What are you devoted to?

November 10, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
(Colossians 4:2 (NIV))

Human nature is a funny thing. If I asked one hundred people what they are devoted to, I would probably get one hundred different answers. I realize that some would be similar, but, just like the people that give them, each would be unique. No two would be exactly the same!

Some people would say that they are devoted to their spouse. Some would proudly claim that they are devoted to their family. Some would say that they are devoted to their church. All of these are great things to be devoted to, but how many would actually claim that they are devoted to prayer?

Perhaps we should step back and consider what devotion means. One dictionary has being religious as its first definition. On the surface, this sounds very good, but we have to stop and consider that religion is often thought of as man’s attempt to reach God. How many so called religious activities are simply man made rituals that truly don’t have anything to do with devotion. With this in mind, is being religious truly how you want to think of being devoted, especially when you consider what John the Baptist said of the religious men of his day?

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
(Matthew 3:7 (NIV))

This was also echoed by Jesus.

You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
(Matthew 12:34 (NIV))

Personally, I like another definition much better. Devotion is defined as being ardently dedicated. In other words, it is a priority and not simply because it has become a routine. Devotion means a dedication because it is integral to who you are.

What are you devoted to?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Has the Lord ever failed you?

November 1, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all;
(Psalms 34:19 (NIV))

Does God keep all of His promises?

I realize that this is a very deep concept and question, but can you think of a single promise that God has not kept? I can almost hear some of you asking if the ones that haven’t been fulfilled as of yet count as a promise that has not been kept. If you feel that this is a representation of a promise that has not been kept, I want to pose a question to you. Do you believe that faith in Jesus will give you eternal life with God the Father? Are you in God’s presence now or are you still in your body? Does this mean that because you still walk this earth that His promise is not going to be kept?

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
(2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV))

I realize that human nature seeks instant gratification for we are limited in our patience and understanding. We must learn to put away our human nature and look at things through eternal eyes. God’s promises are for us personally, but they are also for everyone who will believe. Because of this, God delays what all believers long for. God is not slow, but patient.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

Perhaps you prefer the concept as presented in John. We will all face troubles in this life. We have been promised that the Lord will be with us through the troubles. With that in mind, have you been through all of the troubles in this life that you will face? I hardly doubt that the rest of your life will be trouble free. Does this mean that this promise is not true?

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
(John 16:33 (NIV))

Faith is a valuable thing. It means that we hold on to the promises even if they haven’t come true yet. It means that we stand firm because we know the promises that have been fulfilled. It also means that we can stand firm on His track record and claim that He will always keep His promises.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you allowed the Lord to get close to you?

October 31, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
(Psalms 34:18 (NIV))

Think back on the times in your life when you felt closest to the Lord.

What do you remember about the events of your life during these times? Were you going through a particularly rough time in your life? Were you crushed by the weight of the world coming down on you? Did someone or something leave you feeling brokenhearted? Most people reach out to God more during these kind of moments than when things are going good.

It is human nature to think that we have everything under control and think that everything is smooth sailing, and then we get hit with something that makes us realize that we are not in control. This makes perfect sense if you think how a small child will react when confronted with something that is not pleasant. They instinctually want to climb up into the lap of a parent for security. They want to feel the warm and reassuring embrace that lets them know that everything will be okay.

How does a child react when they feel that everything is safe? They slowly climb down and resume their playful activities. At first, they will look to the parent for reassurance. Then, the longer that they feel safe, the less that they look to the parent. They know that the parent still loves them and is there for when they need them, but they begin to think that they are the ones in control of their immediate surroundings.

Does this sound anything like how we treat God?

When we feel brokenhearted and insecure, we want to crawl into the lap of the Lord where we know that we will find comfort. The wonderful thing about this is that God will never turn us away. We are His children. Jesus said something that makes me firmly believe that God loves for us to crawl into His lap.

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
(Matthew 18:2-5 (NIV))

When we sit in the Father’s lap, we draw closer to Him. It is the times that we run off and do our own thing that finds us lost.

Have you allowed the Lord to get close to you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you seek human accolades?

October 27, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?
(John 5:44 (NIV))

Why do we seek approval and praise from each other when the one that we should seek approval from is ignored?

Think about that for a moment. Now, think about the following questions.

