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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Honor!

May 28, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
(John 12:25-26 (NIV))

Think back on the history of this country.

Have we ever had a time when a king or a dictator forced anyone to fight and die?

Have we ever had a time when we turned tail and ran from the responsibilities that we have been given?

We owe our country to our faith in God and to the brave men and women who were willing to sacrifice everything for the principles that our country is founded upon.

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

Think about that verse.

Our nation was founded by people who were seeking something. Some came seeking adventure. Some came seeking opportunity. But, many were seeking freedom to worship God as they saw fit. It was this freedom that became an integral part of our nation’s mindset. We were founded by people who saw something that they didn’t agree with and were willing to do something about it.

Some spoke out about the things that they saw. Others rallied people behind them. Many gave their lives to battle the very things that they saw as oppressive. We have never been a country to shy away from doing what is right. We have been driven by a desire to see God’s love, grace and mercy prevail. It is true that some people may not have known Jesus as their Lord and Savior, yet they had an inner feeling about right and wrong. It was part of our culture and our society. They answered the call many times even before they knew there was a call.

They gave it all. They were willing to lay down their lives so that others could know the freedoms that God had granted us. They followed the example of Jesus when He went to the cross. It was something that would end in their death, yet they faced it with dignity and pride. They did not run from their responsibility.

They faced the enemy with honor. They did not shy away from the task at hand because it would mean their death. They were living out the words of Jesus.

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

They gave their lives in much the same way that Jesus gave His. They knew that without their sacrifice, countless lives would be lost.

Memorial Day is upon us. It is a day that we are supposed to remember the sacrifices. It is a day to say thank you. It is a day to ask ourselves if we are capable of stepping up and defending what we hold to be true. There may come a day when we will be called upon to proclaim our faith and suffer the consequences. It is my prayer that we may all love God more than we love our own lives.

Honor and praise to God and to those who answer His call.

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you accepted that you are an heir?

May 26, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
(Galatians 4:3-7 (NIV))

Do you believe that you are an heir?

An heir is entitled to all that is owned by the father. An heir is treated with respect and dignity. An heir is not cast out nor is he sold into slavery, or to put it in today’s societal terms, he is not fired.

Being an heir brings certain privileges and responsibilities.

We are welcome in the father’s presence. We are also responsible for looking after the father’s business. This sounds just like the privileges and responsibilities we have through our relationship as a son to God. We are allowed in the Father’s presence and we should be about the Father’s business. When we are about the Father’s business, we are telling others about the grace and mercy that is freely given to everyone through the atoning blood of Jesus. In essence, we are helping other people realize that they are also heirs. Unlike an earthly father who has numerous heirs, when God’s heirs are given of His kingdom, they do not receive less because there are more heirs. God’s abundance is unlimited. He gives freely to all who call upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

When I think of God’s heirs, I think of the great multitude too numerous to count!

Even in the midst of this great multitude, God knows each of us better than we know ourselves. He loves us enough to have sent His Son, Jesus, to die for our sins. He loves us enough to have reached down from heaven and called us to Himself. He loves us enough to have come up with a way to pay our debt born from sin.

If you claim that gift for yourself, then you are an heir!

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

June 3, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Train a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it.
(Proverbs 22:6 (NIV))

Our church just finished up Vacation Bible School. Attendance was great and they had fun, but more importantly, they learned something. This made me think of our responsibilities as parents. We have been given a huge trust when we are given our children. We must teach them just as Jesus taught. We need to teach the children and sadly, we also must be willing to discipline when needed.

As a parent, this was always my least favorite thing to do.

However, we must instruct them in the ways that they should go. If we withhold discipline, just as if we withhold instruction, we are not being responsible for the lives that God has entrusted to us.

Do not withhold discipline from a child;
if you punish him with the rod, he will not die.
Punish him with the rod
and save his soul from death.
(Proverbs 23:13-14)

Up until recent history, these principles were upheld in all of society. As a result, society held respect for its members. Of course, there are always some who do not learn the lesson, but as a whole, the Biblical principle worked. In today’s society, people are too busy to even spend time with their children, let alone train them or discipline them. Just as God disciplines those He loves and who love Him, we must not think that discipline is mean or detrimental. It is through training and discipline that Godly traits are developed. This is a hard series of sayings from the Bible, but Jesus reinforced them in:

If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
(Matthew 5:29-30)

Discipline is never easy to take. Today, too many people find it difficult to give. Remember that if we do not discipline those we love to guide them and direct them, then God will have the ultimate discipline when they are cast into the lake of fire. It is better to reprimand and discipline for a short time than to have the undisciplined spend eternity apart from God.

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