Where do you dwell?

November 30, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever.
(Psalms 23:6 (NIV))

There are houses and there are homes. There are buildings and then there are dwellings. What makes the difference is a matter of attitude. A house is simply a place to sleep. A home is a place of refuge and comfort. A building is simply four walls. A dwelling is someplace that you have completely moved in to and have made it your own.

God is looking for those who wish to make His presence their home. He is looking to believers to desire to dwell in His presence. He does not want us to simply come into His presence to sleep and then go our own way. He wants us to long to be at home in His presence. He desires for us to desire Him and be completely content; to be completely at peace with Him.

Peace!

Perhaps that is what makes the difference between a house and a home and a building and a dwelling. Peace allows you to settle in and to get comfortable. God wants us to get comfortable in His presence.

Are you comfortable in God’s presence?

Are you at home in God’s presence?

Do you dwell in the presence of the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery

Advertisements

Bad fruit

November 29, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
(Matthew 7:15-20 (NIV))

Think about this the next time that you hear of something that is just too good to be true, or is just a little off of what God’s Word says that it should be. Most of the time, lies are obvious, but deception is a trick of the enemy. When things sound almost right with respect to God’s word, they are totally wrong.

It should be easy for believers to realize that the “fruit” does not match the source. We should be able to easily distinguish that the things the enemy tells us are too good to be true, especially when they contradict everything that we should know to be true according to God’s Word.

Why do people fall for the deceptions of the enemy?

Are we, as a fallen, sinful race, too far removed from the truth to even recognize it?

The words in Matthew are amazing and sadly amusing if you stop to actually understand what is being said. We have enough common sense to not look for grapes on an apple tree, yet, we easily fall prey to the small lies of the enemy in hopes that the promises are true.

Test everything against God’s Word. If something is supposed to bear goodness, but it lies to do so, does it really follow God’s Word? If you are promised that it is only a small digression and no one will know about it, can it be the correct fit?

We have been told what the things of God will bear.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Think of this passage when validating the truth about something. Does it produce according to the fruit of the Spirit?

Are you on watch for bad fruit?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Smallness

November 28, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.
(Luke 2:30-32 (NIV))

Simeon had waited his whole life to be able to see the birth of the Savior. God had promised him that he would not die before Jesus came. Simeon knew at first glance that the baby he saw was the savior that God had promised. Simeon looked upon the promise and realized that the promise had to follow normal human life – a birth, childhood, teenager, adult. The promise is not instantaneous. It required faith from Simeon. It required a huge faith to believe that God had told him that he would not die before he saw the salvation that he had been yearning for.

Simeon recognized the promise even in infancy. He had faith to know that the promise would grow into the salvation for the whole world.

He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, `Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.
(Luke 17:6 (NIV))

Do we see things the same way that Simeon saw things? Would we recognize the infancy of a promise that God has made? Would we recognize the potential of that promise fulfilled or would we simply miss out on the glory of God because it comes in a small package? Do you remember the mustard seed?

It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.”
(Mark 4:31-32 (NIV))

I have often found that God’s promises are exactly the same. He promises, but He starts small to test our faith. He tests us to see if we are capable of handling the full promise, and to see if we are willing to respond to the promise.

As Christmas draws closer, please do not forget that what we are celebrating is the birth of a child. Jesus was a special child who grew into a special man. He came as the Son of God to teach and to sacrifice Himself for our transgressions. He did not come as a mighty warrior. He came as an innocent child. He came to seek and to save the lost, but first He had to live as one of us.

Simeon recognized that God does not do things as we would do them. He was open to the “smallness,” while knowing that God will move mountains with something small.

Would you, do you recognize God’s salvation as it is presented to you?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


A den of robbers?

November 25, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, ” `My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a `den of robbers.’ ”
(Matthew 21:12-13 (NIV))

Are we any less guilty than the money changers and those selling doves within the temple?

You may ask how can I ask this question? No one actually sells anything within my church. We don’t exchange money and charge a fee. We go to worship!

What I am talking about is not within the church walls. Rather, we have allowed something within our society that reminds me of the money changers and those selling doves. It is not directly related to our church buildings, but it is directly related to the very reason that we have our churches.

I think that this can be clarified by one simple question.

How do you think that God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit view the commercialization of the day that we set aside to celebrate the physical birth of Jesus as our redeeming Lord and Savior?

