Have you been called?

June 6, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28 (NIV))

Our lives are not meant to be easy. When we face something out of the ordinary, our first reaction is to think of ourselves and what it will mean to our way of life. They should have the exact opposite effect. We should rejoice in the knowledge that Jesus is with us through these times.

Everyone goes through things in their lives. We, as believers, are no different. We, as the Body of Christ, have been told that we will face things in our lives.

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))

The world has been turned over to sin, yet, if we place our faith in Jesus, we will see our lives brought to perfection. We will see our faith brought to maturity. We will see our salvation brought to completion! I don’t know about you, but these sound like good things that God is working in our lives.

Have you been called?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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I don’t ever want to be like this again!

May 25, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.
(Titus 3:3 (NIV))

Do you ever look back at your life before you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior?

No matter how “good” you may have been, it was a far cry from what we have been called to as followers of Jesus. In this current state of our faith, we are by no means mature and perfect. We still have human nature to contend with. We still have times when we fall and find ourselves having moments that remind us of this passage. No matter how close we try to follow Jesus, on our own we are still unclean.

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, we have been saved by grace. We have been saved from ourselves. We have been saved from our sinful nature by the only one who is perfect.

I know that I am far from perfect. I know that I have a long way to go. I know that I am being matured in the image of Christ. I also know that what I was is someone that I don’t ever want to be like again!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you effective and productive?

March 15, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(2 Peter 1:5-8 (NIV))

Are you increasing? Are you growing? Are you maturing in your faith?

Looking back on my own faith journey, I can unequivocally say that I have grown, that I have matured in my faith over the course of my lifetime. I can also attest to the concept that we will never reach complete maturity while we are on this earth. I learn so much each and every day. I can read the very same passage that I read yesterday and discover new insight in the very same words. Nothing has changed in the words. The only thing that has changed is my comprehension of God’s ability to open up His Word into a whole new revelation.

Think about that in relationship to your faith and maturity. Think about your understanding in relationship to God’s unlimited understanding!

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

Doesn’t it make sense that we, in our limited understanding, would need to increase in our ability to understand? Doesn’t it make sense that we increase in our ability to understand by increasing our faith? After professing our faith, we increase our faith by striving to increase our righteousness, our goodness, in the eyes of God. We accomplish this by seeking His knowledge and by learning righteous self-control. We learn to persevere even in the face of adversity as we strive to mature into the likeness of Christ, who embodied true love in order to offer salvation.

None of us are there, yet, but we, as members of the Body of Christ, must strive to be effective and productive in our knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Are you effective and productive?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are the things of God clear to you?

August 9, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.
(Philippians 3:15 (NIV))

I know that this passage was written by Paul to explain that what we hold important in our physical lives has all been turned upside down by Jesus. This comes right after Paul told the church at Philippi about his former standing as a Jewish citizen where he was considered a member of the elite. It comes right after Paul telling them that his old priorities no longer mattered and his new top priority is knowing Jesus.

Are you willing to profess such a bold statement? Are you willing to give up everything that you used to hold dear and follow Jesus?

The passage above reflects Paul’s decision and his desire for believers to mature in their faith and seek Jesus as their new and only priority. However, I find it interesting that these very words also serve to instruct people to seek not their interpretation of God, but the truth as it is written in His Word. It is human nature to read something and take it completely out of context to the point where we see what we want to see. Paul, in his wisdom, told us that if we don’t understand something the way that God wants it to be understood, keep studying. Keep praying. Keep seeking God and He will open our eyes to the true meaning of what He is saying.

We don’t want our spin on God’s Word. We don’t want society’s spin on God’s Word. We want to know God’s Word through His heart and His mind.

Are you willing to allow God to make things clear to you?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you accept the hard teachings?

July 25, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
(John 6:60 (NIV))

We don’t have the market cornered today on not being able to accept some of the teachings of Jesus. Many of those who heard the words straight from Jesus had much difficulty with many of the teachings. Why should we think that we would be any different?

In any classroom or subject of study, there will always be certain concepts that are more difficult than others to understand, accept and apply. This is true no matter what the subject, whether it is algebra, philosophy, medicine, or religion. Each subject has concepts that are easily grasped and applied, and at the same time, each subject has concepts that are difficult to grasp and apply. If everything were easily mastered, we would not have the satisfaction of a job well done when we do master a particularly difficult task.

The same is true of the things that Jesus taught us. Some things we can accept and apply almost instantly, while others we would prefer to ignore. We must not ignore the difficult teachings. It is these teachings that help to mature us in our faith. Perhaps it is also a maturation of our intellect as well, for the wisdom that comes from mastery will often lead us to understand and apply even more difficult teachings.

It is human nature to want to shun the difficult. We often take the path of least resistance. What do we get for this lack of effort? We do not get what God wants us to get. The next time that our human nature takes over and we want to ignore the hard teachings, we must remind ourselves of the nature of God’s Word.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV))

Are you open to the hard teachings?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Guidance and maturity

October 15, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is happy.
(Proverbs 29:18 (NLT))

Accepting guidance is a sign of maturity, after all, guidance was established for a reason. Most of the time the reason is for the safety and welfare of yourself and others. Other times guidance is used to assist you in learning something more quickly than you could on your own. When we accept guidance, we admit that we are in need of instruction in that particular area. We become willing to submit our intellect and ego to the authority of another.

Divine guidance is the same. We must be willing to submit to the Word of God and take it to heart. We must reflect upon the words of truth that God has placed in our hearts, meditating upon them as we go about our daily lives. We must partake of the the very substance of their fiber. We must eat of the Word of God and taste the sweetness of it (Ezekial 3:3). We must take God’s Word into our bodies and make it become an integral part of us.

When we accept God’s guidance, through His Word, we allow Him to come in and instruct us in His ways.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
(Isaiah 55:8(NIV))

There is an old saying that ignorance is bliss. If we are ignorant of God’s Word, what do we honestly have? We do not know God. We will not know the peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7) if we do not know God. Does ignorance sound like it is blissful? If we do not have peace, how can we honestly be happy?

Have you accepted God’s guidance in your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you like on the inside?

July 11, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
(Matthew 23:25-26 (NIV))

How many people do you know that put up appearances? The way they look from the outside is all righteous, but when no one is around, or they are in different company, they are completely different. Jesus spoke of people like this. There were people like that then and there are still people like it now.

What are you like on the inside? Do you change or do you stay consistent in your words and actions? Be sure that your motives are of God on the inside, and then what the world sees will also be of God.

I find it interesting that far too many people only look at the outside. They look at what the world sees. Have you come to the realization that worldly attitudes call for false facades? We try to be perfect on the outside because we, as a society, have been shown a picture of perfection all of our lives. This is a perfection that calls for the perfect body, perfect hair, the perfect job, the perfect house and the perfect attitude all the while we ignore what really matters.

In other words, we are all show and no substance.

What happens when age takes the body and the mortgage on the perfect house ties you to a job that has lost its perfection. Life is not about appearances. Life is not about looking good to the world.

When all of the outside trappings have lost their luster, what do you have?

You have what is on the inside. If you have spent your whole life focusing on the outside, then your world is easily turned upside down. Jesus called the Pharisees out for their teachings, but I think that we can also look at what society teaches us in the same manner.

The old saying, “You are what you eat,” comes to mind. If we fill ourselves with greed and self-indulgence, then we are nothing on the inside but greed and self-indulgence. If we fill ourselves with Jesus, then what are we on the inside?

I honestly believe that when we fill ourselves with Jesus, we bear fruit!

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. 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.
(Galatians 5:22-25 (NIV))

Once again, I think that I need to ask, what are you like on the inside?

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