How are you known?

November 13, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
(John 13:35 (NIV))

After reading this passage, I have a very difficult question for you to consider!

Is there someone in the church that you do not love?

I started to ask this question using the following words. Is there someone in your church that you do not love? I quickly realized one thing that was drastically wrong with that wording, for it is not your church. It is not my church. It is THE church. It is the Body of Christ! It is not your body. It is not my body! We cannot claim ownership.

What we can claim, by the grace and mercy shown on the cross, is membership in the body!

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
(Romans 12″3-8 (NIV))

Do you hate your physical body?

We may have parts of our physical bodies that grow weak with age, but do we hate these parts? If we have a knee that can no longer support the weight that it once could, we do not inflict damage and hurt upon that knee. Do we hate the knee and reject it because it is not capable of doing what it once could? On the contrary, we bandage the knee. We treat the knee with care and sympathy. We do not inflict more pain and anguish upon it.

Why do we even think about doing this with other members of the Body of Christ? We should love each other just as Jesus has loved us! Do you wish to be known as the member of the Body who hates the knee?

How are you known?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you offer God only your second best?

March 3, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the Lord Almighty.
(Malachi 1:8 (NIV))

Let’s put this in a modern context.

When you give out of what you have left, is that truly giving with a cheerful heart?

When you give out of your rejects, are you truly giving or are you throwing away what you don’t want?

When you do less than what is expected, even though you can do much more that what is expected, is that right?

When you allow others to do for you and you take the credit, is that right?

When you give to God as an afterthought, what does that say about your motives and your heart?

I hope that you know exactly how God feels about this type of giving. Would you treat your family in this manner? Would you treat your friends in this manner? What if God had treated us in his manner? What if God had given us His second best? What if He had decided not to send His Son, Jesus, to walk among us and to be an atoning sacrifice for our sins?

What if God had decided that we weren’t worth His best?

Think about that. Where would that leave each of us? It took God’s best to atone for our sins. Why do we think that we can give less than our best to thank God for giving us His best?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are your motives?

February 10, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
(James 4:3 (NIV))

Do you consider yourself to be selfish?

If you are like me, you have probably glossed over this question with a halfhearted response that, if you said it out loud, would sound weak and pathetic. Let’s face the truth. If you are human, then you are selfish. The proper question to ask yourself is to what degree does your selfishness surface in your life? Do you go through life throwing temper tantrums because you didn’t get your way and get all that you wanted, or do you face the reality that you can’t have everything that you want?

What do you pray for?

If you recorded your prayers and had someone else listen to them, would you be embarrassed by what you ask for in your prayers? Would they come across as self-centered?

I believe that every single one of us needs to truly take a long, hard look at our motives. We all have ulterior motives for doing the things that we do. Some of us do better at subjugating our ulterior motives, but we all still have them.

Perhaps we should pray the words of David as part of our daily struggle to have righteous motives.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
(Psalm 51:10 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you know what you do?

September 28, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
(James 4:17 (NKJV))

Everyone sins! There is no mistaking that one simple truth. However, if you do not know that what you are doing is wrong, then your accountability is not the same as someone who does know that it is wrong. This fact has even been applied even in our justice system. Consider someone who does not have their full mental capacity. If they do something wrong, they are “allowed” a less severe punishment due to their inability to understand and comprehend their actions. There is still a punishment for their actions, yet, it is not as severe as it would be for someone who fully comprehends the consequences.

Knowledge of sin is a knowledge that, unfortunately, we must all have since we are the descendants of a sinful nature. There is no escaping this nature. We can try to do what is good and righteous in the eyes of God, but we will fail. It is a wise person who realizes this and asks for forgiveness. Perhaps that is the test of ultimate knowledge. When we realize that we are not capable of goodness on our own, and that we need forgiveness for the things that we do wrong even when we know they are wrong.

This is why God sent us His Son, Jesus. Jesus is our atoning sacrifice for all of the things that we do wrong. By earnestly calling upon Jesus as our salvation, we have come to the realization of the ultimate knowledge – the knowledge that we are sinners in need of a Savior.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you express your love?

