Are you on watch for bad fruit?

October 10, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
(Matthew 7:15-20 (NIV))

Think about this the next time that you hear of something that is just too good to be true, or is just a little off of what God’s Word says that it should be. Most of the time, lies are obvious, but deception is a trick of the enemy. When things sound almost right with respect to God’s word, they are totally wrong.

It should be easy for believers to realize that the “fruit” does not match the source. We should be able to easily distinguish that the things the enemy tells us are too good to be true, especially when they contradict everything that we should know to be true according to God’s Word.

Why do people fall for the deceptions of the enemy?

Are we, as a fallen, sinful race, too far removed from the truth to even recognize it?

The words in Matthew are amazing and sadly amusing if you stop to actually understand what is being said. We have enough common sense to not look for grapes on an apple tree, yet, we easily fall prey to the small lies of the enemy in hopes that the promises are true.

Test everything against God’s Word. If something is supposed to bear goodness, but it lies to do so, does it really follow God’s Word? If you are promised that it is only a small digression and no one will know about it, can it be the correct fit?

We have been told what the things of God will bear.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Think of this passage when validating the truth about something. Does it produce according to the fruit of the Spirit?

Are you on watch for bad fruit?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Pray to be able to avoid the fool and his folly!

July 24, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool bent on folly.
(Proverbs 17:12 (NIV))

I’m sure that everyone understands the nature of the relationship between a mother and her children. If the children are threatened, the maternal instincts kick into high gear to the point that anything within striking distance is fair game. Couple that instinct with the size of a bear and the size of the claws and you have a very fierce and dangerous presence to contend with.

Do you find it interesting that this passage states that a fool is more dangerous?

What is your definition of a fool? What is God’s definition of a fool?

The fool says in his heart,
    “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
    there is no one who does good.
(Psalms 14:1 (NIV))

Are you beginning to see that a fool is more dangerous than a bear?

Most people know enough to stay away from a bear, especially a mother bear who is protecting her cubs. The very physical presence tells you to stay clear. All it takes is just one look at the bear to assess the situation, but we don’t know that someone is a fool just by looking at them. We can’t tell the dangers that may be present because we cannot see the heart nor the mind. The surface situation is not a good indicator of the danger when someone practices deception and folly, for the deceit is hidden within. The true impact of the folly may not be made known until the damage is done.

Most of us are wise enough to stay away from danger that is obvious. God warns us to be wary of the dangers that are not obvious. Pray for discernment. Pray for wisdom. Pray for God’s insight into the hearts and minds of those whom you encounter. Pray to be able to avoid the fool and his folly!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you see?

December 7, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.
(Luke 2:30-32 (NIV))

When Simeon spoke these words, he was an old man whom God had promised would see his salvation. Can you imagine searching for something all of your life with such earnestness that once you find it, you feel that you have completed your purpose in life? Simeon was overjoyed, just as we should be.

Jesus was only a newborn infant when this occurred. Mary and Joseph had brought him to the temple to consecrate him to God. Simeon had been looking for salvation all of his life. Perhaps that is why he so readily recognized it when it was presented to him. To most people, Jesus was simply a baby just like all of the others. Simeon was able to look beyond the obvious and see the miraculous simply because he had been waiting expectantly for the miraculous.

During this Christmas season, are we able to see the miraculous just as Simeon was able to see when it happened? Can we see God at work even when the world doesn’t see what He is doing?

What do you see?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you glow with the glory of the Lord?

July 12, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.
(Exodus 34:29 (NIV))

Very few people have been able to do what Moses did on Mount Sinai. Adam and Eve walked with God before the fall from grace. Abraham heard God call him to a new land. Moses spoke with God on Mount Sinai. The prophets relayed God’s messages to the people and the disciples spoke face to face with Jesus. Even in these examples, only Moses is recorded as being radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. Moses was the only person since the fall from grace to have been in God’s glorious presence. It makes me wonder what Adam and Eve looked like since they walked with God. Were they radiant in their appearance?

Do you long to radiate with the presence of the Lord?

