Are you fulfilling your duty?

October 22, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.
(Ecclesiastes 12:13 (NIV))

Everyone has things that they feel they need to do. Some people call them obligations. Some call them responsibilities. Some people call them their duty. Others may say that these things are their priority, while some simply refer to them as the right thing to do. No matter what you may call them, we all have something that we feel we must do.

What are the things in your life that you place as a priority, as your duty?

Is one of your duties to provide for your family? Perhaps you are a business owner and you have employees and customers that are a central part of your daily life. Perhaps you are called to be a first responder and you feel that your duty is to protect and to serve. If that is you, thank you for your selflessness!

No matter what you may feel that your duty or obligation may be, there is one that is far greater and a lot of people fail to ever do anything about it! In fact, Jesus was asked point blank and responded without any hesitation.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.
(Matthew 22:36-38 (NIV))

I can hear it now. Some may say that these two passages contradict each other. One says to fear God and the other says to love God with all your heart. How can fear and love mean the same thing? To be honest with you, that is a concept that may be difficult for people to grasp, but the basic sentiment behind this is that you should desire to do what is right in God’s eyes. Perhaps a better way to refer to this potential contradiction is to look at it in terms of respect. When you respect God for who He is, you both love and fear Him at the same time. The fear comes from the simple fact that we are all sinners who deserve whatever judgment we have earned. The love comes from the fact that even though He is a just and righteous God and we are all guilty of our sins, He has freely offered grace and mercy in place of the judgment.

I find it interesting that the passage in which we are told to fear God is from the Old Testament and it was recorded long before grace was freely given. I love the fact that the passage in which Jesus told us to love God is in the New Testament. Jesus took the liberty to paraphrase the commandments and let it be known that we no longer had to fear God, but through Him, God reached out to us in love. Through God’s act of love for us, we can now approach God in love.

I don’t know about you, but I both fear God and love God. As a part of His creation, it is my duty to the Lord our God as Creator!

Are you fulfilling your duty?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What would Jesus do?

October 19, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
(1 John 3:16 (NIV))

Several years ago, everyone was asking “What would Jesus do?” I understand the concept behind the question, for it makes us stop and reflect on our actions in any given circumstance. I know that it has made me stop and rethink my actions on many occasions, but perhaps we should ask ourselves another question.

What can I do that will make me more like Jesus?

When we ask what would Jesus do, it places Jesus at the center of our lives. It places Jesus as the ideal that we are to copy, that we are to imitate. To be honest with you, that is definitely not bad, after all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. With this in mind, it is perfectly okay to ask what would Jesus do. It shows that we strive to be like Jesus in our actions. Eventually, though, we need to move from an outward action to an inner desire, an inner change of heart. Jesus needs to become personal to us in ways far beyond imitation.

We need to desire, we need to strive to be more like Jesus!

For many people, that is conveyed by the simple question, “What would Jesus do?” These simple words convey their inner desires. For other people, the subtle nuances between these two phrases can take on such a powerful meaning. The simple question, “What can I do?” can convey a selfishness in the eyes of some people, while in the eyes of others, these words imply a total surrender to Jesus. They can indicate a me first type of mentality, or they can indicate that the person has reached the limits of their own understanding and are ready for complete surrender.

Perhaps the two questions go hand in hand. There are times when we need to ask ourselves what we can do that will make us more like Jesus. Then there are times when we need to ask Jesus what He would do in the situation in which we find ourselves.

No matter what you may ask, be prepared for an answer that may surprise you. It is essential to remember that Jesus did a wide variety of things including turning over the tables of the money changers. The one thing that was common in the life and actions of Jesus is that He obeyed God even to death. The next time that you face a situation in the world or in your life, remember that obedience to the Father was His only priority.

What would Jesus do?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you know where your heart is?

July 23, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

When I was growing up, television stations didn’t stay on the air 24 hours a day. In fact, they would shut down right after the late news. They used to run a public service announcement a few hours before they shut off for the night. Typically, this announcement went something like, “It’s 9 PM. Do you know where your children are?” It was a simple reminder to keep what is important to you close so that no harm would befall them. If you truly stop to think about this, it is not a far stretch to adapt this question to apply to our lives in Christ.

Can you imagine if someone were to ask you, “It’s 10:00 AM on Sunday. Do you know where your heart is?” Perhaps it is asked like this. “You are an adult now. Do you know where your heart is?” The implications are the same. Quite often, we fail to recognize exactly what we place as a priority until we are asked pointblank where we are with respect to certain things. Consider the following questions as examples of this human trait.

