How are you at doing what God’s Word says?

September 27, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
(James 1:22 (NIV))

How many of us deceive ourselves when it comes to God’s Word? We all have passages that we read and tell ourselves, “Yeah. If only everybody would be like that, it would be great.” The bad part about that is that most of the time we have only a superficial desire to do what we are asking others to do. We never truly do what it says.

We read and study God’s Word, then almost immediately we do the very thing that it says that we should not do. It is like we are still in the Garden of Eden rebelling against God with Adam and Eve. We still only give a brief acknowledgment to the path that is right, but we never seem to follow the path to its destination. We soon get sidetracked and forget where we were desiring to go.

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.
(James 1:23-25 (NIV))

God desires for us to not only listen to the Word. He longs for us to do what it says. Listening to God’s Word does not make you a follower. Satan listened to the Word. He knows exactly what it says. I would venture to say that the biggest issue is that he doesn’t do what God’s Word says.

Is this the root of human rebellion? Is this the root of human sin? We miss the mark all too often. Perhaps we should start to do what God’s Word says. At least, we should desire to do what it says.

What is your desire?

How are you at doing what God’s Word says?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What will you be crowned with?

August 9, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For the Lord takes delight in his people;
     he crowns the humble with victory.
(Psalms 149:4 (NIV))

The most obvious questions after reading this passage leads us to the polar opposites that we read about in this passage.

What does the Lord do with the arrogant and prideful? How does the Lord feel about those who reject Him?

I know that we can find many passages that give us very detailed answers to those two questions. Suffice it to say that the answers are not something that anyone in their right mind would willingly call upon themselves. If that is the case, then why do people do the things that they do? Why do people desire to rebel against the Lord? Why do people think that they can do a better job of directing their lives when every single attempt has ended badly?

It takes strength to admit that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. It takes admitting that you are weak and that you cannot do it on your own. It takes strength to admit that you are weak! The strength that I speak of is the strength to step away from our sinful, fallen nature. It is the strength to face the Lord, the world, and yourself and admit that you are not capable of making it without Him. The world sees humility as a lowly self-attitude, but in all honesty, it is probably the bravest attribute that a person can have. It allows a person to take a stand against the ways of the world and publicly proclaim that they have made a conscience decision to go against the ways of the world. Humility allows a person to stop seeing themselves as the king of their world and it allows a person to see themselves as servants, as friends, as equals to other members of God’s creation. It allows a person to see themselves for what they are – a sinner in need of a savior!

If you stop to reflect on the characteristics of humility, it becomes clear how the Lord sees those who aren’t humble. It becomes clear how He will deal with those who aren’t humble.

How does the Lord see you?

What will you be crowned with?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you keep in step with the Spirit?

June 16, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.
(3 John 1:11 (NIV))

What do you desire to do?

Do your thoughts turn toward sinful things such as greed and lust, or do you reflect upon the Word of God? Do your actions follow your thoughts?

It is human nature that we tend to do what is in our hearts. What is in our hearts is what we think on day and night. Our actions reflect what is truly inside. We may be able to put up a facade on many occasions. Still, when we are put to the test, our true desires and thoughts come out in our actions.

Preach always. When necessary, use words.
(St. Francis of Assisi)

St. Francis of Assisi knew that people watch us and judge our faith in Jesus on how we act. Like it or not, each one of us who profess a faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior are under a microscope. Nonbelievers are watching us to see how we will react. They want to see if what we profess is real. If we have truly allowed Jesus in to our hearts, then our actions should reflect the Gospel and the fruit of the Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
(Galatians 5:22-25 (NIV))

Do you keep in step with the Spirit?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you desire to persevere in the new year?

January 10, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
(Hebrews 12:1 (NIV))

We have a decision to make. Do we want to proceed on our typical status quo for the new year or do we want to persevere in our faith? Far too many times it is just so much easier to keep doing what we are doing, even if it is not all that we should be doing. Faith is not a single decision and then the rest of your life is good. That single decision should start you on a path for the rest of your life. Paul referred to this path as a race. It is a race that those who profess a faith in Jesus should desire to complete. It is a race that we should desire to win, for every person who completes this race wins the prize!

How do you complete this race?

We complete this race by staying the course. That course is following Jesus. We are to follow Jesus each and ever day of our lives. We are to trust Jesus each and every day of our lives.

If you sign up to run a race and you stop running two minutes into the race, do you finish? You don’t receive a prize. Do you even receive the t-shirt that says you ran the race? Running a race requires commitment. It requires determination. It requires keeping your eyes on the prize and pushing through to the end. The very same thing is true of our walk of faith with Jesus. We can’t simply stop following Him two minutes, or at any time, after we make a decision to follow Him, and still reach the goal. Following Jesus requires perseverance. It requires commitment. It requires faith to take up our cross.

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
(Luke 9:23 (NIV))

Daily!

We cannot decide to take a break from Jesus. We cannot decide to go spend the rest of our life following our sinful nature and still expect to hear these words from Jesus.

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))

Being a good and faithful servant means that we persevere in our faith. It means that we run the race daily and that we strive to live our lives after what Jesus showed us. It won’t always be easy, but it will always be full of blessings, for He will lead you where you never thought about going. One day, your race will be finished and it is my prayer that you will hear these words from Jesus.

Well done, good and faithful servant!

Today is the first day of the rest of your race.

Do you desire to persevere in the new year?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the Lord your delight and desire?

May 21, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
(Psalms 37:4 (NIV))

What do you delight in?

If you are like most people, the first thing that probably came to mind was family. If that is the case, your desires probably all focus on their happiness and well being. If you are truly delighted in your family, as a believer in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you desire for each member of your family to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. You desire for them to share in your delight in the Lord.

