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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How well are you learning what the Lord is teaching?

August 3, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.
(Titus 2:2 (NIV))

There is an old saying that with age comes wisdom.

I suppose that all depends on your definition of wisdom!

Far too many people falsely think that knowledge is wisdom, but they fail to recognize the fact that what you may know can lead to bad results. Wisdom is so much more than knowing facts, especially when you consider that facts can be twisted to make you come to wrong conclusions. Wisdom takes the facts and allows you to discern truth. It is the application of good judgment to the facts. It is possible to be filled with knowledge yet still be unwise. It is also possible to be older and unwise. Sometimes even the wisest among us will still have things that they need to learn so that they can be better at discerning the truth.

I love the fact that this passage starts with “Teach the older men.” Instantly it implies that each of us still have much to learn with respect to our faith walk no matter what our age may be. It also implies that not a single one of us is completely mature. Each of us may need to realize that we may not be as mature in our faith as we think.

We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.
(Hebrews 5:11-13 (NIV))

We have so much to learn in our faith journey with Jesus. Not a one of us is perfect. We all have lessons that we are learning and many that we still need to learn.

How well are you learning what the Lord is teaching?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you ask of God?

June 28, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
(James 1:5 (NIV))

Too many people take this passage and paraphrase it to read something like, “ask God and it will be given to you.” They literally make it sound like God is in the business of being a genie who simply grants wishes. Upon a closer read of this passage, it becomes clear that God is generous with giving wisdom if you ask for it. We must, however, understand what wisdom is.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.
(Psalms 111:10 (NIV))

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
(Proverbs 9:10 (NIV))

If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, do you truly desire to be given wisdom?

Most people associate the word fear with a strong emotion caused by an awareness of danger. Do you look upon the Lord as a source of danger? There is another definition that should be applied to the word fear when it is used in conjunction with fearing God. This definition means a profound reverence or sense of awe. Some ever say that it can simply mean a healthy and sincere respect.

Think about the definition of fear with respect to God. I already asked if you look upon the Lord as a source of danger. I want you to ask yourself, and give yourself an honest answer. Do you hold God in reverence? Are you in awe of His majesty and power? Do you respect the Lord enough to desire to not betray Him or to sin against Him? If you are able to truthfully answer these questions in a way that places the Lord God above all else, then you are on your way to possessing the greatest wisdom that you can ever possess. The next time that you begin to feel like God is a genie, remember that what He wants to give you is Godly wisdom.

What do you ask of God?

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

April 27, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
(1 Timothy 1:17 (NIV))

Does this describe your attitude toward God?

Think about that question with how you see your place in respect to God. Do you see yourself in charge of your life? Do you see all of creation existing in order to provide what you feel that you need and want? Do you see God as some mythical, magical genie who is there to grant you every whim and wish?

Or is your attitude toward God more Biblical in nature? Do you see yourself as grass that is here today and gone tomorrow? Do you see God as eternal? Do you see God in all glory while you see yourself as filthy rags? Do you see a God who loves you so much that He didn’t want to spend eternity separated from you?

Just how do you see God?

It is common knowledge that the word “Amen” means so let it be, but since we are frail humanity, I am sure that we lose focus of this just as we lose focus of other things in our lives. With that in mind, it is my prayer that all of us keep God in His only rightful place and we keep ourselves in respective proximity at His feet in worship.

So let it be!

Amen! Amen, and Amen!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you allow into your house?

March 21, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not bring a detestable thing into your house or you, like it, will be set apart for destruction. Regard it as vile and utterly detest it, for it is set apart for destruction.
(Deuteronomy 7:26 (NIV))

Would you bring a wild, rabid animal into your house?

Would you allow a thief into your house?

Would you allow an elephant into your house?

I think that it is safe to assume that the answer to all of these questions is a resounding “No!”

No one in their right mind would allow such destruction, such danger, into their homes. Ironically, we think nothing of doing just that with respect to our lives and to our bodies. Our bodies are our earthly shell, our earthly home, while we walk this earth. In addition, if we have invited Jesus into our lives, our bodies are much more than just our earthly shell.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
(1 Corinthians 6:19 (NIV))

If this is the case, why do we bring detestable things into our lives when we claim to be followers of Jesus?

We rightly turn away from murder and stealing. We turn away from drugs and alcohol. We turn away from many detestable things that are clearly visible, but yet, we allow many detestable things into our lives that are just as dangerous, but are not glaringly obvious. Why do we allow greed, envy, anger, and lust to take up residence? Why do we allow hate, pride and ego to have free reign in our lives when there is something so different that we should be letting in?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22 (NIV))

What do you allow into your house?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you show unwavering and unswerving faith!

December 11, 2017

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))

Have you ever stopped to think about human nature and how easy it becomes during the Christmas season to profess a faith in Jesus? Even people who normally don’t even think about Jesus the rest of the year will stop and look at a nativity scene or watch movies based on the birth of Jesus. They will pause and some will even be thankful, but what do they do the rest of the year?

Are they consistent in their actions?

Are they consistent in the hope that they profess during Christmas?

Some refer to people who are not consistent in their attention to Jesus as C&E Christians. This name comes from the fact that the only time they show up at church or pay any attention to Jesus is at Christmas and Easter. The rest of the year, they live in the world fully immersed in their sin without any remorse. Is this what Paul calls us to do in this world? Is this a good example of holding unswervingly to the hope that God gave us and that we profess?

We are called to a life of consistency with respect to our faith. We are to focus on Jesus and follow His call. We are to not swerve to the left or to the right when the world temps us. We are to keep our eyes on Jesus for He is the author and perfecter of our faith. We are to look to Jesus every day of the year and not just at certain times of the year. We are to look to Jesus every day of our life and not just the times that are convenient for us to do so.

We are to live our lives in daily relationship with Jesus.

This is how we are to hold unswervingly to the hope we profess.

We are to live out unwavering and unswerving faith!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Humility or pride? It is your choice!

October 20, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor.
(Proverbs 29:23 (NKJV))

There is that word again.

Humble.

In the eyes of society, humility implies low self esteem, inferiority, and even a low place in the eyes of man. Being humble before God does not imply any of these. Humility actually means that you are aware of your surroundings and that you realize you are NOT the center of the universe, and that the universe would continue just fine without you.

Humility is not an act of self abuse, but of elevation of others. A truly humble person will always think of others before he or she thinks of themself. It is our pride that tends to elevate us to the point in which we think we are the center of everything.

Humility is the God given trait that makes us realize that we are only a part of the creation and not the Creator. As a part of the creation, we must not let our pride place us as better than any other part of God’s creation, for when God created us, He created all of us to be of equal value in His eyes. We may have different roles to play within His creation, but each role is important and nothing is gained by one of us bragging or boasting. Rather, do the work of God with humility and respect.

Remember the saying, “At all times preach the Gospel. If you have to, use words.” This can only come from a humbleness of heart.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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