Do you desire to be holy?

January 11, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
(1 Peter 1:15-16 (NIV))

When you were growing up, was there someone whom you wanted to be just like?

We all have people that are role models for us at various times in our lives. As we grow and mature, some of these people lose that place while others step in to fill the void. Even so, there is something about each of these individuals that fill a need, that fill a hole in our lives at a certain time. Some of us looked up to one or both of our parents. Some looked to a certain grandparent as the role model. As we matured and our interests took on their own personality, we soon began to look upon individuals who had made a name for themselves in the areas that held our interest. All along the way, we saw something in each of these individuals that we recognized as unique and worthy of emulating.

What characteristics caught your attention?

For some, it is such traits as love and kindness. For others, it is a steadfast focus on the goal. For some, it is the willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed in the area of expertise.

When I read today’s passage, something made me realize that we have been seeking to emulate the wrong role models most of the time. Think back on those whom you desired to be like. Did they focus on Jesus? Did they strive to be holy and to bear fruit that reflects that holiness?

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))

I know that we have a tendency to reference these traits quite often, but do we truly stop to reflect on the source? If you notice that Spirit is capitalize. This references the Holy Spirit aspect of God. These are traits that we should recognize as holy. These are traits that we should desire to emulate. We have been given instructions on how to be holy!

Do you desire to be holy?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Only God needs to know!

October 11, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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 6:3-4 (NIV))

It is human nature to brag about the things that you do, especially if they will be considered good by someone else. The sad thing about this trait is that we all do it. We all like to toot our own horn. We like to draw attention to ourselves so that others will see the good things that we do.

If this is how we do the things that we do, then what are the true motives for why we do the things that we do?

Jesus made it clear that if we do something so that others will see it, then that is our reward. It appears that He is saying that we have done it for selfish gain. We have done it so that we can receive the praise of others.

Is that why you do things?

But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
(Matthew 6:17-18 (NIV))

When was the last time that you did something in secret? Was it difficult to not tell someone? Did you eventually break down and tell someone?

Contrary to human nature, we don’t have to try to be better than everyone else. All that we have to do is be better than our sinful nature. No one needs to know of the good things that you do.

Only God needs to know!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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There is always more to God’s story!

September 14, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
(Jonah 2:10 (NIV))

Do you think that you know the story of Jonah?

I thought that I did, and much to my surprise, there was more that I didn’t know than I did know.

We all know that God told Jonah to go to Ninevah and tell the people to repent. We know that Jonah ran from what God asked him to do because he did not want the people of Ninevah to repent. We know that Jonah boarded a boat and ended up in the belly of a great fish. This is where the passage picks up in the story. What we aren’t told in scripture is that the god and goddess that were worshipped in Ninevah were Dagon and Nanshe.

I hope that you pick up on God’s sense of humor when I tell you that the two gods that were worshipped in Ninevah were fish gods!

Imagine the reaction of the people when they witness something that looks like the gods that they worship vomiting out someone who is preaching for them to repent and to turn to the one true God. It would get my attention! No wonder there was mass repentance in the city of Ninevah!

I find it interesting that God will use the false beliefs of people to get their attention and to get them to repent. I was very intrigued when I discovered the additional details about Ninevah. God’s Word is full of hints at His majesty and how He works. I wonder how much more that we truly do not know. I would love to know the rest of all of God’s stories.

There is always more to God’s story!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We are all called to be a witness to His light!

July 19, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
(John 1:8 (NIV))

It would have been so easy for John the Baptist to claim some of the glory, after all, it was John that the crowds originally went to see. It was John and the message that he brought that made the people go into the wilderness and seek his message. When asked point blank if he was the one, he stood his ground. He only claimed to be who and what he was sent to be. He then clearly pointed to where praise, honor and glory needed to go.

John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.'”
(John 1:23 (NIV))

John was sent to prepare the hearts of the people to receive Jesus. He simply stood at a point in time where he would be used to clearly point to the Light that was to come. Everybody who calls upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior should take a lesson from John and pay special attention to his modesty. The only attention that he wanted was the attention given to his message of repentance. Still, people pressed for answers.

Now the Pharisees who had been sent questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
“I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”
(John 1:24-27 (NIV))

John was exemplary in fulfilling his mission, which was to point to the light. He proclaimed that the light was coming and when Jesus came, John stepped aside so that the light could shine. To be honest with you, isn’t that what we, as the Body of Christ, are called to do? We are all called to be a witness to His light! Then we are to step out of the way so that it can shine!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the Lord truly your strength?