September 21, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.
(Isaiah 1:16-17 (NIV))

I want you to think back upon your childhood. Who was it that you looked up to? Who was it that you wanted to grow up to be like?

Chances are that the person you wanted to be like possessed characteristics that could have been reflected in the words of Isaiah. They were an inspiration to be around. It is probably safe to say that most people also enjoyed their company. They stood for what they knew to be right. They lived their lives not for themselves, but for the people that they came into contact with.

Think about those people in your life who have filled this position. What made them do what they did?

Now, take a look at your life. Have you come to embody the characteristics that these other people possessed? Do you strive to fulfill the words of Isaiah 1:16-17. Even though this was hundreds of years before Jesus came, the characteristics are the very ones that Jesus embodied. Hundreds of years before Jesus came to live out these words, God was giving us a glimpse of how He wants us to live. In our society, it is becoming rare for someone to place others first. Placing others first is a sign of love. This love is the highest form of love, for it is an intentional act. It places the welfare of someone else above the welfare of the giver.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
(John 13:34-35 (NIV))

How do you express your love?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will God reward you for your integrity?

May 10, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Guard my life and rescue me;
let me not be put to shame,
for I take refuge in you.
May integrity and uprightness protect me,
because my hope is in you.
(Psalms 25:20-21 (NIV))

God rewards integrity! Do what is right in the sight of the Lord, and you will not go wrong. Our hope is built on the faithfulness of God. He has proven that faithfulness through the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. His promise was kept, just as all of His promises are kept. We must strive to keep all of the promises that we make. We must not make these promises in vain. We must carefully consider what we promise. We must weigh our promises against God’s Word and if it fits within God’s Word, we should say that we will do it.

Simply let your `Yes’ be `Yes,’ and your `No,’ `No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
(Matthew 5:37)

Integrity comes when we do what we say we will do. Do not try to emphasize something by drawing attention to it. Simply, do what is right in God’s eyes and do it without drawing attention to yourself. Do it to reflect the fact that you are a child of God, and you have the Holy Spirit within you reflecting the Light of the Father.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready and waiting?

February 1, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
(Luke 12:35-40 (NIV))

Are you ready?

Do you grow tired of waiting?

Two simple questions, yet, they seem to summarize a person’s walk with Jesus.

What does it take to be ready for Jesus? Perhaps it is a good idea to read the letters to the seven churches in Revelation. Jesus told them specifically what they were doing right and what they were doing wrong. Most of the praise was focused on the steadfastness of the churches that held to the teachings of Jesus. They held true to the Word and did not compromise. They did not pollute their lives with the evils of the day. They stayed true to the Word. Sadly, there were churches that received instructions to repent. These churches were not holding fast to the truth within God’s Word. They allowed society to influence them. They adapted their beliefs to those of the societies in which they lived. They added to or took away from the truth of God’s Word as it benefited them in the society in which they lived. They changed God’s Word to benefit themselves. In other words, they compromised!

Which way is the way that God desires? It is clear that He desires for us to hold fast to His Word. We are not to compromise what is truth in order to thrive or even survive in this world. With this truth in mind, are you ready?

With what is going on in this world, do you grow tired of waiting?

Think about that for a moment. I long to see Jesus come for His church, His bride, yet, I know that the timing is not up to me. There are times when I would love to escape the things of this world, but I realize that escape is not what I am called to do. I am to persevere. I am to press on toward the prize, and while I press on, I am to share the Gospel with any and all who will hear. It is true that I grow weary at times, but it is at those times that test my faith, my perseverance. Do I honestly believe in Jesus or do I simply give lip service that will change at the first sign of things not going as I expect them to go?

I have a mission. I have a task just as everyone who has professed a faith in Jesus has a task. We are to spread the Gospel. We are to persevere till His return. Do we give up on our task? Do we grow tired of waiting even though we are told that no man knows the hour or the day?

When you find yourself where you doubt your readiness, look up! When you find yourself where you doubt your ability to persevere, look up! If we keep our eyes focused on Jesus, He will make sure that we are ready and He will give us the strength and patience to persevere!

Are you ready and waiting?

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