Are you willing to have your heart tested by the Lord?

August 20, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart.
(Proverbs 17:3 (NIV))

Is it just me, or does this passage make you realize that the things that we all go through in our lives can have a positive outcome or they can have a negative outcome? It is a matter of perspective and attitude. We can look at situations in our lives and wallow in self pity, or we can see the situations as a matter of a learning experience. In fact, everything that we face in this life can be seen as a learning experience.

A wise son accepts his father’s discipline, But a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.
(Proverbs 13:1 (NIV))

Consider the crucible and the furnace. They are necessary tools and steps to bring out the best in the precious metals. If you are familiar with refining metals, then you will understand the possibilities. Impure metals are heated to their melting point. Some of the impurities will burn away due to the high heat. Others will float in the molten metal for the metal worker to somehow separate. Then the molten metal is cooled, and, if necessary, the process is repeated until the metal has had the impurities removed. Now, imagine your life. Each of us has things in our life that are less than desirable in the eyes of the Lord. He refines us. He disciplines us in order to bring out the best in us. After all, aren’t we more important to the Lord than precious metals are to us? He is going to use the tools that He has to refine us, to test the very nature of our heart.

The Lord desires for us to have a pure heart. He calls each of us to Himself, and if we answer that call, He will mature us. He will purify us. He will give us opportunities to draw closer to Himself. The closer we draw to Him, the more we know Him and seek after His heart. When we seek after His heart, our hearts become refined. He desires to purify our hearts. The things that we go through in life will either draw us closer to Him and his righteousness and purity, or they will drive us to the evil desires of our hearts. Personally, I desire nothing more than to draw closer to the Lord. If that means that I must face the refiners fire, I am willing. Are you?

Are you willing to have your heart tested by the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do we still look at things from the same perspective?

September 19, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
(1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV))

Our ability to understand things changes as we mature and grow.

Looking back at your childhood, did you fully understand how things were in the world? Did you know about such things as death and taxes? Did you fully understand the grace and mercy that God showed the world through His Son, Jesus Christ, or did you spend your days thinking about playing and what happens to tadpoles to make them change into frogs?

Just as that tadpole changed, God has planned for us to change and to grow, both physically, mentally, and spiritually. Are you the same as you were when you were six years old? Do you expect to be the same when you are sixty? Do you expect to be the same when you are with Jesus?

Our ability to understand changes just as our bodies change. Perhaps it is this change that makes us more and more grateful for what God has given to us through Jesus! Hopefully, we no longer look at sin through the understanding of a child. Hopefully, we realize the full ramifications of our sin and the eternal consequences that it brings.

Do we still look at things from the same perspective?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you able to rejoice in your suffering?

February 8, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
(1 Peter 4:12-13 (NIV))

It is definitely not human nature to rejoice over suffering!

Who will willingly go headlong into a situation where you know that you will suffer? What if you know that there is another way and that you will not suffer at all? Would you still choose the path that results in suffering?

On the surface, these types of questions seem to be sheer stupidity. After all, everyone likes things to be smooth sailing with no resistance, but . . .

There is always a “but”!

What happens when you look at things with an eternal perspective?

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

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.
(Luke 6:22 (NIV))

There is a time when suffering in this world is a choice that I would gladly make. It is an indication that I have rejected the world and its sinful nature. It is an indication that I have accepted the salvation bought and paid for in full at the cross. It is a sign that I have been rejected by the world just as the world rejected Jesus. It is a sign of faith to choose to face suffering in this world instead of rejecting Jesus and facing suffering for all eternity.

When you look at this passage from this perspective, it brings a whole new understanding to the concept of rejoicing in suffering.

Are you able to rejoice in your suffering?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who or what do you have?

March 17, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
(Psalms 73:25 (NIV))

Do the words of the psalmist echo what is in your heart?

Take a serious look at what is being said in these words.

