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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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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Has our society lost the ability to be humble?

June 29, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
(1 Peter 5:5 (NIV))

If you look closely, there are some words in this passage that strike a nerve in most people. Can you spot them?

Did you say “submit” and “humble”?

What is it about our human nature that just doesn’t like the concept behind these two words? Why is submission so difficult and why is humility so hard to find anymore? Our society seems to thrive on thwarting these two desirable characteristics at any and every opportunity that presents itself. All that you have to do is pay any attention to the events that are transpiring in the world and you quickly see a total lack of these two characteristics, especially when it comes to a Biblically based perspective. It seems like the only thing that most people are willing to submit to are their own wicked thoughts and desires!

Contrary to what is the absolute truth, society has been convinced that the only truth is what is true for you. The concept that we all answer to an absolute truth does not exist in the minds of many people. They have been taught that if they think that it is true, then it is. If you have a vast number of individuals thinking that whatever they think or say is true, then they rapidly become arrogant. They no longer feel that they must be considerate and humble, after all, they are always right. They are perfect!

I think I can safely say that when you read that last paragraph, the description made you think of some of the recent events and groups that are in the news. In your reflections on these groups, does anything that they do even have any semblance of submission or humility? Does anything about these events and groups have a basis in what we would consider Biblical morals and values?

Has our society lost the ability to be humble?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Does the world accept or despise you for your faith in Jesus?

March 31, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.
(Isaiah 53:3-4 (NIV))

Does this sound like it would describe the one that God sent to earth to save us from our sins?

Does this sound like it would describe the Savior of the world?

Human characteristics are not what God looks at. When we see a strong physique, God sees the heart. When we see a pleasing exterior, God sees what is on the inside. Fortunately, Isaiah 53:3 was not the end of the story. It was only the beginning of the story that God would unfold to offer grace and redemption to a lost creation. Since humanity, in all of our fallen nature, looked up to the worldly as beautiful and of importance, God sent His Son, Jesus, to be the exact opposite of what we would expect. Instead of elevating Him to a place of worldly power, God sent Him to be a lowly servant. It was the nature of servanthood that made everything possible.

Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.
(Isaiah 53:4 (NIV))

Jesus willingly left the presence of God and came to earth as one of us. Would any of us do that?

Jesus willingly took upon Himself the weight of the sin of all humanity. That is a heavy burden to bear.

Jesus willingly suffered and died so that we could be offered grace and mercy! Would any of us be willing to suffer so greatly for those who rebuke us?

After all that Jesus suffered, He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. He told those who choose to follow Him that they, too, would be despised because of Him. He was telling us that the world would see us differently. The world would not see us by worldly standards and accept us. The world will see us by God’s standards and despise us.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you express your love?

September 21, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.
(Isaiah 1:16-17 (NIV))

I want you to think back upon your childhood. Who was it that you looked up to? Who was it that you wanted to grow up to be like?

Chances are that the person you wanted to be like possessed characteristics that could have been reflected in the words of Isaiah. They were an inspiration to be around. It is probably safe to say that most people also enjoyed their company. They stood for what they knew to be right. They lived their lives not for themselves, but for the people that they came into contact with.

Think about those people in your life who have filled this position. What made them do what they did?

Now, take a look at your life. Have you come to embody the characteristics that these other people possessed? Do you strive to fulfill the words of Isaiah 1:16-17. Even though this was hundreds of years before Jesus came, the characteristics are the very ones that Jesus embodied. Hundreds of years before Jesus came to live out these words, God was giving us a glimpse of how He wants us to live. In our society, it is becoming rare for someone to place others first. Placing others first is a sign of love. This love is the highest form of love, for it is an intentional act. It places the welfare of someone else above the welfare of the giver.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
(John 13:34-35 (NIV))

How do you express your love?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What would it be like to have walked with Jesus?

October 16, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.” But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it.
(Mark 9:30-32 (NIV))

I often wonder what it would be like to have walked with Jesus. I know that grace and mercy are freely given through His sacrifice, but what is it about Him that drew people to Him to begin with? Was it His knowledge? Was it His love? Was it His demeanor or was it His ability to enthrall large crowds with His public oration? It is something that I think most people have had in their minds at one time or another.

Consider the words from Mark. Jesus spoke in such a way that those who chose to follow Him did not understand. To me, this is an unusual occurrence, for human nature gravitates to what it knows. If someone doesn’t understand something, they have a tendency to stay away from these things and stay with what they know. Human nature does not place you in situations that make you feel inferior. You stay with what you know and understand. Yet, on many occasions, these men did not understand what Jesus taught. Still, they stayed with Him. They clung to every word that He taught just as a young child will cling to its father. They may not understand what is being said, but they recognize the voice and the comfort that it brings.

I can only imagine the commanding persona that Jesus had. What type of personality would the Son of God possess? Did He laugh? Did He cry? Did He play jokes on people? Did His disciples play jokes on Him? Jesus was fully human. I can imagine that He did the things that we do, only without allowing sin to take control.

Jesus was also fully God. He did things that people could not understand.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

We have already thought about the characteristics that drew people to Jesus, but what would draw Jesus to humanity and ultimately to the cross? We say that love drove Him to the cross. I am sure that it did, but, can we even begin to understand this great of a love?

What did He see in you and love so much that made Him willing to suffer and die?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you feel like you are set apart?

May 4, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person–such a man is an idolater–has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.
(Ephesians 5:3-7 (NIV))

I was reminded today about the meaning of the word “holy.” It was something that I knew, but, like many things, it got relegated to the back of my mind. The true meaning was slowly replaced with the way society looks upon the word, and unfortunately, society has ruined the true meaning of the word.

The word “holy” means to be set apart. What the world thinks of is a twisted and convoluted take on this meaning. The world looks upon the word as a sarcastic jab at someone who wants to follow Jesus. What the word truly means has nothing to do with sarcasm at all. In fact, if you truly are set apart from society because you wish to follow Jesus, then you are not sarcastic toward the world. You long to see the world follow Jesus and you do not act as the world expects you to act. You do not portray a holier than thou attitude.

Think about the people that you consider to be holy. What characteristics do they portray that makes you think of them as holy? Think about Jesus. He was, and is, definitely holy. Did He rub it in people’s faces? Did He have an attitude of arrogance?

Just what characteristics did Jesus portray.

Do you portray those characteristics?

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