Keep your way pure!

January 8, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Thy word.
(Psalms 119:9 (NAS))

In today’s society it is easy to stray from what should be done into what is detestable in the eyes of God. With all of the influences of our society taking their toll on practically every aspect of our lives, it is difficult to stay away from these very things that are begging for our attention. People growing up today face problems that previous generations did not even dream about. It is our responsibility to provide a strong presence and grounding in the faith for those who are trying to keep pure. This requires knowledge of God, His Son Jesus Christ, and God’s Word. Test everything against these as benchmarks. If they do not pass these tests, then it is something that will eventually lead to destruction. Provide guidance to anyone and everyone who needs it. Do not turn from someone in need because of their circumstances. No one is above the possibilities of falling. No one is above the bounds of grace and mercy that God has granted us through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.
(Philippians 4:8)

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It IS in our job description!

September 18, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
(Acts 1:7-8 (NIV))

How many times has it been said that man must wait on God?

This is another example of man’s need to be patient. We must wait on the Father. We must be patient with Him in His perfection, for He has been patient with us in our sin.

Even so, we are not to just sit and wait for God to unfold His plan. We have been given a job. We must tell all that we meet about God’s grace and mercy through the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. To use today’s terminology, “It IS in our job description.”

If you were to have a job review by Jesus, would you be given a high mark for performance of your assigned duties?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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School has started!

August 13, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Train a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it.
(Proverbs 22:6 (NIV))

School has started in many places. The sad thing is that far too many people rely on the schools to train their children. Most don’t even know what is being taught in schools anymore?

There is more to training, more to an education, than simply being feed worldly knowledge. Worldly knowledge changes as society changes. History is rewritten and basic principles that once held true are obsolete.

Do we want to rely on someone else to instill within our children the concepts of right and wrong when they are doing wrong themselves? Why do we allow our education system to have control over what is taught without so much as asking what is being taught?

Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
(James 3:1 (NIV))

I know that this passage is referring to teachers of God’s Word, but it does not take any stretch of the imagination to realize that those who are teaching falsehoods will pay a high price for their actions.

And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck.
(Mark 9:42 (NIV))

Do you see the correlation? We must be very careful to teach the children according to God’s Word or we will be held accountable. I pray for teachers in the public school systems. I pray for the students in the public school systems. I pray for all teachers and students in hope that God’s Word will go forth even in the midst of societal pressures.

Also, I pray for the parents that they may have the strength and the courage to teach their children and to stand up for what is righteous and godly in the midst of all the world is becoming.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you accepted your freedom?

July 5, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.
(1 Peter 2:16-1 (NIV))

We have just celebrated another July 4th. It is a day of celebration for the freedoms that we enjoy in this country. It is a day that we celebrate the resolve of our founding fathers to break the chains that tied them to a king and country that did not see them as equals.

What was done by our founding fathers was great, but I want you to think about what Jesus did.

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

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

God the Father had the resolve to break our captivity to sin. Jesus the Son had the resolve to do what was needed to break our chains of bondage. He willingly went to the cross so that we could be free; so that we could have salvation. He freed us from a far greater bondage than any physical oppression. He freed us from sin!

“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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
(Romans 8:1-2 (NIV))

Please think about the fact that nothing in this world lasts. It is possible that something will happen and we will lose some or all of our freedoms that our founding fathers fought for.

The freedoms that are given through the Blood of Jesus can never be taken from us. We, in our human frailty, can turn our backs on the freedom from sin, but Jesus will never take it from us.

Jesus has broken every chain that can bind us to the law of sin and death!

All that you have to do is accept it.

Have you accepted your freedom?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you prepared?

February 11, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He replied, “You give them something to eat.”
(Luke 9:13a (NIV))

Was Jesus preparing His disciples for the time when He would not physically be with them? Was Jesus trying to teach His disciples a lesson?

His disciples came to Jesus with a problem. From a worldly point of view, they had very limited resources. He gave them instructions on how to carry out the task., even though it appeared to be an impossible task. They obeyed. Everyone was blessed. The abundance of God’s blessings overflowed beyond what was needed. God was glorified.

This episode models how each of us are to approach Jesus when we are led to respond to a need. We are to take it to God in prayer with Jesus at the Father’s right hand. We are to look at our frailty and admit it can’t be done with what we possess. We are to turn it over to God and obey His commands. We are to prepare ourselves to be a blessing and to be blessed, and we need to prepare ourselves for God’s abundance so that we may allow it to overflow to all in need.

If we claim to be followers of Jesus, then we must be prepared to respond like His disciples did. We must be willing to set aside our failures and allow God to fill us with His Spirit. We must be prepared to do what God calls us to do. We must be prepared to see God do great things. Some of them may even be performed through us.

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))

Are you prepared to allow God to work through you?

He replied, “You give them something to eat.”
(Luke 9:13a (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Most!

February 8, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
(Matthew 24:10-13 (NIV))

I have read this passage many times, and like all of God’s Word, it speaks differently each time. God’s Word is living. You can read something many times and each time, something new comes into view.

This time, what came to light is something that I honestly hope is just a translation issue. However, I honestly do not think that it is.

Did you see the word “most” in this passage?

“the love of MOST will grow cold”

This brings to mind that we, as the Body of Christ, have allowed false teachings in. We have started following human desires within the church instead of following God’s Word and Jesus. It also means that as we get closer to God’s ultimate plan for humanity, more and more will fall away. They will cling to human desires and understanding instead of relying on what we have been told in the Bible. We already see divisions and teachings that are based on social issues instead of Biblical truth.

Most!

That implies more than half of the people who profess a faith in Jesus will fall into wickedness!

