Have you recognized what is within your heart?

February 22, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.
(Psalms 40:8 (NIV))

The things that are nearest and dearest to us are the things that are said to be in our hearts. When they have become an integral part of us, many people say that they become second nature, but that is not the case. They become our primary nature! It is at this time that people refer to these things as being written in our hearts. They have become as intimate and personal as we can possibly make them. They become central to what makes the individual who they are.

I count an individual blessed if they have discovered the things in their life that are truly written within their hearts. Sadly, not everyone can claim to have something so much a part of their life that it is written within their heart. Do you have such a thing?

What is it in your life that if it were taken away, would so change your existence that you would not be recognizable as the same person? Are you able to identify this in yourself? Are other people able to identify this in you? It is often easier for others to see this in you than it is for you to see it in yourself. When we do the things that are an integral part of ourselves, we don’t truly see the outward signs. We just see things as what we love. With that in mind, have you ever had someone point something out to you in a way that you had not realized or thought of in that manner? Were you surprised at their insight into you?

Does it surprise you that David, who was called a man after God’s own heart, wrote that God’s law was within his heart? With all that David faced in his life, he desired to know God no matter what the situation. Did he always succeed at living his life according to what God called him to do? David was human, so that answer should be obvious. Still, David had made God’s law the one thing that was central to his life. David desired to follow God so earnestly, that God promised him that one of his descendants would always sit on the throne.

Hopefully, what is within my heart becomes visible through these devotionals. Even after twenty years, I see things in God’s Word that touch me and I hope that they touch you as well.

It is my prayer that you will desire to place God’s law within your heart.

Have you recognized what is within your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you tempted when others sin?

March 2, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.
(Galatians 6:1 (NIV))

We all like to think that we are masters over our sinful nature since we have accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior.

How is that working out for you?

Paul knew better than to believe this or to even teach this concept. He knew that it would not take much to distract us before we were back involved in our old sinful habits. He warned us to always be on our guard so that we would not fall for the lies of the enemy and take our eyes off of Jesus.

He struggled with it himself!

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
(Romans 7:14-25 (NIV))

Think about that for a moment!

Paul, the very person who had a personal encounter with the risen Jesus on his was to Damascus, realizes that he sins. Paul, the very person who is credited with taking the Gospel to the Gentiles, recognizes his struggle with sin. If someone who is considered a pillar of faith knows that it is easy for him to still sin, why do we feel that we are perfect and that we can ignore temptation?

Don’t let the sins of others tempt you!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you still desire your sinful nature?

February 16, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
(Romans 8:5-8 (NIV))

It seems that a lot of people today only have their minds on what they want. It is no wonder that many people refer to our society today as the “me” society. Everyone seems to think only of themselves. They do whatever they want without any serious thought of the consequences to themselves or to those around them. To me, this sounds very much like those people who Paul described in Romans 5:8. They live only for what they desire and when they desire it. They seek after love that is not true, joy that is fleeting, peace that is medically induced, kindness that is bought, goodness that is false and faithfulness that is fleeting. Their desires cause them to shift course whenever things start to get bad or whenever they feel that they can get their next desire met.

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. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
(Galatians 5:22-24 (NIV))

When we sacrifice the sinful nature, we not only fully embrace what God desires, but we should also fully reject what we have become addicted to. We must focus on Jesus and trust in Him. We must forget the past and look to the future that He has saved us for. He did not die on the cross to keep us bound to our sinful nature. He died so that we can break free of that bondage. In order to do this, we must give ourselves completely to Him. We cannot be someone who claims that Jesus only came to teach about love. Love will not save you. We cannot be someone who thinks that they can pick and choose what they wish to believe. Jesus is a complete package. We must be the ones who proclaim that Jesus came to die for us. We must proclaim that Jesus is our personal Lord and Savior. We must proclaim that His love for us kept Him on that cross. We must proclaim that it is this same love that will help us to defeat our sinful nature.

If we proclaim Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and if we allow Him to work in our lives to clear the sinful nature, then we will be able to focus on what the Spirit desires and make these desires our desires.

What do you desire?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Against such things there is no law!

October 27, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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))

Against such things there is no law!

Why are there laws to begin with?

