Remember the sparrow and rejoice!

December 11, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
(Matthew 10:29-31 (NIV))

Do you ever feel that you are not in the eyes of God?

If you are like me, then you probably have this feeling many times.

We are frail in our uncertainty. We constantly like to be reminded that we are doing a good job at work, or that we are still loved by our spouse, or that we still have that competitive edge. We must also face this truth in our relationship with God. Our human nature likes to be reminded that we are still in His eyes.

I love these words of assurance that Jesus gave us. Jesus spoke to the very heart of our self worth and our uncertainty. In these few words, He was able to convey that God is a loving Father who cares for all of His creation, even down to the smallest creature. Jesus simply stated that God considers us to be of far more worth than sparrows, and that nothing happens to a single sparrow apart from God’s will.

Isn’t it amazing. Even at Christmas, when God demonstrated His love for us by sending His only Son, Jesus, we still need to be reminded that God holds each and every one of us in such great importance.

Perhaps we are frail in our humanity, but we must never forget that God is never frail in His love and His grace!

When you feel that you are not in the eyes of God, simply remember the sparrow and rejoice!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you still trying to earn what is freely given?

December 10, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
(Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV))

There is an old saying that you get what you pay for. This implies that anything of value has a great cost for the one who possesses it. It also implies that if you didn’t pay anything for it, then it is worthless. The thought is that anything of worth and value requires a sacrifice of something of worth or value in order to obtain it.

There is another old saying about something being too good to be true. This actually piggybacks onto the other saying. In essence, if it is supposed to be so valuable and there is no sacrifice to receive it, is it truly worth anything?

There is profound truth in these sayings, but too many people fail to recognize that they only apply to a limited understanding of the world, and that limited understanding is ours! I am certain that everyone reading this can describe at least one situation in your life in the last year in which these old sayings were proven to be true. Get rich quick scams come to mind as one potential situation. However, there is one area in the lives of each and every one of us where we can throw our limited understanding out of the window!

God’s grace is that one and only time!

Are you ready and willing to get what you pay for when you consider that all of us are sinners and the consequences of sin is death? Is this what you want to pay for and receive? Grace is a gift that comes at a great price, but the price was paid by Jesus. None of us have to pay the price that we should rightfully pay. Jesus paid it all. We pay nothing, yet we receive everything! I realize that this sounds too good to be true, but it is far from that. It is our limited human understanding that makes us think that we must pay the price or it is not a valid exchange. On the contrary, the price was so high that no one could ever pay what they owe. We were doomed by our sin with no way of redemption. God saw this and devised a way to pay this high price once and for all for each and every one of us. We can’t earn it. We owe nothing to receive if. All that we have to do is accept!

Are you still trying to earn what is freely given?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you enter His gates with thanksgiving!

November 22, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
(Psalms 100:4 (NIV))

Why do you give thanks?

Perhaps, more importantly, to whom do you give thanks?

At this time of year, we have officially set aside a day of Thanksgiving. A day that we use to reflect upon the things in our lives that make us happy. We have taken the concept that the Pilgrims started and turned it into a national day where we reflect upon what we have to be thankful for.

Many people are thankful for family, health, homes, prosperity, friends, and many other things. However, it is not a matter of what you are thankful for, but, I believe it is a matter of who you are thankful to.

Think about that for a moment.

You an be thankful for family, but what happens if you are thankful that you married the boss’s daughter instead of being thankful to God that you married a godly person? You can be thankful for health, and then go and risk it all in sin, or you can praise God that He has blessed you with life and health. you can be thankful for you home, but if you are thankful that your home is bigger and nicer than anybody else’s, you are not thanking God for providing you shelter.

I think that you see the point that I am trying to make. Being thankful isn’t always enough. What matters is where that thanks is directed.

I know that many people may not stop to think about salvation at Thanksgiving, after all, we have Christmas and Easter for that. Still, that is the biggest blessing that we can ever receive. It should be the one that merits the biggest “Thank You” that we can ever give.

How can we thank God for grace and salvation?

Simply be thankful each and every day that you are alive. Share that gratitude with all whom you see. Being thankful is a choice. It is also your choice where to direct your thanks.

Do you enter His gates with thanksgiving!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Be careful of where you travel!

November 12, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The one whose walk is blameless is kept safe, but the one whose ways are perverse will fall into the pit.
(Proverbs 28:18 (NIV))

We see the results of people using their cell phones when they are driving, and it is not a very happy ending.

We see the results of people being distracted by their cell phones while they are walking, and many times they are so ridiculous that we can’t help but laugh. Honestly, these incidents are often quite painful for the person involved.

There are many other types of distractions that have less than stellar consequences, and many people seem to be able to commit quite a few of them. Have you ever been distracted to the point where you caused yourself injury? Were you able to recover from this event? Now, what about the distractions that have a different source? What about the sins that distract you and lead you down a life path that leads you away from God’s grace and mercy? These sins can cause so much more damage to your life and your eternal existence than any episode with a cell phone ever could! Don’t misunderstand me on this. I realize that distractions can cause injury and even death. These events even occur to people who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. The sins that I am referring to are those that take you away from recognizing the need for God’s grace and mercy. These result in a ruined life, and, if repentance does not occur, an eternal separation from the Lord, our God!

If you choose to follow the ways of this world and ignore the gift of salvation offered through Jesus, you will travel through this life with the pit of Hell as your destination. If you choose to walk through life with Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, your destination is eternal life in heaven with the Father. The choice is yours! Each day and each step in your journey is a choice. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus and walk blamelessly as you go through this life. The enemy longs to trick you and to make you stumble as you travel. If you take your eyes off of your destination, you will not like the results.

Be careful of where you travel!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How difficult do you make this?

November 6, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
(Romans 12:16 (NIV))

This passage is taken out of a section that many translations refer to as “Love in Action.”

Think about that concept for a moment. Are you able to put these words into action?

Do you strive to live in harmony with others, both believers and nonbelievers? I realize that it is easier to do this when you are dealing with someone who shares your beliefs, but we are called to show love to everyone. How do you live in harmony with someone who takes great pleasure in taunting and tormenting you because of your faith?

Then there is pride! It is a nasty human trait. We can’t even get a job without having to convince someone that we are better than anyone and everyone else. What happens if you start to act like you truly believe this about yourself? Do you begin to develop tendencies to elevate yourself at the expense of others? Is this how we are called to show love?

As a member of the Body of Christ, we must remember that we were shown love when we didn’t deserve it. We must remember that we were shown grace and mercy when we didn’t deserve it. All too often, we do not show love as were are called to show love. Sadly, many times we show the exact opposite and we make it difficult for others to see Jesus in us or through us.

How difficult do you make this?

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