What are your reaction times like?

April 20, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,
(James 1:19 (NIV))

It seems that we are always being judged on our reaction times. What I find interesting is the things that we are being measured for. Some of them are important, such as how quickly you can apply the brakes in a car if an emergency arises. Some of them are just ridiculous such as how fast someone can eat a hot dog. Other reaction times can determine your life’s direction and your career choices, such as how fast you can run 40 yards. In the grand scheme of things, we face many things in our lives that are used to measure us for some aspect or another.

For what things do you wish your reactions times to be measured?

Are they the things of this world or are they something different?

If someone were to give us an evaluation based on the things in James 1:19, how would we be rated? Would we be considered quick to listen? Do we honestly hear what is being said? Do we understand and give our undivided attention? Do we hold our tongues? Do we quickly become angry? These are all things where we should strive to improve our reaction times, for when we do, it reflects not only on us, but on the one that we claim to follow.

What are your reaction times like?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How would you react if someone said that they are the Son of God?

May 24, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” But Jesus remained silent.
The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”
“Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?”
“He is worthy of death,” they answered.
(Matthew 26:62-66 (NIV))

How would you have reacted if someone said that they are the Son of God?

Now, put yourself into Jerusalem some two thousand years ago and imagine that you do not have the perspective of history. You don’t know about the resurrection because it hasn’t happened yet. You can simply base all of your decisions and reactions upon the traditions that have been taught to your fathers and to you. Based on these traditions and interpretations of the scriptures, you and everyone you know expects the Messiah to be a strong military leader who will establish His kingdom. With this in mind, you realize that this man does not fit your expectations of what the Messiah is supposed to be.

But that is not the complete picture!

Would you have been wise enough to recognize that God never does things in an expected way? I can only pray that I would recognize that.

Looking back, we have the ability to see that God had told Israel that the Messiah would come to this earth twice. The very scriptures that they read and thought that they understood also pointed out their very actions.

We celebrate the crucifixion and the resurrection, but would our hearts have been open, would our eyes have been open to what God was doing right before us? I often wonder about this and then I become thankful that I have the perspective of history. I may never know how I would have reacted. I may never know if I would have recognized Jesus as the Messiah. I only know that because of the plan that God put into action from the beginning of time, I can, at this very moment praise God for the grace and mercy given to me through the cross.

We may never know how we would have reacted if we were alive then, but we can know how we react today. Does His name bring anger like it did to the high priest, or does His name bring you the greatest joy?

How do you react to Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your reaction?

July 6, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.
(Genesis 39:12 (NIV))

I think that we are all familiar with the story of Joseph in Potiphar’s house. How many of us would put forth such an effort to escape from the presence of sin?

Today’s society puts forth a belief system that truth is relative and that if two people consent to something, then it cannot be wrong. We, as the church, must stand firm in our faith just as Joseph stood firm in his. He knew how God called each of us to live and Joseph had made a commitment to stay true to that calling. Even when sin presented itself in such a way that he probably would never have gotten caught, Joseph knew that it was wrong. He wasted no time in removing himself from the situation. He was more concerned about doing what was right in the eyes of God than he was about the immediate gratification.

Are we like Joseph?

Would we run from sin? Would we leave all modesty behind us because it is the lesser of the options? In other words, are we willing to humiliate ourselves in the eyes of the world because we desire to remain sin free in the eyes of God?

When confronted with the opportunity to sin, what is your reaction? Do you think to yourself that no one will ever know, or do you stand firm in your faith regardless of the consequences?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready for the responsibility?

June 30, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
(Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV))

Moses spoke these words to the Israelites before they crossed over into the promised land. He knew that he would not be going. He also knew that they would confront the current inhabitants of the land that God had promised to them. He knew that in the minds of the people, change and uncertainty lie ahead of them. I am sure that many among the people who heard these words were afraid simply because of what they perceived as this uncertainty.

How would you react if the person who had been your physical and spiritual leader for forty years simply said that I am no longer going with you? And, oh, by the way, the place that we have been promised already has people living there.

I find it interesting that Jesus did something similar with the Disciples. He led them up to the point of His crucifixion and then He told them that He would no longer be with them.

Think about that.

At some point, we must learn to rely on our own faith. We must step outside of our comfort zones and go where we have been led. We have to take the step on our own, for it is a step of faith. If we simply followed all the way through, we would not mature, we would not grow into the person that God created us to be.

We all face uncertainty in our lives. We all face terrifying events. It is at these times in our lives that we must internalize our faith. We must claim it and all that it means as our own. We must be willing to stand firm in what we say we believe. We must be willing to take that step that God is calling us to take.

