Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another.

November 30, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

`Do not steal.
`Do not lie.
`Do not deceive one another.
(Leviticus 19:11 (NIV))

I think that it is safe to say that you can probably see each one of these events transpire before you see mid day. Perhaps, it is even safe to say that these events will happen before you see the beginning of your work day.

Isn’t it a shame that our society has stooped to such a state that these basic principles of life and Godly righteousness have become the exception instead of the rule. We have become a society so focused on “self” that we forget each other in our selfish struggles to attain what we desire. There is a saying that “He would sell his own mother if he could make a dime.” This saying used to be said of someone who was ruthless and conniving in a time when this was unusual. Now, it seems to have become the norm.

Perhaps we, as the Body of Christ, should take a serious look at ourselves! We are to be held accountable before God as well as man. We are also to be an example – a light unto the world.

Little things that may seem trivial in the eyes of the world are still sin in the eyes of God. Stealing, lying and deceiving are all sins, no matter how big or how small the item, the lie, or the deception.

No one is perfect, yet, we are called to follow Jesus as our example. Did Jesus steal? Did Jesus lie? Did Jesus deceive another? When we measure ourselves against Jesus as the example, we are all left lacking

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

I know that I am extremely thankful for grace!

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

November 29, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
(Matthew 6:33-34 (NIV))

What causes worry?

I bet that your mind instantly thought of several things that cause you to worry. Let’s face the truth. We all have things that we worry about, and nothing that we do in our limited abilities can change any one of these things.

Only seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness will allow us to have the peace and keep us from worrying. As my wife keeps reminding me, we must have faith and stop worrying about tomorrow. We must praise God for the life that He has given us today!

If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?’ or `What shall we drink?’ or `What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
(Matthew 6:30-32 (NIV))

God has told us to place our faith and trust in Him and He will remove our worries, for we are more important to Him than the grass of the fields.

Do you see yourself as grass or as God’s son or daughter? How you answer also determines whether you worry.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t fear what the enemy may bring

November 28, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
(Matthew 6:33-34 (NIV))

If I were to bet that you worry about such things as money for tomorrow, food for tomorrow, time for tomorrow, I would probably win that bet. Most of us are caught up in that trap. We overlook the blessings of today while we worry about things that may or may not happen tomorrow.

According to Matthew, “Each day has enough trouble of its own.” How can this be a blessing?

There is a little story about a man looking for God in the past and God telling Him that His name is not “I was.” He then looks for Him in the future and God tells him that His name is not “I will be.” He then settles into the present and finds God is with him. God then tells him that His name is “I am.” Please note that God is in the present tense. He is with us now!

The blessing is that in the midst of the troubles of the day, God is with us. He is not in tomorrow hiding from us. He is not in the past dragging up old sins. He is in the present and He is walking with us. If we worry about tomorrow, that implies that we don’t trust God and that we are not walking with Him in our present. When we accept that God is with us in our present day, then we will realize that when tomorrow becomes today, we will still find God right there with us. We have no reason to worry.

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?
(Romans 8:31 (NIV))

If the Creator of all of the universe is walking with us in our present day and He is for us, what do we have to worry about? Worry is from the enemy. Don’t fear what the enemy may bring. Rely on what God has already delivered.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We can do the same!

November 27, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God,
(Romans 4:20 (NIV))

Can we do the same?

How often do we waver?

Perhaps I should get personal and ask how often do you waver?

I know that I am confronted daily with things of this world that make me hesitate. Is this wavering in my faith? I believe that it is, even though I quickly regroup and realize that I have nothing to fear. It is human nature to doubt. It is human nature to question. It is human nature to not trust.

That is the key. We are to break human nature. We are to not do what comes naturally, for what comes naturally is sinful. Jesus lived as we should live. He set the example.

I know that many people say that they can’t do what Jesus did, after all, He was the Son of God. That is true, but we now have His strength to help us when we can’t make it on our own. When I am confronted, I have to stop, take a deep breath and refocus my thoughts on Jesus. If we do not focus on Jesus, we will focus on the world. What we focus on will become our priority. It will become our model of living.

Jesus set the bar very high and I can imagine Him saying, “Come on and follow me. You may stumble and waiver occasionally, but what happens if you choose not to follow me? You will never know what I am calling you to become.”

Jesus showed us the way. He came to give us hope. He came to give us salvation. He came to give us faith so that we, too, could give God the glory.

Jesus did not waiver in his faith.

We can do the same!

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Man’s wisdom or God’s wisdom?

November 26, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 5:3 (NIV))

Do you ever feel like you have the world under your control and everything is going your way?

I didn’t think so!

