Does the Lord have all your heart, soul and strength?

June 17, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
(Deuteronomy 6:5 (NIV))

Do you love the Lord?

Let me ask this in a different way. What are you willing to give up for the Lord? Status? Career? House? Cars? Family? Friends?

Did you cringe at any of these things? Did you find yourself thinking something like, “As long as I don’t have to give up _______!”

What if God called you to sacrifice the thing that you loved most in order to follow Him? Would you respond like Abraham did with Isaac or would you respond like the rich young ruler?

Many people associate the words from Deuteronomy 6:5 with how Jesus responded in the following passage from Matthew.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
(Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV))

If you truly love the Lord, you realize that everyone is made in the image of God. The way that we treat each other is indicative of how we treat the Lord and ourselves. Unfortunately, society’s definition of love means that we embrace their sins. Is this true love? Would you validate your sinful behavior to the point where you are killing yourself with alcohol or drugs and still claim to love yourself? How can we embrace the sins of others when we know that the same sin in our lives leads to death?

We must love as Jesus loved!

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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
(John 3:16-17 (NIV))

Perhaps we should look at this concept through these words. Love the Lord your God as He first loved us – with all of His heart, with all of His soul and with all of His strength. He had the love and commitment to sacrifice His Son to save us! Doesn’t this merit the gratitude and unfailing love of thankfulness?

Does the Lord have all your heart, soul and strength?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to surrender your will to the Lord?

August 14, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
(Isaiah 6:8 (NIV))

Willingness!

This seems to be a characteristic that is disappearing from many aspects of society. Is it disappearing from the people who claim to be members of the Body of Christ? Are we willing to stand up and say that we will go where the Lord sends us? It’s time to be honest with yourself and truthfully acknowledge the last time that you stepped forward when you saw a need or felt the Holy Spirit tugging at you. In hindsight, did you respond in a way that left you sitting there or did you wholeheartedly embrace the unknown for the Lord?

Being willing to respond and carry through with that response often places us outside of our comfort zones. We feel uncertainty when facing the unknown even when it is the Lord who is calling us to go. Think about this in respect to Abram. He heard the Lord tell him to leave the country where he lived and trust the Lord to lead him to a new land. Consider how different the outcome if Abram had simply said that he was afraid and wanted to stay where he was.

The Old Testament as well as the New Testament are full of people who were willing to answer and go. Abram went and we now know him as Abraham. Noah went and built an arc. Moses went and lead God’s people out of Egypt. Jacob went and scouted out the land. David went and fought Goliath. The disciples answered the call and followed Jesus.

We have a choice, but how do you think the Lord responds when we make a choice that is contrary to His calling? The Old and New Testaments are also full of people who heard God’s call and decided not to follow. Jonah ran and was swallowed. He eventually surrendered to God’s will. The rich young man heard the call from Jesus and turned and walked away. We never hear of him again. The two thieves on the cross answered differently from each other. One accepted Jesus and is with Him in paradise. The other cursed Jesus, and . . .

Take a very serious soul-searching look at yourself. Are you willing to do what the Lord asks?

Are you willing to surrender your will to the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you chosen life through the Lord?

August 12, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
(Deuteronomy 30:19-20 (NIV))

These words were spoken long ago. So long ago that it has now become popular for many “scholars” to doubt that these words, or any other word from the Bible actually ever were spoken. What they doubt is not really the fact that these words were spoken, but the fact that there is truth behind them. A truth far greater than any truth humanity can fathom or create on our own.

Too many people have a hard time believing that there is a God, for they do not want to be accountable to anyone but themselves. They want to continue to believe that whatever they do is all right as long as it makes them feel good. God gave us words to the contrary. He gave them to Moses on Mt. Sinai. If you follow these words, you are promised life. If you do not, you are faced with death. Humanity is not capable of following these words to perfection. We are not capable of following them for more than a few minutes before we stray from their path.

How can we have life if we cannot follow the instructions that lead to life? God has given us a savior. He has given us someone who can, and has followed them to perfection. He has given us His Son, Jesus, to be our intercessor.

We now can choose life and know that our choice will be a true choice. We have a savior. We have a perfect intercessor who has taken all of our imperfections and removed them from us. We now have life and all of the promises that God has given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Have you chosen life through the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Step forward into God’s promises!

May 6, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.
(Joshua 1:3 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to think about what would have happened if the Israelites had not stepped forward to receive what had been promised to them?

