Are you able to love in this manner?

October 30, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
(Ephesians 4:2 (NIV))

Excuse the language, but have you ever simply wanted to say, “You idiot!” when dealing with certain people?

Be honest with yourself. You probably had someone pop into your mind when you read that question. Honestly, there are just some people that rub us the wrong way even if we try to not let them bother us. But, do they actually make you lose control or is it entirely up to you how you react?

It is said that love is a choice. We can choose to love even when the person is less than lovable. We can choose to be humble and gentle in our responses even when we are intentionally being provoked. We can choose to be patient even in situations where our patience is being put to the ultimate test. We can choose to bear with one another in love because there will be times when we are less than lovable and we will want someone to love us! If you actually stop to think about human reactions, they can all come down to a simple matter of ego and pride. In essence, our reactions are nothing more than our inner attitudes toward others. We think that we know more, or are better qualified to undertake a task. As already stated, love is a choice. It is only one of many, but it is the correct choice.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,
(Philippians 2:3 (NIV))

How do you value others?

Are you able to humble yourself even in the midst of people who are able to press all of your buttons?

Are you able to love in this manner?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you try to trick Jesus?

February 1, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”
(Mark 11:33 (NIV))

I find it funny that those who were supposed to be learned leaders when Jesus walked the earth felt that they had to question Jesus. Some feel that they were trying to get Him to commit blaspheme while others believe that they were simply trying to trick Him. They had no idea just who they were dealing with!

No matter what their true motives may have been, they ended up in a battle of wits. A battle that they were destined to lose! Ironically, people have been trying to engage the Lord in just such type of exchanges ever since. Think about that for a moment. How many times have you heard people trying to negotiate with Jesus? Perhaps you have even been guilty of such an act yourself.

In this story from Mark, the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders tried to get Jesus to say under whose authority He was able to do all that He was able to do. It was their plan to deceive Jesus and catch Him in something that they could use against Him. Jesus knew their intentions and He knew just how to turn the situation around. This was not the only time that Jesus was confronted and He turned the tables.

I don’t know about you, but I come away with one valuable lesson from all of this.

Never get into a battle of wits with the Lord.

It won’t end well for you!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can your requests be considered a test?

January 27, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus answered, “It says: `Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”
(Luke 4:12 (NIV))

How many of us can honestly say that they have never done this?

It is human nature to try and get the upper hand in all things that we do. We like to come out on top. We like to be number one. We like to get the most out of what we do, or at least to get more than the people that we know.

How many of you, when presented with some fantastic news about someone else’s achievements, secretly think that it should have been you?

If we are not careful, we take this to extremes. To be honest with you, even a little is a sin. We covet what someone else has. Now, imagine if that someone else is God.

Yes, we even try to get the upper hand in our dealings with God. We will beg and plead. We will negotiate. We will do whatever we think that we can if it will mean that we come out on top. We will even go so far as to say something like this, “God, if You will only do this, I will serve you. I will devote my whole life to You.”

Sadly, this type of thing happens more often than we care to admit. I honestly believe that most, if not all, of us have tried to make this type of bargain with God.

If this isn’t testing God, then I don’t know what is. We base our faith on what God will do for us first. We base our faith on what we think that God is good for. We overlook the all important and obvious gift that He already willingly shares with all who will simply accept that gift.

I often wonder how God reacts to our feeble attempts to negotiate with Him. Does He roll His eyes? Does He shed a tear for our ignorance? Does He think that we are fools for asking for something that is trivial, when He has already given us the possibility of eternity with Him?

Think about how you approach God. Can your requests be considered a test?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are your strongest desires? Be honest with yourself!

March 11, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you.
(James 4:7-8 (NLT))

This passage is so simple, yet it is so profound. The truths that are presented are things that we must learn to take to heart. We must learn to make them our own.

Have you ever stopped to think about how to be humble before God?

Do you actually have to think about it, or is it within your nature to be humble before the one who created you and everyone and everything else?

Imagine for a moment that you get to meet your favorite celebrity. How would you act in their presence? It is human nature to be humble in the presence of someone that we have respect for. We stammer and stutter and don’t know what to say or do. How can we act like this in the presence of someone who is still only human and not act humble in front of our God?

