How are you recognized?

July 26, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
(Matthew 7:20 (NIV))

Have you ever seen an apple tree bear peaches? Have you ever seen an orange tree bear bananas? In the physical world, if we ever saw anything like this, we would think that we have gone utterly insane. These types of things just don’t happen. We are so used to seeing things a certain way that we know that certain things will never happen. Matthew understood this. He even took this concept one step further and explained that good fruit does not come from plants that we know to be bad. He referenced plants that most people cut down, dig up or burn. How could anything good ever come from something like this?

By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.
(Matthew 7:16-18 (NIV))

The very same concept is also true in the spiritual as well. It seems as if everyone knows one or two people who just can’t seem to do anything good. Their whole demeanor just ruminates with a foreboding sense that is not comfortable to be around. They display everything that is opposite of the fruit that we are told is good.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
(Galatians 5:22-23a (NIV))

Fruit is the means of reproducing in kind the very thing that produced the fruit. It carries the seed that will grow another plant like the one that it came from. When we think of fruit in the physical world, we think of something that is sweet and succulent to eat. Think of this in terms of the fruit of the Spirit. When we partake of the fruit of the Spirit, we soon begin to grow and mature with that very fruit becoming evident in our lives. The more love, joy and peace that you partake of, the more love, joy and peace that you bear.

Take a serious look at your life. Do you produce love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, or do you produce something completely different? How do you think that others see what you produce?

How are you recognized?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Whom have you been asking?

July 17, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous for what others have, and you can’t possess it, so you fight and quarrel to take it away from them. And yet the reason you don’t have what you want is that you don’t ask God for it.
(James 4:2 (NLT))

Jesus came into this world in order to allow us direct access to God, yet, how many of us never approach Him?

Don’t think that I am only talking about those who are not believers. How many of the body of believers go to God in prayer on a regular basis? I hate to say it, but the number of us who approach God on a daily basis is probably a lot smaller than God desires for it to be.

People have a tendency to think that what they desire is insignificant and far less important to God than everyone else’s problems. We are too timid to approach God and reveal our hearts to Him. What we fail to remember is that He knows us better than we know ourselves. Perhaps we are afraid to approach God because we will actually discover the true person that God created us to be. He gave each of us a unique life, a life that He created. Each of us is precious in the eyes of God, yet we treat ourselves as trash. We have become more comfortable believing the lies of the enemy and living within these lies than we are with opening up to God, the Father, the Creator of each of us. We believe a liar and a thief. We do not believe our Lord.

The body of believers needs to firmly and boldly take possession of what God has for us, for if we don’t take possession of it, the enemy will rob us of it. All we have to do is ask God to give us what He has planned for us from the beginning of time.

I don’t proclaim that God wishes to financially bless us, for each person is unique and each person will be blessed by God according to God’s desires. What I do profess is that each of us is living well below what God has created for us. We do not have all that He desires for us because we have accepted the lies of the enemy. We have not asked God for His full truth. In other words, we get what we ask for! Perhaps we aren’t even asking the right person.

Whom have you been asking?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we capable of such sincere praise?

June 5, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

There is no one holy like the Lord;
there is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.
(1 Samuel 2:2 (NIV))

I wish that we would learn to stand firm in this truth!

Today, we look at the Lord much differently than Hannah did when she spoke these words. Hannah had been fervently praying for a son. After being barren for a long time, the Lord granted her prayer and she gave birth to Samuel. When she presented Samuel to the Lord, she was overjoyed. She gave thanks and praise exactly where it was due!

This brings to mind two distinct questions.

1. Do we fervently pray for what is burdening our hearts?

Most of the time we utter a few words, but do we seriously pray as if our very heart, our very soul, would explode if what we seek is not granted? Do we feel the anguish that comes with what truly burdens our hearts, or do we only think that it is important? Do we quickly move on when what we pray for is not answered in a few days?

2. Do we truly praise the Lord when our prayers are answered?

Do we give thanks and praise for the outcome, or do we quickly forget our requests to the Lord? Do we look at the outcome as if it just happened without intervention from the Lord? Do we turn away from the Lord or do we turn to the Lord and lift up His name in praise?

Has the Lord lifted you up from a very serious situation? Has the Lord provided relief from your burden? Did you praise the Lord for all that He had done? The worse the situations that we find ourselves in, the greater the opportunity to praise the Lord. Perhaps that is why that history supports the notion that the church experiences more growth when it is being persecuted. People have a tendency to draw close to God when they are facing persecution and burdens. With this in mind, have we, the Body of Christ, become too soft and too comfortable in our lives that we fail to feel the need to pray or praise with all of our being?

Are we capable of such sincere praise?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you been made a part of the family?

April 3, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.
(Hebrews 2:11 (NIV))

Did you fully grasp the meaning behind these words in this passage?

