What will the Lord find in you?

January 24, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.
(Jeremiah 17:10 (NIV))

When you are searching through a place that you thought you were familiar with, are you ever surprised by what you find?

Perhaps you found an old baseball glove in the back of your closet. Maybe you found a picture from your high school prom. You may have even found a letter from someone whom you thought you could never live without. Each of us have things like this that appear every now and then and completely catch us off guard.

What happens when we go digging through our heart? Do we find things that we thought had been lost only to find that they are still very prominent in our lives? Are we ever surprised by the thoughts that we keep locked away? We think that we have overcome them, but they are always there just below the surface. What reactions do these things bring out of us when they materialize once again in our lives? Are we guilty of trying to hide these things from ourselves so that we don’t have to deal with them?

We may think that we can hide them. We may even be capable of fooling ourselves for a time, but unless we lay them at the foot of the cross, they are still a part of our lives. We choose to hold onto them instead of turning them over to the Lord. If we confess them as sin, we can repent. If we repent, we are making a decision to leave it behind. If we choose to leave our sin behind, then we should focus on Jesus. We should fill our hearts and our minds with the knowledge of the Lord.

Have you found something in your heart or in your mind that you long to be rid of? Lay it at the foot of the cross!

What will the Lord find in you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What have you crucified?

January 22, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
(Galatians 5:24 (NIV))

When we commit to following Jesus and claiming Him as our personal Lord and Savior, we are expected to turn over our lives to His guidance. We are expected to have a desire to put an end to our sinful nature. It is true that we can turn to Jesus while still in our sin, but we are expected to allow Jesus to work in our lives and help us to remove the sinful passions and desires. Just as Jesus laid down His perfect life to bear the burden of our sin, we are expected to lay down our sinful life in order to embrace the grace that is freely given.

We are to crucify our sinful nature.

We are to desire to lay our sins and our burdens at the foot of the cross!

It is an even exchange. Jesus picks up our sins and we pick up His righteousness. I know I said that it is an even exchange, but it is not a fair exchange. All of us are sinners condemned by the very nature of sin. Jesus, by His very nature, is righteousness.

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))

If Jesus is willing to give all so that we may have all, we should be willing to surrender ourselves in this exchange. We should be willing to crucify the sinful nature that has condemned us.

What have you crucified?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you trust in God’s plans?

January 18, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
(Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV))

Did you have your life planned out?

How did that work out for you?

Almost everyone quotes this passage when they think of the blessings of God in their lives, but almost everyone fails to recognize one key piece of information about this passage. They forget the context in which it was delivered!

This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.
(Jeremiah 29:10 (NIV))

Years prior to these words being recorded, most of the people in Jerusalem were taken into captivity and taken to Babylon. God’s timing was to have the descendants leave Babylon and return to Jerusalem. God spoke these words to the complete group of people who would be fulfilling His will by returning to Jerusalem, by returning to the city that God loves. It was God’s desire to prosper them so that they would not only have a hope and a future, but to be able to give a hope and a future to all of humanity through what would eventually transpire in and around Jerusalem.

I find it saddening that today’s prosperity oriented mindset reads these words and takes what God said to His people in exile and turns it into a promise to make us rich.

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))

God had a plan to give us hope even when we were condemned in our sin and even when we were without hope. If we are all sinners and we deserve death, what type of a future do we have? God realized this and set things in motion to give us hope and a future. God knew that in order to fulfill His promises for this hope and future, He had to move the people back to Jerusalem. He had to set the plans in motion that would bring Jesus into the world. God’s plan was to give everyone a hope of overcoming death and a future in His presence.

Do you trust in God’s plans?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do others see in you?

January 15, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:16 (NIV))

Each of us have a spark of something that we let the world see. For far too many, that spark is something far less than what it should be. They show the world anger, greed, deceit, lust, envy and much worse. They show the worst possible traits that humanity can possess. Does this sound like a group of people that you would want to associate with? I believe that I can safely say that most of us would not want anything to do with people who possess these traits.

The sad thing about human nature is that we all can exhibit these traits at any time of our lives!

When was the last time that you felt anger? When was the last time that you deceived someone, even if it was just the proverbial little white lie? When was the last time that you looked at something or someone and had thoughts that you weren’t proud of? When was the last time that you saw the things that others have and wished that you had them?

The question that we all need to ask ourselves is a simple one.

What do others see in me?

Do they see the sinful sparks that can ignite an all consuming fire of destruction or do they see the light of Jesus?

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
(Matthew 5:14-15 (NIV))

If you have allowed the light of Jesus to have a place in your heart, don’t hide it under the destructive sinful nature that we all share. Allow the light to shine! Allow the light to break through the bondage of sin and death. Let the light shine so that others may see it and be drawn to it!

What do others see in you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your reason for living?

January 12, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me.
(Psalms 119:175 (NIV))

People want to live for many different reasons. Some want to see the world. Some want to fall in love and get married. Some want to start a business or write a book. Some want to see their children grow up. Some want to be rich while others want to be famous. Others simply want to leave their mark on the world by making people happy.

How about you?

What makes you want to get up each morning and live the day to the fullest?

What are you focused on that gives you a reason for living?

Have you ever said anything like what the psalmist wrote? Have you ever said that you want to live so that you can praise God?

After reading this passage and thinking about it, why don’t we ever give this as a reason for living? We owe our very existence to God for He created us. We owe our very intellect to God for He created us to have wisdom and free will. We owe so much to God and most of us simply take everything that He has done for us for granted. We look at our lives and we think that what we have is of our own doing.

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))

If we are unclean and the best that we can do is like filthy rags, how can we be responsible for anything good in our lives? When we look in the mirror we should not think that we have it made. We should be thankful that we are capable of claiming Jesus as our Lord and Savior. For everything that God has done for us, including send His only begotten Son, Jesus, to die so that we could live, we should be eternally thankful. We should lift Him up in praise. We should acknowledge that He alone is our reason for living.

What is your reason for living?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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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Has the Lord established your plans?

January 10, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.
(Proverbs 16:3 (NIV))

What are you doing with your life?

Are you trying to go after wealth and fame?

Are you trying to start a business?

Are you lost and without a focus or direction?

Human nature tells us that we will do what we want to do when we want to do it, but I have a question for you. How is that attitude working out? Are you succeeding or are you spinning your proverbial wheels?

So many of us try to separate our faith from our profession. We have a tendency to segment our lives and we fail to recognize the fact that God did not intend for us to keep our faith at arms length and away from all other aspects of our lives. Our faith, no matter how you may think of it, is an integral part of every aspect of our lives. Our faith should be the driving factor in everything that we do. Faith means that we do not do things on our own. Faith means that we take everything to the Lord to seek His guidance and direction.

Consider Abraham for a moment. Abraham committed his life to following God. God called Abraham to a distant land. Abraham did not know what would unfold, yet he trusted God to establish where he would go. Abraham trusted God. Abraham committed his life to God and God set things in motion that have unfolded and are still unfolding to this very day. When Abraham began, he and his wife were without any children. Today, their descendants are vast. All of this is because Abraham trusted and committed his life to God and God established a course for Abraham’s life that we still acknowledge to this very day.

Be still, and know that I am God,
(Psalms 46:10a (NIV))

It is time to slow down and ask God for guidance and direction. Commit your life to serving the Lord and He will set a path before you that will lead to things that only God has foreseen.

Has the Lord established your plans?

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