What have you put behind you?

March 29, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
(1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV))

Maturity is something that many of us try to avoid. We have a tendency to fear responsibility and we have a tendency to think of maturity and responsibility as being one and the same. In all honesty, they are closely related, but it is possible to be responsible without actually being mature. In essence, maturity can be considered full development while responsibility often refers to accountability. A good example of this is a child who always cleans their room. They are definitely not mature, but they are responsible in certain aspects of their life.

Human nature tells us that we don’t like to be held accountable. All that you have to do is look at Adam and Eve after being tempted into eating the fruit. When God approached them about what happened, blame was placed elsewhere. They failed to take the responsibility for what happened.

If you look at maturity as the ability to recognize sin and responsibility as the accountability to stay away from sin, then we start to get a clearer picture of this passage.

A child will think, say and do things that are less than desirable. Hopefully, as the child gets older, they recognize the childish nature and desire to take on a more mature nature. They decide to leave the old, childish nature behind them in a similar manner to how a person who repents leaves the old, sinful nature behind them. They step closer to maturity by selecting to put things behind them and move forward without that baggage.

What have you put behind you?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you know what you do?

September 28, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
(James 4:17 (NKJV))

Everyone sins! There is no mistaking that one simple truth. However, if you do not know that what you are doing is wrong, then your accountability is not the same as someone who does know that it is wrong. This fact has even been applied even in our justice system. Consider someone who does not have their full mental capacity. If they do something wrong, they are “allowed” a less severe punishment due to their inability to understand and comprehend their actions. There is still a punishment for their actions, yet, it is not as severe as it would be for someone who fully comprehends the consequences.

Knowledge of sin is a knowledge that, unfortunately, we must all have since we are the descendants of a sinful nature. There is no escaping this nature. We can try to do what is good and righteous in the eyes of God, but we will fail. It is a wise person who realizes this and asks for forgiveness. Perhaps that is the test of ultimate knowledge. When we realize that we are not capable of goodness on our own, and that we need forgiveness for the things that we do wrong even when we know they are wrong.

This is why God sent us His Son, Jesus. Jesus is our atoning sacrifice for all of the things that we do wrong. By earnestly calling upon Jesus as our salvation, we have come to the realization of the ultimate knowledge – the knowledge that we are sinners in need of a Savior.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where do you find yourself going?

August 4, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
(1 Peter 2:11-12 (NIV))

Think about this passage for a moment.

Perhaps a better way to look at this is to replace the word aliens with the word tourists.

Let me explain.

The last time that you went on a vacation, did you seek out the sinful areas of the places that you visited or did you seek the places of beauty? A tourist does not go somewhere seeking to find the sin. They go seeking to see something of beauty that is different from what they are used to. Some love to go to the mountains. Some love to go to the beach. Others love to go on cruises, but no one goes looking to find the depravity of the areas that they visit.

We, as members of the Body of Christ, are aliens, we are tourists, in this world. We should not be focused on the sin that has overtaken the world or we may find ourselves falling into that very sin.

We are to remain blameless!

I know that this is impossible in our humanity, for we are all fallen. However, we have one who intercedes for us so that we can rely on His strength instead of ours. When we are facing temptations within this world, rely on Jesus to see you through them. Don’t allow the enemy to trick you into going somewhere that you don’t want to go.

Accountability, fellowship and community are important.

Think back on the tourist concept. When you are a tourist, do you go alone or do you go with other people? Being alone is dangerous. The enemy will recognize that you are alone and vulnerable. That is when sin has the opportunity to arise.

Where do you find yourself going?

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

July 30, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth.
(Jeremiah 9:24 (NIV))

Do you ever boast and brag?

Be honest!

It is human nature to boast about things. Even when we don’t mean to, we have a tendency to boast and brag. If you have ever written a resume or gone on a job interview, you have probably boasted about your accomplishments.

Have you ever been around someone who bragged so much that they were difficult to put up with?

Let’s face it, there is a fine line between being truthful and being prideful. It is a fine line that is very easy to cross.

What happens if someone asks you about your job? Do you tell them that you are part of a team or do you lay out your responsibilities to make it sound like you are the central core to all of the functions that are performed at your office?

What happens when someone asks you about your children? Do you respond with what they are doing or do you go on an on about how they are the center of every activity that they are involved in?

We all boast, but is there anything in our lives that we can truly boast about? Did we create our job? Did we build our house? Did we design our car? Did we teach our children all that they know? We have had a hand in none of these things, yet we boast about them all of the time.

What do you do when you are confronted about your faith?

What do you do when you are confronted about knowing Jesus?

Personally, I find it very disturbing that people do not boast about knowing Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. The Creator of all things, God, the Father, has sent His only Son, Jesus, to save us from our sin. Jesus calls us by name. God calls us by name. The Creator knows my name and He has a plan to redeem me for a full relationship with Him.

