What is it that your life is recognized for?

November 5, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.
(Matthew 12:33 (NIV))

What is your favorite fruit? Is it apples? Perhaps it is pears. Some people love figs, while others love oranges. If you had a tree that gave you your favorite fruit, how would you care for that tree? If the tree began to rot, would the fruit still be as good?

Now, think of your life. What type of fruit does it produce? Each life produces something.

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))

The fruits of the Spirit also provide sweet nourishment. Someone who is loving and filled with joy will make the lives of others transform from the spiritual nourishment that they share. You life is the tree that produces that fruit.

If a tree is diseased, it cannot send the required nourishment and other resources to produce the fruit. The fruit will be small and will be lacking much when compared to fruit produced by a healthy tree. Consequently, how can your life produce healthy fruit if your life is diseased by sin? How can you produce enough love to share if you are callous and cold hearted? How can you produce joy if you are miserable and mean. Just as a tree can be diseased, a life can be diseased. Just as that disease will harm the fruit a tree produces, your disease that you carry within your life will also harm the fruit that you produce.

What makes us different from an actual tree is that we can make a decision to turn to the healing. We can turn to Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. He will give us the grace and mercy that will allow our lives to be healed. He will restore that which the sin has destroyed. He will give us the desire to produce good fruit.

What is your favorite fruit? Is it love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness or self-control?

What is it that your life is recognized for?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you await your hope?

October 17, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
(Romans 8:22-25 (NIV))

When Paul wrote these words to the Romans, a few people still had memories of Jesus as He walked the earth. They longed for the kingdom that Jesus taught would come. Some people, such as Paul, did not walk with Jesus when He walked the earth. They came to believe after Jesus was crucified, resurrected and ascended into heaven. They clung to the very promises that Jesus proclaimed even when He was on the cross. They longed for the righteousness of God’s Kingdom to come into existence and transform the world into the vision of heaven that Jesus spoke of. Their hearts ached and their spirits groaned in desperate desire for this to happen. They hated the world as it had become.

Today, almost two thousand years since these words were written, the world is vastly different than it was then. Much has transpired resulting in far more troubling scenarios such as weapons of mass destruction, abortion on demand, terrorism, euthanasia, plagues, and an ever increasing frequency of natural disasters. As believers, we “know” that our hope is coming soon. We may not see this hope in the physical sense, but having hope requires a faith in things unseen.

If we only hoped for things that we could see, what would we be able to hope for, for the things that we see on a daily basis are firmly rooted in sin. I don’t know about you, but I long to place my hope in something far greater than what I can see, for what I see causes distress and my spirit to groan.

It is true that we are closer to seeing our hope than any other point in history. Each second brings us closer to the glorious return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus. This is my hope! This is my prayer! Each day I await for the fulfillment of my hope. I pray that I am able to await patiently.

Does your spirit groan at the things of this world? Do you await your hope?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What have you been able to get rid of?

February 20, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
(Ephesians 4:31 (NIV))

These traits are not from God. In fact, they go against everything that we are told is a fruit of the Spirit if we are truly a follower of Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

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.
(Galatians 5:22-25)

We are to follow this example if we truly belong to Jesus. How can anyone who claims to have allowed Jesus into their lives as Lord and Savior exhibit the traits that are spoken of in Ephesians? If we truly allow Jesus into our hearts, then the Holy Spirit will enter our lives and begin to transform us into the likeness of Jesus.

Did you ever see Jesus exhibit bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, or any other negative trait that was directed at a person? Jesus was angered by the moneychangers’ actions, but He would not have kept them from asking for forgiveness if they had approached Him with that in mind.

We must not allow any of these traits to enter into our lives or they will destroy us by separating us from the saving grace that God has given us through Jesus Christ.

What have you been able to get rid of?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you do?

July 17, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
(James 1:22 (NIV))

Some people do the bare minimum in order to get by. I’m sure you know the type. There is probably someone like this where you work. There may be someone in your family who is like this. I hope and pray that you are not the one who people think of when asked about people like this.

Based on this passage, what do you think the Lord thinks about people who think that all they have to do is read God’s Word? I realize that it is important to read and study God’s Word, but it is not the type of book that you read and study just for the knowledge that you will gain. If you can recite passages verbatim, yet not understand and put that understanding into action, what good does it do? If you can recite the fruit of the Spirit, yet you don’t exhibit any of those characteristics, what good does it do?

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. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
(Matthew 22:37-29 (NIV))

If you easily quote these words, but do not live it, all that you have accomplished is memorization. You have not grasped the meaning. You have not taken the words to heart and made them an integral part of your life!

God’s Word is truth! God’s Word is life! It has the power to transform you. Have you let it transform you?

Do you just listen or read God’s Word, or do you make it an integral part of your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you still crushed?

March 13, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
(Psalms 34:18 (NIV))

Take a serious look at your life. When did you accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? I bet it was at a low point in your life! It is this low point in which many people turn to God. People discover that He is there and that He is someone to turn to who can help them in their hour of need. What is so amazing is that He will not leave you in your need. He will come into your life and guide you through the rough times and lead you to the place that He wants for you.

Consider this aspect of God. Most people are “friends” only when things are going well for you. The moment things start to go bad, they disappear. God is not like that. He is there no matter what you are going through. Perhaps He is there even before you go through the bad things, but you don’t notice Him until these times hit hard.

God is close to the brokenhearted, but He wants to be close to everyone. Perhaps the reason the crushed in spirit turn to Him is the simple fact that they long for a better place. They realize that the better place is available only through Him. Isn’t it comforting to know that the crushed in spirit can turn to God and not be rejected, especially when the world rejects them. There may be a mixed blessing within this truth. If the world rejects you, you are rejected by the prince of the world. If you are rejected by the prince of the world, you can turn to the Creator of this world for comfort.

The best part, once again, is that He will not leave you with a crushed spirit. He will transform you into the creation that He meant for you to be.

Are you still crushed?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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All authority

September 28, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
(Matthew 28:18 (NIV))

What a strong and powerful statement! Think of the implications of such a statement.

Jesus had just been crucified. He had just been raised from the dead. He had appeared to many people since His resurrection. Think about the impact that this statement had on those who actually heard Him say it. Everything that they had ever feared about life and death had simply been erased. No one in history had ever died and came back to life. No one had ever been so brutally beaten and then mercilessly killed only to be found walking among the living three days later.

I can only imagine how His disciples felt when He showed Himself to be among the living. Not only did they see Him die, they knew how He died. Now, He was standing right in front of them saying that He had all authority in heaven and on earth. And the good news was, and still is, that it is true. The man who spent three years teaching them had proven that everything He had ever said was true. They became transformed by what they witnessed. They transformed the world by what they witnessed.

Think about that. What other group of people have ever transformed the world? Jesus started with twelve people. These people saw what happened. They knew it to be true. They knew that Jesus had been given all authority in heaven and on earth. They were willing to die for what they knew. If Jesus had not been given this authority, would those who followed Him be willing to die? We know what happened to His disciples during the crucifixion. They all scattered. A few days later they were all willing to die to spread the good news. They recognized holy authority. They recognized His authority within their lives. They willingly gave all that they were because of that authority. They gave not out of fear, but out of love.

Who has authority over your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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