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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Are you willing to imitate Jesus?

June 3, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.
(1 Thessalonians 1:6 (NIV))

Are you willing to imitate the Lord even if it means that you will suffer?

Think about your work environment.

Think about your friends.

Think about your family.

Are you willing to imitate Jesus in all of these scenarios?

I know that we all have times when it is easier to follow Jesus because we are with people of like mind. Place us in a situation where Jesus is ridiculed and how do you respond? Are we willing to follow Jesus if we will be ridiculed? Are we willing to follow Jesus if we will be tormented for our faith? Are we willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice for our faith? Are we willing to be imitators of Jesus even if it means that we will face death?

Jesus was willing to go to the cross so that we could have salvation.

What are willing to do for Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The times and seasons may change, but Jesus is always with you!

May 12, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
(Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV))

I knew this day would come. My oldest has graduated college and my youngest is packing to go away to work for the summer while the one who has the luck of being called the middle child sits comfortably in his surroundings at home.

Have you ever felt sad and happy at the same time?

I am sure that you have. I am saddened by the changes in life, yet I am happy that each is finding there own way and that each claim Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

I am feeling the aches and pains of bad knees. I am feeling sadness that my parents are getting older, yet at the same time I am glad that they are getting older.

Everything in life changes. We are only here for a fleeting moment in time and then we are memories in the hearts and minds of those that we have loved.

What time and season are you in at this moment?

Are you looking forward to a graduation, or a wedding, or a new birth? Are you comfortable in your daily routine? Are you enjoying your family and friends? Cherish every moment that you have, for there will never be another moment like that one again.

Don’t get so busy trying to provide for life that you forget to live? Don’t forget to say I love you!

Think back on your life so far. Do you realize that Jesus was with you through all of the times and the seasons? He is there now. He will be there tomorrow!

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8 (NIV))

The times and seasons may change, but Jesus is always with you!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Rejoice in God’s light! His name is Jesus!

December 31, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
(Philippians 4:4 (NIV))

If you had to proclaim the birth of a baby in your family, you would be joyful. You would exude enthusiasm. You would rejoice in the fact that God has blessed you with a new life to share. It would be an extremely happy occasion. Unfortunately, though, that baby would be born with the very same curse that we all face. That baby would be bound by the law of sin and death.

Now, consider that a baby was born into the family two thousand years ago. This baby was no ordinary baby. I am sure that He brought joy to the lives of those whom He called His family, but He was so much more. He came into this world to be a part of the family of each and every single person who has ever lived. This baby came into the world to bring great joy. God sent His Son, Jesus, to be one of us. Unlike everybody who was born under the law of sin and death, Jesus came into the world sin free. He grew up sin free and He remained sin free even to obedience that called Him to die on the cross. Through Jesus, we truly have grace and mercy. Through the baby Jesus, we truly have something to rejoice about. The infant that came into this world symbolizes a rebirth of our human natures.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
(Philippians 4:4 (NIV))

“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))

Rejoice in God’s light! His name is Jesus!

Share Jesus with all that you meet in the upcoming year!

Happy New Year!

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you hide in your heart?

February 7, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
(Psalms 119:11 (NIV))

What do you hide in your heart?

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

It is true that people will place what they treasure within their hearts. It is what you think of first, last and most often. What is in your heart is your treasure, and typically people will hide what they do not wish for others to find. We hide our treasures!

What is it that you hide within your heart? What is it that you think of first, last and most often? If you are like every other person on this planet, then you are probably ashamed of your answer. Is it wealth? Is it power? Is it lust? Is it your family? Is it your job? Just what is it that you treasure?

What is it that God wants you to treasure and to hide in your heart?

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
(Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NIV))

We are to treasure God’s Word. We are to think of it first, last and most often.

What have you hidden in your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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I will give you thanks

November 22, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I will give you thanks in the great assembly;
among throngs of people I will praise you.
(Psalms 35:18 (NIV))

Have we, as the Body of Christ, allowed society to keep us quiet because it is not politically correct to proclaim a faith in Jesus? Are we truly the Body of Christ if we submit to this societal pressure?

Thanksgiving is upon us. We must embrace the true reason that we are thankful.

The pilgrims were thankful to have survived the first year in their quest for religious freedom. Society has taken that out of the day and simply replaced it with a “harvest” festival. There is no mention of thanking God for His bountiful mercy and grace. It is only a day to be thankful for the people in our lives, and to some, the things that we have. Don’t get me wrong. It is definitely a good thing to be thankful for the people in our lives, but we must set our priorities. Without God’s grace, we would have nothing. Anything that we might think we have would be gone when we face death.

Think about that.

What are the things that you would miss the most if they were taken away from you?

Would it be your wide screen TV or your new car? Perhaps it is your job or your social position in the community.

Or . . .

Would it be the relationships that you have?

Life is a gift. Grace is a gift. Your family and friends are a gift. These gifts are priceless and can only come from God. All other things are worthless in comparison.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV))

It is a matter of priorities.

When all things are in perspective, our priority is God. When we realize that all good things come from Him, we can’t help but give God the glory. We will be thankful even in the midst of situations that society says we are to keep our faith quiet.

We should not be quiet. We should praise God. We should give thanks even in the midst of throngs of people.

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
(Romans 1:16-17 (NIV))

If we are not ashamed of the gospel, then we must be thankful for it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is it that you seek?

October 18, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
(Matthew 6:33 (NIV))

What is it that you seek?

This world provides many options in the form of wealth, power, prestige, fame, family, honor, respect, and many more. There are so many options, that many of us change what we seek as often as we change clothes. It is no wonder when you consider that human nature longs for something that will fill an emptiness within us. We go from one thing to the next in hopes that the next thing will finally be the one that fills that emptiness, that void within us. We think that we will be happy when we make more money, or when we get that big corner office. We think that a big home will make us happy. I hate to say this, but some people even think that a new, younger spouse will make them happy.

Nothing that this world has to offer will fill that void. Nothing we long for is attainable through worldly treasures. Human nature seeks peace. We long for love and understanding. We desire mercy and grace when we know that we don’t deserve it.

We seek completeness!

Everything that we try to attain is simply our attempt to fill that void. It is a void that can only be filled when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior and truly allow Him to enter into our lives – to enter into our very hearts and souls – and fill the void within us. When we realize that what we seek is not of this world, then we focus on what God intended for us. We focus on the relationship that He desires to have with us. When we truly realize this and seek it with all of our heart, then we will find that God provides each of us with all of the other things that we may need. God completes us!

Are you complete?

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