Are these words fixed in your heart and mind?

March 21, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
(Deuteronomy 11:18 (NIV))

Jesus has risen and we should be rejoicing with all of our being. We should be praising God for His greatness. We should be lifting up Jesus for His sacrifice. We should be embracing the Holy Spirit so that He can guide us in all that we do. We should be studying God’s Word so that we may be able to discern what is righteous and what is not. Accepting God’s grace and mercy is only the beginning. We must study so that we may know what God is calling us to do.

Do you remember when you first took an avid interest in your favorite hobby? Chances are you immersed yourself into anything and everything that you could find about your interest. For some of you, it may be a sport such as golf. For others, it may be reading. For others, it may be kayaking. No matter what you interest is, you spent a considerable amount of time learning as much as you could for it became an integral part of who you are. It filled an emptiness. It gave you excitement. It gave you peace.

Now comes the painful moment of truth.

When you accepted Jesus as your Savior, did you have the same hunger for knowledge about Him and God’s Word as you did for your favorite hobby? Did you hunger for His words? Did you long to learn as much as you could about the saving grace that you accepted as your own? Did you allow it to become an integral part of you? Did you allow it to fill the biggest emptiness in your life? Did it give you excitement? Did it give you peace?

Accepting Jesus as your savior is more than simply lip service. He also wants to be Lord of your life. This is not a subservient or demeaning attitude to take. It shows a desire to fully embrace God’s grace and mercy.

Are these words fixed in your heart and mind?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you truly able to say this?

January 4, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
(Psalms 91:2 (NIV))

There are many things that I hate about our sinful human nature. Perhaps the one that I hate the most is our ability to say one thing while what is in our heart says something completely different. When I read this passage, my first reaction was to pray that these words would always ring true in my heart and in my life.

Think about that!

Human nature simply gives lip service. We read this passage, as well as many others, and we fail to make it our own. We fail to take it to heart. We fail to realize the depth and breadth of God’s love. There is a belief that we can pray the Bible. I honestly believe this, especially when I read this passage and think of all of the great things that the Lord has done for me.

As I read, my heart and mind are filled with joy. I see the words, but my spirit embellishes them. They take on so much more than what is written.

Lord, help me to always say great things about you, for no one else deserves all honor and praise. You alone are worthy, Lord. May I always look to you and turn to you as my solid rock, as my fortress, for you alone are my refuge in times of trouble. You are my shelter. You are my strength. You are my stronghold. Lord, you are my God. You are the only one in whom I can trust. When everything comes crashing down around me, you are there. When the enemy attacks, you are my strength and my shield. There is no one else whose greatness surpasses yours and there is no one else who is unwavering in his love for me. I long to seek shelter in the comfort of your loving arms!

I realize that many people are afraid to alter anything within God’s Word, and rightly so. We don’t want to change the meaning, or the power that is God’s Word. We must always return to it for our strength and for our guidance. I honestly believe that the Lord finds glory when we use His Word and personalize our worship of Him. Think about that for a moment in the context of this passage. Think about the author of this passage. It was his heartfelt, personal praise of the Lord. It touched the very heart of the Lord. Can you praise the Lord in a similar manner? Can you express your inner thoughts and praise in a way that is truthful and pleasing to the Lord?

Are you truly able to say this?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you a doer of the Word?

July 31, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.

If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
(James 1:19-27 (NIV))

Perhaps the best way to say what these words say is simply the phrase “Be doers of the Word.”

We cannot honestly expect to “give lip service” to God and then go about our business ignoring Him! When you take wedding vows, do you expect to be able to say “I Do,” and then go about your life as if you were still single? When you accept a job from someone, can you do what you please and not show up when you agreed to? What is different with our promise to God and our acceptance of His only son, Jesus Christ, as our personal Lord and Savior? Is it because we do not see them that we “give lip service” and do not do what we should be doing?

Honesty and integrity of faith are what God seeks in us. When we accept Jesus, we also accept the rules of the gift of grace. Some people claim the gift, but deny the rules. God wishes for us to be faithful to Him, and to keep all other “gods” in there places. Anything can become a “god” if we place it above anything else. If money is so important that you would cheat to get more, then money has become your “god.”

Be doers of the Word. Remember, actions always speak louder than words. Do not let other “gods” keep you from God.

Are you a doer of the Word?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is God truly the Lord of this nation?

July 5, 2017

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))

We like to say “God bless America,” but are we worthy of being blessed?

Think about that question in relation to the events that have been transpiring over the last several years. With these events that we see in our society, is God truly the Lord of this nation? Do we honor Him with our actions? Do we honor Him with our words? Do we honor Him with our hearts? Our money says “In God we Trust,” but have we come to trust more in our money and in our government than we trust in the Lord?

