What is honor? What is humility?

October 31, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, `Give this man your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, `Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
(Luke 14:8-11 (NIV))

What is honor?

Honor can be a selfish, vain ego trip that greatly elevates you to a position from which humility is forced upon you, or it can be a humble, selfless act that will exalt you to a position of greatness. It doesn’t make sense, does it? Neither does honor.

The world thinks of honor as something that is bestowed because of someone’s greatness. All too often, this “greatness” has a tendency to go to your head and cause a greatly inflated ego. It is this ego that causes us to have a highly inflated self-worth. This self-worth makes us assume things and do things that are sinful in nature.

Do you remember what caused Satan to fall? It was ego. He wanted to be greater than he was. He wanted to be God. He tried to elevate himself and met with the consequences of his desires. From the Bible, we know that Jesus was with God from the beginning, yet, we do not hear about him until God chose to elevate Him. Now He sits at the right hand of God, the Father. Satan, on the other hand, has been cast down after his attempt to exalt himself.

Do you exalt yourself?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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“Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

October 30, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
(Mark 4:35-41 (NIV))

Can you imagine the thoughts that were going through the minds of the disciples? We know that they asked “Who is this,” but what else were they thinking?

Were they afraid? Did they realize who was with them and then realized that their lives were not worthy of His company?

Were they arrogant? Did they start to think that they were special because the Creator of all the universe had chosen them to spend His time with?

Were they dumbfounded? Did they have so many emotions and thoughts that they didn’t know what to do?

Personally, I believe that I would have been all of the above and then some. Fear would have gripped me once I realized that He was God. Arrogance and pride would have come next for the very reasons that were mentioned. I probably would have then sank into a deep and reflective mood where I would question everything I had ever known and everything I had ever thought, said or did. In other words, I would have done exactly what I would assume each of us would have done.

Think about that for a moment.

One day, we will all stand before Jesus and come to the full realization of who He is. For some, it will be a moment of great despair. For others, it will be a moment of great joy. The difference will be decided by timing. When did each of us come to the realization that Jesus is the Son of God? If you already profess that, then great joy will fill your heart. If you have not, your realization will come too late and you will be filled with great despair.

How will you greet Jesus on that day?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you claim to be a child of God?

October 29, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.
(Deuteronomy 8:5 (NIV))

How many parents do you know who will not discipline and correct their children when they do something that is wrong? Most parents have an innate sense of responsibility to raise their children to obey what is considered to be the laws and the socially acceptable practices of the society.

Do you claim to be a child of God?

If you do, are you willing to admit that God will discipline you when the need arises? Just as an earthly parent will do what is right in disciplining a child, then, doesn’t it stand to reason that God, who is the Creator and Father of all, would also correct us out of love?

An earthly father will not discipline out of hatred. He disciplines out of love, knowing that the short period of discipline will result in a lesson learned that will prevent a longer period of suffering or even death. God is the same way. He disciplines those who call Him Father, for He desires to have each of us mature to be Christlike in our life.

Think back on the last time that you felt that you were being disciplined. After passing through that period in your life, do you have the same outlook as when the discipline started? Did the discipline save you from making a much bigger mistake or “sin?”

As the Body of Christ, we should welcome Godly discipline, for it is through this discipline that we are able to mature.

Is God truly your Father, or do you look upon Him simply as a source of magic and a place to turn when in trouble?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How are you working in your part of the harvest?

October 28, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.
(Matthew 9:35-38 (NIV))

Are you willing to be a worker in God’s harvest field?

Have you ever simply stopped to think about what that means?

Each member of the Body of Christ has a ministry that is theirs alone. We are all placed in our circumstances so that we may reach out to those around us and share the Good News. We are to be workers for the harvest where we are. We don’t need to go half way around the world to be in ministry. We don’t need to have a well known name and the backing of financial supporters. Think about that. Did Jesus have the financial backing of a group of supporters or did He just listen to God?

I often wonder what God thinks of the way that we perform our ministries. Does He sit there and shake His head and think that we just don’t get it? Does Jesus say to himself, “That is not how I showed you and what I taught you!”

I have another question for you.

We have all seen people who believe that they need to shout if they are talking about God. What is your reaction to these type of people? Is there anything written down that tells us Jesus shouted at those who came to see Him? He talked to them out of love. Why do we think that we have to shout to convince someone of the salvation that is freely given through Jesus and the cross?

This type of action just drives people away!

Did Jesus drive people away or did they flock to Him?

We must use Jesus as the model for our ministries. We must be a willing worker for the harvest. We don’t need to cause people to turn and flee because of our actions.

How are you working in your part of the harvest?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is there someone in your life who makes you step forward?

October 24, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
“Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
(John 2:1-5 (NIV))

I think that we can all identify with Jesus in this story. Let’s face the facts. We have all had someone in our lives who made us step up to the plate even though we were not ready for it. They believed in us and pushed us to go that extra step when we weren’t ready to take any steps whatsoever.

Jesus had told His mother that His time had not come, meaning that He was not ready to begin what God the Father had sent Him to do. Did she listen? Did she back off of her request? She simply turned to those who were the servants and told them to do whatever He said! If you stop to think about what Mary did, she is probably the only person in history who literally forced God’s hand. She pushed Him into doing something that He was not ready for and as a result, we learn the significance of the person that God places in our lives to get us to move.

Does God have a call on your life? Are you moving, or are you waiting for that one person who will “force your hand” and make you move? God uses these people to bring about things in your life. He uses them to bring you closer to Him and then He uses them to make you spread His Word. Perhaps you will even grow into one of these people yourself.

