Is your past still tempting you?

February 19, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

He said to another man, “Follow me.”
But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.”

Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
(Luke 9:57-62 (NIV))

Today’s church does not count the cost of being a disciple. They count the blessings. The church has become infiltrated by the “me” generation and the “just-in-time” attitude that surrounds us every day.

Looking back, it was the same in Jesus’ day. Everyone wanted the blessing, but did not want to pay the price that Jesus asked. That price was, and still is, total commitment and faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

He is not just a quick fix guru that can take all of the bad things that have happened to us because of sin. He does not make them go away so that we can go back and sin more. Jesus wants one hundred percent from those who call upon His name. He knows that we will stumble and fall, but He does not want us to look back.

It is said that God puts our sins away as far as the east is from the west. If the Creator of all the universe can forget them, we must also.

Remember when God delivered the Jews from captivity in Egypt? Some wanted to turn back. Do you remember Lot’s wife? The price for looking back is a dangerous price to even consider. When you accept Jesus, you must look forward, for God has something much better ahead of you.

If your past is so tempting, why did God have to send Jesus to rescue you from it? If you are having thoughts about looking back, keep focusing on Jesus, for the prize is only attainable through what God has done through Jesus.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do not let your plans interfere with what God has in store for you

February 18, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, `What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

“Then he said, `This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ‘

“But God said to him, `You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

“This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest
(Luke 12:16-26 (NIV))

God has spoken similar words to many people throughout the Bible.

“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)

If you worry about this life, what will it gain you? If you worry, that means that your heart is focused on things of this world and not of the things of God. God will take care of your needs. He will provide what is needed. Do not focus on the worldly issues that occur all around you, but focus on God and His Will and all will be provided as He desires it to be. There is a saying about the best laid plans of mice and men. Do not let your plans interfere with what God has in store for you.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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While we wait, we must serve. While we serve, we must be alert.

February 15, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.
(Revelation 13:16-17 (NIV))

I want to ask you a serious question.

Do you think that this could happen within your lifetime?

What are the reasons for your answer?

I may come across as someone who is looking for prophecy to come true, yet, I still feel that I need to share this with you. I know that there are many different sources of information now available and not all of them are trustworthy. Even so, we need to pay attention to what is going on and weigh it against God’s Word. With that said, I saw something earlier that makes me honestly wonder if we are closer than any of us have ever considered.

What would you do if you were told that you have to have an implant in your right hand to track your medical and banking information? Would you comply or would you reject this implant? There are people who are developing microchip implants similar to those used by veterinarians to track animals. The technology is already there. The technology is neither good nor bad, but it is a symbol of the power that the enemy can and will hold over people.

Prophecy is an interesting topic. For those who study prophecy, there are things that are unfolding every day that seem to be fulfilling aspects of it. There are some who have cited the recent announcement of the retirement of the pope as a prophetic fulfillment. setting the stage for the false prophet to enter the world.

“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.
(Mark 13:2-34 (NIV))

I do not profess to know who, what, when or where, but I do know that things are very interesting. All that I do know is that, just as Jesus told us, we must be on guard. We must be alert. We do not know when the Master will return.

While we wait, we must serve. While we serve, we must be alert. We do not want to be fooled into something that we should know to stay away from.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who are we to judge?

February 14, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
(Luke 6:37 (NIV))

It is so hard not to judge. When you get the urge to judge, step back and take a look at the situation from a different perspective. Ask yourself the following questions.

Do you know the details about the person’s life?

Do you know the state of the relationships that person is involved in?

Do you know the medical issues that the person is dealing with?

Do you know whether that person is facing a life changing situation?

These are just some of the things that can make an individual do things that will make someone want to judge them. Any of these issues as well as countless others could easily sway your appearance to others. Would you want them to judge you because you are angry that someone you love has hurt you deeply? Would you want someone to judge you because you don’t act the way they do simply because you have a medical condition that has involuntary movements, sounds or the inability to focus or multitask?

Each of us faces situations in our lives that are known only to us and to God. If we are forgiven through the atoning blood of Jesus, how can others judge us? In turn, how can we judge others for their sins, especially when the sins that we claim forgiveness of are no better than their sins in the eyes of God.

If you start to feel self-righteous, remember the prostitute that Jesus met.

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:3-11 (NIV))

Jesus spoke words to live by: “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Are any of us in a position to judge? Are we without sin? Why do each of us want to pick up our stones so quickly?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is the condition of your heart and spirit?

February 13, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (KJV))

Is that your desire? Do you wish for God to create a clean heart within you? Do you long for the things that are of God, or do you only pay “lip service” to God and do whatever you want to the rest of the time.

Acknowledging God does not make you righteous. Acknowledging that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God does not make you a Christian. Satan and his legions acknowledge both of these facts, yet, they continue to do whatever they desire in their sinful, arrogant and prideful hearts. You could even say that they have dirty hearts, for they do exactly opposite of what God desires. Their spirits are evil and bad.

Take a look at yourself. Do you follow after God in all things? Do you desire what God desires? What is the condition of your heart and spirit?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you asked God to provide?

February 12, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You do not have, because you do not ask God.
(James 4:2c (NIV))

How many of us are guilty of not approaching the throne of God?

Let’s face the truth. Human nature has us asking for things all of the time, but, when was the last time that you approached boldly and with the certainty that what you were asking for was actually a part of God’s Will? Do we ever truly have that certainty? Perhaps you need confirmation.

Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
(John 16:24 (NIV))

Just what do you find joy in? Is it your family? Is it your job? Is it how you serve God? Perhaps your joy truly comes from desiring to know God’s heart and to fulfill His joy! When you desire to fulfill God’s plan for your life, you experience great joy for His joy has become yours. When you seek after God’s heart, then you can ask God anything that fits within the boundaries of that joy. When we truly find this, then we are complete for we have found what God created us for. When you know what God created you for, then the things that you ask will fit within His plan for you and He will provide.

What is God’s plan for your life? Are you confident of that plan? Have you asked God to provide?

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
(1 John 5:14 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you prepared?

February 11, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He replied, “You give them something to eat.”
(Luke 9:13a (NIV))

Was Jesus preparing His disciples for the time when He would not physically be with them? Was Jesus trying to teach His disciples a lesson?

His disciples came to Jesus with a problem. From a worldly point of view, they had very limited resources. He gave them instructions on how to carry out the task., even though it appeared to be an impossible task. They obeyed. Everyone was blessed. The abundance of God’s blessings overflowed beyond what was needed. God was glorified.

This episode models how each of us are to approach Jesus when we are led to respond to a need. We are to take it to God in prayer with Jesus at the Father’s right hand. We are to look at our frailty and admit it can’t be done with what we possess. We are to turn it over to God and obey His commands. We are to prepare ourselves to be a blessing and to be blessed, and we need to prepare ourselves for God’s abundance so that we may allow it to overflow to all in need.

If we claim to be followers of Jesus, then we must be prepared to respond like His disciples did. We must be willing to set aside our failures and allow God to fill us with His Spirit. We must be prepared to do what God calls us to do. We must be prepared to see God do great things. Some of them may even be performed through us.

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

Are you prepared to allow God to work through you?

He replied, “You give them something to eat.”
(Luke 9:13a (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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