As important as social issues appear to be, they are not what Jesus came into this world to address. He told us that we would always have the poor. He told us to stop sinning. He told us to love one another. Jesus did not preach social justice. He even told us that He would be the divisive factor even among families. Social justice does not bring salvation. Only a true profession of faith in Jesus as your Lord and Savior will bring salvation.

Don’t misunderstand my thought process.

The church is to be the light of Jesus in the world, but we are not to let the social issues divide us. Satan uses anything and everything that he can to make a believer turn away from the truth, even something that has a good purpose.

I also want you to think about this passage with respect to another point.

There are those who believe that once you are saved you are always saved. The words of Jesus in Matthew contradict that idea.

We must stand firmly upon God’s Word and not be swayed by the lies of the enemy, no matter how good they may sound.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Our thoughts condemn us

January 29, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not pay attention to every word people say,
or you may hear your servant cursing you–
for you know in your heart
that many times you yourself have cursed others.
(Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 (NIV))

It is human nature to think and say things under your breath. Things that you would not want anyone to even know that you knew. These are the things that are secretly holed away in your heart.

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.
(Matthew 15:19(NIV))

Perhaps it is this characteristic of humanity that lead Jesus to say:

“If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
(John 8:7b(NIV))

Not a single one of us is above reproach. Not a single one of us is capable of leading the perfect life that God wishes for us to live. Our thoughts condemn us. Our thoughts manifest themselves as words and deeds. Our words and deeds condemn us. Only one thing that we can do will remove the condemnation from our lives.

We must accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. We must accept His righteousness in exchange for our condemnation. He willingly takes our sin upon His shoulders and gives us His grace and mercy.

We are not perfect. Even if we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we will stumble. We will curse others in our heart and sometimes, even, under our breath. But, we have a Savior who is living within us, and teaching us that we must follow Him and not give in to that side of our nature.

Do you curse or do you accept righteous instruction?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Live as if He means something to us

December 7, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;
for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.
(Psalms 95:6-7a (NIV))

Does this sound familiar?

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.
(Matthew 2:11 (NIV))

The Magi, who were kings in their own right, bowed down to Jesus. They kneeled before Him. They recognized just who it was that they had found. They worshipped Jesus and gave Him honor. They had been seeking Him and recognized the star that guided them to Jesus. They went out of their way to find Jesus and to worship Him.

Do we do that?

Do we go out of our way to find Jesus? Do we go out of our way to worship Him?

Think about those questions.

Would we travel across deserts to find Jesus? Would we face harsh conditions in order to see His face and to be in His presence? Would we bring gifts of great worth to lay at His feet?

Would we, do we, kneel before Him? Do we even give Jesus the honor and glory that is due to the Son of God?

Have we become complacent in our worship? Have we become jaded by the world? Have we been led to believe that Jesus is not worthy of our praise and worship?

It has been the custom for centuries to bow before royalty. We have a tendency to focus on the savior part of Jesus and ignore the Lord part. Do we treat Jesus as the King of kings and Lord of lords, or do we simply treat Him as an acquaintance that we give lip service to for an hour a week?

If Jesus is our Savior and our Lord, then we must live as if He means something to us.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What good will we be if our light is going out?

December 6, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.
(Acts 17:30 (NIV))

There are many types of things that we can be ignorant of. We can be ignorant of the Law. We can be ignorant of our sin. We can be ignorant of our need for a savior, and we can be ignorant of God’s calling upon our lives.

We can also be ignorant of our need to repent!

This applies individually and as a society.

As I look around, I see evil being called good and good being called evil. Our world is turned upside down. I recently saw that only 49% of our country profess to a belief in Jesus. Sadly enough, in the age range of young adults, that is only about 25%. We, as a society, are rapidly turning and are greatly in need of repentance. How can we, as a society, repent, when the people who feel the need to repent are now in the minority?

There is an old Jewish saying that if the whole world repents, then the Messiah will come. One man sat out to bring the world to repentance. However, he found that the world was too big, so he decided to focus on his country. This, too, was too big, so he decided to focus on his town. He soon found that this, too, was too big. He decided to start with his street. Then his house. He finally decided that he needed to start with himself.

Start with yourself!

We all have things that we tend to push under the rug, so to speak. These things are the sins that we have become familiar with and tend to ignore. In God’s eyes, these sins are no different from the ones that we have a tendency to point our fingers at.

We have become ignorant of our own sins. Have we been focusing so much on the sins that we see in the world that we ignore our own? We need to stop and take a look at our own lives in context. We need to pray that we are following God’s will. We need to pray that we can be that light that the world will see and not a spent candle slowly devouring itself.

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV))

What good will we be if our light is going out?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another.

November 30, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

`Do not steal.
`Do not lie.
`Do not deceive one another.
(Leviticus 19:11 (NIV))

I think that it is safe to say that you can probably see each one of these events transpire before you see mid day. Perhaps, it is even safe to say that these events will happen before you see the beginning of your work day.

Isn’t it a shame that our society has stooped to such a state that these basic principles of life and Godly righteousness have become the exception instead of the rule. We have become a society so focused on “self” that we forget each other in our selfish struggles to attain what we desire. There is a saying that “He would sell his own mother if he could make a dime.” This saying used to be said of someone who was ruthless and conniving in a time when this was unusual. Now, it seems to have become the norm.

Perhaps we, as the Body of Christ, should take a serious look at ourselves! We are to be held accountable before God as well as man. We are also to be an example – a light unto the world.

Little things that may seem trivial in the eyes of the world are still sin in the eyes of God. Stealing, lying and deceiving are all sins, no matter how big or how small the item, the lie, or the deception.

No one is perfect, yet, we are called to follow Jesus as our example. Did Jesus steal? Did Jesus lie? Did Jesus deceive another? When we measure ourselves against Jesus as the example, we are all left lacking

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

I know that I am extremely thankful for grace!

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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