Are you friends with the world or with God?

April 29, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
(James 4:4 (NIV))

Have you ever truly stopped to think about what this passage means?

I know that the world has its moments of beauty. A sunrise on the ocean. A sunset out west. The leaves in the fall. The view from the mountain top. All of these things are beautiful. These are glimpses of what God had intended for us to experience in this world, but then sin was allowed into the world!

The very nature of sin is death.

It is not the world as created that brings hatred toward God. It is the sinful nature that was allowed into the world. It is what humanity has become in the world. It is an attitude. It is the sinful nature that we must not be friends with, for it is the nature of sin to lead us into places where we do not want, where we do not need to go.

Are you a friend of sin?

I honestly don’t think that I can get any more direct, any more blunt than that question.

Think about your friends. Do you turn your eyes away from the things that they do that they shouldn’t do? Do you accept the sins as just a part of them as they are? Now, consider the general world of sin that James 4:4 refers to. Do you accept the sins of the world simply because they are part of what makes the world as you know it? I am sure that people make excuses such as that is just how things are. Living in the world does not mean that you have to be accepting of the world. It does not mean that you have to become friends with the very sin that has cast all of humanity away from God.

Think about that last statement.

God cannot associate with sin. If we accept the sin of the world, then God cannot associate with us. We have become an enemy of God. Salvation requires repentance. We must turn away from sin in order to turn to God.

Which way will you turn?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Just what is the source of your wisdom?

April 28, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For the LORD gives wisdom,
and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
(Proverbs 2:6 (NIV))

What better source of wisdom than the Creator of all things! His wisdom is true wisdom.

Isn’t it interesting that our frail human minds think that wisdom is now all rooted in attaining technological advances and knowledge of things that soon become outdated. We frantically attempt to gain new wisdom to replace that which has become outdated. This sounds very much like the times written of by Daniel.

“At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people–everyone whose name is found written in the book–will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.”
(Daniel 12:1-4 (NIV))

We seek after all the wrong wisdom and we call it good. At the same time, those who earnestly seek after God are called narrow-minded and bad. It is true that we must live in this world, but we do not have to live by the standards that it tries to set for us. We can choose the true wisdom, knowledge and understanding that comes only through God.

Where does your wisdom lie?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is Jesus your strong tower no matter what may come?

April 27, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
the righteous run to it and are safe.
(Proverbs 18:10 (NIV))

No matter what the world may say or do, God is not dead. No matter how many people say that right is wrong and evil is right, God is not dead. No matter how many things are ridiculed as old fashioned and bigoted, God is not dead.

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

“The owner’s servants came to him and said, `Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

” `An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, `Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

” `No,’ he answered, `because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ ”
(Matthew 13:23-30 (NIV))

We have been told that righteousness and evil will grow in the world. We have also been told that those who trust in the Lord shall be saved. The parable from Matthew 13 and the passage from Proverbs 18:10 tell us the very same thing. We are to turn to the Lord. He is our refuge. He is our shelter. He is our strength.

When was the last time that you willingly walked out into a violent storm? It is probably a safe assumption that instead of doing this, you took shelter in a warm and welcoming place of refuge. You spent the time watching the storm, knowing that you were safe from the bad things that the storm could bring. You found strength in the safety of your shelter.

Is Jesus your shelter in times of trouble? Is He your shelter only during these times, or do you take refuge in Him at all times? Just as a shelter is welcoming during a storm, it is also a bright and fulfilling place in other times. It is a safe harbor to call home. It is a place of familiarity and comfort. To most people, their home is such a place.

Is Jesus such a place? Is Jesus your home no matter what may come?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have we sunk to the point where this is all true?

April 26, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Stop listening to instruction, my son,
and you will stray from the words of knowledge.
A corrupt witness mocks at justice,
and the mouth of the wicked gulps down evil.
Penalties are prepared for mockers,
and beatings for the backs of fools.
Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler;
whoever is led astray by them is not wise.
A king’s wrath is like the roar of a lion;
he who angers him forfeits his life.
It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife,
but every fool is quick to quarrel.
(Proverbs 19:27 – 20:3 (NIV))

I want you to do something. I want you to read this passage again and stop to think about the society and the world in which we live. Is it just me, or do you see all of these traits running rampant in the world today?