I want you to truly think this question through and not just the superficial answer you subconsciously gave as you read the question.

Would Israel ever have existed as a nation in the Promised Land? Would Jerusalem exist? Would David ever have been a king? Would Solomon have existed? Would the temple ever have been built? Without David as king, would that lineage even matter? Would Jesus have been born into this world? Would Jesus suffer on the cross, died and buried? Would the resurrection ever have occurred?

If you stop to think about the promise given in Joshua, it is important to remember that this in actually a continuation of the promise given to Abram as it unfolded with God changing his name to Abraham. The promises that God has given to us are more than just for our immediate gratification. In fact, besides the birth of a son, Abraham never saw the fulfillment of these promises.

We have a different perspective than either Abraham or the Israelites under the leadership of Joshua, but we still have yet to see the fulfillment of all of God’s promises. I actually believe that humanity since the fall from grace is too frail to see fully all of the promises especially since God’s promises are tied to his glory. Think about God’s appearance to Moses. We know that God did not show Himself fully to Moses, but we also know that God gave promises to Moses. The promises that we have today are the same promises that God has given before. The only difference is that we have seen some of the promises come to fruition. This should give us faith to know that the rest will eventually come to fruition.

But what happens when we don’t step forward into God’s promises? I know that we all long for good things for ourselves, but if we don’t step forward to claim what God has promised, we are also impacting others who will follow. Just as if the Israelites had not stepped forward, what will happen if we don’t step forward?

Step forward into God’s promises!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you glow with the glory of the Lord?

July 12, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.
(Exodus 34:29 (NIV))

Very few people have been able to do what Moses did on Mount Sinai. Adam and Eve walked with God before the fall from grace. Abraham heard God call him to a new land. Moses spoke with God on Mount Sinai. The prophets relayed God’s messages to the people and the disciples spoke face to face with Jesus. Even in these examples, only Moses is recorded as being radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. Moses was the only person since the fall from grace to have been in God’s glorious presence. It makes me wonder what Adam and Eve looked like since they walked with God. Were they radiant in their appearance?

Do you long to radiate with the presence of the Lord?

Do you long to spend time in His glorious presence?

Do you long to hear His Word and have it become such a part of you that your very countenance glows with His righteousness?

Do you want others to see this radiance on you and in you and know that you love the Lord?

I realize that I ask a lot of questions, but a relationship with the Lord is a personal matter and the only way to truly build that relationship is to know what you truly desire on a personal level. It is not based on what your parents did. It is not based on what I write. It is not based on what your children do. It is not based on what your preacher says. It is entirely based on your personal desire to spend time in the presence of the Lord. I honestly believe that this is why I love the following verse so much. It reminds me that I am nothing if I do not spend time in God’s presence, if I do not allow the Lord’s grace to overflow onto me, into me and through me.

Be still, and know that I am God;
(Psalms 46:10a (NIV))

Is it obvious to others that the Lord’s radiance is upon you?

Do you glow with the glory of the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Has the Lord established your plans?

January 10, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.
(Proverbs 16:3 (NIV))

What are you doing with your life?

Are you trying to go after wealth and fame?

Are you trying to start a business?

Are you lost and without a focus or direction?

Human nature tells us that we will do what we want to do when we want to do it, but I have a question for you. How is that attitude working out? Are you succeeding or are you spinning your proverbial wheels?

So many of us try to separate our faith from our profession. We have a tendency to segment our lives and we fail to recognize the fact that God did not intend for us to keep our faith at arms length and away from all other aspects of our lives. Our faith, no matter how you may think of it, is an integral part of every aspect of our lives. Our faith should be the driving factor in everything that we do. Faith means that we do not do things on our own. Faith means that we take everything to the Lord to seek His guidance and direction.

Consider Abraham for a moment. Abraham committed his life to following God. God called Abraham to a distant land. Abraham did not know what would unfold, yet he trusted God to establish where he would go. Abraham trusted God. Abraham committed his life to God and God set things in motion that have unfolded and are still unfolding to this very day. When Abraham began, he and his wife were without any children. Today, their descendants are vast. All of this is because Abraham trusted and committed his life to God and God established a course for Abraham’s life that we still acknowledge to this very day.

Be still, and know that I am God,
(Psalms 46:10a (NIV))

It is time to slow down and ask God for guidance and direction. Commit your life to serving the Lord and He will set a path before you that will lead to things that only God has foreseen.