Our society has slowly bought into the idea that Christmas is about buying the latest and greatest things, and we have slowly turned away from even mentioning Jesus or saying Merry Christmas. Too many people simply say happy holidays.

I know that I have said this before, but I feel that it bears retelling. Our tradition of wishing someone a Merry Christmas has a history that many do not know. The word “merry” in old English meant something much different than we think of it today. The use of this word in its original greeting actually had a meaning that is closer to the word “mighty.” The word “Christmas” was actually two words – Christ mass – a church celebration of the birth of Jesus. So, in essence, the saying “Merry Christmas” was a wish that the recipient of the saying would have a mighty and powerful celebration of the birth of Jesus, or a “Mighty Christ Mass.”

Sadly, the only mighty experience that many people have is the retail race that has become like a feeding frenzy before Christmas.

Have we allowed the money changers and those selling to rob us of the true celebration? Have we allowed the focus to be placed on retail sales instead of Jesus? What have we allowed to happen to the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Is that your final answer?

November 24, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:10-11 (NIV))

Everyone has heard this scripture in some context or another. It is a wonderful piece of scripture, for it confirms that Jesus Christ is Lord of all. But, what it means for those who do not belong to Him is a submission out of defeat, not a willing submission to Jesus’ authority in their lives.

All throughout history, when someone has bowed to another out of defeat, it meant that they had lost everything and would probably face severe consequences for their “war” against the winner. The same is true even in the spiritual world. Those who bow to Jesus out of defeat will face eternal separation from God. Those who bow before Jesus out of love will face eternal life with God.

It all boils down to a matter of attitude. Is your attitude one of gratitude and thanksgiving for what Jesus has done in your life, or is it an attitude of rebellion in which you deny Jesus and want nothing to do with Him or God? It is your choice. To use a phrase from a television show, “Is that your final answer?”

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Happy Thanksgiving!

November 23, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
(Psalms 100:1-5 (NIV))

This is the true source of thanksgiving.

To be truly thankful, you must acknowledge that you cannot do it on your own. You must acknowledge that whatever you have is not from your own hand. You must realize that what you have been given could just as easily have been given to someone else. It is true that what you have been given is a direct result of a response that you have made, but the blessings are not something that you have created.

Think about that for a moment.

What happens when someone thinks that they are responsible for all that they have? It is probably safe to assume that each of us have known people who felt that what they have was a direct result of their hard work and determination. It is also safe to assume that most, if not all, of these people looked upon what they had as a reward for their hard work. They may even have looked upon it as something that they earned, that they were owed, and as a result, were very stingy with what they have. This type of attitude places themselves as the provider and most of the time they give thanks for the things, and not the true source.

Thanksgiving is not only a holiday that we celebrate, it should be a life long attitude of gratitude for your true source of all things. Can we create life? Can we create the seasons? Can we create the food that we need? Too many people take these things for granted and only focus on the materialistic aspects of life. They miss out on the joy that God has provided to us in a sunset. They miss out on the grace that we have been given through the atoning blood of Jesus. They miss out on all things eternal because they are focused on the treasures of this world.

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))

Are you thankful for things that moth and rust will destroy?

I have a philosophy that I like to remind myself of every once in a while. I look at the things of this world and find myself thinking that it would be nice to have some of these “treasures.” When I find myself in this line of thought, I ask myself one simple question.

In 100 years, will it really matter if I had these things?

What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
(Matthew 16:26 (NIV))

What does matter is setting your priorities according to God’s priorities. What does matter is instilling God’s Word within your family. What does matter is being thankful to God for the blessings that He has given.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Are you one in 365?

November 22, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
(Colossians 3:15-17 (NIV))

Thanksgiving is almost upon us. We, as believers, truly have something to be thankful for. But, are we also guilty of setting aside only one day to give thanks. We have the ultimate reason to be thankful 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year for all of our lives. Can we, in all honesty, limit this thankfulness to only one day in 365.

We are told “whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
(Colossians 3:17)

Every day when we get up, when we go to work or school, when we eat, when we share time with family, when we are in church, all should be spent with a reverence and thankfulness that is light to the world.

One day of thanks is good, but it also leaves us empty if that is all that we do. Our gratitude should overflow just as His mercy overflows upon us. We can be thankful one day in 365, or we can be filled with an attitude of thanksgiving each and every day.

Are you one in 365, or are you full?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery