How difficult do you make this?

November 6, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
(Romans 12:16 (NIV))

This passage is taken out of a section that many translations refer to as “Love in Action.”

Think about that concept for a moment. Are you able to put these words into action?

Do you strive to live in harmony with others, both believers and nonbelievers? I realize that it is easier to do this when you are dealing with someone who shares your beliefs, but we are called to show love to everyone. How do you live in harmony with someone who takes great pleasure in taunting and tormenting you because of your faith?

Then there is pride! It is a nasty human trait. We can’t even get a job without having to convince someone that we are better than anyone and everyone else. What happens if you start to act like you truly believe this about yourself? Do you begin to develop tendencies to elevate yourself at the expense of others? Is this how we are called to show love?

As a member of the Body of Christ, we must remember that we were shown love when we didn’t deserve it. We must remember that we were shown grace and mercy when we didn’t deserve it. All too often, we do not show love as were are called to show love. Sadly, many times we show the exact opposite and we make it difficult for others to see Jesus in us or through us.

How difficult do you make this?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How are you recognized?

July 26, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
(Matthew 7:20 (NIV))

Have you ever seen an apple tree bear peaches? Have you ever seen an orange tree bear bananas? In the physical world, if we ever saw anything like this, we would think that we have gone utterly insane. These types of things just don’t happen. We are so used to seeing things a certain way that we know that certain things will never happen. Matthew understood this. He even took this concept one step further and explained that good fruit does not come from plants that we know to be bad. He referenced plants that most people cut down, dig up or burn. How could anything good ever come from something like this?

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.
(Matthew 7:16-18 (NIV))

The very same concept is also true in the spiritual as well. It seems as if everyone knows one or two people who just can’t seem to do anything good. Their whole demeanor just ruminates with a foreboding sense that is not comfortable to be around. They display everything that is opposite of the fruit that we are told is good.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
(Galatians 5:22-23a (NIV))

Fruit is the means of reproducing in kind the very thing that produced the fruit. It carries the seed that will grow another plant like the one that it came from. When we think of fruit in the physical world, we think of something that is sweet and succulent to eat. Think of this in terms of the fruit of the Spirit. When we partake of the fruit of the Spirit, we soon begin to grow and mature with that very fruit becoming evident in our lives. The more love, joy and peace that you partake of, the more love, joy and peace that you bear.

Take a serious look at your life. Do you produce love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, or do you produce something completely different? How do you think that others see what you produce?

How are you recognized?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is winning this conflict in your life?

June 25, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
(Galatians 5:17 (NIV))

What is your definition of freedom?

If you accept society’s understanding of that word, freedom means the ability to choose to do whatever you may wish to do and to say whatever you may wish to say. This is the freedom that focuses on the flesh and leads someone to choose sin.

Is this the way that someone who has been set free from bondage defines freedom?

This freedom implies no more chains. It implies that there will be no more consequences of the bondage. It implies an overwhelming joy that comes only when such a heavy burden has been removed. This is the type of freedom that comes when you focus on things of the Spirit. This is the freedom that allows someone to overcome the consequences of sin.

To far too many people, they see no difference in these definitions of freedom, but there is a significant and costly difference!

They are at opposite ends of the spectrum. There is no way that you can have both. When we choose the flesh, we deny the Spirit. When we choose the Spirit, we deny the flesh. Our life, and our eternity, are determined by which we choose and, consequently, which we deny. I have seen this illustrated as each person having two distinct paths that they can follow, or two distinct creatures within them – one good and one evil. The one that wins the conflict is the one that is fed.

What is winning this conflict in your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you able to do this?

June 2, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
(Luke 6:27-28 (NIV))

Why does Jesus ask us to do exactly the opposite of what our human nature wants us to do?

Life would be so much easier if we just gave in to our human nature!

Or would it?

Sometimes we think that life would be so much easier if we didn’t have the internal struggles that we have because we choose to follow Jesus. We wouldn’t have to resist temptation. We wouldn’t have to be nice to our pesky neighbors or that weird uncle that everyone seems to have. We wouldn’t have to worry about who we mistreated to get that promotion. We wouldn’t have to worry about anyone but ourselves!

If you are like most people, we seem to degenerate into this type of individual several times a day. Do you honestly like yourself when you sink to this level? Do you like it when other people have their moments and they sink to this level? Life in this fallen world is difficult, but it would be so much more difficult if we did not profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. I am forever thankful that Jesus came into this world to offer us grace and mercy. Jesus modeled life as God intended it to be. Jesus showed us how to live a sinless life. He showed us how to live a life of love expressed to God, to Him, to the Holy Spirit and to each other.

Do you truly want to know what humanity would be like if we do not live our lives as we are told in Luke? Those traits are fruits of a life lived in Christ; a life spent listening and following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If we ever want to consider how life would be if we did not live in Christ, then all that we have to do is read about the seven years written about in the book of Revelations.

Jesus did not tell us that following Him would always be easy.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
(John 16:33 (NIV))

He also did not tell us to give up!

Are you able to follow what Jesus asks of those who follow Him?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your delight?

June 14, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands are my delight.
(Psalms 119:143 (NIV))

In the events that we face in our lives, I don’t know too many people who can’t claim the first part of this passage as their own for we have all had trouble and distress.

But what about the second part?

Are the commands of God your delight?

Even when we face the troubles that the world throws at us, we should rejoice in the commands of God, for these commands lead us to righteous living and to eternal salvation through God’s only Son, Jesus Christ!

We can either delight in God’s commands or we can delight in the ways of the world. The two are diametrically opposite from each other. You cannot embrace both. You must embrace the one and reject the other. Which one you embrace and make your delight is your decision. Keep in mind that a lukewarm decision for God is the same as a decision for the ways of the world. God does not want you to pick and choose which parts of His Word and commands you wish to follow. You cannot be divided.

If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
(Mark 3:24-25 (NIV))

How do you stand?

What is your delight?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Our sin does not affect God’s nature!

July 21, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
(Ephesians 2:13 (NIV))

It was prophesied long before this was written that through Jesus, it would be:

as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
(Psalm 103:12)

It is God’s nature that He cannot associate with sin. Sin will perish before God. Because of this and because of the sin allowed into the world through Adam and Eve, we could never approach God. We literally had to stay as far as the east is from the west from God.

Sin is diametrically opposite of the righteousness that is God just as east is diametrically opposite of west. The two could never meet, except through an act of divine intervention. Because of this intervention, we, who accept the grace and mercy offered through it, are allowed into the presence of God. We have an intercessor who sits at the right hand of God the Father on our behalf.

If you can imagine a straight wire that is not bendable. The two ends could never meet. Now, imagine if you will, a “superman” who is capable of bending the two ends until they touch. This ‘superman” was Jesus and the two ends that He was able to make touch are God’s righteousness and our sin.

Our sin does not affect God’s nature, but His righteousness effects ours.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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