Do you desire to be holy?

January 11, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
(1 Peter 1:15-16 (NIV))

When you were growing up, was there someone whom you wanted to be just like?

We all have people that are role models for us at various times in our lives. As we grow and mature, some of these people lose that place while others step in to fill the void. Even so, there is something about each of these individuals that fill a need, that fill a hole in our lives at a certain time. Some of us looked up to one or both of our parents. Some looked to a certain grandparent as the role model. As we matured and our interests took on their own personality, we soon began to look upon individuals who had made a name for themselves in the areas that held our interest. All along the way, we saw something in each of these individuals that we recognized as unique and worthy of emulating.

What characteristics caught your attention?

For some, it is such traits as love and kindness. For others, it is a steadfast focus on the goal. For some, it is the willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed in the area of expertise.

When I read today’s passage, something made me realize that we have been seeking to emulate the wrong role models most of the time. Think back on those whom you desired to be like. Did they focus on Jesus? Did they strive to be holy and to bear fruit that reflects that holiness?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

I know that we have a tendency to reference these traits quite often, but do we truly stop to reflect on the source? If you notice that Spirit is capitalize. This references the Holy Spirit aspect of God. These are traits that we should recognize as holy. These are traits that we should desire to emulate. We have been given instructions on how to be holy!

Do you desire to be holy?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are your desires?

July 20, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
(Galatians 5:17 (NIV))

Do you ever find yourself in internal conflict? Do you find yourself doing exactly what you know that you shouldn’t do? The Spirit tells us to do what we should, but our flesh tells us something else. Even Paul, whom we credit with taking the Gospel to the Gentiles, faced the very same dilemma.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
(Romans 7:15 (NIV))

It is human nature. We can’t escape the sin nature that we were born into. Even on our best days, our attempts at fulfilling the desires of the Spirit fall way short.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

On our own, we are helpless, hopeless and lost! Thankfully, we are not on our own.

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 they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

We have been given a way to proclaim to the Lord that we don’t like our sinful desires and that we want to focus on the desires of the Spirit. It is a simple, yet eternity changing, process. It is a process that exchanges all of our sin for all of the righteousness of Jesus. Are you tired of being condemned without any hope? Do you desire to strive for righteousness? Do you desire grace and mercy? Is it your desire to proclaim that Jesus is your personal Lord and Savior?

What are your desires?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you long for His return?

May 16, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
(1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (NIV))

What is on your mind and in your heart?

Do you love the world so much that you forget about Jesus, or do you long for His return? Do you grow tired of seeing the sin that runs freely everywhere you look, or do you see the things of this world and find yourself wanting to participate? Do you long for righteousness and peace or do you dread hearing anything to do with God and His Word?

It is a matter of your personal priorities!

I recently have seen several people who speak about our desires to see Jesus. Most of them have presented a very interesting point with respect to what the church is calling the rapture. I am not going to get into the pre, mid and post arguments, but rather the honest desires of our hearts. Many of these people are espousing a point of view that states that only those who are earnestly waiting for His return will be raptured. I want you to consider two people from the time when Jesus was born. Simeon was a very devout and righteous man. Anna was an old woman who spent all of her time at the temple. Both Simeon and Anna longed to see the coming of the Messiah. In the midst of a nation who was trying to find the Messiah, these two people apparently lived this desire full time and as a result of their longing, they were allowed to witness what they longed for.

I cannot begin to say that I know how God will work, but I do know that, based on His previous track record, He reveals Himself to those who earnestly and fervently seek Him.

With this in mind, do you need to reevaluate your priorities? Do you need to take a long, hard look at your heart and take a look at the thoughts that fill your mind? If God will rapture only those who earnestly long to see Jesus, where does that leave you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is anyone else tired of groaning?

May 13, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice;
when the wicked rule, the people groan.
(Proverbs 29:2 (NIV))

I don’t know about your thoughts on the current state of the world, but I feel that there is far more groaning going on than I have ever seen in my lifetime!

What does that say about those who are in authority over the people all over the world?

What does that say about the current desires of the people all over the world?

I honestly believe that the current state of the Presidential race in this country is a direct result of far too many people groaning. Whether the groaning is leading us in a direction that God wants us to follow is yet to be seen. All that I can do is pray for God’s wisdom and guidance. I can pray for repentance. I can pray for humility.

To simplify this, I can pray!

We can all pray!

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 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 7:13-14 (NIV))

It is said that when you don’t know what to pray, your spirit will groan in agony and that this is your spirit calling out to God when you don’t know what to pray or how to pray. If that is the case, then I find it interesting that when people are ruled by wickedness, something inside each spirit utters such a heartfelt cry to God that it is the purest of prayers that we could ever lift up to God.

