What is in your heart?

October 4, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.
(Deuteronomy 6:6 (NIV))

Human nature is a strange thing. We are uniquely created, yet we all suffer from the same maladies. Basically, we suffer from a desire to be the center of our own little worlds. We suffer from a desire to be obsessed with certain aspects that are out of our control. We suffer from a desire to possess things to the point that our desires possess us. All of these things are stumbling blocks to what God has called us to be simply because they become the central focus of our existence. When something takes on this role in our lives, it has our heart, it has our mind and it has our complete existence.

With this in mind, it is no wonder that God told us to place His commandments in our hearts. They are to be the central focus of our lives. When God’s commandments are the central focus of our lives, our lives are complete. They are built upon the solid foundation of God’s truth. Everything that we do will be based on achieving what is in our heart!

Have you ever known someone who coveted money? It was all that they thought about and every action that they ever took was directed at getting more money.

Now, take that example and replace the money with a desire to know God and His commandments and His truth. Everything that is done is done to further that desire.

Each of us have the ability to place a number of things in our hearts. There is always a priority. There is always an ultimate treasure.

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

What is in your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What will we be willing to face for the Gospel?

November 3, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him,
(Philippians 1:29 (NIV))

Wait a second!

Did you just read what I just read?

Did Paul actually write this?

Today’s church needs to learn that proclaiming Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior does not mean that everything will be all rosy and without problems. The early church knew this. Those who left Europe to settle in the new world knew it. Both groups were persecuted because of their faith in Jesus and their desire to worship Him in truth. When you go against the accepted routine of the world and seek to believe in Jesus instead of the world, then you will face hardships. You will suffer at the hands of those who follow the ways of the world.

One way to look at this passage may help clarify things.

What is the one thing in your life that you were willing to make sacrifices for in order to obtain it? For some, that may have been physical training as an athlete. For others, it may have been education in a very specialized field. No matter what it was that you wanted, you were willing to make sacrifices to obtain it. You were willing to suffer in the present in order to gain something in the future.

You were willing to suffer in the present to gain something in the future!

I believe that this is what Paul was implying when he recorded these words. It is not enough to be willing to believe. Even though believing is crucial to salvation, it is only the beginning of our faith journey. Are you willing to suffer for your faith in Jesus? Are you willing to sacrifice in order to believe? Are you willing to suffer or give up something that is important to you in order to gain something that is of far more importance?

Human nature is a strange thing. Too many of us are willing to keep the sinful things that we know because we are afraid of the blessings that we don’t know. When we accept belief in Jesus then we must be prepared to accept that we may suffer temporarily for our belief.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What if you had been the earthly parents of Jesus?

December 21, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

This is a repost, but it is worth sharing again. What if you had been the earthly parents of Jesus?

All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.
(Isaiah 53:6 (NAS))

This time of year is when we think about the birth of Jesus and celebrate what God set in motion in these simple events.

We realize that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Have you ever stopped to consider what that entails or have you thought about it from the view point of Mary, His mother?

Could you honestly feel no emotion if you knew that an infant would suffer and die for something that you had done?

What did Mary feel when she held Jesus for the first time? Did she see what was to come, or did she see only a baby? We may never know the answer to that question in this lifetime. We can know what we would feel if we were placed in that situation where we know that an infant was born to suffer and die for us. Thinking of Jesus as an adult, as the Son of God, makes it easier to comprehend and think about.

Think about Jesus as the infant who was sent by God to suffer and to die for us. Think about being the parents of that infant and having knowledge of the prophecies of what is to come. Jesus was fully God, yet He was fully man. He had earthly parents who loved Him and fully understood what was to happen.

What if you knew?

Could you face that in the life of “your” child?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus is forever my hope and my strength!

November 25, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.
(1 Peter 3:14 (NIV))

With the events that are going on in the world, and the so called experts saying that we are on the verge of World War III, are you prepared to do what is right in the eyes of God?

I don’t want to come across as an alarmist, but as the Body of Christ, we should be aware of the things that are going on in this world and their relationship to God’s Word. I know that I have been saying that things are getting worse in the world for quite some time. I believe that now more than ever. I also believe that things will get far worse than they are. Still, I do not fear what the world has to throw at me. My strength is in Jesus! My hope is in Jesus! I pray that I have the physical strength and the strength of character to always proclaim that Jesus is Lord!

I know that no one wants to suffer, but we must remember the words that Jesus spoke.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

Jesus also told us that we should expect to encounter the same treatment as He was given, both good and bad.

Remember the words I spoke to you: `No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.
(John 5:20 (NIV))

We have so much to pray for with the current state of the world, but we also have so much to be thankful for as well. God will not forsake those who love Him. When things get bad, look to the heavens and call upon the name of the Lord.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The world needs Jesus!

September 11, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”
(Revelation 5:1-5 (NIV))

With all that is going on in the world, do you weep?

With recent events and with things that are pending, do you look at the lost of the world and weep?

My heart is heavy. I stand firm in the promises that the Body of Christ has been given, yet I weep. I am in anguish for the lost. I am in anguish for the hard hearted. I weep for those who don’t realize that they are in need of a savior.

