Responsibility

November 30, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not covet,’ and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
(Romans 13:9-10 (NIV))

I hate to say this, but there are people who populate the pews of many churches throughout this world who harm other believers on a regular basis. What does that say about the way that we have faithfully taught what Jesus has commanded us to teach? It is easy to blame the people who harm others, but it is not so easy to take upon yourself the responsibility for their actions.

Should we bear the burden of the responsibility of the actions of other members of the Body of Christ?

I think that we are taught that we do!

“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))

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.
(Romans 12:10 (NIV))

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
(Galatians 5:13-15 (NIV))

If members of the Body have not been taught how to stop doing harm, then the Body has not properly fed them the Word of God. They have not been nourished to the point where they know what is Godly and righteous. They have not been allowed to mature in their faith.

Suppose parents have a child and this child starts to eat solid food. As soon as the child starts to eat, the parents do not turn this child loose and tell him to prepare his own meals. The child must be taught what to eat, what is good for them, and what is bad. All of this must happen before the child can be entrusted to prepare his own meals.

Perhaps the church is guilty of being this neglectful parent. We expect people to intuitively know what God wants them to do, what they are to read and study, and how they are supposed to live. We have not taught them how to not be harmful to others. We have not taught them how to love one another.

What have you taught your “children” in the faith?

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

November 29, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.
(Psalms 119:14 (NIV))

What single thing is it that you truly rejoice over?

Is it money? Is it your job? Is it your family? Is it your possessions? Is it your bank account?

I hate to say this, but we are all guilty of having things that we rejoice over more than we rejoice over God’s Word. It is human nature. We are physical beings who live in a physical world so our desires are often physical in nature. We like to see it, feel it, touch it, hold it, and taste it. If we can’t do these things, then all too often we don’t truly see the value in something.

We desire to store up physical treasures for ourselves.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV))

It is a matter of priorities. Each of us have set them for ourselves or we have let the world set them for us. We must stop and take the time to listen to God. We must take the time, according to Psalms 46:10, to “Be still, and know that I am God.”

We should rejoice in what delights our heart. Our heart will find comfort in the familiar. If we spend all of our time thinking about money, then our heart will delight in riches.

If we desire to delight ourselves in God, what should we spend our time thinking about?

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

November 25, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.
(Psalms 95:1-2 (NIV))

Thanksgiving is upon us. When you sit down to dinner, who or what will you give thanks to?

I recently was given the words to a proclamation that George Washington made in 1789. For those who are trying to change the history of this country, let them know the words of our first President. “Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor”

All throughout our history, our leaders have known that we are to be grateful to God for the blessings that He has bestowed upon us. Those blessings have not been bestowed because we are a nation of might and power. Those blessings were bestowed upon us because we sought to do His will in our affairs, both public and private. We could be thankful because we had been blessed because we made a decision to follow God.

Our Thanksgiving holiday was founded to put a formal, governmental proclamation together that stated that we officially give God thanks for our blessings. Today, too many people wish to change history. They wish to erase all evidence of God from our nation. Will God continue to bless us if we allow this to happen? God blesses those who acknowledge where the blessings come from. If we remove God, who will the blessings come from? The blessings will probably stop coming.

This Thanksgiving, don’t be afraid to be truly thankful to the one to whom all praise is due. Thank God for His bounty. Thank God for His grace. Thank God for His mercy! Pray for His bounty to return. Pray for His grace to return to our nation. Pray for His mercy to return to our cities!

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you thankful for?

November 24, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I will praise God’s name in song
and glorify him with thanksgiving.
(Psalms 69:30 (NIV))

This is the attitude the Pilgrims had when they had their first Thanksgiving feast. They had suffered through a harsh winter, and with the help of new friends and by God’s grace, they had made it through their first harvest. They truly had something to be thankful for. They knew who to thank. They had come to this country to have the freedom to worship God the way they knew they should, not as a government dictated, and for that they were thankful.

Today, we need to be thankful for our freedom to worship God. However, if we are not careful, we will lose the spirit that the Pilgrims had. Our government, and others, are trying to tell us how, when and where we can worship. We are becoming just like the government that the Pilgrims left England to escape.

We need to be thankful to God, and not let others dictate to us where, when and how God can be worshipped. After all, this country was founded on this very freedom. If we don’t keep God as the center, then God will be missing from our society as we allow others to push Him more and more off to the side.

