Does the Lord have all your heart, soul and strength?

June 17, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
(Deuteronomy 6:5 (NIV))

Do you love the Lord?

Let me ask this in a different way. What are you willing to give up for the Lord? Status? Career? House? Cars? Family? Friends?

Did you cringe at any of these things? Did you find yourself thinking something like, “As long as I don’t have to give up _______!”

What if God called you to sacrifice the thing that you loved most in order to follow Him? Would you respond like Abraham did with Isaac or would you respond like the rich young ruler?

Many people associate the words from Deuteronomy 6:5 with how Jesus responded in the following passage from Matthew.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
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.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
(Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV))

If you truly love the Lord, you realize that everyone is made in the image of God. The way that we treat each other is indicative of how we treat the Lord and ourselves. Unfortunately, society’s definition of love means that we embrace their sins. Is this true love? Would you validate your sinful behavior to the point where you are killing yourself with alcohol or drugs and still claim to love yourself? How can we embrace the sins of others when we know that the same sin in our lives leads to death?

We must love as Jesus loved!

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.
(John 3:16-17 (NIV))

Perhaps we should look at this concept through these words. Love the Lord your God as He first loved us – with all of His heart, with all of His soul and with all of His strength. He had the love and commitment to sacrifice His Son to save us! Doesn’t this merit the gratitude and unfailing love of thankfulness?

Does the Lord have all your heart, soul and strength?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must treat others as Jesus would?

May 27, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.
(John 15:14-17 (NIV))

Think about this passage. What does it mean to you to have the Son of God call you friend?

I can’t think of anything that has a more important meaning to my life, for a friend will do anything to help. A true friend does everything out of love with no regard for what they get in return. This is exactly what Jesus did when He went to the cross. He paid the ultimate price out of love with no regard to what He had to face. It is true that He faced fear before His physical death, yet He did not stray from His task. He knew that those who would call Him friend depended upon Him to save them.

Do you think that a master would do something like this for a servant? A servant is there to serve the master. The master usually cares little about the life of the servant. There is no love involved in this type of a relationship.

Do you see Jesus as a friend? Do you see others as Jesus sees them?

He desires everyone to come to Him. If this is true, then we must be the friends that Jesus is. We must show the same love to others that He has shown to us.

We must treat others as Jesus would?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must not accept sin as the new normal!

January 14, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
(Matthew 18:15-17 (NIV))

Sadly, just by choosing this verse, too many people will get offended. Society currently believes that if you love someone, then you accept them as they are. Society claims that people are made that way and as a result, there is nothing wrong with them. This has become rampant even in the church. Let’s play fill in the blank to see how that actually sounds.

I was born a(n) __________________, therefore, you have to accept me the way that I am.

Pick any of the following words and see how that sounds.

Arsonist
Murderer
Pedophile
Alcoholic
Thief
Sex Addict

Perhaps you have a few more that you can think of, but the concept is clear, sin is sin! Why do we, as the Body of Christ, not follow what we have been told? How can we be the light of the world if we allow the darkness to influence us? How can we share the truth of the Gospel if we can’t follow it ourselves? The last time I read anything about the Lord, He does not lead us into sin! In fact, He leads us away from sin. Jesus, when addressing the woman caught in adultery, was clear. We are to go and sin no more! We are to leave our life of sin. We are not to embrace the sin simply because our fallen nature made us this way! We are to become a new creation. We are to repent. We are to take up our cross and follow Him daily.

Sadly, we are seeing too many people profess that what has been called good is now evil and what was once called evil is now good. Society may claim this as the new normal, but the Body of Christ must stand firm.

We must not accept sin as the new normal!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you believe in this golden rule?

August 23, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
(Matthew 7:12 (NIV))

Practically everyone knows the first part of this passage as “The Golden Rule.” Still others have their own golden rule that says “He who has the gold makes the rules.”

Personally, I hate the second saying even though it is meant as a joke. Even so, too many people seem to believe that money buys power. The Bible tells us that money, if not prioritized appropriately, causes many problems.

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 6:10 (NIV))

Money will cause many people to forget what was spoken of in Matthew 7:12. It causes people to treat others as if they did not matter. It causes people to mistreat others just so they can get more money or hold onto their money a little longer.

The love of money is the root of many evils. Money is fleeting. It can be destroyed. It can be lost in an instant. The evil that we do to gain money, or any other worldly possession or power, has eternal ramifications. It scars those whom the evil is done against, and more importantly, it causes even faithful believers to sin and turn from God’s Will.

We are to treat each other as we would want to be treated. Even if it were not a Biblical principle, it should be common courtesy to treat others as we would want to be treated. When we lose sight of this simple Biblical truth, we sin. We sin against other people. We sin against God. Perhaps we should even come to the realization that we may cause the one we have mistreated to sin out of anger.