I am in no means trying to be political. What I am trying to be is godly in my thoughts, actions and prayers. Sadly, for a long time, my spirit has been groaning. We need to humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face and repent!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you understand and obey?

March 14, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their minds so they will understand them, and I will write them on their hearts so they will obey them. I will be their God, and they will be my people!
(Hebrews 8:10 (NLT))

I love the way the New Living Translation phrases this passage.

We are used to reading it translated something like the following.

This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
after that time, declares the Lord.
I will put my laws in their minds
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people
(Hebrews 8:10 (NIV)

No matter how we are used to reading it, the meaning should not be lost on the reader. We are to think about God’s laws and reflect on their meaning. We are to strive to understand them with our intellect. We are to reflect upon what God is telling us with each passage that we read and not just simply read the words. There is more meaning in God’s Word than mere words. There is a reason that it is called the Living Word. If we study and reflect upon it, then God will use this reflection and study to teach us more about Himself. He will open up the same passage with more meaning as our maturity in Him increases. As our maturity increases through study, another aspect comes into play.

God’s Word makes the move from our minds to our hearts.

We begin to not only understand, we also begin to obey. We find ourselves longing to do the things that God wants. We find ourselves not only intellectually understanding. We find ourselves transformed by that understanding to the point where we actually apply it to our lives. We obey not out of fear, but out of a desire to seek righteousness.

Do you have a favorite translation that you read and study? For me, my favorite is the New International Version, but I find hidden gems of truth in every translation. Some translations, such as the New Living Translation, add wording that does not go against the intent or change the context, but it expands on the meaning and adds insight. I don’t know how many times that I have read Hebrews 8:10, and I know the intent of the words, but sometimes I need to be hit right between the eyes with what God is saying. I would venture to say that I am not alone in this. Sometimes we all need to be hit over the head with the proverbial 2×4 so that we recognize the truth behind what we profess to believe.

Do you understand and obey?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you still desire your sinful nature?

February 16, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
(Romans 8:5-8 (NIV))

It seems that a lot of people today only have their minds on what they want. It is no wonder that many people refer to our society today as the “me” society. Everyone seems to think only of themselves. They do whatever they want without any serious thought of the consequences to themselves or to those around them. To me, this sounds very much like those people who Paul described in Romans 5:8. They live only for what they desire and when they desire it. They seek after love that is not true, joy that is fleeting, peace that is medically induced, kindness that is bought, goodness that is false and faithfulness that is fleeting. Their desires cause them to shift course whenever things start to get bad or whenever they feel that they can get their next desire met.

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.
(Galatians 5:22-24 (NIV))

When we sacrifice the sinful nature, we not only fully embrace what God desires, but we should also fully reject what we have become addicted to. We must focus on Jesus and trust in Him. We must forget the past and look to the future that He has saved us for. He did not die on the cross to keep us bound to our sinful nature. He died so that we can break free of that bondage. In order to do this, we must give ourselves completely to Him. We cannot be someone who claims that Jesus only came to teach about love. Love will not save you. We cannot be someone who thinks that they can pick and choose what they wish to believe. Jesus is a complete package. We must be the ones who proclaim that Jesus came to die for us. We must proclaim that Jesus is our personal Lord and Savior. We must proclaim that His love for us kept Him on that cross. We must proclaim that it is this same love that will help us to defeat our sinful nature.

If we proclaim Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and if we allow Him to work in our lives to clear the sinful nature, then we will be able to focus on what the Spirit desires and make these desires our desires.

What do you desire?

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

February 5, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.
(Matthew 13:23 (NIV))

Which part of a person is the “soil?”

What makes soil good?

What makes this part of a person good?

Have you ever stopped to think that your heart is the soil in which the Word of God is planted? What makes your heart fertile? Is it a desire to know the truth? Is it a desire to know yourself? Is it a desire to help your fellow man? Is it a desire to know God and His Word?

Perhaps the best way to think of your heart being good soil is to think of your inner desires. Your heart will be good soil if you despise things that are not from God. Your heart will be good soil if you earnestly seek after God’s Will in all things. Your heart will be good soil if you cultivate it daily with the seed that is the Word of God.

When we cultivate our good soil, we will produce a crop. Some will become teachers and preachers who will teach the Gospel. Some will become evangelists who will spread the Gospel. Some will be called to be God’s witnesses where they work. No matter what crop your soil produces, tend it wisely. God will use it for something great. You may not be the person who tells millions of people about Jesus. God may be calling you to only tell one. The numbers do not matter, for they are in God’s hands. He is calling you to use your good soil to plant the seeds so that others may see the harvest.

How good is your soil?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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