Where do your actions lead you?

November 19, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,
but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked.
Hatred stirs up dissension,
but love covers over all wrongs.
Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning,
but a rod is for the back of him who lacks judgment.
Wise men store up knowledge,
but the mouth of a fool invites ruin.
The wealth of the rich is their fortified city,
but poverty is the ruin of the poor.
The wages of the righteous bring them life,
but the income of the wicked brings them punishment.
He who heeds discipline shows the way to life,
but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.
(Proverbs 10:11-17 (NIV))

Too bad that nonbelievers do not take these words to heart! Nothing could be plainer than the truth these words speak of.

Today, too many people go about doing whatever “feels good” to them without any thought to the consequences of their actions. If you have ever studied Physics, there is a physical law that states for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. If these people would only realize that what is true in the physical world is also true in the spiritual world. Every time that they do a wicked act or do something that lacks spiritual judgment, then they are storing up equal and opposite actions that will be brought upon themselves. They store up rotten fruits as their reward for their actions. Believers store up abundant fruit that does not rot.

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))

Where do your actions lead you?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What comes from your mouth?

March 19, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
(Ephesians 4:29 (NIV))

Words are a powerful device. Words can be uplifting and encouraging. Words can be sad and convey despair. Words can convey affection and in the next breath, they can convey anger. We have a tendency to use words rashly and in haste. It is so easy to let the wrong words slip off of your tongue. I would venture to say that every one of us on this planet has said something today that they wish could be taken back.

Most people think of unwholesome talk as the proverbial four letter words that we all tend to know even if we hate to admit it. However, have you stopped to think about what else may be considered unwholesome?

Words said in anger or in hatred destroy instantly. Words said in frustration never make the situation any better. Words aimed directly at provoking hurt are never able to be recalled. All of these types of words can be unwholesome for they destroy. They do not build up.

Jesus rarely used words that did not build up. I can only think of a few situations that He used terms less than uplifting. I do not think that being called a brood of vipers made those people feel good about themselves. However, even when Jesus said words such as these, they were not expressed in the rage and hatred that we often use. I picture the use of these words more out of pity than out of anger.

Unwholesome talk is anything that destroys what God is trying to accomplish in and through another person. Guard your tongue, for Satan can use it to do just that. Give pause to your words. Let your tongue be guided by the Holy Spirit. He will not give you unwholesome words. He will fill your mouth with words that will be a blessing to all who hear.

What comes from your mouth?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Has your love matured to this level?

December 6, 2018

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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))

Have you ever given any thought to this passage and asked yourself why love is the greatest of these?

I realize that 1 Corinthians 13 defines characteristics that we all long to possess, but if you read through it carefully, you realize that these characteristics, no matter how desirable, are useless and meaningless if they are not accompanied by love.

Can we speak eloquently and have hatred in our hearts? Can we possess head knowledge and understanding of God’s Word and what He says will happen and still feel no compassion for those who are not saved? Can we possess a faith in Jesus and still have anger and animosity in our hearts? Is it possible to firmly believe, yet not care for others? Can we claim that we have hope for an eternity with the Lord and still neglect to share Jesus with others?

Each of these scenarios paints a picture of people who truly do possess desirable characteristics, yet, they all lack one crucial aspect.

Love!

Love is the manifestation of all that is best. Love places others above yourself. Love is the culmination of the desire to see others lifted up. In essence, love can be defined as putting your faith and your hope into action for the benefit of others.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

To me, this type of love is the result of a mature faith and hope. Has your love matured to this level?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your inheritance?

August 3, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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.
(Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV))

How do you live?

Do any of these acts of the flesh still have a hold on your life? To be honest with you, we are only human and are not capable of perfection on our own. Chances are extremely good that all of us fall prey to some of these on a regular basis. Hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy all seem to sneak up on us more often than we care to admit, even if we have the other issues in control. Even when we desire to live a righteous life, our human nature seems to drag us down. For those who have professed a faith in Jesus, we have an advocate who sits at the right hand of God, the Father. I can picture Jesus shaking His head whenever we do something less than what He intends. I can almost picture this as a parent would react when trying to teach their young child how to ride a bike. I can hear Jesus saying to get up and try again, and that we will eventually get the hang of living a life according to His calling. I can also picture each of us, when we do fall, turning to Jesus and saying, “Help me! It’s too difficult. I can’t do it on my own!”

Sadly, too many of us seem to want to hold on to our terrible twos and all of the moments when we defiantly claimed, “I’ll do it!” When you were growing up, how many times did you get spanked because of this defiant attitude?

