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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Whose strength helps you in your weakness?

March 15, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
(Romans 8:26-27 (NIV))

As I read this passage, the events of the day seem to overwhelm me. I am sure that each and every single person who has ever lived has had those types of days. They are the days that leave you drained and depleted. You feel like you have nothing left. You feel completely weak and vulnerable to anything and everything that the world may throw at you.

When that happens, human nature tells us to simply give up. It tells us that we have failed and that there is nothing that can lift us up out of the quagmire that we find ourselves in. It is the time when we long to be left alone.

Yet, at the very same moment that we feel that we should simply give up and give in, something stirs within us that brings us back to an amazing reality. That reality is that God loves us. He sent His Son to die for us. He sent His Spirit to live within us. He longs to hold us close and tell us of His great love for us. And, we answer. Our words are not enough. Our actions are not enough. Our desires are not enough to thank the Creator of all things. When this happens, the strongest statement of love is our groanings, for they are the groanings of a soul that longs for God’s righteousness and mercy. We cry out even when we don’t know what we long for. We simply know that we long for something to fill the void that we hold in our hearts. This is a void that is primal in nature. It aches and it longs to be filled. In fact, it is at this very moment that we realize that we are indeed in need of salvation.

Therefore I despise myself
    and repent in dust and ashes.
(Job 42:6 (NIV))

It is at these times that God also teaches us a lesson in humility. Think about that statement. Would a proud person be caught anywhere near dust and ashes? It is when God also begins the process of lifting us out of our weakness by giving us His strength to rely on.

Whose strength helps you in your weakness?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is what you value seen as valuable by God?

March 7, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.
(Luke 16:15 (NIV))

What do you value?

Are you blinded by what the world considers to be valuable? Do you long for fame and fortune, money and power? These things are fleeting. They will pass. They will even cause problems in and of themselves, for if you seek after them, your heart longs for these things above all else. When this happens, you lose sight of the truly important things in life.

Which would you rather have?

Fame or peace of mind
Fortune or love
Power or grace

When you focus on the things of the world, you lose sight of what God wants you to focus on. Humanity is easily swayed by flash and glitz that soon fades and rusts. Only the things of God are eternal and have true value.

When you are about to die, do you think that you will say something about having made more money or will you wish that you had been a better friend, spouse, and parent? It is at this time that your true values will surface. Don’t wait until then to let them be right in the eyes of God.

Is what you value seen as valuable by God?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you fulfilling your duty?

October 22, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.
(Ecclesiastes 12:13 (NIV))

Everyone has things that they feel they need to do. Some people call them obligations. Some call them responsibilities. Some people call them their duty. Others may say that these things are their priority, while some simply refer to them as the right thing to do. No matter what you may call them, we all have something that we feel we must do.

What are the things in your life that you place as a priority, as your duty?

Is one of your duties to provide for your family? Perhaps you are a business owner and you have employees and customers that are a central part of your daily life. Perhaps you are called to be a first responder and you feel that your duty is to protect and to serve. If that is you, thank you for your selflessness!

No matter what you may feel that your duty or obligation may be, there is one that is far greater and a lot of people fail to ever do anything about it! In fact, Jesus was asked point blank and responded without any hesitation.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.
(Matthew 22:36-38 (NIV))

I can hear it now. Some may say that these two passages contradict each other. One says to fear God and the other says to love God with all your heart. How can fear and love mean the same thing? To be honest with you, that is a concept that may be difficult for people to grasp, but the basic sentiment behind this is that you should desire to do what is right in God’s eyes. Perhaps a better way to refer to this potential contradiction is to look at it in terms of respect. When you respect God for who He is, you both love and fear Him at the same time. The fear comes from the simple fact that we are all sinners who deserve whatever judgment we have earned. The love comes from the fact that even though He is a just and righteous God and we are all guilty of our sins, He has freely offered grace and mercy in place of the judgment.

I find it interesting that the passage in which we are told to fear God is from the Old Testament and it was recorded long before grace was freely given. I love the fact that the passage in which Jesus told us to love God is in the New Testament. Jesus took the liberty to paraphrase the commandments and let it be known that we no longer had to fear God, but through Him, God reached out to us in love. Through God’s act of love for us, we can now approach God in love.

