Have you found the Lord?

October 17, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
(Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV))

What usually happens when you do something halfheartedly?

Think about this in relationship to things that you have done in your life. Think about that book report that you did in school. You know the one that I am talking about. Everyone has one. It is the one where you didn’t even read the book that you had to do the report on. How did that turn out for you? Think about the job interview that you went on where you didn’t even know what the company did. It is safe to say that the interview probably did not go well. What about your first date? What about your attempt at learning to play an instrument? What about your attempt to lose weight? What about your commitment to go to the gym?

Success at anything requires a passion, a commitment, a desire to see it completed. Typically, this can be equated to a human trait in which you want that goal more than anything else in the world. If you have trouble with this concept, simply think of your first school crush and the amount of time that you spent pining away over that person.

How is your relationship with the Lord?

Do you treat this relationship halfheartedly or do you seek Him with all your heart?

For those who play an instrument or are good at a sport, you had to spend time acquainting yourself with the basics, and then you progressed to more advanced understanding, and then you moved to understanding the subtle nuances of your passion’s focus. The very same thing is true of seeking a relationship with the Lord. It requires the commitment. It requires a passion for the Lord. When you have a passion for something, do you stop short of your goal?

Have you found the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you trained to be?

November 3, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way.
(2 Corinthians 11:6 (NIV))

Every single one of us is good at something. Every single one of us has a special talent that we have nurtured because we are driven to pursue it in one manner or another. Some of us are driven to excellence in athletic endeavors. Some are driven to excel in music, while others are drawn to drama. Some are good at business, while others are more concerned with hospitality, kindness and caring.

What are you drawn to?

If you are like everyone else, you read, study or practice to get better at what you are drawn to. You become a sponge who is willing to absorb all that you can about your passion, about what drives you, about what you are drawn to. You grow in knowledge and wisdom. You grow in your training, whether it is from someone who is a mentor, or if it is through trial and error all on your own. Some people, like Paul, even have a divine calling. Even with the calling during his Damascus Road experience, Paul had to gain knowledge. He had to study. He had to wait for the Lord to lead him to the right place and time for his study and his passion to come together.

Today, we read the words that Paul recorded in his endeavors of spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles. We read his words of encouragement. We read his words of instruction. We read his words of chastisement when it was due. We know Paul as a great man of God, still, I have often wondered just what Paul was referring to when he said that he was given a thorn in his flesh.

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.
(2 Corinthians 12:7b (NIV))

There has been much speculation about what this could be, but the one thing that is obvious is that Paul did not focus on this thorn in his flesh. Out of all of the writings that we have from Paul, this is the only instance that this thorn in his flesh is mentioned. He used the talent and the passion that he did have to spread the Gospel.

We all have knowledge and a passion for something. We all have that specific thing that we have been trained to be in our lives. It is time to use that training, that one passion, and let it be brought to the forefront in such a way that it leads people to Jesus!

What are you trained to be?

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

September 7, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV))

I am going to tax you a little on this one. Well, maybe a lot. I say this because most people would rather forget sentence structures and types. Do you remember the different types of sentences from your English classes? Do you remember the imperative sentence? In essence, it is a command.

Therefore go!

That sounds pretty straight forward to me. It is definitely a command. Do we, as the Body of Christ, obey that command? Previous generations took this seriously. Many people today take it seriously, but do we truly understand that this is our prime directive as a member of the Body of Christ? When you couple this with the next part of the sentence, we have another distinct command.

Make disciples of all the nations!

Most people have a difficult time making a disciple of their next door neighbor. Have we lost the passion to reach the lost? Have we lost the compassion that we should feel for others when we know that they will spend eternity separated from God? When there is a natural disaster, we go with supplies. We go with a desire to help. Where is that desire when it comes to making disciples?

How would Jesus react to our desire to reach the lost? Would He say “Well done,” or would He say “Therefore go!”

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you remember about your early faith?

May 4, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The word of the LORD came to me: “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem:

” `I remember the devotion of your youth,
how as a bride you loved me
and followed me through the desert,
through a land not sown.
(Jeremiah 2:1-2 (NIV))

God told Jeremiah to tell the people of Jerusalem that He remembered the devotion of their youth. I want you to think about that simple statement.

Looking back at your faith when it was new, have you lost your zeal? Have you lost your passion for Jesus? Have you gone from an “Amen” type of faith to a “whatever” type of faith? Have you lost the fire that used to burn so bright and so hot?

