What is the condition of your heart and spirit?

February 13, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (KJV))

Is that your desire? Do you wish for God to create a clean heart within you? Do you long for the things that are of God, or do you only pay “lip service” to God and do whatever you want to the rest of the time.

Acknowledging God does not make you righteous. Acknowledging that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God does not make you a Christian. Satan and his legions acknowledge both of these facts, yet, they continue to do whatever they desire in their sinful, arrogant and prideful hearts. You could even say that they have dirty hearts, for they do exactly opposite of what God desires. Their spirits are evil and bad.

Take a look at yourself. Do you follow after God in all things? Do you desire what God desires? What is the condition of your heart and spirit?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Think about the joy!

December 5, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
(Luke 11:13 (NIV))

It is that time of year when we celebrate the greatest gift of all. We celebrate by giving gifts to each other and to our children. Too often, we could even be accused of spoiling our children because of giving too much to them.

Think about the words in Luke. We love to give our children all that their hearts desire because we love to see the glow in their eyes and excitement in their lives. We give our children gifts that will soon be forgotten and set aside, yet they bring so much joy when they are given. We give gifts that are temporary for joy that is temporary.

Now, consider the joy that we receive when we accept the true gift of Christmas. That gift is eternal and the joy is eternal. That is the greatest gift of all.

Why is it that more people do not accept this gift?

Some are too proud. Others are too self centered. I would even venture to say that there are some who have had earthly fathers who never gave them a gift that brought them joy. They can’t imagine anyone giving them something that would bring them joy, so they refuse to believe.

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

This Christmas, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus with our families, think about the joy that your gifts bring and then think about the greatest joy that God’s gift of grace and mercy can bring.

Merry Christmas!

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

August 15, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
(Romans 8:1-2 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to think about what condemnation means?

The definitions mean to blame or the state of being condemned.

Don’t you just love when a definition of a word uses the root of that word to define it. I thought that I would go ahead and look up the dictionary definition of the word “condemn” and the language is stronger than I realized. According to Merriam-Webster, “condemn” means

to declare to be reprehensible, wrong, or evil usually after weighing evidence and without reservation; to pronounce guilty

To be honest with you, using the word condemn to mean being found guilty is what I think of when I hear the word. This in and of itself is wonderful news, for we are not found guilty through our faith in Jesus. However, the first part of the definition caught me off guard!

Reprehensible

Wrong

Evil

We all like to think of ourselves as minimal sinners in that we have not murdered or stolen, yet, we are all guilty of sin. In the eyes of God, we were reprehensible. We were wrong. We were evil. The evidence weighed heavily against us and there was no hope.

What do you think of when you hear the word “reprehensible?”

Is it the most vile and foul thing that you have ever imagined?

Through our sin, that is what we were. We had no hope. Still, God loved us even in our reprehensible sin.

“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.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

Jesus did not come into this world to find us guilty of the reprehensible sins that we commit. He came, because of God’s love for us, to offer us grace and mercy. He came out of love.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

Think about this. Think about your understanding of something that is reprehensible in your eyes. Would you do what Jesus did in order to save the reprehensible?

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

August 13, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.
(1 Peter 4:1-2 (NIV))

Can we wholeheartedly accept these words? Can we embrace the fact that we will face suffering in our lifetime in the physical body that we are so proud of?

Humanity is frail. We admire the fragile shells that we call our bodies and pamper them to the point of sinful desires. We splurge and do things because they feel good without giving any thought to the long-term effects of our actions. We spend almost every waking hour doing something to take care of the physical side of our existence, which is mortal, while we come very close to completely ignoring our spiritual side, which has the potential to spend eternity in heaven.

It seems that we have our priorities backwards! We need to spend much more time concerned with our spiritual being. We need to resolve to look beyond the immediate needs of our physical shell and look to the needs of the part of us that truly matters. We must get to the point where we can recognize that our bodies are but dust and our spirits are the true treasure that we possess.

Can we truly allow our physical bodies to suffer so that our spiritual being will benefit?

I would like to think that it is possible, for we have been told that it is the way to do away with sin in our life. However, I do not know if I am capable of such a massive undertaking. Luckily, God knew that we were not capable on our own, even after He sent His Son, Jesus, to show us what to do. We may desire to do away with the physical desires and focus on God, yet, we are spiritual infants who happen to have a very strong urge from the physical side of our existence. For this reason, God allows us to call upon the name of Jesus as our atoning sacrifice, for His Blood covers a multitude of sins.

Can you suffer in the physical the way that Jesus did? Can you earnestly call upon the Blood of Jesus to help you when you fall?

What priorities do you embrace?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How is your wall of self control?

