Contrary to society, there is a right way to live!

September 15, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.
(1 Thessalonians 4:1 (NIV))

Do you believe that God is just?

Do you believe that He cannot associate with sin?

Do you believe that humanity fell from grace and we are all sinners?

Do you believe that God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to be an atoning sacrifice for our sins?

Do you believe that by accepting the free gift of grace, our sins are forgiven?

Do you believe that since our sins are forgiven that God can now rebuild the association with us?

If you believe all of this, why do you, and I am using the word you collectively, continue to live lives that are not pleasing to God? We all have a tendency to do this. Our current society seems to be pushing the envelope. Society seems to be trying to taunt God by continually crossing the line that God has clearly defined. My prayers go out for those who cross that line, for contrary to what society says, God says that there is a right way to live!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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There is always more to God’s story!

September 14, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
(Jonah 2:10 (NIV))

Do you think that you know the story of Jonah?

I thought that I did, and much to my surprise, there was more that I didn’t know than I did know.

We all know that God told Jonah to go to Ninevah and tell the people to repent. We know that Jonah ran from what God asked him to do because he did not want the people of Ninevah to repent. We know that Jonah boarded a boat and ended up in the belly of a great fish. This is where the passage picks up in the story. What we aren’t told in scripture is that the god and goddess that were worshipped in Ninevah were Dagon and Nanshe.

I hope that you pick up on God’s sense of humor when I tell you that the two gods that were worshipped in Ninevah were fish gods!

Imagine the reaction of the people when they witness something that looks like the gods that they worship vomiting out someone who is preaching for them to repent and to turn to the one true God. It would get my attention! No wonder there was mass repentance in the city of Ninevah!

I find it interesting that God will use the false beliefs of people to get their attention and to get them to repent. I was very intrigued when I discovered the additional details about Ninevah. God’s Word is full of hints at His majesty and how He works. I wonder how much more that we truly do not know. I would love to know the rest of all of God’s stories.

There is always more to God’s story!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What has the Spirit enabled you to do?

September 13, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
(Acts 2:4 (NIV))

How many times have you witnessed what the Holy Spirit was doing only to wish that it would be done to or through you?

I know! Human ego gets in the way far too often. We see how God is moving in and through the lives of others. We focus on the others so much that we fail to see what is being done in our own lives. What do other people see happening in your life when they look at you? Do they see the things that you have grown blind to? Do they wish that they had the gifts of the Spirit that you have been blessed with?

Why do we have such a difficult time recognizing our gifts and abilities? Why do we envy and desire the gifts and abilities that have been given to others? Why do we desire what we don’t have and ignore what we do have even when what we do have is far greater than what we don’t have? I honestly believe that it is a combination of ego, greed and envy. We like to think that we are capable of anything that anyone else can do and that we can do it better!

God did not make us to all be the same. He gave us each unique gifts.

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?
(1 Corinthians 12:27-30 (NIV))

We are all unique creations. We have all been enabled to do things that no one else can do.

What has the Spirit enabled you to do?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What is your one thing that you seek?

September 11, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.
(Psalms 27:4 (NIV))

Collectively, we ask for so many things of the Lord. Most of the requests seems to be physically self-serving. We ask for healing. We ask for a better job. We ask for love. We ask for money. We ask and we ask, but we fail to ask to be considered righteous in the eyes of the Lord!

Do you realize that what David is asking for in this verse is to be considered worthy, to be considered righteous in the eyes of God?

On first reading this passage, that may not sound like that big of a request in the grand scheme of things, but you have to stop and consider that God cannot associate with sin. In order to dwell in the house of the Lord and to gaze upon His beauty, you must be sin free. David was asking God to fulfill His promise of redemption. He was asking God to fulfill His promise to send the Messiah. Later generations knew that the Messiah would come from the house and lineage of David, but it is not understood at what point this promise was made. Did David know of this promise when he wrote this passage? I have read arguments both for and against, but one thing that I do know is that David asked for God’s mercy. He made it a point to seek God.

After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: “I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.”
(Acts 13:22 (NIV))

God found David to be a man after His own heart. God wants to redeem His creation to a full relationship with Him. It makes sense that David would seek the same thing.

What is your one thing that you seek?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are we united and all together?

September 8, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.
(Acts 2:1 (NIV))

At first read, this passage doesn’t seem to say much, but something struck me after reading it again!

Pentecost was the day the Holy Spirit descended upon the body of believers and the church was conceived. Power and authority were given to the church to do the things that Jesus had said we would be able to do. Signs of this power and authority were clearly visible to everyone, for they were all gathered together and they all saw the outward manifestations of the power coming to them.

They were all together!

Not only were they together physically, I believe that they were also together spiritually. They were completely united in their faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. This was before man could interject subtle differences that split the body into factions. They focused on Jesus and His power and authority. When was the last time that you have seen the complete Body of Christ united under one Christ-centered banner? Have any of us ever seen this?

Have any of us ever truly seen God’s power and authority manifested as it was on the day of Pentecost? Some of us belong to congregations that say God doesn’t do this anymore. Some of us belong to congregations that would love to see any glimpse of God’s power. Some of us belong to congregations where God has provided more than a glimpse. No matter which type of congregation you may attend, one thing is certain and that is God will not be recognized as manifesting Himself if there is not a desire to see Him. We have to seek Him. We have to desire His presence. We have to be receptive to His power and authority!

