What are you devoted to?

August 29, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
(Colossians 4:2 (NIV))

Do you feel that you are different from the crowds who are easily swayed? One day they are devoted to a political party. The next day they are devoted to a sports team. The next day they may be devoted to the music artist who is coming in concert. They are like the tall grass in the field, blown this way and that way and never truly making a stand or a permanent commitment to anything.

I pray that you are different!

To be honest with you, I pray that I am different.

To be devoted to something means that you are loyal to it and that you are dedicated to it. With this definition in mind, what are you truly devoted to in your life? Many people will quickly say that they are devoted to family. Many will say that they are devoted to their country. Others will say that they are devoted to their god. There are those who will say that they are devoted to the one and only God. There are those who will say that they are devoted to Jesus.

Are you devoted to prayer?

Most people think of prayer as a request or a petition that is made to God, but in all honesty, prayer is so much more than this one-sided request. Prayer needs to be thought of as a two-sided conversation in which both parties are having a conversation. It is essential to remember the basics of a conversation. Each party talks and each party listens intently. It is not a list of demands by one party, us, and the other, God, nods in subjugated agreement. Conversation is a means of learning and discerning the mind and heart of the other individual.

When was the last time that you simply had a long conversation with God? Don’t you think that you need to talk to God on a daily basis? With the idea that prayer is a conversation with God, don’t you think you need to spend more time in prayer? Don’t you think that you should be devoted to prayer?

What are you devoted to?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How rich is your life?

June 17, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

How happy are those who fear the Lord—all who follow his ways! You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How happy you will be! How rich your life!
(Psalms 128:1-2 (NLT))

Where does your happiness come from?

I can honestly say that I never thought about my happiness coming from fear. I bet you probably didn’t either. If you stop to think about this, it makes perfect sense.

Let’s look at it from a few different perspectives, shall we?

Think about your one worldly fear that bothers you the most. For some, it may be heights. For others, it may be water. You do whatever you have to in order to avoid the thing that you are fearful of. You are happy as long as you avoid what you fear. You respect the thing that brings fear to you and you desire to avoid what brings you fear. You have established ways to avoid this and these ways make you happy.

Now, think about your relationship to your earthly father. I know that not all earthly fathers are good examples of what a father should be. I hope that yours was. You love your father and you know that your father loves you. You still know that if you do something terrible, your father would punish you. Hopefully, you realized this as a fear and lived within godly ways with you family. Your fear of punishment hopefully kept you in a place where you were happy. Hopefully, you were not one who rebelled and lived in anger and rage.

In both of these examples, boundaries were set. If you stayed within the boundaries, you enjoyed the fruit of your labor. You enjoyed the happiness within the safety of those boundaries. You felt the happiness and the richness that life can bring.

Think about your relationship with the Lord. Hopefully you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God loves you. Hopefully, you can say with no hesitation that you love God. His ways are true. His ways are good. His ways are righteous. When you follow His ways, you are inside boundaries that God has defined. These boundaries keep you safe. True happiness and peace can be found inside these boundaries. These boundaries, like the other boundaries that I referred to, are not there to keep you from having fun. They are there to keep you safe. They are there to define the safe areas where you can go. Anything outside of those safe areas can result in consequences that would be extremely bad. Just like a father who would punish you for taking the car when you didn’t have permission to, God will allow the physical consequences of your actions to apply to your lives.

How rich is your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God’s Word truly is sweet to the taste!

January 5, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
(Psalms 119:103 (NIV))

Have you ever noticed how a new bride seems to hang on every word that her husband says? Have you noticed that a loving husband will listen intently to every word his new bride speaks? Unfortunately, this comes to an end. The newness wears off and every day life settles in. Soon, neither party truly hears what the other is saying.

Unfortunately, our relationship with God also starts to take on these characteristics of every day routine. One day we forget to pray and soon we are not reading His Word at all.

We must treat God and His Word just as we did when we first discovered it. We read His Word and eagerly took its wisdom to heart. It truly was sweet to the taste. We must return to that time. We must look upon God’s Word as we did when we were starving for His Truth. We must eagerly taste of His Word.

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

God and His Word are good. They are sweet morsels in a world of bitterness. We must be willing, or perhaps I should say that we must be longing to overcome the bitterness through the sweet morsels that God has so graciously given to us.

Is God’s Word still as sweet to you today as it was when your faith was new?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus is forever my hope and my strength!

November 25, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.
(1 Peter 3:14 (NIV))

With the events that are going on in the world, and the so called experts saying that we are on the verge of World War III, are you prepared to do what is right in the eyes of God?

