Don’t be a fool

October 15, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.
(1 John 1:8-10 (NLT))

Have you ever been one of those people who think that everyone else is wrong and you were the only one who didn’t ever mess things up?

Be honest! Everyone thinks that way once in a while, especially when you are confronted with people and situations entirely different from what you are accustom to. It is easy to be an observer and sit back and watch other people and think that you could do it differently, that you could do it better. Perhaps that is the key to this train of thought. When we simply observe, it is human nature to think that we could do it better.

Life is not simply sitting back and observing. It is meant to be lived!

When we live, we will make mistakes. We will sin. We are all guilty of this.

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

We are all part of the fallen creation. Humanity fell from grace because of sin. We cannot escape it except through the grace and mercy granted us through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. If we do not accept this fact, then we are lying to ourselves and we do not accept the truth of God’s Word. In our sin, we sin.

Think back upon your day. Is there anything that you would do differently? Is there anything that you regret? Is there a still, small voice that is telling you that something is wrong?

Don’t be a fool. Accept the truth of your sinful nature and repent.

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

October 14, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
(Isaiah 6:3 (NIV))

There are two basic premises outlined in this passage. Two very true details that we need to fully embrace. How we embrace them determines our whole outlook and understanding of God the Father, Jesus His Son, and the Holy Spirit.

First and foremost, the LORD is holy. I am not certain if the word “holy” is repeated three times because of a subliminal reference to the Trinity, or whether it is repeated simply as a matter of driving the concept home. It may even be both. No matter why it is repeated, we must never forget that the LORD is holy. If we treat God in any way less than holy, we have sinned. We have taken the Creator of all things and redefined Him within our comfort zone. We do not praise Him if we make Him less than He is.

Ouch!

I hate to say this, but human nature finds us doing just that. We have a tendency of not understanding just how magnificent that He is. We tend to define God and our relationship to Him by our own thought processes and our own relationships. God is holy.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

We cannot comprehend God. We must simply trust Him and accept that He is holy.

The second premise that is presented is the fact the the whole earth is full of His glory.

Everywhere that you look, you see wondrous things that God has created. Can man imagine a rainbow into existence? Can humanity divide the waters above from the waters below? Can anybody create a continent and clothe it in the vast splendor that we see?

God’s glory is manifested through His creation. Not only is He holy, but everything that He creates is glorious.

I hope that you fully caught what I just said. Everything that God creates is glorious. God created you and I. It is simple deductive reasoning that allows us to draw the conclusion that we are intended to be glorious. Even though we have fallen from grace through our sin, we are intended to be glorious. Even though we may not always follow God’s call, we are intended to be glorious.

God sent His glory into the world so that we could gain salvation and grace. Jesus, the son of God and the son of man, came into this world so that we could be washed clean and reunited with God in all of His glory.

Holy. Glory.

How do you see God in relationship to these two simple words?

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

October 13, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But Samuel replied [to Saul], “What is more pleasing to the Lord, your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Obedience is far better than sacrifice. Listening to him is much better than offering the fat of rams. Rebelling is as bad as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as bad as worshiping idols.
(1 Samuel 15:22-23 (NLT))

Do you give your weekly “sacrifice” to God by attending church on Sunday morning or do you praise Him with every breath that you take?

Are you so set in your ways that you refuse to listen to the will of God or have you been able to place ego, stubbornness and pride behind you?

What we give to God is a very good measure of where our heart truly lies. If we “give” to God reluctantly when we do give to Him, are we truly able to give what He desires from us? Does this make sense? God desires for us to give Him our all. He wants us to place all of our faith and our trust within His capable hands. When we give Him our “burnt offerings,” could we actually be guilty of the old illusionist trick of smoke and mirrors where we offer God something to distract Him from what we are keeping from Him?

Let’s face facts!

Not a single one of us is an illusionist with skills so great that we can deceive the God who created everything! It is a sin to think otherwise.

Are you still trying to play “smoke and mirrors” with God?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can you find rest in the midst of your burdens?

October 12, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
(Matthew 11:28 (NIV))

The last few days seem like a blur. I know that the verse for yesterday’s devotional was this, but I feel that I am being led to stay on this passage.

What are your burdens? If you are like me, they seem to come in ever increasing torrents. Like I wrote earlier, the last few days seem like a blur. The last twenty four hours are hours that I wish could simply go away. We have all had days that just seem to weigh us down. Professing a faith in Jesus does not make them go away.