Looking back at Pentecost, do you think that there were people that denied what had happened? Did they come away saying that God doesn’t do that anymore? Perspective is an amazing thing. It makes us see things differently from each other. Do you think those that were a part of what happened at Pentecost had a different perspective or were they united and all together in their understanding of what God was doing?

Are we united and all together?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Therefore go!

September 7, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV))

I am going to tax you a little on this one. Well, maybe a lot. I say this because most people would rather forget sentence structures and types. Do you remember the different types of sentences from your English classes? Do you remember the imperative sentence? In essence, it is a command.

Therefore go!

That sounds pretty straight forward to me. It is definitely a command. Do we, as the Body of Christ, obey that command? Previous generations took this seriously. Many people today take it seriously, but do we truly understand that this is our prime directive as a member of the Body of Christ? When you couple this with the next part of the sentence, we have another distinct command.

Make disciples of all the nations!

Most people have a difficult time making a disciple of their next door neighbor. Have we lost the passion to reach the lost? Have we lost the compassion that we should feel for others when we know that they will spend eternity separated from God? When there is a natural disaster, we go with supplies. We go with a desire to help. Where is that desire when it comes to making disciples?

How would Jesus react to our desire to reach the lost? Would He say “Well done,” or would He say “Therefore go!”

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Is there anything that God cannot do?

September 6, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?
(Jeremiah 32:27 (NIV))

I have had this verse at my fingertips for a few days. I have been thinking about it. Something in these words has made me stop and reflect on them. Several things have made me pause on this passage.

The biggest question that I have is why do we even need to be reminded of this? Is humanity so completely idiotic that we have forgotten what has been common knowledge since creation? Of course we are! All throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament, as well, humanity has ignored God. We have rebelled against God. We have embraced evil and called it good. We have embraced false gods. We have created our own gods when we couldn’t find one that we liked that someone else had created. We have limited God in so many ways that by the time that Jeremiah walked the earth, God had to speak through Jeremiah to remind creation that only He is Lord. Keep in mind that this was not the first time that God had to remind people exactly who He is. God used Noah to let creation know that He is Lord. God used Moses to let people know that He is Lord.

These are just a few of the instances when God reminded His creation that He is Lord, still, there is something about the words from Jeremiah that stand out!

“Is anything too hard for me?”

Why is humanity so fickle? Why do we place limitations where no limitations can be placed? Why do we try to define God in terms that we can understand? If we can understand everything about whom we worship, then it is not the one true God, but a god of our own creation.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord,
(Isaiah 55:8 (NIV))

Do you try to limit God?

Is there anything that God cannot do?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you overcome evil or does it overcome you?

September 5, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
(Romans 12:17-21 (NIV))

How often do we want to take vengeance into our own hands? That is the human thing to do. We must rise above human urges and do what God wishes for us to do. These urges for vengeance and hatred are a direct result of the Fall when Adam and Eve allowed Satan to become ruler of the earth. This attitude is not from God, for God has said that vengeance is His. Jesus even gave us instructions about how to treat those who are evil so that we may let Jesus shine through us.

“You have heard that it was said, `Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

“You have heard that it was said, `Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
(Matthew 5:38-48)

Do you overcome evil or does it overcome you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you opened the door?

September 4, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
(Revelation 3:20 (NIV))

When you hear someone knocking at your door, what is your first response?

Society has mandated that we respond to the knocking and acknowledge that we hear it. We may ask who is there. We may look through a peep hole in the door. We may look out a window. We may be expecting someone and simply open the door. It is considered a common courtesy to respond in some manner and usually this response leads us to actually open the door.

Why are so many of us rude to Jesus when He knocks at the door to our heart?

Thankfully, He doesn’t give up on us when we don’t answer. He is patient.

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))

He will continue to knock at the door to our heart until we answer, we die, or He returns. Sadly, too many people die before answering. Sadly, too many will delay answering and He will return for His church and it will be too late.

Don’t be arrogant and rude. Jesus is knocking out of love.

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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

Jesus is knocking!

Have you opened the door?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What season and time is it?

September 1, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
(Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV))

What time do you think that it is?

We are told there are many different times that God has planned for.

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3:2-8 (NIV))

I realize that some of these are not very pleasant. I realize that we experience all of them to some extent in our individual lives. Collectively, we seem to experience them as well. With all that is going on in the world right now, it seems as though we experience many of these on a daily basis. I have often wondered if there was any particular reason for the order of these events in these verses. I have also wondered how I am expected to react in each of these pairings of events. Each element in each pairing is the polar opposite from the other element in the pairing. Is God telling us that we will experience every possible situation in our lives and this is how He explained it by giving us many extremes of the same thing?

Life is precious!

Sadly, due to the fall from grace, we will experience life’s extremes. We will see things that will give us unimaginable joy and the very next minute, we will see things that bring us unimaginable pain.

I love the outlook that a friend has about life. He says that “I have never had a bad day. I have had some bad things happen on a good day, but I have never had a bad day!” If you believe that life is precious, then I pray that you see the wisdom in these words the next time that you face some of life’s extremes.

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