How is your walk?

July 21, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.
(1 John 2:3-6 (NIV))

How many of us, after reading this passage, stopped in our tracks because of the implications that these words have on our lives?

Do you profess a faith in Jesus?

Now, the difficult questions.

Do you always do what He commands? Do you always profess the truth about Jesus to others? Do you always obey His word? Is God’s love made complete in you?

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

We are still sinners. The only difference is that we have been granted grace through the atoning blood of Jesus. We will stumble, but we are forgiven. We will fall short, but we have been offered grace. It is only human nature to be less than perfect. It is when we seek to not be perfect that grace is not accepted, and we choose to walk in a different direction.

Think about your life since you learned to walk. Have you spent every step in perfection, or have you tripped and fallen. Did you desire to lay where you landed and never walk again, or did you pick yourself up and strive to put one foot in front of the other once again? Now, do you think that you will ever trip and fall again as you traverse this world? I honestly doubt that any of us can step perfectly all the days of our lives.

Think about that with respect to your spiritual walk with Jesus. Think about the woman caught in adultery. Think about Zacheus. Think about Simon Peter and his denial of Jesus three times. Did Jesus deny grace and salvation to these people, or did He realize that humanity is frail and that we will falter along our paths?

Our walk of faith is not an easy one. It will be filled with distractions, obstacles and false starts. However, it is a matter of our heart that is what Jesus looks at. If we desire to do His will and to walk in His light, then when we do fail, we will desire to pick ourselves up and take the steps necessary to get us back on His path. We will earnestly desire to walk with Jesus.

How is your walk? Are you striving to maintain your spiritual course?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you stand?

July 20, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If you do not stand firm in your faith,
you will not stand at all
(Isaiah 7:9b (NIV))

I find myself trying to avoid this, but, I seem to be regressing to my high school English class. I find myself in a battle trying to avoid diagramming this sentence, especially the verb and adverb combination found in the words “stand firm.” Typically, when you see the word “stand,” you do not think of an action verb, after all, we do not associate action with standing. However, in this particular case, it is an action verb. We cannot be passive in our faith.

We are responsible for our actions. This is also true of our faith actions.

One of my all time favorite quotes is from a man named Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

“Dietrich Bonhoeffer was one of the few church leaders who stood in courageous opposition to the Fuehrer and his policies”* during World War II. *(http://www.ushmm.org/museum/exhibit/online/bonhoeffer/)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer stated that, “Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.” I sincerely believe this to be true. In fact, I have this quote at a prominent place on my computer so that I see it every time I sit down to spend time in God’s Word.

We can read and know what is right. We can study and recite what we know to be true. We can quote scripture and put on a good appearance, but, if we do not stand firm in our faith and put it into action, we fail. We must recognize that sharing the Gospel is our responsibility. If we do not do it, then it will not get done. Jesus left us that task. It is our action that may determine the salvation of someone else. It is our willingness to stand firm in our faith that may keep us from faltering. It is our responsibility!

Responsibility requires action. We cannot simply stand and allow the world to happen to us. We must stand firm. We must accept our responsibility to stand firm in our faith in Jesus.

How do you stand? Are you active or passive?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Good Instructions

July 19, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV))

Not too many years ago someone wrote and published a book by the title of “Life’s Little Instruction Book.” It sold a considerable number of copies. What I wonder is where did they get their instructions from?

This book, of course, was not the definitive answer book to all of life’s questions or problems. There is a book, though, that is!

When Paul wrote these words to Timothy, he stated a truth that many have taken to heart throughout the years. The Scriptures, or what we call the Bible, is God inspired and is there for our use to teach us, correct us and train us in righteousness.

There are two types of people in this world. There are those that accept God’s “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth” and those who reject them. True, there are varying degrees of acceptance, and even different interpretations of the Scriptures, but it still comes down to whether you accept them or not. Another issue that hinges on this acceptance is whether you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. If you do not, then your Scripture stops half way through the lessons.

Do you accept the whole instruction book, or do you pick and choose what you will follow?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Beware deceptive words

July 16, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless.
(Jeremiah 7:8 (NIV))

Why do we trust in things that are not true?

Jeremiah spoke to the Israelites what God wanted him to say. Many people were doing exactly that – trusting in deceptive words. I honestly think that we, as a nation, are doing exactly the same thing as the nation of Israel did. We are putting our trust in things that we should not trust. We are doing things that we should not be doing. We are living our lives as if we were the ones who decide what is right and what is wrong.

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Stand at the gate of the LORD’s house and there proclaim this message:
” `Hear the word of the LORD, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship the LORD. This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place. Do not trust in deceptive words and say, “This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD!” If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your forefathers for ever and ever.
(Jeremiah 7:1-7 (NIV))

Deceptive words!