Think about that for a moment. God is always there. He is that still small voice, but He is not going to push us into anything. He will plant and nurture and grow us to the point that we are prime to step out in faith, but it is our step. It is our action, or should I say our reaction.

Some people never take that step. They are too afraid to venture outside of their comfort zone. Other people will test the waters and halfheartedly go forth. Others will embrace where God has led them to and eagerly anticipate where He will lead them.

Which one are you?

Be strong and courageous!

Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.
(Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

Are you ready for the responsibility of what God is leading you to?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Godly obedience and trust

May 19, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
(John 21:4-6 (NIV))

Do you consider yourself an expert in what you do?

Think about that question for a moment.

How willing are you to take the advice of someone who doesn’t know anything about what you do? How willing are you to even consider doing something differently than what you are accustomed to?

Now, is there something in your life that you are struggling with because you know that God is leading you in a certain direction, but you feel that you are constantly encountering roadblocks and obstacles? Have you stopped to consider that you are trying to fulfill your calling using your own strengths and plans? Perhaps you simply need to step back and accept the advice from someone else.

That is exactly what the disciples did, not only in this story, but in other stories as well.

Every time that they attempted to do something without Jesus, it did not go as planned. When they allowed Jesus to guide, things vastly improved. Fortunately for those who can claim spiritual descendancy to the disciples, they allowed someone else to lead them. They soon realized that they could not do it on their own. They needed Jesus.

What in your life is in need of the guidance that Jesus can give? Is it your job? Is it your family? Is it your calling? Is it a ministry that He is longing to use to spread the Gospel? Listen to that still, small voice. I think that you know the one. It is the one that says “Throw your net on the right side of the boat. . . “ It is the one that sounds foolish, but you just can’t seem to get it out of your mind. It is the one that is calling you to trust in something besides your own so-called expertise.

I once heard a story about how a revival got started. To summarize, many people got together to pray that a revival would start in their town. They met regularly, but with no results. Finally, someone asked after a rather lengthy prayer meeting if anyone felt anything. No one answered. This went on for several more prayer meetings, and still no one answered. Finally, at still another prayer meeting, someone reluctantly said that they felt that they were supposed to hit the table. They said that they had felt this way almost since the beginning of their prayer group, but they felt that it was foolish and didn’t mention it. Finally, they broke down and did what they felt they were being told to do. They hit the table.

Can you guess what happened?

Are you ignoring something because you feel that it is foolish? God is not calling the equipped. He is equipping the called. It is up to each of us to answer that call. He will call you in ways that you may think are foolish.

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

Are you trying to do things your way?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Consequences

May 17, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,
but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked.
Hatred stirs up dissension,
but love covers over all wrongs.
Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning,
but a rod is for the back of him who lacks judgment.
Wise men store up knowledge,
but the mouth of a fool invites ruin.
The wealth of the rich is their fortified city,
but poverty is the ruin of the poor.
The wages of the righteous bring them life,
but the income of the wicked brings them punishment.
He who heeds discipline shows the way to life,
but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.
(Proverbs 10:11-17 (NIV))

Too bad that non-believers do not take these words to heart! Nothing could be plainer than the truth these words speak of.

Today, too many people go about doing whatever “feels good” to them without any thought to the consequences of their actions. If you have ever studied Physics, there is a physical law that states for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. If these people would only realize that what is true in the physical world is also true in the spiritual world. Every time that they do a wicked act or do something that lacks spiritual judgement, then they are storing up equal and opposite actions that will be brought upon themselves. They store up rotten fruits as their reward for their actions. Believers store up abundant fruit that does not rot.

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.
(Galatians 5:22-23)

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you yeast?

April 13, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
(Matthew 13:33 (NIV))

The effects that can be experienced from allowing God into a little part of your life are exponential in nature. Just like a little yeast in dough, God starts to work within you the minute you allow Him into any part of your life.

When you add yeast to dough, it changes the results from a flat, two dimensional, tasteless creation into a vibrant, life giving object that expands to fill the surroundings that it has been given. It expands its circle of influence.

Allowing God into your life is exactly the same. Without God, we are all flat, two dimensional, tasteless and lifeless. With God, through Jesus, we become full of life. We expand, through the grace and mercy showed to us through Jesus, and soon we fill the surroundings that we have been given. We, just as Jabez, expand our circle of influence for God.

Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
(Psalms 34:8 (NIV))

Is it any wonder that the kingdom of heaven is referred to in this way? It only takes a small amount of yeast to change flat, lifeless bread into warm, outgoing, life sustaining bread.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.
(John 6:35 (NIV))

Jesus was filled with God. If He was the bread of life and we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus, then we are to spread yeast into the lives of others.

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

Are you spreading God’s kingdom?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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