Are we capable of this type of obedience?

April 26, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”
(John 5:8 (NIV))

I don’t know too many people who like to be given orders!

Most people I know don’t even like to be given instructions, especially the men. It is human nature to only do things if we think that it is our idea, and then we still procrastinate terribly before we actually get started.

Is this situation any different from your typical life experience where you are told to do something?

Think about that for a moment. There has to be a motive, a desire to do the things that we are being commanded to do. If in doubt of this, simply remember your childhood and two commands that each of us have probably heard more than we care to admit. The first command is “Go clean your room!” Did you? Would you? If you are like me, this was a very dreaded thing to do and was always met with procrastination. The second command is “Go outside and play!” Chances are that this was said when you were inside and getting into trouble. It is almost a certainty that you were probably outside before those words stopped echoing off of the walls.

What is the difference?

It is a matter of priorities. It is a matter of desires. When Jesus spoke these words to the man who was paralyzed, you have to put yourself into the life of this man. He wanted nothing more than to walk. He wanted to be healed! The command that Jesus gave this man was exactly what he wanted to hear. He was obedient to the command! In his obedience, he received a blessing. If the man had not been obedient to Jesus, he would have spent the rest of his life on that mat. God has so many wonderful blessings in store for us if we would simply be obedient to His calling.

Are we capable of this type of obedience?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is it that you possess?

February 21, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked;
(Psalms 37:16 (NIV))

What is it that you desire?

Do you seek after the riches of the world or the righteousness that is only available from the Lord?

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
(Matthew 6:19-20 (NIV))

Human nature is such a strange thing. To be honest with you, I am surprised that we can even begin to say that we long for the righteousness of the Lord when we are so self centered by nature. The fall from grace in the Garden of Eden really placed us in a no win situation. We say that we want to be righteous in God’s eyes, but we do so many things that take us in the exact opposite direction. That has been our lot in this sinful, fallen world ever since we disobeyed God in the garden. Even the strongest of us fail to do what we know that we should do. Paul, who is credited with spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles, fought with this.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
(Romans 7:15 (NIV))

Thankfully, we have a God who knows that we are not capable of overcoming this on our own. He has provided His Son as a Savior to those who truly desire to overcome human nature and seek after righteousness. Even so, we all face the wickedness of the world. We all face the glitter of the gold.

I have read studies that show the most generous group of people by income levels are those who we consider the middle class, and some studies actually say the lower middle class. On average, they give so much more as a percentage than those who are considered wealthy. People whom you would think can afford to be generous are actually the least generous. Have they been blinded by wealth to the point that it has become their god? How sad it is to see people place their priorities and faith in something that can be gone in an instant.

I have come to the conclusion that there are two possible scenarios in this life. We can have and use possessions, or they can have and use us!

What is it that you possess?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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When you look at things, are they possible or impossible?

February 9, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
(Matthew 19:26 (NIV))

We like to take Matthew 19:26 out of context and apply it to whatever we may be facing that appears to be a no win situation. To be honest with you, nothing is impossible with God, so it is a good application. Still, we tend to overlook the original message.

This particular passage was directed at His disciples and it comes at the end of a discourse with a rich young man.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
(Matthew 19:23-25 (NIV))

In case you didn’t catch the implication, Jesus was saying that salvation was only possible through God. Think about that for a moment. Each of us have something that we cherish. Each of us have something that we long to hold on to, that we don’t want to surrender. For some, it is money. For others, it may be power. For others, it may be any number of things. For this particular young man, it was his wealth. Jesus told him that it was necessary to surrender what he held dear to himself and choose to follow Jesus. I think that the disciples caught on to what Jesus was saying because they asked, “Who then can be saved?” The disciples knew human nature. They knew how difficult it is to surrender what is closest to your heart. They knew that it was and is a matter of priorities. They had made the choice to trade everything for the ultimate treasure.

