What do you do with your freedom?

July 3, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.
(1 Peter 2:16-1 (NIV))

July 4th is the day that we as a nation celebrate our freedom, but exactly what does that mean?

Too many people claim that they are free to do whatever they want. People even claim that it is their right to do whatever they want.

Where do we draw the line? When do personal freedoms cross over into the realm of evil and selfish indulgence?

I honestly believe that our founding fathers would be appalled at how we have allowed our society to be twisted into something that is more concerned about protecting the rights of people who wish to live outside of the law that in protecting the public. I honestly believe that they would be appalled at how we have allowed a vocal group of people to rewrite history and vehemently object to any mention of God in government or public life. I honestly believe that they would strongly object to our big government, huge debt, and the courts rewriting laws because they don’t like them.

I know that most of our founding fathers were willing to give all that they had, even their lives, for the common good. They did not see their roles as a full-time career or as a right that they had earned. They saw their roles as an honor and a responsibility that they must bear. They new the difference between servanthood and personal gain.

When do personal freedoms cross into the area of evil?

Personally, I believe that this happens when we lose site of other people. It is true that we are free, but that does not mean that we are free to sin, and that does not mean that we are free to do things that cause harm to others. With freedom comes responsibility. This applies to us as a nation and to the Body of Christ. We are free to choose, but we must weigh our choices.

God gave us free will. He also gave us a list of Ten Commandments that are supposed to guide us in our lives. When we turn from these commandments, we turn from God. We may have exercised our freedom, but in the end, our choices that we make in this “freedom” often lead to consequences beyond our comprehension.

Once again, I will state that with freedom comes responsibility – a responsibility to God, to our neighbors, to our families and to ourselves. We must not claim that we have the right, but pray that what we do is right.

What do you do with your freedom?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Does your life validate your claim?

June 26, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.
(1 John 2:6 (NIV))

Everyone is familiar with the old saying, “Actions speak louder than words!” Basically, it is possible to say one thing but have your actions say something completely different. A good example of this is saying that you want to help the poor and then when you think that no one is looking, you yell at a homeless person to get a job. Actions like this prove that all too often, what you say and what you do contradict each other.

I would not want to be thought of in this way even if I didn’t profess a faith in Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior!

I have heard several accounts of when followers of Jesus were first called Christians. One account says that the word “Christian” was a derogatory name that meant little Christs. Others convey a meaning of simply being a follower of Christ. Still others believe that it simply meant that those who were called by that name were anointed. No matter what you believe is the true root of the word, the meanings behind them carry a much deeper context. Think about that and apply each of these meanings to your life.

Do you act like a little Christ? If Jesus is your Lord and Savior, He is also your brother. Do you emulate your brother?

Do you act like a follower of Christ? If Jesus is your role model, do you strive to be like Him?

Do you act like you are anointed? If you believe in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then you have these words to define your status.

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.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

No matter which way you look at the origin of the word “Christian,” it should be looked upon as a badge of honor. it should be looked upon as a designation that you strive to follow Jesus in all that you do – both in word and in deed. With this in mind, I want to ask the following.

Do you claim to be a Christian?

Does your life validate your claim?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you allow into your house?

March 21, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not bring a detestable thing into your house or you, like it, will be set apart for destruction. Regard it as vile and utterly detest it, for it is set apart for destruction.
(Deuteronomy 7:26 (NIV))

Would you bring a wild, rabid animal into your house?

Would you allow a thief into your house?

Would you allow an elephant into your house?

I think that it is safe to assume that the answer to all of these questions is a resounding “No!”

No one in their right mind would allow such destruction, such danger, into their homes. Ironically, we think nothing of doing just that with respect to our lives and to our bodies. Our bodies are our earthly shell, our earthly home, while we walk this earth. In addition, if we have invited Jesus into our lives, our bodies are much more than just our earthly shell.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
(1 Corinthians 6:19 (NIV))

If this is the case, why do we bring detestable things into our lives when we claim to be followers of Jesus?

We rightly turn away from murder and stealing. We turn away from drugs and alcohol. We turn away from many detestable things that are clearly visible, but yet, we allow many detestable things into our lives that are just as dangerous, but are not glaringly obvious. Why do we allow greed, envy, anger, and lust to take up residence? Why do we allow hate, pride and ego to have free reign in our lives when there is something so different that we should be letting in?

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 (NIV))

What do you allow into your house?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you recognized what is within your heart?

February 22, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.
(Psalms 40:8 (NIV))

The things that are nearest and dearest to us are the things that are said to be in our hearts. When they have become an integral part of us, many people say that they become second nature, but that is not the case. They become our primary nature! It is at this time that people refer to these things as being written in our hearts. They have become as intimate and personal as we can possibly make them. They become central to what makes the individual who they are.