To be honest with you, life is hard. It is so easy to lose sight of the fire and the passion when you are told by everything in your life that you have to take care of other things first. It is difficult to maintain the fire when you are being beaten down by the world. It is difficult to maintain the passion when you have to focus on your job for so many hours a day. Life can, and often does leave you exhausted.

What if Jesus were to say Jeremiah 2:1-2 to you. Would you listen to the things that are not being said and realize that Jesus is asking you what happened?

Think about that for a moment!

Jesus did not go anywhere. He is still right there. It is we who have let the relationship take a back seat.

Sometimes I think that the saddest words in the English language are, “I remember . . . “ They imply that something has changed and not for the better.

What do you remember about your early faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you truly understand the love that He has for us?

March 21, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
“Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
(John 17:1-5 (NIV))

We are rapidly coming up on Easter, the time when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the grave.

I am thankful for the resurrection! I am thankful for the defeat of death that the resurrection brought, yet, we, as the Body of Christ, have glossed over the pain and suffering that Jesus endured before and during the crucifixion.

Jesus knew exactly what was coming!

We see images from reenactments of the passion, yet, we still don’t truly understand what He went through in order to redeem us, to bring us salvation from sin and death.

Have you ever caught your arm in the thorns of a rose or bush? Did it draw blood? It probably hurt. Now, think of the flesh being ripped from your back with each lashing of the scourge. Think of the crown of thorns being driven into your head. In comparison to what you have experienced, can you even comprehend the pain that Jesus endured so that you could claim salvation?

Have you ever hit your thumb with a hammer? It hurts. In comparison, can you imagine the pain that Jesus endured when they drove the nails into and through his hands and feet?

Jesus knew that all of this, and much more, was waiting for Him. He willingly went through all of this just so that each of us could be offered grace and mercy through His shed blood. The price that Jesus paid was far greater than many of us can even imagine, yet, He paid it willingly. I want you to stop and think about the passion. I want you to stop and think about the pain. I want you to stop and think about the love that drove Him to the cross.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

Do you truly understand the love that He has for us?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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To what end do you labor?

September 22, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.
(Colossians 1:28-29 (NIV))

I read this, and then I read it again. I read it one more time before it actually hit home.

Paul’s sole task after his Damascus road experience was teaching and admonishing, or urging, people to follow Jesus. Everything else that he did was secondary.

He did not live to work as so many of us do today.

He did not work to live. He had no vineyards to tend, or fields to plow. He had no business to run. He only labored to provide for his needs.

Paul’s mission in life was proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That was his passion. That was what consumed his time.

It is said that if you look at a person’s calendar and checkbook that you can clearly see what that person’s priorities are. I venture to say that Paul spent very little time and money on things that did not forward God’s Kingdom.

I know that not all of us are called to be another Paul, yet, I often wonder if we are falling short on what we are called to be. I enjoy my time within God’s Word. I am happy to see that God is using this to touch people’s lives, yet, I often wonder what I would be like, what we all would be like, if only we could labor as Paul.

What would our lives be like if we could double our labor for the Gospel? What would be the impact on family, friends, coworkers and even strangers? What would that do for the harvest?

He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.
(Luke 10:2 (NIV))

To what end do you labor?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Authority and Passion

March 1, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
(Matthew 7:28-29 (NIV))

Do you remember your most favorite teacher? What made them your favorite? Was it the fact that they really knew what they were teaching and that they were passionate about what they taught? They taught from authority, for authority means that they know what they are teaching. They were more interested in conveying wisdom and knowledge instead of rules and regulations. They taught with joy and enthusiasm.

Do you remember your least favorite teacher? What made this teacher different from your most favorite teacher? I would safely say that they are the ones who tried to teach rules and regulations instead of wisdom and knowledge. Do you remember the rules and regulations that they tried to teach? Probably not!

Consider that Jesus and the teachers of the law are identical to your most favorite and least favorite teachers. Jesus came to impart wisdom and knowledge with joy and enthusiasm. The teachers of the law taught rigid laws and doctrine. No wonder the crowds were amazed at His teachings. Up until this point in their lives, religious life was a chore dictated by very strict man-made rules and regulations that attempted to define and refine what God had commanded. Jesus came to set the captives free. He taught not of rules, but of grace and mercy.

We need to be careful that we do not teach as the teachers of the law, but, teach as Jesus taught.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:18-20(NIV))

Jesus told us to go and teach of Him. How do you teach? Do you try to enforce rules or do you passionately teach of grace and mercy?

It is my desire to be passionate about what I am given to send out. I pray that you will always see the passion within these words.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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