What are the things that you willfully do?

June 24, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.
(Psalms 19:13 (NIV))

Perhaps we should rephrase this first part to something a little more obvious and upfront.

Keep your servant from deliberate and intentional sins!

In other words, David was asking the Lord to keep him from doing the wrong thing when he knew the right thing to do. Perhaps we should pray what David asked so that we are kept from deliberately planning to sin!

I am going to ask a very blunt question, but I think that you can probably anticipate what it is going to be.

Do you deliberately and intentionally sin? Do you find yourself clinging to an old sinful nature that you simply don’t want to let go of? Do you love the sin more than you love Jesus? Are you willing to give up God’s grace for a momentary sinful pleasure? Please don’t misunderstand me. We are all human and we are all sinners. None of us are perfect. What we desire is often opposite of what we actually do. This is not something new to humanity, but it is something that we must overcome. Even Paul faced this in his life.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
(Romans 7:15-20 (NIV))

I realize that this passage does not directly say that Paul deliberately and intentionally sinned, but we have to consider that Paul wrote that he had the desire to do what is good but could not carry it out. We probably also have the desire to do what is good, but what do we do with that desire? Paul knew what to do.

Human nature is sinful no matter how much we want to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord. Thankfully, we have been given grace and mercy through Jesus. When we find ourselves guilty of sin, willfully or otherwise, there are two things that we can willfully do. We can accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, and we can repent of our sin!

What are the things that you willfully do?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the light of Jesus visible in you?

June 9, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV))

It is impossible to be a “quiet” believer.

I think everyone has met someone who says that they believe but they do not wish to “force” their beliefs on others. They are not fully aware of what Jesus meant when he spoke the words that Matthew wrote down. A light shines because it is light. You cannot stop a light from shining. By it’s very nature, it will illuminate everything that comes into contact with it.

The same is also true of people who have experienced the “Light” of Jesus Christ. If they truly have been exposed to this “Light”, then they will radiate with it in all things that they do and to all people that they see. It is not something that you can keep inside, hidden from the world.

These people quote, “My belief is a personal matter.” They are correct. Every person must decide for themselves. But, once you make that decision, it will work in your life and your “glow” will become evident by your actions, words, and deeds.

Do not hide the “Light” that has illuminated your life. Share it. Someone else needs to have the “Light”. Do not be pushy with the Light. Let Light do what it does naturally. Expose something to light, and it becomes radiant in color, completely washed by the light. Are you radiant?

Is the light of Jesus visible in you?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you truly ready?

June 4, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
(Luke 12:35-40 (NIV))

We can not always be physically dressed and waiting for Jesus to return. We can be spiritually dressed, though. We can put on the full armor of God and be prepared to face whatever the enemy may send our way. We will also be prepared to receive Jesus when He returns, for we will know of His impending return and will wait to greet Him just as in the parables retold by Luke.

Jesus often spoke in symbolism. Being dressed and ready for service is a symbol of being spiritually prepared for service in the army of God. Are you spiritually dressed and ready to do what God would have you do?

If Jesus were to return for His church at this very moment, would He find you dressed and ready for service?

Are you truly ready?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you hold fast to your testimony about Jesus?

April 15, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.
(Revelation 12:17 (NIV))

There is a disagreement among believers about the timeline of this event and who will be here when it happens. Regardless of the occurrence and who will be here, I want to ask you a question. If this were to happen today, would you be ignored by the dragon or would the dragon wage war against you?

I realize that this sounds like a simple question, but your honest answer, or should I say the Lord’s honest answer, will determine so much of your future.

Do you keep God’s commands?

I realize that we are only human, and as such, we are not capable in our own strength of achieving this. With that in mind, is it your desire to do what God desires for you? Do you feel remorse and guilt when you fail?

Do you hold fast to your testimony about Jesus?

