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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