What is it that you will receive?

November 15, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
(1 Peter 1:8-9 (NIV))

When I read this passage, the word “faith” and how the book of Hebrews defines it come to mind.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

If you stop to think about it, loving someone whom you have never seen and having the faith to believe with confidence that this person can bring salvation are probably the two most difficult things to do. Both require a wisdom and a faith beyond what is humanly possible, especially if you look at these aspects from a so-called mature perspective.

Take a look back at your life.

Was there ever a time when you could display such characteristics in your life? Was there ever a time when you could be so innocent that it was actually possible for you to love without seeing and believe without seeing? I think I now have a better understanding of why Jesus told his disciples the following.

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
(Matthew 18:2-5 (NIV))

The world and all of the sinful natures that we experience take a toll on our innocence. It takes a toll on our ability to love and believe. It takes a toll on our ability to recognize grace and to receive salvation. Don’t allow the world to take away your ability to love. Don’t allow the world to take away your ability to believe. Don’t allow the world to take away the joy of your salvation.

What is it that you will receive?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your belief clouded by doubt?

November 8, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
(James 1:6 (NIV))

Why would anyone bother to ask for something if they didn’t believe that it could be attained?

Why would you ask and then vacillate, or waiver, about what you just asked for?

Think about this concept in the following contexts. From a man’s perspective, how would the following scenarios play out in relationship to the two questions above? Would you ask someone to marry you if you didn’t believe that it could happen? What if you asked someone to marry you and then immediately responded with something like, “Never mind! I didn’t mean it!”? Now, suppose that you then asked again and then changed your mind again.

The first scenario shows your lack of faith while the second scenario shows your lack of decisiveness. Both scenarios reflect negatively on you.

Think about this in terms of asking for something from God.

Why ask God for something if you don’t believe that He can or will do it? We have a tendency to place God in a box of our own design and by so doing, we limit Him to our understanding. If God spoke everything into existence, what makes you think that He is limited in His response to you?

Why ask God for something if you can’t decide what you want to ask Him? We are told that we should approach God with confidence.

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
(Ephesians 3:12 (NIV))

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
(1 John 5:14 (NIV))

With this in mind, let’s take this one step further. When we approach God in confidence, we are told that this is the very definition of faith.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

We must rest assuredly on the promises that we have been given. We must have faith that when we seek God’s will and when we ask for something in confidence according to His will, that it will be done. We must not be clouded in doubt?

Is your belief clouded by doubt?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you strong in the Lord?

October 17, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
(Ephesians 6:10 (NIV))

It is common to refer to something that someone is good at as being one of their strengths. If you were writing a resume, these would be listed at the top where they could be prominently displayed. We all have our own unique strengths. For some people, it is easy to see these strengths. For others, it is not so easy. In most instances, it is easier to see the strengths of others than it is to see our own strengths.

What about spiritual strengths?

Have you ever thought about your spiritual life as a strength?

Have you considered praise and worship a strength?

Have you considered spending time in God’s Word a strength?

Is prayer one of your strong points?

When you spend your life relying on the Lord, the world may see this as a weakness, but it is a strength!

Do you desire to be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power? What does that question mean to you? Does it mean that your faith is strong and you fully rely on God’s promises no matter what the world may say? Does it mean that you have peace? Have you ever thought about the peace of God being one of your strengths?

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (NIV))

Are you strong in the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Has the Lord established your plans?

September 27, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.
(Proverbs 16:3 (NIV))

Why is it so difficult to turn your life over to someone else, even if that someone is the Creator of all things?

When each of us are just a single individual in the vastness of human history, why do we think that we are any different from anyone else? Why do we think that we can achieve what we want when others have not been able to do this? Why do we strive to be greater than our neighbors? Why do we strive to be greater than our friends? Why do we try to establish plans for ourselves without truly understanding who God is and who we are in His creation?

Human nature makes us look at life as if it is ours to do with as we please. We think that we can go here and there without any ramifications. We think that we are free to make decisions and then expect everything to turn out just as we planned. Have any of us truly ever asked God to tell us His reason, His purpose for creating us? Would you be surprised to find that you are racing down a path that you were never intended to travel?

God did create us to have free will. We do have the option of doing with our lives as we please, but how does that make you feel? Do you still have an emptiness inside? Do you feel as if your life has no purpose?

