This is the one test that you need to pass!

June 14, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you — unless, of course, you fail the test?
(2 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV))

This is one of those verses that most people wish that they could ignore!

No one likes to fail a test. Think about the implications of this concept of failing this test. This is not the only place where we hear that it is possible to fail in your faith. We are told that it is possible to do things in the name of Jesus, but not have a relationship with Jesus, to not have Jesus in your heart.

Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:22-23 (NIV))

This goes hand in hand with the truth that you cannot earn salvation.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
(Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV))

We must also come to the realization that there is a difference between doing work for the Lord and truly knowing the Lord. I can demonstrate this concept with a simple question about the people with whom you work. You may spend eight hours a day with them, but do you know their inner most secrets and desires? Do you know the pains that they feel and what causes them pain and what causes them joy? Doing work around the Lord does not draw you close to the Lord in exactly the same way as working with someone does not bring you close to them. That requires effort and intimacy that cannot be had when you are constantly doing.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
(Luke 10:38-42 (NIV))

We must choose Jesus in all things in order to grow in intimacy with Jesus. The closer you draw to the Lord, the stronger your faith becomes. As your faith grows, your belief grows as well. When you believe and truly know the Lord, you desire to do things that will draw others to Him. These are the works that matter, for they are done out of a love of Jesus and not out of an effort to impress Jesus. It is a matter of perspective and priorities.

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. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
(John 14:12-13 (NIV))

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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

God does truly love the world! Have you allowed that love to permeate your life so that your life reflects the love of the Lord and not you?

This is the one test that you need to pass!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you see being produced in your life?

May 30, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
(John 15:5 (NIV))

Sadly, too many people have twisted this concept around to mean that if you believe in Jesus, then you are surely to be blessed with worldly treasures and positions. This concept has slowly invaded our churches as many people flock to those who claim the fruit is of this world. The last time I read anything about fruit, it had nothing to do with riches or worldly attributes. If you stop to think about physical fruit, you think of a food group that doctors always tell us to eat more of. Fruit is healthy. Fruit builds you up. It helps to make you stronger, just as the fruit you will bear if you remain in Jesus!

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))

Do you see anything in this passage that says that we will bear fortune or fame? Do you see anything in this passage that says that we will be promised worldly riches? God does not measure things as the world measures them. In fact, with recent history in mind, if the world claims that something is good, run as far and as fast as you can away from it, for it will be opposed to the true goodness that comes only from God. What the world claims as good is not healthy. It does not build you up. It only serves to destroy.

When you look at your life, what do you see? Perhaps I should ask this another way. When others look at your life, what do they see? Do they see love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control or do they see things of the world?

What do you see being produced in your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have the strength to wait for the Lord?

October 23, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
(Psalms 27:14 (NIV))

There was a very popular song released in the early 1980s that said, “The waiting is the hardest part.” There have been many instances throughout popular culture that use something similar. If I remember correctly, there was a ketchup commercial that used a similar idea to describe the anticipation of the ketchup coming out of the bottle. Whether you are waiting or anticipating, human nature does not like to wait. There is something within our nature that simply does not like the idea of waiting. We get antsy. We get impatient. We get restless. We get irritated and then angry.

If we act like this when waiting for things that we can see in this physical world, how much less patience do we have for things that we cannot see?

There is an old saying that patience is a virtue.

I definitely agree with this idea. I also firmly believe that it is a character strength. I know that it is something that we must cultivate and allow to mature.

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))

It is common to refer to things as getting stronger as they mature. If that is the case, then patience grows stronger as it matures as well. Waiting requires patience. It requires the strength of character to be willing to be still and wait. For those who love to fish, do you grow impatient after your fist cast? You know that getting what you came for requires time and effort.

Time and effort!

Have you ever stopped to think that maybe the Lord is testing us to see if we are willing to commit the time and effort to get to know Him and to wait for His truth? Think about that for a moment. He created us. He knows that we are impatient since the fall from grace. He knows that it will require a commitment, it will require a strength on our part, to wait for Him.

Do you have the strength to wait for the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you look to the strength of man for help?