What would our founding fathers say about the state of our nation? What does the Lord say about the current state of our nation? Everything has been turned upside down. Evil is called good and good is called evil. Truth is no longer absolute. Society believes that truth is relative. There are certain factions of society that believe in separation of church and state. They believe that this is in the Constitution, when in reality there is no such article or clause that supports this. This is a lie that has been repeated so often that people know believe it to be true.

There are many things that society claims as good that God calls evil, so how can God bless America when we, as a collective society, are doing all in our power to thumb our proverbial noses at God.

The Body of Christ needs to stand firmly on God’s Word. We need to study it. We need to know it. We need to do more than pay lip service to God’s Word. We need to live it! Only when we truly study it, know it, and live it will we truly know God and call Him Lord. When we truly can call God Lord will we be truly blessed.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have we surrendered our power and effectiveness?

June 16, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
(James 5:16 (NIV))

Have you noticed the sequence of events in this passage?

As the Body of Christ, we are to confess our sins to each other and to pray for each other. These steps lead to healing, but did you notice that there is a followup statement? It is actually a declaration. If you believe in logic, then what is presented makes perfect sense. Do steps A and B and then D will result. The reason is because A and B leads to C, which leads to D.

It looks like we have been given a roadmap on how to get to the power and effectiveness of a righteous person. If that is the case, do we truly follow these simple, yet profound, directions? Do we follow the roadmap that we have been given, or do we like to think that we can find our way on our own?

Do we confess our sins to each other or do we just get together and gossip?

Do we truly pray for each other or do we simply give lip service to the needs of others so that we can focus on our needs?

Do either of these sound like they would lead to healing?

Would a righteous person gossip? Would a righteous person focus on their own needs? Is this why our prayers are going unanswered?

Personally, I believe that we need to stop our detours and get back to the roadmap that has been given to us. Because we have strayed, we have surrendered our power and effectiveness.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus is Lord and God raised Him from the dead!

June 6, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
(Romans 10:9-13 (NIV))

What does your heart say about Jesus?

What has your mouth declared about Jesus?

Have you ever wondered why this passage talks about both declaring with your mouth and believing in your heart? It is human nature to give the proverbial lip service to something and not mean it in your heart. It is also possible to think that you believe something in your heart, but not profess it with you mouth. In both instances, this duality of words and heart appear to be caused by fear. We fear to stand out as different from those around us. We fear to truly look inward. We fear to make a commitment. To put it simply, we fear.

When, in the course of human nature, we can make both words and heart coincide, then we are in alignment and in agreement with ourselves. We say and do the very same things with respect to our beliefs. Paul realized that. Paul, with the help of the Holy Spirit, came to the conclusion that when this happens, we are committed and our faith is true.

Do you believe that God raised Jesus from the dead? Have you ever professed with your mouth that Jesus is Lord? These two questions are crucial for each of us to answer with a resounding yes, for without those answers, we know that salvation is not possible. How have you answered these two questions? Time is ticking away. Don’t wait to answer these questions. Eternity depends on your answer.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you believed and have you confessed?

January 20, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
(Romans 10:9-10 (NIV))

Have you ever known someone who confessed that Jesus is Lord, yet acted like they didn’t believe what they claimed?

Have you ever known someone who never publicly confessed that Jesus is Lord, yet lived what you would consider to be a good life?

Then there are those who have not confessed and live a life that is anything but good.

Finally, there is the group who are not ashamed to publicly confess that Jesus is Lord and they believe it in their heart! Their lives reflect the belief and the proclamation.

It is funny how that we, as a fallen creation, can see people and can seem to be able to put labels on them. Is this judging? Some might say that it is, yet I believe that if you truly have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, it will reflect in all aspects of your life. Lip service by itself will not redeem you, for lips can lie. Believing in your heart can save you, but what about the simple fact that people like to share with others when something good happens to them? Does that mean that they are not saved? I believe that only God knows the heart. I also know that God created each of us to be unique and some people are not wired to express things publicly. I also know that this passage doesn’t put a number to the amount of people who must hear your profession of faith. Just because you haven’t heard it doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been made!

I suppose the thing that I am trying to convey is that only God knows the heart. We must stop worrying about did this person really mean it, or is this person lost for all eternity? Don’t get me wrong. We are to continue to spread the Gospel, but we cannot force someone to accept Jesus. That is the work of the Holy Spirit within each person. All that we can do is answer the call for ourselves. We cannot answer for anyone else!

Have you answered the call? Have you believed in your heart? Have you confessed with your mouth?

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