I don’t want to come across as an alarmist, but as the Body of Christ, we should be aware of the things that are going on in this world and their relationship to God’s Word. I know that I have been saying that things are getting worse in the world for quite some time. I believe that now more than ever. I also believe that things will get far worse than they are. Still, I do not fear what the world has to throw at me. My strength is in Jesus! My hope is in Jesus! I pray that I have the physical strength and the strength of character to always proclaim that Jesus is Lord!

I know that no one wants to suffer, but we must remember the words that Jesus spoke.

“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))

Jesus also told us that we should expect to encounter the same treatment as He was given, both good and bad.

Remember the words I spoke to you: `No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.
(John 5:20 (NIV))

We have so much to pray for with the current state of the world, but we also have so much to be thankful for as well. God will not forsake those who love Him. When things get bad, look to the heavens and call upon the name of the Lord.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What happens when you turn a deaf ear to God?

November 20, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law,
even his prayers are detestable.
(Proverbs 28:9 (NIV))

I came across this verse last night and it struck me in a way that it hasn’t before. Some translations use the word instruction in place of the word law. Either way, it hit me in a way that made me stop. I was reading something that most people don’t even know exists. They feel that God is love and no matter what we do, God will still answer our prayers.

Is this why our nation is in the state that it is in today?

Is this why our world is in the state that it is in today?

Too many people ignore the truth that is God’s Word and they do exactly what they want. All too often, this is is complete contradiction to God’s law and God’s Word.

Think about the following scenario for a moment.

What happens when you are in a relationship and the other person starts to do things that put the relationship in complete chaos. Eventually, they stop trying to do anything that is beneficial to the relationship. Would you trust them? Would you respond favorably to them when they return to you and ask for something. Would you want to see an about face before you would give them what they want?

If we can find it detestable when we are wronged, why can’t God do the same? All that we have to do is earnestly repent and seek His face. I hope that you realize that we can’t do this on our terms. It is on God’s terms. We cannot reject God’s laws and expect to be treated like someone who has embraced God’s laws.

I know that even those who embrace God’s laws can do it for the wrong reason, but have you ever seen someone reject God’s laws and still be in the right?

If we turn a deaf ear to God, will He respond?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What if Jesus decided that He was not fully committed?

May 29, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.
(Hebrews 13:4 (NIV))

Today’s society seems to have forgotten this. Everywhere you look, you see the results of marriages that have seen the effects of unfaithfulness. According to the politically correct way of thinking, many people are saying that it just isn’t working, or they no longer want to be with their spouse, regardless of the consequences on anyone but themselves. Is this just another result of the “me first” mentality that has permeated our society lately? What has happened to the concept of for better or for worse?

What if Jesus decided that He did not want to stay around and fulfill the promise of salvation for you because He needed “space”? He made a committment to be our atoning sacrifice that would give us grace and mercy. He had the most to lose of anyone who has ever lived, yet, Jesus did not stop while He was on the cross and say that he didn’t want to be in this relationship anymore. He stuck with it and did what was best for everyone. It eventually was even best for Him. Perhaps we should focus more on Jesus and each other as a society and not on “me.”

Who do you focus on?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you living according to God’s Word or man’s?

March 6, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

They searched the Scriptures day by day to check up on Paul and Silas, to see if they were really telling the truth.
(Acts 17:11 (NLT))

I am sitting here with mixed emotions. I am amazed at what just transpired in my study and writing and yet, I am saddened by what I was given, for I was given the following question.

Are you living according to God’s Word or man’s?

I then went to my database of scripture verses and this one from Acts came up. The following verse also came up.

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))

Do we spend enough time studying God’s Word so that we can know when something is true? Do we earnestly search the Scriptures or do we simply rely on other people to tell us what God’s Word says?

We are each responsible for our own faith. We are each responsible for our own study. We are each responsible for our own relationship with God and our personal relationship with Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We cannot claim salvation based on what our parents did. We cannot claim salvation based on who our pastor is? We cannot claim salvation based on how much we give.

We can only claim salvation by professing that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. We can only claim salvation when we profess that Jesus Christ is Lord over our lives. We must reject the world that rejected Him!

Jesus is the Word made flesh. In order to fully know Him, we must fully know God’s Word. Can you have a relationship by proxy? Can you claim an intimacy with someone when you only listen to someone talk about them for an hour a week? It takes a commitment. It takes searching and studying the Scriptures. It takes time spent in prayer. It takes time spent reflecting upon God’s Word.

How can we claim to be followers of Jesus when far too many of us don’t even spend the time to get to know Him?

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