The key is to not ignore this encouragement because it is often Godly counsel that serves as a confirmation of God’s calling.

You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
(Psalm 73:24 (NIV))

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

October 24, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
(Revelation 21:5 (NIV))

We are between the Creation and the re-creation that this passage speaks of. Exactly where we are is only known to God, but we are given some insight into which end of the timeline we are living in.

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, `I am the Christ, ‘ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
(Matthew 24:4-8 (NIV))

With all of the events in the world at this time, we are seeing wars and rumors of wars. We are seeing conflicts that only a few short years ago would have been considered atrocities and would not have happened. Now we see innocent children brutally murdered all in the name of a “holy war.”

I do not venture to say that I have any insight into what is in God’s timeline. All I know is that each of us must be ready to be the witness for God that He calls us to be in these uncertain times.

Are you ready?

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

October 23, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the LORD his God, and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense. Azariah the priest with eighty other courageous priests of the LORD followed him in. They confronted him and said, “It is not right for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD. That is for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who have been consecrated to burn incense. Leave the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful; and you will not be honored by the LORD God.”

Uzziah, who had a censer in his hand ready to burn incense, became angry. While he was raging at the priests in their presence before the incense altar in the LORD’s temple, leprosy broke out on his forehead. When Azariah the chief priest and all the other priests looked at him, they saw that he had leprosy on his forehead, so they hurried him out. Indeed, he himself was eager to leave, because the LORD had afflicted him.
(2 Chronicles 26:16-20 (NIV))

Pride and arrogance!

How many times have we all stepped over the boundaries that we knew had been established for one reason or another? Everyone has boundaries and limitations that have been placed on them in one form or another. In Uzziah’s situation, he had become king, yet that wasn’t enough. He wanted to approach God directly before that was possible. He attempted to fill a role that God had not planned for him. He wanted to do the job of the priests.

His pride and arrogance caught up with him.

God punished Uzziah for the same sin that caused Satan to be cast out of heaven. Uzziah wanted to be equal to God and proved it through his attempts at approaching God directly. Even Moses was not capable of approaching God directly.

Thankfully, today, we have the ability to approach the throne of God through the redeeming blood of Jesus, yet, I still feel that we have something to learn from Uzziah. God allowed him to keep his position, yet, he lost all of his authority. He was king only in name. If we, who are bought by the blood of Jesus, fall pray to pride, we may be able to keep our position of salvation, yet, we will lose our effectiveness in doing the work that the position calls us to.

How is your pride?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you know the ways of God?

October 22, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.
(Psalms 139:1-4 (NIV))

How often we forget this little piece of wisdom!

We get ourselves into a situation and then we wonder why God is not there to get us out! He is never far from us. He will never leave us. What has happened is that we have done things in this life without asking for God’s guidance and wisdom. We do things without knowing God’s thoughts and ways.

He knows our thoughts and ways before they happen, yet, we seldom know God’s thoughts and ways even after He has tried to teach us a lesson through our actions. We need to discern His thoughts and ways much better than we do. We need to take the time to “Be still” before God and “know that he is God.” Once we come to this point in our life, then we will realize that we need to know God as well as He knows us. We must be able to tell what God desires of us in any situation that we may find ourselves.

Do you know the ways of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Just what is denial?

October 21, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
(Matthew 10:32-33 (RSV))

Have you ever been in a situation in which you were with people that did not believe in Jesus? Perhaps you even found yourself in a situation that had you among people who ridiculed and mocked those who profess a faith in Jesus.

What did you do?

Did you give in to peer pressure and go along with the crowd of people you were with or did you stand firm in your faith?

Perhaps I am asking far too many questions, but I think that we have all found ourselves in situations similar to what I describe. It isn’t easy to always do the right thing. Sometimes it makes you feel awkward. Not doing the right thing makes you feel ashamed. Denial makes you feel ashamed.

Just what is denial?

According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, one definition of denial is the refusal to admit the truth or reality.

Perhaps the best way to look at this is by realizing that even though we profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we are not perfect. We will still sin. We can repent. We can turn away from our moments of denial and ask for forgiveness. We need to strive to avoid these moments of denial, but we can rest assured that if we earnestly repent, then we will not be denied.

Jesus was once asked by someone how many times that they should forgive someone when they are sinned against.

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
(Matthew 18:22 (NIV))

If Jesus instructs us to do this, do you think that He would do any less if we are sincere in our request?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you feel that you are too sinful to receive grace?

October 18, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, `Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
(Luke 15:1-7 (NIV))

Some people believe that they have done so many terrible things in their life that there is no way that God could forgive them. They feel that God’s grace is for everyone but them.

Have you ever felt that way?

I think that it is human nature to fall prey to the lies of the enemy. He tells us that we are so vile a sinner that God has abandoned us. If we hear it often enough, we start to believe it. Isn’t human nature a sad thing sometimes? Repetition can change the minds of many people and make them believe the worst of lies.

Even though we may feel that we are too bad for grace, God never feels that way. God reached out to all sinners through His Son, Jesus, so that none should perish. All of heaven rejoices when a soul that is close to eternal separation from God returns to the Father. This passage should tell people that they are not too far removed from God’s grace. All that has to be done is to turn toward God and He will meet you with open arms and rejoicing. Don’t let the enemy tell you any different.

Rejoice in your salvation! Rejoice in the saving grace as it reaches others. Join all of heaven in rejoicing when a fellow sinner returns to God.

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