Does the world know that you are His disciple?

May 21, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
(John 13:34-35 (NIV))

Sometimes it seems like all that the world recognizes in people who profess a faith in Jesus is the less than loving way that we treat each other at times!

I am going to use a cliché because it seems to say best what we need to be thinking and doing.

What would Jesus do?

We know without a doubt that Jesus would not let the pettiness that leads to family squabbles become foremost in our minds. Why do we do that if Jesus wouldn’t? We know that Jesus even embraced Judas out of love and he betrayed Him unto death. Why do we treat each other as if they have done worse to us than what Judas did to Jesus? Think about that the next time that someone does something that makes you mad. Chances are that they aren’t even aware that they made you mad.

Think about your family. Has anyone ever made you angry? Do you still love them? Do they still love you? Sadly, sometimes families, since we are a fallen and sinful humanity, will say and do things that will leave a bad taste in your mouth. We all say and do things that we wish we could take back. Families are no different. The members of the Body of Christ are a part of a bigger family. By grace, we have been made children and heirs of God, but in our sinful nature, we will stumble. No one is perfect. We will hurt each other at times. Repentance is a big part of the love that we must show. Forgiveness is also a big part of the love that we must show. We must remember that each of us have been offered grace and what we have been offered, we must also offer.

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

If Jesus offered grace and showed love to all who would accept, can we do any less? Will we be held accountable for our actions if we don’t? What will the world see in us if we don’t?

Does the world know that you are His disciple?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What kind of harvest is being produced in you?

May 7, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
(Hebrews 12:11 (NIV))

Discipline is a tough thing to undergo. I don’t know anyone who is willing to admit that they actually like being disciplined. It is human nature to do what we want to do regardless of the consequences. Without discipline, we resort to our fleshly sinful nature.

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))

Just for the sake of example, is there anyone in your life who exhibits any of these characteristics without any signs of remorse or regret? Are they easy to be around? Are their actions pleasant? Are they always causing trouble? The old saying that you reap what you sow is definitely true. Anyone who sows any of the characteristics of the acts of the flesh will produce a harvest equal to the sinful nature that they exhibit.

What do you consider to be characteristics of righteousness?

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))

Based on these two sets of characteristics, the ones that come naturally lead to sin. The ones that lead to righteousness require discipline, both self discipline and correction from God. Do you find yourself under discipline?

What kind of harvest is being produced in you?

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

April 23, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
(1 Timothy 6:11 (NIV))

There are so many things in this world that vie for our attention and our time. Too many of us pursue things that we shouldn’t, and it shows.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

We chase after things of this world. We chase after riches. We chase after power and we chase after whatever feels good. Most people don’t care about the consequences of any of their actions. All that they are concerned about is themselves!

Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
(1 Timothy 6:9-10 (NIV))

Don’t fall into the trap of pursuing things of this world, for this world is in a sinful, fallen state. Anything that you pursue, by its very nature, will also be in a sinful, fallen state. It will not last. Thieves can steal and moth and rust will destroy it. It will lead to destruction. When you die, these things that you felt that you have to pursue now will soon belong to someone else. Your wealth that you seek, that you pursue in this world will not save you from the consequences of your sins in this world.

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
(Matthew 6:31-33 (NIV))

What do you pursue?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you find yourself groaning in your weakness?

March 14, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
(Romans 8:26 (NIV))

Have you ever found yourself in a conversation and not know just how to say what you want to say? Perhaps you didn’t even know what to say, you just knew that you had a very strong opinion on the subject.

What do you find yourself doing in situations like this?

Do you through up your hands in frustration and let out an audible sigh? Do the people around you understand what you are attempting to express?

That is definitely a weakness of the human condition. We are often found without adequate words to express exactly what we want to express. When we simply can’t say what we want to say, we groan or sigh out of frustration. It’s too bad that we can’t be understood when we simply cannot verbalize what we feel.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was someone who could understand the groanings that we make when we can’t find the words to express ourselves?

I want you to consider something with respect to your relationship with God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
(Psalms 139:13 (NIV))

You are known intimately by the Lord. He understands you like no other. He understands the groanings of our spirit. He understands these groanings to be exactly what they are, for they are our desire to communicate concepts, emotions and desires that no earthly language is capable of communicating. We fail to be able to express our inner desires because we are a weak, sinful creation, but we still have the inherited memory of and a desire for a deeper communication with the Lord. Out of this weakness, our prayers are lifted up as groanings of the spirit.

Do you find yourself groaning in your weakness?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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So let there be praise! So let there be praise!

March 5, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Praise be to the Lord forever! Amen and Amen.
(Psalms 89:52 (NIV))

The psalmist wrote about all of the things that have happened, both good and bad, and closed with these words. He felt so strongly about the need to praise God in all circumstances that he repeated a single word at the end to emphasize the importance of lifting up praise to the Lord!

The word “Amen” means “so let it be.” He felt so strongly that the Lord should be praised forever that he said “So let it be and so let it be.” Think about that simple repetition and human nature and how it applies to the following statements.

“I didn’t do it. I didn’t do it!”

“Go to your room. Go to your room!”

“I’m innocent, I tell you. I’m innocent!”

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry!”

Do you see a trend with respect to human nature and how we try to emphasize something that is really important to us by repeating it?

All that we are is due to what God has done. He created us. He placed us in the Garden of Eden. He loved us even when we sinned. He loved us so much that He devised a plan to redeem us for Himself. With the Lord, His Word is truth. If it is said once, it will happen. With sinful humanity, we feel the need to stress what we truly mean by repeating it. Repetition builds habit. Habits can be either good or bad. Praising God is definitely good. With this in mind, it is important that we continually praise God!

So let there be praise! So let there be praise!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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I pray that this is what we truly want!

February 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
(Matthew 6:10 (NIV))

Everyone who professes a faith in Jesus knows these words as part of what we refer to as the Lord’s Prayer. Do we truly desire what we lift up with these words? Do we long for the Lord’s kingdom to come into the world, to enter into our lives, or do we want our will, our personal kingdom, to manifest itself in our lives?

Human nature, no matter how hard we try, always tries to put personal interest above all else. We all must face the truth. Each of us have had moments when we are reciting these words only to have our minds diverted by our own desires. Does this mean that we really don’t long for God’s kingdom or does it just show that even in our best moments, we are all creatures caught in the sinful natures that we long to leave behind?

When you experience one of these moments, and we all have them, do you regret the diversion from God’s Will to your will? Do you feel like Paul?

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
(Romans 7:14-15 (NIV))

I hate to say this, but I do this far more than I care to admit. In the time span of the last fifteen minutes, I have been distracted from my task far too many times. My thoughts wander. My attention shifts and my writing gets delayed. Even the disciples, who were asked to wait while Jesus went to pray in Gethsemane, could not avoid the pitfalls of the frailty that is humanity.

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
(Mark 14:38 (NIV))

Just because our human nature and our human frailties divert us should not be our main concern. What we should be concerned about is if we choose to never refocus on Jesus. We can repent and return to seeking God’s Will and His kingdom or we can choose to stay chasing the diversion. When we repent, we show what we truly want.

I pray that this is what we truly want!

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