What do your actions produce in your life?

July 12, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
(Luke 6:37 (NIV))

Jesus often spoke things that were, and still are, considered difficult to follow. They just seem to go against our sinful human nature. Let that sink in a little as you honestly look at your life in relationship to this passage from Luke. When was the last time that you judged someone, or that you condemned someone for something that you felt was wrong? Did you let them know? Perhaps you simply kept your thoughts to yourself. Does that mean that the inward act of judging or condemning is any less real in the eyes of God, especially when we admit to the fact that the Lord knows our thoughts and our hearts!

Do to others as you would have them do to you.
(Luke 6:31 (NIV))

Is forgiveness what you desire from others? If so, then it must be freely given in order to be freely received. This is important to the Lord, for it is not the only time that this principle is given. It is critical to realize that what we call the Lord’s Prayer puts this very bluntly back in our court as our responsibility. If we don’t forgive others, then we can’t expect to be forgiven. This applies not only to other people with whom we interact, but also with the Lord.

And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
(Matthew 6:12 (NIV))

We can’t ask for something that we aren’t willing to freely give and truly expect to receive the very same thing!

If we judge, then we can’t expect not to be judged in return. If we condemn, then we can’t expect to not be condemned. In other words, you get what you give. If you want forgiveness, then it must become your nature to be forgiving in your actions.

What do your actions produce in your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is what you do beneficial and constructive?

April 9, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive.
(1 Corinthians 10:23 (NIV))

Is it just me, or has our society become overwhelmingly focused on rights? We constantly see things in the news or hear people proclaiming that it is their body and therefore their right. They proclaim that it is their right to love who they want, and that it is their right to do whatever they want.

I think that they have a misconception of what they refer to as their rights!

In all honesty, if you think about it, humanity has had that misconception all the way back to the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve bought into the lie and thought that it was their right to be like God. Ever since then, it has been the mindset that, “It’s my right!

I love the two filters that we are given in this passage. These filters are what we should pass everything through before we even consider taking action on anything that we claim as a right.

1. Is it beneficial? This does not mean that will it benefit you alone? Will other people benefit in such a way that they grow and mature in life, in faith and in community?

2. Is it constructive? Will this build and leave a lasting impact on others or will it demean others and leave destruction in its wake?

These are simple enough questions to ask, but it is the answers that most of us fool ourselves on. We rush to judgment on our rights and actions. We become experts at justifying anything and everything that we want to do, but should we be so quick in doing so? Should we stop and answer these two questions from a different perspective other than our own? Should we look at our rights in relationship to these two questions from God’s perspective? Think about how potentially different the outcome in the Garden of Eden could have been!

Is what you do beneficial and constructive?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you wise and prudent or foolish and deceptive?

April 14, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways,
but the folly of fools is deception.
(Proverbs 14:8 (NIV))

Do you think about your actions? Do you think about what type of an impact that they will have on you? Perhaps you plan your actions so that you benefit from them. If that is the case, do you stop to reflect upon the impact that they will have on other people? This impact can be either positive or negative. The sad question that I must ask after making that last statement is if you honestly care if your actions have a negative impact on others.

Please be honest with yourself!

I realize that human nature has us looking out for ourselves all of the time, but as the Body of Christ, shouldn’t our focus not be on ourselves? Shouldn’t we temper our thoughts and our actions so that we do not lead someone to falter in their faith, or to be hurt by our unconcerned actions.

But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
(Matthew 18:6 (NIV))

And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 18:3-4 (NIV))

I realize that Jesus was actually talking about little children, but if we are believers, it requires the faith of a little child. If that is the case, it is not too difficult to realize that Jesus could very easily be talking about making any believer falter in their faith.

That is not something that I want to stand before God and be found guilty of!

If we truly long to be wise in the eyes of God, we need to be prudent about the things that we think, say and do. If we are not prudent, the logical conclusion is that we are fools and guilty of deception.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is in your cup?

February 17, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
(Mark 14:35-36 (NIV))

How many times have you faced something that you knew you had to complete, yet, you did not want to face it? Perhaps this is the humanity coming out in the divinity that is Jesus.

What distinguishes our desires to abandon what we should do from those that Jesus felt?

Simply put, He realized that He had the responsibility for others beyond himself. His actions would effect untold numbers of people if He did not complete the task that He came to complete. We need to remember that Jesus did have a choice, and because of that choice, we have been given a choice as well. We can choose salvation because of the price that He willingly paid for us.

The next time that you face something that you wish to ignore, remember that others will feel the ramifications of your actions. Will they be good or will they be bad? We may not be able to tell when we are in the middle of our ordeal, but, we must remember that God has a plan for us and we need to be as diligent as possible to follow that plan. We must also remember that we cannot face it on our own. We must rely on the strength that we are given through the blood of Jesus.

Will you give up your cup or will you drink from what God has planned for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do your words and actions show?

November 9, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
(1 John 3:18-20 (NIV))

The old saying that actions speak louder than words is definitely true.

Words are cheap. What is in a person’s heart is what he or she will do. Our actions will show the world that we are bought by the Blood of the Lamb, not our words. Words can be deceiving, and even appear to be the truth. Satan comes disguising his words and they may appear to be truth, yet, when his actions are judged, he is the father of all lies.

