Do you desire to be holy?

January 11, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
(1 Peter 1:15-16 (NIV))

When you were growing up, was there someone whom you wanted to be just like?

We all have people that are role models for us at various times in our lives. As we grow and mature, some of these people lose that place while others step in to fill the void. Even so, there is something about each of these individuals that fill a need, that fill a hole in our lives at a certain time. Some of us looked up to one or both of our parents. Some looked to a certain grandparent as the role model. As we matured and our interests took on their own personality, we soon began to look upon individuals who had made a name for themselves in the areas that held our interest. All along the way, we saw something in each of these individuals that we recognized as unique and worthy of emulating.

What characteristics caught your attention?

For some, it is such traits as love and kindness. For others, it is a steadfast focus on the goal. For some, it is the willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed in the area of expertise.

When I read today’s passage, something made me realize that we have been seeking to emulate the wrong role models most of the time. Think back on those whom you desired to be like. Did they focus on Jesus? Did they strive to be holy and to bear fruit that reflects that holiness?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

I know that we have a tendency to reference these traits quite often, but do we truly stop to reflect on the source? If you notice that Spirit is capitalize. This references the Holy Spirit aspect of God. These are traits that we should recognize as holy. These are traits that we should desire to emulate. We have been given instructions on how to be holy!

Do you desire to be holy?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Joy to the world! Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
(Luke 2:1-20 (NIV))

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who is your strength and your shield?

December 21, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy
and I will give thanks to him in song.
(Psalms 28:7 (NIV))

It is December and Christmas is rapidly approaching. It is the time that we think of Jesus coming to earth. It is a time of great joy, for Christmas symbolizes the birth of our hope and the birth of our faith.

It is also the time that people show just how much that they misunderstand just what Christmas means.

They see the baby Jesus and the gifts. They see the love that God has for His creation as it is wrapped in the joy of a new baby. People marvel at this and become filled with visions of heart warming activities surrounded by family and friends. What these people fail to realize is that this heart warming activity is about so much more than decorations, presents, family and friends.

It is about salvation.

It is about grace.

It is about the birth of a hope that cannot be taken from us.

It is about the strength of the one who shields us from the consequences of the sins of this world.

You can look upon Christmas as something nice and sweet and heart warming, which it is, or you can look upon Christmas with power and might, for it holds the strength of God’s promises to His creation. Christmas is powerful. The birth of Jesus made heaven rejoice and Satan cower. Would the birth of any other person have such an impact?

It is time that we show the world the strength of Christmas and the true joy of which we sing.

I have written about this before, but I think it is appropriate once again. The words “Merry Christmas” can be traced back a long way. They can be traced back to a time when “Merry” did not mean joyous and festive. The word “Merry” originally meant mighty. The festive greeting that we know as “Merry Christmas” originally was a greeting in which people wished for each other to have a “Mighty Christ’s Mass.” They were wishing for each other to have a powerful encounter with Jesus.

Strength and power!

May you have a Merry Christmas in every sense of the meaning.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you long for a pure heart?

December 5, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (NIV))

What is a pure heart?

Do you think that it has anything to do with the following?

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
(Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV))

Perhaps I should ask if you think that it has anything to do with the lack of those characteristics and the presence of the following characteristics.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Perhaps the best way to describe a pure heart is in a similar manner that God used to describe David.

After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’
(Acts 13:22 (NIV))

In essence, a pure heart despises the worldly, sinful nature and seeks the things of God. A pure heart longs to have the same desires that God has in His heart. Is this something that you truly desire? Think about that the next time someone cuts you off in traffic, or the next time that someone takes the credit for something that you have done.

Do you long for a pure heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you thankful when you go to the Lord in prayer?

November 23, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
(Philippians 4:6 (NIV))

When you go to God in prayer, do you petition Him out of despair or out of joy?

Think about that for a moment. The attitude that you have when you approach God is important. Imagine if you approached a friend for a favor with the following type of attitude. This attitude is self-defeating and humiliating. This attitude is not sure and confident of what you are asking. This attitude is one where you come across as not caring if what you ask gets done. This attitude is one in which what you ask does not come across as a priority. How do you think your friend will respond?

Your friend will pick up on the not so subtle hints that you are dropping. It will come across as if what you ask is of no consequence one way or the other, so if it is of no consequence one way or the other, your friend will take the easy way out. This means that your friend will not respond the way that you want.

I can almost hear your thoughts.

Why would anyone ask for a favor in such a way as to guarantee that it will not be answered?

It doesn’t make sense, but that is exactly how we approach God!

We cautiously and anxiously approach God and when we finally do pray and petition Him for something that He would probably gladly provide, we ask in such a way that it appears that we really don’t want what we ask for. Does it surprise you when God’s answer doesn’t match the request? Does it surprise you to find that you may really not want to be in His presence? If we are truly joyous about our relationship and our salvation, we should be filled with thanksgiving at all times, especially when we approach the Lord and seek to be in His presence. Being in His presence, going to the Lord in prayer, should be the ultimate experience in our relationship with Him. Too many of us treat this as the ultimate punishment.

Are you thankful when you go to the Lord in prayer?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is it that you will receive?

November 15, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
(1 Peter 1:8-9 (NIV))

When I read this passage, the word “faith” and how the book of Hebrews defines it come to mind.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

If you stop to think about it, loving someone whom you have never seen and having the faith to believe with confidence that this person can bring salvation are probably the two most difficult things to do. Both require a wisdom and a faith beyond what is humanly possible, especially if you look at these aspects from a so-called mature perspective.

Take a look back at your life.

Was there ever a time when you could display such characteristics in your life? Was there ever a time when you could be so innocent that it was actually possible for you to love without seeing and believe without seeing? I think I now have a better understanding of why Jesus told his disciples the following.

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))

The world and all of the sinful natures that we experience take a toll on our innocence. It takes a toll on our ability to love and believe. It takes a toll on our ability to recognize grace and to receive salvation. Don’t allow the world to take away your ability to love. Don’t allow the world to take away your ability to believe. Don’t allow the world to take away the joy of your salvation.

What is it that you will receive?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you face trials with joy?

November 7, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
(James 1:2-3 (NIV))

From a human perspective, why would we consider facing trials something to be joyful about?

Trials make us uncomfortable!

Trials make us shed the comfort and safety of the known. They push the envelope and make us extend our boundaries. Trails make us get off of the couch and take action. Trials make us go beyond the known and step gingerly into the unknown.

In all honesty, trials actually make us grow and mature!

I realize that this may sound unconventional, but it is true. The trials that we face can have a very big impact on our lives if we allow them to mature us and to mature our faith. If you don’t face trials, your life will be one in which you feel that you are entitled to everything. If you don’t face trials, you will never know the pleasure of relying on something called faith. If you don’t face trials, how can we draw closer to God, after all, human nature seeks a place to turn to when things don’t go as we want them to go? If you think about this, facing trials with joy goes very well with the following passage.

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))

I don’t know about you, but I find great joy in knowing that Jesus has overcome the world. Armed with this little tidbit of wisdom, I try to make myself be joyful no matter what may come my way. I don’t always succeed right away, but eventually I come to my senses and begin to see and understand the joy through the trials and the troubles. After all, the cause of all of my trials and troubles has been overcome by Jesus!

Do you face trials with joy?

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