What comes from within you?

March 8, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come — sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.
(Mark 7:21-22 (NIV))

Some people say that society has gone downhill. I actually believe that society has simply allowed what is within to be let out without any repercussions.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

In today’s society, it is possible to find numerous people with like-minded evil thoughts. No matter what the thought may be, there are others who also have them. To be honest with you, people have been experiencing these thoughts ever since the fall from grace. There have always been thieves. There have always been murderers. People have always been greedy and envious. Deceit and arrogance have always existed, as well as sexual immorality and adultery.

What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
(Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NIV))

If this is the case, then why does it seem that we, as a society, are straying further and further away from God’s desires?

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'”
(Matthew 13:24-30 (NIV))

We are that field of wheat. The enemy has sown weeds within each of us that crop up in our lives and show themselves as what is within our hearts. We can choose to focus on the weeds and ignore the good wheat or we can focus on the good wheat and choose to ignore the weeds. Too many people are focusing on the wrong things and allowing the weeds that come from within to overshadow their lives.

I have heard the following told much more eloquently, but imagine that within each of us there are two wolves – a good wolf and a bad wolf. The one that becomes prominent in our lives is the one that we feed. We all have the potential to do much evil. If we feed that potential, evil will come from within.

What comes from within you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready to be refined?

March 6, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years.
(Malachi 3:2-4 (NIV))

Do you realize that only things of potentially great value are refined?

You never hear of someone refining dirt. You never hear of someone refining trash. You may recycle trash, but it is never refined. When you refine something, the impurities are removed. The blemishes are polished out and the results are worth so much more than they were before they were refined.

Are you worth refining?

The Lord thinks so!

He knows just what you were made to be and it is His desire to bring that out of each of us. It is His desire to remove the sin from our lives and make us pure and righteous in His eyes. Accepting Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior brings us into His grace and mercy. We are a work in process. Even our best of intentions leave us far short of what the Lord desires. We have the potential to be the sinless creation that we were intended to be. We will be refined!

Refining can have one of two outcomes. If we have accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, the refining leaves us like gold or silver in the eyes of the Lord. All of the sin will be removed. If we deny Jesus, then we will be like the chaff that is gathered together and burned.

No one can escape the day of His coming!

Have you accepted Jesus?

Are you ready to be refined?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How are you recognized?

August 8, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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

Most people in today’s society are not able to identify most fruit bearing plants and trees simply by looking at them during the off season. We are more used to going to the store and getting what we want from the produce department. However, most of us would still be able to tell an apple tree from a pear tree if there were apples hanging from the limbs. Even with fruit hanging from the limbs, we are pushing our limits when we try to identify what type of apple, for some are sweet while others are tart.

Are we able to tell anything about a person at first glance? Can we tell whether they are a believer in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior simply by knowing their name? Can we tell any more about someone if we simply look at them?

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))

Based on the examples that we see as the fruit of the Spirit, we can sometimes see these traits simply by looking at someone. However, everyone can have a period of time when these traits appear to be genuine and the same person can have a period of time when these traits appear to not be present at all in their lives.

It takes time for fruit to mature!

Can you walk up to a tree and pick an apple and eat it as soon as the flower falls off and the fruit starts to grow? We may see the potential for a mature fruit, but we have to be patient. The same is true of people. We can see the potential for the fruit of the Spirit, but we have to allow it to mature. Jesus spoke of this using seed.

Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop–a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.
(Matthew 13:3-8 (NIV))

Just because something, or someone, has the potential to be something, that doesn’t mean that it will happen. Many things come into play. For people, many distractions can keep us from bearing the fruit that God has intended. It is human nature to be able to see the shortcomings of others when this happens, but do we easily recognize it in ourselves?

Do others recognize the fruit that God wants you to bear?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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That way, the only way, is Jesus!

March 22, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Her leaders judge for a bribe,
her priests teach for a price,
and her prophets tell fortunes for money.
Yet they lean upon the LORD and say,
“Is not the LORD among us?
No disaster will come upon us.”
(Micah 3:11 (NIV))

It is such a sad state of affairs for humanity that we never seem to learn. This was written to the house of Jacob many, many years ago, yet it seems like it was just written about our society, our nation and our world as it exists today.

Are we that stupid that we do the exact same things that our ancestors did and expect to get different results? That is what many people refer to as the definition of insanity. Perhaps we are insane. Perhaps we never learn.

How do we break this vicious cycle of sin and arrogance?

Humanity keeps falling for the same lies. They may look a little different, but that is just the packaging. Deep down, they are the same things that out ancestors fell for.

Why don’t we recognize the truth when it is right in front of us? Why do we prefer the lies and the resulting problems over the truth and the grace?

Sometimes I wonder what God thinks of His creation? Does He sit in heaven and shake His head because of our stupidity? Does He sigh from a heavy heart because of our failures? Has He ever looked upon us as a lost cause?

Thankfully, He sees potential in His creation. Thankfully, He loves His creation.

“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. 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. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

Even when we don’t learn, even when we fail miserably, God still loves us. We are not bound to our failures. We are not bound to our sins. Grace has been offered even though we could never earn it. That is the story of Easter. In our sin, we could never escape the vicious cycle. Jesus came to offer redemption, to offer a way to grace. It is a helping hand extended from heaven to lift us out of our sins. All that we have to do is accept. There was a cost to be paid for this gift of a helping hand. We don’t have to pay it. It is a gift of love freely given to by the one who came to help to the ones who He came to help.

No matter what the world may look like, no matter what failures we repeat, we have a way to break free of the laws of sin and death.

That way, the only way, is Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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