Are you thankful today?

November 23, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
(1 Chronicles 16:34 (NIV))

Now that our national holiday to be thankful is over, we must remember the real reason that we have to be thankful. All that we have is from a single source. Nothing that we have has been of our own doing. All good things come from God. He freely gives them to those who call upon His name in honesty and sincerity.

For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.
(Psalms 84:11 (NIV))

Think back just a few days and remember what you said that you were thankful for. Are those things still in your life? Chances are that they have not been removed. What are you most thankful for? Is it your family? Is it your friends?

Is it your salvation?

We should all be extremely thankful for our salvation, otherwise

“Let us eat and drink,
for tomorrow we die.”
(1 Corinthians 15:32b (NIV))

First and foremost, we should always be thankful for our salvation, for without our salvation, we would have nothing to be thankful for. Our salvation should bring out in each of us an attitude of gratitude for we have been given something that we could not earn! Carry this thankfulness into each day that you greet.

Are you thankful today?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Be careful of where you travel!

November 12, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The one whose walk is blameless is kept safe, but the one whose ways are perverse will fall into the pit.
(Proverbs 28:18 (NIV))

We see the results of people using their cell phones when they are driving, and it is not a very happy ending.

We see the results of people being distracted by their cell phones while they are walking, and many times they are so ridiculous that we can’t help but laugh. Honestly, these incidents are often quite painful for the person involved.

There are many other types of distractions that have less than stellar consequences, and many people seem to be able to commit quite a few of them. Have you ever been distracted to the point where you caused yourself injury? Were you able to recover from this event? Now, what about the distractions that have a different source? What about the sins that distract you and lead you down a life path that leads you away from God’s grace and mercy? These sins can cause so much more damage to your life and your eternal existence than any episode with a cell phone ever could! Don’t misunderstand me on this. I realize that distractions can cause injury and even death. These events even occur to people who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. The sins that I am referring to are those that take you away from recognizing the need for God’s grace and mercy. These result in a ruined life, and, if repentance does not occur, an eternal separation from the Lord, our God!

If you choose to follow the ways of this world and ignore the gift of salvation offered through Jesus, you will travel through this life with the pit of Hell as your destination. If you choose to walk through life with Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, your destination is eternal life in heaven with the Father. The choice is yours! Each day and each step in your journey is a choice. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus and walk blamelessly as you go through this life. The enemy longs to trick you and to make you stumble as you travel. If you take your eyes off of your destination, you will not like the results.

Be careful of where you travel!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you truly thankful that you have been made blameless?

December 21, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Blessed are they whose ways are blameless,
who walk according to the law of the LORD.
Blessed are they who keep his statutes
and seek him with all their heart.
(Psalms 119:1-2 (NIV))

Christmas is rapidly approaching. This is a time to reflect on what God has done for us and reflect on our attitude towards this gift. Do we truly keep His statutes and seek Him with all our heart? This Christmas morning, I pray that you are truly thankful and joyous, celebrating the true meaning of the day.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Know Jesus and know peace!

September 18, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
(Romans 12:12 (NIV))

Does this sound like it is easy to do?

Think about this and be honest with yourself.

It is not human nature to be in a state of hope and to be joyful. Most people associate hope with despair. You are in a bad situation and you hope things get better. It is almost a sure thing to say that this is more of a state of melancholy than joy.

It is also not human nature to be patient in affliction. We want an immediate improvement in our affliction. We don’t want to wait, and if we do have to wait, we are anything but patient.

Perhaps the one that we come closest to fulfilling is being faithful in prayer. I know that it is difficult to express sarcasm with the written word, but that is what I was attempting to do. If you stop to think about the previous two situations that I described, we might be faithful in prayer when we are in those situations. At least, we might be for a while. Then, one of two things happens.

1. Our prayers are not answered and we give up.

2. Our prayers are answered and we forget to keep praying to the One who answered our prayers.

Sadly, I just reinforced my previous conclusion that it is difficult to be perfect in these three simple tasks. If we, as humans, cannot get three simple things right in the eyes of God, how can we ever expect to live blameless and sinless lives in the eyes of God?

Let’s face the truth. We cannot be what we are told to be without Jesus. We cannot be joyful where there is no hope. We cannot be patient when we are afflicted. We cannot be faithful in prayer when we have no one who is interceding for us.

I don’t know about you, but I am so very thankful for the promises that are Yes in Jesus!

With Jesus, we have hope and we have joy. With Jesus, because we have hope, even when we are afflicted, we can be patient. With Jesus, when we pray, we know that He is sitting at the right hand of God the Father interceding for us. With Jesus, we can be faithful in our prayers and we can rest assured that they are being heard.

I find it interesting how language works. Things that sound alike can have completely different meanings. I think the following example works well to define how we are able to possess the characteristics as described in Romans 12:12.

No Jesus. No peace.

Know Jesus. Know peace.

Only through knowing Jesus do we have the ability to possess these characteristics. Do you know Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you a walking contradiction?

August 21, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?
He whose walk is blameless
and who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from his heart
and has no slander on his tongue,
who does his neighbor no wrong
and casts no slur on his fellowman,
who despises a vile man
but honors those who fear the LORD,
who keeps his oath
even when it hurts,
who lends his money without usury
and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things
will never be shaken.
(Psalms 15:1-5 (NIV))

If these do not offer great insight into how we should live, then I don’t know what does. These verses tell us exactly how we should live each and every day. In other words, we should treat each other as we would want to be treated. We should love each other as we would want to be loved. We should turn our eyes toward the things that are of God and turn away from things of this world. We should read and study God’s Word so that we may be well prepared to react in a righteous manner.

And …

We should pray. We should pray for guidance. We should pray for discernment. We should pray for understanding. We should pray for wisdom. We should simply pray that we may lead our lives so that they are an example of God’s grace and mercy in all that we do. Perhaps St. Francis of Assisi stated it best when he said:

Preach always. When necessary, use words.
(St. Francis of Assisi)

Our lives are very visible signs of what we truly believe in. If we profess a faith yet do things that are opposite of those spoken of in the passage from Psalms, we preach something different with our actions than we do with our mouths. We send out contradictory messages. How can the world believe what we say when we do otherwise?

Are you a walking contradiction in the eyes of the world and of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 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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Are you still living in sin?

June 17, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the LORD your God.
(Deuteronomy 18:10-13 (NIV))

Today’s society draws a fine line when it comes to these practices. Some people say “as long as it is intended for good, it is okay.” God did not say do them only for Him or only for good! He said that they are detestable in His sight. This means no matter what the intentions are. The old saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions is true. Everyone thinks that they can do things their way or better than what God had planned. God has given us explicit instructions that these things are not from Him and are detestable to Him. Nowhere does it say that these practices are good.

When Joram saw Jehu he asked, “Have you come in peace, Jehu?”
“How can there be peace,” Jehu replied, “as long as all the idolatry and witchcraft of your mother Jezebel abound?”
(2 Kings 9:22(NIV))

He sacrificed his sons in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced sorcery, divination and witchcraft, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger.
(2 Chronicles 33:6(NIV))

The acts of the sinful nature 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))

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