Which type of a relationship do you have with God?

March 30, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him.
(Titus 1:16a (NIV))

What do your actions say about you?

Do they deny your claim that you know God or do they uphold your claim?

Let’s take a look at the ways that we claim to know God. Just like our human relationships, we can confuse a casual acquaintance relationship as one where we think we truly know a person. Is this how you know God? Is He a casual acquaintance that you call upon when and only when you need His help? Do you struggle with knowing what is in God’s heart because your relationship with Him is based on this casual arrangement. This type of relationship has no depth. It has no breadth. It has no long lasting qualities because everything is very superficial.

To truly know someone means that they are much more than a casual acquaintance. It means that you know them intimately. This relationship has depth. It has breadth and it has long lasting qualities because you have taken the time to get to know the other person. You know what is on their heart and mind. You know them so well that being able to understand them is no longer casual. You understand them completely. You know what makes them tick. When you know someone this well, your actions will reflect this knowledge. You will not deliberately do anything that will hurt the other person.

Which type of a relationship do you have with God? Is it casual and superficial or is it in-depth and meaningful?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How are you spending your morning?

March 29, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
(Matthew 27:31 (NIV))

The events of the long night and morning were over. Jesus had been arrested, beaten, falsely accused and judged, and then sentenced to die a horrible death. The only thing left of God’s plan was the actual crucifixion. Think on those events as you read this, for many will be reading it at the time of day that things actually unfolded.

How are you spending your morning? Is it filled with reverence and thanks for what Jesus endured? As you pour yourself another cup of coffee, does the impact of Jesus’ suffering bring you to tears or do you even think of it at all? As you head to that meeting, do you reflect upon just how things would be if Jesus had not had His meetings with Pontius Pilate? When you feel the burdens of the day come crashing in around you, do you stop to think of the burden that Jesus bore as He carried His cross?

It is so easy to get lost in the trivial details of our own lives. We think that they are so important. We think that if we don’t close that next big sale, the world will fall apart. We think that if our children don’t get into that private school, their lives are over. All that we bear is the burdens and sins from our own lives. Imagine having the weight of the sins of the world hoisted upon you. Imagine the world being so engrossed in the usual activities that your sacrifice becomes trivialized. Imagine taking on the burden anyway because you love the people of the world.

Stop to think just what Jesus went through so that you can have grace and salvation. Retrace His steps as He carries His cross to Calvary. Put yourself in His place as the nails pierced His hands. Imagine how He felt looking down through history as He looked upon you at this very moment in time. He suffered and died for you and I. He did it willingly so that we may have grace and mercy.

Spend the day embracing His sacrifice, feeling His pain and emotions. Look upon your life as He looked upon it. Jesus felt that His sacrifice was worth everything that He endured. He felt that you and I were worth whatever price He had to pay.

Today, stop and thank God for His Son, Jesus, and His willingness to go to the cross for you and I. That day was a day of agony and fear, but through the fear we have a shining ray of hope – the resurrection on Easter morning!

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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If given the opportunity

March 28, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”
(Luke 22:34 (NIV))

Most people think of this as an Easter event. True, the original words depict an event that happened some two thousand years ago, yet, we should face the fact that we deny Jesus on a daily basis.

Can you honestly say that you take every opportunity to present Jesus to everyone that you meet? I know that I have trouble doing or saying what should be done when I am offered an opportunity to show the love of Jesus to someone who needs it. This, too, is a form of denial.

Would we be able to accept these words if they were spoken to us, especially when we know that our actions, or lack of action, could actually be considered denial? We all want to think that we will respond just as Jesus wants us to respond. We like to put ourselves in the shoes of Peter. We like to think that we would be able to do better than the “rock” upon which Jesus built His church. If the “rock” did not have the strength and stability to avoid denial, then how can we do any better?

We must consider that Peter was told these words before the betrayal, crucifixion and the resurrection. After the resurrection, Peter was indeed the “rock” that Jesus called him to be. What made the difference? Peter was given a faith that knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that Jesus was who He claimed to be. He had seen it and the events made no sense from a physical perspective. He saw with the eyes of faith. Peter never again denied Jesus.

Perhaps it takes a faith changing event to achieve that in our own lives. Perhaps it takes an inward change. I know that in order to be a “rock,” you must have solid faith and a solid foundation.

If given the opportunity today, would you be guilty of denying Jesus or would you stand firm in your faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How is your faith?

March 27, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

O LORD, you are my God;
I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
you have done marvelous things,
things planned long ago.
(Isaiah 25:1 (NIV))

Many people today don’t even acknowledge that God exists. There are even believers who don’t believe that God is in control and that things that are happening in this world happen for a reason. Isaiah knew the truth and has written it down for generations to read and learn.

