How do you love?

December 1, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even `sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even `sinners’ do that.
(Luke 6:32-33 (NIV))

Exactly what is love?

Do you have a perception of love as a romantic feeling between a man and a woman? Perhaps you have a deeper understanding and realize that it is the feeling a parent has for a child. Perhaps you may even say that it is a feeling of concern for someone else’s well being.

The key word to each of these ideas about what love is can be broken down to one simple word – “feeling.”

It is easy to feel something for those who feel something for you. In essence, you love because you are loved. This is a form of love, but what happens when someone hates you? It requires more than a feeling, for when someone hates you, it is human nature to return like feelings. It requires a commitment. It is at this point that love becomes a decision. It becomes a willful act even when you know that your willful act may not be returned. In essence, you choose to love even when you may not be loved in return. It is at this point that you start to understand how God sees love.

Love is not a feeling. It is a commitment even when there are no feelings.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV))

What is love?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you love this world and the sin that it brings?

November 13, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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 12:25-26 (NIV))

Love and hate may seem to be extreme terms for the gift of life that God has given. How can Jesus say that we must hate something that God has given us?

Take a serious look at how God had intended for life to be. He placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden where they had to do no work or had no pain. It was through sin that they were forced to leave the Garden and enter into a world of hardship and toil.

We are not living life as God intended. Jesus came to show the way for us to get back to the original plan for life. If we hate this life as instructed, we long for a better life. If we love this life, then we have accepted the sin that has come into the world. We can be thankful for the life that God has given us, yet at the same time, long for the life that God intended for us.

Be careful not to confuse thankfulness with love of this world. We, as believers, have a much better life promised to us.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How do you love?

June 7, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.
(1 John 4:20 (NAS))

Just as God can see into the hearts of men, we must see into our own heart. God can see our hearts better than we can, yet we unceasingly try to tell God that we love Him. Jesus told us when asked:

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

This is the first and greatest commandment.

And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
(Matthew 22:36-40)

If we have been instructed to love our neighbor as ourself, yet hate your brother, then we are not doing the Will of God. Those who truly love God will earnestly seek to do His Will in all that they do, including loving those whom the world says we should not love.

Do you love as the world loves or as God loves?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Which man are you like?

September 16, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value.
(Proverbs 10:20 (NIV))

Consider two men.

One does not know the Lord and seeks after only his own desires no matter what the consequences. This person becomes more self centered and less compassionate as time passes. He thinks less and less of others except for the way that he can use them to further his own desires. By putting himself first in all matters, he alienates any true friends that he may ever have. No one can trust him. No one desires to be with that person. It becomes a viscous cycle in which the more he is self centered, the less people desire to be around him, and the more he rebels and says to himself that he doesn’t need people. This drives his heart to be more hardened and wicked, which eventually leads to this person cursing God or blaming God for his short-comings.

The other has placed Jesus Christ at the center of his life and allowed the Holy Spirit to inhabit his heart. His life is filled with the fruits of the Spirit and this shows in all aspects of his life: speech, actions and works. He is joyous all of the time because he has realized that nothing on this earth can make him happy. True happiness comes from knowing Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. Once this realization is made, this person will seek to do God’s Will for his life. By seeking God’s Will, this person opens himself up to the righteousness of God and the wisdom that accompanies this righteousness. Everything that comes from this person’s life will be God focused and beneficial to others.

Can you think of people who fall into both categories? In this imperfect world that man has allowed Satan to take control of, it is impossible to be truly righteous without God in your life. Reflect on the people that you have known that fall into the two categories. Who would you rather associate with in all aspects of your life? Who would you like to use as a role model?

Which man are you like?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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July 20, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
(Mark 3:24-25 (NIV))

Truer words cannot be spoken, especially when you consider our country and our world in today’s circumstances.

In my lifetime, I have seen things change so rapidly, yet, not all change has been good.

One thing that appears to have changed for the worse is the deep divisions that are now so prevalent between people.

It used to be said that people could disagree and then put their disagreements aside and be friends. Now, if you disagree with someone, it is as if you are personally attacking them. There is too much selfish ego involved and no thought given to the simple fact that we are all human, and no one is perfect. Not a single one of us is right on everything. In fact, I think that I can safely say that most of us are wrong more times than we are right.

Are we so willing to alienate and create division when perfection is out of our grasp?

I understand the desire to create policies that take care of those who can’t take care of themselves. I understand the need to defend ourselves. I understand the need to be responsible to God, to others, and to ourselves.

I understand the need to be good stewards.

We must look upon everything that we have as a blessing from God and not as if it were ours to take and do with as we please.

Have you ever thought how history will look upon us?

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: ‘From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to selfishness; From selfishness to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.'”
– quote attributed to Alexander Fraser Tytler (1747?1813)

I am not trying to be political, but rather bringing something to light. We, as a society have become far too divided, with far too little common ground in the middle. For a country that was founded on freedom of religion, it has now come to mean freedom from religion in the eyes of far too many people. Our ancestors fought to break the bondage that tthey were under. Jesus died to free us from the bondage of sin and death. Why are we headed back into bondage?

This must change.

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV))

It is time to return to prayer and earnestly seek God’s face. We must turn from our wicked ways and pray that God will heal our land. We must pray that the words of Alexander Fraser Tytler, through God’s grace, will not come true.

Although, there is something else to consider.

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
“The owner’s servants came to him and said, `Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
” `An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, `Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
” `No,’ he answered, `because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ ”
(Matthew 13:24-30 (NIV))

Is the world becoming divided, even polarized, in preparation for this to be fulfilled?

Whether this division is man made or all a part of God’s plan, we, as His church must pray, for without prayer, we are lost.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you have the right to hate?

July 14, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
(Matthew 5:43-45 (NIV))

Did Jesus have the right to hate His enemies?

Let’s face the facts. Judas betrayed Him. The crowds turned against Him. The Roman soldiers beat Him and crucified Him. They nailed Him to a cross. They pierced His side. By all human standards, He had every right to hate His enemies.

What did Jesus do?

He went against every human reaction that you or I would have ever had.

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
(Luke 23:34a (NIV))

Even after suffering all the humiliation of the cross, He still loved those who had nailed Him to that cross. Grace is an amazing thing, for it flies in the face of all conventional wisdom and does exactly opposite of what is expected. Jesus could have hated those who did this. He could have spoken a single word and their very existence would have ceased. Instead, He allowed everything to happen so that everyone could experience grace. Even though people meant to do Him harm, He did not stop loving them. He knew that what He faced would mean the difference for millions of people throughout history. He loved those who hated Him.

The next time that someone tries to harm you, remember grace and ask yourself, “What would Jesus do?”

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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