What comes from within you?

March 8, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come — sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.
(Mark 7:21-22 (NIV))

Some people say that society has gone downhill. I actually believe that society has simply allowed what is within to be let out without any repercussions.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

In today’s society, it is possible to find numerous people with like-minded evil thoughts. No matter what the thought may be, there are others who also have them. To be honest with you, people have been experiencing these thoughts ever since the fall from grace. There have always been thieves. There have always been murderers. People have always been greedy and envious. Deceit and arrogance have always existed, as well as sexual immorality and adultery.

What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
(Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NIV))

If this is the case, then why does it seem that we, as a society, are straying further and further away from God’s desires?

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'”
(Matthew 13:24-30 (NIV))

We are that field of wheat. The enemy has sown weeds within each of us that crop up in our lives and show themselves as what is within our hearts. We can choose to focus on the weeds and ignore the good wheat or we can focus on the good wheat and choose to ignore the weeds. Too many people are focusing on the wrong things and allowing the weeds that come from within to overshadow their lives.

I have heard the following told much more eloquently, but imagine that within each of us there are two wolves – a good wolf and a bad wolf. The one that becomes prominent in our lives is the one that we feed. We all have the potential to do much evil. If we feed that potential, evil will come from within.

What comes from within you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus brought us peace, comfort and rest!

December 12, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
(John 16:33 (NIV))

Do you ever find yourself thinking that you are a magnet for trouble?

Do you seem to take one step forward and two steps back even though you try to do everything that you know Jesus would want you to do?

Do you despair over your troubles?

You are not alone!

Life is a gift. God created us to spend our days in His presence in paradise. The way that it was supposed to be was stolen from us by the father of lies when he deceived Adam and Eve in the Garden. Ever since that day, all of humanity has faced troubles in this world. In just a few days we will celebrate the birth of God’s only begotten Son, Jesus. Ever since the fall from grace, God had planned to restore us to Himself. Some believe that He told Adam and Eve His plan for redemption. Whether God told Adam and Eve how long humanity would suffer with troubles, I do know that God has been unfolding His plan of redemption ever since the fall from grace.

It has been pointed out that the meanings of the names of the lineage from Adam to Noah define God’s plan.

Adam – Man
Seth – Appointed
Enosh – Mortal
Kenan – Sorrow
Mahalalel – The blessed God
Jared – Shall come down
Enoch – Teaching
Methuselah – His death shall bring
Lamech – Despairing
Noah – Comfort and rest

Loosely translated, it reads as follows.

Man is appointed mortality and sorrow. The blessed God shall come down and teach us. His death shall bring the despairing comfort and rest.

I don’t know about you, but this gives me comfort. It reassures me of the promises that God has given to us. It makes me understand the depth of God’s 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. 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. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

In just a few days we will be celebrating the birth of Jesus. We will be celebrating the events foretold in the names of Mahalalel, Jared and Enoch. “The blessed God shall come down and teach us.” We celebrate and give God praise for what He has done. We celebrate and give God praise for the rest of the story as it unfolds from Methuselah, Lamech and Noah. “His death shall bring the despairing comfort and rest!”

Christmas is so much more than just the birth of a baby!

Jesus brought us peace, comfort and rest!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have the strength to wait for the Lord?

October 23, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
(Psalms 27:14 (NIV))

There was a very popular song released in the early 1980s that said, “The waiting is the hardest part.” There have been many instances throughout popular culture that use something similar. If I remember correctly, there was a ketchup commercial that used a similar idea to describe the anticipation of the ketchup coming out of the bottle. Whether you are waiting or anticipating, human nature does not like to wait. There is something within our nature that simply does not like the idea of waiting. We get antsy. We get impatient. We get restless. We get irritated and then angry.

If we act like this when waiting for things that we can see in this physical world, how much less patience do we have for things that we cannot see?

There is an old saying that patience is a virtue.

I definitely agree with this idea. I also firmly believe that it is a character strength. I know that it is something that we must cultivate and allow to mature.

