This is the one test that you need to pass!

June 14, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you — unless, of course, you fail the test?
(2 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV))

This is one of those verses that most people wish that they could ignore!

No one likes to fail a test. Think about the implications of this concept of failing this test. This is not the only place where we hear that it is possible to fail in your faith. We are told that it is possible to do things in the name of Jesus, but not have a relationship with Jesus, to not have Jesus in your heart.

Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:22-23 (NIV))

This goes hand in hand with the truth that you cannot earn salvation.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
(Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV))

We must also come to the realization that there is a difference between doing work for the Lord and truly knowing the Lord. I can demonstrate this concept with a simple question about the people with whom you work. You may spend eight hours a day with them, but do you know their inner most secrets and desires? Do you know the pains that they feel and what causes them pain and what causes them joy? Doing work around the Lord does not draw you close to the Lord in exactly the same way as working with someone does not bring you close to them. That requires effort and intimacy that cannot be had when you are constantly doing.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
(Luke 10:38-42 (NIV))

We must choose Jesus in all things in order to grow in intimacy with Jesus. The closer you draw to the Lord, the stronger your faith becomes. As your faith grows, your belief grows as well. When you believe and truly know the Lord, you desire to do things that will draw others to Him. These are the works that matter, for they are done out of a love of Jesus and not out of an effort to impress Jesus. It is a matter of perspective and priorities.

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
(John 14:12-13 (NIV))

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 they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

God does truly love the world! Have you allowed that love to permeate your life so that your life reflects the love of the Lord and not you?

This is the one test that you need to pass!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Whom will you choose to serve?

May 15, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.
(Joshua 24:15 (NIV))

We are faced with choices every single day of our lives, but there is one choice that we are all called to make that will have ramifications for all eternity!

That choice is about whom we will serve.

I can hear the thoughts now after people read the previous statement. “I’m a free person. I don’t server anyone but myself!” I hope that you realize that a statement like this is an instant indication that you are not serving whom you truly should be serving. We have a choice. We can either choose to serve the Lord or we can choose not to serve the Lord. Anything less than a conscious decision to serve the Lord is literally a decision to not serve the Lord. Think about that with respect to what many people actually choose to serve.

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

Being a servant is a conscious decision!

Have you made the right decision?

The wrong decision will result in a life of sin and self-centeredness. It may not result in an outright rejection of the Lord in your mind, but based on serving two masters, it will end up as the wrong decision for all of eternity. The right decision will result in blessings, grace and mercy beyond compare. It will result in a treasure far greater than anything that this world and the wrong master could ever provide, after all, all things of this world will tarnish, rust and decay. Only the treasure that is received from serving the Lord has eternal value!

Think about that in relationship to this saying that has been around for a long time.

Serve the Lord. The retirement plan is out of this world!

Whom will you choose to serve?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you choose true freedom?

April 23, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
(Isaiah 61:1 (NIV))

Freedom! Such a gift. We are set free from the bondage of sin and death. This is not a freedom to do whatever we choose. We are free of the consequences of sin. It does not mean that we are free to sin. By accepting Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, we are forgiven and are granted freedom from our sin. It does not mean that we are free to go and sin again. As Jesus told the woman and the Pharisees:

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:3-11)

She was granted freedom, but this freedom did not give here permission to continue in her life of sin.

Do you look at your freedom as permission to continue or do you look at it as a warning to change your life? Do you choose true freedom?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will you find shelter in what you seek?

April 11, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.
(Zephaniah 2:3 (NIV))

Human nature is an interesting thing. We like to think that we are complex in our thoughts and actions, but in reality, we are simple in nature. We all have a need for shelter. We all have a need for food, and we all have a need for acceptance and love. Each of us have things that drive us; things that we seek in order to fill these basic needs. One of those needs is the need for love and acceptance. It is said that we all have a God-shaped hole that we are trying to fill in order to fulfill that need. All of our efforts in life are our attempts to fill that hole with something besides what it was intended to be filled with. Some of the things that we seek to fill that hole will lead to death and destruction. Some will lead to pain and misery. Some will lead to fame and fortune, but the most important thing that we can choose to fill that God-shaped hole with is God!

There is an old saying that he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword. In other words, whatever you choose to focus on in your life to try to fill that hole is what will eventually cause your downfall.

There is only one thing that you can seek that will overcome the results of filling that hole with the wrong thing!

Perhaps we should put a new twist on the old saying. Perhaps we should say he who lives by God’s Word, dies to the world and lives in righteousness!

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
(Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV))

In all honesty, we all seek something. Make sure that what you seek is not a quick fix that will lead to destruction.

Will you find shelter in what you seek?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Christ is the reason for the season!

December 14, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
The LORD has made his salvation known
and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
(Psalms 98:1-2 (NIV))

I know that this is a repeat, but it is important to remind ourselves what it is that we choose to celebrate during December.

Do you celebrate family? Do you celebrate peace on earth? Perhaps you may be receiving this because someone wants you to read something to try to convince you to celebrate something at all!

First and foremost, we must always remember that the reason for the season is Jesus. For several hundred years, tradition has made it known that this is the time of the year to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. We call it Christmas, but the roots of the name are much more meaningful than today’s society can even imagine. The word “merry” in Old English means “mighty.” The word Christmas is a shortened version of two words “Christ Mass” in which the birth of Jesus was officially celebrated by the church. People would wish each other a blessing so that they would have a MIGHTY (Merry) Christ’s Mass (Christmas). They wanted each believer to fully realize the gift of grace and mercy that was theirs because God sent His Son Jesus into this world.

God has made His salvation known!

He has revealed his righteousness to the nations!

That salvation and that righteousness is one and the same!

It is through Jesus!

I pray that you will truly have a Mighty Christ’s Mass this Christmas!

Christ is the reason for the season!

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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