It was, and still is, a matter of attitude

April 30, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
(1 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV))

Could we, as a society, be on the way to a time when God will makes us look foolish?

We are at a time in history when knowledge is increasing like never before. Humanity can accomplish some pretty incredible tasks if we put our minds to it. We can send a message around the world in a fraction of a second. We have begun to unlock the secrets that God has placed within our DNA. We are developing technology faster than we literally can produce it. By the time a product gets to market, it is already obsolete. We have become wise in the ways of the world.

We must keep our focus on God, for if we start to proclaim that we have done these things and that we do not need God, then we will be floundering in foolishness created by our worldly wisdom. We will have done the same thing that caused confusion of our languages at Babel.

Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.
(Genesis 11:4 (NIV))

It was, and still is, a matter of attitude. We must keep God as our focus and give Him all the glory for what He has given to us. We must not seek to make a name for ourselves. If we do, then we will be scattered and our wisdom will be made foolish.

Is God first in all that you do? Do you seek to glorify God or do you seek the glory for yourself?

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

April 29, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers–not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,

“God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble.”

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
(1 Peter 5:1-9 (NIV))

Words to live by! Words to model our lives after!

We must remember that we are not the ones who have made our salvation possible. All of us who serve God are in the same position: that of humble servants. Not a single one of us was righteous in God’s eyes without the Grace and Mercy bestowed upon us by the gift of Jesus Christ.

Those of us who are infants in the faith must have role models. Those of us who are to be role models do not need to be arrogant in our positions, for the positions were once reversed. The people in positions of role models were, at one time, infants in the faith.

All who are believers must take it upon themselves to strive to be all that Jesus wants us to be in this world:

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:14-16)

Light does not fight with light. Light fights against darkness. Light always wins!

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Choose your ways with Godly wisdom!

April 26, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
(Proverbs 16:25 (NIV))

“I did it my way” carries with it the idea of a self-made person who has achieved whatever they wanted in this life. What they achieved usually was done with great sacrifice and usually with some deeds that even humanity would consider wrong. The sacrifice is often applauded while the bad deeds are ignored. The end justifies the means.

Look at it from God’s perspective. Does the end justify the means? Does God applaud the sacrifices and ignore the sins?

The sacrifices that people make are all self-centered sacrifices and benefit only themselves. God desires for us to be sacrificing of ourselves for others, not for personal gain.

Sin cannot be overlooked! God cannot associate with sin. He desires for us to be righteous, yet, our own ways always lead us into sin. Remember that the wages of sin is death. In other words, all sin leads to death, or eternal separation from God. There is nothing that we, as humanity, can do in our own capacity that will lead us away from sin.

God knew this from the beginning.

God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us as an atoning sacrifice for our sins!

Think about this.

Human reasoning tells us that this sounds funny and is too simple of a solution. With that in mind, many of us find a way that seems right to us as a way to reach salvation. Again, humanity follows what they think is right, only to find that they are on the road to sin and death.

If you were on an Interstate and saw a sign that warned of traffic problems ahead, and you saw a sign showing an alternate route around the problems, most of us would take the alternate route. Why is it that spiritual matters do not follow the same “logic?” We would rather drive along heading straight into death instead of accepting the grace, mercy and love of God through Jesus Christ.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who do you rely on?

April 25, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. This will result in your being witnesses to them. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. By standing firm you will gain life.
(Luke 21:12-19 (NIV))

How many times have you been in a situation where you felt you needed to defend your faith?

At times like these we need to rely on the Holy Spirit to provide us with our defense. All too many times we rely on our own understanding to defend ourselves. We need to let go and let God. God is in control. He will provide for us even in times of need. This includes our own defense. We say that we believe in God and that Jesus is our Lord and Savior, yet do we really trust that God will deliver us?

It is human nature to rely on ourselves. We must break this nature and fully rely on God.

Who do you rely on?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Join in the victory as conquerors

April 24, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin– because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
(Romans 6:5-14 (NIV))

Grace is an amazing thing. All throughout the Old Testament, man lived under Law. The Law convicted man in everything that he did. Man could not live up to the standard of the Law. We had fallen from Grace and sin had entered into our lives, and no matter what we tried, we could not be perfect in God’s eyes.

Grace changed all that! God knew that we would need a Savior – someone who was perfect in His sight to pay the price for our sinful nature. Jesus’ death was that price paid once for all. But, there is more. Jesus’ resurrection was the crowning glory to God’s plan for salvation. God knew that in order for us to be able to live with Him, we must conquer death which was brought about by our sin. Jesus HAD to be resurrected in order for us to fully have salvation.

Sin cannot be present with God. Death was brought about by sin. Death HAD to be conquered once and for all. All we have to do is proclaim our faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and we can join in the victory as conquerors.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We cannot live in both the light and the darkness. Choose!

April 23, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
(1 Thessalonians 5:4-11 (NIV))

Have we forgotten that we are not supposed to be in darkness? Too many people who say that they are Christians stumble in the darkness out of choice.

Darkness can mean many things, but primarily it means that we walk away from the will of God. Whether we do not read and study the Scriptures or we argue amongst ourselves, we are not walking in God’s perfect will for us, and are, therefore, walking in darkness.

Each of us steadfastly holds on to things that we do not want to give up because we love our sin too much. Is this what Jesus died for, to allow us to continue to hold ourselves higher than God?

Closely examine Jesus’ life and then examine your life. Do you look more like one of His disciples, or do you look more like the rich young man who did not want to give up his worldly sin for eternal life?

If we are truly in the light, then we must be willing to examine our lives as they are shown in and through the light and not hide things in the darkness. We cannot live in the light and in the darkness at the same time. We must strive to be in the light so that the words that Paul wrote can apply to us.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Take your faith further!

April 22, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
(Jude 1:20-21 (NIV))

Not many people quote from Jude. It is a small book. It is the book right before Revelations. With that in mind, these words take on a whole new meaning.

They are a warning to the body of believers to stay fast in the faith that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, for only through this faith will you be able to see the mercy that God has promised.

The message does not stop there. Having faith in Jesus is important, but, we are told to take that further, just as Jesus told us when He gave us the Great Commission.

Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear–hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.
(Jude 1:22-23 (NIV))

We must show mercy as we have been shown mercy. We must do all that we can do to rescue those who do not know Jesus. We must be His hands and feet. We must let His light shine through us. If we do not do these things, are we truly keeping the faith? Perhaps we are – we are keeping it to ourselves, and are not willing to share it with others!

To use a phrase that probably is overused, we must love the sinner and hate the sin. We must not forget this simple fact, for if we start to lose sight of the fact that we hate the sin, we will find ourselves overcome by sin through indifference.

Take your faith further!

What are you doing to build up your faith?

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