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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How do you consider yourself?

August 21, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
(Philippians 2:5-7 (NIV))

Do you ever feel that you are special, that you are of greater value than other people? Do you feel this way about other members of the Body of Christ? Do you find yourself thinking that because someone is not on a certain church committee that you are of more importance than they are? Do you find yourself thinking that because you give more that you are more important than anyone else?

What does that say about your understanding of the Gospel? What does that say about you?

It is human nature to brag and to gloat, but that is not a Christlike nature. We are to overcome the world and do as Jesus taught us. If anyone has a right to brag and to gloat and to be prideful, it would be Jesus. Did he brag about being the Son of God? Did He gloat about being the Word made flesh? Did He ever respond with an attitude of arrogance and pride by claiming to be the Son of God? Jesus, who had every right if anyone ever had a right, was humble and willingly took on the nature of a servant. Why do we, the creation, feel that we have to elevate ourselves and try to make ourselves something that we are not, something that we could never be? Why do we feel that we have to feel superior to everyone else when we are far from righteous.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

Most days I hate being human!

I know that I need to explain this statement. I will start by saying that I love life for it is a wonderful gift. I love family, friends and people in general. It is the fallen, sinful nature of being human that I hate. I see things in the world that I know break God’s heart. I see things in my life that I know break God’s heart.

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))

When we see ourselves as more important than someone else, do you think that it breaks God’s heart?

How do you consider yourself?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Avoid the darkness and seek the Light!

July 28, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.
(Luke 12:3 (NIV))

It is so much better to simply tell the truth and be honest in your relationships, for we have been given insight as to what will happen if we fail to be honest. Things always come back to haunt us.

Sadly, I sit here contemplating the current state of affairs in this country with respect to politics. Unfortunately, what is happening in the political arena is also playing out in many aspects of our society. People are saying things and doing things that they never want to see the light of day. They want to keep them buried in the dark recesses of society where they can be ignored in hopes that the intentions play out as desired.

Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!
(John 8:43-45 (NIV))

We have been warned about the lies of the enemy. Why do so many people still fall for the lies and feel that they need to spread them?

We, as the Body of Christ, must fall to our knees and pray that we can be given discernment. We must be able to tell the difference between the lies of the enemy and the truth as it comes from God. We must study God’s Word. We must feast on His Word.

Jesus answered, “It is written: `Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”
(Matthew 4:4 (NIV))

If it comes from the mouth of God, then it is truth. God cannot lie. His Word is truth. He is truth. I will probably make some people mad with this next statement, but it is not intended as a political attack. If God’s Word is truth, perhaps that explains why some politicians refuse to acknowledge God’s Word.

Pray that we recognize the darkness and seek the light!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you thankful for what has been given for you?

May 30, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

It is that time of year when we remember those men and women who have given their lives for our country. I can’t attest to the relationships that each of these people had with Jesus, but I know one thing is certain. They valued the principles that placed the lives and well being of others above their own needs. Thankfully, I still see this in many people today.

There is a quote that I feel summarizes this willing sacrifice quite well.

“Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you; Jesus Christ and the American G. I. One died for your soul; the other for your freedom.”
Author: Unknown

Today, like every other day of the year, I am truly thankful for each type of sacrifice that has been made. I am prayerfully thankful for the grace and mercy that was freely given through the atoning blood of Jesus on the cross. For this I am eternally grateful. I am also thankfully for the men and women who have answered the call to defend the freedoms that we, as American citizens, have. It is through their sacrifice that we have the great opportunity to choose to worship Jesus as well as when, where and how. Sadly, there are people who reject both sacrifices. It is with humble heart that I present this request to the Body of Christ. The times are urgent. The need is great. We must be bold and do what we are called to do to spread the Gospel. We must be willing to lay down our lives so that others may know the freedoms that we know.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do we have something to learn from the early church?

July 27, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
(Acts 2:42-47 (NIV))

This sounds very wonderful!

What do you think was the main reason why people were being saved?

Was it the short and concise worship service with everything spelled out in the bulletin?

Was it the music? Was it the lack of music? Was it the programs? Was it a new church building? Was it the food pantry? Was it the clothes closet?

Or was it simply the power of God as it was shown in true fellowship with the Body of Christ?

What are the basic fundamental aspects of life that we all share as human beings?

As someone pointed out this morning, we are created to be a part of a community. We long to be with others. We either find fellowship with those who are a part of the Body of Christ, or we find fellowship with those who are not. In short, the fellowships that we have will either lift us up and hold us to a higher standard or they will drag us down into the sin that we don’t want.

One of the basic aspects of life is that we all must eat. Eating is very much a social activity, especially when you gather with people who share your common interests. Breaking bread brings a bond. We simply don’t just sit there and stuff our faces in silence. We socialize. We laugh. We cry. We share ideas. We share thoughts, dreams and aspirations. We share parts of ourselves that may never see the light of day in any other way. We build friendships over meals.

It is said that it is easier to get people to come to your house for a meal than it is to get them to go to church. Think about that the next time someone hems and haws about accepting your invitation to go to church.

The early church did not have buildings. They met in people’s homes. They became friends. They built trust. They built relationships and they built the church through these aspects of life. They did not build the church through big buildings or great music.

Do we, the modern church, have something to learn from the early church?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to forgive and forget?

January 30, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.
(Proverbs 17:9 (NIV))

God has willingly forgotten all of our sins. He remembers them no more once we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. We are to be Jesus to the world. Jesus, as God’s Son, forgave sins when He walked among us. He told people to go and sin no more. These two aspects should guide us in our relationships with others, even those who have done wrong to us. We should forgive them just as God has forgiven us.

Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
(Matthew 6:12 (NIV))

What is forgiveness without forgetting the transgression? Just as God forgets our sins, we must forget the transgressions of others against us. If we do not forget the transgression, then we are bound to resurrect it when it is better left buried. No one, except Jesus, is perfect. We all have things that are better left forgotten. We must do as God does and forgive and forget!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Our understanding

July 9, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.
(Proverbs 3:5-7 (NIV))

Our understanding is like that of a very small child. We see the world through limited vision and understanding. When you were a small child, you looked to your parents for guidance, comfort and strength. We lean on their understanding to guide us and keep our paths straight. As adults, we are still very small children in the eyes of God. We see and understand in a very limited way.

God is our Heavenly Father. He desires to show us His creation through His eyes and through His understanding. He knows what guidance, comfort and strength we need better than our earthly fathers. We must turn to His understanding and rely on His guidance so that our paths do not wander into evil.

This is hard for many people to do. Human pride does not easily allow us to admit that we are not in control, and that we must turn to someone more powerful than ourselves for guidance and direction. God has given us a mind. He does not wish for us to waste that gift, yet, He wishes to guide us so that we will not misuse that gift. We must always look to the source of all wisdom and knowledge, and not look upon ourselves as the source of that knowledge. If we look to ourselves, then we do not turn to the ultimate understanding, which, eventually will lead to evil.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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