What are you thankful for?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Enter His gates with thanksgiving!

November 23, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
(Psalms 100:4 (NIV))

Why do you give thanks?

Perhaps, more importantly, to whom do you give thanks?

At this time of year, we have officially set aside a day of Thanksgiving. A day that we use to reflect upon the things in our lives that make us happy. We have taken the concept that the Pilgrims started and turned it into a national day where we reflect upon what we have to be thankful for.

Many people are thankful for family, health, homes, prosperity, friends, and many other things. However, it is not a matter of what you are thankful for, but, I believe it is a matter of who you are thankful to.

Think about that for a moment.

You an be thankful for family, but what happens if you are thankful that you married the boss’s daughter instead of being thankful to God that you married a godly person? You can be thankful for health, and then go and risk it all in sin, or you can praise God that He has blessed you with life and health. you can be thankful for you home, but if you are thankful that your home is bigger and nicer than anybody else’s, you are not thanking God for providing you shelter.

I think that you see the point that I am trying to make. Being thankful isn’t always enough. What matters is where that thanks is directed.

I know that many people may not stop to think about salvation at Thanksgiving, after all, wee have Christmas and Easter for that. Still, that is the biggest blessing that we can ever receive. It should be the one that merits the biggest “Thank You” that we can ever give.

How can we thank God for grace and salvation?

Simply be thankful each and every day that you are alive. Share that gratitude with all whom you see. Being thankful is a choice. It is also your choice where to direct your thanks.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving!

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you left everything behind?

November 22, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person–such a man is an idolater–has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.
(Ephesians 5:3-7 (NIV))

We are called to be different!

We are called to be apart from the ways of the world!

What do you see and hear when you watch people who are living in the world and seeking their rewards from the world? You see and hear all types of profanity and immorality. You see all of the things that Paul warned us about in Ephesians 5:3-7. We are to be above the matters of the world. We should be abstain from things that are sexually immoral. We should abstain from any impurity.

Just what is considered immoral and impure?

Sexual immorality, greed, obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking are what God considers sin. Yes! Sin. That is exactly what these things are. When you stop to think about it, it makes perfect sense. God cannot associate with sin. Anyone who practices any of these does not have any inheritance in the kingdom of God. The only way that we can fall short of being in God’s presence is through sin!

Perhaps we should take a look at a more detailed list of sins.

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
(1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NIV))

Be careful what you follow. These words are clear as to the consequences of following these behaviors. Perhaps we should point these scripture passage out to those who claim that they are forgiven and still keep on living in their sin.

God did not send His Son, Jesus Christ to redeem us so that we could keep on sinning. He saved us from our sins so that we could leave them behind!

Have you forgotten to leave anything behind?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you afraid to ask?

November 19, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous for what others have, and you can’t possess it, so you fight and quarrel to take it away from them. And yet the reason you don’t have what you want is that you don’t ask God for it.
(James 4:2 (NLT))

Jesus came into this world in order to allow us direct access to God, yet, how many of us never approach Him?

Don’t think that I am only talking about those who are not believers. How many of the body of believers go to God in prayer on a regular basis? I hate to say it, but the number of us who approach God on a daily basis is probably a lot smaller than God desires for it to be.

People have a tendency to think that what they desire is insignificant and far less important to God than everyone else’s problems. We are too timid to approach God and reveal our hearts to Him. What we fail to remember is that He knows us better than we know ourselves. Perhaps we are afraid to approach God because we will actually discover the true person that God created us to be. He gave each of us a unique life, a life that He created. Each of us is precious in the eyes of God, yet we treat ourselves as trash. We have become more comfortable believing the lies of the enemy and living within these lies than we are with opening up to God, the Father, the Creator of each of us. We believe a liar and a thief. We do not believe our Lord.

The body of believers needs to firmly and boldly take possession of what God has for us, for if we don’t take possession of it, the enemy will rob us of it. All we have to do is ask God to give us what He has planned for us from the beginning of time.

I don’t proclaim that God wishes to financially bless us, for each person is unique and each person will be blessed by God according to God’s desires. What I do profess is that each of us is living well below what God has created for us. We do not have all that He desires for us because we have accepted the lies of the enemy. We have not asked God for His full truth. In other words, we get what we ask for! Perhaps we aren’t even asking the right person.

Whom have you been asking?

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