Just who do you consider as family?

If you have accepted Jesus, then you have become a child of God!

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
‭‭(John‬ ‭1:9-13‬ ‭(NIV‬‬))

Do you see God as your Father?

If you claim this relationship through Jesus, you should delight in the Lord. You should delight in the grace and mercy that you have been given. You should delight in His Word. You should delight in His Word made flesh! If this is true, and I pray that it is, then you should desire more of the Lord. You should desire more of what you take delight in!

Is the Lord your delight and desire?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you finding strength while you wait?

April 22, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
(Psalms 27:14 (NIV))

If you are like me, you are probably asking when the Lord will set things right, especially as we see things rapidly turning further and further away from righteousness and common sense. In fact, I am certain that you have seen or heard someone say something to the effect that common sense is no longer common. All that you have to do is look at the events unfolding in this world and you quickly can agree to this claim. You probably will come away with a perplexed sadness about the inability of far too many people to make any type of logical and intelligent thought patterns. Is this the beginnings of the powerful delusion?

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
(2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 (NIV))

God is unfolding things according to His timeline. If you truly follow the Lord and long for His righteousness, then you are probably like me and desire to see that sooner than later. Be patient!

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

God is never early, and more importantly, He is never late. There is a moment in time when the Lord will increase the events and the rapidness of their timing as they unfold culminating in His return. We may be days away. We may be months, or we may even be years, but one thing is certain. We must take heart for we know that His promises will come to pass. We must pray for His strength. We must patiently wait for the Lord.

Are you finding strength while you wait?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you desire to be thoroughly equipped?

October 27, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV))

Do you like to cherry pick so that you go through and find what you like and leave the rest behind?

This concept works for selecting fruit and vegetables, but it is sadly used in circumstances where it shouldn’t even be considered.

Think about this in relation to your Bible reading and study plan. Do you have a favorite verse? If you are like most people who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, you probably have what most people refer to as a life verse. There is nothing wrong with that. That passage is your personal anchor that firmly grounds you in your relationship with the Lord, but it should not be the complete extent of your knowledge and understanding. It should be the starting point for a continually growing relationship and understanding of Scripture.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
(John 1:1-4 (NIV))

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 (NIV))

Scripture is God’s Word. Jesus is God’s Word made flesh. If we long for a relationship with the Lord, then we must spend time getting to know Him. That means that we get to know everything that there is to know about the Lord, for He is perfect. If there is something that we desire to avoid then that reflects badly on us. It shows that we desire to settle for less than perfect. It shows that we desire to settle for our sin. It shows that we don’t truly desire the Lord and the spiritual growth that comes from His Word.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
(Hebrews 4:12 (NIV))

Are you willing to allow yourself to be judged, taught, rebuked, corrected and trained in righteousness?

Do you desire to be thoroughly equipped?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you take delight in the Lord?

October 20, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
(Psalms 37:4 (NIV))

Have you ever truly stopped to think about this passage?

If you delight in something, it makes you happy. It makes you joyous. It becomes the very thing that you value the most. It becomes your treasure!

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

If you treasure the Lord, He is where your heart will be. The Lord will be the desires of your heart! He will give you Himself!

I realize that this may sound overly simple, and in all honesty, it is. When the Lord becomes your treasure, when you take delight in Him, He is the true desire of your heart. He willingly gives you what you seek. He gives you a deeper relationship with Himself. He gives you a deeper longing for His heart and for His righteousness. The best part of this process is that He then gives you more of what you desire. He gives you more of Himself!

Do you take delight in the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Does what you ask glorify the Father?

October 9, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
(James 14:13-14 (NIV))

I don’t know just how many times that I have read or heard this passage, but tonight, I saw something that I understood in a new light. As believers, as Christians, we have taken this passage and condensed it to something that only represents the half truth that whatever we ask in the name of Jesus will be done for us. Read the passage again and stop to think about the things that you ask in the name of Jesus. Looking back on your faith walk, do your answers make you feel shameful for the things that you have asked for? What are some of the things that you remember asking? Did you receive an answer that matched your prayer request?

Human nature is selfish and as a result, even people who profess a faith in Jesus still possess this characteristic. Most people ask for things that benefit themselves either directly or indirectly. Even praying for healing of a loved one can be considered selfish if the reason that you pray is because you will miss them. It is a matter of motives. Do the things that you ask bring glory to yourself or to the Father? Do they stroke your ego or do they truly glorify God? Do they fuel a lust for fame and fortune or do they seek to follow God’s own heart?

You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
(James 4:2-3 (NIV))

Do your pleasures glorify God? Do your wrong motives guide you to seek after God’s heart? Each of us ask so much of God and from God, but why do we ask? What are our motives?

Does what you ask glorify the Father?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How is your mind governed?

September 9, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.
(Romans 8:6-7 (NIV))

In case you were thinking this, no, it is not possible to be governed by both!

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))

Before I am accused of mixing scripture passages and meanings, it is important to understand that the love of money serves the flesh. It is the ultimate worldly and fleshly control on the human mind. It is the embodiment of lust, power and ego. When your mind is governed by the things of this physical world, it seeks carnal satisfaction. It seeks sin!

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

We must strive to overcome human nature and focus on Jesus. We must follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. When we falter, and we will, we must recognize our failures, repent and return to the Lord. We must desire to possess true peace as only it can be found in the Lord.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (ESV))

We have all seen what happens in this world when government is bad. People suffer. We have also seen what happens in this world when government tries to do what is righteous in the eyes of God. We have our own personal election each and every moment of every day. We can choose to be governed by the flesh and suffer the consequences, or we can choose to be governed by the Spirit and find peace.

How is your mind governed?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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