What is your heart like?

October 20, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
(1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV))

We can easily deceive each other with our outward appearances. We can even deceive ourselves with the falsehoods and “white lies” that we tell on ourselves, but we can never deceive God.

God looks at us for what we truly are. He sees the sin behind the facade that we try to project. He sees through the smoke and mirrors that we use to convince others and ourselves that we are different from what we really are.

Would you ever consider letting your guard down long enough for those whom you work with to see the real you? What about the people that you worship with? Would they recognize you if they saw the real you? Would they shun you or would they, too, be shunned for the real person that they are hiding?

God knows each of us better than we know ourselves. If this is true, then why do each of us try to be a different person, a “better” person, than the one that God knows us to be? Perhaps it is because we are ashamed of the sin that has a hold of us. Rejoice, though, for Jesus has saved us from that sinful nature. We have been washed white as snow!

God knows us for the sinful creatures that we are. He also knows us for the sinless reborn creature through Jesus Christ. If we have accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, then He sees a spotless person washed by the Blood of the Lamb. He still knows our heart, but He also knows that we have made a decision to willingly change that heart.

What is your heart like?

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

October 19, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
(John 5:39-40 (NIV))

Have you ever known people like those whom Jesus spoke of?

You know the type. They can quote scripture. They know God’s Word thoroughly. They can argue any passage for they know the letter of the Law. They take pride in their knowledge, yet they fail to see that the letter of the Law is condemning and restricts life. These people enjoy learning about God, yet they miss the point that perfection is not attainable. They miss the simple fact that grace is attainable. It is a free gift.

Prayerfully, none of us are that type.

It is true that God’s Word holds the truth. It is true that God’s Word leads to salvation, for it points to the Word made flesh.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, `He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ ” From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.
(John 1:14-18 (NIV))

We must study the Scriptures, but we must realize that eternal life is not found in knowledge of facts, it is found in the truth that the Scriptures point to. The truth is Jesus Christ.

It is my prayer that no one would study God’s Word without the willingness to follow where that study leads. Countless prophecies foretold of the coming of Jesus. Countless more told of His crucifixion and resurrection. Many more tell of His return. Allow God’s Word to lead you to this conclusion.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

Are you full of Biblical facts or do you fill yourself with the truth of Jesus?

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

October 18, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
(John 13:6-9 (NIV))

Have you ever felt like Simon Peter?

Think about that question for a moment. Simon Peter asked that question because of two reasons.

The first reason was tradition, for washing feet was relegated to a lowly servant and not to someone whom you would call “master.” He did not want to think of Jesus, whom he had followed for several years, as a servant. He was torn by the thought of his master demeaning Himself to the point where He would wash his feet.

I honestly think that the second reason for feeling like this is closely tied to the first reason. Simon was confused. He probably thought, like society at that time, that he may have made a mistake in following Jesus, after all, a person of high position would not lower themselves to such a lowly task.

Fortunately, Simon Peter realized that everything that Jesus had taught turned society upside down. I can imagine the thoughts that went through his head as this scene unfolded. Denial. Anger. And finally, acceptance. Simon Peter probably went through the full spectrum of emotions during this brief conversation with the end result being a full realization that Jesus was washing not only his feet, but he was symbolically washing away his sins.

He went from denial to fully embracing salvation and grace in just a few brief moments.

We tend to think that Peter was arrogant and proud because of the actions portrayed in this passage. I honestly think that Simon Peter needs to be praised for his quick reversal of his thoughts, after all, how many of us would so quickly turn from all that we had been raised to believe and embrace the Savior as servant?

Feeling like Simon Peter is not a bad thing. It means that we are searching for God’s truth and we are struggling because it contradicts what we thought we knew. What is a bad thing is choosing to ignore God’s truth and relying on human tradition and knowledge.

How do you feel?

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