Why do You still love us?

September 23, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“What is man, that you make so much of him, and that you set your heart on him,”
(Job 7:17 (ESV))

It is often said that the Bible is actually God’s love letter to His creation.

Is that how you see it?

It sounds like Job saw it this way. He knew that the Lord loves those who love Him. He knew that God wants people to come to Him of their own free will. He knew that God desires nothing more than a personal relationship with each and every person who has ever or will ever walk this earth. From this passage, it is clear that Job was amazed that God cared so much for His creation. To be honest with you, God created everything from the planets and the stars to the microscopic single cell animals and plants. In all of this vast creation, man is the greatest love of God’s. Everything that He has done or ever will do is for His creation.

I have often stated that I love to read and compare various translations, for the subtleties truly bring things to life. The Complete Jewish Bible translates this passage in this manner.

“What are mere mortals, that you make so much of them? Why do you keep them on your mind?”
(Job 7:17 (CJB))

We are told that where our treasure is there our heart will be also. We are also told that what we think about is what we treasure. In reading these two translations, we are clearly told that we are in God’s heart and on His mind. We are His treasure!

With all that humanity has done, God still loves us.

With all the rebellion that is in our hearts, God still loves us.

In fact, He loves us so much that He devised a plan to bring us to redemption.

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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

All that we have to do is accept this amazing grace for ourselves!

We know that God’s ways are far above our ways, yet, I often wonder what motivates God to do such an amazing thing for us even when we don’t deserve it.

Why do You still love us?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you laboring in vain?

September 6, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Unless the LORD builds the house,
     its builders labor in vain.
  Unless the LORD watches over the city,
     the watchmen stand guard in vain.
(Psalms 127:1 (NIV))

What is it that you wish to accomplish in your lifetime?

Based on this passage, do you labor in vain? Are you going against what the Lord desires? Are you trying to tell the Lord that you know better than He does?

I have one more question for you, and that is have you ever thought about your life’s ambitions from this perspective?

Human nature is a strange thing. Even though we may think that we know what we should be doing, most of us miss the mark so badly that we never truly build what the Lord intended for us to build. We chase after things that bring us joy when we should be doing things that bring God glory. We chase after things that could bring us wealth when we should be chasing after the greatest riches of all, the grace and mercy of our Lord and Savior. We chase after anything and everything that we think will fill the God-shaped hole that we have in our hearts when we should be trying to fill our lives with the Lord.

Take a serious look at your life. Are you laboring in vain? Are you struggling because you are going against what the Lord is trying to build in and through your life?

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
     I will be exalted among the nations,
     I will be exalted in the earth.”
(Psalms 46:10 (NIV))

We are told to be still in His presence. We are told to be still in order to know God. We are told to be still so that we can learn His heart! We are also told why we should be still. In our stillness, we learn what exalts God. We learn what He longs for us to do so that His name will be exalted. Do your ambitions exalt the Lord or do they exalt you? Are your efforts in vain or are they achieving the results that the Lord has set before you?

Are you laboring in vain?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How are you doing on your journey?

February 28, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.
(Proverbs 4:27 (NIV))

How good are you at staying the course?

Let’s take a look at that question as if you were going to the grocery store for milk and bread. How often are you sidetracked and find yourself buying much more than you went in for? How many times are you able to stay focused and get only what you had previously decided that you need? How often do these extra expenditures end up being for something that indulge your personal appetites and desires?

Do I dare to say that many of us approach our walk with Jesus in much the same way? We know that we want to follow Jesus but along the way we see things that indulge our personal appetites and sinful desires. If we are not careful, we soon find ourselves following those desires. We then find ourselves so far off of the path that we should be on that we don’t know how we got there in the first place.

It takes constant corrections to maintain a course. It is not possible to reach any destination without making many corrections and adjustments, and that is if we follow the path that we have laid out before us. Even the straightest road and the best tire alignment will have you going off of the road if you do not make continual course corrections. Professing a faith in Jesus does not mean that everything will be perfect from that moment on, and that you will start off and have a smooth journey along the way. What it does mean is that a new destination has been selected and you are going down a road that will require some very serious course adjustments in order to reach your destination. Along your journey, the enemy will try to distract you, to tempt you to take a detour. We must be prepared to keep our eyes on Jesus and not to turn from the path that leads us to Him as our final destination.

