Honor!

May 28, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
(John 12:25-26 (NIV))

Think back on the history of this country.

Have we ever had a time when a king or a dictator forced anyone to fight and die?

Have we ever had a time when we turned tail and ran from the responsibilities that we have been given?

We owe our country to our faith in God and to the brave men and women who were willing to sacrifice everything for the principles that our country is founded upon.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

Think about that verse.

Our nation was founded by people who were seeking something. Some came seeking adventure. Some came seeking opportunity. But, many were seeking freedom to worship God as they saw fit. It was this freedom that became an integral part of our nation’s mindset. We were founded by people who saw something that they didn’t agree with and were willing to do something about it.

Some spoke out about the things that they saw. Others rallied people behind them. Many gave their lives to battle the very things that they saw as oppressive. We have never been a country to shy away from doing what is right. We have been driven by a desire to see God’s love, grace and mercy prevail. It is true that some people may not have known Jesus as their Lord and Savior, yet they had an inner feeling about right and wrong. It was part of our culture and our society. They answered the call many times even before they knew there was a call.

They gave it all. They were willing to lay down their lives so that others could know the freedoms that God had granted us. They followed the example of Jesus when He went to the cross. It was something that would end in their death, yet they faced it with dignity and pride. They did not run from their responsibility.

They faced the enemy with honor. They did not shy away from the task at hand because it would mean their death. They were living out the words of Jesus.

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

They gave their lives in much the same way that Jesus gave His. They knew that without their sacrifice, countless lives would be lost.

Memorial Day is upon us. It is a day that we are supposed to remember the sacrifices. It is a day to say thank you. It is a day to ask ourselves if we are capable of stepping up and defending what we hold to be true. There may come a day when we will be called upon to proclaim our faith and suffer the consequences. It is my prayer that we may all love God more than we love our own lives.

Honor and praise to God and to those who answer His call.

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Has Jesus been written on the tablet of your heart?

May 9, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
(2 Corinthians 3:3 (NIV))

Everyone has a place where they record things and store things that are important to them. Where is your special place?

Some people will record things in a journal. Some will takes notes in their phones. Others will use social media to share what is important to them. In the past, people would record things in stone thinking that this was a safe way to keep them for a very long time. Some people have even created a secure place where they can lock away the things that they hold dear and want to safeguard. I find it interesting that people will bury treasure in order to keep it safe. What is of such importance that you would choose to hoard it, to hide it away and to bury it, never to be seen again? What does that say about the state of the heart that seeks to do this?

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

Let’s take another look at treasure and the heart.

If you value something so much, where is the one place that it can be kept and no one can take it from you? Where is the one place that you lock things away?

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
(Luke 2:19 (NIV))

Have you ever wondered about the things that Mary stored away in her heart? She stored away all that she had experienced with the miraculous conception, the birth of Jesus, the shepherds, the wise men and all of the other things. They were written on her heart. They could not be taken away from her even though she watched Jesus suffer and die.

When something is in your heart, it has become an integral part of who you are. Tablets of stone can be broken or forgotten, but when it is written on your heart, it is essential to your very existence.

Has Jesus been written on the tablet of your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you recognized what is within your heart?

February 22, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.
(Psalms 40:8 (NIV))

The things that are nearest and dearest to us are the things that are said to be in our hearts. When they have become an integral part of us, many people say that they become second nature, but that is not the case. They become our primary nature! It is at this time that people refer to these things as being written in our hearts. They have become as intimate and personal as we can possibly make them. They become central to what makes the individual who they are.

I count an individual blessed if they have discovered the things in their life that are truly written within their hearts. Sadly, not everyone can claim to have something so much a part of their life that it is written within their heart. Do you have such a thing?

What is it in your life that if it were taken away, would so change your existence that you would not be recognizable as the same person? Are you able to identify this in yourself? Are other people able to identify this in you? It is often easier for others to see this in you than it is for you to see it in yourself. When we do the things that are an integral part of ourselves, we don’t truly see the outward signs. We just see things as what we love. With that in mind, have you ever had someone point something out to you in a way that you had not realized or thought of in that manner? Were you surprised at their insight into you?