“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))

What Jesus does promise is that He will be with us and help us to overcome the trouble.

To the nonbeliever, this sounds like it is an escape. It sounds like we are professing a weakness. It sounds like we are not capable of dealing with our own lives.

It is not an escape. It is hope. It is not a weakness, for professing faith in Jesus requires a commitment. It requires strength to stand up in the midst of troubles and claim something as truth that no one can see. Ironically, though, it is a profession that we are not capable of dealing with our own lives. It is a profession that we need guidance.

Think about that for a moment.

How many have ever decided to experience something new. The first thing you probably did was to find someone who has experienced it before. You wanted to know as much about it as possible. You wanted guidance.

Life is no different. Have you ever experienced the joys and the sadness’ of life before in the same way that you are experiencing them now? You want to turn to someone for guidance. Jesus is that someone. He will be with you as you face the things that burden you. He will be with you as you experience the joys that are a part of life.

Life is a series of highs and lows, of mountain tops and valleys. Jesus doesn’t smooth out the way. He walks with you as you encounter each event in life. Walking with Jesus will not make you life smooth. It will not make your life easy. What it will do is it will make your life a blessing. You will find rest even in the midst of your worst days.

I have seen some bad days. I honestly do not understand how people make it through this life without the saving grace, rest and peace found only in Jesus.

Can you find rest in the midst of your burdens?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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His burden is light!

October 11, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV))

Just a few short days ago, I learned something about the traditions of the Rabbis in Jesus’ time that shed a whole new light upon this passage. I think that it will also make you look at this passage in a different manner.

It is my understanding that from the ages of 6 to 10, young boys would memorize the first five books of the Torah. It is my understanding that the best of these young boys would go on to study and completely memorize what we call the Old Testament. The best of these students would go on to study under a Rabbi and to be his disciple. Only the best of the best could become a Rabbi.

Jesus changed this when He called common men to follow Him. He was telling them that He considered them to be the best of the best. Perhaps that is why many simply dropped everything and followed Him.

The interesting part of this is that each Rabbi had a slightly different interpretation of the Torah. His interpretation was known as his “yoke.” We think of a yoke as the part of the equipment used to hitch an animal to a plow, but in the days of Jesus, it also meant the interpretation of the scriptures. Perhaps it was referred to in this manner because the very act of obeying each command became very burdensome as if you were wearing a yoke.

Carefully consider the words that Jesus spoke. He was telling the Jews of His day that His yoke was easy and that it did not burden them down with the interpretations that others had added. His yoke was true. The burden that His true interpretation of the scriptures placed upon the individual was not a burden of rules and regulations, but an enlightening and empowering one of joy.

It is no wonder why people chose to follow Him. He offered the same thing that He offers today – truth and freedom.

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
(John 8:32 (NIV))

Do you know the truth and the freedom of Jesus’ yoke?

His burden is light!

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

October 8, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD from the heavens,
praise him in the heights above.
Praise him, all his angels,
praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, you highest heavens
and you waters above the skies.
Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for he commanded and they were created.
(Psalms 148:1-5 (NIV))

Praise.

It is human nature to seek after the praise of others. This, coupled with ego and pride, is probably the root cause of many of our sins. Let’s face the truth. We long to be the center of attention. We long to hear people say that they think that we are great. We want to out perform each other so that we will be looked upon as someone great.

Why do we seek after praise?

I honestly believe that it has something to do with the simple fact that we should praise God in all that we do. If Satan came to kill and destroy, then of course he is going to turn something that God intended for good and make it something sinful. In essence, we seek after praise because of our fallen nature. We are emulating the very one who tempted Adam and Eve and caused the fall from grace. Satan wanted to be like God. He wanted to be God. As a result, he and a third of the angels were cast out of heaven.

And we suffer the consequences as a result !

Self praise is following Satan’s example. It makes a statement, a statement that says, “Look at me. I am great.” Who does this sound like?

We can counter this attack from Satan by giving praise where praise is due.

To me, it is very similar in nature to the concept behind Jesus’ words about prayer, for the hypocrites were praying in such a way that they would be thought of as good. They were seeking praise.

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
(Matthew 6:5 (NIV))

There is only one worthy of praise !

Praise the LORD.

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

October 7, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.
(Philippians 2:14-16 (NIV))

How do you react to situations when you find yourself in less than ideal circumstances?

Do you complain or argue?