June 9, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the LORD.
(Isaiah 31:1 (NIV))

It is human nature to seek help from those whom we consider stronger, more financially endowed, in positions of power, and, oh, yes, that we can see!

Even though someone’s power and authority may be more than ours, in God’s scheme of things, just how much more power and authority can any human have? Can the mayor of a large city mandate that all will be fed and it happen? Can the commander of an army go into battle and tell his army that they will all survive? Can we turn to the President of the United States for assurance that natural disasters will not harm or kill anyone within our borders? Can we turn to any person and ask them to miraculously heal us of a deadly illness?

We are only human!

In our humanity, even the mightiest among us is nothing compared to the Lord our God. No one can compare with Jesus who brought salvation and healing. No one can compare with the Holy Spirit who brings comfort and guidance. No one can compare to the Father, who loves us so much that He sent Jesus to save us and the Holy Spirit to guide us.

When we have all of this, why do we turn to man when they are not capable of any of the things that the Lord has done for us and will do for us!

The next time that you find yourself in need of strength, turn to the only source of strength that is eternal and all powerful. Don’t look to the strength of man. Humble yourself. Bend your knees and lift your hearts to the Lord.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
(Psalms 46:1 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your heart fertile soil?

June 8, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop–a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear.”
(Matthew 13:1-9 (NIV))

When Jesus spoke these words, people did not understand that He was speaking of the Kingdom of God and how it is planted in people’s hearts.

What was true then is still true now. Each heart is the planting field for the seed of the Word of God. If your heart is hardened, then it will not take root and grow. If it is easily turned, it will not be fertile soil for the Word to take root. It will be choked out by whatever the world offers it. If your heart is truly receptive, then the Word of God will take root and grow stronger and stronger.

Is your heart fertile soil?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Place your trust in God’s power!

February 18, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are his.
(Daniel 2:20 (NIV))

God is all powerful. His power is eternal and never waivers. It does not change. It is constant and righteous.

Last night, I, like many, experienced power outages that left us without computers, television, lights or heat. We have grown accustom to man-made things being reliable even though we know that they are not. My family and I lit candles and found flashlights. We went to bed uncertain whether we would need extra blankets to keep warm.

Is this the type of power that humanity seeks?

Even the things that we take for granted as always being there are subject to failure.

We can’t even rely on what is supposed to keep us warm, fed and entertained.

Is this your idea of power?

God’s power is endless. There is no power above Him. There is no power stronger. God’s power is the only constant in this world if we will simply embrace it as it was meant to be.

Last night was a reminder that the only power in which we can trust is the power of God.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have the faith to survive your wilderness?

December 1, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I would flee far away
and stay in the desert;
Selah
I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm.
(Psalms 55:7-8 (NIV))

What is your place of shelter?

Do you think of the desert as this place?

Most of us do not think of the desert as a place of refuge, after all, a desert is a harsh place that brings about pain and death.

Perhaps it is our perspective on our situation and our location that gives us this attitude. All throughout the Bible, people who had to experience the desert often came out stronger on the other side. Perhaps this is due to the fact that human nature expects to find God in the lush and plentiful. Let’s face facts. God often appears to us when we do not expect it and in situations that we do not expect. That is exactly why God uses the desert to draw us closer to Him.

The desert lacks the distractions of this world. We can either choose to focus on the fact that we must rely upon God, or we can focus on our situation. If we focus on our situation, if we come out of the desert, we will be weakened and lack focus. Satan will have won.

If we focus on God and what He can provide, then we will come out of the desert stronger in our faith and ready to be the servant that God is calling us to be. In the Bible, “desert” and “wilderness” are often used to indicate a place of testing. A desert is used to indicate a crossing or a right of passage where refuge may be found, while a wilderness indicates an untamed place. Many times throughout each of our lives, we will find ourselves in such a place. How we look upon it will determine our outcome. If we have the faith to look upon our situation as a place of shelter because we have found God to be there, then we will not only survive, God will make us thrive in our work for Him.

Do you have the faith to be in the desert or the wilderness?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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