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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What do your heart and mouth have to say?

December 5, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
(Romans 10:10 (NIV))

There is so much truth within God’s Word!

Do you treasure the gift of salvation? Do you treasure Jesus? If this is true of you, does your heart overflow with joy? Do you trust in the Lord so much that your heart is eternally joyous? Think about this and I know that you will agree with the words written in Matthew.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

With this in mind, I want to ask a personal question. If something fills your heart, what happens to the overflow? How does it present itself to the world? Does it come out in actions? Does it come out in words? It is human nature to overflow in actions and in words what is contained within your heart. If you are filled with joy and belief in Jesus, then this is what will come forth from you in actions and in words. If this is the case, then nothing that the world can send your way, nothing that will be put into your life, will change what is on the inside. Nothing external will defile you. Your treasure is within and what you treasure is more powerful than anything the world has to send your way. Jesus recognized this and Matthew recorded the following words as evidence.

What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.
(Matthew 15:11 (NIV))

If you truly think about it, you have a choice of what you put into your body and into your life. If your treasure is Jesus, then you will choose to only allow things of the Lord in. As previously stated, nothing external will defile you. It is the human heart that defiles. When we allow our own hearts to shift what we treasure, then what our actions and words reflect will no longer be things of the Lord.

We must stay alert and never lose sight of the Lord as our heart’s treasure!

What do your heart and mouth have to say?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you talk to God?

November 19, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
(John 11:41-42 (NIV))

Jesus knew, and still knows, human nature extremely well. When He resurrected Lazarus, He petitioned God verbally with prayer so that those around would hear Him and believe. He did not need to do this. God would have heard Him even if He had not spoken a single word. He would have heard His heart, His Spirit, and His anguish. Yet, Jesus spoke out loud so that those around Him would hear and believe. Everyone knows the outcome of this event.

When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
(John 11:43-44)

When we pray, is it necessary for us to speak out loud? Jesus taught the following:

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
(Matthew 6:5-6)

Prayer is an important part of life. It is a conversation with your Creator, your Father. When you talk to your earthly father, do you do it loudly in a public place, or do you find a private place where you can speak quietly and freely with each other?

How do you think that God wishes for you to talk with Him? How do you talk to God?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can you claim that purity on your own?

November 1, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.
(Psalms 24:3-4 (NIV))

A pure heart is all God really asks for. If your heart is pure, then all things that you are involved in will also be pure, for the heart leads us where it is focused. If your heart is focused on sin and perversion, then your life will be full of sin and perversion. If your heart is focused on God and His righteousness, then your life will be filled with those things.

It is said that you are what you eat. Perhaps that saying should be stated that you are what your heart desires. Jesus even stated that what goes into your body does not make you unclean.

Nothing outside a man can make him `unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him `unclean.’ ”
(Mark 7:15)

So then, it is possible for people to ascend the hill of the Lord!

This is an awesome thought, for all throughout the Old Testament, being in the presence of God meant certain death. This death was probably due to the fact that people are sinful and God cannot be around sin. We are still sinful, yet, we have a Savior who has paid the price for our sins. Jesus Christ died on the cross for all of us, and through His selfless act, we have the ability to be made white as snow in the sight of God.

A popular laundry detergent for baby clothes states that it is 99 and 99/100 percent pure. We have the ability, through Jesus Christ, to be 100 percent pure in the eyes of God.

Can you claim that purity on your own?

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 unswerving?

October 18, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
(Hebrews 10:23 (NIV))

Are you a person who likes to set goals in your life? Perhaps you have even gone so far as to develop a roadmap of the steps required to achieve your goals. Let’s face the facts. If you want something badly enough, you hold fast to the plan, you maintain a steady course, and you never take your eyes off of the prize!

If we are capable of doing this for a worldly treasure, why do we so often fail to do this very same thing for a treasure of eternal value? Why do we focus so much on this world when we claim to desire God’s will and His desires?

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:19-20 (NKJV))

Perhaps it is related to our human nature and our limited ability to comprehend what we do not see, after all, all of human history has been a struggle about desiring the things that we can see. When we desire what we cannot see, we are ridiculed. We are made fun of. We are told to grow up. We are told that if we can’t see it then it doesn’t exist!

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

Have you ever seen God? I’m not talking about seeing His presence manifested in His creation. I am talking about actually seeing God. Let’s face facts. We cannot even begin to fathom His greatness. We cannot even begin to understand His omnipotence and His omnipresence. We cannot even begin to comprehend the awesomeness of heaven, yet we all have hope in these things. We have faith to proclaim that Jesus is Lord. We have faith to hold fast to His Word, yet, so many of us falter. So many of us are not unswerving in our hope and our faith. Thankfully, when we are not capable of doing this, our Lord is faithful. We must remember that it is not by our power that we hold unswervingly to Him, but it is His faithfulness that holds unswervingly to us. When we place our hope in Jesus, we have an unswerving guide who will never leave us, and because He will never leave us, we can be held unswervingly in His love.

Are you unswerving?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you found the Lord?

October 17, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
(Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV))

What usually happens when you do something halfheartedly?

Think about this in relationship to things that you have done in your life. Think about that book report that you did in school. You know the one that I am talking about. Everyone has one. It is the one where you didn’t even read the book that you had to do the report on. How did that turn out for you? Think about the job interview that you went on where you didn’t even know what the company did. It is safe to say that the interview probably did not go well. What about your first date? What about your attempt at learning to play an instrument? What about your attempt to lose weight? What about your commitment to go to the gym?

Success at anything requires a passion, a commitment, a desire to see it completed. Typically, this can be equated to a human trait in which you want that goal more than anything else in the world. If you have trouble with this concept, simply think of your first school crush and the amount of time that you spent pining away over that person.

How is your relationship with the Lord?

Do you treat this relationship halfheartedly or do you seek Him with all your heart?

For those who play an instrument or are good at a sport, you had to spend time acquainting yourself with the basics, and then you progressed to more advanced understanding, and then you moved to understanding the subtle nuances of your passion’s focus. The very same thing is true of seeking a relationship with the Lord. It requires the commitment. It requires a passion for the Lord. When you have a passion for something, do you stop short of your goal?

Have you found the Lord?

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