Let’s face the simple truth. It is human nature to look out for numero uno. It is human nature to see every situation from the “me” perspective. Sadly enough, all too often we react as if we were the only person who mattered. We complain when we feel that we are not getting what we deserve. We argue when we feel that we have to make our point of view understood and accepted.

Just what do we deserve?

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

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))

Because we are all sinners, we deserve far worse than anything we can imagine. We deserve the very punishment that Jesus bore for our sins. By grace, we have been set free. By grace, we are offered salvation. How can we, who have been given everything in exchange for nothing, complain about what we may be facing at this moment?

The next time that you feel the urge to complain or argue, think about what you have been given. Think about what you deserve. I hope that this will make you think twice about your actions.

To put it simply – What would Jesus do?

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

October 6, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV))

Is God a God of miracles?

Do we, as a nation, need miracles and healing?

How many of you see a nation and a society completely different from what it was when you were a child? Do you like what you see? Do you shudder when you see God’s commands being broken and God’s name taken in vain?

We, as the body of Christ, have a choice to make. For too long we have heard the falsehood of “separation of church and state,” but that is not what the founding fathers said, and it is not what God desires. We face attacks from every side and our religious freedoms that were originally written as “Freedom of Religion” have taken on the meaning of “freedom from religion.” How can our society, which statistics show that over 80% profess to be Christian, allow rule of the minority. We have allowed so much to be removed simply because we did not want to offend.

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))

Did Jesus sit idly by while His Father was blasphemed? Did Jesus ignore the little sins because they were not worth His time to teach and correct? Did Jesus allow sin to run rampant in the world, or did He come into the world to do something about it?

Would Jesus have allowed the removal of prayer from schools? Would Jesus have allowed the killing of unborn babies? Would Jesus have allowed the sinner to continue to sin?

Why are we not doing as Jesus did?

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

Jesus prayed !

He prayed for God’s will. He prayed for His disciples. He prayed for the soldiers who crucified Him. He prayed for us!

We, as a nation who proclaim to be a majority of Christians, must do as we are told. We must pray. We must pray and take action. We must return our nation to the principles upon which it was founded. We must also turn from our wicked ways. We all have little “private” sins that we think will hurt no one. We must repent of all sin, both public and private.

Pray for forgiveness. Pray for healing.

Pray that we may once again become the nation that holds our religious history as the truth and not something that we can allow to be changed by simply editing textbooks.

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

October 5, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God “will give to each person according to what he has done.” To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.
(Romans 2:5-11 (NIV))

The old saying “What goes around comes around” is true. If you hold anger and resentment against someone, then it will come back to you when you do not want it to.

God will reward you for your actions and thoughts in His time. No one is immune from this. The same way God allows everyone to have grace through the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, God has granted that everyone will reap the rewards for what they do and think. No matter who you are, God will hold you accountable.

It only matters whose you are, not who you are. If you call on the name of Jesus, then your sins will be forgiven. Once you call on the name of Jesus, no matter who you are, God will work within you through the Holy Spirit to convict and to mature you into what He has called you to be. If you truly have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, and have allowed the Holy Spirit into your life to work God’s will, then you will not want to store up wrath. He will remove it from you. But, if you have not let go of your wrath, then you have not fully allowed Jesus into your life.

Jesus was our example. He did not show wrath or any other unrighteous actions or thoughts. Do not confuse wrath with anger. Jesus was angered by the money changers in the Temple. He overturned their tables. But He did not let this anger grow into a vengeful wrath that consumed His life.

God gave us all of our emotions. We can be angered by something or someone, but we must allow the Holy Spirit to dictate what to be angered by and when to be angered. We must also allow the Holy Spirit to cleanse us of this anger and not allow it to become something that will harden our hearts and turn us away from God.

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

October 4, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, `Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
(John 14:1-14 (NIV))

Even after spending several years with the disciples, they did not fully understand who Jesus is. Perhaps they were still blinded by the human condition in which we all live. Yet, these words that Jesus spoke hold great promise for those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Through these words, we have built a foundation of hope that there is room in heaven for all who believe. We have also relied upon these words to strengthen our faith and step out into the world with a boldness that the world does not understand. We have promises that have been made, and will never be broken, for we have Jesus standing at the right hand of God the Father interceding for us on our behalf.

Re-read these words that have meant so much to our faith. Could you have built your faith and hope without these promises? These promises, alone, are enough to have a blessed hope of salvation.

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