Do you understand the value of love?

August 1, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV))

There are many characteristics that we would like to think that are a part of our personality. It is human nature to think that we are better than we really are. With this in mind, what are your greatest personality traits?

Do you feel that you truthfully exhibit any of 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.

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 5:19-23 (NIV))

I suppose that I should ask whether you feel you exhibit characteristics from the acts of the flesh or from the fruit of the Spirit. Each and every one of us wants to be considered loving, joyful, peaceful, kind, good, faithful and gentle, but to be honest with ourselves, we have to admit that we are only human and that we exhibit the other characteristics more often than we desire to. Even so, we have something to strive for with the Lord’s help. We are told that the greatest that we can present is love. We are also told, by the order of presentation, that love is a crucial fruit of the Spirit. We are also told that love is an identifying characteristic of those who claim to be disciples of Jesus.

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
(John 13:35 (NIV))

If this is the case, then it makes perfect sense that we are to love each other.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
(1 Peter 4:8 (NIV))

Let’s put this in perspective. We can claim to have faith and we can be condemned by our lack of love. We can claim to have hope, and still be hateful. When we have love, the true love of Jesus, then faith and hope fall into place. We love the Lord and His creation. Out of this love springs the faith and the hope to share that love with the world. I believe that I am beginning to see why love is the greatest to remain.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
(1 Corinthians 13:8 (NIV))

Do you understand the value of love?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you define love?

April 1, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
(1 Corinthians 13:4 (NIV))

Love can possess many different characteristics in the minds of those who try to define it. To some people, it is a strong affection such as what a mother has for her child. Others think of love as a sexual attraction. Some people even go so far as to define love by the things that they like.

What is your definition of love? Does it encompass any or all of the above?

How does God define love?

God’s love is not too proud to keep Him from reaching out to save. God’s love for us is kind. He does not reach out to us to condemn us. God’s love for us is not proud. He willingly did what He had to do to bring us salvation.

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.
(John 3:16-17 (NIV))

God’s love is patient.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

I could spend countless hours documenting the depth of God’s love for His creation. It is boundless, yet, it is simple at the same time. It is everlasting, yet it is concerned about your individual moments. It is powerful, yet it is gentle enough to hold each of us in our moments of weakness. It is all encompassing, yet it is able to focus on each of us individually. In essence, God’s love is perfect!

How do you define love?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you able to love in this manner?

October 30, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
(Ephesians 4:2 (NIV))

Excuse the language, but have you ever simply wanted to say, “You idiot!” when dealing with certain people?

Be honest with yourself. You probably had someone pop into your mind when you read that question. Honestly, there are just some people that rub us the wrong way even if we try to not let them bother us. But, do they actually make you lose control or is it entirely up to you how you react?

It is said that love is a choice. We can choose to love even when the person is less than lovable. We can choose to be humble and gentle in our responses even when we are intentionally being provoked. We can choose to be patient even in situations where our patience is being put to the ultimate test. We can choose to bear with one another in love because there will be times when we are less than lovable and we will want someone to love us! If you actually stop to think about human reactions, they can all come down to a simple matter of ego and pride. In essence, our reactions are nothing more than our inner attitudes toward others. We think that we know more, or are better qualified to undertake a task. As already stated, love is a choice. It is only one of many, but it is the correct choice.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,
(Philippians 2:3 (NIV))

How do you value others?

Are you able to humble yourself even in the midst of people who are able to press all of your buttons?

Are you able to love in this manner?

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

October 29, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.
(1 Timothy 3:2-3 (NIV))

The word overseer implies someone in a position of authority in the church. Typically, this is translated as pastor, elder or deacon, but if you stop to think about it, everyone who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior is in a position of authority. We are all able to minister to each other and to those around us. We are all called to tell the world about Jesus. We are all able to lead someone to eternal salvation, and, sadly enough, we can all fall short of our calling.

Everyone who professes to be a member of the Body of Christ is in the spotlight. We are being watched by those who do not believe. Every action and every word is under constant scrutiny by an unbelieving world. We should all strive to be above reproach. We should all be faithful, temperate and self-controlled. We should all be respectable and hospitable. Everyone who professes a faith in Jesus should be able to teach others about the one who has set them free. We must set a good example, a high benchmark, for others to follow as we strive to follow Jesus.

Our actions should reflect the character of Christ! We should strive to fulfill the instructions put forth for an overseer.

Think about that.

