Is this how you know the Lord?

March 6, 2018

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
(Psalms 88:15 (NIV))

Everyone in the world has an image of how they see God!

Some see an angry old man. Some see a vindictive character. Others see someone who just doesn’t care about us, while others see Him as someone who takes great joy in each of us. Even atheists, who claim that He doesn’t exist, have a mental image of Him, or should I say the absence of Him, for it takes a very vivid imagination to claim that He doesn’t exist.

What is your image of God?

Is you image of God distorted by the characteristics that your earthly father displayed?

Do you find it difficult to believe that someone who created everything that exists knows you intimately? We are told that He does!

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
(Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV))

When you think of God, do you see Him in this manner?

Is this how you know the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you desire to be holy?

January 11, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
(1 Peter 1:15-16 (NIV))

When you were growing up, was there someone whom you wanted to be just like?

We all have people that are role models for us at various times in our lives. As we grow and mature, some of these people lose that place while others step in to fill the void. Even so, there is something about each of these individuals that fill a need, that fill a hole in our lives at a certain time. Some of us looked up to one or both of our parents. Some looked to a certain grandparent as the role model. As we matured and our interests took on their own personality, we soon began to look upon individuals who had made a name for themselves in the areas that held our interest. All along the way, we saw something in each of these individuals that we recognized as unique and worthy of emulating.

What characteristics caught your attention?

For some, it is such traits as love and kindness. For others, it is a steadfast focus on the goal. For some, it is the willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed in the area of expertise.

When I read today’s passage, something made me realize that we have been seeking to emulate the wrong role models most of the time. Think back on those whom you desired to be like. Did they focus on Jesus? Did they strive to be holy and to bear fruit that reflects that holiness?

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))

I know that we have a tendency to reference these traits quite often, but do we truly stop to reflect on the source? If you notice that Spirit is capitalize. This references the Holy Spirit aspect of God. These are traits that we should recognize as holy. These are traits that we should desire to emulate. We have been given instructions on how to be holy!

Do you desire to be holy?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you long for a pure heart?

December 5, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (NIV))

What is a pure heart?

Do you think that it has anything to do with the following?

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))

Perhaps I should ask if you think that it has anything to do with the lack of those characteristics and the presence of the following characteristics.

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))

Perhaps the best way to describe a pure heart is in a similar manner that God used to describe David.

After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’
(Acts 13:22 (NIV))

In essence, a pure heart despises the worldly, sinful nature and seeks the things of God. A pure heart longs to have the same desires that God has in His heart. Is this something that you truly desire? Think about that the next time someone cuts you off in traffic, or the next time that someone takes the credit for something that you have done.

Do you long for a pure heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How are you responding to the world?

May 4, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
(Romans 12:12 (NIV))

With what is happening in the world today, it is so difficult to be joyful. I find myself losing my patience with the people who have no idea of the sinful lives that they are leading. Hopefully, I am becoming more faithful in my prayers.

Life today and the world today have become so far removed from what I remember as a child. Everything seems to be in chaos. Gone are the days when you could trust people enough to leave your doors unlocked. Gone are the days when you could trust that if your children went riding their bikes and you had no idea where they were, you could trust that they would come home.

We have lost our innocence! It seems like society is running full-speed ahead into anything and everything that is evil. The world has rapidly declined into an abyss that seems to be getting deeper and darker. With that in mind, what are we, as the Body of Christ, supposed to do? When God’s truth is no longer considered to be truth, what are we supposed to do?

Stand firm!

Stand firm in what you know to be true. Stand firm in the joy and hope. Stand firm in patience no matter what may come. Most of all, stand firm in your faithfulness and prayers!

We know that this world is not our home. We know that good will be called evil and evil will be called good. We know that we will be mocked and ridiculed for our faith. We also know that Jesus will return. No matter what may come, we must remain joyful in our hope. We must remain patient no matter what the world sends our way. As we are told, we must pray without ceasing. We must never lose our faith!

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How does that camel taste?

