How do you define love?

April 1, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
(1 Corinthians 13:4 (NIV))

Love can possess many different characteristics in the minds of those who try to define it. To some people, it is a strong affection such as what a mother has for her child. Others think of love as a sexual attraction. Some people even go so far as to define love by the things that they like.

What is your definition of love? Does it encompass any or all of the above?

How does God define love?

God’s love is not too proud to keep Him from reaching out to save. God’s love for us is kind. He does not reach out to us to condemn us. God’s love for us is not proud. He willingly did what He had to do to bring us salvation.

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.
(John 3:16-17 (NIV))

God’s love is patient.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

I could spend countless hours documenting the depth of God’s love for His creation. It is boundless, yet, it is simple at the same time. It is everlasting, yet it is concerned about your individual moments. It is powerful, yet it is gentle enough to hold each of us in our moments of weakness. It is all encompassing, yet it is able to focus on each of us individually. In essence, God’s love is perfect!

How do you define love?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where does your help come from?

March 12, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
(Psalms 121:1-2 (NIV))

During these troubled times that we live in, it is good to realize that we have someone to turn to for help. We have someone who will be with us no matter what we may go through. We have someone who will never abandon us. All we have to do is call upon His name in righteousness.

How can this be when all of our righteousness is as filthy rags in the eyes of God?

We don’t have to despair over this. God sent us help so that we could call upon His name for help! He sent us His only Son, Jesus Christ, as an atoning sacrifice so that we could inherit righteousness in spite of our sin. We are given the righteousness of Jesus if we will only acknowledge and accept that He is Lord and Savior. Once we take that step of faith towards God through Jesus, then God will be our help in times of trouble.

He does not keep us from the trouble, but helps us through it. Perhaps it is this simple fact that keeps more people away from accepting Jesus than anything else, for they want someone to keep them from trouble. It is our troubles that God uses to build our character and to bring us closer to Him. If we were kept from all of our troubles, I seriously doubt that we would fully understand the grace and mercy that is given to us when we are saved through our troubles. If we do not know the trouble, then how can we know the grace?

Where does your help come from?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you forgiven as you wish to be forgiven?

March 6, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then the master called the servant in. `You wicked servant,’ he said, `I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
(Matthew 18:32-34 (NIV))

This is a recurring theme in the Bible. We are forgiven and shown mercy if we can forgive and show mercy to others.

Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
(Matthew 6:12(NIV))

These are characteristics of God that we are to learn and put into practice. It is the same characteristics that brought Jesus to this earth to die for us.

If Jesus came to this earth to be God’s payment for our debts, if we accept this payment, then we must also be prepared to extend this payment to others. We have been shown unmerited favor and grace. We cannot keep this to ourselves. We cannot hold others to the same laws that we have been granted forgiveness from. If we are not willing to forgive, then how can we truly be forgiven. When we are forgiven, we have a joy that we wish to share with the world. It is a burden that has been lifted.

Does anyone owe you an unpaid debt?

Have you forgiven as you wish to be forgiven?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you been born again?

January 11, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, `You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
(John 3:5-8 (NIV))

I once saw a bumper sticker that said “Born OK the first time.” After two thousand years, it is hard to believe that people still do not fully grasp what Jesus was speaking about. Either that, or they prefer the sin that the flesh has them in.

The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.
(Matthew 26:41b (NIV))

The body, or the flesh, is weak and prone to sin. Sin cannot be overcome by the flesh. How can weakness overcome sin? It take a stronger presence to overcome the power of sin. Those who reject the Holy Spirit are rejecting God’s Grace and telling the world that they love their sin. Only righteousness can stand before God. Righteousness comes only from accepting Jesus Christ and allowing the Holy Spirit to enter into your life. This is what Jesus spoke of when He said that “You must be born again.” Those who reject this, reject God.

Take a close look at your life. Have you allowed the Holy Spirit to enter into your life in such a manner that the world sees the difference? Have you been born again?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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That is the true meaning of Christmas!

December 25, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 (NIV))

He didn’t have to leave heaven!

He didn’t have to become flesh and live among us!

He didn’t have to go to the cross and die!

He didn’t have to take upon Himself the weight of all of the sin of all mankind!

He didn’t have to do any of the things that He did, but I am eternally thankful that He did.

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))

Christmas is not about family. It is not about Santa. It is not about commercialism. It is not about who can spend the most on presents. It is about the bestowing of the greatest present that could ever be given. It is about the gift of grace that God freely gives and it all started at the manager! It is about the birth of hope that is represented in the birth of our Lord and Savior. It is about the gift of salvation that comes from no other source than Jesus!

No matter what society may say, that is the true meaning of Christmas!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you received adoption to sonship?

December 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.
(Galatians 4:4-5 (NIV))

Do you like to live under laws?

Think about that in relationship to what a law actually does. A law, any law, God’s Law, basically says what you cannot do. It also sets out the punishment for disobedience, for missing the mark, for sinning.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

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

Even if it is worded in a positive tone, the end result still limits you in some aspects. Human nature has always been rebellious when told what we can or cannot do. Think about that in relationship to the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve only had one rule, one law, that they had to obey. They could not eat of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We all know how that turned out! We have been paying the price for breaking God’s law ever since.

Since we have proven ourselves to be rebellious, God had to give us more laws. After all, we have proven that we can’t be trusted to do the right thing. God created these laws after one or more of our ancestors did something wrong in His eyes. He gave us commandments that tell us how we are to respect Him by not having other gods, by not making images, by not misusing the name of the Lord, and by setting aside one day to rest and be in His presence. He also gave us commandments that tell us how to deal with each other. We are to honor our father and mother. We aren’t supposed to murder. We are to abstain from having sex with someone who is not our spouse. We are told not to steal, and we are told not to lie. We are also told not to long for or lust after something someone else has.

I realize that these laws are intended to be good, for they define sin, but have you ever stopped to consider what heaven is like? It is a place where God’s perfect presence exists. Sin is not present! If sin is not present, there is no need for a law that defines sin. There is no need for punishment to be defined. We will be filled with an amazing peace and an amazing freedom from sin and law! All of this is a gift of grace!

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))

We will be called sons and daughters of the most high God! We will be co-heirs with Christ!

Have you received adoption to sonship?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you too proud to accept God’s gifts?

October 12, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, `Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

“When he came to his senses, he said, `How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

“The son said to him, `Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

“But the father said to his servants, `Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
(Luke 15:11-24 (NIV))

Everybody is familiar with the story of the prodigal son. I have heard someone comment on it in such a way as to shed new light on God’s mercy and grace.

God does not wait until we ask for forgiveness to forgive us. We are forgiven even before we ask for it!

We must ask in order to receive it, but He has already decided that He will forgive us. Asking for forgiveness shows a change of heart on our part and this change of heart prepares us to accept the grace that God has already granted us. Without this change of heart, we cannot accept God’s grace. We do not feel that we need it. It is a matter of pride.

Asking for grace shows that we have humbled ourselves. Sadly, far too many people are too proud to ask for anything.

Grace and mercy are free. We pay the personal price by swallowing our pride when we ask for them.

Are you too proud to accept God’s gifts?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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