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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Like learning to ride a bicycle

March 21, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then Eli realized it was the Lord who was calling the boy. So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Yes, Lord, your servant is listening.'” So Samuel went back to bed. And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel replied, “Yes, your servant is listening.”
(1 Samuel 3:8-10 (NLT))

Samuel had something that most people do not have. Can you figure out what that something was?

Samuel had someone who was experienced at hearing God!

Eli gave Samuel the benefit of his experience and helped Samuel realize that God was calling. How many of us are called by God only to miss the calling. We do not realize that it was the Lord who called? Perhaps this is why we need to establish a relationship with a mentor; someone who is more mature in the ways of the Lord. This mentor will guide us and provide a confirmation to what God is speaking.

Have you ever heard that if it is truly God, then He will provide confirmation. Sometimes it will come from complete strangers, but He will provide it. The confirmation is not the problem, for once we learn to hear God, then it is easier to accept His commands. What is difficult is learning to hear and recognize Him to begin with. Perhaps this requires someone with experience to assist us to recognize Him. Perhaps it takes adherence to Psalms 46:10 (Be still, and know that I am God.). Perhaps it takes more commitment than we can initially do on our own.

Let’s face facts. When you first learned to ride a bicycle, you needed help. You needed support. Once you discovered the secrets to riding, you started to solo. You eventually became proficient at riding. You no longer need that support.

I would venture to say that learning to hear God also requires some initial support.

Do you have your support? Do you have an Eli, or perhaps you have learned to “solo?”

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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“Luke Warm” commitment

March 15, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV))

Don’t you get tired of people saying that they believe that God created the universe, yet they have trouble with Jesus being the Son of God? Or, they accept certain parts of the Bible, yet reject other parts. How can someone profess to believe, yet reject many of the basics of what that belief should be based on?

Many people have a problem with various aspects of the Bible because of pride, arrogance, ignorance, or insecurity in their lives. For this reason, they pick and choose what they wish to accept. The above passage states that “ALL” Scripture is given by God. If this is the case, then it is necessary to either believe all or nothing!

Those who are selective about their beliefs are usually those who do not wish to allow the Holy Spirit to have access to every aspect of their lives. They give only what they want to give up. They do not totally surrender everything to God. Imagine a professional athlete who does not give all to their sport. They would soon find themselves without a profession, and would also find themselves hopelessly lost in trying to achieve their goals. Now, place that same attitude within someone who professes to believe, yet, only believes what they choose to accept because the rest makes them feel uncomfortable. Total commitment is essential for any activity, or relationship, for that matter, to succeed. This means every aspect of your life.

Remember that it is stated that God despises “luke warm” commitment.

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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Are you willing to accept it?

October 23, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.
(Luke 5:12-13 (NIV))

Isn’t that just like Jesus? He was willing to do just about anything for His Father’s creation.

We was willing to leave His place in heaven. He was willing to give up His authority. He was willing to become a man. He was willing to live as we live. He was willing to cleanse the leper when touching someone with leprosy meant becoming unclean. He was willing to heal the sick and to raise the dead. He was willing to die on the cross. He was willing to take the weight of all of the sins that had ever happened or would ever happen and bear them so that we would not have to. He was willing to give us His glory in exchange for our sins.

All that we have to do is accept that gift.

We must be willing to extend our faith. We must be willing to admit that we are sinners. We must be willing to admit that we cannot do it on our own. We must be willing to surrender ourselves to Him.

To me, it is a simple decision. We gain everything while He willingly gave up everything.

Jesus is still willing to give you everything that He willingly paid the price for two thousand years ago.

Are you willing to accept it?

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