July 12, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I love you, O LORD, my strength.
(Psalms 18:1 (NIV))

As believers, that should be our first priority!

Unfortunately, all too often, things get in the way. We allow the world to grab a little corner of our lives and before we know it, we have lost sight of our first love. We allow these things to become our “gods” and they slowly take their unmerited place as our personal priority.

What have you allowed to become your first “love” and priority? Is it work? Is it prestige? Is it money. or fame? Perhaps it is even something that you don’t even wish to admit.

Whatever it has become, now is the time to recommit to the faith and trust that you have placed in the Lord Jesus Christ. Turn from the things that have become your priority and turn toward Jesus. Rebuild your relationship with Him. Relationships require time and attention. Take the time.

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

Spend time daily within God’s Word. Spend time daily in prayer. Spend time daily with God and His Son and you, too, will be able to proclaim that you love the Lord and that He is your strength.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you struggle with humility?

April 4, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
(James 4:10 (NIV))

This is so hard to do in today’s world, especially when everybody seems to seek their proverbial fifteen minutes of fame. If you don’t seek recognition, society tends to look down upon you, to think that you don’t matter. I hate to say this, but this type of thinking has even infiltrated our churches. We are guilty of judging our brothers and sisters in Christ through the eyes of the world. We get to the point where we look upon someone for what they can do for the particular congregation or even for ourselves. We even start to look for opportunities to elevate ourselves within our congregations so that we become the center of attention.

It is so difficult to be humble!

Humility is the act of being humble, of being not proud or arrogant. It is also categorized as having a spirit of deference or submission.

Submission ! There is that word that everybody seems to hate. It carries so much negative context that people feel that it is a derogatory and shameful state of being. I venture to say that we have misunderstood how we are to be humble before the Lord because of the negative context that society has placed upon the concept of humility and submission.

Do you believe that God has created you for a specific purpose and calling? Do you fully understand what that purpose and calling is? Just as a young child must earn the trust of his parents, we must earn the trust of God. A child does not receive the full inheritance from their parents immediately. God is the same way. He will not give us more than we can handle. He will not simply dump the full weight of our calling upon us before we are ready to receive it. Humility before God is simply recognizing His authority and waiting for His will to unfold. It places you firmly at the feet of God in a position open and receptive to whatever He may ask or give. This is not a sign of weakness as the world sees it. It is a sign of strength. It is a sign that the person who strives to be humble is not concerned with what the world may think. It is a sign that you have the strength to defy what the world claims we should be.

No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
(Matthew 6:24 (NIV))

Humbleness before the Lord is a sign to the world whom you choose to serve. What does your sign say?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the Holy Spirit still active in the church?

May 16, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
(Acts 2:1-4 (NIV))

Do you believe that this actually happened?

We, as the Body of Christ, for the most part believe what is written about past events, yet, how many of us believe that this could happen today? We rationalize and say that what was done was to get the attention of the people so that God’s Word could be spread. Do you believe that God’s Word has been spread to the point where He no longer needs to get the attention of people?

Think about that. Is the generation alive today the generation that was alive at the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on that particular Pentecost? God needs to get the attention of a completely new generation, so why do many believers feel that this outpouring of the Holy Spirit is no longer needed? Why would God not show His power to every generation? Why would God grow silent and expect us to do what He is doing?

To me, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit serves multiple purposes, but two stand out to me at this moment in time. The first purpose is to show His power to a fallen world. I honestly do not think that the people who witnessed the first outpouring left Jerusalem and never spoke of what they saw to their friends. They talked to anyone and to everyone telling them what had happened! The second purpose that I see in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is the empowerment of the church. We need to be bold in sharing what we know to be truth. We are to be bold so that we can answer the questions of those who see and do not understand. We are to be bold when we approach the throne of God! God doesn’t want us to be timid in our faith. He doesn’t want us to be lukewarm in our faith. He wants us to be bold and to share His Word.

Do you feel that God is still working in the world? If you do not, why would God turn His back on the generations since the first outpouring? Why would God abandon the very people whom Jesus came to save? Why would God not equip His church to do His Will?

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8 (NIV))

Jesus said that He would send the Holy Spirit as a helper. Personally, I think we still need all the help we can get!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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