Have you found the Lord?

October 17, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
(Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV))

What usually happens when you do something halfheartedly?

Think about this in relationship to things that you have done in your life. Think about that book report that you did in school. You know the one that I am talking about. Everyone has one. It is the one where you didn’t even read the book that you had to do the report on. How did that turn out for you? Think about the job interview that you went on where you didn’t even know what the company did. It is safe to say that the interview probably did not go well. What about your first date? What about your attempt at learning to play an instrument? What about your attempt to lose weight? What about your commitment to go to the gym?

Success at anything requires a passion, a commitment, a desire to see it completed. Typically, this can be equated to a human trait in which you want that goal more than anything else in the world. If you have trouble with this concept, simply think of your first school crush and the amount of time that you spent pining away over that person.

How is your relationship with the Lord?

Do you treat this relationship halfheartedly or do you seek Him with all your heart?

For those who play an instrument or are good at a sport, you had to spend time acquainting yourself with the basics, and then you progressed to more advanced understanding, and then you moved to understanding the subtle nuances of your passion’s focus. The very same thing is true of seeking a relationship with the Lord. It requires the commitment. It requires a passion for the Lord. When you have a passion for something, do you stop short of your goal?

Have you found the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can you commit to be a new creation in the new year?

January 2, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
(2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV))

Did you make any resolutions for this new year?

Most of us have the best of intentions when we make resolutions, but how many of us actually follow through with them? We all have made the resolutions to lose weight, find a new job, find love, or to start exercising, but how many of us actually make a resolution to be a better follower, a better disciple, of Jesus?

Is that a resolution that we can all get behind? Can we commit to seeing this resolution through?

Can we do the things that are required to be a better disciple of Jesus? Can we spend time in God’s Word on a daily basis? Can we spend time in prayer on a daily basis? Can we slow down our hectic lives and spend time in God’s presence? Can we make a commitment to get to know the Creator of all things?

Be still, and know that I am God;
(Psalms 46:10a (NIV))

Can we make a commitment to spend five minutes a day, each and every day, getting to know the Creator of all things? I would venture to say that you will soon find that five minute commitment growing into more. You will find yourself building a relationship, and as the relationship grows, so will your understanding.

Are you ready to be still, to cease striving, and spend time with God in the new year?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you serious or are you just playing church?

May 17, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
(Revelation 3:21-22 (NIV))

What are the things that you take seriously?

Is it your job, your family, or perhaps it is your reputation? Could it be your finances, your stock portfolio or even your collection of sports memorabilia? Perhaps you take your exercise program seriously. If you stop to think about what you take seriously, what does that say about you and your priorities?

Think about what you do take seriously. For the sake of argument, let’s say that you take your exercise program seriously. You do whatever it takes to make sure that you are at the gym and doing what you feel that you must do. You overcome all obstacles in your way to make sure that you fulfill your priority. You even overcome your physical exhaustion to succeed at the program.

With that fresh in the back of your mind, think about what Jesus was telling the churches in this passage from Revelation. He wants people who have the commitment to overcome. He wants people who will take His Word seriously. He wants people to realize that their commitment to Him as a member of the Body of Christ should be the most serious thing that they ever commit to. After all, Jesus was serious enough to His commitment to His church that He willingly gave His life to build the church.

Every day I see things going on in the world that makes me realize that I need to be fully committed to Jesus. There are troubles in this world that make being a follower of Jesus a risky proposition from a worldly perspective. Just like the person who pushes through the exercise program, we must push through the things of this world and go for all that Jesus has promised. It takes commitment. It takes more than simply sitting in a pew for an hour on Sunday. It takes more than putting a dollar in the collection plate. It takes more than a social appearance to let others see you in church.

It takes more than simply playing church!

Are you focused on being an overcomer?

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

July 10, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.”
(Ruth 1:16-17 (NIV))

I don’t think that there has ever been a story of greater allegiance than this story.

