What are you devoted to?

November 10, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
(Colossians 4:2 (NIV))

Human nature is a funny thing. If I asked one hundred people what they are devoted to, I would probably get one hundred different answers. I realize that some would be similar, but, just like the people that give them, each would be unique. No two would be exactly the same!

Some people would say that they are devoted to their spouse. Some would proudly claim that they are devoted to their family. Some would say that they are devoted to their church. All of these are great things to be devoted to, but how many would actually claim that they are devoted to prayer?

Perhaps we should step back and consider what devotion means. One dictionary has being religious as its first definition. On the surface, this sounds very good, but we have to stop and consider that religion is often thought of as man’s attempt to reach God. How many so called religious activities are simply man made rituals that truly don’t have anything to do with devotion. With this in mind, is being religious truly how you want to think of being devoted, especially when you consider what John the Baptist said of the religious men of his day?

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
(Matthew 3:7 (NIV))

This was also echoed by Jesus.

You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
(Matthew 12:34 (NIV))

Personally, I like another definition much better. Devotion is defined as being ardently dedicated. In other words, it is a priority and not simply because it has become a routine. Devotion means a dedication because it is integral to who you are.

What are you devoted to?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must humble ourselves and pray!

October 19, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (NIV))

I can’t help but wonder if the things that we are facing as a nation are a direct result of what we have allowed our society to become. When we have record breaking hurricanes, we need to humble ourselves, return to God and pray. When countless numbers of people are fleeing raging fires, we need to humble ourselves, return to God and pray. When we remove prayer from the classroom, but allow things that are detestable, we need to humble ourselves, return to God and pray. When we allow a vocal minority to remove God from our history, we need to humble ourselves, return to God and pray.

Take a good hard look at our society. Things that used to be considered sinful and wicked are now being pushed as the social norm. The things that are good and righteous in the eyes of God are now being ridiculed as evil and narrow-minded. Can we expect to long endure without suffering the consequences of our society’s choices?

We must do what society calls wrong. We must do what God calls righteous. We must return to God and abide by His Word. We must learn to abide in His Word.

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
(Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (NIV))

We have allowed a great social experiment. That experiment was the removal of God and His Commandments. That experiment has failed. We must humble ourselves, return to God and pray. We, as the Body of Christ, must take the lead. We must humble ourselves. We must be willing to pray. We must be anxious to pray. Our nation depends upon it.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you strong in the Lord?

October 17, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
(Ephesians 6:10 (NIV))

It is common to refer to something that someone is good at as being one of their strengths. If you were writing a resume, these would be listed at the top where they could be prominently displayed. We all have our own unique strengths. For some people, it is easy to see these strengths. For others, it is not so easy. In most instances, it is easier to see the strengths of others than it is to see our own strengths.

What about spiritual strengths?

Have you ever thought about your spiritual life as a strength?

Have you considered praise and worship a strength?

Have you considered spending time in God’s Word a strength?

Is prayer one of your strong points?

When you spend your life relying on the Lord, the world may see this as a weakness, but it is a strength!

Do you desire to be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power? What does that question mean to you? Does it mean that your faith is strong and you fully rely on God’s promises no matter what the world may say? Does it mean that you have peace? Have you ever thought about the peace of God being one of your strengths?

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (NIV))

Are you strong in the Lord?

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

August 29, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
(Colossians 4:2 (NIV))

Do you feel that you are different from the crowds who are easily swayed? One day they are devoted to a political party. The next day they are devoted to a sports team. The next day they may be devoted to the music artist who is coming in concert. They are like the tall grass in the field, blown this way and that way and never truly making a stand or a permanent commitment to anything.

I pray that you are different!

To be honest with you, I pray that I am different.

To be devoted to something means that you are loyal to it and that you are dedicated to it. With this definition in mind, what are you truly devoted to in your life? Many people will quickly say that they are devoted to family. Many will say that they are devoted to their country. Others will say that they are devoted to their god. There are those who will say that they are devoted to the one and only God. There are those who will say that they are devoted to Jesus.

Are you devoted to prayer?

Most people think of prayer as a request or a petition that is made to God, but in all honesty, prayer is so much more than this one-sided request. Prayer needs to be thought of as a two-sided conversation in which both parties are having a conversation. It is essential to remember the basics of a conversation. Each party talks and each party listens intently. It is not a list of demands by one party, us, and the other, God, nods in subjugated agreement. Conversation is a means of learning and discerning the mind and heart of the other individual.

