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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Are you too proud to accept God’s gifts?

October 12, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, `Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

“When he came to his senses, he said, `How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

“The son said to him, `Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

“But the father said to his servants, `Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
(Luke 15:11-24 (NIV))

Everybody is familiar with the story of the prodigal son. I have heard someone comment on it in such a way as to shed new light on God’s mercy and grace.

God does not wait until we ask for forgiveness to forgive us. We are forgiven even before we ask for it!

We must ask in order to receive it, but He has already decided that He will forgive us. Asking for forgiveness shows a change of heart on our part and this change of heart prepares us to accept the grace that God has already granted us. Without this change of heart, we cannot accept God’s grace. We do not feel that we need it. It is a matter of pride.

Asking for grace shows that we have humbled ourselves. Sadly, far too many people are too proud to ask for anything.

Grace and mercy are free. We pay the personal price by swallowing our pride when we ask for them.

Are you too proud to accept God’s gifts?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is it that you sing of?

September 28, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.
(Psalms 59:16 (NIV))

It is said that everyone has a song in their heart and that it is a direct reflection of what matters most to you. That makes perfect sense when you consider your heart reflects your treasure.

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

The song in your heart is about what makes you happy. It is about what brings you joy in life. It is always about the thing that you place as number one in your life. Just as radio stations are categorized by different genre and play many songs in that genre, our hearts can have multiple songs all related to what brings you joy. For some, this is family. For others, this is worldly matters. Sadly, for many, this is themselves. The greatest song that you can place in your heart is the song where you proclaim your love for the Lord and the power of the Lord over your life. When this is your greatest song, everything that is within your heart will reflect this treasure. You will be filled with such an amazing joy. You will also have peace!

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (NIV))

One more point to consider.

If you are angry at the world, what song comes out of your heart? Have you ever noticed that when you have joy and peace, you always seem to have a song in your heart that reflects the joy that you feel? What happens when the true reason for that joy and peace is the Lord?

What is it that you sing of?

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