We must not conform to this world!

May 17, 2019

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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— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
(2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV))

Whether you think that we are in the last days or not, this is Godly advise to heed. If you stop to think about this, there are many old and wise sayings that come to mind that all say basically the same thing.

Don’t be guilty by association!

If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

Birds of a feather flock together.

I could probably list quite a few more, but I hope that you get the idea. Human nature is good at falsely thinking that we are capable of associating with others without having their sinful natures impact us. We, as the Body of Christ, are called to be set apart from the rest of the world. We are called to a higher standard. We are called to be guided by the Holy Spirit. The characteristics that the Holy Spirit calls us to follow are contradictory to what the world desires and what we are warned to avoid.

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, too many people falsely believe that they can associate with the world and still be a follower of Christ.

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
(Matthew 6:24 (NIV))

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 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))

We must turn from those in this world who will lead us astray. We must turn to the Lord. We must not conform to this world!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is sharing the good news of Jesus your priority?

November 16, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
(Acts 20:24 (NIV))

What is your biggest priority in your life?

Some people might answer that their biggest priority is family. To be honest with you, that is a good priority to have. but is it the biggest priority?

Some people might answer that their biggest priority is to leave their mark in the world. Do you think that whatever mark they may try to leave will even be remembered one hundred years from now?

Some people might answer that their biggest priority is to make lots of money. This, in and of itself, is not bad. What is bad is the love of money. If you want to make lots of money simply because of greed, what does that get you?

No matter what your priorities are in life, if you are a believer in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then everything pales in comparison to placing the Lord first.

You shall have no other gods before me.
(Genesis 20:3 (NIV))

Is there any priority in your life where placing the Lord first would not be a better option? If you place your family as a priority, imagine how much better it would be if you, and your family, placed the Lord first. What if leaving your mark on the world meant that you shared the Gospel with those around you and you lead many to a saving grace in Jesus? You would be remembered for all eternity by those whom you led to Jesus. If you desire to bring in lots of money, what if it was a priority to bring in lots of money to buy Bibles to distribute to those who desperately want God’s Word.

What we place as a priority is only bad if that priority is not Christ centered. Each of us have a different calling. Each of us have a unique way to share the Gospel. Our gifts and our desires should not be our priorities. How we use them to testify to the good news of God’s grace should be the utmost priority.

Is sharing the good news of Jesus your priority?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you give thanks for the “bread” and the “wine”?

November 14, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
(1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (NIV))

Many of us know these verses and the other verses from Matthew, Mark and Luke describing what is called The Last Supper. It is this simple act that we have come to know as Holy Communion.

I wish to propose that, based on what is written, we do not partake often enough, for it says that we should do this in remembrance of Jesus. Should we, as believers, remember Jesus more than once a month, or once every 6 months? It does not say, as the Laws of Moses did, to have celebrations on certain days. Jesus commanded us to remember Him “whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup”, not the first Sunday of every month. We can partake of the simple act of thanksgiving and remembrance whenever we sit down to a meal.

Jesus was, and still is, “. the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”
(John 6:35b (NIV))

Perhaps, since Jesus is the bread of life and we are to partake of Holy Communion whenever we eat, does this mean that we are to partake of Jesus all of the time? Consider that without bread, we will physically grow weak and die. Is that also true of the spiritual bread that Jesus gives us?

We can be thankful and acknowledge that Jesus is our Lord and Savior in all that we do.

How often do you give thanks for the “bread” and the “wine”?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t let sin distract you!

May 5, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them.
(Deuteronomy 28:14 (NIV))

How easily distracted are you?

Have you ever known the task at hand, yet you found yourself doing something else? If you are like me, that happens far more than any of us care to admit. The proper term for it in today’s society is attention deficit disorder, however, I think it is probably related to our fall from grace and the resulting sinful nature that is now ours as a result.

If you remember, the word “sin” is an archery term that means to miss the mark. When we turn aside from anything that God calls us to do, then we have missed the mark. We have sinned. I find it interesting that our society has placed a label on it, created medication for it, and we can have counseling to tell us that it is okay to miss the mark.

It is true that we are only human and our very nature is sinful, but instead of saying that it is okay to miss the mark, shouldn’t we be striving to hit the mark? Why do we accept the concept that it is okay to stop trying to follow God’s designs and seek to follow our own sinful natures?

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 5:23 (NIV))

Thankfully, there is a way to hit the mark, not on our own, but by the grace of God.

“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. 18 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.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

Thankfully, Jesus did not turn to the right or the left. He stayed the course and because He did, we have a Savior who can guide us, who can redeem us when we do stray.

It is my prayer for all of us that we keep our eyes upon Jesus so that we will be able to stay true to the path that we are called to follow.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What would it be like to have walked with Jesus?

October 16, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.” But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it.
(Mark 9:30-32 (NIV))

I often wonder what it would be like to have walked with Jesus. I know that grace and mercy are freely given through His sacrifice, but what is it about Him that drew people to Him to begin with? Was it His knowledge? Was it His love? Was it His demeanor or was it His ability to enthrall large crowds with His public oration? It is something that I think most people have had in their minds at one time or another.

Consider the words from Mark. Jesus spoke in such a way that those who chose to follow Him did not understand. To me, this is an unusual occurrence, for human nature gravitates to what it knows. If someone doesn’t understand something, they have a tendency to stay away from these things and stay with what they know. Human nature does not place you in situations that make you feel inferior. You stay with what you know and understand. Yet, on many occasions, these men did not understand what Jesus taught. Still, they stayed with Him. They clung to every word that He taught just as a young child will cling to its father. They may not understand what is being said, but they recognize the voice and the comfort that it brings.

I can only imagine the commanding persona that Jesus had. What type of personality would the Son of God possess? Did He laugh? Did He cry? Did He play jokes on people? Did His disciples play jokes on Him? Jesus was fully human. I can imagine that He did the things that we do, only without allowing sin to take control.

Jesus was also fully God. He did things that people could not understand.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

We have already thought about the characteristics that drew people to Jesus, but what would draw Jesus to humanity and ultimately to the cross? We say that love drove Him to the cross. I am sure that it did, but, can we even begin to understand this great of a love?

What did He see in you and love so much that made Him willing to suffer and die?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 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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What do you think of the Old Testament?

July 24, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
(Romans 15:4 (NIV))

What do you think of the Old Testament? Do you ignore it because it is boring reading through Deuteronomy and Numbers? Do you always turn to Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and everything after these books?

Paul was a very devout Jewish man. In fact, he was probably what the Jewish society of his day considered to be the ideal Jewish man. He had been educated as a boy. He excelled at his education in the Torah and was selected to go on with additional studies. He excelled there and went on even further. He was what they considered to be the cream of the crop, or the best of the best.

Paul gave all of this up after his Damascus Road experience. He met Jesus and his whole world was turned upside down. All of his studying and knowledge had been misguided. Even though it was acquired through misguided endeavors, Paul realized that it was the Word of God and it still applied. He only had to come to terms with what it really meant. He came to the realization that all of the Law and the Prophets were there to teach us not only as he had learned, but so much more. Every word spoke of the way that God wants us to live. Every word spoke of the ideal that could never be achieved by man. Paul also realized that it taught us of Jesus. Every word that tells us how God wants us to live gives us an insight into the path of salvation that God is working. Achieving an ideal and perfect life can not be attained by man. As a result, in order to see salvation, an ideal and perfect life must have lived. Only God’s Son could live such a life.

Paul knew the Hebrew Scriptures extremely well. He knew them well enough to realize that they truly pointed to Jesus. How can we truly understand Jesus if we do not understand all of the signs that point to Him?

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