I don’t know about you, but I both fear God and love God. As a part of His creation, it is my duty to the Lord our God as Creator!

Are you fulfilling your duty?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How can we accept forgiveness if we cannot give it?

August 21, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
(Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV))

Does this bother you?

Do you ignore scriptures like this because it goes against what you want to believe? Does it remind you of someone that you still have not forgiven because of something that happened years ago? You did not realize that your salvation could possibly hinge on your ability to forgive others. God’s grace and mercy are truly a gift, for we cannot earn our salvation. Yet, these words speak of the possibility of losing that gift.

How could this happen?

Take a look at the true meaning behind God’s grace. Does He hate us or does He love us?

Hate would not offer a gift such as grace. Hate would call for revenge. Love is the only thing that can offer a gift such as grace. When we accept Jesus with our whole heart, mind and spirit, we fully accept His love for us and then His love indwells us in the form of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is part of the Triune God that we worship. If the Holy Spirit indwells us, then we have love for others within us. This love would cause us to pass God’s grace and mercy on to others. It would not allow us to harbor hatred and unforgiveness if we truly face what we have hidden from ourselves.

Closely examine every hiding place within your memory to search for those that you have not forgiven, for how can we accept forgiveness if we cannot give it?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we truly capable of loving God in this manner?

July 25, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
(Matthew 22:37 (NIV))

Are you capable of giving of yourself so thoroughly and so completely as Jesus described in this passage?

Think about that for a moment!

Can you love the Lord with all of your heart? This implies that there is not room for any other love in your heart.

Can you love the Lord with all of your soul? This implies that you are completely devoted to the Lord.

Can you love the Lord with all of your mind? This implies that you think of nothing else.

I don’t know about you, but this sounds pretty tough. It sounds extremely difficult, and it sounds impossible.

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
(Matthew 19:26 (NIV))

Let’s take a look at these three aspects of how we are to love the Lord with a fresh persepctive, with God’s persective.

It is possible to love the Lord with all of your heart and still have room to love others. When you love the Lord with all of your heart, you begin to see the world through His eyes and with His heart. You then learn to love others with the same love that the Lord loves them.

It is possible to love the Lord with all of your soul with a devotion to the Lord that overflows to those who are around you. They will see the joy and you will see the love and devotion that the Lord has for them.

And, yes, it is possible to love the Lord with all of your mind. Because you focus on loving the Lord and His Word, you begin to live what you love.

Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
(Psalms 1:1-2 (NIV))

You walk in His Word. You study. You sit quietly in His presence. As you learn to love the Lord with all of your mind, you learn to love His creation because He loves His creation. You learn to find solice in His word.

In all honesty, loving the Lord is an all consuming endeavor, but as you grow in your love for the Lord, your ability to reflect that love to others grows as well. We are told to love the Lord, but Jesus took this one step further and told us to love each other as we love ourselves.

And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
(Matthew 22:39 (NIV))

Are we truly capable of loving God in this manner?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you alert to the prowling of the enemy?

July 20, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
(1 Peter 5:8 (NIV))

Do you find that you are the focus of more attacks from the enemy since you professed a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?

There is a very good chance that this question is answerable in the affirmative. The enemy couldn’t care less about people who don’t profess a faith in Jesus, since, in his mind, they already belong to him. But, if you profess a faith in Jesus, he becomes the roaring lion with the intent to devour the person he just lost!

We, as members of the Body of Christ, must be ever vigilant to keep our eyes focused on Jesus and open to the instruction of the Holy Spirit so that we can recognize the devil in all of his prowlings. We must also hold fast to the faith that we possess and hold fast to the promises that we have been given.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10 (NIV))

Are you able to recognize physical danger when it draws near? Most people are capable of this, yet, far too many fail to recognize spiritual danger when it draws near. The enemy is a sly trickster. He is the father of all lies. We must be ever on our guard and ever diligent of our spiritual well being just as much, if not more so that with our physical well being. We have so much more to lose than just our physical life!

But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.
(Luke 12:5 (NIV))

The enemy will use anything and everything at his disposal to trick you, ensnare you and devour you. Never forget that by professing a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you have declared yourself an enemy combatant of the devil. Each of us are in a war against the devil. He will use do all in his limited power to devour you.

Are you alert to the prowling of the enemy?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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