What is your reason for living?

January 12, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me.
(Psalms 119:175 (NIV))

People want to live for many different reasons. Some want to see the world. Some want to fall in love and get married. Some want to start a business or write a book. Some want to see their children grow up. Some want to be rich while others want to be famous. Others simply want to leave their mark on the world by making people happy.

How about you?

What makes you want to get up each morning and live the day to the fullest?

What are you focused on that gives you a reason for living?

Have you ever said anything like what the psalmist wrote? Have you ever said that you want to live so that you can praise God?

After reading this passage and thinking about it, why don’t we ever give this as a reason for living? We owe our very existence to God for He created us. We owe our very intellect to God for He created us to have wisdom and free will. We owe so much to God and most of us simply take everything that He has done for us for granted. We look at our lives and we think that what we have is of our own doing.

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))

If we are unclean and the best that we can do is like filthy rags, how can we be responsible for anything good in our lives? When we look in the mirror we should not think that we have it made. We should be thankful that we are capable of claiming Jesus as our Lord and Savior. For everything that God has done for us, including send His only begotten Son, Jesus, to die so that we could live, we should be eternally thankful. We should lift Him up in praise. We should acknowledge that He alone is our reason for living.

What is your reason for living?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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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Do you face trials with joy?

November 7, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
(James 1:2-3 (NIV))

From a human perspective, why would we consider facing trials something to be joyful about?

Trials make us uncomfortable!

Trials make us shed the comfort and safety of the known. They push the envelope and make us extend our boundaries. Trails make us get off of the couch and take action. Trials make us go beyond the known and step gingerly into the unknown.

In all honesty, trials actually make us grow and mature!

I realize that this may sound unconventional, but it is true. The trials that we face can have a very big impact on our lives if we allow them to mature us and to mature our faith. If you don’t face trials, your life will be one in which you feel that you are entitled to everything. If you don’t face trials, you will never know the pleasure of relying on something called faith. If you don’t face trials, how can we draw closer to God, after all, human nature seeks a place to turn to when things don’t go as we want them to go? If you think about this, facing trials with joy goes very well with the following passage.

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))

I don’t know about you, but I find great joy in knowing that Jesus has overcome the world. Armed with this little tidbit of wisdom, I try to make myself be joyful no matter what may come my way. I don’t always succeed right away, but eventually I come to my senses and begin to see and understand the joy through the trials and the troubles. After all, the cause of all of my trials and troubles has been overcome by Jesus!

Do you face trials with joy?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you possess peace, quietness and confidence?

October 9, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.
(Isaiah 32:17 (NIV))

This passage is taken from a book that talks about the coming righteousness and how the ways of the world will be turned upside down.

No longer will the fool be called noble
nor the scoundrel be highly respected.
(Isaiah 32:5 (NIV))

It also talks about the desert becoming fertile. In other words, righteousness will bring wisdom and blessing to an area that was lacking. It is recognized that Isaiah often spoke of the coming of the Messiah and how the world would be once He returns. If you read this passage from a personal level, it has so many wonderful implications!

Think about this when answering these questions.

Have you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?

Have you fully embraced the righteousness that is yours through the grace and mercy freely given through Jesus?

Have you been given an inner peace that passes all understanding? Has the Holy Spirit given you a guietness in your soul? Do you have confidence in your salvation?

Isaiah’s words are much deeper than many people will admit. God’s Word is much deeper than many people will admit. The more that we draw near to God, the deeper the understanding that we are given. That understanding will bring righteousness and that righteousness will bring fruit into your lives. Take a look at your own life.

Do you possess peace, quietness and confidence?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What season and time is it?

September 1, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
(Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV))

What time do you think that it is?

We are told there are many different times that God has planned for.

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3:2-8 (NIV))

I realize that some of these are not very pleasant. I realize that we experience all of them to some extent in our individual lives. Collectively, we seem to experience them as well. With all that is going on in the world right now, it seems as though we experience many of these on a daily basis. I have often wondered if there was any particular reason for the order of these events in these verses. I have also wondered how I am expected to react in each of these pairings of events. Each element in each pairing is the polar opposite from the other element in the pairing. Is God telling us that we will experience every possible situation in our lives and this is how He explained it by giving us many extremes of the same thing?

Life is precious!

Sadly, due to the fall from grace, we will experience life’s extremes. We will see things that will give us unimaginable joy and the very next minute, we will see things that bring us unimaginable pain.

I love the outlook that a friend has about life. He says that “I have never had a bad day. I have had some bad things happen on a good day, but I have never had a bad day!” If you believe that life is precious, then I pray that you see the wisdom in these words the next time that you face some of life’s extremes.

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 would Jesus respond to you?

June 20, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”
(Luke 5:22-24 (NIV))

Can you imagine how these people felt after this transpired? They were simply thinking about trying to confront Jesus and He called them out for it!

What if this happened to you? How would you react if someone you had never met clearly singled you out for what you were thinking? Would you feel belittled? Would you feel bewildered? Would you be thinking, “How does he know what I am thinking?”

Did you notice that Jesus had started out with words? Once these events transpired, He escalated to action. He had the paralyzed man get up and walk!

He had healed the paralyzed man! He performed an action that they had never seen before. Jesus stepped into His role as God with us and had compassion and mercy on the man. He did not leave the man in the same condition as he was in when Jesus found him.

Isn’t that just like Jesus?

He ridicules the unbeliever and performs a miracle for those in need. Perhaps the word ridicules is a little strong, but the concept is that Jesus knows our thoughts and He answers with what is appropriate. For those seeking to mock Him, He displays wisdom and power. For those seeking His touch, He displays grace and mercy.

How would Jesus respond to you?

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