Has the Lord established your plans?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you run out of hope?

September 12, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
(Romans 4:18 (NIV))

Against all hope!

I want to ask a very deep question. This is a question that I have asked myself before and I am sure that many of you have asked it in your lifetime.

What do you hold on to when you have no hope left?

Think about that for a moment.

How do you count hope? Is it as the world defines it based on so called logic and the evidence of things that you can see? If that is how you define hope, then Abraham was a foolish old man. He and his wife were without children and they were already close to beginning three digits in their age. According to the world, there was no hope that they would ever have a child, let alone be placed into a situation where Abraham would be called the father of many nations.

Against all hope Abraham still hoped! Actually, he did one better than hope. He believed! He believed that God would fulfill His promises. He believed that Sarah would bear him a son. He believed that God would provide. Even when, according to worldly standards, none of this could have happened, Abraham believed!

Abraham had faith! In fact, his faith is the perfect example of the definition of faith.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

Abraham was sure even when the world said that he had no hope.

Is it possible for someone who earnestly seeks to follow the Lord to never have any hope left?

Take a look at your life. Take a look at the situations that you have begun to believe are hopeless. Now, I want you to rethink your answer to my previous question. I want you to answer that question with a bold statement.

I will still hold on to Jesus when all worldly hope is gone!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you been redeemed?

July 26, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. But what does the Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
(Galatians 4:28-31 (NIV))

I have read this passage many times. I have always known that the child born by the power of the Spirit was Isaac and that the son born in the ordinary way was Ishmael. In reading this again, I stopped cold when I saw that the passage was saying that Ishmael was persecuting Isaac. I literally froze when I read the next words – “It is the same now.” Those very words can still be spoken today of these two half-brothers. Isaac’s descendants are the tribes of Israel. Ishmael’s descendants are the Arab people.

Upon further reading, something else struck me about the slave woman’s son never sharing in the inheritance with the free woman’s son. At the time, a slave was property. A slave’s son was also property. How could such a person share in the inheritance with the free son?

The slave’s son was born out if sin, We are all born out of sin and are slaves to sin and death.

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
(Galatians 3:26-29 (NIV))

The current situation in the world is not hopeless. We know who is victorious. We also know that those who are lost in the sin of the slave’s son can be redeemed. We are seeing this all throughout the world where the descendants of Ishmael are accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior. We must pray that the redeeming grace through the Blood of Jesus breaks down the barriers and brings together slave and free, Jew and Greek, male and female.

Have you been redeemed?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Pray for the children of sin and slavery!

December 30, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. But what does the Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
(Galatians 4:28-31 (NIV))

We are the children of promise. All who believe in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior hold fast to the promises that He made and fulfilled. Jesus came so that all who believe could be granted salvation. That is a promise for all who are not ashamed to call upon His name.

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
(Romans 1:16 (NIV))

Jesus came as a Jew to the Jews. We who believe in Jesus as Messiah are able to do so because of the Jews. They were chosen as the descendants of Abraham even when Abraham and Sarah tried to make God’s plan come true on their own. As a result, Ishmael was born of the slave girl. According to the customs of man, Ishmael was the first born and everything was rightfully his. God had other plans. Ishmael was not supposed to have happened. Ishmael’s little brother was who God had planned. In the eyes of that society, Ishmael was ridiculed. Satan has used this as a weapon against God’s intended heir ever since. It was used as a weapon when this passage was written. It is being used as a weapon now. Satan is ramping up the attacks.

It is nothing but a family fight manifesting itself in various ways! It is a struggle between the children of the law who are bound to man’s ways and to Satan versus the children of the promise of God. We no longer have to be children bound to the laws of sin. We have been allowed to break the bonds of slavery and claim our place as children of the promise. We, as believers in Jesus, are reborn as children of the free woman. Our sins have been forgiven.

We must pray for the children of sin and slavery. Pray that they will be able to break the bonds that keep them in their slavery. Pray that they will know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Plant a little faith and watch it grow!

January 28, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.

By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

By faith Abraham, even though he was past age–and Sarah herself was barren–was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
(Hebrews 11:1-12 (NIV))

How is your faith? If someone were to write about your life, would it be something that you would be proud to claim? Would it be something that God would be proud to claim? It only takes “faith as small as a mustard seed” for God to use you.

Plant a little faith and watch it grow!

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