We have two clearly defined options. One is to turn to Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. With this option, we inherit the kingdom of God. The other option is that we defiantly claim “I’ll do it!” and we inherit an eternity being separated from God.

What is your inheritance?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will you inherit the kingdom of God?

October 26, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The acts of the sinful nature 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.
(Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV))

This list is rather long.

Did you see yourself in any of these sinful behaviors?

I realize that this question is one that we all want to avoid.

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

It is human nature to be a sinner. We cannot help but live out the results of the fall from grace. We all have our own “pet sins” that we struggle with. On our own, we are lost to sin. On our own, we can do nothing that will save us from the consequences of our sin. It is for this very reason that our loving Father sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross to save us from our sins. That salvation is not automatic. We cannot simply get to heaven because Jesus died for us. We cannot simply continue in our sin and get to heaven. There is a reciprocity. We must ask for forgiveness. We must accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, and we must repent of our sinful ways.

Repentance is not a one time occurrence. Once you accept Jesus, you will face things daily where you will need to ask for forgiveness. There will be days where you will be tempted, where you will feel hatred, and where you will feel jealousy and envy. Strive to overcome these through the power of the Blood of Jesus. Since we are only human, we will falter and when we do, ask for forgiveness and ask for the strength and wisdom to turn away from this in the future.

Priorities are an interesting thing. We all have them. We need to make sure that truly following Jesus is our top priority. To use an old saying, the rewards are out of this world!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Call upon the name of the Lord!

August 30, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Oh, how I wish I had wings like a dove; then I would fly away and rest! I would fly far away to the quiet of the wilderness. How quickly I would escape—far away from this wild storm of hatred.
(Psalms 55:6-8 (NLT))

Did this passage catch you off guard?

We have a habit of thinking that we, in our current society, are the ones who truly need to get away. We think that our lives are so hectic and full of troubles that no one else could possibly understand what we face. I do admit that things seem to be getting worse as far as the troubles, but in the grand scheme of things, every life in every generation since the fall from grace has had troubles. David was no different than you or I in that respect.

We all want to be able to simply leave the burdens, the troubles of the world behind us and get away to a place where we can just soar above the troubles down below.

It is universally human.

David may not have been able to have wings like a dove and fly away to the quiet of the wilderness, but he did know how to rise above his troubles. He called upon the name of the Lord. He sang praises. He lifted up his voice in song and in prayer. He spent time seeking after God’s own heart. He longed for God and in turn, he knew God and trusted that God would be there.

Can we say the same about our lives?

We all know of the things that David faced in his life, from Goliath to running for his life from Saul, yet in all that he faced, David made time to pray and to praise God. He knew where his hope lie. He knew that he had to constantly seek after that hope by seeking after God. Do you think that Goliath was a mere coincidence? Do you think that David was able to survive Saul’s attempts on his life by luck? David may not have physically flown, but he was guided by the hand of God and was protected by the hand of God because he was faithful.

Take an honest look at your life. Do you see a life of praise, prayer and gratitude or do you see a life that needs to move more in line with how David longed for God?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you friends with the world or with God?

April 29, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
(James 4:4 (NIV))

Have you ever truly stopped to think about what this passage means?

I know that the world has its moments of beauty. A sunrise on the ocean. A sunset out west. The leaves in the fall. The view from the mountain top. All of these things are beautiful. These are glimpses of what God had intended for us to experience in this world, but then sin was allowed into the world!

The very nature of sin is death.

It is not the world as created that brings hatred toward God. It is the sinful nature that was allowed into the world. It is what humanity has become in the world. It is an attitude. It is the sinful nature that we must not be friends with, for it is the nature of sin to lead us into places where we do not want, where we do not need to go.

Are you a friend of sin?

I honestly don’t think that I can get any more direct, any more blunt than that question.

Think about your friends. Do you turn your eyes away from the things that they do that they shouldn’t do? Do you accept the sins as just a part of them as they are? Now, consider the general world of sin that James 4:4 refers to. Do you accept the sins of the world simply because they are part of what makes the world as you know it? I am sure that people make excuses such as that is just how things are. Living in the world does not mean that you have to be accepting of the world. It does not mean that you have to become friends with the very sin that has cast all of humanity away from God.

Think about that last statement.

God cannot associate with sin. If we accept the sin of the world, then God cannot associate with us. We have become an enemy of God. Salvation requires repentance. We must turn away from sin in order to turn to God.

Which way will you turn?

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