Motives and the heart

September 17, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, `Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, `Raca, ‘ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, `You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
(Matthew 5:21-22 (NIV))

What is within your heart is what you must answer for. Jesus spoke of this principle many times during His time on this earth. It is not what is visible on the outside, but, rather, what is the intention on the inside. This ranges from anger to adultery to any other aspect of your life that is different on the inside and the outside. Remember that God sees the heart and knows your true intentions. You cannot keep anything from God.

You have heard that it was said, `Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
(Matthew 5:27-28(NIV))

Nothing outside a man can make him `unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him `unclean.’
(Mark 7:15(NIV))

Carefully consider your true, inner motives and intentions when dealing with people. How would Jesus classify your actions? Would your motives be clean or would you be in danger of the fire of hell?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you like on the inside?

July 11, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
(Matthew 23:25-26 (NIV))

How many people do you know that put up appearances? The way they look from the outside is all righteous, but when no one is around, or they are in different company, they are completely different. Jesus spoke of people like this. There were people like that then and there are still people like it now.

What are you like on the inside? Do you change or do you stay consistent in your words and actions? Be sure that your motives are of God on the inside, and then what the world sees will also be of God.

I find it interesting that far too many people only look at the outside. They look at what the world sees. Have you come to the realization that worldly attitudes call for false facades? We try to be perfect on the outside because we, as a society, have been shown a picture of perfection all of our lives. This is a perfection that calls for the perfect body, perfect hair, the perfect job, the perfect house and the perfect attitude all the while we ignore what really matters.

In other words, we are all show and no substance.

What happens when age takes the body and the mortgage on the perfect house ties you to a job that has lost its perfection. Life is not about appearances. Life is not about looking good to the world.

When all of the outside trappings have lost their luster, what do you have?

You have what is on the inside. If you have spent your whole life focusing on the outside, then your world is easily turned upside down. Jesus called the Pharisees out for their teachings, but I think that we can also look at what society teaches us in the same manner.

The old saying, “You are what you eat,” comes to mind. If we fill ourselves with greed and self-indulgence, then we are nothing on the inside but greed and self-indulgence. If we fill ourselves with Jesus, then what are we on the inside?

I honestly believe that when we fill ourselves with Jesus, we bear fruit!

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
(Galatians 5:22-25 (NIV))

Once again, I think that I need to ask, what are you like on the inside?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Actions and Words

June 25, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell
(Mark 9:42-47 (NIV))

Today’s society seems to have forgotten these simple yet profound statements that Jesus made. In both cases, He was referring to innocence. The innocence of children and the judgment that awaits those who cause children to sin and the innocence of the whole person with respect to a part of them that causes them to sin.

Perhaps Jesus was drawing the distinction between the innocence of children and the innocence that we should have as children of God. In either case, sin should not be allowed in to corrupt what God has created. Sin must be removed so that it cannot cause the person to pay the ultimate price – eternal separation from God. Do not allow sin into your life and do not introduce sin into another person’s life.

We should remember that God demands more from those who teach and preach His Word. Perhaps we should also associate the fact that He demands more from those who cause others to sin. I would not want to be one who God demands more because of sin. I would rather be held accountable for preaching and teaching His Word than for causing others to sin.

Remember that people are watching everything that you do. Would your actions and words be held accountable for God or for sin?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Strength

June 22, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
(Deuteronomy 8:10-14 (NIV))

Has our nation become proud?

Have we as a nation forgotten the Lord our God?

Has the church become proud?

Has the Body of Christ forgotten our first love? Have we forgotten why we are the church? Have we watered down the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Or even worse, have we abandoned the truth for something that is politically correct?

Israel was warned that this could happen. There were times where they, as a nation, did forget. There were times, when they, as a nation, became proud. No nation is exempt from the possibilities of turning their back on God.

And, no nation is exempt from the consequences if they do!

Israel had times in their history where they strayed and where they paid the consequences.

I believe that this nation is also being led astray. We have become proud and arrogant. We have forgotten the Lord. We have allowed whatever that enters our heart to become our god.

Where is the church in all of this? We are called to hold fast to our faith. We are called to be the light into the darkness. We are called to be witnesses to the world.

We are called to pray!

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:13 (NIV))

Are we doing our part? Are we praying for our nation? Are we praying for our world?

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
(James 5:16 (NIV))

We can be effective. We can be powerful, but not in our own strength. We must not forget the Lord. We must not become proud.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
(James 4:10 (NIV))

If we, as a nation become proud, we will be humbled. If we, as a church become proud, we will be humbled. If we humble ourselves, then God will hear us. It is when we are humble that we are strong in the Lord.

Where is your strength? Where is the strength of the church? What is the sttrength of our nation?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Praise the LORD

June 14, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
(Psalms 150:6 (NIV))

Do we truly understand the simple truth of these words?

All of creation praises God in all that it is, yet, our intellect often keeps us from doing what God designed us to do. We are to praise Him in all things.

What happens when we fail at this?

Jesus told us exactly what would happen.

“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
(Luke 19:40 (NIV))

What happens when a nation does not praise God?

Another nation or nations will be found that will shout out His praises!

This is exactly what happened when Israel rejected their Messiah when He first came. Because of this, we, the “stones” have been given the opportunity to praise Him.

Unfortunately, some of the “stones” are also keeping quiet. We must not let this happen. We must be ever thankful of the gift of grace and mercy that we have been given. We must shout it with every breath!

Sometimes actions speak louder than words. We can shout with our actions.

No matter how we choose to praise God, we must never lose sight of the truth that He deserves all glory, honor and praise.

How do you praise God?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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No matter what society says

April 12, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers–and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
(1 Timothy 1:8-11 (NIV))

The law that is spoken of is the Ten Commandments. It is correct that the law is not for the righteous, for the righteous do what God wishes them to do. It is for those who do not follow God’s Will that the law exists. It is intended to show those people that certain things are not acceptable.

In today’s society, the courts have removed God’s Laws from schools, from public buildings and some are trying to remove them from any aspect of our society. What does that say about society?

If a society removes the principles upon which it is built, can a society survive in this world, let alone in the eyes of God? Those who remove the laws are those who are guilty of the very crimes that the law speaks against. It is a shame that we have let criminals dictate how we can behave instead of allowing God to dictate how we can behave.

No matter what society says, we, as believers, must follow what God says.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Which type of a relationship do you have with God?

March 30, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him.
(Titus 1:16a (NIV))

What do your actions say about you?

Do they deny your claim that you know God or do they uphold your claim?

Let’s take a look at the ways that we claim to know God. Just like our human relationships, we can confuse a casual acquaintance relationship as one where we think we truly know a person. Is this how you know God? Is He a casual acquaintance that you call upon when and only when you need His help? Do you struggle with knowing what is in God’s heart because your relationship with Him is based on this casual arrangement. This type of relationship has no depth. It has no breadth. It has no long lasting qualities because everything is very superficial.

To truly know someone means that they are much more than a casual acquaintance. It means that you know them intimately. This relationship has depth. It has breadth and it has long lasting qualities because you have taken the time to get to know the other person. You know what is on their heart and mind. You know them so well that being able to understand them is no longer casual. You understand them completely. You know what makes them tick. When you know someone this well, your actions will reflect this knowledge. You will not deliberately do anything that will hurt the other person.

Which type of a relationship do you have with God? Is it casual and superficial or is it in-depth and meaningful?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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