Love

March 10, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
(1 Corinthians 13:6-7 (NIV))

Do you think that your pet sin loves you? Does greed love you? Does envy? Does lust, just to name a few? Will they stand by your side when all else fails you?

These are the very things that the enemy uses to bring you down. Love empowers you. It lifts you up. It seeks after your best interest. The things that the enemy uses to get us hooked are only designed for one thing and that is to make us falter, and eventually fall. Love doesn’t seek our failure. It doesn’t seek out the very thing that is promises and then use it to destroy. Love is many things, but it is not destructive.

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))

Exactly what is evil? Based on these passages, it is easy to come to think of evil as the opposite of love. If we define evil as the opposite of love, then what is love?

We are told that God is love.

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
(1 John 4:8 (NIV))

If God is love, then He is patient. He is kind. He does not envy. He does not boast. He is not proud. He is not rude. Think of Jesus as He walked this earth. It is not difficult to think of examples of each of these characteristics from His time among us. Think of the ultimate gift that He, through His love, gave to each of us. Would your pet sin do that for you? Would the enemy say that you have been tormented enough, I will put a stop to your failures.

Only the love of God rejoices with you. Evil scowls at your victories. It detests when you allow God’s love to shine, so let the love of God shine in you and through you. you will be amazed at the difference love makes.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Unity or envy?

August 2, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
(Ephesians 4:11-13 (NIV))

In the world, it is easy to be overcome by the fact that all people are different. It is also difficult to overcome the desire to be like someone else. If only I could do that . . .

How many times have you heard someone say something like that? How many times have you said something like that?

It is easy to get overwhelmed by someone else’s gifts while overlooking your own. God created each of us to be unique. Do not lust after someone else’s gifts. God blessed you with your own. Find what those gifts are and then use them for God’s work in this world.

If we all had the same gifts, life would be boring. We are all part of the body of Christ. In our own physical bodies, no two parts are the same. The ears do not envy the eyes. Why should we envy other parts of the body? We should work together to do the will of God.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The keys to the kingdom

May 20, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist–he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
(1 John 2:22-23 (NIV))

Who do you say that Jesus is? The answer to that single question carries more hope and faith than just about any other answer to any other question ever conceived. No matter how you answer, you are placing your faith in your understanding of God and His creation. Even if you do not believe that God exists, you are placing all of your faith in your answer. Your very being hinges upon your faith in something.

Faith is such a peculiar character trait.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

There is a void in each of our lives. That void is designed to be filled by God. Since sin came into this world, many things have been used to try and fill that void. Some use power. Some use wealth. Some use lust. Some even try to use God to fill that void. Everyone has faith that what they use will fill the void. Nothing can fill that void while we are still sinners. God cannot associate with sin. He cannot fill us when we are sinners. To this end, those who seek God without seeking salvation cannot find God. Salvation is available only through Jesus.

To those who call upon Jesus as Lord and Savior, we place our faith in the Biblical account of all of creation and God’s plan for redemption. Through this plan, we are given it all. We are given grace and mercy. We are given the atoning blood. We are given the Holy Spirit, and we are given God the Father.

Have you ever longed for a new car? You can test drive what you want. You can look at them at the dealer. You can sit in one, but it does not mean that it is yours. You have to take possession of the car. You have to have the keys! Trying to take possession of a new car without taking possession of the keys will get you nowhere. Take possession of the gift that is Jesus. He is the key to having God.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
(John 14:6-7 (NIV))

Who is the liar? Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. He was crucified, dead and buried. He arose on the third day. Thousands of people saw Him after His resurrection. They saw Him ascend into heaven. Is Jesus the Christ? Is He your Savior? Is He your key to God?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Embrace them with the love of God

May 15, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
(Luke 6:37 (NIV))

Why do people have such a difficult time with these simple truths?