If heaven is the perfect place and the goal that most people have for their eternity, then proclaiming “Whom have I in heaven but you?” is basically proclaiming that heaven is nothing without that individual in it. That individual is the Lord, our God. If the Lord is not there, then it is no longer heaven. The very presence of the Lord makes it perfect. He makes it heaven. He is the Creator. He is perfection. Nothing compares to His greatness!

What is the earth from this point of view?

It is merely a part of His creation.

Is there anything that has been created that is greater than the Creator?

This passage proclaims that there is nothing in the created order that is desired above the Creator. We all have stuff in our lives. Some people have the right perspective and keep God above all others. Some have made a very bad trade and have placed a part of creation, some of their stuff, above the one who created it. They have traded God for the world.

Who or what do you have?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
(1 Chronicles 16:34 (NIV))

I am going to keep this nice and simple and short.

On this national day of Thanksgiving, what are you thankful for? Where is that thanks directed?

Always keep your perspective and your priorities focused on Jesus!

Happy Thanksgiving.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We may not fathom His greatness, but we can praise Him?

May 11, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.
(Psalms 145:3 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to contemplate greatness?

What did you find yourself thinking about?

Some may think of massive structures such as tall buildings or massive natural wonders such as the Grand Canyon. Some may think of someone from history who had a tremendous impact on the world. Others may think of someone from sports that has set multiple records, while others may think of people who have been shrewd at business and amassed great wealth. It is funny how, in our humanity, we define these things as great, for they are all based on the physical world in which we live. But have you ever stopped to consider the greatness of the One who made the physical world?

We fail to truly realize the greatness of the One who created everything, for our perspective is limited and our understanding is as through a glass darkly.

Think about that using the following comparison.

Consider your perspective if you were an ant. Your world would be the same, but very different. Your understanding of your surroundings would be very limited. What you would consider to be great would be such things as the queen of the ant hill and the actual structure of the ant hill. You would have no concept of anything beyond this perspective. To an ant, a human being is huge. Would you even be able to grasp the concept that the giant mass in front of you is a living being? Could you even begin to fathom such a notion?

I often feel that in our relationship to God, we are the ants. We see things from a very limited perspective. We see traces of what God can do, but we do not truly comprehend the majesty and the greatness of our God for we try to understand Him from our limited perspective. How can we, as created humanity, ever begin to understand the Creator? How can we comprehend His greatness when all we see is His fingerprint on our lives?

Perhaps, the following passage says it best.

“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))

How can we truly comprehend the greatness of the Lord when we stop to consider the truth written in Isaiah? We don’t have the capacity to understand infinite greatness! All that we can do is praise His name!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you compromise to get along with others?

December 7, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

To the angel of the church in Sardis write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
(Revelation 3:1-3 (NIV))

Are your deeds complete in the sight of God?

Have you ever stopped to think about what Jesus was saying to the church at Sardis?

I recently saw something that made me take a look at this from a new perspective.

In essence, this fresh perspective can be summarized by a simple concept – Getting along with others!

On the surface, this sounds like a good idea, but what happens when you compromise your faith to get along with others? What happens when you compromise what God has instructed you to do in order to get along with others? My first reaction to this concept can be summarized by the bumper stickers that I am sure that we have all seen telling us to coexist with other religions.

This is where we, as the Body of Christ, must be extremely careful. There is a difference between coexisting and compromising. We are facing some very severe pressure today to coexist, but in reality, they are asking for us to compromise. To some, it may seem insignificant, but in the eyes of Jesus it is a major issue.

A good example of this compromise can be summarized by this passage.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

Do you believe that Jesus is the only way to the Father or do you believe that He is one of many ways? Do you believe that Jesus is the only way for everybody or do you believe that He may not be the way for some people?

John 14:6 clearly states that no one comes to the Father except through Jesus. If you have allowed a different teaching to influence your life, then you have compromised. If you believe that it is ok to follow the world and only turn to Jesus once a week, then you have compromised.

Following Jesus is a tough road to travel. There are many distractions along the way. There are many paths that look good in the eyes of the traveler, but are a compromise in the eyes of Jesus!

Don’t let the world distract you and don’t compromise what you know to be true!

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