It is commonly stated that those who believe in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior are part of the family of God, but has this concept truly taken hold of your life? It is human nature to say things so much that we soon begin to miss the true meaning of the words and the concepts because we begin to take things for granted. Sadly, it is human nature to become so familiar with something, that the excitement starts to fade!

For those of you who are married, I wish to present an example of what I am talking about. When you first said the words “I love you” to your spouse, there was a very strong emotion that was tied to those words. As the years progressed, you may say the same words, but there is a familiarity that is there. The meaning behind the words has slightly shifted in the relationship. The relationship is strong, but the words no longer convey the same strong emotion. Does your heart still race at the sound of their voice? Do you long for the times that you will be together? Or, do you simply sit on the couch and quietly enjoy each other’s company? Are you comfortable in your relationship? Are you confident of your standing in that relationship?

When you fist accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, how was your excitement level? How is it now? Are you still overwhelmed to be called a child of God, or have you grown so accustom to that concept that you don’t get excited about it anymore? Do you fidget and stammer for words when you pray or is there a comfort zone that has developed, just like there is a comfort zone in a healthy earthly family? Do you feel that you can know the Lord so well that He does truly feel like a brother?

Have you been made a part of the family?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where do you seek shelter and rest?

April 19, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
(Psalms 91:1 (NIV))

It is so interesting how the different translations will render a particular passage.

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
(Psalm 91:1 (NKJV))

These two translations mean the same thing, but they use different words that when looked at together, strengthen the understanding of the meaning of the passage. The NIV translation uses the word “shelter” while the NKJV uses the words “secret place” when referring to the place where we draw close to God. Shelter implies a place of refuge and safety while a secret place implies intimacy with the one that you meet. I love the marriage of these two concepts and how they actually apply to the place where we meet God on a one on one basis. That place is a shelter and a refuge from the weight of the world and at the same time it is a place of intimacy with the Creator of all things.

We draw closer to God while He draws closer to us.

I also love how the NIV uses the word “rest” while the NKJV uses the word “abide” to describe what we do in the presence of God. Both words imply a trust and a peace, for it is impossible to rest where there is no trust or peace. It is also impossible to abide, or to make yourself at home, where there is no trust or peace.

In essence, we can find shelter in the secret place that we share with God and in this place we can find rest and a home!

Do you want to dwell in the secret place, in the shelter that is our God?

God wants us to dwell with Him. He wants us to be so comfortable in His presence just like we are comfortable in our own homes and with our friends and family. He wants us to go to Him when we need to retreat to our secret place.

Where is your secret place?

Is it in the shelter of the Most High?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t hide from the light!

February 13, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.”
(John 1:9 (NIV))

Do you fear change?

Some people are so terrified by change that they do everything within their power to avoid change. Perhaps it is the fear of the unknown that makes people fear change. It is said that we are much more comfortable living in the sin that we know than in taking the step of faith and repenting of our sin and living under grace.

Human nature is a strange thing. Too many of us would rather cower and hide in the darkness of our sins than to step into the light and embrace grace through the atoning blood of Jesus! If you are human, and the last I checked if you are capable of reading this then you qualify, you need to come into the light.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
(John 8:12 (NIV))

Have you stepped into the light?

Have you embraced the grace and mercy freely given?

Have you asked for forgiveness?

Have you repented?

Do you have the light of life?

I know that this is an extremely huge change. Don’t fear the change that brings mercy and grace.

Don’t hide from the light!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus is with us even among the wolves!

August 1, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.
(Luke 10:3 (NIV))

Do you feel comfortable in your faith? Do you feel that you are safe in the society in which we live?

With the events of the last few years and the escalated anti-Christian rhetoric that we see all over the place, we need to remember that Jesus warned His disciples using the words recorded above. What was true then is rapidly becoming true once again. Professing a faith in Jesus is becoming a social stigma. I honestly believe that the Body of Christ has become complacent and that we have forgotten that the world hates us because of our love for Jesus.

All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
(Matthew 10:22 (NIV))

Are you strong enough in your faith to still follow the instructions that Jesus left us and simply go into the society and into the world that grows to hates us more and more each day?

Think about that question in relationship to a lamb that is surrounded by wolves.

The lamb, in its innocence, goes forth into the world. The wolves see the lamb and realize that they are looking at their next victim, their next meal. We may not be a literal next meal, but we are all familiar with sayings such as, “They are going to eat his lunch.” We know that the outcome as expected from the physical perspective does not look good.

I don’t know when we may face things. I don’t know if we may face things, but I do know that there is a possibility of being surrounded by the wolves of this world. Are we, as the Body of Christ, prepared to face whatever we may face because of our faith in Jesus?

Jesus is with us even among the wolves!

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