Do you understand the value of love?

August 1, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV))

There are many characteristics that we would like to think that are a part of our personality. It is human nature to think that we are better than we really are. With this in mind, what are your greatest personality traits?

Do you feel that you truthfully exhibit any of 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.

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 5:19-23 (NIV))

I suppose that I should ask whether you feel you exhibit characteristics from the acts of the flesh or from the fruit of the Spirit. Each and every one of us wants to be considered loving, joyful, peaceful, kind, good, faithful and gentle, but to be honest with ourselves, we have to admit that we are only human and that we exhibit the other characteristics more often than we desire to. Even so, we have something to strive for with the Lord’s help. We are told that the greatest that we can present is love. We are also told, by the order of presentation, that love is a crucial fruit of the Spirit. We are also told that love is an identifying characteristic of those who claim to be disciples of Jesus.

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
(John 13:35 (NIV))

If this is the case, then it makes perfect sense that we are to love each other.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
(1 Peter 4:8 (NIV))

Let’s put this in perspective. We can claim to have faith and we can be condemned by our lack of love. We can claim to have hope, and still be hateful. When we have love, the true love of Jesus, then faith and hope fall into place. We love the Lord and His creation. Out of this love springs the faith and the hope to share that love with the world. I believe that I am beginning to see why love is the greatest to remain.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
(1 Corinthians 13:8 (NIV))

Do you understand the value of love?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you define love?

April 1, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
(1 Corinthians 13:4 (NIV))

Love can possess many different characteristics in the minds of those who try to define it. To some people, it is a strong affection such as what a mother has for her child. Others think of love as a sexual attraction. Some people even go so far as to define love by the things that they like.

What is your definition of love? Does it encompass any or all of the above?

How does God define love?

God’s love is not too proud to keep Him from reaching out to save. God’s love for us is kind. He does not reach out to us to condemn us. God’s love for us is not proud. He willingly did what He had to do to bring us 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.
(John 3:16-17 (NIV))

God’s love is patient.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

I could spend countless hours documenting the depth of God’s love for His creation. It is boundless, yet, it is simple at the same time. It is everlasting, yet it is concerned about your individual moments. It is powerful, yet it is gentle enough to hold each of us in our moments of weakness. It is all encompassing, yet it is able to focus on each of us individually. In essence, God’s love is perfect!

How do you define love?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What kind of heart do you have?

March 26, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
(Ezekiel 36:26 (NIV))

Do you think that what you put into your heart could turn your heart to stone?

Perhaps not literally, but it can definitely harden your heart!

It is possible for someone to fill their heart with such things that leaves them completely self-centered and devoid of any feelings, any sympathy, any empathy for anyone else or for things of the Lord. It is possible for someone to become so absorbed in things of the world and the so-called treasures that it has to offer that they become oblivious to the things of the Lord and the true treasures that He longs to give.

We need to be careful of the things that we allow into our hearts. The wrong things can lead us away from the Lord and harden our hearts. The right things can draw us closer to the Lord and restore the heart of flesh simply because we long to fill it with the things that are important to the Lord.

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:20-21 (NIV))

Have you ever truly stopped to think what those treasures could be?

I honestly believe that we have been told things that we should treasure, things that we should strive to achieve that go hand in hand with our faith in Jesus.

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))

If we strive to possess these characteristics in our walk with Jesus, our priorities have already set what we treasure as things not of this world. Still, we are only human and the world can distract us. We need to stay steadfast in our desires to stay focused on Jesus. We must constantly seek to have a heart that is not hardened.

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

What kind of heart do you have?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are we doing what Jesus has asked of us?

May 4, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.
(2 Timothy 2:24 (NIV))

People always say that the student imitates the teacher. So too must the true servant, for they wish to please the master in all that they do. If Jesus is our true Lord and Savior, then as Lord, He is our master.

The word Lord means:
1. A man of high rank in a feudal society or in one that retains feudal forms and institutions, especially:. a. A king. b. A territorial magnate.
2. a. God. b. Jesus. c. A man of renowned power or authority.

If the word “Lord” means king, then according to the authority that a king has over his people, he truly is their master.

A servant does what the master asks of him!

Are we doing what Jesus has asked of us?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you love?

December 1, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even `sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even `sinners’ do that.
(Luke 6:32-33 (NIV))

Exactly what is love?

Do you have a perception of love as a romantic feeling between a man and a woman? Perhaps you have a deeper understanding and realize that it is the feeling a parent has for a child. Perhaps you may even say that it is a feeling of concern for someone else’s well being.

The key word to each of these ideas about what love is can be broken down to one simple word – “feeling.”

It is easy to feel something for those who feel something for you. In essence, you love because you are loved. This is a form of love, but what happens when someone hates you? It requires more than a feeling, for when someone hates you, it is human nature to return like feelings. It requires a commitment. It is at this point that love becomes a decision. It becomes a willful act even when you know that your willful act may not be returned. In essence, you choose to love even when you may not be loved in return. It is at this point that you start to understand how God sees love.

Love is not a feeling. It is a commitment even when there are no feelings.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV))

What is love?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your mark?

July 28, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
(Ephesians 4:32 (NIV))

What would you say is the mark of a true follower of Jesus?

Is it faith? Is it hope? Is it love? Is it a willingness to forgive? Perhaps it is actually all of these, for when you have the first three, you inherit the willingness to forgive. Forgiveness comes from these three traits. Can you forgive and not have a faith that the person you are forgiving will not act in a similar manner again? Can you forgive and not have a hope for a different outcome in the future? Can you forgive and hate the person that you have forgiven? Can you love someone and not forgive them? There are certain things that are considered oximorons. I would argue the case that these are included in that group, for you cannot harbor hatred and still willingly forgive. You cannot love and be unwilling to forgive.

What is the mark of a true follower of Jesus? Did Jesus possess love? Did He possess a willingness to forgive? He certainly had faith and hope in what God has promised.

It is probably safe to say that the mark of a true follower of Jesus is a willingness to see others through the eyes of Jesus. It is a willingness to realize that Jesus died for them also, and that we are no different than they are. It is a willingness to share our faith and hope of salvation through Jesus Christ, for we too should not desire for any to perish.

What is your mark?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you see yourself growing day to day?

July 23, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
(Ephesians 4:15 (NIV))

When you were little, who did you want to grow up to be like?

What was it about that person that made you long to be like them? Were they kind? Were they gentle with you? Could you trust them? Did they always tell you the truth? Did they take the time to simply be there for you when you needed them? Each of us has a person that we looked up to. Each of us has an ideal that was embodied by someone who took the time to love us and be there for us. They placed our desires above their own.

Did you grow up to possess any of the characteristics of the person that you longed to be like? I would safely venture to say that they did have an influence upon you and you did develop some of the very same characteristics that you saw in them.

As a believer in Jesus, do you long to grow up, to mature into being just like Him?

If, as a child, you longed to grow up to be like someone you admired, shouldn’t you now long to grow up to be like someone you admire? It should be our goal to grow up, to mature into being just like Jesus in all that we do. We should strive to persevere in our desires to be like Jesus.

Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
(James 1:4 (NIV))

Each day we should grow in our knowledge and understanding of Jesus. Each day, we should mature in our faith in Him.

How do you see yourself growing day to day?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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