Do you thirst for righteousness?

April 21, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.
(Revelation 22:17 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but this sounds like an open invitation to anyone who thirsts for righteousness.

It does not place any limitations on who can respond. The only requirement is that you must have a thirst for life as God intended it.

We have all experienced thirst in our lives, but have you ever been so thirsty that your very being craved cool water? You knew deep within your being what was needed and your desire for it was so overwhelming that you thought of nothing else. Was anything else able to satisfy that thirst? That is the type of thirst that we must have when we seek the Lord!

With everything that has been happening around the world, do you thirst for the peace that passes understanding? Do you desire for the sinful nature of this world to go away? Do you long for people to live as God intended? Is there anything except God’s grace and the water of life that will quench this yearning? Have you discovered anything about yourself in the last few weeks that you do not like and want to change? Do you still thirst after the world or have you found something that can satisfy your thirst for all eternity?

Do you thirst for righteousness?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God’s love is not how the world loves!

February 13, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
(1 Corinthians 13:6-7 (NIV))

Does this sound like the world’s current definition of love?

Society has taken the concept of love and twisted it so far from how God defines love. According to God’s plan, love is sacrificial, but there are some overlooked aspects.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

We, as the intended recipients of God’s love, must be willing to walk away from our sin. We must be willing to embrace the truth, the only truth, that is God’s Word. Once we do, we are called to love as God loves, but that doesn’t mean that we condone the sin and the evil in people. I realize that this is often overused, but there is an old saying that, “We are to love the sinner and hate the sin.” Think about that in relation to the following example.

You are a parent who has a child that is involved in things that could get them in trouble with the law. Which of the following options shows true love? Do you overlook these actions because you say that you love them and you don’t want to interfere with their life, or do you try to make them change their life so that they don’t face any consequences from their activities? The first option actually shows that you don’t care enough to take action to prevent something bad. It may appear that you love them in the present, but you don’t love them enough to take action so that they will have a better tomorrow. Love sometimes has to be tough! As a parent, you have to stand in the gap and fight for the well being of your family so that they have a life that is not a result of bad decisions.

Put this into perspective by changing the scenario with respect to eternity. This time the child is rebelling and is lost. Do you overlook these actions or do you pray for them, do you try to reach them, do you love them enough to stand in the gap interceding for them? This time, the consequences have a much different and longer result. If we truly love this child, we will do anything and everything to bring them into a right relationship with the Lord.

My next thought was to ask you how do you think God feels, but I have already told you how He feels. He loves the world so much that He had a plan to redeem the world. That plan was not an easy thing to bring about. It cost the physical life of His only begotten Son, Jesus. Jesus came to defeat evil and sin. He came to protect us from the consequences of sin. God’s love perseveres and because of His great love, we have the glorious hope that we can trust in His Word. All that He asks is that you believe and turn away from the darkness of the evil that is in this world.

The world says that if you love someone, you accept them and don’t try to change them no matter the consequences. God loves us as we are, then calls us to repent so that we don’t face the consequences.

God’s love is not how the world loves!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you long for the day of completion?

October 24, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 1:3-6 (NIV))

Isn’t it wonderful how we can come to Jesus just as we are and He accepts us in all of our rags? What is even more wonderful is that once we come to Jesus, He does not leave us in our rags. He begins to work within us and turn us into what God had intended for us to be all along.

We are not completed works. We are works in progress. We are not the same as we were the day we accepted Jesus as our Savior, and we are not the same today as we will be when we stand before the throne. We are constantly being changed into the image of Christ.

In this world, we will not be able to be completed due to the nature of sin. But when we stand before God, through the redemptive and cleansing power of Jesus’ blood, we will be completed.

God does not do anything only half way. He gave us a way to salvation through Jesus Christ, and He also gave us a way to be completed in His image.

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
(Genesis 1:27)

God created us in His image from the beginning. It was the introduction of sin into the world that corrupted that image. Through Jesus Christ, we again have the potential to be created in his own image.

When you look into the mirror, whose image do you see? Do you long for the day of completion?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you accepted the vastness of that goodness and love?

September 14, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children.
(Psalms 103:17 (NAS))

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
(1 Chronicles 16:34 (NIV))

Both verses tell of the unending, unfailing love that God has for His creation, especially those who call upon His name in love and righteousness.