If you are like everyone else, then you feel the trials and tribulations that this world puts upon each of us. It can weigh us down. It can make us forget that we are God’s children.

At the same time, it can actually lead us closer to God. It is during these times when we tend to turn to God. Perhaps it is during these times when our God shaped holes start to ache for fulfillment, and of course, there is only one source of fulfillment. We realize that we are not the masters of our own lives and that we must turn to the one who is. We turn to God.

In the eyes of the world, this signifies a poor spirit, for we admit that we cannot make it on our own. We need someone bigger than ourselves. According to human society, there is no one bigger than ourselves. Society wants us to think that we are the masters of our own destiny. Society wants us to be proud, perhaps even arrogant. When we are proud and arrogant, we will not turn to God. The kingdom that the proud and arrogant seek is the here and now.

If society says that turning to God is a sign of a poor spirit, then I am glad to claim that banner. However, it takes a strength to turn to God when all around you tempts you to turn away. It is a strength that the world doesn’t understand. It is a strength of free will. We choose to not exalt ourselves and turn to the one who deserves all of the praise. We freely choose what God desires for us instead of what the world desires for us.

Man’s wisdom is contradictory to God’s wisdom. With that in mind, which would you rather be, proud of spirit or poor of spirit? You answer will determine your eternity.

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

November 23, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil;
with you the wicked cannot dwell.
The arrogant cannot stand in your presence;
you hate all who do wrong.
You destroy those who tell lies;
bloodthirsty and deceitful men
the LORD abhors.
(Psalms 5:4-6 (NIV))

Lord, help me to be a man after your own heart.

If you are like me, you probably see the things going on in this world and you are earnestly praying for a revival and for God’s Will to be done. It is so easy to slip from this type of prayer into one where we are thankful that we are not like those who are evil, wicked, arrogant, bloodthirsty and deceitful.

Be very careful.

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: `God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, `God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
(Luke 18:9-14 (NIV))

In God’s eyes, we too are sinners. We are no better than those who practice these things. The only difference is that we recognize our failures, our sins, and we earnestly seek forgiveness and we earnestly seek after God’s own heart.

The difference between the Body of Christ and nonbelievers is knowledge. We were once like them. We don’t need to be arrogant in our salvation, for we did not earn it. They cannot earn it. It is freely given to all who seek.

I mentioned knowledge is the difference.

It is a knowledge that we are supposed to share.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
(Acts 1:8 (NIV))

God does not take pleasure in sin. He sent His Son, Jesus, to offer grace and mercy. We have been given a task to share that grace and mercy with the world. Are we sharing it, or have we become like the Pharisee and stand off to the side and thank God that we are not like the sinners?

I am thankful for grace. It is my prayer that we, as the Body of Christ, will forever be thankful and not arrogant. it is my prayer that we do not act as the Pharisee, but rather as the tax collector. God does not want us to have a “holier than thou” attitude. We cannot reach others when we do. In fact, when we have that attitude, we are the ones who need grace.

I would rather be a humble person who recognizes that he is a sinner in need of a savior instead of a “holier than thou” person who completely misses the mark.

What about you?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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I will give you thanks

November 22, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I will give you thanks in the great assembly;
among throngs of people I will praise you.
(Psalms 35:18 (NIV))

Have we, as the Body of Christ, allowed society to keep us quiet because it is not politically correct to proclaim a faith in Jesus? Are we truly the Body of Christ if we submit to this societal pressure?

Thanksgiving is upon us. We must embrace the true reason that we are thankful.

The pilgrims were thankful to have survived the first year in their quest for religious freedom. Society has taken that out of the day and simply replaced it with a “harvest” festival. There is no mention of thanking God for His bountiful mercy and grace. It is only a day to be thankful for the people in our lives, and to some, the things that we have. Don’t get me wrong. It is definitely a good thing to be thankful for the people in our lives, but we must set our priorities. Without God’s grace, we would have nothing. Anything that we might think we have would be gone when we face death.

Think about that.

What are the things that you would miss the most if they were taken away from you?

Would it be your wide screen TV or your new car? Perhaps it is your job or your social position in the community.

Or . . .

Would it be the relationships that you have?

Life is a gift. Grace is a gift. Your family and friends are a gift. These gifts are priceless and can only come from God. All other things are worthless in comparison.

“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.

When all things are in perspective, our priority is God. When we realize that all good things come from Him, we can’t help but give God the glory. We will be thankful even in the midst of situations that society says we are to keep our faith quiet.

We should not be quiet. We should praise God. We should give thanks even in the midst of throngs of people.

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
(Romans 1:16-17 (NIV))

If we are not ashamed of the gospel, then we must be thankful for it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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