What do you pursue?

April 23, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
(1 Timothy 6:11 (NIV))

There are so many things in this world that vie for our attention and our time. Too many of us pursue things that we shouldn’t, and it shows.

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

We chase after things of this world. We chase after riches. We chase after power and we chase after whatever feels good. Most people don’t care about the consequences of any of their actions. All that they are concerned about is themselves!

Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
(1 Timothy 6:9-10 (NIV))

Don’t fall into the trap of pursuing things of this world, for this world is in a sinful, fallen state. Anything that you pursue, by its very nature, will also be in a sinful, fallen state. It will not last. Thieves can steal and moth and rust will destroy it. It will lead to destruction. When you die, these things that you felt that you have to pursue now will soon belong to someone else. Your wealth that you seek, that you pursue in this world will not save you from the consequences of your sins in this world.

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
(Matthew 6:31-33 (NIV))

What do you pursue?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Society teaches us something much different!

April 6, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
(Hebrews 13:5 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to think that when we love money we are simply substituting one treasure for another? To be honest with you, we are actually trading down. There is nothing more valuable, nothing more worth having than the assurance that we have been given grace and salvation. That is the ultimate treasure, but far too many people simply ignore that treasure for a treasure that can be stolen.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin 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))

Why do we want to make such a ridiculous trade?

Why do we trade eternity for something shiny in the moment? Why do we long for things that will fade and rust?

As long as I can remember, we have been taught to toot our own horn, to follow our own will, and to go for the gusto so that we can enjoy the moment and reap all of the pleasures that it has to offer.

But see, there is joy and revelry, slaughtering of cattle and killing of sheep, eating of meat and drinking of wine! “Let us eat and drink,” you say, “for tomorrow we die!”
(Isaiah 22:13 (NIV))

Too many people follow the sentiment in this passage without realizing that it has consequences.

The Lord Almighty has revealed this in my hearing: “Till your dying day this sin will not be atoned for,” says the Lord, the Lord Almighty.
(Isaiah 22:14 (NIV))

Society has deteriorated to the point where no one truly thinks of the consequences of their actions. Being self-centered is the normal state anymore. When you are self-centered, all that you can think of is worldly increase. We are told, and we soon begin to believe, that we deserve all that we can get. If we aren’t careful, we will get what we deserve.

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

We must ignore what society is preaching and teaching and repent. We must turn to Jesus and love the Lord. We must love the Lord with all of our heart, our soul and our mind! We must ignore what society is doing, for society teaches us something much different!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you allow into your house?

March 21, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not bring a detestable thing into your house or you, like it, will be set apart for destruction. Regard it as vile and utterly detest it, for it is set apart for destruction.
(Deuteronomy 7:26 (NIV))

Would you bring a wild, rabid animal into your house?

Would you allow a thief into your house?

Would you allow an elephant into your house?

I think that it is safe to assume that the answer to all of these questions is a resounding “No!”

No one in their right mind would allow such destruction, such danger, into their homes. Ironically, we think nothing of doing just that with respect to our lives and to our bodies. Our bodies are our earthly shell, our earthly home, while we walk this earth. In addition, if we have invited Jesus into our lives, our bodies are much more than just our earthly shell.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
(1 Corinthians 6:19 (NIV))

If this is the case, why do we bring detestable things into our lives when we claim to be followers of Jesus?

We rightly turn away from murder and stealing. We turn away from drugs and alcohol. We turn away from many detestable things that are clearly visible, but yet, we allow many detestable things into our lives that are just as dangerous, but are not glaringly obvious. Why do we allow greed, envy, anger, and lust to take up residence? Why do we allow hate, pride and ego to have free reign in our lives when there is something so different that we should be letting in?

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 (NIV))

What do you allow into your house?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you planted seeds that will provide an increase?

March 20, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
(John 12:23-26 (NIV))

The day is rapidly approaching when we celebrate the truth that Jesus spoke of. He willingly fell and died so that the seed of salvation could be planted. From that willing sacrifice, millions of people since then have reaped the fruits of that sacrifice as they multiply. Easter is the time that we celebrate that glorious gift of redemption and grace.

However, that seed does not stop there. Jesus planted the seed. Since that day, redemptive grace has sprouted from that seed. When a seed dies, it gives life to grow more seeds. When these seeds mature, they too will die to allow more seeds to grow. This cycle is how one can produce one hundred and one hundred can produce ten thousand. Each seed can bring forth other seeds to continue the work. Jesus planted the seed. Now it is our turn. By accepting the grace and mercy freely given at the cross, we become seeds. We have a small kernel of grace within us. We must allow that grace to produce.

I am not saying that we must physically die in order for that seed to produce. It is possible to die to self, to give up your desires, in order that God’s desires may be fulfilled. Just as Jesus obeyed God in order for His seed to produce, we must also be obedient so that our seed may produce.