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))

It is common to refer to things as getting stronger as they mature. If that is the case, then patience grows stronger as it matures as well. Waiting requires patience. It requires the strength of character to be willing to be still and wait. For those who love to fish, do you grow impatient after your fist cast? You know that getting what you came for requires time and effort.

Time and effort!

Have you ever stopped to think that maybe the Lord is testing us to see if we are willing to commit the time and effort to get to know Him and to wait for His truth? Think about that for a moment. He created us. He knows that we are impatient since the fall from grace. He knows that it will require a commitment, it will require a strength on our part, to wait for Him.

Do you have the strength to wait for the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you covered by grace?

July 14, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
(John 1:17 (NIV))

If you were pulled over for speeding, would you want to be dealt with based on the laws that you broke, or by the grace of someone in authority over you?

Think about the ramifications of that for a moment and consider that laws are written and enforced with exact wording. Using the speeding example, if you were driving 56 miles an hour in a 55 mile per hour zone, you are guilty of breaking the law. A strict adherence to the law would mean that you would suffer the consequences of your actions. Is that truly what we would want to happen to us in that situation?

Now, consider the laws that God has given through Moses. Unlike our traffic laws, these were written in stone by the hand of God. How do you think that these would be enforced if there was no hope of grace? We would be, and we all are, guilty of breaking every single one of God’s laws. How could we expect to uphold such a high standard when we can’t even keep from driving 56 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone?

Since the fall from grace, every single person who has ever lived has broken God’s laws. We are all guilty!

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

I am so thankful for grace! God’s amazing grace!

We are held accountable by the law of Moses and vindicated by the grace of Jesus!

When God sees you, does He see you as covered by grace?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What would you rather face?

October 12, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into the hands of men.”
(2 Samuel 24:14 (NIV))

Isn’t it interesting that most people would rather face the wrath of people than face the mercy of God? We, as a rule, tend to forget that God loves us and wishes to give us grace and mercy even when we do not merit such a favor.

People have a tendency to be judgmental and hold a grudge, even to the point of ridicule and revenge. When given the option, most people would rather exact their pound of flesh instead of forgiving and forgetting. Perhaps this is due to our fall from grace through Adam and Eve. You must remember that this fall opened us up to the power of sin. We are at the mercy of our sinful nature, which now acts opposite of the Fruits of the Spirit, which are, as told in Galatians 5:22-23; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

If God desires for us to express love, our sinful side will act in hatred. If we are to express gentleness, then we will act in anger. With this in mind, it is easy to understand why David desired to fall into the hands of God instead of the hands of men.

Where will you turn in your times of distress?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Lead and guide me Jesus!

May 22, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Since you are my rock and my fortress,
for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
(Psalms 31:3 (NIV))

This should be the prayer of every believer. We made a decision to follow Jesus Christ, yet do we truly want Jesus to lead and guide us?

Our answer should be “YES”.

If we do not follow the lead of Jesus, then we are held more accountable than a non-believer. We will still have salvation, but we will not be rewarded for our faith. We call on the name of Jesus to be our Savior, yet we are reluctant to call Him Lord.

It is so hard to let human nature take a back seat. Human nature, due to the fall from grace, calls for us to be in control, for us to be our own lord and master. We must give this up and let Jesus truly be our Lord and lead and guide us in all that we do.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Submission, Pride and Authority!

April 14, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.
(1 Peter 2:13-17 (NIV))

Submission is probably one of the hardest things that a human has to do! The very act requires that you admit that someone has authority over you and you are not the ultimate power in your life.

Just where does this “rebellion” come from?

It appears to be an inborn trait in each and every one of us. Perhaps it comes from the Fall from Grace in the Garden of Eden. Let’s face it, Satan did not want to submit to God. He deceived us and now we have turned over the earth to sin and death. It was the sin of pride that made Satan not willing to submit. Now, the same pride permeates the world because of the incident that happened in the Garden long ago.

Perhaps it is exactly for this reason that we are called to submit. It goes against everything that the world expects of us in our sinful nature.

Do you submit willingly, or do you still fight the sin of pride that has caused so many to not submit to the ultimate authority within their lives. That authority is Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and the only King of kings and Lord of lords.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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