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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Can we face the world with humility?

August 13, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.
(1 Peter 5:6-7 (NAS))

In today’s society it is hard to be humble, even when you desire that with all of your heart.

Humility asks us to place others first and think of ourselves as a servant. This is a fine line to balance upon when you must always present yourself as the best in what you do just to be able to make a living.

No matter what the world may ask of us, though, we must always keep our eyes focused on Jesus and remember that what God has given to us through Jesus cannot be achieved on our own. When we reflect on this, then the worldly side of us will come face to face with the humility that God desires for us, for we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you truly belong to God?

March 20, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”
(John 8:47 (NIV))

God is calling each of us.

Do you hear Him?

God has a plan of redemption for us if we will only accept it.

Do you accept God’s grace?

Hearing and accepting are vital to your relationship with God, but do you belong to God?

Just what does it mean to belong to God?

Let’s consider your car. It’s only purpose is to serve it’s owner. I realize that a car doesn’t have a choice, but humor me for a moment. The car sits and waits. It has no purpose apart from it’s owner. Without the owner taking control, the car goes nowhere. It is useless. It may look nice sitting in a driveway, but it is not doing what it was designed to do. It may catch the attention of people, but it’s true purpose is lost without the owner providing the direction. Without the owner, the car is empty and devoid of life.

How is your life?

Do you belong to God?

Do you wait for a purpose for your life? Do you have a true direction that is guided by God? Does God’s purpose fill you and give you life?

Are you willing to do anything that God calls you to do? Does He possess your heart, your body, your mind and your soul or have you just given over a little of each? Think about the car once again. The owner can’t truly own the car without possessing the keys that give complete access to everything.

Have you given God the keys to your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Turn to Jesus for the peace that passes understanding

May 9, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
(Matthew 11:28 (NIV))

No matter how tired I may get in my physical body, Jesus will give my soul rest. No matter how tired I may get in my mind due to stress that the world sends my way, Jesus will give my soul rest. Once my soul is at rest, then the weariness of the mind and body will also be put to rest.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10:10 (NIV))

We can’t have life to the full if we are weary and burdened. It is a matter of priorities.

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

If you turn to Jesus as your treasure, He will give you rest. He will take our burdens and help you make it through them. He will give you the strength and the hope to believe that things will get better. Even when you must face the burdens of this world, He will be with you. He will give you peace in the midst of the trouble.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

He will give you rest.

Are you still weary and burdened? Turn to Jesus for the peace that passes understanding.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?

March 6, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“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 (NIV))

I want you to be honest with me. Actually, I want you to be honest with yourself. How well do you keep these two commandments?

We say that we love God, but do we love Him with all our heart and all our soul? That is a big commitment. It is one that takes more than an occasional “Amen” on Sunday. It takes more than simply having a Bible. It takes more than acknowledging God when it is convenient for us. Every aspect, every moment, every breath should be dedicated to God.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
(1 Corinthians 10:31 (NIV))

Is that possible for a sinful creation to place God above all else, after all, we are a selfish creation. We place ourselves above everything and everyone. Most of the time, we would rather ignore our neighbor if we could, yet we are told to love our neighbor as ourself. We are to not only place God above ourselves, we are to place our neighbor equal to ourselves.

Ouch !!!

I fully understand why Jesus answered the question in this way, but why does it have to shake us up, why does it have to rattle our cages, why does it have to make us move outside of our comfort zones? I suppose for the very same reason that Jesus placed God first in the Lord’s Prayer. It makes us think of others first. It makes us think of the well being of all of God’s creation and not just the part that He created for us. He wants to turn our world upside down. He wants us to reach out in praise. He wants us to reach out in prayer. He wants us to reach out in humility, for it is after we reach out to Him and to our neighbor, we realize His great love for us is not just for us. It is for everyone.

“This, then, is how you should pray:
” `Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
(Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you hide in your heart?

February 7, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
(Psalms 119:11 (NIV))

What do you hide in your heart?

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

It is true that people will place what they treasure within their hearts. It is what you think of first, last and most often. What is in your heart is your treasure, and typically people will hide what they do not wish for others to find. We hide our treasures!

What is it that you hide within your heart? What is it that you think of first, last and most often? If you are like every other person on this planet, then you are probably ashamed of your answer. Is it wealth? Is it power? Is it lust? Is it your family? Is it your job? Just what is it that you treasure?

What is it that God wants you to treasure and to hide in your heart?

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
(Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NIV))

We are to treasure God’s Word. We are to think of it first, last and most often.

What have you hidden in your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Lord, help us to walk in Your ways

September 4, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul?
(Deuteronomy 10:12 (NIV))

If God wanted Israel to fulfill these desires, what does He want of us in today’s society?

When this was written, all that the nation of Israel had was The Law. The Law directed the people in what they should do, but it did not compensate for the fact that they could not keep The Law faithfully. If they did not do as was directed by the letter of The Law, they were not righteous in the eyes of God.

Or so they thought it would always be!

Jesus came and taught us that The Law is important, but it is the spirit of The Law that must be upheld. The Law can only show that we are far short of what God has asked us to be, and that we cannot do it on our own.

Now that Jesus has come, the above passage holds even more truth and promise than it did then. Imperfect humanity now has someone to call upon when we fall short of God’s righteousness. We can call upon the name of Jesus by saying that we are incapable of righteousness on our own. We can recognize Jesus as God’s Son, and our Lord and Savior.

Surely, we will all stumble in our walk with Jesus, but He is there to help us when we cannot make the journey on our own. He is there to carry us when we think that we cannot make the journey at all.

Today, we have even more of a reason to do as Deuteronomy 10:12 asks of us, for we now have someone who will help us to fulfill it.

Lord, help us to walk in Your ways, to love You, and to serve You with all of our heart and all of our soul.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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