Are you divisive or uniting in nature?

April 17, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
(John 17:20-23 (NIV))

Jesus, even though He was and is part of the Trinity of God, continually prayed to God the Father for His Will and for those He would leave behind.

The prayer that Jesus prayed here had both short term and long term aspects to it. He knew that those He left behind would need to be strengthened and that the world would need to be convinced that what they spoke of was true. He knew that they would need the strength of the Holy Spirit to present God to the world.

Today, we need the exact same thing. We must be united in Christ in order to let the world see Jesus as the Savior. If we fight amongst ourselves, then we are not doing justice to the world, for they will see this fighting and will want nothing to do with Jesus. We must unite in the Body of Christ, then the world will truly see something that could only have come from God.

Are you divisive or uniting in nature?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you effective and productive?

March 15, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(2 Peter 1:5-8 (NIV))

Are you increasing? Are you growing? Are you maturing in your faith?

Looking back on my own faith journey, I can unequivocally say that I have grown, that I have matured in my faith over the course of my lifetime. I can also attest to the concept that we will never reach complete maturity while we are on this earth. I learn so much each and every day. I can read the very same passage that I read yesterday and discover new insight in the very same words. Nothing has changed in the words. The only thing that has changed is my comprehension of God’s ability to open up His Word into a whole new revelation.

Think about that in relationship to your faith and maturity. Think about your understanding in relationship to God’s unlimited understanding!

“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))

Doesn’t it make sense that we, in our limited understanding, would need to increase in our ability to understand? Doesn’t it make sense that we increase in our ability to understand by increasing our faith? After professing our faith, we increase our faith by striving to increase our righteousness, our goodness, in the eyes of God. We accomplish this by seeking His knowledge and by learning righteous self-control. We learn to persevere even in the face of adversity as we strive to mature into the likeness of Christ, who embodied true love in order to offer salvation.

None of us are there, yet, but we, as members of the Body of Christ, must strive to be effective and productive in our knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Are you effective and productive?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you desire to love?

March 2, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
(1 John 3:18 (NIV))

How many times a day do you say the words, “I love you.”?

Do you always mean it when you say them?

Do you have varying degrees of meaning behind what you say?

If you are like most people, these words could carry a meaning of anything from a strong like to a feeling of complete and total devotion. We say that we love ice cream. We say that we love puppies. We say that we love our families. We say that we love our spouse. We say that we love Jesus, and we say that we love God. When we say any of these, how do our actions reflect the statement? Do we say that we love puppies and then kick the next dog that we see? Do we say that we love our families and then spend all of our time at work? Do we say that we love Jesus and then use His name as a profanity? Do we say that we love God, yet choose to not spend time in His Word and in His presence?

It is said that talk is cheap and that actions speak louder than words. I truly like the following statement about how we are to convey the greatest love of all.

“Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”
(St. Francis of Asisi)

Gospel means good news. It is the good news of God’s great love for us.

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

God loves us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross as an atoning sacrifice to save us from our sins. Even though Jesus was the Word made flesh, it took action on His part to redeem us and to claim us for the truth. God said that He loves us, but He showed us just how much He loves us through actions. Think about that concept as it applies to your own life. What garners more results? Telling someone that you love them, or going out of your way to show them that you love them? The Lord went way out of His way to show us!

We can follow His example and show love or we can simply utter a few words.

How do you desire to love?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Hold on!

February 15, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
(Hebrews 10:23 (NIV))

Does this world make your weary? Do you ever simply want to give up, to throw in the towel?

That is what the enemy wants us to do, but we are called to persevere in our faith.

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
(James 1:12 (NIV))

The weight of the world and the pressures, trials and troubles that it can bring are an extreme burden, but we do not have to carry that burden alone. Jesus has overcome the world and He walks with us through this life to give us joy, strength, courage, hope and faith. He is calling us to complete the journey before us. He is calling us to stay strong and reach for the goal that He has set before us.

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 3:14 (NIV))

That goal is to live a life of faith in Jesus. That goal is to keep our eyes on Jesus even when things are tough. That goal is to finish the race of faith that has been set out before us.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
(1 Corinthians 9:24 (NIV))

Are you still running your race of faith? Are you holding on to the hope that we profess?

Hold on!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you face your trials with joy?

January 3, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
(James 1:2-4 (NIV))

God would not give us trials if they did not produce fruits of the Spirit. If we did not have trials, we would never mature in our faith and our walk with God.

As a small child, you faced trials: dressing yourself, feeding yourself, tying your shoes. At the time, it seemed almost impossible to make it through the trial. But, now, looking back, you realize the benefits gained from those trials – maturity and growth.

The trials that we face that test our faith are the same. God knows that we will mature as a result of these trials. Do not regret the trials. Welcome them for what they are – a way to get closer to God and to grow into the image of Jesus Christ.

Do you face your trials with joy?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you like-minded?

September 15, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.
(Philippians 2:1-2 (NIV))

It is amazing what God can do!

Saul, who was persecuting the Body of Christ, had such a tremendous change in his life when he encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus. He was on his way to arrest and kill believers when he had an experience with Jesus that turned him from that task to a task far greater than any other human who has ever lived. He had such a profound change in his attitude that he even changed his name to Paul to reflect that change.

He not only accepted Jesus, he fully embraced Jesus and the task that he was called to complete. He walked away from his former life as a respected man and became united with Jesus in spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles. He had seen the truth and he came away with a purpose. That purpose was to tell as many towns as he could about the love of God and what Jesus willingly did to save them. He was not afraid to face anything for the sake of the Gospel for he knew it to be true!

