We must focus on being lovers of God!

June 5, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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))

I am sure that you have seen the jokes and the memes on social media about the type of year that 2020 has been so far. We hope and pray that things will get better, but I honestly think that what we are seeing is becoming the norm, especially when you read about what people will be like in the last days. In fact, when I first read this passage this evening, I did not have to struggle to think up very public examples of each one of these traits. I am certain that you can probably think of prime examples of each one of these traits as evidenced in our society as well.

Why have people become so blinded? Why have people become so self-centered and hate-filled? These traits go against every single one of God’s commandments. They also go against other traits that we are told we should strive to possess.

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))

Sadly, these traits are not what seems to be front and center in today’s world. Far too many in this world are being led astray by the enemy. They are being led down a path that comes in direct conflict with anything good – with anything from God! They are being led down a path of sin and evil.

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))

I am sure that we have all heard that as followers of Jesus, we live in the world, but we are not of the world. How are we, as the Body of Christ, to respond to people who are in open rebellion against God?

We are to share the Gospel! We are also told what to do if people will not listen.

If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
(Matthew 10:14-15 (NIV))

We are to pray! We can’t soften hearts. Only God can. We must pray that those who rebel will repent and turn to the Lord. And, we must stand firm in our faith so that we are not led astray.

We must focus on being lovers of God!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your inheritance?

August 3, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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))

How do you live?

Do any of these acts of the flesh still have a hold on your life? To be honest with you, we are only human and are not capable of perfection on our own. Chances are extremely good that all of us fall prey to some of these on a regular basis. Hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy all seem to sneak up on us more often than we care to admit, even if we have the other issues in control. Even when we desire to live a righteous life, our human nature seems to drag us down. For those who have professed a faith in Jesus, we have an advocate who sits at the right hand of God, the Father. I can picture Jesus shaking His head whenever we do something less than what He intends. I can almost picture this as a parent would react when trying to teach their young child how to ride a bike. I can hear Jesus saying to get up and try again, and that we will eventually get the hang of living a life according to His calling. I can also picture each of us, when we do fall, turning to Jesus and saying, “Help me! It’s too difficult. I can’t do it on my own!”

Sadly, too many of us seem to want to hold on to our terrible twos and all of the moments when we defiantly claimed, “I’ll do it!” When you were growing up, how many times did you get spanked because of this defiant attitude?

We have two clearly defined options. One is to turn to Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. With this option, we inherit the kingdom of God. The other option is that we defiantly claim “I’ll do it!” and we inherit an eternity being separated from God.

What is your inheritance?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will you inherit the kingdom of God?

October 26, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The acts of the sinful nature 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))

This list is rather long.

Did you see yourself in any of these sinful behaviors?

I realize that this question is one that we all want to avoid.

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

It is human nature to be a sinner. We cannot help but live out the results of the fall from grace. We all have our own “pet sins” that we struggle with. On our own, we are lost to sin. On our own, we can do nothing that will save us from the consequences of our sin. It is for this very reason that our loving Father sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross to save us from our sins. That salvation is not automatic. We cannot simply get to heaven because Jesus died for us. We cannot simply continue in our sin and get to heaven. There is a reciprocity. We must ask for forgiveness. We must accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, and we must repent of our sinful ways.

Repentance is not a one time occurrence. Once you accept Jesus, you will face things daily where you will need to ask for forgiveness. There will be days where you will be tempted, where you will feel hatred, and where you will feel jealousy and envy. Strive to overcome these through the power of the Blood of Jesus. Since we are only human, we will falter and when we do, ask for forgiveness and ask for the strength and wisdom to turn away from this in the future.

Priorities are an interesting thing. We all have them. We need to make sure that truly following Jesus is our top priority. To use an old saying, the rewards are out of this world!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you asked for the door to be opened for you?

August 24, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
(Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV))

Jesus stands at the door of our hearts and knocks. Yet, He refers to us knocking.

Does anybody remember the song “Knocking on Heaven’s Door?” The title of the song probably states it as best as it can be. We used to stand at “Heaven’s Door” unaware that it was simple to gain access. While we were standing there, Jesus was gently “knocking” at the door to our hearts, quietly guiding us towards the one way in. When we were guided close enough to “knock” ourselves, Jesus then switched roles. He waited for us to knock and the ability to answer our knock.

When He was knocking at the door to our hearts, we probably were not fully aware of it. He guided us gently and quietly to where we could be in a position to knock and He would answer. He does not refuse anyone who comes to His door earnestly seeking Him. He answers all “knocks” by opening wide the door to the Kingdom of God.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your heart fertile soil?

June 8, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 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. He who has ears, let him hear.”
(Matthew 13:1-9 (NIV))

When Jesus spoke these words, people did not understand that He was speaking of the Kingdom of God and how it is planted in people’s hearts.

What was true then is still true now. Each heart is the planting field for the seed of the Word of God. If your heart is hardened, then it will not take root and grow. If it is easily turned, it will not be fertile soil for the Word to take root. It will be choked out by whatever the world offers it. If your heart is truly receptive, then the Word of God will take root and grow stronger and stronger.

Is your heart fertile soil?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who then can be saved?

August 11, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
(Mark 10:24-27 (NIV))

Who then can be saved?

This is a question that humanity has asked for a very long time. Sadly, too many people believe that they are beyond salvation, that their sins are too great for God to forgive them.

Is that you?

Do you feel that your sins are so great that there is no way that they could be forgiven? What have you done that would bring you to this conclusion?

Do you feel that salvation is available to anyone and everyone no matter how many sins and how great they had been? I have often asked one question of people who feel that God’s grace can only extend so far.

What would your reaction be if you get to heaven and you find that Adolph Hitler was there?