Resistance is futile, or at least that is what the devil wants us to believe. Humility goes a long way in helping to resist. When you are humble before God, you are able to learn from God. Your attitude toward things that are from the enemy changes. You desire to stay away. You desire to resist.

In the process of being humble before God and resisting the devil, you will naturally draw closer to God.

What are your strongest desires? Be honest with yourself!

Do you wish to present yourself in humility before God? Do you want to resist the devil? Do you want to draw closer to God?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t worry about what people will think

March 5, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
(2 Peter 1:16 (NIV))

To put that in today’s political lingo, they did not put a spin to the story. It is so difficult to believe that someone could simply tell the truth without trying to embellish it for their own gain. Yet, that is exactly what happened. They told it without bias and without having any agenda other than sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.

Perhaps it is a matter of honesty and sincerity. When you tell someone of such a great thing as the power of Jesus and the salvation that He brings, it needs to show through your actions and words that it is true. You cannot deceive someone into believing in Jesus, nor should you even try. Honestly and truthfully speak of what God has done. Do not speak of what you have done, for it is as filthy rags.

Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
(2 Corinthians 4:1-6 (NIV))

Let Jesus shine in all that you do and don’t worry about what people will think.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Godly love is tough love calling for repentance!

February 12, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
(1 John 3:11 (NIV))

I honestly believe that our society has twisted what it means to love each other.

Think about that for a moment. We used to correct and discipline each other because we loved each other. We, as a society, did not want to see each other fall into sins that became habits that became lifestyles. We loved each other enough to try and offer guidance and correction so that no one would stumble and fall. We literally took each other on as a responsibility because we understood the concept that it is easier to guide than it is to recover from a fall. We also understood the consequences of sin, both short term and eternal.

Sadly, in today’s society, we are considered hateful if we try to offer guidance. We are only looked upon as loving if we completely accept everything about each other.

If that is how love works, then we need to be honest with ourselves and admit that we hate ourselves. After all, everybody has something in their lives that they hate. By that logic, if we can’t accept everything about ourselves, then we must hate ourselves.

Human nature proves that statement to be incorrect, after all, self-preservation is a very strong human characteristic.

Godly love is not acceptance, but a desire to see what is best for each other.

Is addiction good for anybody?

Is hatred good for anybody?

Is rebellion against God good for anybody?

Is sin ever in anybody’s interests?

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

Is eternal separation from God good for anybody?

It is for this reason that we must tell people about Jesus, and not the watered down Jesus that accepts our sins without asking us to repent. Jesus showed tough love.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
(Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Honesty and integrity

August 8, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, `Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your `Yes’ be `Yes,’ and your`No,’ `No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
(Matthew 5:33-37 (NIV))

I am not against attorneys and legal agreements, but, what does this say about contracts? If everyone simply followed these truths, would we need to go to such great lengths to protect ourselves and our interests? Think about this. I am sure that many of you remember people who conducted business with a handshake. They made a commitment and they lived up to that commitment. They did not need documents to protect themselves and others. They simply lived by the philosophy that Jesus was teaching.

Take an honest look at society today. How many people do you know who still live by this philosophy? If they make a commitment, they fulfill that commitment. They keep their word. I would venture a guess that these types of individuals are few and far between, especially since the society in which we live now almost dictates to “Get it in writing.”

What have we become?

Honesty and integrity have to be documented, signed and witnessed. And then, if anything arises where there is uncertainty, litigation wrangles over the meanings of the words.

What would you do if God treated us in that manner?

How would you react if upon accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, God says, “Wait a minute. I have some documents for you to sign so that we can make this legal. That way, if you don’t uphold your promises, I can revoke your salvation.”

It sounds strange when you put it in this context. Now, think about the deals and the promises that we make to each other. Do we truly need to show such a level of distrust that we have to swear, or that we have to put it in writing. We need to treat each other in our dealings as God treats us – expect us to do what we say we will do and if we fail, allow redemption, allow a second chance. We are not perfect. We are a fallen race. We sin by nature. But, by God’s grace, we are forgiven. We have been shown mercy. We must extend that mercy to others.

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
(Ephesians 4:1-2 (NIV))

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