Does it surprise you that David, who was called a man after God’s own heart, wrote that God’s law was within his heart? With all that David faced in his life, he desired to know God no matter what the situation. Did he always succeed at living his life according to what God called him to do? David was human, so that answer should be obvious. Still, David had made God’s law the one thing that was central to his life. David desired to follow God so earnestly, that God promised him that one of his descendants would always sit on the throne.

Hopefully, what is within my heart becomes visible through these devotionals. Even after twenty years, I see things in God’s Word that touch me and I hope that they touch you as well.

It is my prayer that you will desire to place God’s law within your heart.

Have you recognized what is within your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you accept the hard teachings?

February 12, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
(John 6:60 (NIV))

Far too many people only consider the easy things that Jesus taught, ignoring the things that they find difficult to understand or to put into practice. If you stop to think about this, everything that Jesus said has been difficult for us to put into practice. Human nature simply wants to do what it wants to do! It is a daily struggle to admit that we are sinners. It is a daily struggle to admit that we are not capable of anything on our own. We don’t like to admit that even on our best day, we are far from perfect.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

John 6:60 catches the disciples asking this question after Jesus tells the crowd something that just didn’t make sense from their perspective. Does it make sense to you?

Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.
(John 6:53-57 (NIV))

Even though we have the benefit of two thousand years and much analysis, far too many people still have problems with this concept.

Think about it from this perspective.

What is the most intimate thing that you can do with something? You make it a part of yourself by either eating or drinking it. When this happens, the items that were consumed get broken down into the basic elements that you need and they become a part of you. There is no way to tell where you end and where these elements begin. I don’t know about you, but this sounds exactly like what Jesus wants for each of us. He wants each of us to consume Him in such a way that the very life that He came to give has become inseparable from the life that He has renewed within us. Just how do you consume Jesus? How do you make His teachings and His life inseparable from your? I love the simple instructions that we were given in Deuteronomy.

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
(Deuteronomy 11:18 (NIV))

Focus on the Lord. Focus on the Word. Focus on the teachings even when they are hard. Accept them. Bind them. Make them integral to who you are!

Do you accept the hard teachings?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you hide in your heart?

September 21, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
(Psalms 119:11 (NIV))

We have been told that in the last days, people will turn from righteousness and turn to wickedness.

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God
(2 Timothy 3:1-4 (NIV))

What does this say about what these people treasure in life?

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

It is sad to say, but it is obvious that these people do not treasure God’s Word. They have not allowed it to take up residence within their hearts. If you seek and find a treasure, it is human nature to place the treasure in a safe place. The safest place to hide something is where it cannot be lost or stolen. If we cherish God’s Word as our biggest treasure, then the safest place for it is for us to make it our own. We have to study it. We have to memorize it. We have to make it so integral to our lives that even if we no longer have a physical copy of God’s Word, it is a part of us. We have to hide it in our hearts!

We have to make room for it!

The people that we are told about in the last days not only have not made room for God’s Word, they have rejected it. They have placed something else in their hearts such as themselves, money, pride, pleasure or a vast number of other things.

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
(Matthew 6:24 (NIV))

There is not room in your heart for two things that are polar opposites.

What do you hide in your heart?

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

July 17, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
(James 1:22 (NIV))

Some people do the bare minimum in order to get by. I’m sure you know the type. There is probably someone like this where you work. There may be someone in your family who is like this. I hope and pray that you are not the one who people think of when asked about people like this.

Based on this passage, what do you think the Lord thinks about people who think that all they have to do is read God’s Word? I realize that it is important to read and study God’s Word, but it is not the type of book that you read and study just for the knowledge that you will gain. If you can recite passages verbatim, yet not understand and put that understanding into action, what good does it do? If you can recite the fruit of the Spirit, yet you don’t exhibit any of those characteristics, what good does it do?

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. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
(Matthew 22:37-29 (NIV))

If you easily quote these words, but do not live it, all that you have accomplished is memorization. You have not grasped the meaning. You have not taken the words to heart and made them an integral part of your life!

God’s Word is truth! God’s Word is life! It has the power to transform you. Have you let it transform you?

Do you just listen or read God’s Word, or do you make it an integral part of your life?

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