Have these characteristics been produced in your life?

June 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
(Romans 5:3-4 (NIV))

Seeking maturity in Christ is an admirable desire, but most people fail to recognize that following Jesus will not be an easy thing to accomplish in this sinful, fallen world. The simple fact that you profess a faith in Jesus marks you as a target in the eyes of the enemy and in the eyes of the world.

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
(John 15:19 (NIV))

If professing a faith in Jesus instantly means that the world hates you, then it is important to understand that there will be suffering because of your faith in Jesus and at the hands of the world.

Are you ready?

Are you facing suffering in this world? Perhaps you embrace the things of this world and, as a result, the world embraces you in return. Is this what we, as the Body of Christ, are called to do? We are called to be in the world, but not of it. What we embrace is Jesus. It is impossible to embrace the grace and mercy that is given through Jesus and still cling to the sinful, fallen nature of this world. Accepting Jesus means turning your back on the world. Accepting Jesus means declaring war on sin and the enemy. If you declare war, you can’t expect to sit on the sidelines and only observe! You are called to be a faithful soldier of Christ.

You have chosen a side!

Is a soldier who is going into battle the same soldier who comes out of that battle? There will be sufferings. There will be things that are experienced when facing the enemy that will develop perseverance, character and hope. It is crucial to never forget that the battle has already been won, even though we have to face things that will cause suffering. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus and strive to develop these characteristics.

Have these characteristics been produced in your life?

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

May 31, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
(James 4:7 (NIV))

If you think about anything in your life, your reactions can be defined as falling on a spectrum with one end point as submission and the other endpoint as resistance. Think about the following in relationship to this concept and see if you agree with me.

1. Getting up and going to work.
2. Sleeping in late on a rainy Saturday morning.
3. Being invited to your boss’s house.
4. Going to a party.
5. Your relationships.
6. Going to church.

Most of us will vary greatly on the spectrum on each of these items depending on a lot of factors, but we all know that some days we are more resistant to things than on other days.

Let me offer up something that I hope you will give some serious inner reflection to. Where do you see yourself in relationship to God on this spectrum? Do you think that you submit most of the time, or do you find yourself resisting God when He doesn’t fit into your plans? Do you find yourself more likely to submit to your sinful nature and the devil, or do you truly desire to resist the devil? Is the devil fleeing from you or are you just fooling yourself simply because you aren’t actively pursuing the enemy?

Human nature draws us into submitting to the things that we truly desire. It also makes us resist things that are opposed to our desires. It is a choice. We can submit to God and resist the devil, or . . .

Where do you submit and where do you resist?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is God truly your strength and your portion forever?

May 15, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
(Psalms 73:25-26 (NIV))

I have heard it said that when all else fails, turn to God. Just what type of a faith would you possess if this is how you looked upon God, how you treated God? Should you expect God to be your strength if He was the very last one that you turned to?

At what point do you actually turn to God?

Do you try to accomplish things through your own strength, and when that fails, do you turn to God? Is that how you decide to treat the Creator of all things? Perhaps you actually live out what you profess to believe. If that is true, then do you turn to God in all matters, no matter how small or how big? If you stop to think about how and when you turn to God, you might surprise yourself. You might find that you still try to face this world on your own power and authority, and we all know that none of us possess anything that even resembles power and authority. Placing God first in your life is a simple concept, but it is so difficult to actually accomplish. Human nature makes us place just about anything and everything above God, but when we realize that the psalmist was correct, we take a major step in maturing our faith. We come to the rightful conclusion that there is nothing or no one that is bigger than our God!

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
(Romans 8:31 (NIV))

Is God truly your strength and your portion forever?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you able to lift these words up as your prayer?

May 10, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Create in me a clean heart, O God; And renew a right spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (ASV))

I bet you are like me and found yourself singing this passage!

It is a passage that we all know. It was turned into a song that we all know. Even if we didn’t know it, it should be the desire of every person who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. It should be the desire of everyone who strives to follow God’s Word and obey His commands.

Is it your desire?

Think about that question. Do you want God to clean your heart or are you happy with the sin that darkens it? Do you want God to give you a right spirit, a spirit that seeks only Him, or are you happy chasing the things of the world?

I realize that there is a lot that could be said, but I have found that often the best results are achieved by what is not said. God will work inside of each of us when we take a passage and reflect on how it applies to our lives. His Word is alive! It gets to the very heart of our being and makes us take a serious look at our lives in relation to what He has intended. With this in mind, nothing could be a more self-searching contemplation and prayer than asking yourself if you desire for God to clean your heart and give you a spirit after His own!

Are you able to lift these words up as your prayer?

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

April 26, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”
(John 5:8 (NIV))

I don’t know too many people who like to be given orders!

Most people I know don’t even like to be given instructions, especially the men. It is human nature to only do things if we think that it is our idea, and then we still procrastinate terribly before we actually get started.

Is this situation any different from your typical life experience where you are told to do something?

Think about that for a moment. There has to be a motive, a desire to do the things that we are being commanded to do. If in doubt of this, simply remember your childhood and two commands that each of us have probably heard more than we care to admit. The first command is “Go clean your room!” Did you? Would you? If you are like me, this was a very dreaded thing to do and was always met with procrastination. The second command is “Go outside and play!” Chances are that this was said when you were inside and getting into trouble. It is almost a certainty that you were probably outside before those words stopped echoing off of the walls.

What is the difference?

It is a matter of priorities. It is a matter of desires. When Jesus spoke these words to the man who was paralyzed, you have to put yourself into the life of this man. He wanted nothing more than to walk. He wanted to be healed! The command that Jesus gave this man was exactly what he wanted to hear. He was obedient to the command! In his obedience, he received a blessing. If the man had not been obedient to Jesus, he would have spent the rest of his life on that mat. God has so many wonderful blessings in store for us if we would simply be obedient to His calling.

Are we capable of this type of obedience?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the truth shining in you?

April 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
(1 John 2:3-4 (NAS))

Many people falsely believe that once they accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, they are forgiven for anything that they may have done or will do.

This is partially true. Accepting and acknowledging Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is only the beginning. Grace and mercy are yours for the asking, but, once that is granted, a true desire to keep His commandments should fill you to the point that trying to do anything less is not even an option that you could consider.

Going around with the false belief that you can do anything and that God will forgive you is dangerous to yourself and to those whom you encounter. God has given us a great gift through His Son, Jesus Christ. This gift is not to be taken lightly. Acceptance of this gift exacts a responsibility and a toll on those who accept it. The responsibility is to change from your previous ways and to fully embrace everything that Jesus taught us to be. We are to be a light to the world. What kind of light would we be if we “shined” dimly or not at all?

Our actions will shine for Jesus if we keep His commandments, otherwise we do not shine at all.

Is the truth shining in you?

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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