He asked the church at Philippi if they accepted Jesus in a similar manner. He asked them to be like-minded. Just what does that mean? I honestly believe that Paul was asking the church to stand firm in their faith, to share the Gospel even when it was not conducive to do so. I also believe that he was asking them to be united with each other just as they were united in Jesus and to allow the Holy Spirit to guide them individually as well as collectively.

How do you think Paul would address your church and community today? Would he encourage you or would he say that we could all do better? Would he say that your are like-minded as he encouraged the church at Philippi to be like minded?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What is in your cup?

February 17, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
(Mark 14:35-36 (NIV))

How many times have you faced something that you knew you had to complete, yet, you did not want to face it? Perhaps this is the humanity coming out in the divinity that is Jesus.

What distinguishes our desires to abandon what we should do from those that Jesus felt?

Simply put, He realized that He had the responsibility for others beyond himself. His actions would effect untold numbers of people if He did not complete the task that He came to complete. We need to remember that Jesus did have a choice, and because of that choice, we have been given a choice as well. We can choose salvation because of the price that He willingly paid for us.

The next time that you face something that you wish to ignore, remember that others will feel the ramifications of your actions. Will they be good or will they be bad? We may not be able to tell when we are in the middle of our ordeal, but, we must remember that God has a plan for us and we need to be as diligent as possible to follow that plan. We must also remember that we cannot face it on our own. We must rely on the strength that we are given through the blood of Jesus.

Will you give up your cup or will you drink from what God has planned for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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It is time to celebrate the greatest joy!

December 23, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
(James 1:2-4 (NIV))

With Christmas just a few days away, the Body of Christ is embracing the joy of our Savior’s birth.

Have you ever stopped to think that we cannot truly experience joy if we have never experienced sorrow? Joy is an emotion that comes when we break free from something. We experience joy when we find someone and we know that we will not be alone. We experience joy when we persevere over a trial or tribulation. In essence, joy is the mountain top experience that we eagerly welcome after we have fought our way through the valleys in our lives.

With that concept outlined, think about the joy of Christmas again.

We are joyful because up until the birth of Jesus, humanity was a fallen and lost creation. We had no redeemer. We had no Savior. We, as a whole group, were facing the sorrow of sin and death and we had no way to escape the consequences of our sin.

There is joy in Christmas!

There is joy when we face trials.

There is joy because we have a risen Savior.

In just a few days, we will celebrate the physical birth of our Lord and Savior. I pray that you will embrace the joy of the celebration. I also pray that you will not forget that our joy came at a price that we did not have to pay.

God gave us great joy through the birth of a baby. It is time to praise God for His great gift!

Merry Christmas!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you compromise to get along with others?

December 7, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

To the angel of the church in Sardis write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
(Revelation 3:1-3 (NIV))

Are your deeds complete in the sight of God?

Have you ever stopped to think about what Jesus was saying to the church at Sardis?

I recently saw something that made me take a look at this from a new perspective.

In essence, this fresh perspective can be summarized by a simple concept – Getting along with others!

On the surface, this sounds like a good idea, but what happens when you compromise your faith to get along with others? What happens when you compromise what God has instructed you to do in order to get along with others? My first reaction to this concept can be summarized by the bumper stickers that I am sure that we have all seen telling us to coexist with other religions.

This is where we, as the Body of Christ, must be extremely careful. There is a difference between coexisting and compromising. We are facing some very severe pressure today to coexist, but in reality, they are asking for us to compromise. To some, it may seem insignificant, but in the eyes of Jesus it is a major issue.

A good example of this compromise can be summarized by this passage.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

Do you believe that Jesus is the only way to the Father or do you believe that He is one of many ways? Do you believe that Jesus is the only way for everybody or do you believe that He may not be the way for some people?

John 14:6 clearly states that no one comes to the Father except through Jesus. If you have allowed a different teaching to influence your life, then you have compromised. If you believe that it is ok to follow the world and only turn to Jesus once a week, then you have compromised.

Following Jesus is a tough road to travel. There are many distractions along the way. There are many paths that look good in the eyes of the traveler, but are a compromise in the eyes of Jesus!

Don’t let the world distract you and don’t compromise what you know to be true!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How do you see yourself growing day to day?

July 23, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
(Ephesians 4:15 (NIV))

When you were little, who did you want to grow up to be like?

What was it about that person that made you long to be like them? Were they kind? Were they gentle with you? Could you trust them? Did they always tell you the truth? Did they take the time to simply be there for you when you needed them? Each of us has a person that we looked up to. Each of us has an ideal that was embodied by someone who took the time to love us and be there for us. They placed our desires above their own.

Did you grow up to possess any of the characteristics of the person that you longed to be like? I would safely venture to say that they did have an influence upon you and you did develop some of the very same characteristics that you saw in them.

As a believer in Jesus, do you long to grow up, to mature into being just like Him?

If, as a child, you longed to grow up to be like someone you admired, shouldn’t you now long to grow up to be like someone you admire? It should be our goal to grow up, to mature into being just like Jesus in all that we do. We should strive to persevere in our desires to be like Jesus.

Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
(James 1:4 (NIV))

Each day we should grow in our knowledge and understanding of Jesus. Each day, we should mature in our faith in Him.

How do you see yourself growing day to day?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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