What kind of harvest is being produced in you?

May 7, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
(Hebrews 12:11 (NIV))

Discipline is a tough thing to undergo. I don’t know anyone who is willing to admit that they actually like being disciplined. It is human nature to do what we want to do regardless of the consequences. Without discipline, we resort to our fleshly sinful nature.

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.
(Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV))

Just for the sake of example, is there anyone in your life who exhibits any of these characteristics without any signs of remorse or regret? Are they easy to be around? Are their actions pleasant? Are they always causing trouble? The old saying that you reap what you sow is definitely true. Anyone who sows any of the characteristics of the acts of the flesh will produce a harvest equal to the sinful nature that they exhibit.

What do you consider to be characteristics of righteousness?

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.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Based on these two sets of characteristics, the ones that come naturally lead to sin. The ones that lead to righteousness require discipline, both self discipline and correction from God. Do you find yourself under discipline?

What kind of harvest is being produced in you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus is knocking! Will you answer?

February 27, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
(Revelation 3:20 (NIV))

There is so much to say about this passage. Where do I begin?

I think the point about this passage that struck me this time as I read it was the fact that it is recorded in the book of Revelation. You may think, “What is so special about this fact?” If you stop to think about it, you may come to the same realization that I have. Revelation is the book that depicts the events during the seven year period before Jesus steps foot on the Mount of Olives and splits it in two. It is the book that tells of all of the things that will happen in the world for those who have rejected Jesus. In particular, this passage is taken from the section where Jesus addresses the church in Laodicea right after He calls them out for being lukewarm. In fact, the verse right before this passage really stands out to me, for Jesus makes a very interesting statement.

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.
(Revelation 3:19 (NIV))

Did you pick up on the fact that even though Jesus called the church in Laodicea lukewarm, He turned right around and basically said that He still loves them! He told them to repent.

I want you to think about that very fast turn of events. Jesus spoke words of rebuke, chastising them for what they have allowed themselves to become. As always, Jesus didn’t speak these words to condemn, but to rebuke, to challenge them to change. He closed this challenge with something that most people overlook when they think of the lukewarm church.

He told them that He loved them!

He called them to repentance!

He told them that it was not too late!

He basically told them that He was there and all that they had to do was answer His calling, His knocking upon their hearts!

Jesus is knocking! Will you answer?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do we love God’s gifts more than we love God?

January 11, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, `I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
(Revelation 3:14-22 (NIV))

I know that I have spent a lot of time on this particular passage. I also know that it is something that we need to pay attention to, especially since many people believe that we are in the modern day version of this particular church.

I know that I have stressed that this church was known for bowing to the will of the people. I saw something today that puts an interesting, and very pertinent twist to this thought. I was reminded that the people of Laodicea were very wealthy. The city was at a very important spot for the trade routes and even the Christians were very affluent. They lacked for nothing except, possibly, fresh water.

Think about the concept of lacking nothing. Perhaps it should better be explained as not having a need for anything because they could do it themselves. Are we truly any different today in our thinking and in our capabilities? Have we gotten to the point where we love the blessings more than we love God? Could it be that we feel that we are self reliant, and as a result, we don’t need God?

Think about these questions and then think about the time directly after 9/11. People felt helpless, so they turned to God. It is human nature for us to feel complacent when everything is okay, and it is human nature for us to feel over confident when we think that we are in control. When this illusion is broken, we see a greater reliance upon God. Is our society today reliant upon God or are we cocky and arrogant. Do we think that we can take care of it ourselves?

Laodicea did many things wrong. It is my prayer that we, in our so-called modern lifestyle, do not repeat history and fall into the same traps as this church did. Repent and follow Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have are foundations been shaken too much?

January 27, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

My son, keep your father’s commands
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
Bind them upon your heart forever;
fasten them around your neck.
When you walk, they will guide you;
when you sleep, they will watch over you;
when you awake, they will speak to you.
For these commands are a lamp,
this teaching is a light,
and the corrections of discipline
are the way to life,
(Proverbs 6:20-23 (NIV))

Our society has forsaken these words. We have allowed the un-righteous to inflict their ungodliness on all who inhabit the land. No longer do sons keep their father’s commands, or their heavenly Father’s commands. They do as they wish whenever and wherever they please.

