What is your house built upon?

January 22, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
(Matthew 7:24 (NIV))

If you have ever built something, no matter how big or how small, what was the first thing that you did? What was the first step you undertook to make sure that your endeavor would be successfully completed?

If you are in school studying to achieve a career goal, the first thing that you do is build a solid foundation of the basics in the subject that you are interested in. If you are the athletic type, you study and get the best equipment and learn how to properly use it so that you have a solid physical foundation upon which to build? If you are an architect or a structural engineer, you work diligently to make sure that the building has a solid base upon which to rest.

I hope that you are starting to pick up on the concept that Jesus presented, for it applies to all aspects of life. Why, then, do we tend to forget that we need to build a solid foundation of faith? You can say that you believe, but unless you dive headfirst into God’s word and into the teachings of Jesus, do you truly even know what you believe? Sadly, far too many people in this day and time spend a few minutes cherry-picking a few passages and make false assumptions on what it means to profess that Jesus is their personal Lord and Savior. They are eager to say that they believe, but when presented passages that actually present the truth, they walk away. They did not build a firm foundation.

Jesus also presented this concept in another way through the following passages.

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
(Matthew 13:1-9 (NIV))

No matter how you understand the concept, either good soil, firm foundation or building your house upon the rock, it all is the same. If you do not build your life and your faith upon the truth of Jesus, then it is built on shaky ground and will not last.

What is your house built upon?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you accepted the invitation to enter through this Temple?

November 15, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

The Jews replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.
(John 2:19-22 (NIV))

It is amazing how the religious authority of the day completely missed the boat. They had been misinterpreting the Scriptures for their own benefit for years. They did not realize that the Savior they were looking for was not a mighty warrior to overthrow their worldly enemies, but a mighty warrior in spiritual matters who had come to overthrow the power of sin and death for all mankind.

They also did not understand, due to their proximity to the events, that Jesus always spoke in parables or examples, and His words were not always what they appeared to be to the world. When Jesus spoke these words, the “Temple” that He spoke of had not yet been glorified. Now, we worship through the “Temple” of Jesus Christ glorified. We have been allowed direct access to God through this “Temple”. Before this happened, only the priests could enter the Temple. Now, anyone can enter if they enter through Jesus Christ.

Have you accepted the invitation to enter through this Temple?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you made heaven rejoice?

August 7, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
(Luke 15:7 (NIV))

God does not wish for any to perish. He rejoices when one who is lost is found!

If you have something of value, and you know where it is, you have no reason to rejoice. If that prized possession is lost, you earnestly and fervently seek to find it so that you can return it to its rightful place. You become extremely happy when it is found. You rejoice over the fact that the thing of great worth has been restored!

God is the same when it comes to sinners who repent and turn to Him!

To God, each and every one of us is that prized possession. Each of us are a thing of great worth to Him for He created each of us in His image, yet each of us are unique. In all of creation and in all of history, there is no one like you! Each of us are special in God’s eyes. Each of us is that thing of great worth to God. Because we are of great importance to God, then we are of great importance to all of heaven.

Sadly, we are all lost!

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

Because of our sin, we are lost to God. Even through all of this, He had a plan to redeem us, to restore us to Himself. When we accept His plan, when we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we are no longer lost. We have repented and have been found. This makes all of heaven rejoice!

Have you made heaven rejoice?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Has Jesus been written on the tablet of your heart?

May 9, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
(2 Corinthians 3:3 (NIV))

Everyone has a place where they record things and store things that are important to them. Where is your special place?

Some people will record things in a journal. Some will takes notes in their phones. Others will use social media to share what is important to them. In the past, people would record things in stone thinking that this was a safe way to keep them for a very long time. Some people have even created a secure place where they can lock away the things that they hold dear and want to safeguard. I find it interesting that people will bury treasure in order to keep it safe. What is of such importance that you would choose to hoard it, to hide it away and to bury it, never to be seen again? What does that say about the state of the heart that seeks to do this?

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

Let’s take another look at treasure and the heart.

If you value something so much, where is the one place that it can be kept and no one can take it from you? Where is the one place that you lock things away?

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
(Luke 2:19 (NIV))

Have you ever wondered about the things that Mary stored away in her heart? She stored away all that she had experienced with the miraculous conception, the birth of Jesus, the shepherds, the wise men and all of the other things. They were written on her heart. They could not be taken away from her even though she watched Jesus suffer and die.

When something is in your heart, it has become an integral part of who you are. Tablets of stone can be broken or forgotten, but when it is written on your heart, it is essential to your very existence.

Has Jesus been written on the tablet of your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Does the Lord go with you wherever you go?

