Have you returned to God with your heart?

March 10, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Even now,” declares the LORD,
    “return to me with all your heart,
    with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
Rend your heart
    and not your garments.
  Return to the LORD your God,
    for he is gracious and compassionate,
  slow to anger and abounding in love,
    and he relents from sending calamity.
(Joel 2:12-13 (NIV))

The words written long ago in the book of Joel still hold true to this very day. I imagine that they will be true until Jesus returns in triumph to the Mount of Olives. Only then, will it be too late for those who have made the wrong decision.

God wants us to turn from our sin and return to Him.

All too often, we do things that are extravagant in nature because we feel that we must do something of great magnitude, or great outward appearance, so that God will know that we mean it this time. Perhaps these acts are more for ourselves and our neighbors than they are for God, after all, God sees our hearts. He doesn’t need to see the flamboyant antics of someone who will break the promises that were just made. This is why we are told to “rend your heart,” for God sees the heart and He knows when it is truth. We can forever rend externally to ourselves and it will never have a lasting impact. When we rend our heart, it is the very center of our existence. We have made the decision to change from the inside out. Perhaps this is why Jesus spoke about what makes a man unclean.

He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him `unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man `unclean.’ “
(Mark 7:20-23 (NIV))

Have you taken that ultimate commitment to God? Have you internalized the change by changing your heart? Have you returned to God with your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you returned? Are you still returning?

March 20, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.
(Joel 2:12-13 (NIV))

Are you ashamed of where you have been?

Perhaps I should ask if you are ashamed of where you are?

Let’s face the hard, unadulterated truth. We are all human, and human nature means that we are not perfect. We have all done things that are far from what Jesus calls us to do. Most of us like to think that this is all in our past, after all, we have accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior! In reality, we still sin. Our human nature doesn’t go away. We must allow the Holy Spirit to influence our lives, to control the sinful nature that lies within all of us.

We must repent daily!

When we repent, we turn away from our sin and return to God. It is an act of obedience that we must do daily, if not more often, for our sinful, human nature will try to make us return to our sin.

Accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is not the end of your walk with Jesus. It is only the beginning! When you go for a walk, do you ever find yourself making mid-walk corrections and adjustments to make sure that you end up at your ultimate destination. Sometimes you must turn left. Other times you must turn right. Along the way you may have to step over or around obstacles. Sometimes you must turn around or return. Walking with Jesus is much the same way. Our sinful nature will start to lead us down a path that is not right. We must be sure to listen for the call to return to the path that Jesus desires for us to walk.

Have you returned to the Lord to be able to begin anew? Are you returning to Him on a daily basis?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How long do you think that God will wait?

September 25, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Even now,” declares the LORD,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the LORD your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.
(Joel 2:12-13 (NIV))

How long do you think that God will wait?

He wants us to return to Him, yet with each passing day the world gets further and further from His Truth.

Where do you stand?

Are you getting further away from God?

Are you still in the same place you were when you first believed?

Are you taking two steps toward Him and one step back?

Are you running in His direction?

Or, are you walking by His side?

There are days when I feel that I can claim to be actively doing all of these. There are things that just seem to make me question what I am doing, and then something wonderful happens and I find myself closer than I could ever imagine.

Even so, I find myself wondering how God can be so patient with me. I just know that I am glad that He is.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must return to God and His Commandments!

May 2, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
(Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (NIV))

We, as a country, have gotten away from this very important truth. Too many years ago, the United States Supreme Court said that we had to remove the 10 Commandments from our classrooms. Look at what has happened since then. We must turn back towards God and His Word and then we must teach our children the value of His Word, and we must pray.

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:13-14)

We must return to God and His Commandments and pray for the nation to return.

Do you follow God’s Commandments?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you made heaven rejoice?

February 10, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
(Luke 15:7 (NIV))

God does not wish for any to perish. He rejoices when one who is lost is found. If you have something of value, and you know where it is, you have no reason to rejoice. If that same thing is lost, you are extremely happy when it is found. God is the same when it comes to sinners who repent and turn to Him.

Have you made heaven rejoice?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Has the thief stolen too much from you?

January 21, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“But if a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die. None of the offenses he has committed will be remembered against him. Because of the righteous things he has done, he will live. Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?
(Ezekiel 18:21-23 (NIV))

God rejoices even when a person who has sinned his whole life repents and performs one righteous thing before death !

Don’t take this statement to mean that we can live our lives with little or no regard for righteousness and then turn to God right before we die. There is no guarantee of tomorrow. We may never get the opportunity to repent of all of the things that we do. It is true that some people have that opportunity, for they do not die a sudden death. However, Satan rejoices when he can cause one of us to miss out on salvation. We literally miss the mark that God has created for us and we miss out on the promises that He has given to us.

Too many people think of sin and salvation only as being able to have eternal life with God. They do not realize that God blesses now for our attempts at righteousness. These attempts show a desire to walk with Him. They show a desire to love as He loves. They show a desire to learn and mature. Righteousness is not an outward task, but rather it is an inward desire. It is a desire that drives us to seek after God’s own heart. When we seek after His heart, we put the sins of the world behind us. We turn to the One who created the world. We tell Him that we desire to be as He created us.

For those who repent upon their death bed, I know that God rejoices, but I also think that He is saddened because of all of the missed blessings that He desired to give them when they were alive.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10:10 (NIV))

Has the thief stolen too much from you?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Innocence or sin?

May 30, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.
(Matthew 19:14 (NIV))

Innocence and innocence betrayed! We were once little children in the eyes of God, innocent and very willing and eager to climb onto the lap of “Abba, Father.” Our innocence also lead to our fall from this peaceful existence into a life of sin and death. Our innocence was used against us by Satan in order to get back at God. Satan wanted to be God, and in his attempt at getting his desires, he was cast down from heaven. In his anger, he deceived humanity in our created innocence and now we are no longer innocent in the eyes of God. We are no longer those children who could sit on the lap of our “Abba, Father.”

Reading the words written in Matthew 19:14, I can’t help but wonder if Jesus was trying to tell us to come back to God as we were before the fall from grace, innocent and naive about the deceiving nature of sin. Deceit and distrust are a learned characteristic, as are honesty, truth and righteousness. We can be taught either characteristic, but, it is an attitude that actually makes us turn towards one direction or another. Little children are trusting by nature and have not learned to be wary of anything. When it comes to God, we need to trust wholeheartedly as a little child. When it comes to Satan, we must be wary of all things and have the wisdom of his ways so that we can avoid him.

Which attitude do you wish to have? Do you desire to have the innocence that God desires for you, or do you desire the wisdom of sin that Satan uses to trap? It is your choice!

Innocence or sin?

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