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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Does your life validate your claim?

June 26, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.
(1 John 2:6 (NIV))

Everyone is familiar with the old saying, “Actions speak louder than words!” Basically, it is possible to say one thing but have your actions say something completely different. A good example of this is saying that you want to help the poor and then when you think that no one is looking, you yell at a homeless person to get a job. Actions like this prove that all too often, what you say and what you do contradict each other.

I would not want to be thought of in this way even if I didn’t profess a faith in Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior!

I have heard several accounts of when followers of Jesus were first called Christians. One account says that the word “Christian” was a derogatory name that meant little Christs. Others convey a meaning of simply being a follower of Christ. Still others believe that it simply meant that those who were called by that name were anointed. No matter what you believe is the true root of the word, the meanings behind them carry a much deeper context. Think about that and apply each of these meanings to your life.

Do you act like a little Christ? If Jesus is your Lord and Savior, He is also your brother. Do you emulate your brother?

Do you act like a follower of Christ? If Jesus is your role model, do you strive to be like Him?

Do you act like you are anointed? If you believe in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then you have these words to define your status.

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

No matter which way you look at the origin of the word “Christian,” it should be looked upon as a badge of honor. it should be looked upon as a designation that you strive to follow Jesus in all that you do – both in word and in deed. With this in mind, I want to ask the following.

Do you claim to be a Christian?

Does your life validate your claim?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you look to the Son?

June 18, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
(John 6:35-40 (NIV))

These were powerful words for the Jews to hear some 2000 years ago. They are still powerful words for the world to hear today. Salvation is such a simple gift from God, yet today, as then, many people have studied themselves into a box in which they have applied their own meaning or someone else’s meaning to God’s plan.

The Jews had the Torah and the Pentateuch to point them to Jesus as the Messiah, yet, they had studied and applied their misguided logic to God’s Word to the point that they did not understand what was happening right in front of them. Today, we have the benefit of 2000 years of history to prove that Jesus was and is who He said. There is more historical evidence to validate the Resurrection than there is to validate that any of us live, yet people fail to see the Truth when it is right in front of them.

The Jews who heard these words did not believe them then.

They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, `I came down from heaven’?”
(John 6:42 (NIV))

Do you believe them now?

People have been blinded to the Truth ever since Jesus came to earth. We must pray that they have their eyes open before He comes the second time!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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I pray that no one rages against wise judgment!

January 13, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire;
He rages against all wise judgment.
(Proverbs 18:1 (NKJV))

Wisdom is often in the eyes of the person seeking it. If a person denies the wisdom of God, he will turn from God and seek after what he desires. Eventually, a person who seeks his own desires will seek out others who have the same desires. This is out of a need to validate these desires, for inwardly, they know that these desires are wrong. They seek out others with these desires to try and prove to themselves that they are not wrong.

Proverbs speaks of isolating yourself from others. What is implied is that the other people are Godly people who wish to do the will of God and seek after God in all things. This is the wisdom that is raged against. This is the wisdom that is looked upon as foolishness, and the foolishness that they desire is looked upon as wisdom.

The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
there is no one who does good.
(Psalms 14:1(NIV))

If, in isolation, we seek after our own desires, then it is wise to seek after fellowship with people who are believers and wish to obey God’s Word. This is so that we do not turn towards our own desires and turn from the true wisdom that only comes from God.

It is human nature to seek after what we long for in our hearts. We must fill our hearts with the things that God would have us long for.

What is in your heart that you desire?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you spend time searching God’s Word?

August 16, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
(Acts 17:11 (NIV))

Do you believe everything that you see or do you search for confirmation?

Sometimes, the English language just can’t express what was recorded in the original language, or sometimes there are just more ways to say the same thing. I like the following translation. It gets right to the point.

They searched the Scriptures day by day to check up on Paul and Silas, to see if they were really telling the truth.
(Acts 17:11 (NLT))

In other words, they wanted to make sure that Paul and Silas were not making things up. They verified their teachings. Let’s face it, just because someone teaches doesn’t mean they know the truth. If you don’t believe this, simply look at what is going on in the world.

Test everything. Hold on to the good.
(1 Thessalonians 5:21 (NIV))

What do we use as a benchmark to test against?

Sadly, the world uses whatever criteria they find appropriate at the time. There is no set standard in the eyes of too many people in this world.

There is a standard!

It is unwavering. It is constant. It is infallible.

It is God’s Word!

The Body of Christ must learn to validate, to verify, everything against Scripture. God will not contradict Himself. He will not say that something is a sin and then change His mind and say that it is no linger a sin because society has changed. Where is the truth in that? Where is the firm foundation upon which we can build an unshakable faith?

If we don’t know God’s Word and search it daily, how can we distinguish between the lies of the enemy and the truth of God’s Word?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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