In our human understanding, he was responsible for so much death and destruction that his sins must be too great for God to forgive. I don’t try to say that I know that he repented or if he was forgiven, but I do present that scenario for you to think about. How would you react? Would you be outraged that God had forgiven such a person, or would you be filled with joy that such a person had found salvation through Jesus? We are told in Mark 10:27 that things are not impossible with God. It is our human understanding that places the limitations on our salvation.

Who then can be saved?

I believe that God has many things that are beyond our comprehension and we will probably be surprised by His plan. I know that I can only claim to know Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. Anything else, to use a common phrase, is above my pay grade.

Don’t place human limitations on who can be saved. God doesn’t place any limitations on who can call upon the name of Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What do you think of when you think of the kingdom of God?

August 8, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.”
(Mark 4:30-32 (NIV))

What do you think of when you think of the kingdom of God?

Do you think of the pearly gates and the streets paved in gold? I know that we have all read the passages that describe it as such, but have you ever stopped to think about the kingdom of God beyond these stories?

How does faith relate to the kingdom of God?

How does faith work in your life?

It starts small and as you see things that God does, faith grows. Just like the mustard seed, a small amount of faith can blossom into a life of faith that is bigger than we could ever have imagined.

Do you think that God’s kingdom is bigger than we could ever have imagined? Have we put God in a box of our own design and limited understanding of size? There is so much more to God than we can understand in this lifetime.

Picture yourself as the mustard seed. You would feel small and insignificant. You would feel like your were worth nothing. But, . . .

All it takes is for the mustard seed to be planted and nurtured and soon you would feel the majesty of what you have become. You would be able to face anything that your part of the world could send your way. You would no longer be that small, insignificant and weak mustard seed. you would be strong and mature and able to face whatever the world would send your way.

Faith is the same way!

God’s kingdom is the same way!

We think that it is small and insignificant and it grows beyond our feeble attempts at understanding it and is the strongest think in our world. God’s strength is there for us if we simply accept it. God’s grace is there for us if we simply accept it.

God’s kingdom is there whether we accept it or not. We can allow it to be planted into our lives and watch it grow, or we can reject it and it will never take root in our lives.

Do you allow the seed of God’s kingdom to grow, or do you let it die within your life?

It is your choice!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your sinful nature what you were or what you are?

December 20, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
(1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NIV))

Why did Jesus come into the world?

Depending on how you answer this will determine your outlook on this passage and many more.

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished– he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
(Romans 3:21-26 (NIV))

“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 he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men 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 his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

Proclaiming Jesus is a key step in salvation, but what did Jesus tell 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))

We must leave our lives of sin. John explained that we were sinners.

And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
(1 Corinthians 6:11 (NIV))

Many things lead to sin. God did not create us for the things that we, as humanity, have perverted.

“Food for the stomach and the stomach for food”–but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
(1 Corinthians 6:13-17 (NIV))

Perhaps the biggest sin is what we have done with sex. We have turned it away from what God intended. Try reading Leviticus 20:10-22. We are given very explicit instructions of things that are wrong in God’s eyes – incest, bestiality, homosexuality and adultery. They are all twisted perversions of what God intended.

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
(1 Corinthians 6:18-20 (NIV))

I realize that this is different from most of what is shared in these devotionals, but we are in a society that elevates the twisted perversions while vilifying the Father’s intent. Are we all guilty of one of these sins?

“Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV))

Jesus told us to leave our life of sin. How do you think that Jesus will respond to you if you have not turned from your sin, from your abominable ways? Will He respond by saying “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”

If we could simply call upon the name of Jesus to save us and still keep doing what we did to get us into trouble, are we really following Jesus? We must repent and make sure that our sinful nature is what we were and not what we still are!

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your past still tempting you?

February 19, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

He said to another man, “Follow me.”
But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.”

Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
(Luke 9:57-62 (NIV))

Today’s church does not count the cost of being a disciple. They count the blessings. The church has become infiltrated by the “me” generation and the “just-in-time” attitude that surrounds us every day.

Looking back, it was the same in Jesus’ day. Everyone wanted the blessing, but did not want to pay the price that Jesus asked. That price was, and still is, total commitment and faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

He is not just a quick fix guru that can take all of the bad things that have happened to us because of sin. He does not make them go away so that we can go back and sin more. Jesus wants one hundred percent from those who call upon His name. He knows that we will stumble and fall, but He does not want us to look back.

It is said that God puts our sins away as far as the east is from the west. If the Creator of all the universe can forget them, we must also.

Remember when God delivered the Jews from captivity in Egypt? Some wanted to turn back. Do you remember Lot’s wife? The price for looking back is a dangerous price to even consider. When you accept Jesus, you must look forward, for God has something much better ahead of you.

If your past is so tempting, why did God have to send Jesus to rescue you from it? If you are having thoughts about looking back, keep focusing on Jesus, for the prize is only attainable through what God has done through Jesus.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will you be changed?

January 3, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed– in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
(1 Corinthians 15:50-54 (NIV))

Too many people still think in the natural when it comes to heavenly matters. We will all stand before God as either redeemed believers in His Son, Jesus Christ, or as fallen sinners who are to be cast into the lake of fire with Satan.

If we are to be there as redeemed believers, then we must be transformed from our current natures. God cannot associate with sin, and since Adam and Eve let sin into the world, our physical bodies are corrupted by sin. We must be made new in a body that has not been corrupted by sin. All things will be transformed when we, as believers, stand before God as His redeemed. Those who are not transformed will be judged according to their sin in this world.

Moses was not allowed to see the face of God when he was on Mount Sinai because it would have meant instant death for him in his earthly body. If our earthly bodies cannot handle the glory of God, then those who are to spend eternity with God must be given a new body that will be pure and holy.

Will you be changed so that you can spend eternity with God, or will you face God in your earthly rags and die?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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