It is a known fact that when someone focuses on one thing, the other things soon become less important. If we continually focus on Jesus, the distractions, the evil that is vying for our attention, will fade from our sight. We will know that it is there, but it will be a faded relic of what the enemy intended, for we have Jesus clearly within our vision. Human nature is interesting. We go in the direction that we see. If we are driving and take our eyes off of the road, we have a tendency to drive in that direction. The same thing is true spiritually. We go where we have placed our focus, where we have set our priority.

How are you doing on your journey?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must humble ourselves to His desires!

November 3, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (NIV))

The Bible instructs us to pray for those who are in authority over us. The need to pray for the President of the United States and other world leaders has never been more urgent. This country, and the world, are at a strategic point in history. We can turn towards God or turn farther from God.

It is our choice.

Our leaders reflect this choice, and often guide this choice. It is for this reason that we should pray for the President. We must pray for God’s Will in the election. Do we, as a nation, vote for a platform that has removed God or one that has embraced God? All that we have to do is look at Israel. Their ancient history is filled with them not only turning their back on God, but embracing the gods of the world. Every time that they did evil in the eyes of God, they faced wars and captivity. When they embraced the Lord and followed His ways they were blessed. Our choices are not about the individuals who are running. It is about the ideals that they have embraced. Pray for wisdom. Pray for discernment.

I would rather have a brash person who seeks the will of God over a likable person who flaunts corruption and evil.

As we enter the final day of this election, we must pray for God’s guidance. We must pray for His Will. We must act as the Body of Christ and seek to further His kingdom in this world. We must continue to do so until He returns!

We have a choice! We can turn towards God or away from God.

“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
(Joshua 24:14-15 (NIV))

If we choose to serve the Lord, that means that we must learn to listen. We must learn to discern His Will. We must learn to be obedient to what He calls good and shun what He calls evil. We must stand firmly with Him and not against Him.

I would rather stand with God and be judged by the world than stand with the world and be judged by God.

We must humble ourselves to His desires!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The struggle is all too real!

November 2, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
(Ephesians 6:12 (NIV))

How do you see the world?

Perhaps I should ask it in this way. What is your world view?

If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then your world view should reflect that in all that you do. It should not be limited or confined to the hour or so that you spend in church on Sunday. It should not be something that you decide to leave at home when you go to work. It is not something that you can turn off and on to suit you. It is not something that you hide when the circumstances are not favorable. It is a choice that you must make every single minute of every single day of your life!

If you choose to leave your faith behind because of your environment, how do you think that you will be rewarded by Jesus? I venture to say that you will not be rewarded, for rewards are for those who are faithful.

Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:22-23 (NIV))

It is time to take stock of your life. It is time to take stock of your actions and your choices. If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior but repeatedly choose to do something that is contrary to what Jesus desires, are you truly walking in His will? Emotions have nothing to do with it. Personal desires and likes have nothing to do with it. Our emotions, our desires and likes are sinful, yet far too many of us who proclaim Jesus as Lord still choose to follow our sin instead of submitting to the authority and Lordship that is only in Jesus. We submit to the powers of this dark world!

Think about that the next time you decide to watch something on television. Think about that the next time you choose to get mad at other drivers. Think about that when you make a decision to go along with anything that you know goes against what Jesus would desire for you to do. Think about that when you vote for someone who supports anything that goes against God’s Word!

We must stand firm in our faith!

The struggle is all too real!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Share the good news!

October 23, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
(Romans 8:1-2 (NIV))

Do you obey the law?

Do you always drive the speed limit? Do you ever throw something from your car? Do you sometimes cross busy streets in places other than the crosswalks? If you do any of these, then you do not obey the laws one hundred percent of the time.

If you are ever caught doing any of these things, then there will be a penalty to pay.

Do you obey God’s laws?

Have you ever murdered? Probably not.

Have you ever taken the Lord’s name in vain? Many of us probably have done so out of frustration or anger.

Have you ever committed adultery? Hopefully not.

Have you ever stolen anything? Probably. Even an ink pen on accident could be considered stealing. It did not belong to you and you left with it.

What type of penalties would you expect for any of these breaches of God’s law?

