What is your opinion of yourself?

January 16, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

There is not a righteous man on earth
who does what is right and never sins.
(Ecclesiastes 7:20 (NIV))

I realize that this passage probably has many people cringing because it brings them back to reality, and not the reality that they see in the mirror.

Contrary to what many people think of themselves, no one is perfect. Sadly, the world thinks that those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior are supposed to be perfect. We get judged by a standard that no one can uphold. We get judged because we realize the condition of our existence. We get judged because we realize we need a Savior.

There is a saying that Christians are not perfect, but we are forgiven.

What makes us able to claim this for ourselves? What makes anyone able to claim this in their lives?

All it takes is a simple profession of faith. We simply have to accept the grace that has freely been given to us. We simply have to admit that we are in need of saving. We simply have to profess that Jesus is our Lord and Savior.

We cannot bring ourselves grace. We cannot bring ourselves salvation. There is nothing that we can do to earn it. All we can do is acknowledge that we need it and graciously accept God’s gift.

Righteousness is not attainable through our own efforts. It is only attainable as a gift!

Are you righteous?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Blessings come in all forms!

January 15, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
(1 Peter 4:12-17 (NIV))

Based on this passage, the people who are teaching a theology of prosperity may need to rethink what they are teaching. Don’t get me wrong. God does want to bless us, but we have also been told that we would have trouble. Jesus did not say that He would remove the trouble. He clearly said that we would have trouble.

“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))

We, as believers, will face troubles. We will face troubles that other people do not face. We will be persecuted simply because we call upon the name of Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. This type of trouble should be welcome, for if we are ridiculed and persecuted because of the name of Jesus, then we are doing what He has called us to do. We are making ourselves known as members of His Body.

We will be blessed, but the blessings will come if we are willing to bless others. The blessings are not intended for those who simply seek the blessings. Perhaps we should even think of the troubles as a blessing, for they build character and mark us as followers of Jesus.

How are you blessed?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you ever find yourself saying, “Why me, God?”

January 14, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
(1 Peter 4:12-13 (NIV))

Do you ever find yourself saying, “Why me, God?”

I know that I do. It is human nature to hate to suffer. We all suffer in various different ways in our earthly, physical lives. All too often we are so caught up in our own sufferings that we miss the true sufferings of others.

No matter how we suffer, we must remember that it is nothing compared to what Jesus suffered in order to save us from our sins. It is through His suffering that we have been made whole.

Too many believers have the wrong impression that because we have accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we should not suffer any more.

Nothing could be further from the truth!

“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))

Are you surprised at your suffering or do you rejoice in the grace that you have been given?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you love, fear and respect God?

January 13, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me, freeing me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. I cried out to the Lord in my suffering, and he heard me. He set me free from all my fears. For the angel of the Lord guards all who fear him, and he rescues them.
(Psalms 34:4-7 (NLT))

Everybody longs for what this passage describes. We all want God to answer our prayers. We all want God to come to our rescue. We all want God to bless us.

Did you catch the caveat in this passage?

There are four words that most people have a tendency to overlook. They see the words and think that it could not be as written, after all, God is love. They falsely think that God will answers our prayers and come to our rescue no matter what we do. They think of God as a genie who is there to grant our every wish. They fail to recognize the two way relationship that four little words bring to the table.

All who fear Him!

God is not going to answer the prayers of those who mock Him. He is not going to come to the rescue of those who rebel against Him. It is true that God does not wish for any to perish, but it is up to us. He has given us free will. If we choose to turn from Him, then He will not bless us. He will still be there hoping that we will repent and turn to Him, but He cannot do for us if we do not accept His grace and mercy. With that acceptance comes a fear of Him. Perhaps that fear is better understood as a respect.

Think about that concept.

Do you love you earthly father? When you were growing up, how many times did you hear your mother tell you, “Just wait till your father gets home!” Did you fear your father at these times? You knew he loved you, but you also knew that he was capable of dealing with your bad behavior, your sins.

Why do people have such a different view of God, our heavenly Father, than they do of their earthly father? Even for those who profess a faith and actively strive to be righteous in the eyes of God, we have a tendency to look upon God in ways that we shouldn’t.

Do you love, fear and respect God?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you desire the things of God or the things of man?

January 12, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But give what is inside the dish to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.

“Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.

“Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.
(Luke 11:39-43 (NIV))

What do you love?

Do you long for the adulation of man? Do you do all within your power to make sure that the things you do are seen by man?

Think about these last two questions.

What does man see?

What does God see?

All too often, when we try to look good in the eyes of man, we only present a false facade. It is this facade that we use to hide the filth that is inside of us. What happens when this false facade springs a leak? What happens when what is truly on the inside becomes visible to those on the outside? It is this that causes fear in people. They are afraid that others will find out how they truly are.

God sees us from the inside. He knows our hearts. He knows our thoughts. If we clean up the inside, we don’t have to be afraid of what will show when we allow it to be seen. Also, when the inside is clean, the outside is easier to clean. We spend less time worrying about what others will find out about us and we spend more time focused on God.

Do you desire the things of God or the things of man?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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You can’t follow Jesus on your terms!

