How good is your soil?

February 5, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.
(Matthew 13:23 (NIV))

Which part of a person is the “soil?”

What makes soil good?

What makes this part of a person good?

Have you ever stopped to think that your heart is the soil in which the Word of God is planted? What makes your heart fertile? Is it a desire to know the truth? Is it a desire to know yourself? Is it a desire to help your fellow man? Is it a desire to know God and His Word?

Perhaps the best way to think of your heart being good soil is to think of your inner desires. Your heart will be good soil if you despise things that are not from God. Your heart will be good soil if you earnestly seek after God’s Will in all things. Your heart will be good soil if you cultivate it daily with the seed that is the Word of God.

When we cultivate our good soil, we will produce a crop. Some will become teachers and preachers who will teach the Gospel. Some will become evangelists who will spread the Gospel. Some will be called to be God’s witnesses where they work. No matter what crop your soil produces, tend it wisely. God will use it for something great. You may not be the person who tells millions of people about Jesus. God may be calling you to only tell one. The numbers do not matter, for they are in God’s hands. He is calling you to use your good soil to plant the seeds so that others may see the harvest.

How good is your soil?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is the Lord to you?

February 2, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever.
(Psalms 23:1-6 (NIV))

Have you ever truly stopped to think about these words?

How many of us can truly say that we live a life that is not filled with stress? How many of us do not fear? How many of us do not have people who are enemies? Do any of us not need calm surroundings and rest?

What about restoration?

What about comfort?

Are you in need of goodness and love?

The words that David recorded speak to the inner desires of every human being to ever live. Even if you think that you are a tough cookie, deep inside of you, you desire the very things that David wrote about.

Can we find these things in worldly possessions? Can we find them in other people? Can we find them in our own strengths?

There is only one source for the peace that David wrote about. It can be found in no other place, no other person, than in the Lord our God. We cannot run from Him. We cannot hide from Him,. We can run to Him. We can hide within His love. He can find rest within His mercy. We can find salvation within His grace.

God is good! He is our rest. He is our restoration. He is our righteousness. He is our protection. He is our comfort. He is our protector. He is our Father!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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You can’t follow Jesus on your terms!

January 9, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.”
“Which ones?” the man inquired.
Jesus replied, ” `Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and `love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
(Matthew 19:16-22 (NIV))

Some theologians say that this man’s sin was greed. Others say that it was placing something above God. No matter what his sin truly was, there was an unwillingness to give up that sin, for he was comfortable within his sin. He wanted to follow Jesus on his terms.

It is true that Jesus came preaching that God is love, yet, He also wanted people to repent of their sins when they chose to follow God. God does love everyone. He desires for everyone to be saved, yet He does not want them to stay within their sin. Those who say that it is ok to continue to live in sin and be a follower of Jesus are simply not facing the truth of God’s Word.

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

Take a serious look at the last word in that passage. “Repentance.” He does not want us to come to Him and stay within our sin. The rich young man was not willing to repent and turn away from his sin. He wanted his sin to be justified. He wanted Jesus to tell him that he was “good enough” and that his “little” sin was not enough to keep him away from God.

We know that God cannot associate with sin. Sin is direct disobedience of God’s will. God cannot be disobedient to His own self.

Take a look at society today. What do you think of when you see groups of people wanting to change the teachings of the church because they are no longer relevant to today’s society? Basically, they are attempting to do what the rich young man was trying to do. They are trying to validate their sin. They are trying to have the church, which represents Godly authority, change what sin is so that they can continue to live the way they want.

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

Jesus is the Word made flesh. God’s Word does not change. God’s Word speaks of righteousness. If we attempt to change what is considered righteous, what does that truly mean?

Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.
(3 John 1:11 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you do what is right and good in the eyes of God?

January 7, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“”Be just and fair to all,” says the LORD. “Do what is right and good . . . ” ”
(Isaiah 56:1 (NLT))

In today’s society, many people claim to do this, but there is a catch! They are only concerned about doing what is right if it benefits them. Too many people do not consider the good of other people above their own needs.

Think back throughout history.

What events and what people stand out as having the biggest impact in history?

There are two extremes to this answer. Either they were extremely egotistical and selfish and wanted to dominate the world, or they were selfless and extremely giving of themselves and impacted the lives of other people in a positive way. The world has a tendency to remember the extremes. It is easy to see where the extremes stand in perspective. What is difficult to see is where the middle ground, or lukewarm people stand. They can be easily swayed one way or another, but never really make a commitment to do what is truly right and good. They never commit to follow God. They are indecisive.

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
(Revelation 3:15-16 (NIV))

Do you do what is right and good in the eyes of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you found goodness, refuge and peace?

September 13, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The LORD is good,
a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in him,
(Nahum 1:7-9 (NIV))

How many things in this life can you honestly call good? Think about that question and then think about how Jesus responded when he was called “Good teacher.”

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good–except God alone.
(Mark 10:18 (NIV))

Jesus did not even consider Himself to be good. Even He drew His strength and His grace from God. If Jesus, who was God with us, drew His strength from God, why do we turn to any others to fill a void that only God can fill? Why do so many people turn to other things or to other people when they need help? Why do they turn to others when they need grace and mercy? No one can grant these things except for God.

Who can grant complete refuge? Who can grant complete grace and mercy? Who can be trusted completely?

In our frail human condition, we turn to many things to try to fill the void that seeks goodness. For many people, instead of finding refuge, they fill the void with the wrong thing and find the trouble that they seek to avoid. The only true goodness is God. The only true refuge is God. The only true peace is God.

Have you found goodness, refuge and peace?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The Body of Christ should know better!

August 1, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
(1 John 4:11-12 (NIV))

I sadly know why the world looks at the church and calls us hypocrites. I have seen grudges and anger within the confines of the walls of many church buildings that could easily rival the feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys.

I have to have it my way or it’s no way!

I refuse to speak to that person!

Who do they think they are? My family started this church.

I’ve been here all my life. I’m not going to let someone come in and change what we have.

I’ll just be mean to them until they leave.

They don’t look and act like us. Maybe they will leave.

Have you ever thought or said anything like this about your local congregation?

What if Jesus had said that about us? What if He had said things like this about you?

Does God live in people who think or act like this? Think about that question and your thoughts and actions. Are you convicted of being arrogant and prideful, angry and obnoxious, hateful and back stabbing? None of these traits sound anything like love.

What would Jesus think?

What would Jesus do?

I honestly do not believe that He would condone this type of behavior. If we are His Body, why would we condone it? Why we would do it? This is the type of behavior that drives people away. It is not rooted in love. It is not rooted in the Fruits of the Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Personally, I do not see back stabbing, hate, meanness, anger and pride as one of the characteristics listed. Why do so many members of the Body of Christ think that they are?

We should know better!

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
(Galatians 5:24-26 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We should strive to sow things that please the Spirit

May 6, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
(Galatians 6:7-8 (NIV))

I am sure that everyone has heard the old saying about sowing wild oats. In light of this passage of scripture, what do you think of that saying now? Is it ok to sow a little wild oats and not reap the consequences, or do any and all actions that go against the will of God result in destruction?

The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
(Matthew 3:10 (NIV))

When we sow, we are preparing to bear fruit. What fruit do we bear when we sow anything contrary to God’s righteousness? If we sow contrary to God, then our fruit will mature contrary to God and it, along with the sower, will be thrown into the fire.

We should strive to sow things that please the Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Take a good look at what you are sowing. What will it yield when it matures? Will it please God or will it be thrown into the fire?

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