Let your hearts focus on Jesus Christ and allow God to work through you by the power of the Holy Spirit, and then your actions will truly represent what is in your heart.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Following Jesus requires us to be deliberate!

February 2, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.
(Hebrews 3:1 (NIV))

What do you think about?

When you fix your thoughts on something, you make a deliberate effort to think about that one thing. Following Jesus is a deliberate process. You cannot simply set out to do whatever you want to and claim that you are a follower of Jesus.

Deliberate effort!

In other words, you must choose Jesus at all times. You must constantly think about Jesus and His actions and His teachings. These are the actions and the teachings that we are to follow. We are to fix our thoughts on these actions and teachings. We are to fix our hearts as well as our thoughts. We are to focus. We are to make every effort. We are to be deliberate in our thoughts and our actions so that they reflect Jesus in all that we do.

Following Jesus requires us to be deliberate!

We cannot be nonchalant in our faith.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What makes you unclean?

March 14, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a man can make him `unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him `unclean.’ ”
(Mark 7:14-15 (NIV))

Jesus knew that what goes into a man can not change his heart. What comes out of a man is a reflection of the heart. If unclean thoughts, words or deeds come out of a man, then his heart is unclean and nothing that goes into a man can change that.

From a worldly point of view, it is true that we must wash our hands and anything that we put into our mouths, but this “dirt” does not change a person’s heart. It may make them sick for a day or two, but it will not make their heart unclean. An unclean heart comes from being around sin and not distancing yourself from that sin. An unclean heart comes from holding grudges and being angry against others. An unclean heart comes from resentment. An unclean heart does not come from what we physically put into our bodies. It comes from what we spiritually put into our hearts, and then let grow there without being removed. It then comes out through our thoughts, words and actions.

Be careful what you put into your heart, for it is what can make you “unclean.”

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Motives and the heart

September 17, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, `Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, `Raca, ‘ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, `You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
(Matthew 5:21-22 (NIV))

What is within your heart is what you must answer for. Jesus spoke of this principle many times during His time on this earth. It is not what is visible on the outside, but, rather, what is the intention on the inside. This ranges from anger to adultery to any other aspect of your life that is different on the inside and the outside. Remember that God sees the heart and knows your true intentions. You cannot keep anything from God.

You have heard that it was said, `Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
(Matthew 5:27-28(NIV))

Nothing outside a man can make him `unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him `unclean.’
(Mark 7:15(NIV))

Carefully consider your true, inner motives and intentions when dealing with people. How would Jesus classify your actions? Would your motives be clean or would you be in danger of the fire of hell?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you like on the inside?

July 11, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
(Matthew 23:25-26 (NIV))

How many people do you know that put up appearances? The way they look from the outside is all righteous, but when no one is around, or they are in different company, they are completely different. Jesus spoke of people like this. There were people like that then and there are still people like it now.

What are you like on the inside? Do you change or do you stay consistent in your words and actions? Be sure that your motives are of God on the inside, and then what the world sees will also be of God.

I find it interesting that far too many people only look at the outside. They look at what the world sees. Have you come to the realization that worldly attitudes call for false facades? We try to be perfect on the outside because we, as a society, have been shown a picture of perfection all of our lives. This is a perfection that calls for the perfect body, perfect hair, the perfect job, the perfect house and the perfect attitude all the while we ignore what really matters.

In other words, we are all show and no substance.

What happens when age takes the body and the mortgage on the perfect house ties you to a job that has lost its perfection. Life is not about appearances. Life is not about looking good to the world.

When all of the outside trappings have lost their luster, what do you have?

You have what is on the inside. If you have spent your whole life focusing on the outside, then your world is easily turned upside down. Jesus called the Pharisees out for their teachings, but I think that we can also look at what society teaches us in the same manner.

The old saying, “You are what you eat,” comes to mind. If we fill ourselves with greed and self-indulgence, then we are nothing on the inside but greed and self-indulgence. If we fill ourselves with Jesus, then what are we on the inside?

I honestly believe that when we fill ourselves with Jesus, we bear fruit!

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
(Galatians 5:22-25 (NIV))

Once again, I think that I need to ask, what are you like on the inside?

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

June 25, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“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. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell
(Mark 9:42-47 (NIV))

Today’s society seems to have forgotten these simple yet profound statements that Jesus made. In both cases, He was referring to innocence. The innocence of children and the judgment that awaits those who cause children to sin and the innocence of the whole person with respect to a part of them that causes them to sin.

Perhaps Jesus was drawing the distinction between the innocence of children and the innocence that we should have as children of God. In either case, sin should not be allowed in to corrupt what God has created. Sin must be removed so that it cannot cause the person to pay the ultimate price – eternal separation from God. Do not allow sin into your life and do not introduce sin into another person’s life.

We should remember that God demands more from those who teach and preach His Word. Perhaps we should also associate the fact that He demands more from those who cause others to sin. I would not want to be one who God demands more because of sin. I would rather be held accountable for preaching and teaching His Word than for causing others to sin.

Remember that people are watching everything that you do. Would your actions and words be held accountable for God or for sin?

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