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
(Matthew 13:44 (NIV))

Jesus let them know that a person cannot change their heart, but God can. God can take a cold and hardened heart and bring it back to life. God can take the “wealth” that a person holds dear and make it all look worthless in comparison to what He has to offer. If you think about this, Jesus also let us know that people are not in the business of saving each other. We don’t have the power or authority, but God does! How do you look at things, from your perspective or from God’s?

When you look at things, are they possible or impossible?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is it that you seek first?

December 18, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

So do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?’ or `What shall we drink?’ or `What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
(Matthew 6:31-33 (NIV))

What is it that you seek first?

With Christmas almost here, many people turn ino materialistic animals. They think that they have to give the perfect gift. They think that they have to have the latest gadget because it will make their life complete. They think that they have to give more expensive gifts because they are being judged by their gift.

I pray that people will come to the realization that it is not about bigger and better gifts. It is not about finding the perfect clothes to wear. It is not about preparing the perfect meal or making sure that the supply of drinks does not run out. It is simply a matter of priorities.

I pray that people will come to the realization that all that they truly need is found in a manger and at the foot of the cross!

Focus on Jesus and seek His righteousness as your priority. When you find yourself aligning your life along God’s plan and His grace, then everything else will slowly come into focus. What better time to realign your priorities than at the time of year that we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. Birth represents a new beginning. The birth of Jesus gives each of us that opportunity for a new beginning – a beginning without the baggage of the failed priorities of the world.

Again, I ask the simple question. What is it that you seek first?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is God at work in you?

October 2, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
(Philippians 2:13 (NIV))

Have you changed since you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?

Have you truly thought about and attributed this change to anything?

Do you like the changes that you see in yourself?

Do others like the changes that they see in you?

Everyone changes as they get older. Some people attribute this to maturity. Some will attribute this change to anything and everything that they can think of, but are not willing to give credit where credit is due. They will not acknowledge that God is working in them and through them to bring maturity, increase faith, and be a witness to those whom they encounter.

It is a matter of priorities!

Do we want God to work in us?

Do we allow God to work in us?

If we do not want or allow God to have work within us, then we will never mature. We will never change into the person that He desires for us to be. We will never fulfill His good purpose.

Is God at work in you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It is time to praise God!

August 4, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.
(Psalms 47:1 (NIV))

Have you ever truly paid attention to all of the things that people will clap for?

We have a tendency to go overboard for our favorite music performers. We will clap and shout when our favorite sports team scores. We will clap to praise someone who has done a good job, but how many of us feel silly clapping and shouting to God? Why do we think that we have to be reserved in our emotions when it comes to God? Why do so many of us simply sit in the pews on Sunday morning and never crack a smile, lift a hand, open our mouths, or give any other type of indication that we are happy, that we are ecstatic, that God loves us enough to have sent His Son, Jesus, so that we could be forgiven of our sins?

Do we not realize the consequences of our sinful nature?

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

Do we not realize what has been done for us?

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 they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

If we are not able to shout with joy to God for giving us life and for redeeming us from death, then what is there to shout for? It definitely should not be anything worldly! It may be time to take a serious look at your priorities.

Do you praise the things of this world over what God has done for you?

It is time to praise God!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is it that you think about?

June 28, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
(Philippians 4:8 (NIV))

Are these your standards for what you think about?

If you are like me, when I read this passage, I found myself trying to do a quick inventory of what I thought about in the last twenty-four hours. To be honest with you, my inventory did not turn up like I wanted it to. I am sure that any person alive will come to the same conclusion. We like to think that we are pure in thought, then we stop daydreaming. We like to think that we are true, noble, pure and righteous, but are we truly what we think we are?

We all have our own agendas. We all have our own priorities. We all have our own ego and pride that wants to place us first, even when we should be placing our priorities elsewhere.

In all honesty, I could go on for a long time talking about how we should all keep watch on our minds and thoughts, but I think that a simple question, if answered honestly, will tell far more than I ever could.

What is it that you think about?

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