Ruth’s husband had died and the only “family” that she had left was her husband’s mother. She was willing to leave her family and go with her mother-in-law at a time when women were considered to be second class citizens or even property. A woman without any sons to care for her was destined to have a life of poverty and begging. How could someone willingly choose this life for herself over a life where she could return to her birth family and be welcomed back?

Ruth showed a strength of character that many may never show. She was willing to face less than ideal circumstances for herself in order to make sure that someone else would not suffer. She had the opportunity to have a fairly comfortable life, but chose to go with the woman who had accepted her into her own family as a daughter-in-law. Ruth new that Naomi’s life would be difficult without help. Ruth was willing to make the sacrifice to help her.

When was the last time that you were asked to make a sacrifice in order to help someone else? Did you do it, or were you like the majority of humanity and only think about how it would effect you? It is hard to make such a sacrifice, to make such an oath of allegiance.

Each of us, as believers in the saving grace freely given to us through the atoning blood of Jesus, have made such an allegiance to God. I don’t know about you, but I stumble and fall many times during each day, yet, I desire nothing more than to have the faith and allegiance to God that Ruth had. She was a great person of faith.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What if Jesus decided that He was not fully committed?

May 29, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.
(Hebrews 13:4 (NIV))

Today’s society seems to have forgotten this. Everywhere you look, you see the results of marriages that have seen the effects of unfaithfulness. According to the politically correct way of thinking, many people are saying that it just isn’t working, or they no longer want to be with their spouse, regardless of the consequences on anyone but themselves. Is this just another result of the “me first” mentality that has permeated our society lately? What has happened to the concept of for better or for worse?

What if Jesus decided that He did not want to stay around and fulfill the promise of salvation for you because He needed “space”? He made a committment to be our atoning sacrifice that would give us grace and mercy. He had the most to lose of anyone who has ever lived, yet, Jesus did not stop while He was on the cross and say that he didn’t want to be in this relationship anymore. He stuck with it and did what was best for everyone. It eventually was even best for Him. Perhaps we should focus more on Jesus and each other as a society and not on “me.”

Who do you focus on?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you living according to God’s Word or man’s?

March 6, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

They searched the Scriptures day by day to check up on Paul and Silas, to see if they were really telling the truth.
(Acts 17:11 (NLT))

I am sitting here with mixed emotions. I am amazed at what just transpired in my study and writing and yet, I am saddened by what I was given, for I was given the following question.

Are you living according to God’s Word or man’s?

I then went to my database of scripture verses and this one from Acts came up. The following verse also came up.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV))

Do we spend enough time studying God’s Word so that we can know when something is true? Do we earnestly search the Scriptures or do we simply rely on other people to tell us what God’s Word says?

We are each responsible for our own faith. We are each responsible for our own study. We are each responsible for our own relationship with God and our personal relationship with Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We cannot claim salvation based on what our parents did. We cannot claim salvation based on who our pastor is? We cannot claim salvation based on how much we give.

We can only claim salvation by professing that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. We can only claim salvation when we profess that Jesus Christ is Lord over our lives. We must reject the world that rejected Him!

Jesus is the Word made flesh. In order to fully know Him, we must fully know God’s Word. Can you have a relationship by proxy? Can you claim an intimacy with someone when you only listen to someone talk about them for an hour a week? It takes a commitment. It takes searching and studying the Scriptures. It takes time spent in prayer. It takes time spent reflecting upon God’s Word.

How can we claim to be followers of Jesus when far too many of us don’t even spend the time to get to know Him?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you notice what comes first?

May 5, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.”
(Joshua 3:5 (NIV))

Take a good look at the order of events in the passage above.

Do you notice what comes first?

Too many people expect God to do amazing things in their lives before they do anything to prepare themselves for it. They want the rewards before the commitment and the sacrifices are made.

God has an order in which He works. He seeks people who have humbled themselves and have prepared themselves for His presence. Take a look at Jabez. He prayed to have his area of influence increased so that more people would know about God. Take a look at Moses. He was raised in Pharaoh’s palaces, yet, he ended up tending sheep in the desert. During this time, he learned about God and was obedient to what his new place in life meant. Take a look at Mary. She was of such a nature that she found favor with God. You don’t find favor with God by going against everything that He instructs. You find favor through an earnest desire to know God personally.