Basically, the laws are there to tell us the things that we should not do. Sometimes, laws are disguised in such a way that it appears that they tell us what we must do, but in essence, even these laws tell us what we cannot do. Consider a speed limit sign. When the speed is posted as 55 MPH, does that mean that you can go 75 MPH? In essence, the law tells us what we can’t do by posting what we are supposed to do.

What about God’s laws? What about the Ten Commandments? These laws are there to tell us to stay away from sin and things that are contrary to God’s Will. We are told directly not to do certain things. We are told not to steal. We are told not to lie. We are told not to covet. All of these are characteristics and actions that lead us away from God and into a sinful nature.

Re-read Galatians 5:22-23. Have you ever heard of anyone being told not to have love? What about joy and peace? Have you ever been told not to be patient and kind? I seriously doubt that you have ever been told not to be good. I could take each one of these fruits of the Spirit and address each one, but I believe that you understand where I am going with this. We do not have to be told not to possess these traits because they are what God created us to possess. He did not create us to steal. He did not create us to lie. He did not create us to covet. He created us to love, have joy, be kind and gentle and to have faith in Him.

Against such things there is no law!

Are your actions governed by law or by love?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who do you see when you look up?

July 7, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters–one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
(Matthew 17:1-8 (NIV))

When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus!

Think about that statement.

Peter, James and John were Jewish. The core of the Jewish faith hinges upon what God did through Moses and Elijah. Peter, James and John were probably awe struck. The men whom God used to lay the foundations of what they had been taught all of their lives were standing supernaturally right in front of them. They wanted to commemorate this moment. They wanted to be able to have a place where they could relive this very moment.

Isn’t it interesting how these three men had spent several years with Jesus and this is the moment that probably made them truly aware of who He was and who He is. I love the symbolism of their faith traditions being overshadowed by Jesus. When they looked up, all that they saw was Jesus. Moses and Elijah were no where to be seen. Traditions can not save you.

Moses can’t offer salvation. Elijah can’t offer salvation. They brought God’s Law and His prophetic Word, but they can not bring salvation. That is available through only one source.

Jesus!

Moses and Elijah were only human. Jesus has a much higher authority as the Son of God. Only Jesus can save.

When you seek grace, mercy and salvation, whom do you see?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you believe that man can change God’s Laws?

May 26, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV))

I keep seeing things reported that some denominations are voting to change Biblical law as they apply it to their teachings. Some denominations are even voting to allow certain sins to not only be allowed, but in some cases they are condoned.

I know that the following passage applies directly to Revelation, but I have a feeling that it also applies to all of God’s Word.

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
(Revelation 22:18-19 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but I plan on holding fast to the unaltered Word of God as it has been preached and taught for thousands of years. Just because it is old, doesn’t mean that it is wrong. Just because we may not like some parts of it, doesn’t mean that God’s truth can be changed.

We already know what God has planned for those who alter the prophecy in Revelation. If you stop to think about Revelation, it is a culmination of the sins of man and God’s final plan being fulfilled. Just what is sin? Sin is anything that misses the mark that God has set before us. If we change God’s Laws, isn’t that more than missing the mark. It is a direct and willful thumbing of our noses at God. It is rebellion against God. It is my understanding that rebellion is much worse than sin. Sin is missing the mark. Rebellion is a deliberate fight against God.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you love God’s law?

July 14, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I hate and abhor falsehood
but I love your law.
(Proverbs 119:163 (NIV))

I wish more people in the world today would claim this statement as the truth in their lives. To be honest with you, I wish that more people who claim to be a member of the Body of Christ would truly understand this passage and claim it as the truth in their lives.

Think about that for a moment.

It is said that if something is only 99% true, then it is a lie. Satan twists God’s Word and God’s law to the point where they sound correct, but they are not. We, as the Body of Christ, must be able to discern the smallest of lies from the enemy, for it is the smallest of lies that will entrap many who claim to be believers.

Can you think of any teachings that are being presented as God’s Word, but fall short of what God truly says?

Can you honestly tell the difference?

Do we, as the Body of Christ, know God’s Word as we have been instructed to know His Word?

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
(Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NIV))

How can we hate and abhor falsehood if we do not know what the truth is? Do we love God’s law so much that we know it and can discern it from a lie?

Satan is counting on the Body of Christ to not know God’s Word well enough to discern his lies.

Can you?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God’s NOT Dead!