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

I believe that we have been given instructions to do as Jesus did and produce many seeds.

Have your seeds been scattered in good soil?

Have you planted seeds that will provide an increase?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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There is nothing that is too big for our God!

March 12, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
(Romans 8:31 (NIV))

We all face things in our lives that make us stop dead in our tracks because we see no way around them.

For some people, this is a very long stop. They have a tendency to reflect on the circumstances way too much. These individuals may not believe in God and they feel that they are on their own. It is possible that these individuals may have a superficial understanding of God and think that He is not capable of doing anything for them. There are also those individuals who profess a faith in God, but the littlest trouble completely breaks that faith.

For those who earnestly profess a faith in the Lord, they truly understand that God loves us and He will intercede for us. These are the individuals who realize the difference between God and humanity.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

We are very limited in our understanding of the Lord. Each of us have a mental image of God, but no one has ever seen God. Our understanding is limited by our humanity. We simply cannot comprehend the majesty of the Lord in our current existence.

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
(1 Corinthians 13:12 (NIV))

Even in our limited understanding, we are repeatedly told of God’s goodness and His might. All we have to do is choose to focus on God in order to see this come about. When we face troubles, and we will, we must never lose sight of God’s power. Whether we cling to the way it was described in Romans or the way that it was recorded in Isaiah, we must never forget that we serve a mighty God!

Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.
(Isaiah 59:1 (NIV))

There is nothing that is too big for our God!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus is knocking! Will you answer?

February 27, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
(Revelation 3:20 (NIV))

There is so much to say about this passage. Where do I begin?

I think the point about this passage that struck me this time as I read it was the fact that it is recorded in the book of Revelation. You may think, “What is so special about this fact?” If you stop to think about it, you may come to the same realization that I have. Revelation is the book that depicts the events during the seven year period before Jesus steps foot on the Mount of Olives and splits it in two. It is the book that tells of all of the things that will happen in the world for those who have rejected Jesus. In particular, this passage is taken from the section where Jesus addresses the church in Laodicea right after He calls them out for being lukewarm. In fact, the verse right before this passage really stands out to me, for Jesus makes a very interesting statement.

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.
(Revelation 3:19 (NIV))

Did you pick up on the fact that even though Jesus called the church in Laodicea lukewarm, He turned right around and basically said that He still loves them! He told them to repent.

I want you to think about that very fast turn of events. Jesus spoke words of rebuke, chastising them for what they have allowed themselves to become. As always, Jesus didn’t speak these words to condemn, but to rebuke, to challenge them to change. He closed this challenge with something that most people overlook when they think of the lukewarm church.

He told them that He loved them!

He called them to repentance!

He told them that it was not too late!

He basically told them that He was there and all that they had to do was answer His calling, His knocking upon their hearts!

Jesus is knocking! Will you answer?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God can take our impure motives and turn them to His glory!

February 26, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,
(Philippians 1:18 (NIV))

What does this passage mean to you?

I was given a very interesting point of view of this passage earlier today, and to be completely honest with you, it makes perfect sense!

When this passage was written, Paul was in prison and other people started to preach the Gospel. Some had pure motives while others had selfish motives. Paul recognized the value of both, since spreading the Gospel was his biggest concern. I know that I do this all the time, but let me ask a few questions of you.

Do you think that the people who heard the Gospel from those with false motives knew of those motives, especially if what they preached was true to the Gospel? Let me ask this a slightly different way. If you are channel surfing and come across a television preacher who is preaching the truth, will everyone ignore this preacher simply because they may seek money? Perhaps your church has a guest speaker and they are very eloquent at conveying the truth of the Gospel. Do you stop listening to them because they set up a table to sell the books that they have written?

Let’s be honest with ourselves!

We are all human and we all have motives for doing things that are less than perfect. Does that stop us from doing them? Does that stop us from listening to those who have less than perfect motives? Think about that in relationship to your job. What if you are having a bad day, but you need your paycheck? Do you put on a fake smile and go about your day, or do you storm off? Most people will put on a fake smile. They may have less than a proper motive, but they come across with something that will impact those around them in a positive way.

Think about that in terms of the Gospel!

As long as the truth is being preached, God can and does use that truth to help spread the Gospel. I don’t condone this, but have you ever seen two churches become rivals? They try to do anything and everything to be “better” than their rival. One may take out billboard ads with scripture passages while the other will place ads in local newspapers. One may apply for and receive a license for a radio station, while one may use the internet to broadcast their services. In all of this rivalry, who really wins?

If you say that God wins because the Gospel is being spread, then you are correct.

We are only human and our human motives are less than perfect, but God is perfect. In fact, He is perfection. To use an old saying, “God can take our mess and make a message!” If God can do that, then God can take our impure motives and turn them to His glory!

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