What are you devoted to?

November 10, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
(Colossians 4:2 (NIV))

Human nature is a funny thing. If I asked one hundred people what they are devoted to, I would probably get one hundred different answers. I realize that some would be similar, but, just like the people that give them, each would be unique. No two would be exactly the same!

Some people would say that they are devoted to their spouse. Some would proudly claim that they are devoted to their family. Some would say that they are devoted to their church. All of these are great things to be devoted to, but how many would actually claim that they are devoted to prayer?

Perhaps we should step back and consider what devotion means. One dictionary has being religious as its first definition. On the surface, this sounds very good, but we have to stop and consider that religion is often thought of as man’s attempt to reach God. How many so called religious activities are simply man made rituals that truly don’t have anything to do with devotion. With this in mind, is being religious truly how you want to think of being devoted, especially when you consider what John the Baptist said of the religious men of his day?

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
(Matthew 3:7 (NIV))

This was also echoed by Jesus.

You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
(Matthew 12:34 (NIV))

Personally, I like another definition much better. Devotion is defined as being ardently dedicated. In other words, it is a priority and not simply because it has become a routine. Devotion means a dedication because it is integral to who you are.

What are you devoted to?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you lost your focus?

May 28, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
(Colossians 3:12 (NIV))

Have you ever seen the cartoon with the two vultures who are waiting for something to die so that they can eat? The captions go something like this. One vulture says, “Be patient.” The other vulture says, “Patience ! I want to kill something !”

Let’s face it, we have all had times when we just couldn’t wait any longer for what we were hoping would happen. We pace the floor. We become very short tempered and as a result, we are anything but compassionate, kind, humble and gentle.

What does the world think of us at these times? What does the world think when they see us acting exactly opposite of what we say we strive to be?

Everyone has moments of weakness. Everyone has momentary lapses of sanity. Unfortunately, it is these very moments when we are at our lowest that the world chooses to recognize us for our faith. They recognize us out of ridicule. Regardless of the times that we are able to follow Colossians 3:12, the world sees us at the very times that we fail.

We are to strive to be perfect, yet, we know that we can never be. We are sinners, and are not capable of perfection on our own. There is a saying that Christians are not perfect, just forgiven. When we fail at perfection, we must fully embrace God’s grace that allows us to pick ourselves up and keep going. We must also embrace the need to show that grace to those who witnessed our stumble. We must not lash out at them when they ridicule us for not being perfect. We must show Jesus to them. We must be as Jesus was on the cross. He did not lash out. He did not condemn. He did not bring down wrath upon those who witnessed His crucifixion.

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
(Luke 23:34 (NIV))

When the world sees us stumble, remember how Jesus reacted. When you fall, your eyes may be temporarily diverted from your goal, but when you get up and resume your path, you see your way once again. The key is to get back up and to focus once again upon Jesus.

Have you lost your focus?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Salvation is not complicated

February 26, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, `You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
(John 3:5-8 (NIV))

To this day many still do not understand the words that Jesus spoke. It is such a simple concept that many fail to grasp it because of its simplicity. They are looking for a “complicated” way to reach God.

Nothing could be further from the truth. God does not seek anything that we do in order for us to reach Him. He knew then that if it was of our doing, then we would boast and brag about “our” accomplishments. Instead, it is a gift. A free gift just like the wind is free. All we have to do is acknowledge it and accept it. Just like the wind, the Holy Spirit is everywhere doing the will of the Father. All we have to do is acknowledge and accept.

Birth is a passage. Being “reborn” is also a passage: a passage from worldly sin to heavenly righteousness through the gift of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Water baptism is an outward sign of this acceptance. The Holy Spirit comes into you as an inward sign of being reborn.

Think of being “reborn” as booking passage on a ship for the ultimate vacation. A vacation is supposed to be rest and relaxation. Heaven is the ultimate rest and relaxation. Have you booked your passage yet?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t Compromise

June 18, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you.
(Exodus 34:12 (NIV))

How true this is!

The land where we are going is the world in which we live. Every day we face things that we either have to turn away from, or we allow them to have an influence in our lives. What are some of the things that you have allowed to have an influence in your life? Were they as harmless as they appeared to be when they first materialized in your line of sight?

The same warning that God gave to the nation of Israel during the exodus from Egypt still holds true today. We may not face the same issues, but the results can be just as catastrophic in our lives if we give in when we know that we shouldn’t. What seems like a harmless compromise often will lead to issues that we will only live to regret at a later date.

What have you compromised on lately?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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No matter what society says

April 12, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers–and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
(1 Timothy 1:8-11 (NIV))

The law that is spoken of is the Ten Commandments. It is correct that the law is not for the righteous, for the righteous do what God wishes them to do. It is for those who do not follow God’s Will that the law exists. It is intended to show those people that certain things are not acceptable.

In today’s society, the courts have removed God’s Laws from schools, from public buildings and some are trying to remove them from any aspect of our society. What does that say about society?

If a society removes the principles upon which it is built, can a society survive in this world, let alone in the eyes of God? Those who remove the laws are those who are guilty of the very crimes that the law speaks against. It is a shame that we have let criminals dictate how we can behave instead of allowing God to dictate how we can behave.

No matter what society says, we, as believers, must follow what God says.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your reason for living?

March 12, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.
(Deuteronomy 13:4 (NIV))

It takes dedication to follow someone or something with all of your heart. Too many people don’t possess that dedication in any aspect of their lives. They always complain about how difficult their job is, or how they want out of their marriage, or how they wish they could simply walk away from it all. I feel sorry for these type of people, for they are truly lost. They have not discovered the one thing in their lives that they can become passionate about. They have not discovered the one thing for them that makes life worth living.

What is your one thing that makes life worth living?

Family is important, but what happens when your family faces a situation that could tear it apart? Friends are important, but what happens when your friendship faces something that could cause bitterness and anger? Health is important, but what happens when you are told you have six months to live?

Only one thing can see us through these types of situations. Placing your faith in Jesus and following God with all of your heart will give you the strength to hold your family together. It will give you the grace to mend the bitterness and anger. It will give you the dignity and the hope of eternity when six months is all that you have.

Follow God and not halfheartedly. Make a decision to keep His commands and obey His Word. Hold fast to God and do not let go, and then, when all around you is falling apart, He will not let go of you.

Make God your reason for living.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Your will or God’s?

March 5, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”
(Mark 8:33 (NIV))

Do you ever stop to think that Jesus would tell you, “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

Think about that for a moment.

Jesus rebuked Peter! Peter was the rock upon which Jesus would build His church. If Jesus rebuked Peter, where does that leave us? Peter walked with Jesus. He lived with Jesus. He knew Jesus as well as any of the twelve, yet, Peter failed to recognize God’s Will and wanted to impose his own.

Have you ever wanted to impose your will upon God?

I know that is sounds absurd, but most of us are guilty of doing just that. In fact, why should we be any better than the man whom Jesus called the Rock? Are we stronger in our faith than Peter was? Are we capable of discerning God’s Will any better than Peter was? Peter loved Jesus and he did not want to see Jesus come to harm, yet in his love, he was blinded to God’s Will. We, too, are capable of being blinded to God’s Will by various things. We may not recognize it because we are not walking with God as closely as we should. We may not be able to discern God’s Will because it sounds absurd in human terms. We may not be willing to accept God’s Will simply because it goes against what we want.

It all comes down to three words.

What we want!

These three words all too often keep us from following God’s Will. They lead to us wanting the things of man.

I don’t know about you, but I long to hear different words.

“His master replied, `Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
(Matthew 25:21 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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