August 10, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Like a city whose walls are broken down
is a man who lacks self-control.
(Proverbs 25:28 (NIV))

In ancient cities, the purpose of the walls was protection. They were built high and thick in order to keep out those who would attack and leave the city in ruins. If the walls were broken down, the city was vulnerable. Those who lived within the city took their chances that they would not be attacked and lose their lives. The walls of a city were the defenses that kept those inside safe from the evil that could attack from the outside. The city was only as safe as the weakest part of its walls.

How good is your self control? Are your vulnerable to the attacks of those things that find the weak places within your self control? Perhaps your weakness is greed. Perhaps it is pride. Perhaps it is lust. Carefully consider how your area of weakness could be the very place by which sin enters into your life and takes control.

For the wages of sin is death
(Romans 6:23a (NIV))

Just as it is dangerous for the inhabitants of a city whose walls are broken down, it is also just as dangerous for a person to lack self control. Perhaps it is even more dangerous, for the death that comes from sin is an eternal separation from God. Self control is difficult, but we have an ally in our battle. The rest of Romans 6:23 tells the complete story.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

If we place our faith in Jesus and rely on Him to be our Savior and our Lord, the Holy Spirit will dwell within us and guide us. The Holy Spirit will bear fruit within our lives.

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))

Self control will be part of our defenses against sin.

How is your wall of self control?

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

June 20, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
(Colossians 2:8 (NIV))

This is not as easy as it sounds. Too many people do not know enough about what Jesus taught to fully know the difference between the Truth and the world. Too many times what appears to be something good is actually evil in another form.

The Bible actually tells us that Satan can appear as an angel of light. If we judge solely on appearance, then we would be deceived by this trick.

Calling upon the name of Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior also implies that you must follow Him. Jesus, himself, said that His sheep know His voice. We may not hear the physical voice like those who knew Him when He walked the earth, yet, we have His other “voice” as written in the Gospels and what is written upon our hearts. We also have the Holy Spirit to teach us, lead us and be with us. Each of these are ways that Jesus left us to be able to hear His “voice.”

What voice do you hear?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is God tempting you?

May 31, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.
(James 1:13-14 (NIV))

How many times have you heard someone say that God is tempting them? It is a popular misconception among non-believers and among those who do not truly understand the nature of God. God cannot tempt someone. It is not in His nature. Jesus explained this.

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebub. Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you.
(Luke 11:17-20)

Satan is the source of all temptation. God may use this temptation to strengthen us, but the temptation never comes from God. No matter what you are facing in this world, keep your eyes upon Jesus. Doing so will help you to realize that the problems you are facing are not from God, but from Satan.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33)

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

May 23, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter.
(Isaiah 5:20 (NIV))

I know that I have been skirting around this passage for a long time with references to what is going on in the world today. I honestly do not see how people have become so polarized. How they have forgotten the basic concepts of society and the basic principles of a life lived in harmony with God’s desires.

I can remember a time when pregnancy outside of marriage was considered wrong. Now it is a choice and often a reality television show. I can remember when abortion was illegal. Now it is a woman’s right. I can remember when victims could defend themselves. Now they are locked up and the criminal has more rights than the victim. I can remember when homosexuality was not talked about. Now it is supposedly a biological issue. I can remember when freedom of religion meant that you could worship in any manner that you wished. Now it means freedom from religion. I remember when the majority of the population went to church. A vocal minority now has us on tiptoes when the 10 Commandments are posted in a public building. I remember when prayer was allowed in school. Now, we can’t mention Jesus, but we can talk about any other religion freely.

There are many other passages that confirm what Isaiah wrote.

But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.
(Romans 2:8 (NIV))

We are in interesting times.

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
“The owner’s servants came to him and said, `Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
” `An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, `Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
” `No,’ he answered, `because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ ”
(Matthew 14:24-30 (NIV))

Weeds are appearing everywhere.

We, as the Body of Christ, must not fall into the traps that the enemy has set. We must know God’s Word. We must know the enemy. We must be able to tell the difference between good and evil.

Do you call evil good and good evil?

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

April 25, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever.
(Psalms 23:4-6 (NIV))

How many times have we heard or quoted parts of this passage? Isn’t it wonderful to be able to know and to trust in God and His strength and His mercy.

Unfortunately, many non-believers read this and take it to mean that we will not have any troubles in this life. They see that believers do have troubles, and do not fully understand how God works. They do not understand that we, as believers, still are faced with troubles, but we have a mighty warrior who is on our side, and that by placing our faith in Him, we will always have goodness and mercy even when faced with these troubles. It is how we reflect this goodness and mercy during these troubles that will bring people to Jesus.

Are you a mirror that reflects goodness and mercy, or are you a blackhole that absorbs all light, and does not allow any to pass?

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