Take a look at today’s society. We have become a society of instant food, instant credit, and instant divorce. If we want something today, we order it today and get it today. There is no personal patience. We expect everything now and our way. We have even extended this to our outlook and understanding of God. Even preachers are preaching this with all of the prosperity sermons that you hear. Don’t get me wrong. God wants to bless us, but the blessing only comes AFTER you have prepared yourself for that blessing.

What order do you expect in your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Keep your eyes on Jesus and do not swerve!

February 20, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.
Put away perversity from your mouth;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
Let your eyes look straight ahead,
fix your gaze directly before you.
Make level paths for your feet
and take only ways that are firm.
Do not swerve to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.
(Proverbs 4:23-27 (NIV))

Do not swerve to the right or the left!

What happens when we swerve? We miss the gate!

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
(Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV))

Think of that from a physical perspective. What happens when you get behind the wheel of a car? You have a destination in mind and you have a plan for getting to that destination. Now consider that, for whatever the reason may be, you are distracted and begin swerving. A small deviation can be corrected if caught in time, but left unchecked, the deviation becomes a major problem. This problem is amplified the longer it is left uncorrected. Soon, you find yourself either lost, in a wreck, in the back of an ambulance, in the back of a police car, or dead.

All of this simply because you were not able to stay on course.

You swerved!

Your spiritual walk is no different than your physical life. Things will distract you. Things will make you swerve. What happens is up to you. If you make corrections when you swerve – repent – and turn back to the correct path, you will reach your destination. If you lose focus of where you are going and allow the distractions to become your focus, then you will miss your destination.

This requires faith. It requires commitment. It requires the ability to admit that you are not perfect and need a savior.

“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 he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

Keep your eyes on Jesus and do not swerve!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Keep your eyes focused on Jesus during these troubling times

September 10, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

An oracle concerning Damascus:

“See, Damascus will no longer be a city
but will become a heap of ruins.
(Isaiah 17:1 (NIV))

Does this verse come to mind when you see what is unfolding in Syria?

Do you know about the prophesies about Damascus and the other nations in that part of the world?

Do you even care?

Do we simply set back and look at what is going on in that part of the world? Do we think to ourselves, “What does this have to do with me?”

Things are unfolding rapidly. Many people who follow Biblical prophesy are watching things with great anticipation.

Could the world’s military attention on Syria lead to the destruction of Damascus? Could it lead to the coalition of Arab nations and the land of Gog and Magog (Russia) that will attack Israel?

Do you know God’s timeline as outlined in the Bible? Do you know what was said to the seven churches? Do you know God’s plan for your salvation?

Each day brings something new. Each day makes me have greatly mixed emotions. I am saddened that the state of the world has become what it has become. I am saddened for all those who choose to ignore the Gospel. I am saddened for all those who have lost their lives and all those who will lose their lives. Yet, I rejoice for I know that God is in control. I rejoice because I can see things unfolding and I can see how they might be a part of God’s plan. I rejoice because I have accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

I rejoice because we have been told that those who truly call upon the name of Jesus will be saved.

No matter what the world may go through, keep your eyes focused on Jesus. Do not allow the world to distract you. Do not allow the world to keep you from finishing the race and receiving the prize.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
(1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Commitment shows in all that you do

July 15, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs–he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
(2 Timothy 2:1-10 (NIV))

How true these words are! If you are committed to something, it shows in all that you do.

A good soldier lives, eats and breathes military issues. Are we not soldiers of Christ? Then we should live, eat and breathe only righteous issues, things that Jesus would deal with if He were here in our places. If we do as the world does, and focus on our objective, then we will be rewarded as those in the world are rewarded: We will be the first to receive a share of what is righteous.

The world receives worldly things that will tarnish and fade with time. Our reward will be eternal salvation and glory with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All the rewards the world has to offer pale in comparison to the reward that will be ours if we are strong in our faith and witness reliably to all who can hear.

Is your witness reliable and are you focused on Jesus?

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