A society cannot survive by forsaking its very foundations. This country, and most of the free world, was built on Judeo-Christian ethics. The current interpretation of separation of church and state has almost severed this tie with our heritage. The founding fathers of this country did not intend for God to be removed from government. They whole-heartedly intended for God to be at the center of everything. Their only intention with separation of church and state was to eliminate the requirement of belonging to a “state church”. They intended for everyone to be able to worship as the Holy Spirit lead them, not as the government lead them.

We must return to our heritage and reclaim the rightful leadership of God in our lives, both personal and public. The discipline of faith will then heal the hearts so that they will turn towards God.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you claim to be a child of God?

October 29, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.
(Deuteronomy 8:5 (NIV))

How many parents do you know who will not discipline and correct their children when they do something that is wrong? Most parents have an innate sense of responsibility to raise their children to obey what is considered to be the laws and the socially acceptable practices of the society.

Do you claim to be a child of God?

If you do, are you willing to admit that God will discipline you when the need arises? Just as an earthly parent will do what is right in disciplining a child, then, doesn’t it stand to reason that God, who is the Creator and Father of all, would also correct us out of love?

An earthly father will not discipline out of hatred. He disciplines out of love, knowing that the short period of discipline will result in a lesson learned that will prevent a longer period of suffering or even death. God is the same way. He disciplines those who call Him Father, for He desires to have each of us mature to be Christlike in our life.

Think back on the last time that you felt that you were being disciplined. After passing through that period in your life, do you have the same outlook as when the discipline started? Did the discipline save you from making a much bigger mistake or “sin?”

As the Body of Christ, we should welcome Godly discipline, for it is through this discipline that we are able to mature.

Is God truly your Father, or do you look upon Him simply as a source of magic and a place to turn when in trouble?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Godly parental responsibilities

June 3, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Train a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it.
(Proverbs 22:6 (NIV))

Our church just finished up Vacation Bible School. Attendance was great and they had fun, but more importantly, they learned something. This made me think of our responsibilities as parents. We have been given a huge trust when we are given our children. We must teach them just as Jesus taught. We need to teach the children and sadly, we also must be willing to discipline when needed.

As a parent, this was always my least favorite thing to do.

However, we must instruct them in the ways that they should go. If we withhold discipline, just as if we withhold instruction, we are not being responsible for the lives that God has entrusted to us.

Do not withhold discipline from a child;
if you punish him with the rod, he will not die.
Punish him with the rod
and save his soul from death.
(Proverbs 23:13-14)

Up until recent history, these principles were upheld in all of society. As a result, society held respect for its members. Of course, there are always some who do not learn the lesson, but as a whole, the Biblical principle worked. In today’s society, people are too busy to even spend time with their children, let alone train them or discipline them. Just as God disciplines those He loves and who love Him, we must not think that discipline is mean or detrimental. It is through training and discipline that Godly traits are developed. This is a hard series of sayings from the Bible, but Jesus reinforced them in:

If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
(Matthew 5:29-30)

Discipline is never easy to take. Today, too many people find it difficult to give. Remember that if we do not discipline those we love to guide them and direct them, then God will have the ultimate discipline when they are cast into the lake of fire. It is better to reprimand and discipline for a short time than to have the undisciplined spend eternity apart from God.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you

March 12, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you–guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
(2 Timothy 1:13-14 (NIV))

It is easy to hear something and have it register that it is a good thing to do. It is far more difficult to retain that teaching and to be able to live by it. We must let the Word of God take root in our lives just as Jesus told in the parable of the seed.

Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop–a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear.”
(Matthew 13:3-9(NIV))

Whether we look upon the Word of God as something that we must retain or as a seed that must take root in our lives, it is a living and life changing acquisition. Without the Word of God in our lives, we flounder and fall into sin. With the Word of God, we stop and consider what we are doing. We have a beacon in the darkness that is guiding us and allowing the truth to bloom and grow within us.

Jesus came to teach and to offer salvation. He is the Word made flesh. He is what we should retain. He is the seed that we should allow to take root and to grow. He is our only means of salvation.

Whether you look upon the Word of God as something to retain or as something to let take root and grow, it is something that must be central to your life. It must be nurtured through study, discipline and prayer. These are the elements that allow the Word of God to grow in your life. Are you providing the elements that are needed?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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