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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Are you thankful for God’s great mercy?

March 13, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.
(Daniel 9:18 (NIV))

We do not make requests of you because we are righteous!

This hit me today in a way that it hasn’t hit me before.

How many times have you gone to God and asked for His intervention? Have you ever been guilty of arrogance during these requests? Did you make these requests out of a selfish desire that would benefit you? I think that we have all been guilty of this. I know that I have more times than I care to admit. When we do this, I can almost picture God sitting there shaking His head in disbelief that we are doing it again.

Isn’t it great to know that God does not grant our requests based on our righteousness?

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))

I don’t know about you, but I am eternally grateful for God’s mercy, for without His mercy, I would have no hope. Without mercy, what can a filthy rag do?

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.
(Ephesians 2:4-5 (NIV))

Are you thankful for God’s great mercy?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It is finished and grace is yours!

February 18, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth.
(Isaiah 53:7 (NAS))

Can you imagine being completely innocent of all charges against you, yet, because everyone else will benefit, you remain completely silent? This is a hard concept for any of us to fully grasp, yet, this is exactly what Jesus did for us! What is just as amazing is that God told this to Isaiah about seven hundred years before it actually happened!

Does this give you any indication of just how much God loves you? He had it planned for Jesus to come into this world and to be lead like a lamb to the slaughter for our benefit.

Jesus died for you and I!

If you had been the only person in history who needed salvation, Jesus would have suffered everything for you alone! He did it without a single complaint. We all have our families that we think we would face danger for, but it is never really certain. Jesus did this for all people who would ever live, and yet He did it for each of us individually.

Reflect on the meaning of this sacrifice and rejoice in the fact that it is finished and grace is yours.

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you going the one true way?

October 15, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

One Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
(Ephesians 4:5-6 (NIV))

Some denominations say that only by belonging to their particular denomination can your get to heaven. Some people believe that you can only be from a certain nationality or lineage. Still others believe that what applies to others does not apply to them. Paul had to deal with those issues in his day and time.

His response dealt quickly and decisively with the issue. Paul should know, after all, he faced Jesus on the road to Damascus when he was doing wrong in the eyes of God. Afterward, he spent years studying and learning about Jesus before he began teaching and preaching. Let’s face it, if you had an experience such as the conversion experience of Saul to Paul, wouldn’t you want to make sure that you got everything absolutely accurate before teaching? I know that I would.

It is with this certainty and conviction that Paul wrote these words. Saul was a scholar among scholars before his conversion. In all likelihood, this did not stop after he became Paul. In fact, I would venture to say that it was his desire to learn that drove him to earnestly seek God and His Truth. With Paul’s earthly credentials (which actually only matter in this world), and Paul’s Damascus road experience, and his learning, it is impossible to refute these words. Paul taught only what came from God. If this came from Paul, then we can know it to be true. If it did not come from God, then we know that it could not have come from Paul. Ask yourself if you would have written something that was not true after you faced Jesus as Paul did.

Paul knew the truth and he knew whom he would have to answer to if he did not tell the truth. It is historically proven that Paul wrote the letter to Ephasus, therefore, we can rely on the truth of the words.

If there is only one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, then we have but one way to heaven. Grace through the salvation offered through Jesus Christ!

Are you going the one true way?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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There are no limitations to God’s grace!

October 16, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you needed grace and mercy? Have you ever come to the false conclusion that you are so far gone that God cannot help you? Do you think that your sins are so great that God cannot rescue you?

All too often I hear people say that God couldn’t possible love them because of all of the things that they have done. I hear people say that God would not want to rescue them because of these very same things. I hear them say, “How could He love me after all that I have done?”

Luckily, grace knows no limitations for none of us are worthy!

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))

Thankfully, grace is not based on our righteousness. It is based on God’s love. Think about God’s love based on these words from John 3.

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. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people 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 their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

If God was willing to offer His only Son, what does that say about His love for us? With this in mind, I pray that you come to the realization that there are no limitations to God’s grace!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t allow the thorn in your flesh to keep you from God!

May 22, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
(2 Corinthians 12:9a (NIV))

I can relate to what Paul wrote about. He was afflicted with a “thorn in his flesh” that he prayed for God to remove. It did not happen. Instead, God answered with the passage quoted above.

Sometimes the answer that God gives us when we pray is not what we want to hear. It is a difficult lesson to learn, but many times what we pray for is self centered and we do not see the bigger picture of what God has planned. This hit home all too hard today. I know that God has everything under control. Still, from our limited, human perspective, it is difficult to comprehend the bigger picture when we are so engrossed in the details that are front and center in our every day lives.

This is when faith kicks in. After we go through the denial phase that is so typical of human reaction, we must step back and look at the situation through God’s eyes. Instead of asking “Why did this happen?” we must ask “What do you want me to learn from this?” “How can I be a witness through this?” “How can your Light shine through this situation so that it is obvious that it is you, Lord?”

Even though it is not I who have to face this particular “thorn in the flesh,” I can relate to what Paul wrote. I am also learning to relate to how God’s grace will produce results that we cannot begin to imagine.

We all have our “thorn in the flesh” that keeps us from being what we want to be. The question that we must ask ourselves is have we turned that “thorn in the flesh” over to God for Him to use? Do we rely fully on God’s grace?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your thorn an excuse or is it your foundation of faith?

August 27, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NIV))

Have you ever wondered what it was that Paul had to put up with, just what it was that Satan used to torment him?

I find it very interesting and intriguing that the man whom God chose to spread the Gospel to the gentiles was given an affliction that too many of us would have simply said was too overwhelming. We would have simply given up if we had to face the “thorn in my flesh” that Paul faced.

All too often I find myself making excuses instead of doing what I know I should do. It is so much easier to make excuses than it is to obey. What a shame! I know that I miss out on many blessings and opportunities simply because I find excuses. Don’t get me wrong. There are times when I don’t make excuses, but the times that I do make excuses weigh heavily upon me. I find myself thinking about Paul and ask myself a simple question. What would the world be like today if Paul had allowed his “thorn” to stop him?

By God’s grace, Paul listened to God and we, as Christians, can trace our faith back to Paul’s obedience. God gave Paul the strength to see things through in spite of his thorn. He did not remove the thorn. If a perfect person could spread the Gospel to the gentiles, why would they believe? He would simply be another man who could speak eloquently. God used Paul’s thorn to keep Paul focused on Him, to keep him dependent upon Him.

What is your thorn? Is it an excuse or is it your foundation of faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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