January 9, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.”
“Which ones?” the man inquired.
Jesus replied, ” `Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and `love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
(Matthew 19:16-22 (NIV))

Some theologians say that this man’s sin was greed. Others say that it was placing something above God. No matter what his sin truly was, there was an unwillingness to give up that sin, for he was comfortable within his sin. He wanted to follow Jesus on his terms.

It is true that Jesus came preaching that God is love, yet, He also wanted people to repent of their sins when they chose to follow God. God does love everyone. He desires for everyone to be saved, yet He does not want them to stay within their sin. Those who say that it is ok to continue to live in sin and be a follower of Jesus are simply not facing the truth of God’s Word.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

Take a serious look at the last word in that passage. “Repentance.” He does not want us to come to Him and stay within our sin. The rich young man was not willing to repent and turn away from his sin. He wanted his sin to be justified. He wanted Jesus to tell him that he was “good enough” and that his “little” sin was not enough to keep him away from God.

We know that God cannot associate with sin. Sin is direct disobedience of God’s will. God cannot be disobedient to His own self.

Take a look at society today. What do you think of when you see groups of people wanting to change the teachings of the church because they are no longer relevant to today’s society? Basically, they are attempting to do what the rich young man was trying to do. They are trying to validate their sin. They are trying to have the church, which represents Godly authority, change what sin is so that they can continue to live the way they want.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8 (NIV))

Jesus is the Word made flesh. God’s Word does not change. God’s Word speaks of righteousness. If we attempt to change what is considered righteous, what does that truly mean?

Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.
(3 John 1:11 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have your full armor on?

January 8, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
(Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV))

Like you, I was repulsed and saddened by the news of the events in Paris. This is just another in a long line of physical terrorist attacks. These attacks are only the surface!

There is a spiritual battle going on in the world and for the world.

Is the Body of Christ prepared to face the enemy directly? Will we stand our ground when we are faced with the evils of the enemy? Will we know that our faith is strong enough to endure whatever we may face?

God’s Word gives us the faith, the hope and the strength to face whatever may come our way. Rest assured, if you are immersing yourself in God’s Word and living according to what God is teaching us, then you will be attacked. It may not be anything like what happened in Paris, but Satan, through one of his various tools, will attack.

Stand firm. Be prepared as any good soldier is prepared. Know your responsibilities. Know the tricks of the enemy. Be able to discern when something is not one hundred percent truth according to God’s Word.

Know God’s Word.

Pray!

Seek God’s face.

Do you have your full armor on?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God, nothing is too hard for You!

January 7, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.
(Jeremiah 32:17 (NIV))

Did you catch that last sentence?

Nothing is too hard for you.

Are there things in your life that you think are beyond God’s ability to help? Are there things in your life that you think that even God cannot turn the situation around?

Nothing is too hard for God!

If you believe that there are things that God cannot do, then the god that you worship is not the God of the Bible. The god that you worship is one of your own creation and since you created him, he is limited in what he can do.

You need the God that created you!

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
(Psalms 139:14 (NIV))

Can you praise a god of your own creation and expect what the one, true God can do?

I want you to repeat after me – “God, nothing is too hard for You!”

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you been paying attention?

January 6, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
(Psalms 19:1 (NIV))

Have you been paying attention?

God, in all of His majesty, has created a spectacular universe in which we live. He has set things in motion from the beginning of time. When we are young, we look up at the night sky and are amazed at the stars. We are amazed with the moon. As we grow older, we soon stop looking up and spend all of our time looking down. We look down to avoid the pitfalls of this world. We look down to hide our eyes from the gaze of others. We look down to shield our eyes from the truth.

Look up!

The stars are still spectacular. The moon is still amazing. The timing of alignments and events is something that we should pay attention to. If the heavens declare God’s glory and the skies proclaim the work of His hands, shouldn’t we look to them as a means of understanding God and His plans?

I am sure that you have at least read about the four blood moons and how they all coincide with Jewish holy days and festivals. I find it amazing that four blood moons is a very rare occurrence with the next four occurring about 500 years from now. In all of time, what are the odds that four such events will line up perfectly with the Jewish calendar and fall on the same days in consecutive years?

I know that sometimes things do happen, but with the timings of these events and the other things that are going on in the world, I honestly believe that these are not accidental alignments.

God is doing something!

To make things even more interesting, according to some of my research sources, today is the midpoint of the four blood moons. I am not professing any knowledge of something happening, but I do know that God is up to something and that He uses the heavens to provide insight. And, no, this is not some astrological mumbo-jumbo.

Is God the Creator?

Is God in control?

If you answered “Yes” to both of these questions, then what is stopping God from using His creation to declare what He is about to do?

I think that it is time that we pay attention to God’s word and His creation!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Focus on Jesus in the new year!

January 5, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8 (NIV))

Nothing is ever the same in this life. It is impossible to ground yourself in anything in this world. Just when you think things are as they should be, something terrible happens and things are a complete mess.

If you base your perspective of life on things worldly, then you are going to be let down many times. If you base your life on things that are of God, with the center of your focus on Jesus Christ, then you will never be let down. With the beginning of the new year already here, keep your perspective clearly focused on Jesus, for He never changes.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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