We no longer listen to instruction. Knowledge has become whatever we want it to be whether it is true or not. Corruption mocks the very fabric of our society and wickedness abounds. Foolishness has become the normal way of thinking and acting. Anger and wrath have taken he place of love and patience. Speaking of love, the true meaning of love, God’s love, has become lost in the chaos of the world. It has come to mean that because God loves us we can do whatever we want. Is there honor in the things that we see in the news? One group of lives is more important than another group of lives.

And now the biggest and most foolish thing in the world is that if you believe in God, Jesus and the Word of God, then you are a bigot and close minded.

I know that Jesus told us that we would face these troubles, but I still find it disheartening, not for myself, but for those who don’t realize the proverbial error of their ways.

It is my prayer that everyone learn how to listen to Godly instruction and seek after the true knowledge that only comes from God.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Why do we refuse to see certain things?

April 25, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, `It’s going to rain,’ and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, `It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?
“Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?
(Luke 12:54-57 (NIV))

Why do we refuse to see certain things?

Have you ever been caught completely off guard by an event only to look back upon it with a different perspective? You look back and you see the telltale signs of the impending event that caught you off guard. Let’s face the facts. Human nature is a strange thing. We pay attention to the trivial things in life while we are completely blind sided by the major things.

Take a look at the world in it’s current state. What do we focus on? Is it the price of gasoline and the extra hurt that we feel when we fill up our cars or is it the events of the world where God is unfolding prophecy right before our eyes?

We become so engrossed in our daily lives and what will impact us in the short term, such as the clouds rising in the west, that we fail to see the catastrophic storm that is just beyond the horizon. We fail to judge what we should be paying attention to. We fail to recognize the truth in what we are seeing.

Failing to recognize the truth can be dangerous. We live in a time when people say that truth is relative, but I say that truth is always relevant and unchanging. With the state of the world, we cannot rely upon ourselves to be able to stay true to what is right. We must rely upon God and His Word to guide us. His Word is truth. His Word warns us of these times. We must prepare ourselves for daily life in His Word. We must also prepare ourselves for eternal life in His Word. God gives us insight into what He has planned. We must know God’s timeline of history – the past, the present, and His glorious future.

Can you judge according to God’s Word?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Your heart does not lie!

April 22, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

Your heart does not lie.

Have you ever known in your mind that you should do something only to find that your heart was reluctant to let it happen. Your heart is the guardian of what is truly the center of your life. You may be able to ignore this with your mind and tell yourself that it is not the case, but let something hint at the possibility of getting to what your heart holds dear and you will see a different side of yourself.

If you seek money, then your heart will not let you do anything that goes against that. If you seek God, the same is true.

What do you earnestly seek after and is it in your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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In our weariness, we must turn to Jesus!

April 21, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
(Matthew 11:28 (NAS))

There are two types of weariness that we, as humans, experience. We can be weary physically and we can be weary spiritually and emotionally. No matter how strong we may be, our physical bodies can only handle so much before we reach a point where we are too tired, too broken, to do anything else. We need to rest! I am sure that all of us have experienced this in our lives.

What about emotional and spiritual weariness?

I realize that this could be considered two separate instances, but have you ever seen someone who is emotionally drained who is not spiritually drained? Have you ever seen someone who is spiritually exhausted who is not emotionally drained? The two go hand in hand. When we are like this, we also need rest!

What are the things in this life that beat you down, make you tired, and leave you feeling exhausted and drained? Is it finances? Is it addiction? Is it the state of the world? Is it a loved one’s lack of a relationship with Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior?

I know that we all have them, I know that we all need to find a shelter from these things. I know that we need a safe and secure place where we can find rest from the things in this world that make us weary.

We can find physical rest in many different ways and places. Some go to the mountains. Others go to the beach. Some go fishing, while others will simply become a semi-permanent fixture on their couch. In all of creation, there is only one place where we can find rest from the things that weigh heavily on us spiritually and emotionally.

That one place is at the feet of Jesus! That one place is in the presence of the one who has taken all of our burdens upon Himself. Only Jesus can lift the burdens that our sinful nature weighs us down with.

In our weariness, we must turn to Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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