April 3, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily. But with wise and knowledgeable leaders, there is stability.
(Proverbs 28:2 (NLT))

Moral rot within a nation!

Stability?

I am sure that each of us have our own opinions of these two simple statements. I am also sure that each of us would like to see things differently. As the Body of Christ. we should all long for righteousness. We should all long for peace and stability.

Are we so far removed from God’s law that we, as a nation, cannot turn from our moral rot? Can we find the righteousness that we long for? Can we, as the Body of Christ, do anything?

I honestly pray that this is able to be turned. I honestly pray that we seek after righteousness in all that we do. According to the media, and the normal entertainment venues, as well as many in the government, we are not a nation that seeks after God’s own heart.

I believe.

No, I know that there is a very strong voice for righteousness still alive in this country. When we see televisions shows such as Duck Dynasty, which is openly Christian, in the top of the ratings, there is hope. When we see a movie that no one thought would draw an audience continually break attendance records and continually add more theaters, then we as the Body of Christ are loudly proclaiming that God’s NOT Dead!

We have to take a stand for what is right in the eyes of God. We must seek after righteousness and not give in to the world.

We must continually seek God in all that we do.

Our nation, and the world, is not lost. God loves impossible odds!

Think about that for a moment.

What are the odds that the son of a carpenter would fulfill all of the prophesies? What are the odds that a person could be violently killed and in three days be raised from the dead? What are the odds that twelve men of simple birth could proclaim the Gospel in such a way that two thousands years later it is still impacting the lives of people and bringing salvation?

We don’t know what the future holds. We do know that Jesus will return. We do know that many of the signs are indicating that this is very close. We also know that God is not slow in keeping His promises. He does not wish any to perish.

Still, in the world today, we have extreme moral rot. We do not have stability. We do not have righteousness in our society. That does not mean that you cannot have an impact on one person and that one person will have an impact on another person, and so on.

Where there is life, there is hope. Where there is hope, faith matures. When faith matures, we see wonderful things unfold.

God’s NOT Dead!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will you face judgement or Salvation?

January 29, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.
(Hebrews 9:27 (NIV))

People live their lives as if they would never die. They are too engrossed in the “here and now” to think about eternity. When they do think about eternity, they do not think about the judgement that they must face after they die.

All throughout their lives they have been mislead by false religions and false teachings such as reincarnation, Buddhism, karma and a vast number of others. It is common in today’s culture to hear people speak of “It must be karma” or something similar. But, among non-believers, you never hear of someone speaking of judgement. It is not a concept that they wish to believe in.

The world has been successful in spreading the lies that there is no judgement after death. According to God’s laws, there is no reincarnation, no karma, or any other such thing. We have one life after which we will be judged based on one criteria. Did we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior? Those who answer “Yes” will receive eternal life in the presence of God. Those who answer “No” will receive the same judgement as Satan and the Anti-Christ: eternal separation from God and the Lake of Fire.

Without Jesus, there is no hope. With Jesus, we have God’s promise of eternal life.

Judgement is a Biblical principle. Salvation is a Biblical principle. Salvation comes through only ONE source, Jesus Christ. Will you face judgement or Salvation?

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

December 30, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
(1 John 4:1 (NIV))

What was true for the early church is still very true today. Not everyone who claims to speak the truth is actually speaking the truth as God and Jesus have established it. Many people will distort the truth for their own gain. Some just do not care about the truth and will tell you anything just because they can.

This also is very true about “spirits” as well. Not everything that you have a “hunch” or an inspiration about is from God. Keep in mind that Satan and his legions are roaming the earth and can disguise themselves as angels of light. The Holy Spirit will not tell you to do anything that goes against the Word of God.

Test everything!

The best way to test whether something is from God is to know His Word and have it written on your heart. In this manner, you will know quickly whether something is from God and is the truth. God will never do anything that is contrary to His Word.

But what about Jesus?

Didn’t God change His plan for mankind when Jesus came into the world?

No!

God had foretold of this plan ever since Abraham. He spoke of the promise to all generations. He even used the prophets to tell of the details of Jesus’ life and the fulfillment of His plan. Man did not fully understand the plan, and spent the years in anticipation of another kind of leader instead of the one that God had promised us. Perhaps, they even listened to false prophets who did not want them to fully understand what God was doing!

Do you fully understand God’s plan?

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