Remember the sparrow and rejoice!

December 11, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
(Matthew 10:29-31 (NIV))

Do you ever feel that you are not in the eyes of God?

If you are like me, then you probably have this feeling many times.

We are frail in our uncertainty. We constantly like to be reminded that we are doing a good job at work, or that we are still loved by our spouse, or that we still have that competitive edge. We must also face this truth in our relationship with God. Our human nature likes to be reminded that we are still in His eyes.

I love these words of assurance that Jesus gave us. Jesus spoke to the very heart of our self worth and our uncertainty. In these few words, He was able to convey that God is a loving Father who cares for all of His creation, even down to the smallest creature. Jesus simply stated that God considers us to be of far more worth than sparrows, and that nothing happens to a single sparrow apart from God’s will.

Isn’t it amazing. Even at Christmas, when God demonstrated His love for us by sending His only Son, Jesus, we still need to be reminded that God holds each and every one of us in such great importance.

Perhaps we are frail in our humanity, but we must never forget that God is never frail in His love and His grace!

When you feel that you are not in the eyes of God, simply remember the sparrow and rejoice!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you still trying to earn what is freely given?

December 10, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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))

There is an old saying that you get what you pay for. This implies that anything of value has a great cost for the one who possesses it. It also implies that if you didn’t pay anything for it, then it is worthless. The thought is that anything of worth and value requires a sacrifice of something of worth or value in order to obtain it.

There is another old saying about something being too good to be true. This actually piggybacks onto the other saying. In essence, if it is supposed to be so valuable and there is no sacrifice to receive it, is it truly worth anything?

There is profound truth in these sayings, but too many people fail to recognize that they only apply to a limited understanding of the world, and that limited understanding is ours! I am certain that everyone reading this can describe at least one situation in your life in the last year in which these old sayings were proven to be true. Get rich quick scams come to mind as one potential situation. However, there is one area in the lives of each and every one of us where we can throw our limited understanding out of the window!

God’s grace is that one and only time!

Are you ready and willing to get what you pay for when you consider that all of us are sinners and the consequences of sin is death? Is this what you want to pay for and receive? Grace is a gift that comes at a great price, but the price was paid by Jesus. None of us have to pay the price that we should rightfully pay. Jesus paid it all. We pay nothing, yet we receive everything! I realize that this sounds too good to be true, but it is far from that. It is our limited human understanding that makes us think that we must pay the price or it is not a valid exchange. On the contrary, the price was so high that no one could ever pay what they owe. We were doomed by our sin with no way of redemption. God saw this and devised a way to pay this high price once and for all for each and every one of us. We can’t earn it. We owe nothing to receive if. All that we have to do is accept!

Are you still trying to earn what is freely given?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do your heart and mouth have to say?

December 5, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
(Romans 10:10 (NIV))

There is so much truth within God’s Word!

Do you treasure the gift of salvation? Do you treasure Jesus? If this is true of you, does your heart overflow with joy? Do you trust in the Lord so much that your heart is eternally joyous? Think about this and I know that you will agree with the words written in Matthew.

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

With this in mind, I want to ask a personal question. If something fills your heart, what happens to the overflow? How does it present itself to the world? Does it come out in actions? Does it come out in words? It is human nature to overflow in actions and in words what is contained within your heart. If you are filled with joy and belief in Jesus, then this is what will come forth from you in actions and in words. If this is the case, then nothing that the world can send your way, nothing that will be put into your life, will change what is on the inside. Nothing external will defile you. Your treasure is within and what you treasure is more powerful than anything the world has to send your way. Jesus recognized this and Matthew recorded the following words as evidence.

What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.
(Matthew 15:11 (NIV))

If you truly think about it, you have a choice of what you put into your body and into your life. If your treasure is Jesus, then you will choose to only allow things of the Lord in. As previously stated, nothing external will defile you. It is the human heart that defiles. When we allow our own hearts to shift what we treasure, then what our actions and words reflect will no longer be things of the Lord.

We must stay alert and never lose sight of the Lord as our heart’s treasure!

What do your heart and mouth have to say?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Does your life preach the good news?

December 4, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
(Romans 10:15 (NIV))

Do you read this and think to yourself that you are thankful you aren’t called to preach? Are you silently thankful that you have trouble stringing words together in a way that will make people understand? Have you bought in to the false assumption that preachers minister and church members receive? Is this in line with the words that Jesus left us with?

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

When we think of preaching, we have a tendency to think of someone who stands in front of a congregation on Sunday morning. I honestly don’t think that this is what Jesus meant. I have read this passage in context many times, and nowhere do I see anything that indicates that Jesus was only speaking to those who were eloquent of speech. There are many ways to “preach,” or to share the Gospel of Jesus. Standing in front of a crowd and proclaiming the Gospel is only one way. Whether you believe that these words were spoken by St. Francis of Asisi, they hold much truth and wisdom.

“Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”
(St. Francis of Asisi)

We are not all gifted in the same ways, but as members of the Body of Christ, we are all called to the same task.

Let me ask a simple question for your consideration. How many remember having to write papers when you were in school? I remember all too well having to do this, yet, every time that a class was given an assignment, no two people did it exactly the same way. We readily accept this fact that we are all different in our lives, yet we feel that we have to follow a pattern to share Jesus. To be completely honest with you, if any of us had to convince someone else to follow Jesus based on our strengths, I seriously doubt that anyone would ever follow Jesus. It is when we allow Jesus to work through us and when we show what Jesus has done in our lives that people take notice. They will not pay any attention to our words or our strengths, but they will take notice of how Jesus turned our weaknesses into something wonderful. They will begin to see that Jesus can take their weaknesses and do the very same thing.

Take a serious look at your life. Do people see Jesus in you?

Does your life preach the good news?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you able to praise God through the tough times?

November 9, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
(Psalms 42:11 (NIV))

I realize that it may seem like the whole world is out to get you at times, but there is one key thing that we need to remember as members of the Body of Christ.

“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))

With hope and assurance like this, how can we ever be downcast, even in the face of trouble? We need to remember Paul’s words. We need to do more than remember them. We need to make them our own. We need to fully embrace the very realistic truth that Paul shared in Romans.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
(Romans 8:31 (NIV))

God is so “for us” that He sent His only Son, Jesus, into this world as an atoning sacrifice so that we could be restored to a right relationship with God. For those who earnestly repent and call upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, God is now on your side. Perhaps I should phrase that differently. For those who earnestly repent and call upon the name of Jesus, you have realized that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. You have turned from your way to following God’s way. When you chose to follow Jesus, you became a member of the Body of Christ. Your past sins are no longer held against you. If you have been able to be called out of the tough times when you were lost in sin, what makes you think that the Lord of all creation will not be with you and see you through the tough times that you face after you chose to follow Jesus?

If you look at life from this perspective, we have been called to be God’s chosen people.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
(1 Peter 2:9 (NIV))

If we are exactly as described, then why would God abandon us during the tough times. He will not leave us nor forsake us!

It is a matter of our attitude!

Are you able to praise God through the tough times?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you turned God’s Word into something less?

November 7, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“You shall have no other gods before me.

“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

“You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

“You shall not murder.

“You shall not commit adultery.

“You shall not steal.

“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
(Exodus 20:3-17 (NIV))

Controversy surrounds these simple, yet profound statements in today’s society. All of the Judeo-Christian ethic lies on this foundation which states that there is only one God, life is sacred and to respect others. Many people do not wish to acknowledge these truths as truths, or, even worse, that they even exist at all. They have tried to turn them into the 10 suggestions. Let’s take a look at the wording and how it’s meaning would change if they were not stated as they are.

You shall not murder.

Simple enough! But what would be the ramifications if it were worded differently? Try to remove the “negative” aspect of the Commandment. It might read something like this: Respect all human life.

It doesn’t carry the same impact as “You shall not murder.” Try to restate the others in a positive aspect and see what the meanings sound like when you are through. They do not carry the same message. They become what society has tried to turn them into, the 10 suggestions and not the 10 Commandments.

We, as believers, have a responsibility to uphold these basic premises of faith and life. Truth is not relevant. Truth is always the truth, no matter when and where it may apply.

Have you turned God’s Word into something less?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you trust the lessons in His Word?

November 5, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
(Matthew 24:32-35 (NIV))

These words spoken by Jesus hold several truths!

I love the way that we are given near-term and long-term meanings in so many passages of scripture. Isn’t it amazing how words that sound so simple can be so complex in meaning? Imagery is so important in the lessons that Jesus taught. He was able to relay things in ways that those who wanted to know could understand both then and now. Through this imagery, we believe that we understand what Jesus was speaking to us and the meaning that it has for us today.

Now that we are living in the days that Jesus spoke of, many people are becoming very interested in the statement about this generation, for we are seeing things unfold that no other generation has ever seen. Even so, we must rest assured that no matter what happens, God is always there and His truth will always be there. All that we have to do is seek!

God is in control!

He knows what the future holds for He holds the future!

It is our duty, as believers, to be the light to those who do not know Jesus. We must show them the way to their future through Christ. By doing this, no matter what happens, we can help people recognize that the season of His return is upon us.

Do you trust the lessons in His Word?

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