This testimony is much more than just stating that Jesus was a good man or that He was a prophet. This testimony proclaims that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. This testimony proclaims God’s redemptive plan of salvation.

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))

Do you hold fast to John 3:16? Do you proclaim this as your testimony? If you do, rest assured that the dragon is waging war against you, but you must also rest assured that God will fulfill His promises and defeat the dragon.

Do you hold fast to your testimony about Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you fulfilling your duty?

October 15, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.
(Ecclesiastes 12:13 (NIV))

Do you fear God?

If you are anything like how the media portrays society, chances are that your answer is a no. However, if you are who the media and certain aspects of society target, then your answer is probably a yes. What we are seeing in society is a direct attack on anything godly, while anything that is ungodly is being touted as good. Is this fearing God? Is this keeping His commandments?

I see things in the news almost every day that make me realize that the concept of fearing God is no longer even on the minds of most people. I see things in public places that just a few years ago would have been considered shameful even in the privacy of one’s own home. Sadly, too many people who claim to be followers of Jesus are doing these things themselves. Is this fearing God? Is this following His commandments? Do they think that they get a free pass to continue to sin just because they claim to follow Jesus?

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

I honestly don’t think that Jesus went around blatantly sinning. In fact, I know that he didn’t sin at all. If that is the case, then what makes so many people believe that Jesus will forgive them if they keep on sinning? All we have to do is remember what Jesus told the woman caught in adultery.

Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:10-11 (NIV))

Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn us. We do a fantastic job of that all by ourselves. He came for a much different reason.

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))

It is apparent that those who do not fear God and keep His commandments love the darkness of their sin. Sadly, they are fulfilling their own evil desires that lead to death. All of us should strive to fulfill God’s desires. We should strive to fulfill our duty in this manner.

Are you fulfilling your duty?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Time to repent and turn toward the blessing!

July 5, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance.
(Psalms 33:12 (NIV))

Our history is riddled with things that we should not be proud of, but is that a reason to not love our nation?

Think about that in terms of your families. Are they perfect? Do your children always do what you wish that they would do? Do you still love them even when they do something wrong?

Think about this in relationship to God’s love for us. Do we always do the right thing? Did that stop Him from sending Jesus to die for our sins so that we could have salvation?

Our nation is made up of people and not a single one of us is perfect.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

We can’t expect something that is comprised of sinful people to be perfect. There is only one who is perfect! Only when we repent and turn to the Lord and keep His commands will we be blessed and guided by His hand. We have to choose to follow the Lord. We have to live our lives in a way that honors God. We have to decide individually and as a nation.

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
(Joshua 24:15 (NIV))

Jesus came to set the captives free. He came to bring us true freedom – a freedom from the law of sin and death. That freedom is far greater than any worldly independence. We have the ability to have both. We have the ability to be free as individuals and as a nation. Both require one simple action on our part. We must individually accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior and we must, as a nation, turn to the Lord in repentance. Where are each of us personally in our acceptance? Where are we as a nation in our repentance?

Time to repent and turn toward the blessing!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Lord, enlarge my territory so that you may be glorified!

May 22, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.
(1 Chronicles 4:9-10 (NIV))

Oh, that you would bless me!

This is something that we all think, and probably most of us actually pray it as well. Many sermons have been taught on the principle that God wants to bless us. The good thing is that He does want to bless us!

He wants to bless us so that we can be a blessing to others. He does not want to bless those who will hoard his blessings and keep them for themselves. He wishes to bless those who will, in turn, bless others through what He has blessed them with. A pastor once put it in a way that tells it well. He said that he did not want to be a jar for God to pour His blessings into. He wanted to be a teapot or a pitcher that was designed to pour out for others. He wished to received the blessings so that he could pour out the blessings to others.

Perhaps this is why God granted the prayers of Jabez, for he did not simply ask to be blessed. He asked to have his territory enlarged. Jabez honored God by asking for God to be with him. If God is with you, He will use you to spread the news of what He has done. If you are used by God to spread His Gospel, then you will be blessed. Your circle of influence will increase so that God can be glorified.