How do you treat others? Do you see them as eternal, or do you see them as something to run over to achieve your goals?

Do you believe in this golden rule?

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

December 18, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.
(Mark 8:35 (NIV))

It is human nature to not want to lose. This is especially true if losing means that you lose your life! Most of us aren’t even willing to lose if by our losing, everyone else wins. We have to come out on top. We have to prove that we are best at everything! This often means that we think that we are right even when we are eternally wrong!

Take a look at the words in the first part of the passage above. Saving your life implies that you place nothing above yourself. You will go to any extreme to make sure that your physical life is protected even at the expense of others. You are your first and often, your only priority. You possess no love. You possess no joy. You often possess no peace, patience, or kindness. Little about your life is good. Since you place yourself first, you possess little or no faith. You treat others as lower than yourself, so you lack gentleness and self-control. Does this sound like a life that you would want to live? Does this sound like a life that you would want?

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))

Does the second half of the passage start to sound better and make more sense?

We can’t live a life that is Christ centered if we strive to save our earthly life. We are called to be witnesses. We can’t witness to others if all we think about is ourselves. We can’t be willing to go because we would be outside of our comfort zone.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
(Mark 16:15 (NIV))

I know that I am forever thankful that Jesus was willing to lose His earthly life for the sake of others. What if He had balked at the idea of dying for our sins? What if he had decided to not leave the Father to come to earth? What if Jesus had decided that it was simply not worth leaving the glory of heaven to come into this world? The majesty of the story as told in Luke 2 would never have happened. The tearing of the veil of the Temple would never have taken place. Faith, hope and love would only be a dream of something that could happen. Grace and mercy would simply be nonexistent. John 3:16 would not be true.

All of this was made possible because Jesus was willing to lose His life for others. Most of us aren’t even willing to lose our place in line! It takes a sacrifice to place others first.

What are you willing to lose?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Whom have you been asking?

July 17, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous for what others have, and you can’t possess it, so you fight and quarrel to take it away from them. And yet the reason you don’t have what you want is that you don’t ask God for it.
(James 4:2 (NLT))

Jesus came into this world in order to allow us direct access to God, yet, how many of us never approach Him?

Don’t think that I am only talking about those who are not believers. How many of the body of believers go to God in prayer on a regular basis? I hate to say it, but the number of us who approach God on a daily basis is probably a lot smaller than God desires for it to be.

People have a tendency to think that what they desire is insignificant and far less important to God than everyone else’s problems. We are too timid to approach God and reveal our hearts to Him. What we fail to remember is that He knows us better than we know ourselves. Perhaps we are afraid to approach God because we will actually discover the true person that God created us to be. He gave each of us a unique life, a life that He created. Each of us is precious in the eyes of God, yet we treat ourselves as trash. We have become more comfortable believing the lies of the enemy and living within these lies than we are with opening up to God, the Father, the Creator of each of us. We believe a liar and a thief. We do not believe our Lord.

The body of believers needs to firmly and boldly take possession of what God has for us, for if we don’t take possession of it, the enemy will rob us of it. All we have to do is ask God to give us what He has planned for us from the beginning of time.

I don’t proclaim that God wishes to financially bless us, for each person is unique and each person will be blessed by God according to God’s desires. What I do profess is that each of us is living well below what God has created for us. We do not have all that He desires for us because we have accepted the lies of the enemy. We have not asked God for His full truth. In other words, we get what we ask for! Perhaps we aren’t even asking the right person.

Whom have you been asking?

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

March 27, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
(Romans 15:7 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself one simple but important question?

What if Jesus treated us the way that we treat each other?

If Jesus had decided that He didn’t want to come to earth because we are so different than the angels in heaven that He knew, where would we be? If Jesus had decided that He didn’t want anything to do with us because our life style was different than what God had commanded, where would we be? If Jesus had decided that humanity was not worth coming to earth to save, where would we be?

I could go on and on using every single reason that we offer up as an excuse to treat each other in ways that are less than what God desires, but I think that you can probably get the picture by now. Why do we treat each other, as members of the Body of Christ and potential members of the Body of Christ, with such contempt and callousness that we can’t even be recognized as followers of Jesus.

“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))

These words do not say that we are to love only those who look like us. They do not say that we are to love only those who have the same life style as us. They do not say that we are to love only those whom we deem to be worthy of our love. We are to love one another. There are no words in that statement that can be taken in any way, shape, form or fashion as an authorized limitation to whom we are to love.

What if Jesus had limited His love to only the nation of Israel? If that had been the case, the passages that we all know and love would not read as they do.

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
(Romans 1:16 (NIV))

If Jesus has accepted everyone through what He came to accomplish at the cross, then why do we have such a difficult time doing the same?

The next time that we have a moment where we want to shun someone, remember four simple words. What would Jesus do?

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