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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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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Focus on Jesus and not on man-made theology!

October 28, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
(Hebrews 10:19-23 (NIV))

No matter what denomination you may be a member of, the true source of our faith is Jesus and Him crucified and resurrected. All else is trivial, for the differences that we have established in the name of our particular brand of faith in Jesus are all man made attempts at reaching God.

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))

We cannot reach God through our own righteousness. God had to reach us and pull us out of our sin. We could not lift ourselves out of it. We are completely helpless without God and His gift of grace and mercy through the blood of Jesus.

Reread Hebrews 10:19-23. There is even an illustration of one of the primary differences that marks our denominations today, the debate over baptism and whether to sprinkle or submerge. This passage clearly states that our hearts have been sprinkled and our bodies washed. Baptism is, first and foremost, an act of total submission to God. We cannot judge others in their outward expression of this submission. Only God can judge, for He sees the heart.

Consider John the Baptist. His methods and outward appearance were contrary to everything the established religion of the day said he should be. Who did God’s Will? John the Baptist or those who condemned him?

How can we, who are not worthy to judge, judge each other in the trivial issues yet ignore the true source of our common faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can we return to One nation under God?

July 2, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If my people, which are called by my name, shall 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 7:14 (NIV))

Soon, we celebrate the birth of our nation. A nation that was “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” A nation that prints “In God We Trust” on our money, yet disallows prayer in schools, the posting of the Ten Commandments, and any mention of Jesus in public places other than church buildings.

We have taken the words “freedom of religion” to mean freedom from religion. We have made the words “separation of church and state” mean that we cannot hold Judeo-Christian ethics at the heart of what we do in our government. We have allowed schoolbooks to be re-written to remove any reference to why this country was settled, often at a cost so great that it did not make sense. We have allowed our “One nation under God” to be taken from us little by little.

Reflect on what has made this country great and then reflect on where we are today in comparison to the standards that made it great. We have fallen a long way. Stop and pray for our nation, our leaders, and our people. Pray that the values that made this nation “One nation under God” can be resurrected before it is too late. True, we have not been a perfect nation or a perfect people. Only one person throughout all of human history was perfect, and it is this “perfection” that we need to call upon again.

We, as a nation, must turn, or return, to Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Misunderstanding words can have eternal consequences!

April 9, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
(Galatians 5:13 (NIV))

There seems to be a very large misunderstanding of two simple words in this country – of and from.

Society has twisted the concept of freedom of religion to mean freedom from religion. In just the same way, society has also confused the concept of freedom from sin to actually mean freedom of sin or freedom to sin.

All that you have to do is watch or read any news program or publication to see the ramifications of this. You see people shouting separation of church and state while the very people who wrote the Constitution used the rotunda of Congress as a church. The first act of Congress was to establish the American Bible Society. It doesn’t take any stretch of the imagination to realize that society has twisted what the founding fathers meant.

Now, consider what Jesus did.

Jesus came to teach us to repent. To turn away from sin. He offered any and all who would call upon Him as their personal Lord and Savior redemption from the consequences of sin. He did not offer us a way to accept His grace and have the freedom to continue in our sin.

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

The enemy has twisted the simple concept that God loved the world so much that He sent Jesus to redeem the world into a false teaching that God loves everyone and a loving God would not condemn someone to hell. It is this simple twist that has lead many to believe that anything that you do is ok as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. What they fail to realize is that what they do is hurting themselves. By their actions and the misunderstanding of God’s Word, they are condemning themselves. They are indulging in the sinful nature that condemns.

Don’t be confused and change two simple words. It can have eternal consequences!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus is the only bridge to God!

December 10, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

It has been said that religion is humanity’s attempt at reaching to God. All throughout history, mankind has been searching for God in many different ways. No matter what we, as part of the creation, do to reach God, we can never acheive what we desire.

Now consider that the same people who say that religion is humanity’s attemtp at reaching out to God are the same people who state that Christianity is God’s way of reaching out to humanity.

God knew that we could never attain the goal that we had set for ourselves, primarily because we do not understand what our goal is. It is for this reason that God sent His Son, Jesus, to be the bridge that allows us to make that crossing that is impossible to cross without Jesus.

John 14:6 states what many in this world still fail to recognize. God wants us to be with Him in His kingdom, but we must come to Him through His Son. All of the world religions that do not recognize Jesus as their Lord and Savior fail to recognize that they must come to God as part of His plan and not theirs.

How can we help the world to see this only bridge to God?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you longing for what is unseen?

October 16, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
(2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV))

Do you find the same comfort in this passage that I do?

With all the things, and some even coming from our churches, that are going on around us that are contrary to God’s Word, it is easy to lose heart.

Even with all this is going on, when we feel that we are wasting away as we see things that we know are wrong, take heart.

I know that this sounds strange to say that we should take heart when all around us is wrong in the eyes of God.

But . . .

If they were not so wrong, would we, as the Body of Christ, take a stand for what is right? We are being renewed daily in our faith, for we see things that go against God’s Word and we are taking a stand. Our conviction is growing. We are choosing which side we will be with. We can choose the world or we can choose God!

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
(Joshua 24:15 (NIV))

Do you feel your faith growing during these times?

Do you know that this will pass when it is God’s will?

Have you fixed your eyes upon Jesus?

I find myself longing for what is unseen, for I know that God’s promises will be fulfilled. His track record of fulfilled promises and prophesies is proof of that. All that we have to do is place our faith in the Lord and wait for His timing.

And, while we wait, we must pray and allow the Holy Spirit to renew us and to guide us.

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
(Psalm 130:5 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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