When was the last time that you simply had a long conversation with God? Don’t you think that you need to talk to God on a daily basis? With the idea that prayer is a conversation with God, don’t you think you need to spend more time in prayer? Don’t you think that you should be devoted to prayer?

What are you devoted to?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the Lord truly your strength?

July 12, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I love you, O LORD, my strength.
(Psalms 18:1 (NIV))

As believers, that should be our first priority!

Unfortunately, all too often, things get in the way. We allow the world to grab a little corner of our lives and before we know it, we have lost sight of our first love. We allow these things to become our “gods” and they slowly take their unmerited place as our personal priority.

What have you allowed to become your first “love” and priority? Is it work? Is it prestige? Is it money. or fame? Perhaps it is even something that you don’t even wish to admit.

Whatever it has become, now is the time to recommit to the faith and trust that you have placed in the Lord Jesus Christ. Turn from the things that have become your priority and turn toward Jesus. Rebuild your relationship with Him. Relationships require time and attention. Take the time.

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

Spend time daily within God’s Word. Spend time daily in prayer. Spend time daily with God and His Son and you, too, will be able to proclaim that you love the Lord and that He is your strength.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Stay true to God’s Word. Don’t get polluted by the world!

July 6, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
(James 1:27 (NIV))

Too many people look at this as an either or situation where they look after orphans and widows or they try to keep themselves from being polluted by the world.

We are called to do both!

We are to reach out to those in need and give them help. There are many passages that can be used to temper this so that it is not a lifelong help. We are to assist those in need. For those who believe Jesus called us to minister to the poor, He did. We are not called to provide for their every need for the rest of their lives.

For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
(2 Thessalonians 3:10 (NIV))

You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.
(John 12:8 (NIV))

When we begin to feel that we have to take care of someone who is capable of taking care of themselves, are we truly doing as Jesus commanded? Jesus knew that people will always have physical needs, but He did not come to provide physical comfort. He came to bring salvation. He came to bring mercy and grace. He came to bring forgiveness of sins. Jesus did not die on the cross to bring three meals a day and an air conditioned house for everyone. Those things are fleeting. He came to offer eternity with the Father and not perpetual creature comforts in this life.

The other part of this passage is a command to not get polluted by the world. In other words, don’t adopt the ways of the world. Don’t give in to the temptations that are going on all around you. Stand firm in your faith. Don’t confuse the miracles and good works that Jesus did with His primary mission. Don’t buy into the world’s definition of “Jesus is love.” The polluted concept of Jesus is that since He loves everyone, then anything that they do is acceptable. Temper your view of the world with a very healthy dose of prayer and study of God’s Word.

Stay true to God’s Word. Don’t get polluted by the world!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Trust in the Lord to care for you!

May 31, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
(1 Peter 5:7 (NIV))

To me, this verse goes hand in hand with the following passage.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
(Philippians 4:6 (NIV))

The basic concept in both passages indicate that we, as the Body of Christ, should not have anything to be worried or anxious about. There is one stipulation that most people have a tendency to miss when they think of not be anxious or worried and that is the simple fact that we are to turn our worries over to God. 1 Peter 5:7 tells us to cast our anxiety on him. When you cast, such as casting fishing nets or casting a fishing rod, it is an action where you physically throw things away from you in hopes of bringing back something better. Philippians 4:6 talks about bringing your worries to God through prayer and praise. This, too, requires an action on our part. In either case, we should not be timid when approaching our Father.

Consider the following scenario. You are walking and you lose your balance and fall. As a result of the fall, you are behind some bushes and in need of assistance to get back on your feet. Do you simply lie there and hope that someone will come along, see you and offer assistance or do you shout for help? It takes action to bring your needs before someone who can be of assistance. It takes a boldness to make the request and a confidence that your request will be answered. This is no different than being bold enough to approach God and “cast” your worries, anxieties and needs upon His strong shoulders.

Are you on speaking terms with God?

Do you trust God to fulfill His promises?

Are you willing to take the action that is needed to “cast” your troubles on God?

Are you to embarrassed to talk to God about your anxieties? Don’t you think that He already knows what they are? He has the answer. He is just waiting for you to leave whatever is troubling you at the foot of the cross!

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