Don’t get this wrong! God loves everyone, and He does not wish any to perish. He shows unsaved people His love, but in many times that love goes unrecognized by the intended recipient. He does show His love to those who show Him their love. Perhaps it is the fact that they wish to express love in return that allows them to see the love that God pours out on them.

He wants to bless us!

God’s love is not limited to only those who are on His “good side.” Anyone can receive God’s love. If anyone turns to Him and repents, then He will be waiting for them with love, grace and mercy that will never end. Isn’t that amazing?

We are limited by human knowledge and capacity and probably every single one of us has trouble grasping the infinite capacity that God has to love us. We cannot comprehend the unlimited love that God has for us and how that love manifested itself for our salvation in and through Jesus Christ. Just as the human mind has trouble with understanding the vastness of the mathematical concept of infinite, we are also limited in understanding the height, depth, and breadth of God’s love.

God is good! Have you accepted the vastness of that goodness and love?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How big is your mustard seed?

January 29, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.”
(Matthew 13:31-32 (NIV))

The kingdom of heaven is indeed like a mustard seed. Like something small, it is there for us to find. Yet, if you are not looking for it, it will be missed. Once it is found, it grows within us until it is all consuming, until it is the focus of our lives.

God intended it to be this way. We must find it by faith. If it were visible to everyone, where would faith be? God planned it that way. He knew that if everyone could see the visible effects of the kingdom of heaven, then people would choose without testing their faith. God wants people to come to Him of their own free will, not because of His power.

How big is your mustard seed? Has it grown or is it still the smallest of all seeds?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you able to do this?

June 2, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
(Luke 6:27-28 (NIV))

Why does Jesus ask us to do exactly the opposite of what our human nature wants us to do?

Life would be so much easier if we just gave in to our human nature!

Or would it?

Sometimes we think that life would be so much easier if we didn’t have the internal struggles that we have because we choose to follow Jesus. We wouldn’t have to resist temptation. We wouldn’t have to be nice to our pesky neighbors or that weird uncle that everyone seems to have. We wouldn’t have to worry about who we mistreated to get that promotion. We wouldn’t have to worry about anyone but ourselves!

If you are like most people, we seem to degenerate into this type of individual several times a day. Do you honestly like yourself when you sink to this level? Do you like it when other people have their moments and they sink to this level? Life in this fallen world is difficult, but it would be so much more difficult if we did not profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. I am forever thankful that Jesus came into this world to offer us grace and mercy. Jesus modeled life as God intended it to be. Jesus showed us how to live a sinless life. He showed us how to live a life of love expressed to God, to Him, to the Holy Spirit and to each other.

Do you truly want to know what humanity would be like if we do not live our lives as we are told in Luke? Those traits are fruits of a life lived in Christ; a life spent listening and following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If we ever want to consider how life would be if we did not live in Christ, then all that we have to do is read about the seven years written about in the book of Revelations.

Jesus did not tell us that following Him would always be easy.

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))

He also did not tell us to give up!

Are you able to follow what Jesus asks of those who follow Him?

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

August 8, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
(Matthew 7:20 (NIV))

Most people in today’s society are not able to identify most fruit bearing plants and trees simply by looking at them during the off season. We are more used to going to the store and getting what we want from the produce department. However, most of us would still be able to tell an apple tree from a pear tree if there were apples hanging from the limbs. Even with fruit hanging from the limbs, we are pushing our limits when we try to identify what type of apple, for some are sweet while others are tart.

Are we able to tell anything about a person at first glance? Can we tell whether they are a believer in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior simply by knowing their name? Can we tell any more about someone if we simply look at them?

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))

Based on the examples that we see as the fruit of the Spirit, we can sometimes see these traits simply by looking at someone. However, everyone can have a period of time when these traits appear to be genuine and the same person can have a period of time when these traits appear to not be present at all in their lives.

It takes time for fruit to mature!

Can you walk up to a tree and pick an apple and eat it as soon as the flower falls off and the fruit starts to grow? We may see the potential for a mature fruit, but we have to be patient. The same is true of people. We can see the potential for the fruit of the Spirit, but we have to allow it to mature. Jesus spoke of this using seed.

Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop–a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.
(Matthew 13:3-8 (NIV))

Just because something, or someone, has the potential to be something, that doesn’t mean that it will happen. Many things come into play. For people, many distractions can keep us from bearing the fruit that God has intended. It is human nature to be able to see the shortcomings of others when this happens, but do we easily recognize it in ourselves?

Do others recognize the fruit that God wants you to bear?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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