What does the Lord do with you?

October 5, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.
(Psalms 145:20 (NIV))

It is said that your life is defined by your choices!

Think about that in context to the following and see if you don’t agree.

Who you date and who you marry.

If you go to school and where you go to school.

The things that you love to do and the things that you do to earn a living.

How you see the world and how the world sees you.

If you have children or if you don’t.

If you got that promotion or if you quit your job.

I could go on and on about the choices that we all face and how each choice impacts our life far beyond what we could possibly imagine at that moment. Think about the choices that you have made in your life. Your life, as it is, is a direct result of your choices with each choice taking you down a path that is completely different from the one if you had only chosen differently. With that in mind, it is often said that life is a journey. You never truly know where you will go in life until you are there. Some people try to control that journey by making choices that they feel are the ones that will lead to wealth and power only find themselves alone and miserable. Others will make choices in life based on friendship and love only to find themselves surrounded by people who love them deeply no matter what they may have of value in this world.

I realize that I have avoided the biggest choice that anyone can make in this life, and that is the choice you make about the Lord.

To put it simply, the choice you make about who you say He is will impact you for all eternity. He is waiting with open arms to embrace you and to show you such grace and mercy, but you have to accept it. You have to claim it. You have to love the truth and love the Lord. You have to proclaim it! If this is your choice, then the Lord will watch over you. Sadly, you must be prepared for horrible consequences if you do not, for we are told what will happen to all who do not profess that Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords and their personal Lord and Savior!

What does the Lord do with you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 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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Strength

June 22, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
(Deuteronomy 8:10-14 (NIV))

Has our nation become proud?

Have we as a nation forgotten the Lord our God?

Has the church become proud?

Has the Body of Christ forgotten our first love? Have we forgotten why we are the church? Have we watered down the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Or even worse, have we abandoned the truth for something that is politically correct?

Israel was warned that this could happen. There were times where they, as a nation, did forget. There were times, when they, as a nation, became proud. No nation is exempt from the possibilities of turning their back on God.

And, no nation is exempt from the consequences if they do!

Israel had times in their history where they strayed and where they paid the consequences.

I believe that this nation is also being led astray. We have become proud and arrogant. We have forgotten the Lord. We have allowed whatever that enters our heart to become our god.

Where is the church in all of this? We are called to hold fast to our faith. We are called to be the light into the darkness. We are called to be witnesses to the world.

We are called to pray!

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:13 (NIV))

Are we doing our part? Are we praying for our nation? Are we praying for our world?

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
(James 5:16 (NIV))

We can be effective. We can be powerful, but not in our own strength. We must not forget the Lord. We must not become proud.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
(James 4:10 (NIV))

If we, as a nation become proud, we will be humbled. If we, as a church become proud, we will be humbled. If we humble ourselves, then God will hear us. It is when we are humble that we are strong in the Lord.

Where is your strength? Where is the strength of the church? What is the sttrength of our nation?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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No matter what society says

April 12, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers–and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
(1 Timothy 1:8-11 (NIV))

The law that is spoken of is the Ten Commandments. It is correct that the law is not for the righteous, for the righteous do what God wishes them to do. It is for those who do not follow God’s Will that the law exists. It is intended to show those people that certain things are not acceptable.

In today’s society, the courts have removed God’s Laws from schools, from public buildings and some are trying to remove them from any aspect of our society. What does that say about society?

If a society removes the principles upon which it is built, can a society survive in this world, let alone in the eyes of God? Those who remove the laws are those who are guilty of the very crimes that the law speaks against. It is a shame that we have let criminals dictate how we can behave instead of allowing God to dictate how we can behave.

No matter what society says, we, as believers, must follow what God says.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you desire?

December 22, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If they obey and serve him,
they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity
and their years in contentment.
(Job 36:11 (NIV))

Obedience!

To those who have not been saved by grace, obedience sounds like mindless adherence to the will of someone else. It sounds like you give up your individuality and free will when you are expected to obey and serve.

If we could make people understand that if God wanted people to be mindless and simply do everything that He commands, then He would not have given us free will. He would have simply made us to be servants. He has the ability to create anything that He desires. He could have simply made us robots. We would respond to His every desire without thinking about what we do. We would simply do it because we would have been created to serve. To those who have not accepted His grace, it appears that this is the biggest oxymoron of all times. They use this argument to bolster their misguided reasoning that since we have free will, we don’t need to obey. They even misuse this and reason that I was created this way, therefore whatever I do is ok.

Have you ever loved someone so much that you found yourself doing things for them that you normally would never do under any circumstances? You find yourself wanting to serve their needs because you care for them. You find yourself wanting to “obey” their desires because it gives you joy to please them.

How do you think it makes God feel when someone obeys Him out of the very same type of heartfelt desire to please? How do you think it rewards the obedient one? There is a joy present in this obedience. It resonates through the very soul of the person who longs to please God. Perhaps that is the best way to differentiate between the two views of obedience. The unsaved world sees obedience as a form of subjugation and dreaded servanthood. Those who know grace through the atoning blood of Jesus know obedience as the greatest joy and peace that can be obtained.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (NIV))

God blesses those who desire to obey out of a desire to please Him. What do you desire?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Separation is our choice

December 16, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
(Romans 8:35 (NIV))

These are loaded questions, for each of these things pose the potential to draw us closer to Christ, and yet, at the very same time, they each pose the potential to drive us away from Christ. Please notice that I did not say that they could drive Christ away from us, for that is not possible.

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))

I have come to the conclusion that the only person who is capable of separating us from the love of Christ is us! How we react to each of these things will determine how our relationship will grow. If we see everything that we face as an opportunity to draw closer to God, then each hardship, persecution, famine, and danger will have that very result. If we look upon God as a benevolent being that will keep us from these things, then our reactions will drive us from Him. We will be seeking the wrong things from God. In essence, we will eventually separate ourselves from Jesus because we have a false perception of what He will do for us. Once we turn away, it is our own understandings that have separated us from Christ. His love is still there. We simply deny it or we reject it. It is our doing.

Fortunately, we have the option of doing a U-turn. We can repent of this attitude and without venturing beyond our arrogance, God’s love is there. All that we have to do is turn and accept it. The love of Christ is never very far. It is our attitudes that make it seem so far away. It is our hardened hearts that keep the love of Christ from us. He does not withhold it. We build barriers against it.

Do you allow anything to separate you from the love of Christ?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Bad fruit

November 29, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
(Matthew 7:15-20 (NIV))

Think about this the next time that you hear of something that is just too good to be true, or is just a little off of what God’s Word says that it should be. Most of the time, lies are obvious, but deception is a trick of the enemy. When things sound almost right with respect to God’s word, they are totally wrong.

It should be easy for believers to realize that the “fruit” does not match the source. We should be able to easily distinguish that the things the enemy tells us are too good to be true, especially when they contradict everything that we should know to be true according to God’s Word.

Why do people fall for the deceptions of the enemy?

Are we, as a fallen, sinful race, too far removed from the truth to even recognize it?

The words in Matthew are amazing and sadly amusing if you stop to actually understand what is being said. We have enough common sense to not look for grapes on an apple tree, yet, we easily fall prey to the small lies of the enemy in hopes that the promises are true.

Test everything against God’s Word. If something is supposed to bear goodness, but it lies to do so, does it really follow God’s Word? If you are promised that it is only a small digression and no one will know about it, can it be the correct fit?

We have been told what the things of God will bear.

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.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Think of this passage when validating the truth about something. Does it produce according to the fruit of the Spirit?

Are you on watch for bad fruit?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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