How can we expect God to bless this nation, when we don’t bless God with what we hear and what we see? Think about that for a moment. Think about the history of Israel and hopefully you will see God’s truth about deception and turning to other gods. When Israel lost sight of who they worshipped and whose they were, the nation suffered. Only when they turned back to God did the nation prosper. In recent years, this nation has turned to deceptive words and ways, and now we are suffering. The world, and false gods, have taken over our society. People worship money, fame, power and many other things. Many still profess a faith in Jesus, but what is the priority when we sit in church and think about how we can make more money than the next person? Do thoughts about a new car, or a promotion, or a vacation find their way into your mind when you are in worship? Our deceptive words may be our own selfish thoughts and desires.

`Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, “We are safe”–safe to do all these detestable things? Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the LORD.
(Jeremiah 7:9-11 (NIV))

We all like to place our trust in many things. We want to trust in the economy. We want to trust in government. We want to trust in our family. We seem to place our trust in things that are human in nature, and as such, are prone to fail. We say that we trust in God, yet, we are removing Him more and more from our lives. When we remove God, we are doing the very things that Jeremiah spoke to the Israelites about. We can’t live our lives without God and contrary to God, and then put on a smile and attend church and expect everything to be a blessing.

We need to turn to God and follow His leading.

If someone like Jeremiah came today to this nation, would we listen? Would we believe? It is my prayer that we do listen and we do believe. God gave us His Word to guide us. We aren’t listening to His word like we should.

What deceptive words do you need to let go of?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Foolish?

July 15, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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))

The world thinks that people who believe in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior are the fools.

Take a look at their deeds!

They do whatever they want. They call evil good and what we know to be good, they call evil. Their deeds truly are vile. They lust in their hearts. They place themselves above all others. They think of themselves as their own gods. They do whatever they desire without thinking about the consequences to themselves or to anybody around them.

Just who is the fool?

God gave David words of wisdom and truth. What was wise and true in his lifetime is still wise and true today. Truth does not change. What does change is our perception of the truth. When humanity thought that the world was flat, did that make it flat? Today, when people say that Jesus is not who He claimed to be, does that make it any different from what we know to be the truth?

We, as believers, can let the world think that we are the fools, for their judgment of us is not what matters. What we must do is pray that they will come to the truthful realization that David spoke of them long ago. We must pray that they will realize that they are the fools for saying that there is no God.

Don’t be a fool in the eyes of God!

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you guarded by the peace of God?

July 14, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV))

Are your heart and mind guarded?

I know that this may sound like a ridiculous question, but think about that for a moment. Does the peace of God guard your heart and mind?

It is human nature to be anxious. It is human nature to pace the floor over things that are out of your control. It is human nature to worry over things that will take their own natural course.

Don’t get me wrong. Everybody worries now and then. It takes a strong faith to not worry. Perhaps it takes some episodes where you do find yourself worrying to make you realize that worry will not change a thing. I have been in hospital emergency rooms worrying about my family. I have been in situations were I find myself worrying about finances. Looking back, I realize that all of my worrying had no effect on the outcome. I learned an important lesson through my worrying. The world is still here. My family is still here. I am still here. God is still good.

God is still good!

He never changes. He knows what we can handle. He knows what will happen before it happens. He knows one thing that we must not forget.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose
(Romans 8:28 (NIV))

If we honestly love God, all things will work for the good of those who love Him. If we have the faith to believe His Word, then why should we worry? We are told to put our trust in Him. We are told to not be afraid.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
(Matthew 10:29-31 (NIV))

I want you to think back on my first question and rethink your answer.

Are your heart and mind guarded by the peace of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Sin

July 13, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. So watch yourselves.
“If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, `I repent,’ forgive him.”
(Luke 17:1-4 (NIV))

Everyone knows and understands that God wants us to live a sin-free life. It is because we, in our frail humanity, cannot live sin-free that Jesus came to redeem us from our sin.

Equally important are two other aspects of sin. We must not cause others to sin through our actions or words and we must forgive those who sin against us just as God has forgiven our sins.

If we cause others to sin, then we have actually sinned ourselves. Does a good deed cause anger? With this same reasoning, what could cause others to sin?

If someone sins against us we should forgive them. What makes us not want to forgive someone? Pride! We are too proud and we think that we are better than the person who sinned against us. Isn’t pride a sin?

God not only longs for us to live a sin-free life, He also does not want sin to enter into our lives in other ways.

Have you caused someone to sin? Have you forgiven everyone who has sinned against you?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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