Do you long to spend time in His glorious presence?

Do you long to hear His Word and have it become such a part of you that your very countenance glows with His righteousness?

Do you want others to see this radiance on you and in you and know that you love the Lord?

I realize that I ask a lot of questions, but a relationship with the Lord is a personal matter and the only way to truly build that relationship is to know what you truly desire on a personal level. It is not based on what your parents did. It is not based on what I write. It is not based on what your children do. It is not based on what your preacher says. It is entirely based on your personal desire to spend time in the presence of the Lord. I honestly believe that this is why I love the following verse so much. It reminds me that I am nothing if I do not spend time in God’s presence, if I do not allow the Lord’s grace to overflow onto me, into me and through me.

Be still, and know that I am God;
(Psalms 46:10a (NIV))

Is it obvious to others that the Lord’s radiance is upon you?

Do you glow with the glory of the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you want a clean heart or a pure heart?

May 29, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (NIV))

Most of us can quote this passage as it is translated in the American Standard Version, below.

Create in me a clean heart, O God;
And renew a right spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (ASV))

To be honest with you, that translation is so ingrained in my mind, that it is what I see no matter what translation I may be reading. Today, I think I truthfully read the New International Version for the first time. There were subtle nuances that became obvious to me.

Consider the two words that are used to describe the heart. One uses the word “clean,” which implies that all dirt has been removed as in a clean cup. The other uses the word “pure,” which implies a deeper cleanliness or purity. Consider a bar of gold. It can be dirty or it can be clean. Do either of these states cause any difference in the value of the gold. If you consider the purity of the bar of gold, we have a completely different understanding. If the bar of gold was 95% pure, it wouldn’t be worth as much as if it were 100% pure.

With this in mind, do you want a clean heart or a pure heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you recognized what is within your heart?

February 22, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.
(Psalms 40:8 (NIV))

The things that are nearest and dearest to us are the things that are said to be in our hearts. When they have become an integral part of us, many people say that they become second nature, but that is not the case. They become our primary nature! It is at this time that people refer to these things as being written in our hearts. They have become as intimate and personal as we can possibly make them. They become central to what makes the individual who they are.

I count an individual blessed if they have discovered the things in their life that are truly written within their hearts. Sadly, not everyone can claim to have something so much a part of their life that it is written within their heart. Do you have such a thing?

What is it in your life that if it were taken away, would so change your existence that you would not be recognizable as the same person? Are you able to identify this in yourself? Are other people able to identify this in you? It is often easier for others to see this in you than it is for you to see it in yourself. When we do the things that are an integral part of ourselves, we don’t truly see the outward signs. We just see things as what we love. With that in mind, have you ever had someone point something out to you in a way that you had not realized or thought of in that manner? Were you surprised at their insight into you?

Does it surprise you that David, who was called a man after God’s own heart, wrote that God’s law was within his heart? With all that David faced in his life, he desired to know God no matter what the situation. Did he always succeed at living his life according to what God called him to do? David was human, so that answer should be obvious. Still, David had made God’s law the one thing that was central to his life. David desired to follow God so earnestly, that God promised him that one of his descendants would always sit on the throne.

Hopefully, what is within my heart becomes visible through these devotionals. Even after twenty years, I see things in God’s Word that touch me and I hope that they touch you as well.

It is my prayer that you will desire to place God’s law within your heart.

Have you recognized what is within your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you accepted the salvation that has been prepared for you?

December 14, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.
(Luke 2:30-32 (NIV))

When Simeon spoke these words, Jesus was only a newborn infant and Mary and Joseph had brought him to the temple to consecrate him to God. Simeon had been looking for salvation all of his life. Perhaps that is why he so readily recognized it when it was presented to him, even though, to most people, Jesus was simply a baby just like all of the others. Simeon was able to look beyond the obvious and see the miraculous.

In just a few days it will be Christmas. On the day that we celebrate what Simeon was able to see, can we see the miraculous in what we have just experienced, or is it just the obvious?

Have you accepted the salvation that has been prepared for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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