature that makes us think that we know better than anyone and everyone else, including the very one who formed us out of dust?

Do you ever find yourself telling God how things should be done? It may be something as small as a selfish prayer that only benefits you in a way that you don’t really need. If you stop and think about it, this kind of action is telling God that you can handle things better than He can. If we look at society, we see this type of arrogant attitude as the root of all of the issues that society is facing today. God has a plan, yet, too many people have come forward and believe that they have a better plan. Biblical values and principles are ridiculed and mocked by the so-called “educated” and “enlightened” people of this world. Even though they say that they don’t believe in God, they mock anything that is Biblically based. They believe that they have a better way than what is contained within God’s Word.

It’s sad how these people act.

If you have children, then you will probably agree with me on this mental picture. Is it just me, or do these people seem to be stuck forever in the “Terrible Twos” and forever trying to assert their authority when they truly don’t have any authority? To be honest with you, this all goes back to the Garden of Eden. God told Adam and Eve to stay away from the tree in the center of the garden and they believed the lie that He didn’t really mean it. In other words, they were convinced that they knew better than God.

And to this day, we all have a tendency to believe it, too!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How strong are your desires for keeping this commandment?

June 7, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.”
(Matthew 22:37-38 (NIV))

I know that normally I tend to ask questions, but I want you to ask yourself a very serious question. I want you to ask yourself, “Do I love the Lord my God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind?”

What comes to mind when you ask yourself this question?

Do you answer quickly and enthusiastically with a resounding “Yes!”, or do you find yourself distracted easily and unable to answer? Are you afraid to answer? Do you brush off the question because you are afraid of what your answer may be? Are you afraid to admit that you don’t honestly love the Lord?

I realize that these are some very tough questions, but each of us need to be able to face them and answer them honestly. We don’t know what tomorrow may bring. We don’t know if our next breath will be our last. If something were to happen and you find yourself standing before the Lord our God, would you be afraid of what He would say to you or would you hear well done?

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
(Matthew 25:21 (NIV))

Loving the Lord our God with all that we are is important. It is so important that Jesus referred to this as the first and greatest commandment, for if we earnestly seek to follow this commandment, all other commandments will fall into place. Don’t get me wrong and take this to mean that we will no longer sin, for we are human and have a fallen and sinful nature. What it does mean is that we will desire to follow God and we will repent when we do something that is against God’s Word.

Once again, I want you to ask yourself, “Do I love the Lord my God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind?”

How strong are your desires for keeping this commandment?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus is Lord and God raised Him from the dead!

June 6, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
(Romans 10:9-13 (NIV))

What does your heart say about Jesus?

What has your mouth declared about Jesus?

Have you ever wondered why this passage talks about both declaring with your mouth and believing in your heart? It is human nature to give the proverbial lip service to something and not mean it in your heart. It is also possible to think that you believe something in your heart, but not profess it with you mouth. In both instances, this duality of words and heart appear to be caused by fear. We fear to stand out as different from those around us. We fear to truly look inward. We fear to make a commitment. To put it simply, we fear.

When, in the course of human nature, we can make both words and heart coincide, then we are in alignment and in agreement with ourselves. We say and do the very same things with respect to our beliefs. Paul realized that. Paul, with the help of the Holy Spirit, came to the conclusion that when this happens, we are committed and our faith is true.

Do you believe that God raised Jesus from the dead? Have you ever professed with your mouth that Jesus is Lord? These two questions are crucial for each of us to answer with a resounding yes, for without those answers, we know that salvation is not possible. How have you answered these two questions? Time is ticking away. Don’t wait to answer these questions. Eternity depends on your answer.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you answered God’s call to be set apart?

June 5, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
(1 Peter 2:9 (NIV))

Do you believe that you have been called by God to follow Jesus?

Think about your answer before you just randomly say something.

There are those who believe that God had preselected those whom He wanted to save. To be honest with you, according to 2 Peter 3:9, there is some truth to that. He doesn’t want anyone to perish. He wants everyone to be saved, so, with this in mind, we are all preselected to be saved.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

If we are all preselected, how then can we be called a chosen people and a royal priesthood?

Belief in Jesus, like anything else, has a demographic. You have those who will respond and then you have those who are slow to respond. The sad thing is that there are also those who will never respond. Those who have responded are called to witness to those who have not responded. God has always equipped those whom He calls to spread the Gospel.

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
(Acts 2:1-4 (NIV))

This calling sets us apart from the rest of the world. Just as the Holy Spirit came to the early church to equip them for the task at hand, the Holy Spirit will also equip you and I for the task at hand. Sadly, too many people who profess a faith in Jesus seem to have lost touch with the power that was given to the Body of Christ. We have been called to be the salt and the light, but have we become just like the world that we are supposed to be telling about Jesus?

Have you answered God’s call to be set apart?

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