Where do you submit and where do you resist?

May 31, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
(James 4:7 (NIV))

If you think about anything in your life, your reactions can be defined as falling on a spectrum with one end point as submission and the other endpoint as resistance. Think about the following in relationship to this concept and see if you agree with me.

1. Getting up and going to work.
2. Sleeping in late on a rainy Saturday morning.
3. Being invited to your boss’s house.
4. Going to a party.
5. Your relationships.
6. Going to church.

Most of us will vary greatly on the spectrum on each of these items depending on a lot of factors, but we all know that some days we are more resistant to things than on other days.

Let me offer up something that I hope you will give some serious inner reflection to. Where do you see yourself in relationship to God on this spectrum? Do you think that you submit most of the time, or do you find yourself resisting God when He doesn’t fit into your plans? Do you find yourself more likely to submit to your sinful nature and the devil, or do you truly desire to resist the devil? Is the devil fleeing from you or are you just fooling yourself simply because you aren’t actively pursuing the enemy?

Human nature draws us into submitting to the things that we truly desire. It also makes us resist things that are opposed to our desires. It is a choice. We can submit to God and resist the devil, or . . .

Where do you submit and where do you resist?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you prepared to face while spreading the Gospel?

May 30, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.
(Matthew 10:11-16 (NIV))

Jesus knew that not everyone would receive the Gospel. It probably broke His heart to know that those who do not will be lost forever. Even so, He gave instruction to the Disciples then and to us now.

We must be wise to the world, but rely on the Holy Spirit for guidance. We must work diligently and fervently for the sake of the Kingdom. There are many people who do not know of the Truth of the Gospel. We must share this Truth with as many as possible. Only God knows if the seeds that are planted will ever take root. We can continue to pray for those people, but we must also move on to others who are in need of hearing.

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
(Matthew 9:37-38)

Are you ready to work? What are you prepared to face while spreading the Gospel?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you want a clean heart or a pure heart?

May 29, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (NIV))

Most of us can quote this passage as it is translated in the American Standard Version, below.

Create in me a clean heart, O God;
And renew a right spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (ASV))

To be honest with you, that translation is so ingrained in my mind, that it is what I see no matter what translation I may be reading. Today, I think I truthfully read the New International Version for the first time. There were subtle nuances that became obvious to me.

Consider the two words that are used to describe the heart. One uses the word “clean,” which implies that all dirt has been removed as in a clean cup. The other uses the word “pure,” which implies a deeper cleanliness or purity. Consider a bar of gold. It can be dirty or it can be clean. Do either of these states cause any difference in the value of the gold. If you consider the purity of the bar of gold, we have a completely different understanding. If the bar of gold was 95% pure, it wouldn’t be worth as much as if it were 100% pure.

With this in mind, do you want a clean heart or a pure heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Honor!

May 28, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
(John 12:25-26 (NIV))

Think back on the history of this country.

Have we ever had a time when a king or a dictator forced anyone to fight and die?

Have we ever had a time when we turned tail and ran from the responsibilities that we have been given?

We owe our country to our faith in God and to the brave men and women who were willing to sacrifice everything for the principles that our country is founded upon.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

Think about that verse.

Our nation was founded by people who were seeking something. Some came seeking adventure. Some came seeking opportunity. But, many were seeking freedom to worship God as they saw fit. It was this freedom that became an integral part of our nation’s mindset. We were founded by people who saw something that they didn’t agree with and were willing to do something about it.

Some spoke out about the things that they saw. Others rallied people behind them. Many gave their lives to battle the very things that they saw as oppressive. We have never been a country to shy away from doing what is right. We have been driven by a desire to see God’s love, grace and mercy prevail. It is true that some people may not have known Jesus as their Lord and Savior, yet they had an inner feeling about right and wrong. It was part of our culture and our society. They answered the call many times even before they knew there was a call.

They gave it all. They were willing to lay down their lives so that others could know the freedoms that God had granted us. They followed the example of Jesus when He went to the cross. It was something that would end in their death, yet they faced it with dignity and pride. They did not run from their responsibility.

They faced the enemy with honor. They did not shy away from the task at hand because it would mean their death. They were living out the words of Jesus.

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

They gave their lives in much the same way that Jesus gave His. They knew that without their sacrifice, countless lives would be lost.

Memorial Day is upon us. It is a day that we are supposed to remember the sacrifices. It is a day to say thank you. It is a day to ask ourselves if we are capable of stepping up and defending what we hold to be true. There may come a day when we will be called upon to proclaim our faith and suffer the consequences. It is my prayer that we may all love God more than we love our own lives.

Honor and praise to God and to those who answer His call.

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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I don’t ever want to be like this again!

May 25, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.
(Titus 3:3 (NIV))

Do you ever look back at your life before you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior?

No matter how “good” you may have been, it was a far cry from what we have been called to as followers of Jesus. In this current state of our faith, we are by no means mature and perfect. We still have human nature to contend with. We still have times when we fall and find ourselves having moments that remind us of this passage. No matter how close we try to follow Jesus, on our own we are still unclean.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

Thankfully, we have been saved by grace. We have been saved from ourselves. We have been saved from our sinful nature by the only one who is perfect.

I know that I am far from perfect. I know that I have a long way to go. I know that I am being matured in the image of Christ. I also know that what I was is someone that I don’t ever want to be like again!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What will you reap?

May 24, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
(Galatians 6:7-8 (NIV))

Human nature is a very strange thing. We have a tendency, more often than not, to choose the things that are not good for us. I know that this ties back to the fall from grace, but it looks like that we would eventually learn at the personal level. Unfortunately, this happens far less than we care to admit. We go so far as to think that we can fool ourselves. We make the wrong choices and we try to justify the choices that we make. In essence, we choose to sow to please the flesh and try to convince ourselves that we are sowing to please the Spirit. If you don’t believe this, consider the foods that you choose to eat. If you choose to eat things that are high in sugar and fat, then your body will suffer. As a result, you will crave these foods more and your spirit will suffer the consequences. In essence, when you sow to please the flesh, you create addictions. Addictions are contrary to the Spirit. Addictions are exactly what the enemy looks for to distract you.

What do you reap when you have an addiction?

We may try to deceive ourselves, but we cannot deceive God. We may think that we can choose to change and that once or twice will not hurt us. In our fallen state, we believe the lie. We choose to believe the sin over believing the God of creation.

Take a good, long look at your life? What have you chosen to sow? It’s not too late to repent. It’s not too late to reap eternal life!

What will you reap?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you fully embraced the joy of the Lord?

May 23, 2018

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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 don’t know about you, but this describes something that I would love to be involved in!

Is this how you want to experience church?

It is amazing just how the early church was able to grow. I think that there is a valuable lesson to be learned from the early church. They did not simply meet for an hour or so once a week. They were a community. They were invested in the lives of each other. They embraced newcomers. They worshipped together. They ate together. They truly enjoyed being around each other. They recognized the value of being around the body of believers. They were truly filled with the joy that only comes from the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Over the many years that have transpired since the early church, the church has grown. I am truly thankful for that growth, for without that growth, chances are extremely great that the current members of the Body of Christ would not have heard the Gospel. We must not lose sight of the joy that the early church had. They were focused on Jesus.

We must return to that focus. We must return to that joy! We must focus on Jesus.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV))

Even though He suffered and died on the cross, He went through it all so that we could experience the joy of salvation. Now, we can experience the joy of His resurrection and redeeming grace. He is the only source of true joy in this world!

Have you fully embraced the joy of the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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