Are you effective and productive?

March 15, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(2 Peter 1:5-8 (NIV))

Are you increasing? Are you growing? Are you maturing in your faith?

Looking back on my own faith journey, I can unequivocally say that I have grown, that I have matured in my faith over the course of my lifetime. I can also attest to the concept that we will never reach complete maturity while we are on this earth. I learn so much each and every day. I can read the very same passage that I read yesterday and discover new insight in the very same words. Nothing has changed in the words. The only thing that has changed is my comprehension of God’s ability to open up His Word into a whole new revelation.

Think about that in relationship to your faith and maturity. Think about your understanding in relationship to God’s unlimited understanding!

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

Doesn’t it make sense that we, in our limited understanding, would need to increase in our ability to understand? Doesn’t it make sense that we increase in our ability to understand by increasing our faith? After professing our faith, we increase our faith by striving to increase our righteousness, our goodness, in the eyes of God. We accomplish this by seeking His knowledge and by learning righteous self-control. We learn to persevere even in the face of adversity as we strive to mature into the likeness of Christ, who embodied true love in order to offer salvation.

None of us are there, yet, but we, as members of the Body of Christ, must strive to be effective and productive in our knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Are you effective and productive?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you desire to be holy?

January 11, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
(1 Peter 1:15-16 (NIV))

When you were growing up, was there someone whom you wanted to be just like?

We all have people that are role models for us at various times in our lives. As we grow and mature, some of these people lose that place while others step in to fill the void. Even so, there is something about each of these individuals that fill a need, that fill a hole in our lives at a certain time. Some of us looked up to one or both of our parents. Some looked to a certain grandparent as the role model. As we matured and our interests took on their own personality, we soon began to look upon individuals who had made a name for themselves in the areas that held our interest. All along the way, we saw something in each of these individuals that we recognized as unique and worthy of emulating.

What characteristics caught your attention?

For some, it is such traits as love and kindness. For others, it is a steadfast focus on the goal. For some, it is the willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed in the area of expertise.

When I read today’s passage, something made me realize that we have been seeking to emulate the wrong role models most of the time. Think back on those whom you desired to be like. Did they focus on Jesus? Did they strive to be holy and to bear fruit that reflects that holiness?

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 5:22-23 (NIV))

I know that we have a tendency to reference these traits quite often, but do we truly stop to reflect on the source? If you notice that Spirit is capitalize. This references the Holy Spirit aspect of God. These are traits that we should recognize as holy. These are traits that we should desire to emulate. We have been given instructions on how to be holy!

Do you desire to be holy?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you long for a pure heart?

December 5, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (NIV))

What is a pure heart?

Do you think that it has anything to do with the following?

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
(Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV))

Perhaps I should ask if you think that it has anything to do with the lack of those characteristics and the presence of the following characteristics.

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 5:22-23 (NIV))

Perhaps the best way to describe a pure heart is in a similar manner that God used to describe David.

After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’
(Acts 13:22 (NIV))

In essence, a pure heart despises the worldly, sinful nature and seeks the things of God. A pure heart longs to have the same desires that God has in His heart. Is this something that you truly desire? Think about that the next time someone cuts you off in traffic, or the next time that someone takes the credit for something that you have done.

Do you long for a pure heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready for a transformation?

January 18, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
(Romans 12:2 (NIV))

Do you conform to this world?

Think about this and what it truly means!

Do you do and say things in order to get what you want? Do you steal what is not yours so that you can have it? Do you think about lustful things? Do you want to be rich? Do you watch things that you shouldn’t see?

I could go on and on, but I believe that my point is one that you understand. The things of this fallen, sinful world are things that we, as the Body of Christ, should not seek after. We should seek after things that are righteous in the eyes of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

If you seek after something that is contrary to any or all of the fruits of the Spirit, then it should be avoided. Seek to be transformed into a person whose life reflects these characteristics.

Are you ready for a transformation?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Against such things there is no law!

October 27, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Against such things there is no law!

Why are there laws to begin with?

Basically, the laws are there to tell us the things that we should not do. Sometimes, laws are disguised in such a way that it appears that they tell us what we must do, but in essence, even these laws tell us what we cannot do. Consider a speed limit sign. When the speed is posted as 55 MPH, does that mean that you can go 75 MPH? In essence, the law tells us what we can’t do by posting what we are supposed to do.

What about God’s laws? What about the Ten Commandments? These laws are there to tell us to stay away from sin and things that are contrary to God’s Will. We are told directly not to do certain things. We are told not to steal. We are told not to lie. We are told not to covet. All of these are characteristics and actions that lead us away from God and into a sinful nature.

Re-read Galatians 5:22-23. Have you ever heard of anyone being told not to have love? What about joy and peace? Have you ever been told not to be patient and kind? I seriously doubt that you have ever been told not to be good. I could take each one of these fruits of the Spirit and address each one, but I believe that you understand where I am going with this. We do not have to be told not to possess these traits because they are what God created us to possess. He did not create us to steal. He did not create us to lie. He did not create us to covet. He created us to love, have joy, be kind and gentle and to have faith in Him.

Against such things there is no law!

Are your actions governed by law or by love?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Praise the LORD, O my soul!

October 14, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits–
(Psalms 103:1-2 (NIV))

It seems that every day something terrible happens in this world. Terrorism, assassinations, plagues, wars, rumors or wars, droughts, floods, and much, much more. Are things truly getting worse or have we just become so obsessed with these things that when something happens, it takes center stage in our lives? Personally, I think that it is both.

We have ways of knowing what is going on around the world almost at the very moment that it happens. We sit on the edge of our seats as we wait to hear the latest updates on the most recent tragedy. In all of this, how many of the inhabitants of this earth actually take time to stop and pray for God’s Will to be done? Do we pray for an end to these events that have us so captivated or do we forget God and wonder how humanity will solve the problems?

We are told to praise God. It does not say to only praise Him when things go good. We are to praise Him in all things. We are told to not forget His benefits. What could possibly be the benefits of praising God? I can think of many.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (NIV))

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
(Galatians 5:22-26 (NIV))

Only God knows what each day will bring. We can face it with fear and trepidation or we can praise God and face it with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Lord, grant me the ability to welcome each day earnestly praising you !

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What would you rather face?

October 12, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into the hands of men.”
(2 Samuel 24:14 (NIV))

Isn’t it interesting that most people would rather face the wrath of people than face the mercy of God? We, as a rule, tend to forget that God loves us and wishes to give us grace and mercy even when we do not merit such a favor.

People have a tendency to be judgmental and hold a grudge, even to the point of ridicule and revenge. When given the option, most people would rather exact their pound of flesh instead of forgiving and forgetting. Perhaps this is due to our fall from grace through Adam and Eve. You must remember that this fall opened us up to the power of sin. We are at the mercy of our sinful nature, which now acts opposite of the Fruits of the Spirit, which are, as told in Galatians 5:22-23; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

If God desires for us to express love, our sinful side will act in hatred. If we are to express gentleness, then we will act in anger. With this in mind, it is easy to understand why David desired to fall into the hands of God instead of the hands of men.

Where will you turn in your times of distress?

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