I count an individual blessed if they have discovered the things in their life that are truly written within their hearts. Sadly, not everyone can claim to have something so much a part of their life that it is written within their heart. Do you have such a thing?

What is it in your life that if it were taken away, would so change your existence that you would not be recognizable as the same person? Are you able to identify this in yourself? Are other people able to identify this in you? It is often easier for others to see this in you than it is for you to see it in yourself. When we do the things that are an integral part of ourselves, we don’t truly see the outward signs. We just see things as what we love. With that in mind, have you ever had someone point something out to you in a way that you had not realized or thought of in that manner? Were you surprised at their insight into you?

Does it surprise you that David, who was called a man after God’s own heart, wrote that God’s law was within his heart? With all that David faced in his life, he desired to know God no matter what the situation. Did he always succeed at living his life according to what God called him to do? David was human, so that answer should be obvious. Still, David had made God’s law the one thing that was central to his life. David desired to follow God so earnestly, that God promised him that one of his descendants would always sit on the throne.

Hopefully, what is within my heart becomes visible through these devotionals. Even after twenty years, I see things in God’s Word that touch me and I hope that they touch you as well.

It is my prayer that you will desire to place God’s law within your heart.

Have you recognized what is within your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to suffer for the sake of the Gospel?

January 23, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.
(2 Corinthians 11:27 (NIV))

Your first reaction to this passage was probably like mine!

This is not something that I would willingly put myself through, nor would I want to find myself unwillingly in this type of situation.

Let’s face it. We have become creatures of habit. Perhaps I should say that we have become creatures of comfort! We have become so used to the air conditioned house with our refrigerators and entertainment devices that we forget what real sacrifice is. We leave our air conditioned homes, get in our air conditioned cars and drive to an air conditioned building to worship. Are we really sacrificing anything to praise God? Are we sacrificing anything to help spread the Gospel?

What if Paul had the same attitude that many of us have?

What if Paul was not willing to suffer for the Gospel?

How many of us would willingly do something that could land us in prison? How many of us would go head first into a situation knowing that the outcome could mean stoning, prison or death? Paul was willing to do this and so much more! Because of his desire to share the Gospel and his willingness to do whatever it took, we can claim our salvation. Can anyone claim their salvation because of what you are willing to do?

Are you willing to suffer for the sake of the Gospel?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Blessings to all in the new year!

January 2, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

” ` “The LORD bless you
and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace.” ‘
(Numbers 6:24-26 (NIV))

I honestly don’t think that there is a better prayer to pray for someone than these words.

Think about that for a moment.

There is absolutely nothing in these words except asking for God to bless. There is nothing in these words that is self-centered. Contrary to today’s societal norms, it all focuses on someone else. There is absolutely nothing in these words that asks for anything for the person who is praying.

All too often our prayers are self-centered. We claim that we are believers in Jesus, yet, we still focus only on ourselves in our prayers lives. Is this what Jesus taught us? Is this what Jesus would do?

“This, then, is how you should pray:
” `Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one. ‘
(Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV))

Jesus taught us to focus on God. If we focus on God, it only makes sense that we will seek to have God bless those around us, for we will already have experienced God’s blessings. We will have seen the world through His eyes, and, like David, we will hopefully become a man after God’s own heart. We will not see the world through selfish eyes, but through eyes that long to see God’s Glory manifested in the lives of everyone in the world.

For this coming year, and every year, it is my prayer that God will turn His face toward you and bless you. Are you ready to be blessed? Are you ready to have God bless others through you?

Happy New Year!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you deceiving yourself?

December 19, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
(1 John 1:8 (NIV))

I find it interesting that human nature is so quick to point out the faults in others, yet so slow to recognize the faults in ourselves. It is not uncommon for people to not acknowledge that they are sinners. It is a completely different matter to think that you are without sin even when we are told differently.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

Deception is just another name for a lie, and we all know who the father of all lies is. Satan would like nothing better to convince us that we are okay just as we are and that we don’t need someone to save us from our sins. I want to present you with a few questions. If the enemy is correct that we don’t need a savior, then why did he spend so much time trying to kill Jesus at his birth? Why did he try to tempt Jesus to give up on His mission? Why did he nail Jesus to the cross?

If you look at yourself and think that you are the exception to Romans 3:23, then you have been deceived, you have believed the biggest lie of all time. If you think that you are without sin, then you are placing yourself equal to Jesus and you are deceiving yourself!

Are you deceiving yourself?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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