The passage above tells us that we are not to weep, for Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, has triumphed. For this I am eternally grateful. I do not weep because we have no hope. We have the blessed assurance that Jesus has won. I weep for the lost. I can’t help but wonder when Jesus will return and how many of the lost will He weep for.

Things are getting more interesting every day. Chinese and Russian warships in U.S. territorial waters off of Alaska and Georgia. Islamic refugees flooding Europe. The Iran situation. ISIS is expanding. The anniversary of September 11 and everyone on high alert. The blood moons. The worldwide financial crises.

The world needs Jesus!

Unfortunately, far too many will reject Him and will suffer the consequences.

I don’t know what the future will bring, but I do know who holds the future. I place my faith, hope and trust completely in Jesus, the only begotten Son of God.

And, for those who choose to not do the same, I weep.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we any different from Barabbas?

April 2, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now it was the custom at the Feast to release a prisoner whom the people requested. A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did.

“Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, knowing it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.

“What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them.

“Crucify him!” they shouted.

“Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.
But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
(Mark 15:6-15 (NIV))

Tonight, I was presented something that made me look at this in a different light and with a different perspective.

What do you think of Barabbas?

Have you often thought that he deserved to die? Have you ever wondered how the crowd could be so stupid and request the release of a murderer over Jesus?

We all know that it was God’s plan for Jesus to suffer and to go to the cross and die for our sins, but have you ever stopped to realize that Barabbas was a picture of the grace that Jesus would bring to everyone?

We do not know if Barabbas repented and accepted the true grace and mercy that Jesus came to bring, but he had that opportunity. Jesus went to the cross so that Barabbas might live and have that opportunity.

Are we any different from Barabbas?

In the eyes of humanity, our sins may not be as great as his, but in the eyes of God, we are just as guilty of sin as Barabbas was. Didn’t he deserve the chance to repent? Didn’t he deserve the chance to know the grace and mercy that God offers through the death of Jesus on the cross? God loves each and every individual that has ever walked the earth or ever will walk the earth. Jesus came to bring the gift of salvation to everyone and not just the ones that society thinks are the good people.

With the somber reality of the crucifixion rapidly approaching, we, as the Body of Christ, must come to terms with the fact that Jesus died for everyone. Just because you may think that someone is too far gone into their life of sin does not mean that the gift that Jesus died to offer is not available to them.

Would you be surprised to find Barabbas in heaven? Would you rejoice in his salvation? Would you rejoice in the salvation of those whom society considers too far gone to redeem?

Are you any different from Barabbas?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Ready, eager and willing!

April 15, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.
(Luke 22:15 (NIV))

Talk about an ultimate example of love. Jesus was eager to do what He did because He loves us. He was willing to suffer for us.

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

Not only did Jesus go willingly to the cross for us, but He was eager to do the things that led up to the cross. He knew that the results of His actions would mean salvation for all who would simply accept the free gift. His love for us was greater than the desire to have the cup pass from Him.

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
(Luke 22:42 (NIV))

I have heard it said that the nails did not keep Jesus on the cross, after all, He could have performed a miracle at any time. What did keep Jesus on the cross was His overwhelming love for us. He was eager to face what He faced because of that love.

How do you view His eagerness and His willingness? Have you come to the full realization of just what He did for you? He was willing to suffer the ultimate pain and death for you. He was willing to be beaten and ridiculed for you.

Are you eager in your acceptance of His sacrifice for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you see the cross?

March 4, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
(1 Corinthians 1:18 (NIV))

It is human nature to think that something is foolish if we do not understand it. For those who do not like football, it is foolish. For those who do not like racing, it is foolish. For those who do not know and trust Jesus, the Gospel is foolish. Only when you truly know and understand something does it take on meaning for you.

Think back on your life. I am sure that there are things in your life that you have grown to think differently about. Many of these things probably meant that you had a change of heart about them. Jesus is probably one of those! Before you fully understood what Jesus did for you, it was probably difficult to accept the fact that God loved you so much that He sent His only Son to suffer and to die so that you could have grace and mercy. That is true with many people. They do not understand and they see what happened at the cross as simply a foolish act with no importance to them.

How do you see the cross? Is it in foolishness or is it in thanksgiving?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Easter is the fulfillment of the promise!

April 8, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.

He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

“What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”

He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
(Luke 24:13-35 (NIV))

How quickly do we put the glory of the resurrection behind us? How quickly do we forget what Jesus went through and what it brought us?

It was pointed out to me Sunday morning that even though Easter is a single day, the grace and mercy that it bought us is something to keep in our hearts and minds every day. We should be filled with the excitement and exuberance every day just like the two men who were on the road to Emmaus.

We tend to think that it would be nice if every day were like Christmas. To be honest with you, this is a very nice idea when you consider that people pray for peace on earth and good will towards men. However, this is the birth of the promise.

Easter is the fulfillment of the promise!

We, as the Body of Christ, need to embrace the birth of the promise, because without the birth, it is impossible to have the fulfillment. However, it is the fulfillment of the promise that brings us salvation, grace and mercy.

Think about that.

I am not saying that this is an example of how God works, but consider if someone promises to do something for you, does it carry any strength and merit until it is fulfilled?

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
(2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV))

God fulfills His promises!

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
(Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV))

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