Is there a particular person or group of people that you wish would accept you and praise you? Why do you desire this adulation? What is it about this person or group of people that makes this acceptance so important to you? Do you idolize them for something that they have accomplished or do you simply want to fit in with a different crowd than you currently associate with?

Trying to figure out human nature is difficult when you are trying to look at yourself. It is much easier to spot the frailties and character flaws in other people, but it is difficult to see them in yourself. It is easy to look at someone else and come to the conclusion that they are trying to fit in where God did not intend for them to fit.

Why do we do it?

Everyone longs for acceptance. We all long to be validated as a person of worth. We think that we can gain that validation, that worth, if we just get accepted by a different group of people. What we fail to realize is that this different person or group is seeking validation as well. Far too many find their validation by being obnoxious and arrogant to others. They take pleasure in elevating themselves by cutting down others.

God made each of us unique. He created you to be the best you that you can be. This means that you seek His will and His glory instead of the fleeting glory that comes from others. This means spending time in His presence!

Be still, and know that I am God
(Psalms 46:10a (NIV))

I find it interesting that our human nature makes us want to be with the ones who we desire praise from. Perhaps this is why John asked how we can believe since we accept glory from one another. He knew that human nature will make us seek out what is truly in our hearts.

Do you seek human accolades?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where would you be if the Lord hadn’t waited for you?

October 24, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

It is human nature to not like to wait. With the state of the nation and the world as it is today, many members of the Body of Christ are longing for Jesus to come and take His church out of this world. With the state of the world, there are many who believe that it could happen at any time.

What if it happens tonight?

What if it happens tomorrow?

What if it happens a week from now, or a month from now?

What if we still have to wait even if we long to be with Jesus?

Have you ever stopped to truly reflect on this passage from 2 Peter?

Let me present a scenario to you and perhaps this will help you think about this passage in a different light. Think about the one person in your life that you fervently pray comes to a knowledge of the saving grace that is theirs through Jesus. Wouldn’t you want the Lord to wait for this person to accept His grace and mercy? Think about your own path to salvation. Was there someone who was fervently praying for you?

Where would you be if the Lord hadn’t waited for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have the strength to wait for the Lord?

October 23, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
(Psalms 27:14 (NIV))

There was a very popular song released in the early 1980s that said, “The waiting is the hardest part.” There have been many instances throughout popular culture that use something similar. If I remember correctly, there was a ketchup commercial that used a similar idea to describe the anticipation of the ketchup coming out of the bottle. Whether you are waiting or anticipating, human nature does not like to wait. There is something within our nature that simply does not like the idea of waiting. We get antsy. We get impatient. We get restless. We get irritated and then angry.

If we act like this when waiting for things that we can see in this physical world, how much less patience do we have for things that we cannot see?

There is an old saying that patience is a virtue.

I definitely agree with this idea. I also firmly believe that it is a character strength. I know that it is something that we must cultivate and allow to mature.

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))

It is common to refer to things as getting stronger as they mature. If that is the case, then patience grows stronger as it matures as well. Waiting requires patience. It requires the strength of character to be willing to be still and wait. For those who love to fish, do you grow impatient after your fist cast? You know that getting what you came for requires time and effort.

Time and effort!

Have you ever stopped to think that maybe the Lord is testing us to see if we are willing to commit the time and effort to get to know Him and to wait for His truth? Think about that for a moment. He created us. He knows that we are impatient since the fall from grace. He knows that it will require a commitment, it will require a strength on our part, to wait for Him.

Do you have the strength to wait for the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Only God needs to know!

October 11, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
(Matthew 6:3-4 (NIV))

It is human nature to brag about the things that you do, especially if they will be considered good by someone else. The sad thing about this trait is that we all do it. We all like to toot our own horn. We like to draw attention to ourselves so that others will see the good things that we do.

If this is how we do the things that we do, then what are the true motives for why we do the things that we do?

Jesus made it clear that if we do something so that others will see it, then that is our reward. It appears that He is saying that we have done it for selfish gain. We have done it so that we can receive the praise of others.

Is that why you do things?

But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
(Matthew 6:17-18 (NIV))

When was the last time that you did something in secret? Was it difficult to not tell someone? Did you eventually break down and tell someone?

Contrary to human nature, we don’t have to try to be better than everyone else. All that we have to do is be better than our sinful nature. No one needs to know of the good things that you do.

Only God needs to know!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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