Are you fulfilling your duty?

October 22, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.
(Ecclesiastes 12:13 (NIV))

Everyone has things that they feel they need to do. Some people call them obligations. Some call them responsibilities. Some people call them their duty. Others may say that these things are their priority, while some simply refer to them as the right thing to do. No matter what you may call them, we all have something that we feel we must do.

What are the things in your life that you place as a priority, as your duty?

Is one of your duties to provide for your family? Perhaps you are a business owner and you have employees and customers that are a central part of your daily life. Perhaps you are called to be a first responder and you feel that your duty is to protect and to serve. If that is you, thank you for your selflessness!

No matter what you may feel that your duty or obligation may be, there is one that is far greater and a lot of people fail to ever do anything about it! In fact, Jesus was asked point blank and responded without any hesitation.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.
(Matthew 22:36-38 (NIV))

I can hear it now. Some may say that these two passages contradict each other. One says to fear God and the other says to love God with all your heart. How can fear and love mean the same thing? To be honest with you, that is a concept that may be difficult for people to grasp, but the basic sentiment behind this is that you should desire to do what is right in God’s eyes. Perhaps a better way to refer to this potential contradiction is to look at it in terms of respect. When you respect God for who He is, you both love and fear Him at the same time. The fear comes from the simple fact that we are all sinners who deserve whatever judgment we have earned. The love comes from the fact that even though He is a just and righteous God and we are all guilty of our sins, He has freely offered grace and mercy in place of the judgment.

I find it interesting that the passage in which we are told to fear God is from the Old Testament and it was recorded long before grace was freely given. I love the fact that the passage in which Jesus told us to love God is in the New Testament. Jesus took the liberty to paraphrase the commandments and let it be known that we no longer had to fear God, but through Him, God reached out to us in love. Through God’s act of love for us, we can now approach God in love.

I don’t know about you, but I both fear God and love God. As a part of His creation, it is my duty to the Lord our God as Creator!

Are you fulfilling your duty?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What would Jesus do?

October 19, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
(1 John 3:16 (NIV))

Several years ago, everyone was asking “What would Jesus do?” I understand the concept behind the question, for it makes us stop and reflect on our actions in any given circumstance. I know that it has made me stop and rethink my actions on many occasions, but perhaps we should ask ourselves another question.

What can I do that will make me more like Jesus?

When we ask what would Jesus do, it places Jesus at the center of our lives. It places Jesus as the ideal that we are to copy, that we are to imitate. To be honest with you, that is definitely not bad, after all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. With this in mind, it is perfectly okay to ask what would Jesus do. It shows that we strive to be like Jesus in our actions. Eventually, though, we need to move from an outward action to an inner desire, an inner change of heart. Jesus needs to become personal to us in ways far beyond imitation.

We need to desire, we need to strive to be more like Jesus!

For many people, that is conveyed by the simple question, “What would Jesus do?” These simple words convey their inner desires. For other people, the subtle nuances between these two phrases can take on such a powerful meaning. The simple question, “What can I do?” can convey a selfishness in the eyes of some people, while in the eyes of others, these words imply a total surrender to Jesus. They can indicate a me first type of mentality, or they can indicate that the person has reached the limits of their own understanding and are ready for complete surrender.

Perhaps the two questions go hand in hand. There are times when we need to ask ourselves what we can do that will make us more like Jesus. Then there are times when we need to ask Jesus what He would do in the situation in which we find ourselves.

No matter what you may ask, be prepared for an answer that may surprise you. It is essential to remember that Jesus did a wide variety of things including turning over the tables of the money changers. The one thing that was common in the life and actions of Jesus is that He obeyed God even to death. The next time that you face a situation in the world or in your life, remember that obedience to the Father was His only priority.

What would Jesus do?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you going the one true way?

October 15, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

One Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
(Ephesians 4:5-6 (NIV))

Some denominations say that only by belonging to their particular denomination can your get to heaven. Some people believe that you can only be from a certain nationality or lineage. Still others believe that what applies to others does not apply to them. Paul had to deal with those issues in his day and time.

His response dealt quickly and decisively with the issue. Paul should know, after all, he faced Jesus on the road to Damascus when he was doing wrong in the eyes of God. Afterward, he spent years studying and learning about Jesus before he began teaching and preaching. Let’s face it, if you had an experience such as the conversion experience of Saul to Paul, wouldn’t you want to make sure that you got everything absolutely accurate before teaching? I know that I would.

It is with this certainty and conviction that Paul wrote these words. Saul was a scholar among scholars before his conversion. In all likelihood, this did not stop after he became Paul. In fact, I would venture to say that it was his desire to learn that drove him to earnestly seek God and His Truth. With Paul’s earthly credentials (which actually only matter in this world), and Paul’s Damascus road experience, and his learning, it is impossible to refute these words. Paul taught only what came from God. If this came from Paul, then we can know it to be true. If it did not come from God, then we know that it could not have come from Paul. Ask yourself if you would have written something that was not true after you faced Jesus as Paul did.

Paul knew the truth and he knew whom he would have to answer to if he did not tell the truth. It is historically proven that Paul wrote the letter to Ephasus, therefore, we can rely on the truth of the words.

If there is only one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, then we have but one way to heaven. Grace through the salvation offered through Jesus Christ!

Are you going the one true way?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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If patience is a virtue, are you a virtuous person?

October 11, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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

Are you as patient with God as He is with you? Would you apply the same patience and attitude in waiting for God as He does in waiting for you?

Be thankful that He is a patient and righteous God. We, in our limited understanding, are not patient. We expect everything “NOW” and are not prepared to truly be patient. We have a limited life on earth, limited reasoning and limited understanding. God has eternal life, is all seeing and all knowing. From God’s perspective, He is not slow. He has all of eternity. Our short lives on this planet are just that:

“As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field;”
(Psalm 103:15)

If patience is a virtue, are you a virtuous person?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you still have your “flavor”?

October 9, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
(Matthew 5:13 (NIV))

Jesus told us to be the salt of the earth. We are to season our lives and the lives of those around us with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let the “flavor” of God be presented through what we do and say.

Jesus also gave us a warning in this verse. We are not to let our “saltiness” (our witness to the world) become ineffective. Once salt has lost its ability to season, it is useless. God is telling us to keep what is from Him and not lose sight of Him, or we will lose our ability to “season” the world.

“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”
(Mark 9:50)

Salt is a strong seasoning, yet when added to food, it blends to make a good balance. We must have “salt” (strength in God) and rely on that strength to do what God wishes for us to do and balance it in our lives.

Salt adds flavor.

Do you still have your “flavor”?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Which side do you choose to be on?

October 8, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The LORD is good,
a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in him,
but with an overwhelming flood
he will make an end of Nineveh;
he will pursue his foes into darkness.
Whatever they plot against the LORD
he will bring to an end;
trouble will not come a second time.
(Nahum 1:7-9 (NIV))

God is good all the time! Those who trust in Him will be rewarded with safety and refuge. Those who do not place their trust in Him will be brought to an end.

Yet, the Lord does not wish for any to perish. It is not too late for those who plot against Him to turn from their ways and turn towards God. Then, they too will find refuge in His Will.

No one is forbidden to come to God through His Son, Jesus Christ. All are welcome who acknowledge and accept that Jesus Christ is their personal Lord and Savior and that He died for their sins.

In this simple act, someone chooses to change sides and accepts the refuge of God.

Which side do you choose to be on?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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