Where is your marriage?

Where is your relationship with your children?

Where is your relationship with Jesus?

We can be asked questions like these and we typically brush them off because we don’t really want to acknowledge that we may be far less than what we desire in these areas. We may not want to answer them because something else has our attention and our heart.

I honestly believe that it is a good thing to evaluate ourselves to determine exactly what we treasure and then turn to God, repent and ask for the strength to return to what we truly should treasure. With this in mind, I want to ask one simple question and hopefully you have a simple and righteous answer.

Do you know where your heart is?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you faithfully answered this call of duty?

July 11, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.
(2 Timothy 2:4 (NIV))

I have a few things for you to consider.

As a spouse, what should be your priority? What happens if you become entangled with other relationships?

As a parent, what should be your priority? What happens if you become entangled with things that take you away from your children?

Now that I believe that we can agree on determining priorities and the consequences of ignoring what should be our priorities, I have one more question for you to consider.

As a follower of Christ, what should be your priority? What happens if you become entangled with things that distract you from Jesus?

Let’s face it. Just like a soldier should strive to please his commanding officer, we should strive to please Jesus. In both situations, we are to be obedient to the instructions that we are given. We are to focus on the mission that we have been given. Failure to do so could have dire consequences. As a soldier, failure to obey could mean the physical loss of life. As a follower of Jesus, failure to obey our one objective could mean that someone is eternally separated from God. What is our one objective?

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,
(Matthew 28:19 (NIV))

Are you on mission or are you entangled in things of the world? Have you faithfully answered this call of duty?

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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Are you thankful when you go to the Lord in prayer?

November 23, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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))

When you go to God in prayer, do you petition Him out of despair or out of joy?

Think about that for a moment. The attitude that you have when you approach God is important. Imagine if you approached a friend for a favor with the following type of attitude. This attitude is self-defeating and humiliating. This attitude is not sure and confident of what you are asking. This attitude is one where you come across as not caring if what you ask gets done. This attitude is one in which what you ask does not come across as a priority. How do you think your friend will respond?

Your friend will pick up on the not so subtle hints that you are dropping. It will come across as if what you ask is of no consequence one way or the other, so if it is of no consequence one way or the other, your friend will take the easy way out. This means that your friend will not respond the way that you want.

I can almost hear your thoughts.

Why would anyone ask for a favor in such a way as to guarantee that it will not be answered?

It doesn’t make sense, but that is exactly how we approach God!

We cautiously and anxiously approach God and when we finally do pray and petition Him for something that He would probably gladly provide, we ask in such a way that it appears that we really don’t want what we ask for. Does it surprise you when God’s answer doesn’t match the request? Does it surprise you to find that you may really not want to be in His presence? If we are truly joyous about our relationship and our salvation, we should be filled with thanksgiving at all times, especially when we approach the Lord and seek to be in His presence. Being in His presence, going to the Lord in prayer, should be the ultimate experience in our relationship with Him. Too many of us treat this as the ultimate punishment.

Are you thankful when you go to the Lord in prayer?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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I have had 20 Years of Blessings!

November 14, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
(2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV))

Do you like to give?

I realize that this is a touchy subject for many people. Our finances are probably the most divisive element in our lives. Money problems lead to all kinds of issue including divorce, yet money is something that we all need. Sadly, people can become obsessed with money to the point that it becomes the treasure that they hide in their hearts.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

Money is simply a tool. It is the means of trade. It is the means of doing business, but when it becomes the treasure that you seek, it is the downfall of many.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
(1 Timothy 6:10 (NIV))

Personally, I have never made money a priority. It is not what I seek. There is a far greater treasure that I have found and that I have been sharing. 2018 will mark the 20th year that I have been writing and sharing these devotionals. I pray that they have touched your lives in ways that only the Lord knows. I pray that they have drawn you closer to Jesus in your daily walk. I pray that they have been able to deposit things into your lives that have allowed you to store up treasures in heaven.

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 6:20 (NIV))

Your continued encouragement and support has truly been a blessing to me. I treasure the feedback that is received. I treasure the questions that are asked. I treasure the times when I have questioned whether I should continue with this ministry, only to have someone tell me that what I had sent out was exactly what they needed to hear.

It is with humble heart that this is being sent out.

If the devotionals have touched your life and have allowed you to spend time with God, please prayerfully consider financially supporting Daily Living Ministries, Inc.

Your support will enable the devotionals to continue to be sent.

Thank you for your prayers and your support.

Contributions are tax deductible.

In Jesus’ name,
Dennis Smock


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