Have you ever lost your temper, even in the privacy of your own home? Have you ever lost self-control? Do those who live with you and work with you think that you are respectable and above reproach? Have you ever been less than gentle? Have you ever participated in or started a quarrel? Do you treat those around you with respect and dignity even when you are in a position of authority over them?

If we are human, the answer to these will probably be a yes, for we are all far from perfect.

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

Thankfully, we don’t have to rely on our lack of ability to be perfect. We never will be perfect on our own. It is when we take our eyes off of Jesus and look to ourselves, or the world, that we fail miserably. Only when we keep our eyes on Jesus are we able to begin to come close to possessing these characteristics. We may never hold a position of pastor, elder or deacon, but we can all strive to fulfill these Godly characteristics in our lives. We can all strive to be above reproach!

Do you desire to be above reproach?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Give your burdens to Jesus!

December 15, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV))

This world piles burden upon burden on us in our daily lives. Our jobs, our obligations, our financial needs, and sometimes even our families and our church become burdens. We must step back and focus on the words of Jesus.

Rest! Everyone desires it, but in this world, true rest cannot come. Rest only comes when one is at peace. Peace is a concept that the world wants but can not grant. True peace only comes from the source of all creation through His Son Jesus Christ. Trade burdens with Jesus and gain peace and rest.

The burden that Jesus bore has paid in full your burden of sin and death. Whatever you are carrying now, He carried to the cross almost two thousand years ago. Give Him your burdens and He will give you rest.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you found what Jesus was sharing?

September 2, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV))

When you hear the word “yoke” you probably think of the large, heavy piece of farm equipment that is put on oxen so that they can pull a plow. We when think of a yoke, we think of a physical burden. Sometimes following what church traditions and the Law say we need to do is looked upon as such a burden. With this attitude, it is easy to understand why people are fearful of church and following Jesus. They think that it is hard work and impossible to do. They do not realize or understand the yoke that Jesus offers is a different type of yoke.

It is difficult to follow the Law faithfully. No one can do it. That is a burden that no one can bear. However, Jesus has born that burden. As the Son of God, He came to this earth as a man and accomplished what no man could accomplish because of sin. He willingly took upon Himself the very burden that we could never carry. In return, He gave us His yoke.

To the people who originally heard these words, they knew that a rabbi’s interpretation of God’s Word was called his yoke. Some rabbi’s made it very difficult to follow God because of the very burdensome interpretations that they placed upon people. I am sure that we all know people who do that even today. Luckily, Jesus gives people a very light yoke unencumbered by the interpretations of man. Jesus, as rabbi, taught us that there is an alternative to the yoke of the Law. He gave us rest. Can you imagine the burden of trying to live perfect lives according to the Law? People were stressed. They were so caught up in trying to be perfect that they didn’t enjoy the life that God gave them. They knew that Satan used the Law against them.

Jesus changed this.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10:10 (NIV))

Does this sound like an easy burden?

Jesus did not come to this earth to burden us down. He came to free us from those burdens. Take His yoke upon you and learn. Find the rest that God desires for you.

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

July 20, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”
(Genesis 9:12-16 (NIV))

God is faithful!

When God first created a rainbow, it was as a promise to those who had followed His commands. It was, and still continues to be, a visible reminder that God is faithful to deliver those who call upon His name; for those who place their faith and trust in Him.

With all that is going on in the world, we all need a gentle reminder that God is faithful and that what He has promised will come to pass. I realize that this sounds like a weak faith, but in reality it is a strengthening of faith, for it is a sign from God that what He has promised will come to fruition.

Have you ever needed a gentle reminder from God?

To be honest with you, I don’t think that there is a single person alive who does not need this reassurance every once in a while. God knows us intimately. He also knows that we face things in this world that can overcome us. He sent Jesus into this world to overcome sin and death. He sent the rainbow to show us that He is faithful to keep His promises. God has an everlasting covenant with His creation. That covenant is our hope and our faith. To those who believe in that covenant, we see signs all around us of the majesty that is our God. Sadly, those who do not believe see the same signs but miss the meaning. They miss the promise.

With all that I have that burdens my heart, today was a day that I was reminded of the faithfulness of God. The day was stressful with the typical news as of late. Other issues clouded my mind. Late in the day I decided to step outside for a breath of fresh air. My mind was racing trying to comprehend all of the events of the day. I turned to look back at my house, and there it was! The biggest rainbow that I have ever seen arching down from on high and disappearing behind the roof.

It is amazing how something that God sends your way can instantly change your day. I went from a heavy heart to a smile and joy in no time at all. I was reminded of God’s love for us and His faithfulness to those who love Him!

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