February 23, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
(Joshua 1:9 (NIV))

There will be many journeys that we will travel during our lifetime. There will be many perilous circumstances that we will encounter along those journeys. Do you have someone to travel with you? Do you have someone whom you can trust to never leave you and to never forsake you?

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
(Proverbs 18:24 (NIV))

With all that the world and the enemy will send our way during our lifetimes, we are not capable of making it through this life on our own. We are encouraged to not forsake the fellowship of other believers, for the Body of Christ offers encouragement. It offers fellowship. It offers prayer, and it offers truth when the world offers lies. One thing that the Body of Christ has to offer is constant reminders of God’s grace and mercy and His unfailing love for us. The Body of Christ can and will remind us to be strong in our faith. In our life, we are called to be faithful to the Lord. We are called to be faithful to God’s Word. When we know God’s Word, we have a constant reminder of all things as they were written in Joshua. The more that we know of God’s Word, the more that we know of His promises are true!

If we are told that there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother, then we can count on that for every day of our lives!

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
(Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV))

We are told many times that the Lord goes with us. Simply seek His heart and learn to walk with Him. Think about that for a moment. How would you like to invite the Lord to go with you wherever you go? How would you like for the Lord to guide your every step? How would you like to rest in the assurance that the Creator of the universe loves you and watches out for you?

It is so simple to have this for yourself. Simply pray something like the following.

Lord, Jesus, I am a sinner who is in need of a Savior. Without you, I am nothing. With you, all things are possible. I am tired of being nothing. I am tired of being a sinner without hope. Come into my heart and walk with me all the days of my life. Guide me in your ways. Protect me from the attacks of the enemy. I surrender all to you, Lord. Lead me and I will follow!

Does the Lord go with you wherever you go?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you accept the hard teachings?

February 12, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
(John 6:60 (NIV))

Far too many people only consider the easy things that Jesus taught, ignoring the things that they find difficult to understand or to put into practice. If you stop to think about this, everything that Jesus said has been difficult for us to put into practice. Human nature simply wants to do what it wants to do! It is a daily struggle to admit that we are sinners. It is a daily struggle to admit that we are not capable of anything on our own. We don’t like to admit that even on our best day, we are far from perfect.

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))

John 6:60 catches the disciples asking this question after Jesus tells the crowd something that just didn’t make sense from their perspective. Does it make sense to you?

Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.
(John 6:53-57 (NIV))

Even though we have the benefit of two thousand years and much analysis, far too many people still have problems with this concept.

Think about it from this perspective.

What is the most intimate thing that you can do with something? You make it a part of yourself by either eating or drinking it. When this happens, the items that were consumed get broken down into the basic elements that you need and they become a part of you. There is no way to tell where you end and where these elements begin. I don’t know about you, but this sounds exactly like what Jesus wants for each of us. He wants each of us to consume Him in such a way that the very life that He came to give has become inseparable from the life that He has renewed within us. Just how do you consume Jesus? How do you make His teachings and His life inseparable from your? I love the simple instructions that we were given in Deuteronomy.

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
(Deuteronomy 11:18 (NIV))

Focus on the Lord. Focus on the Word. Focus on the teachings even when they are hard. Accept them. Bind them. Make them integral to who you are!

Do you accept the hard teachings?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your life built upon the cornerstone?

February 2, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;”
(Psalms 118:22 (NIV))

Have you ever truly stopped to think about the meaning of the word cornerstone? There are a few basic meanings and I honestly believe that they both apply in this passage. One meaning represents a stone that is basically as the word sounds. It is the stone that is used at the corner of a building, but part of that definition also includes the fact that the cornerstone is laid in a formal ceremony. The other definition has the word cornerstone meaning a basic element.

I want you to think about these meanings with respect to Jesus.

When you think of a corner, you get a mental image of a change of direction. John the Baptist called everyone to change direction, only he used the word repent. Jesus offered us a way to repent of our sins by accepting Him as our personal Lord and Savior. God cemented this possibility through a formal event that has captivated millions since the time that it occurred. The trial, crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection were orchestrated like clockwork according to God’s plan, according to a ceremony that we still do not fully understand.

Has Jesus allowed you to change direction?

The basic tenet of Christianity is that Jesus is the not a mere man. He is the Son of God! That concept is the basic element of faith in Jesus. Jesus is the basic element of salvation!

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))

The more that I consider the meanings of the word cornerstone, Jesus fulfills all of them. He is the corner upon which we may change direction. He is the cornerstone that was established through God’s formal plan. Jesus is the basic element, the very foundation upon which our faith is built.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
(John 14:6-7 (NIV))

Is your life built upon the cornerstone?

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