The numbers are staggering! Have you ever considered the number of prophecies that Jesus fulfilled when He came to this earth. His coming was planned by God hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years before His actual arrival. To the Body of Believers, Jesus’ atoning sacrifice is the most marvelous thing that could have ever happened in this world. It was planned long ago.

If God planned the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus, what other things has He planned? All we have to do is read the Bible and we will see page after page of prophecies that have yet to be fulfilled. These pages are alongside the pages of the prophecies that have been fulfilled. Based on this track record of what has been planned and accomplished, we can look forward to the others things that have been planned being fulfilled.

God keeps His promises. God has told us that He has planned marvelous things. It requires our faith to wait to see them fulfilled.

How is your faith? Are you waiting to see what God is going to do?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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He must become greater

March 26, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He must become greater; I must become less.
(John 3:30 (NIV))

The American Standard Version translates this passage as “He must increase, but I must decrease,” but no matter how you translate it, the concept is the same. We must seek more of Jesus in our lives and less of us.

To those who are not believers, this sounds like we are willing to give up our individuality. It sounds like we are willing to become mindless followers. It sounds like we are weak minded and not able to make decisions for ourselves.

How do you feel about how the world sees this passage?

Do you agree with this, or do you have a different understanding of what this means to a follower of Jesus Christ?

What traits about Jesus do you love? I know that we are glad to call him Savior, but what about Him makes us want to call Him Lord? What traits do we want to see increased in our lives?

More difficult questions that the unbelieving world does not understand, yet, we need to be able to understand this for ourselves. We need to be able to defend our faith when we are confronted. I know that we are to rely on the Holy Spirit in times like this, but we are also called to be prepared.

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
(Ephesians 6:11 (NIV))

I firmly believe that Jesus lived an example of the traits that we should desire to see increase within us. We know them as the fruit of the Spirit.

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))

We know our actions and thoughts as well. They are of a sinful nature.

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
(Galatians 5:24 (NIV))

If we look upon John 3:30 with this in mind, then it is clearly a matter of self examination. If we follow Jesus, we don’t want to give up our individuality. On the contrary, we want to give up our sinful nature and fill ourselves with what fills Jesus.

Personally, I do not know of anyone who is truly happy in their sin. The drunk does not want to be a drunk. He is trying to wash away something. The same can be said for any sin. The sin is an attempt to fill a void, and it often leaves a scar. If we seek to remove the sin and fill ourselves with Jesus, we are seeking healing. We are seeking peace, and we are seeking the truth.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have the power?

March 23, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”
Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed from that moment.
(Matthew 9:20-22 (NIV))

Just what is faith?

What is the power of faith?

These are two very short and seemingly simple questions, yet they have left people perplexed and uncertain for thousands of years.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

Did the woman say to herself, “Maybe if I get His attention, He will be able to tell me what doctor to go see.”? No, she said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” There was no hesitation in her convictions. There was not a single utterance of doubt. She knew what she believed and she knew what would happen. Faith is being sure and certain, but, perhaps it also rests heavily on the total removal of doubt that seems to fill our minds. After all, doubt removes certainty. It removes hope. Doubt is the natural enemy of faith.

Is it possible to have faith and still have doubt?

We are only human. We are sinners. We will have moments when our faith is overcome by doubt. After all, the enemy does attack and catch us off guard.

“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))

The power of faith allows us to keep our eyes on Jesus when all around us is falling apart.

The power of faith allows us to see God’s hand in and through the toughest storms that we will face.

The power of faith allows us to know beyond all doubt that Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords.

Do you have a faith? Do you have the power that can only come through that faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Time for a personal inventory

March 22, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?
(Luke 16:10-12 (NIV))

It’s time to take stock, to do a personal inventory.

What are the things that God has blessed you with?

Have you been given worldly wealth? Have you been entrusted with a spiritual gift, or perhaps a talent? Perhaps you have been entrusted with friendships that give you an opportunity to witness. It is even possible that you are a public figure who has the capability of impacting many people through your actions.

What have you done with the things that God has blessed you with? Have you used them to further His kingdom, or have you used them to further your own? Have you used the trust that has been given to you to in such a way that it is given to others? Do you hoard the wealth or do you use it for His glory? Do you embrace the influence that you have and welcome the accolades of the people, or do you use your position to influence others for Christ?

Worldly wealth seems to come in all different forms, from actual wealth to fame and power. What we do with what we have been given is vital in our walk with God. Think about that for a moment. Suppose your father gave you some money to pay off bills. What happens if you use the money for other things and he finds out? What happens if you need to ask your father for another sum of money?

The gifts and the worldly wealth that we have been given are gifts from God. We are to use them to further His kingdom.

Time to complete that personal inventory.

Are there things on your list that you need to be more honest about? Are there things that need to change with respect to your priorities? Wordly wealth is fleeting.

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.
(Matthew 6:19-20 (NIV))

Godly riches are eternal.

Are we willing to give up the eternal because we can’t be trusted with the things that the moth and rust will destroy?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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