Don’t follow your heart. Follow Jesus!

August 6, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
(Proverbs 19:21 (NIV))

How many times have you been given advice to follow your heart? How many times have you given this advice? Is this really sound advice when you stop to consider how many times the Bible refers to the human heart as wicked and deceitful? Ever since the fall from grace, our hearts have been filled with selfish and sinful desires.

The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.
(Genesis 6:5 (NIV))

The heart is deceitful above all things
     and beyond cure.
     Who can understand it?
(Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV))

If you don’t think this is true, simply look at your own life. Are there things that you have done, or you think about doing, that would shock your family and your friends if they only knew what was in your heart? Do you look around at those whom you know and find yourself thinking that if they only knew the true you they wouldn’t want to be near you?

Human nature is so full of secrets and shortcomings that it is a wonder how any of us truly have any family or friends! We are so self-centered that even on our best days we still fail miserably at doing anything close to what the Lord calls us to do. We fail because we listen to our selfish and sinful hearts when we should be listening to the Lord.

Is your heart pure? What plans do you hide in your heart? What sinful desires do you hide in your heart? Life is a series of choices that we all must make. Every single day we are faced with a choice of who to follow. Do we follow our own sinful hearts or do we strive to follow Jesus?

It is easy to say this, but very difficult to walk it through. We must make an effort to follow Jesus and repent when we stray so that the Lord’s purpose prevails.

In other words, don’t follow your heart. Follow Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you gotten off course?

July 16, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?
(Galatians 5:7 (NIV))

We all face distractions in our lives. The key is to not allow the distractions to make us change course!

Think about that in relationship to your walk with Jesus. Paul often referred to this as a race where the winner gets the prize.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
(1 Corinthians 9:24 (NIV))

The only difference is that we are all in our own race and if we win, we get the prize. That prize is eternal life with the Lord in heaven. If we are running for such a valuable prize, why do we get distracted by things that have no eternal value? Why do we get off course chasing after things that don’t matter? We must keep our eyes upon Jesus. We must stay focused on the prize!

Have you gotten off course?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Hold on to what you have!

July 11, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
(Revelation 3:11-13 (NIV))

Hold on to what you have!

Have you honestly given thought to what you do have? What was the first thing that came to mind when you read that question? Was it your home? Perhaps it was your car. Perhaps you are not as material obsessed and what you thought of was your family. Perhaps you even went to the point of thinking about your life and all that you have been blessed with.

Now, step back and take a look at all of these things through the eyes of God. Did He send Jesus to die on the cross so that you could have a nice home or a nice car? Did He send Jesus so that you could have a loving family? Do you honestly think that Jesus came so that you could live your life in any manner that you choose?

Jesus came to offer to us the most prized possession that we could ever be given. He came to offer us salvation from our sins and the laws of sin and death. If you profess Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then that is what you have. It is a possession that cannot be taken away, but it can be relinquished by turning away. It can be lost by not recognizing the tricks and lies of the enemy and turning to these life robbing sins once more. Professing a belief in Jesus as your Lord and Savior is only the beginning. It is a starting point, but it is not the finish line of the race. Paul often spoke of faith in Jesus as a race, a race that we must not only start, but one that we must finish.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
(Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV))

We cannot sign up to run the race and then sit on the sidelines. We will not receive the prize. We must hold on to what we have. We must embrace what we have been given. We must not allow anything or anyone to keep us from the finish that will allow us to receive the prize.

Hold on to what you have!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is sharing the good news of Jesus your priority?

November 16, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
(Acts 20:24 (NIV))

What is your biggest priority in your life?

Some people might answer that their biggest priority is family. To be honest with you, that is a good priority to have. but is it the biggest priority?

Some people might answer that their biggest priority is to leave their mark in the world. Do you think that whatever mark they may try to leave will even be remembered one hundred years from now?

Some people might answer that their biggest priority is to make lots of money. This, in and of itself, is not bad. What is bad is the love of money. If you want to make lots of money simply because of greed, what does that get you?

No matter what your priorities are in life, if you are a believer in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then everything pales in comparison to placing the Lord first.

You shall have no other gods before me.
(Genesis 20:3 (NIV))

Is there any priority in your life where placing the Lord first would not be a better option? If you place your family as a priority, imagine how much better it would be if you, and your family, placed the Lord first. What if leaving your mark on the world meant that you shared the Gospel with those around you and you lead many to a saving grace in Jesus? You would be remembered for all eternity by those whom you led to Jesus. If you desire to bring in lots of money, what if it was a priority to bring in lots of money to buy Bibles to distribute to those who desperately want God’s Word.

What we place as a priority is only bad if that priority is not Christ centered. Each of us have a different calling. Each of us have a unique way to share the Gospel. Our gifts and our desires should not be our priorities. How we use them to testify to the good news of God’s grace should be the utmost priority.

Is sharing the good news of Jesus your priority?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Hold on!

February 15, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
(Hebrews 10:23 (NIV))

Does this world make your weary? Do you ever simply want to give up, to throw in the towel?

That is what the enemy wants us to do, but we are called to persevere in our faith.

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
(James 1:12 (NIV))

The weight of the world and the pressures, trials and troubles that it can bring are an extreme burden, but we do not have to carry that burden alone. Jesus has overcome the world and He walks with us through this life to give us joy, strength, courage, hope and faith. He is calling us to complete the journey before us. He is calling us to stay strong and reach for the goal that He has set before us.

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 3:14 (NIV))

That goal is to live a life of faith in Jesus. That goal is to keep our eyes on Jesus even when things are tough. That goal is to finish the race of faith that has been set out before us.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
(1 Corinthians 9:24 (NIV))

Are you still running your race of faith? Are you holding on to the hope that we profess?

Hold on!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you allow God’s deep call to sweep over you?

May 19, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.
(Psalms 42:7 (NIV))

Do you like to play it safe and stay in the shallow end of the pool? When you go to the beach, do you stay in the shallow waters? Are you afraid of letting yourself be totally immersed?

Do you ever allow anything to totally sweep over you?

Too many people are afraid. Just like the feeling you get when you jump off of a diving board into a pool, allowing yourself to be totally immersed goes through phases. When you first stand there, you feel the fear trying to keep you from taking that first step. When you finally do take that step, your first reaction is what have I done. As you dive further in, your heart begins to race as you realize you are still going in deeper. You open your eyes and look around as you realize that it is peaceful. Soon, you find yourself beginning to surface and when you do you feel exhilarated and refreshed as a result of what has just washed over you.

Answering God’s call to go deep with Him is the same way. You go through the same fear, questions and realizations. When you come through your deep calling with God you emerge exhilarated, refreshed and empowered. Sadly, too may people are afraid to go beyond the shallow, to go beyond the first step. They are content with just a little bit of God, after all, they have to keep Him in the box that they have designed. It is so wonderful to experience the fullness of God as He sweeps over you!

Do you allow God’s deep call to sweep over you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Let God fill you with His Spirit in the coming year!

December 31, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
(Matthew 9:16-17 (NIV))

With the new year rapidly approaching, what are we going to fill ourselves with?

Society looks at the new year as a chance to make a clean start. We make resolutions about things that we plan on doing differently. We tell ourselves and others that we will lose weight, that we will exercise, that we will go to church more, that we will . . .

I could go on and on and list the things that we say we are going to do. Have you ever stopped to think that what we say we are going to do is comparable to the new wine and that we are the old wineskins? We cannot handle the new things without changing ourselves first. It is a matter of the heart. It is a matter of priorities.

If you go into an activity to lose weight and get in shape and you try to start full throttle, it usually doesn’t last long. We must start slowly and build up to what we long to do. The same is true of our spirituality and our relationship with Jesus. We must learn to crawl before we can walk. We must learn to walk before we can run. To use the concept that we are familiar with, we must be fed milk until we are mature enough for solid food.

Walking with Jesus, just like anything in this life, is not an activity that we can achieve perfection instantly. We will stumble. We will fall, and we will all have times when we will think that Jesus must really be shaking His head because of all of our failures.

Don’t give up!

A life spent walking with Jesus is just that. It is a life long event. It is a journey and not a destination. You can’t simply arrive at a point where you are perfect in your walk. You will be made new every single day of your life. You will be filled with new wine as your old wineskin is made anew.

I pray that we go in to this new year with the attitude that we will stand firm and stay the course that is laid out before us.

I like the way that Paul described it as a race and that he was in it to win it!

Happy New Year!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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