Let’s face facts. Can you see someone who looks like they are homeless and not jump to conclusions? Can you see someone who dresses differently than you do and not jump to conclusions? Can you see someone who is covered head to toe in tattoos and not jump to conclusions?

We, as a fallen race, judge without mercy. We condemn without understanding, and we rarely forgive without getting something in return. This is so far from what God created us to be. Our fall from grace took so much from us. Look what it gave to us in return – greed, lust, envy, anger, hatred, and murder just to name a few.

I am thankful that God sent His Son, Jesus, to offer each of us a way by which we could be saved from all that we have earned. Through accepting Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we will not be judged. We will not be condemned. We are forgiven!

Look inside your heart.

What do you see?

Do you see someone bound by sin and quick to judge and condemn, or do you see someone freed from the bonds of sin and death? If you see freedom, then you have embraced God’s forgiveness. Share it with everyone you meet. Astonish them with your lack of judgment and condemnation. Embrace them with the love of God.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will He find us righteous?

April 4, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence.
(Genesis 6:11 (NIV))

I often wonder what we look like in the eyes if God in this day and time.

Think about that for a moment. Do you think that our world does what is pleasing to God when there are wars, rumors of wars, murder, violent crimes, rape, greed, lust, and countless others that are too numerous to mention? How do you think that we compare to the world before the great flood? At that time, God only found Noah and his family who were righteous in His eyes. Prayerfully, today there are more people than a single extended family whom God is pleased with.

Is that what makes today different than in the days of Noah? Is it the number of people who earnestly and sincerely call upon the redeeming grace offered by God through His only begotten Son, Jesus? Noah gives us a clear picture of how God cares for His own during times of trouble. He provides a path of redemption from the sins of this world. God has done this countless times. He provides a path of redemption by providing a ram, by providing a burning bush, by providing a parting of the Red Sea, and by providing the ultimate sacrificial lamb – His Son, Jesus.

How do you think that God will respond when His plans for the future actually unfold?

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8 (NIV))

With this in mind, we know that God did send destruction to the unrighteous and we know that He saved those whom He found to be righteous. He will work the same way when His plan finally unfolds. My question to you is simple.

Will He find you righteous and provide a path of redemption for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you hide in your heart?

February 7, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
(Psalms 119:11 (NIV))

What do you hide in your heart?

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

It is true that people will place what they treasure within their hearts. It is what you think of first, last and most often. What is in your heart is your treasure, and typically people will hide what they do not wish for others to find. We hide our treasures!

What is it that you hide within your heart? What is it that you think of first, last and most often? If you are like every other person on this planet, then you are probably ashamed of your answer. Is it wealth? Is it power? Is it lust? Is it your family? Is it your job? Just what is it that you treasure?

What is it that God wants you to treasure and to hide in your heart?

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
(Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NIV))

We are to treasure God’s Word. We are to think of it first, last and most often.

What have you hidden in your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What thoughts fill your mind?

August 14, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The LORD detests the thoughts of the wicked,
but those of the pure are pleasing to him.
(Proverbs 15:26 (NIV))

What thoughts fill your mind?

Are you obsessed with how to gain wealth or power? Do you fill your mind with thoughts of greed and selfishness? Perhaps you occasionally visit thoughts of lust. In the midst of all of these thoughts, do you find yourself thinking of things of God? Do you find yourself longing to change what has taken control of your mind and your actions? Do you long to replace sinful thoughts with thoughts that are pleasing to God?

It is true that you become what you spend your time thinking about. If you spend time thinking wicked thoughts, you will soon find yourself filling your mind with more and more of the same. If you spend your time reflecting on things of God, you will soon find yourself following these thoughts toward a life that is centered around God and His Word. It is the ultimate fulfillment of the saying “You are what you eat.”

Spiritual food is important. If you desire for God to be pleased with you, then you need to put things into your mind that will make you pleasing to Him. Your thoughts will be filled with the things that you decide are important. It all comes back to one simple word – priorities.

What are the things that you have made your thought priorities?

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