Look at the men and women of today who glorify God in all that they do. God has increased their circle of influence so that more people can be blessed through them.

Be careful in your heart when asking God to bless you. Do not let human nature take control and simply ask to be a blessing to others so that you will be blessed, after all, God knows what is in your heart.

It is my prayer for all who fervently seek the Lord to have their territory enlarged so that they may be His witness in all that they do. I also seek to enlarge my territory. Perhaps I should rephrase that. I desire to enlarge the territory that God has granted me so that I can tell more people about the Lord.

Lord, enlarge my territory so that you may be glorified!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are God’s decrees an integral part of your life?

May 8, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees;
then I will keep them to the end.
(Psalms 119:33 (NIV))

We keep the things that we are taught. If we are taught to swim, we never forget how. If we are taught to ride a bicycle, we may get a little out of practice, but we never forget how to propel ourselves along on two tires. Perhaps this is why we are told to study God’s Word and His ways so that we may learn them. We may forget a few small things, but eventually, we will remember and repent. We will return to God.

Train a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it.
(Proverbs 22:6 (NIV))

We are all children of God. We are in constant training so that we may follow God’s ways. If we truly desire to learn them, then we will not forsake them. It is hard to go against something that you have learned that you know is right. We may be able to lie to ourselves, but eventually we will return.

Consider a medical student who is intent on becoming a doctor. They will learn things that will become an integral part of their being, yet, they cannot walk away from this knowledge even though they may walk away from the medical profession. It has become a part of them.

When you are taught and freely learn, what you learn becomes an integral part of your very being.

Are God’s decrees an integral part of your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you thankful to praise and serve the Lord?

March 8, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

O Lord, I am your servant; yes, I am your servant, the son of your handmaid, and you have freed me from my bonds! I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord. I will keep my promises to the Lord in the presence of all his people, in the house of the Lord, in the heart of Jerusalem. Praise the Lord!
(Psalms 116:16-19 (NLT))

How do you see yourself in relationship to God?

It is true that we are bought by the blood of Jesus and we have been saved from the laws of sin and death, but we owe God a big debt of gratitude for what He has done for us. We have been rescued from certain eternal death.

In many cultures, if someone rescues you or saves your life, it is said that your life is no longer yours. It is owed to the person who saved you. If we take that same philosophy with the salvation that we have been given, then the life that we live is also not our own. We owe it to God. We owe it not out of an attitude of slavery and bondage, but out of an attitude of hope and gratitude.

We have been given the greatest gift that we could ever conceivably receive. This gift literally saved our lives. As a result of that salvation, we should rejoice in the grace we have been given. We should seek ways to serve the One who saved us. We should be thankful and give Him praise for what He has done. We should desire to please Him in all that we do.

This type of servanthood is one performed out of love and gratitude!

Are you a joyful servant?

Do you seek to praise God for what He has done for you? Do you share that joy with others?

Are you thankful to praise and serve the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Don’t get things out of sequence!

February 5, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Love the LORD your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always.
(Deuteronomy 11:1 (NIV))

If you love the Lord with all your heart, His requirements will be placed there as a result. It is easier to first love God and then do His will for the simple fact that we will desire to know and do His will because of our love for Him. God does not expect us to first make ourselves perfect and keep His requirements. That is from the Law of Moses. God knew that man could not keep this law, but He had to give it to us in order to have something to base righteousness on.

Instead of being perfect and approaching God, God has given us the opportunity to come to Him in spite of our imperfections by coming through Jesus Christ. Once we come to Him, He fills us and perfects us in His time.

Are you trying to be perfect on your own, or are you letting God perfect you in His time? God loving us as we are comes first. Loving God comes next! Drawing closer to God and His requirements, decrees, laws and commands come next.

Don’t get things out of sequence!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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