March 13, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
(Matthew 23:23-24 (NIV))

Everyone likes to pick and choose, especially when it comes to following instructions. We all have things that we are good at following. We also all have things that we tend to ignore. We focus on our strengths while we tend to ignore our weaknesses and the things that we aren’t interested in. We think that we can replace our weaknesses with other aspects of our personal traits, but is this really how it works? Can we sit in church and give money while ignoring what Jesus is really calling us to give?

It takes more than sitting in a pew for an hour a week!

In today’s society, if we are aren’t interested in doing something personally, we have a tendency to ignore it or we give a little money to ease our minds. Don’t take the giving of money comment incorrectly. If we give with a true desire to help, then our gifts are true. If we give out of guilt or ignorance, God can and will use these gifts, but our motives are not true. Sadly, we can easily see what we perceive as the motives of others, but we fail to see our own. We give money, but we fail to give justice, mercy and faithfulness.

If all that we do as the Body of Christ is to sit in church and write a check, we are missing the calling that Jesus left us with.

We are to go into the world and make disciples!

We are to love our neighbors!

We are to show justice and mercy!

You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
(Matthew 7:5 (NIV))

We are to be faithful to the things that we are called to do in our own lives. We are to be faithful to all of the things that we are called to do for the sake of the Gospel, and not just the ones that man has said are the priorities! When we do what we normally do, are we straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel?

I have just one question for you,

How does that camel taste?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your obedience measured with Mary and Joseph?

December 15, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.
(Luke 1:26-28 (NIV))

We all know the story. We know of the faithfulness of Mary. We know of the uncertainty that Joseph experienced. We know of the visit of the angel with Mary. We know what assurance was given to Joseph to trust that what Mary was saying was true.

Now, put yourself in the place of Joseph or Mary. How would you react? What if the birth of the Savior relied on your obedience to what seemed to go against societal norms? Would you fully trust in God or would you do as Joseph originally intended and seek a quiet way to separate yourself from the situation?

Perhaps you are more inclined to ask if you would even be considered to fill the role of God’s servant. We like to think that we would step up and do what God want of us, but are we doing it in our lives today? Based on the lives we live today, would God even consider calling you and I for a task so important as the one that He set aside for Joseph and Mary? Are we willing to step up to the plate in the little things? If we are, then it is more likely that God will call you, for He sees the very heart.

With Christmas only a few days away, think about the faith and trust that Joseph and Mary possessed. They are perfect examples of the fact that God works His will through those who are obedient to His calling.

Are you obedient to God’s calling?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How are you recognized?

August 8, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
(Matthew 7:20 (NIV))

Most people in today’s society are not able to identify most fruit bearing plants and trees simply by looking at them during the off season. We are more used to going to the store and getting what we want from the produce department. However, most of us would still be able to tell an apple tree from a pear tree if there were apples hanging from the limbs. Even with fruit hanging from the limbs, we are pushing our limits when we try to identify what type of apple, for some are sweet while others are tart.

Are we able to tell anything about a person at first glance? Can we tell whether they are a believer in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior simply by knowing their name? Can we tell any more about someone if we simply look at them?

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

Based on the examples that we see as the fruit of the Spirit, we can sometimes see these traits simply by looking at someone. However, everyone can have a period of time when these traits appear to be genuine and the same person can have a period of time when these traits appear to not be present at all in their lives.

It takes time for fruit to mature!

Can you walk up to a tree and pick an apple and eat it as soon as the flower falls off and the fruit starts to grow? We may see the potential for a mature fruit, but we have to be patient. The same is true of people. We can see the potential for the fruit of the Spirit, but we have to allow it to mature. Jesus spoke of this using 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.
(Matthew 13:3-8 (NIV))

Just because something, or someone, has the potential to be something, that doesn’t mean that it will happen. Many things come into play. For people, many distractions can keep us from bearing the fruit that God has intended. It is human nature to be able to see the shortcomings of others when this happens, but do we easily recognize it in ourselves?

Do others recognize the fruit that God wants you to bear?

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