Think of the worst possible penalty that could be paid and that is exactly what Jesus paid on the cross for each of us. He willingly paid the penalty for all of the things that we have done or ever will do. He paid the price for the law of sin and death so that we could claim freedom from its hold on us. Through Jesus, we can claim that our penalties have been paid in full. All that we have to do is accept this grace and mercy.

We will still slip up and break God’s laws just like we break human laws, but we can be forgiven for these transgressions. It is a matter of the heart. We must long to do what God desires us to do. If this is our true heart, then God will see and forgive through the atoning blood of Jesus.

We are free from the law of sin and death! Share the good news!

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 your life support your claims?

August 21, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.
(1 John 2:6 (NIV))

Did you just get blind sided by this passage?

Think about that question in relationship to how Jesus reacted to situations and how you react to similar situations. Perhaps that saying from a few years ago holds more merit than we gave it credit for.

WWJD?

What would Jesus do?

His reactions ran the gamut, but one thing was consistent. Jesus always responded based on God’s Word and not on human emotions. We have been given instructions on how we are to live in order to follow His example.

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
(Galatians 5:13-26 (NIV))

In essence, if we claim to be followers of Jesus, then we must strive to follow His life. The very fact that Jesus came to walk among us in order to save us shows the great love that the Lord has for us. Jesus did not do anything contrary to what the Spirit instructed, even to the point of dying on the cross. We know beyond doubt that Jesus walked this world as a perfect example of what the fruit of the Spirit is to look like. If we claim to follow Jesus and our lives do not reflect these traits, then we must repent and refocus our lives so that they do.

Does your life support your claims?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you practicing what you have learned?

August 17, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
(Philippians 4:9 (NIV))

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that is the case, do you flatter Jesus?

When Paul wrote his letter to the church at ‭‭Philippi, he was encouraging the believers there to take what they have learned from him about Jesus and put it into practice. In other words, he was encouraging them to imitate Jesus by following His teachings. Two thousand years later, that is still the very best advise that anyone can give.

How are you living up to imitating Jesus in all that you do?

It isn’t easy, is it?

No matter how sincere we may be in our desires, human nature keeps getting in the way. Our sinful nature keeps raising its ugly head and we soon find ourselves doing things that we truly wish that we could avoid. Perhaps we need to truly take a lesson from Jesus and pay attention to how much time that He spent in prayer with the Father. I would venture to say that if we start practicing this lesson more often, the other things that we are called to imitate would be so much easier to actually imitate. Spending time in honest, heartfelt communication with the Lord will lead to a stronger relationship, and a better understanding of and a stronger desire to be like Jesus!

There is only so much that we can learn if we don’t start practicing what we have learned. Obedience is critical. Obedience means doing what Jesus instructs us to do. Obedience means putting away our sinful nature and following Jesus. Obedience means that we imitate Jesus by putting into practice what we have learned.

Are you practicing what you have learned?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What desires rule over you?

July 17, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
(Galatians 5:17 (NIV))

Whatever you want!

Do you desire to do whatever you want? Is that your definition of freedom? Based on this passage, does that desire come from the flesh or from the Spirit? Don’t rush to a quick answer, for your quick answer will probably be heavily influenced by your own desires. Think about that for a moment. Since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, our flesh is sinful. Everything that we do according to our flesh is sinful and we are fully aware of the wages of sin.

For the wages of sin is death,
(Romans 6:23a (NIV))

We are given a gift that allows us to receive salvation, to receive grace.

but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23b (NIV))

When we accept that gift, we receive the Holy Spirit to guide us in what we should do. The Holy Spirit will guide us contrary to our sinful nature. It is up to us to accept that guidance. Have you ever done something and instantly knew that it shouldn’t have been done? Have you ever wanted to do something, but a still, small voice wouldn’t let you? We choose to listen to the Holy Spirit. We choose to accept His guidance. Sadly, sometimes the flesh wins out and we do things that we instantly regret. Other times we listen to the Holy Spirit and obey. Have you noticed in your life the types of circumstances that you follow the flesh and the types of circumstances that you follow the Holy Spirit? Give God praise for the faith to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, and pray for the ability to stand firm in the face of those circumstances that lead to actions that you regret. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom to allow you to overcome the desires of the flesh!

What desires rule over you?

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