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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Has your love matured to this level?

December 6, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV))

Have you ever given any thought to this passage and asked yourself why love is the greatest of these?

I realize that 1 Corinthians 13 defines characteristics that we all long to possess, but if you read through it carefully, you realize that these characteristics, no matter how desirable, are useless and meaningless if they are not accompanied by love.

Can we speak eloquently and have hatred in our hearts? Can we possess head knowledge and understanding of God’s Word and what He says will happen and still feel no compassion for those who are not saved? Can we possess a faith in Jesus and still have anger and animosity in our hearts? Is it possible to firmly believe, yet not care for others? Can we claim that we have hope for an eternity with the Lord and still neglect to share Jesus with others?

Each of these scenarios paints a picture of people who truly do possess desirable characteristics, yet, they all lack one crucial aspect.

Love!

Love is the manifestation of all that is best. Love places others above yourself. Love is the culmination of the desire to see others lifted up. In essence, love can be defined as putting your faith and your hope into action for the benefit of others.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

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))

To me, this type of love is the result of a mature faith and hope. Has your love matured to this level?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your definition of wisdom?

November 30, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
(Proverbs 9:10 (NIV))

What is wisdom?

The world thinks of wisdom as a cunning or shrewdness in a particular area such as business. What passes as wisdom in this world is of no consequence in the eyes of God. The wisdom of the world is fleeting and foolish, for it passes in the blink of an eye. Even intellectual wisdom is fleeting. The “smartest” person in the world can lose it all in the blink of an eye if they are in an accident that causes brain damage.

Just what is wisdom?

True wisdom comes only from acknowledging that we are not “gods” of our own destiny and circumstances. We do not control our lives the way worldly wisdom claims that we do. What happens to worldly wisdom once that person dies without Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior? It may be remembered for a short time, but, it too will die and the person who was considered wise will spend eternity apart from God.

True wisdom acknowledges God and His mastery over all things. It not only says that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, it accepts Jesus’ authority as Lord and Master as well as Savior. With this acknowledgement and acceptance comes true wisdom, for the Holy Spirit will fill you with what is of God. The Holy Spirit proceeds with teaching and guiding you in all things that matter for eternity and not for the next few days, weeks, months, or years.

True wisdom focuses on the eternal Kingdom of God and not on the temporary personal kingdoms that we all try to establish for ourselves.

What is your definition of wisdom?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you found the Lord?

October 17, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
(Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV))

What usually happens when you do something halfheartedly?

Think about this in relationship to things that you have done in your life. Think about that book report that you did in school. You know the one that I am talking about. Everyone has one. It is the one where you didn’t even read the book that you had to do the report on. How did that turn out for you? Think about the job interview that you went on where you didn’t even know what the company did. It is safe to say that the interview probably did not go well. What about your first date? What about your attempt at learning to play an instrument? What about your attempt to lose weight? What about your commitment to go to the gym?

Success at anything requires a passion, a commitment, a desire to see it completed. Typically, this can be equated to a human trait in which you want that goal more than anything else in the world. If you have trouble with this concept, simply think of your first school crush and the amount of time that you spent pining away over that person.

How is your relationship with the Lord?

Do you treat this relationship halfheartedly or do you seek Him with all your heart?

For those who play an instrument or are good at a sport, you had to spend time acquainting yourself with the basics, and then you progressed to more advanced understanding, and then you moved to understanding the subtle nuances of your passion’s focus. The very same thing is true of seeking a relationship with the Lord. It requires the commitment. It requires a passion for the Lord. When you have a passion for something, do you stop short of your goal?

Have you found the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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If patience is a virtue, are you a virtuous person?

October 11, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

Are you as patient with God as He is with you? Would you apply the same patience and attitude in waiting for God as He does in waiting for you?

Be thankful that He is a patient and righteous God. We, in our limited understanding, are not patient. We expect everything “NOW” and are not prepared to truly be patient. We have a limited life on earth, limited reasoning and limited understanding. God has eternal life, is all seeing and all knowing. From God’s perspective, He is not slow. He has all of eternity. Our short lives on this planet are just that:

“As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field;”
(Psalm 103:15)

If patience is a virtue, are you a virtuous person?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have enough faith to understand?

October 1, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
(Hebrews 11:3 (NIV))

What is your opinion of how the universe was formed?

Do you believe the current views from the worldly scientific community or do you believe that God created everything?

Which of these scenarios is more difficult to believe?

The worldly scenario states that all of the matter in all of the universe was in one location and suddenly exploded sending it off to eventually form what we see? Where did all of this matter come from to begin with? How old is this matter? How did it get collected into one place? What made it explode? What made the matter come together after the explosion to form the stars and the planets? There are many more questions that could be asked and the world doesn’t have an answer. It seems to me that they have established their own religion, their own set of faith beliefs that leave more questions asked than answered.

The Biblical scenario states the following.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
(Genesis 1:1 (NIV))

This only presents one question, and that question, if answered incorrectly, leads people to believe the worldly scenario of creation.

Who is God?

This single question either leads people to have more faith in their own understanding or it leads them to the one who is Creator of all things. It leads them to either believe that God exists or that everything is here purely by accident!

Personally, I find it so much easier to answer the one question than to answer the countless questions that the worldly scenario presents. I find it easier to understand that God is an eternal being who is spirit and truth. I find it easier to understand that God is all powerful and that He is good. I find it easier to understand that God is able to speak things into existence and that He is able to create things that are visible out of nothing! Once I understand that, everything else makes sense.

Can you say that about the worldly scenario and the few questions I previously brought up? Where did all of the matter come from? How did it all get in one location? How old is it? What made it explode? I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that it requires more faith, although misguided, to believe the worldly scenario. Think about that in relationship to one more question. How many explosions have you seen that resulted in something being created?

I fully place my faith and my understanding in the fact that the universe was formed at God’s command.

Do you have enough faith to understand?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is it that you sing of?

September 28, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.
(Psalms 59:16 (NIV))

It is said that everyone has a song in their heart and that it is a direct reflection of what matters most to you. That makes perfect sense when you consider your heart reflects your treasure.

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

The song in your heart is about what makes you happy. It is about what brings you joy in life. It is always about the thing that you place as number one in your life. Just as radio stations are categorized by different genre and play many songs in that genre, our hearts can have multiple songs all related to what brings you joy. For some, this is family. For others, this is worldly matters. Sadly, for many, this is themselves. The greatest song that you can place in your heart is the song where you proclaim your love for the Lord and the power of the Lord over your life. When this is your greatest song, everything that is within your heart will reflect this treasure. You will be filled with such an amazing joy. You will also have peace!

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

One more point to consider.

If you are angry at the world, what song comes out of your heart? Have you ever noticed that when you have joy and peace, you always seem to have a song in your heart that reflects the joy that you feel? What happens when the true reason for that joy and peace is the Lord?

What is it that you sing of?

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