If this isn’t something to brag about, I don’t know what is!

Our society has become too complacent, too jaded with God and with Jesus. We have gotten to the point where we simply take it for granted. We are not willing to share the good news. We are not willing to boast about our relationship with the Creator. We are not willing to boast that Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sin! Instead, we boast about things that are trivial. We boast about the football team that we support. We boast about the fish that we caught. We boast about our new car. We boast about everything but that we know and understand our Lord.

Will your car save you? Will your job bring you eternal life? Will your favorite football team pay you when they win?

Boast about Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Watch in hope for the Lord!

February 14, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of man.
(Matthew 24:37-39 (RSV))

Does anyone read this and come away with what I have understood from this passage?

Are we, will we, be so engrossed in our own lives that we completely miss what is going on around us?

Can anyone tell me about the sad turn of events that has our own government pushing for the division of Jerusalem by this April? Can anyone tell me about the growing saber rattling coming from Iran and their move to place armed naval vessels just off of our coast?

I hate to say this, but more people can probably tell me about the latest escapades of Justin Bieber than they can tell me about the current state of our own government.

Ignorance is not bliss!

We, as the Body of Christ, are called to be salt and light to a dark and dying world. How can we be doing what we are called to do if we don’t know what is going on in the world? How can we pray against the prince of this world if we are blind to his actions? How can we share the Gospel of Jesus if we don’t know the urgency of the message? How can we call ourselves followers of Jesus if we don’t live by His teachings?

We are to be prepared!

We are to be vigilant!

We are to be watchmen!

Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices;
together they shout for joy.
When the LORD returns to Zion,
they will see it with their own eyes.
(Isaiah 52:8 (NIV))

Sadly, we have grown complacent in our efforts. Still, we must persevere!

The best of them is like a brier,
the most upright worse than a thorn hedge.
The day of your watchmen has come,
the day God visits you.
Now is the time of their confusion.
Do not trust a neighbor;
put no confidence in a friend.
Even with her who lies in your embrace
be careful of your words.
For a son dishonors his father,
a daughter rises up against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law–
a man’s enemies are the members of his own household.
But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD,
I wait for God my Savior;
my God will hear me.
(Micah 7:4-7 (NIV))

Do you still watch in hope for the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Keep your way pure!

January 8, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Thy word.
(Psalms 119:9 (NAS))

In today’s society it is easy to stray from what should be done into what is detestable in the eyes of God. With all of the influences of our society taking their toll on practically every aspect of our lives, it is difficult to stay away from these very things that are begging for our attention. People growing up today face problems that previous generations did not even dream about. It is our responsibility to provide a strong presence and grounding in the faith for those who are trying to keep pure. This requires knowledge of God, His Son Jesus Christ, and God’s Word. Test everything against these as benchmarks. If they do not pass these tests, then it is something that will eventually lead to destruction. Provide guidance to anyone and everyone who needs it. Do not turn from someone in need because of their circumstances. No one is above the possibilities of falling. No one is above the bounds of grace and mercy that God has granted us through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.
(Philippians 4:8)

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

August 29, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
(Revelation 2:7 (NIV))

Are we listening?

Do we, as the Body of Christ, truly listen to the Spirit? Are we aware of what is going on in the world around us and how it relates to God’s timeline? Do we see things that make our spirits groan because they go against everything that we know to be true according to the Word of God?

Or do we simply ignore the world and the Holy Spirit? Do we live in our own little bubble oblivious to everything else?

Are you more worried about the score of the football game or are you worried about those who are still in need of God’s grace and mercy?

Do you watch the news and think to yourself that these sheeple had it coming to them or do you see lost souls in need of a savior?

Do you feel an inner tugging and an inner cry for God to restore His order?

Do you see the world and pray for the lost?

Do you see humanity and cry out to God to touch the hearts of people?

Contrary to what many believe, the church is not a social justice organization. Don’t misunderstand what I am saying. The church, the body of true believers, is to reach out to the sinners. We are to be the light on the hill that shines the way to Jesus. The church has one mission – to share the grace and mercy that God has given us through Jesus. If any of our undertakings as the Body of Christ do not have this as priority one, then the priority is wrong. We can minister to the homeless. We can minister to the widows and orphans. We can minister to the homosexuals as we are called to do, but the minute our ministry loses Jesus as the focus, it is not a ministry of salvation. It is a ministry of social justice.

Do you hear the Holy Spirit? Do you follow the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit will never lead you to anyone else than Jesus. The Holy Spirit will never lead you to condemn people. The Holy Spirit will lead you only in the paths that follow God’s Word. The Holy Spirit is that still, small voice. He is not the loud anger the dwells within us at the sight of injustice.

The Holy Spirit is trying to reach the churches.

Are we listening?

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