Be still, and know that I am God
(Psalm 46:10a (NIV))

We all need to spend time in God’s presence. As we get to know God, He will give us insight into ourselves. He will give us insight into His plans for us. As we get to know God, we will find that we want to align our lives, we will want to commit whatever we do to the Lord. He will then establish His plans for our lives.

Has the Lord established your plans?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you keep within your sight?

August 23, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion;
(Proverbs 3:21 (NIV))

Is it just me, or has the world lost wisdom, understanding, sound judgment and discretion?

I realize that these things still exist, but it appears that they exist in far less abundance than they used to when I was younger. If you don’t believe me, all that you have to do is look at the warnings that manufacturers are putting on products as a result of people not using common sense. Everyone knows that coffee is hot, so why do we have to have cups emblazoned with “CAUTION! Contents are hot” in large type? Perhaps this example is a good thing to consider when you look at the other three characteristics. Understanding that coffee is hot leads to wisdom so that you are careful. You use sound judgment so that you don’t do something that will result in you spilling the hot coffee. You use discretion as to when and how you open or drink so you don’t hurt yourself.

Is it my imagination, or do all of these characteristics actually imply, actually require personal responsibility?

Now that I have come to this understanding, I believe that I now know why there is a decreasing amount of Godly wisdom, understanding, sound judgment and discretion. There is a dwindling number of people who are willing to accept personal responsibility for any of their actions, so why should spiritual characteristics and actions be any different?

Accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is a choice!

Following Jesus is a choice!

Accepting and understanding the truth in God’s Word is a choice!

We will keep things in our sight that we choose to keep in our sight.

What do you keep within your sight?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you consider yourself?

August 21, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
(Philippians 2:5-7 (NIV))

Do you ever feel that you are special, that you are of greater value than other people? Do you feel this way about other members of the Body of Christ? Do you find yourself thinking that because someone is not on a certain church committee that you are of more importance than they are? Do you find yourself thinking that because you give more that you are more important than anyone else?

What does that say about your understanding of the Gospel? What does that say about you?

It is human nature to brag and to gloat, but that is not a Christlike nature. We are to overcome the world and do as Jesus taught us. If anyone has a right to brag and to gloat and to be prideful, it would be Jesus. Did he brag about being the Son of God? Did He gloat about being the Word made flesh? Did He ever respond with an attitude of arrogance and pride by claiming to be the Son of God? Jesus, who had every right if anyone ever had a right, was humble and willingly took on the nature of a servant. Why do we, the creation, feel that we have to elevate ourselves and try to make ourselves something that we are not, something that we could never be? Why do we feel that we have to feel superior to everyone else when we are far from righteous.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

Most days I hate being human!

I know that I need to explain this statement. I will start by saying that I love life for it is a wonderful gift. I love family, friends and people in general. It is the fallen, sinful nature of being human that I hate. I see things in the world that I know break God’s heart. I see things in my life that I know break God’s heart.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
(Romans 7:15 (NIV))

When we see ourselves as more important than someone else, do you think that it breaks God’s heart?

How do you consider yourself?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your faith strong enough to proclaim that to die is gain?

August 18, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
(Philippians 1:21 (NIV))

Are these just words to you or are they a true reflection of your heart and your desires?

I realize that we all love our lives, for they are a precious gift, but how much do you love your life? Do you live your life for Jesus, or do you live your life for yourself? Do you strive to walk in His light in all that you do, or do you seek your own sinful road for your life? Do you long to be with Him, or do you never want to stand before Him? I realize that al of these questions pose scenarios that are extreme opposites, but we need to consider that these are the type of reactions that people have to Jesus. They run the full range of responses. For some people, their responses may change on a daily basis.

The word “gain” means to increase in amount or magnitude. For those who don’t believe in Jesus, they have trouble understanding how dying could be considered gain. They see death as the end of all things. For those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, death is just the beginning of an eternity with God. It brings the promise of redemption from a sentence of spiritual death to an eternity of spiritual life where there is no pain, no tears and no death. It takes faith to believe that this is gain. I would also venture to say that is takes faith to believe that there is nothing. Personally, I know where my faith lies.

Is your faith strong enough to proclaim that to die is gain?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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