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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What do you remember about your early faith?

May 4, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The word of the LORD came to me: “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem:

” `I remember the devotion of your youth,
how as a bride you loved me
and followed me through the desert,
through a land not sown.
(Jeremiah 2:1-2 (NIV))

God told Jeremiah to tell the people of Jerusalem that He remembered the devotion of their youth. I want you to think about that simple statement.

Looking back at your faith when it was new, have you lost your zeal? Have you lost your passion for Jesus? Have you gone from an “Amen” type of faith to a “whatever” type of faith? Have you lost the fire that used to burn so bright and so hot?

To be honest with you, life is hard. It is so easy to lose sight of the fire and the passion when you are told by everything in your life that you have to take care of other things first. It is difficult to maintain the fire when you are being beaten down by the world. It is difficult to maintain the passion when you have to focus on your job for so many hours a day. Life can, and often does leave you exhausted.

What if Jesus were to say Jeremiah 2:1-2 to you. Would you listen to the things that are not being said and realize that Jesus is asking you what happened?

Think about that for a moment!

Jesus did not go anywhere. He is still right there. It is we who have let the relationship take a back seat.

Sometimes I think that the saddest words in the English language are, “I remember . . . “ They imply that something has changed and not for the better.

What do you remember about your early faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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They devoted themselves!

November 3, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
(Acts 2:42 (NIV))

They devoted themselves!

Do you ever wonder why people say that miracles don’t happen today? Do you wonder why we see a problem and it stays a problem? Do you understand that our current understanding of church and being the Body of Christ is far from what it used to be?

Why do you think that is true?

One simple word.

Devotion.

We, as the modern Body of Christ, look at Jesus as a filler for the parts of our lives that are empty. It is true that He is there to fill the emptiness, but He is so much more. The early church knew that professing a faith in Jesus meant more than simply acknowledging Him as savior. They knew Him as Lord and they devoted themselves to each other and to His teachings.

They devoted themselves in four areas – teachings, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer. It does not say that they devoted themselves to their work. It does not say that they devoted themselves to their families. It does not say that they devoted themselves to their favorite sports team.

Could you image how the Body of Christ would be today if we all gave the same amount of devotion, both public and private, that we give our college football teams? Can you imagine large stadiums of people to pray and to study God’s Word? In some countries it happens. People come from far and wide to hear the Gospel. Ironically, it is usually an American ministry that reaches out to these countries. It is sad that we do not do as the people to whom we send ministers and missionaries.

What is your idea of devotion?

Is it sitting in a church pew for an hour on Sunday? Is it adding a Bible study to your weekly schedule? Is it placing God first in all that you do? Does it mean that you willingly help those in need?

I often think that devotion is directly related to faith.

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.”
(Matthew 13:31-32 (NIV))

If we have the faith and the devotion to see that faith through, then both will grow to enormous proportions. As we devote ourselves to the four areas – teachings, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer – we will see things begin to happen that will strengthen our faith. We will see the results of our devotion. As a result, we will grow our devotion and our faith.

It is amazing what devotion, or dedication, can do, especially when it is focused on Jesus and God’s Word.

I think that we need to take a lesson from the early church and try devoting ourselves to Jesus. You will be amazed at what happens.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Devotion

January 7, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
(Acts 2:42 (NIV))

Devotion!

According to Merriam-Webster, “devotion” is the fact or state of being ardently dedicated and loyal. The word “devoted” is a verb that means to commit, or to give over to a cause or activity.

I apologize for the vocabulary lesson, but I wanted to emphasize the strength of the commitment that the early church had with respect to fulfilling the teachings and the commands to fellowship and to love your neighbor, and to pray. They gave everything that was within them to the church. They did not simply attend a service for an hour one day a week. They devoted themselves to do anything and everything that the apostles taught.

What are you devoted to?

I am devoted to my family. I am devoted to doing what I promise that I will do. I am devoted to learning and studying and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. I am devoted to prayer. I am devoted to fellowship.

However, I am only human and my devotion often falls short. Still, it is my desire and I do all within my physical capabilities to fulfill what my heart calls me to do.

Sadly, devotion is often lacking in today’s society. Too many people are only committed to themselves. They are only committed to doing things if they are the center of attention or if they will benefit somehow in the physical world. Whatever happened to being devoted simply because it is the right thing to do?

Devotion!

Perhaps you could almost call it a priority, for the things in your life that are a priority to you will receive your time and attention. What are your priorities?

I would like to challenge each person reading this, including myself, to make sure that our personal priorities fall in line with those written of in Acts 2:42. Let’s devote ourselves to the apostles’ teachings and to the fellowship with each other, to the act of breaking bread, both as physical sustenance and as the act of communion, and to prayer. I think that we will find our devotion to these priorities will see the church as it was in the beginning.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you devoted?

February 18, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
(Acts 2:42 (NIV))

Have you ever wondered why the early church was so strong in its faith? It all boils down to one simple word – devotion. They devoted themselves to what they believed in. They devoted themselves to learning more about Jesus. They devoted themselves to being with each other so that they could learn from each other and encourage each other. They devoted themselves to remembering what Jesus did for them every time they gathered together for a meal. Most importantly, they devoted themselves to prayer. They knew that prayer is a powerful weapon against the enemy and they used it frequently.

How do we compare with respect to the churches mentioned in Acts? Do we have the same devotion? Do we eagerly learn all that we can about God’s Word and His Son? Do we eagerly fellowship with each other so that we may learn from each other and encourage each other? Is our version of breaking the bread mean that we have a potluck dinner after a Sunday service?

Think about those questions.

Now, be honest and reflect upon your prayer life. Do we devote ourselves to prayer? I know that we all have little things that we pray about routinely, but are we truly dedicated and devoted to a powerful prayer life? Do we pray earnestly when we are alone? Do we prayer collectively when we are together, or are our unified prayers more of a routine that is led by the pastor and we simply wait for the conclusion?

All of these things make for a strong church. When we fall short in one or in all of these areas, then we are not fulfilling what was intended for the Body of Christ as it fulfills its purpose in this world.

Does your church share the devotion described in Acts? Do you want it to? It is simple to get it started.

Are you devoted?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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