Do you long for a pure heart?

December 5, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (NIV))

What is a pure heart?

Do you think that it has anything to do with the following?

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
(Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV))

Perhaps I should ask if you think that it has anything to do with the lack of those characteristics and the presence of the following characteristics.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Perhaps the best way to describe a pure heart is in a similar manner that God used to describe David.

After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’
(Acts 13:22 (NIV))

In essence, a pure heart despises the worldly, sinful nature and seeks the things of God. A pure heart longs to have the same desires that God has in His heart. Is this something that you truly desire? Think about that the next time someone cuts you off in traffic, or the next time that someone takes the credit for something that you have done.

Do you long for a pure heart?

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

August 3, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
(Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV))

How do you live?

Do any of these acts of the flesh still have a hold on your life? To be honest with you, we are only human and are not capable of perfection on our own. Chances are extremely good that all of us fall prey to some of these on a regular basis. Hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy all seem to sneak up on us more often than we care to admit, even if we have the other issues in control. Even when we desire to live a righteous life, our human nature seems to drag us down. For those who have professed a faith in Jesus, we have an advocate who sits at the right hand of God, the Father. I can picture Jesus shaking His head whenever we do something less than what He intends. I can almost picture this as a parent would react when trying to teach their young child how to ride a bike. I can hear Jesus saying to get up and try again, and that we will eventually get the hang of living a life according to His calling. I can also picture each of us, when we do fall, turning to Jesus and saying, “Help me! It’s too difficult. I can’t do it on my own!”

Sadly, too many of us seem to want to hold on to our terrible twos and all of the moments when we defiantly claimed, “I’ll do it!” When you were growing up, how many times did you get spanked because of this defiant attitude?

We have two clearly defined options. One is to turn to Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. With this option, we inherit the kingdom of God. The other option is that we defiantly claim “I’ll do it!” and we inherit an eternity being separated from God.

What is your inheritance?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Lift up your praise to the Lord!

August 18, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the LORD
or fully declare his praise?
(Psalms 106:2 (NIV))

If you stop to think about this passage, there are a couple of ways that it can be understood, and perhaps both of them are correct. One implies the awesomeness of God while the other speaks to the fact that we as humanity have limited wisdom and understanding. I just love how God’s Word is capable of conveying so much with just a few words!

Who among God’s creation fully knows every mighty act that God has ever done? How can we even begin to comprehend the very creation of everything when all that God had to do was simply speak it into existence? We are told that words are powerful, that they can build up or that they can destroy. Our understanding of the power of God’s Word is so small in comparison to what it can accomplish! Can you speak anything into existence? All that we can do is make comments about what God has created. We cannot create!

The flip-side to this is that we, as humanity, as the creation, are limited in wisdom. We look at a beautiful day and we see the blue sky. We see the clouds. We see the trees and we see the majesty of what God has created. Even after all of the time that humanity has been on this planet since the Garden of Eden, we are only beginning to understand how God made everything to function. Each individual person is only capable of possessing just a minuscule amount of knowledge and wisdom when compared to all of the knowledge that can be attained?

When I look around, I see countless reasons to praise God for what He has done. They are everywhere, but there is one reason that far outweighs all other reasons.

“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. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

This is one mighty act of the Lord for which I can forever bring praise!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What has happened to our priorities?

January 22, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.
(Acts 4:29-30 (NIV))

Do we speak God’s Word with great boldness, or have we become complacent in our faith?

The book of Acts tells us of the great things that the early church did. They did them because they had the faith to be bold. They knew with certainty that what they believed was true. They were not ashamed to boldly profess their faith. They were not too timid to stand firm on the promises that they had been given. They were not too engrossed in the trivial issues that surround us in our daily lives.

Sure, they worked to provide for themselves, but they did not become workaholics and so focused on achievement that they ignored what they knew to be true.

Why do we, in our so-called advanced society, lose focus of the very things that the early church boldly embraced? We no longer are bold in our faith. We are bolder about our support for our favorite sports team than we are about the grace and mercy that is freely given through the Blood of Christ. We can spend hours talking to each other about the game we saw yesterday, but we are not willing to even talk about Jesus at all.

What has happened to our priorities?

Are we the church? Are we the Body of Christ? A body is in motion and doing all that it can to make sure that it not only survives, but thrives. Is the Body of Christ in motion? Is the Body of Christ just surviving or is it thriving?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Serve the Lord no matter what!

February 6, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I served the Lord with great humility and with tears, although I was severely tested by the plots of the Jews. You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.
(Acts 20:19-21 (NIV))

The words of Acts are attributed to Luke, the physician. They sound like they could have been written by Paul. Either way, the message is the same. We should take these words to heart when we are facing tests.

We should always strive to serve the Lord in all that we do. We should not alter what we say or how we say it just because we are with different groups of people. Just as faith in Jesus was declared to both Jews and Greeks, we must always declare our faith in Jesus no matter what we face or who we may be with. We must not waiver in our faith. Jesus left us strict guidelines as to how we should always declare Him.

Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.
(Matthew 10:32-33 (NIV))

We must always strive to serve the Lord no matter what our circumstances. We do not want to find ourselves being disowned by Jesus because we were too ashamed to call upon His name in certain groups.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email deliveryBe Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I served the Lord with great humility and with tears, although I was severely tested by the plots of the Jews. You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.
(Acts 20:19-21 (NIV))

The words of Acts are attributed to Luke, the physician. They sound like they could have been written by Paul. Either way, the message is the same. We should take these words to heart when we are facing tests.

We should always strive to serve the Lord in all that we do. We should not alter what we say or how we say it just because we are with different groups of people. Just as faith in Jesus was declared to both Jews and Greeks, we must always declare our faith in Jesus no matter what we face or who we may be with. We must not waiver in our faith. Jesus left us strict guidelines as to how we should always declare Him.

Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.
(Matthew 10:32-33 (NIV))

We must always strive to serve the Lord no matter what our circumstances. We do not want to find ourselves being disowned by Jesus because we were too ashamed to call upon His name in certain groups.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What can men offer in comparison?

December 13, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Be careful not to do your `acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 6:1 (NIV))

Ouch!

Are we guilty of this?

Do we perform acts of righteousness so that others will see them?

It is human nature to want to draw attention to ourselves. We like to “show off” so that others will see us and praise us. We must remember that the things that we are called to do are not considered righteous if we have the attitude that tells people “Look what I am doing!”

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
(Matthew 6:2-4 (NIV))

The praise of people is fleeting. It can change in an instant. It is worthless, for what good does the praise of people do us? Can it bring true joy? Can it bring peace? Can it bring true happiness?

What happens when we realize that the praise of people has stopped? Do we do things to regain that praise? Should we care about the praises of people?

People are fickle. Human nature seeks the next big thing to capture our attention and then we move on. When we seek the praise of people, we seek the wrong reward even if we seek the praise for doing something that is right in the eyes of God.

Think about that statement.

If we seek the praise of people, where do we stop? Do we start doing things that are sinful and outrageous to get the attention? I know that mental health professionals spend countless hours trying to help people who have done just that. What good does it do to receive temporary praise?

God is the only one that we should focus on pleasing!

God’s rewards are far superior to anything that man can offer. Only God, through His Son, Jesus, can offer grace and mercy that is eternal.

What can men offer in comparison?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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