God loves you, but is He pleased with you?

February 25, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
(Psalms 19:14 (NLT))

If you have children, no matter the age, what is it about them that pleases you? Please note that I did not ask what is it about them that you love, for love is a natural thing for a parent to have for their children.

What is it about them that pleases you?

I can safely say that what pleases you as a parent are not the things that stir up anger. The things about your children that please you are the positive things in their lives. Things such as love, joy, peace, patience, and other such traits. You are pleased when you see their words and their actions reflecting things that are righteous in nature.

Do you like it when your children do something wrong?

You still love them, but you are not happy with their actions.

God is the same way with each of us. He loves us no matter what we do, yet, He is only pleased with us when we do things that honor Him. Contrary to what the world says, God is not pleased with us when we go against His design.

Think about that for a moment.

If you like to bake and you make a pie, you are pleased with the pie if it tastes good. What happens when you find that the results of your labor is not what you intended? You try to come up with a way to fix the results, such as adding ice cream, and if that doesn’t work, you throw it out.

God came up with a way to fix our sinful nature so that He could be pleased with us once again. He sent His Son, Jesus, to bring that fix, to bring salvation. It is up to us to accept that fix so that we can be pleasing in the eyes of God.

Do I even need to go to the end result if we do not accept the fix that God has sent?

Are your words and your thoughts pleasing to God?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you praise God at all times?

February 4, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.
(Job 1:21 (NAS))

Even after all that Job had experienced, he still felt the need to praise God. During all of his later trials and misfortunes, he still praised God.

True, there were times when he was angry at God, yet he still knew his respective place in the creation. He knew that God was the One who caused all things to be and that it was through this action that caused him to exist.

He praised his Creator even when he did not fully understand the circumstances that he was in. Only one other person in history has suffered more than Job did, and that was Jesus Christ. In both cases, God was praised for His power and authority in all things.

If these two can praise God even when faced with the things that they faced, then we can praise God in our daily lives when we think that all is wrong.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How are we doing?

February 11, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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.
(Ephesians 6:12 (NIV))

Who do you get angry at when you see the state of the world?

Do you get angry at those who mock Jesus?

Do you get angry at those who try to take away your way of life?

Do you get angry with those who try to kill you because of your faith?

Where do you think that these people got the ideas from? Did they just come to them one day, or were they planted by the enemy and slowly matured by the enemy until they had lost all signs of anything righteous in their lives?

I honestly believe that these people have been lied to! In fact, I know that the they have been deceived.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
(Titus 3:3-7 (NIV))

Did you catch that?

At one time in our lives, we, as members of the Body of Christ, were just like those who are currently deceived. Our battle is not with the deceived, but with the deceiver. We must pray for those who are deceived. We must pray that their hearts will be opened to what Jesus offers. We must pray that they will be able to break the bondage placed upon them by the deceiver. We must be willing to go into battle with our Lord and Savior and confront the deceiver, the powers of this dark world. We must be willing to see those who are lost in the clutches of the enemy as Jesus sees them. Do you see them as the source of the problem or do you see them as pawns in Satan’s grand scheme?

Don’t be too fast to judge. In fact, we are not called to judge. We are called to bring them to repentance. To use the terminology of warfare, we do not want to inflict casualties, for that would mean that someone has been lost to all eternity. We want to take prisoners! We want to make converts! We want to get as many as possible to switch sides in this battle.

How are we doing?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The Body of Christ should know better!

August 1, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
(1 John 4:11-12 (NIV))

I sadly know why the world looks at the church and calls us hypocrites. I have seen grudges and anger within the confines of the walls of many church buildings that could easily rival the feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys.

I have to have it my way or it’s no way!

I refuse to speak to that person!

Who do they think they are? My family started this church.

I’ve been here all my life. I’m not going to let someone come in and change what we have.

I’ll just be mean to them until they leave.

They don’t look and act like us. Maybe they will leave.

Have you ever thought or said anything like this about your local congregation?

What if Jesus had said that about us? What if He had said things like this about you?

Does God live in people who think or act like this? Think about that question and your thoughts and actions. Are you convicted of being arrogant and prideful, angry and obnoxious, hateful and back stabbing? None of these traits sound anything like love.

What would Jesus think?

What would Jesus do?

I honestly do not believe that He would condone this type of behavior. If we are His Body, why would we condone it? Why we would do it? This is the type of behavior that drives people away. It is not rooted in love. It is not rooted in the Fruits of the Spirit.

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.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Personally, I do not see back stabbing, hate, meanness, anger and pride as one of the characteristics listed. Why do so many members of the Body of Christ think that they are?

We should know better!

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. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
(Galatians 5:24-26 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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A greater love than the love of ourselves!

April 19, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“You have heard that it was said, `Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
(Matthew 5:38-42 (NIV))

This goes against everything that our human nature tells us to do. Who in their right mind would allow someone to take advantage of them in some way, let alone offer to do more for the person who is the perpetrator? The human trait of self preservation tells us to run from situations like this, or, at least to be angry.

Anger!

Perhaps it is the anger that is the motivating factor in these situations. It is not the anger of the victim, but the anger of the perpetrator against himself and God that is the element that needs to be overcome. Anger can make people do things that no one in their right mind would really ever consider doing. Locating this anger and addressing it is exactly what we are told to do in Matthew.

By willingly doing more than what is forced upon us, we turn the tables from one of a controlling anger to one of a willing love. If we do what is forced upon us, and then do more, it shows that we are not bound by the anger that drives the force. We are bound by the love of God through Jesus Christ, which has overcome the greatest anger – the anger and wrath of a sinful nature let loose upon this earth to kill and destroy.

How do you react when you are forced to do something that you do not wish to do? Do you fight it or do you offer yourself to the task and do more than is expected? What if Jesus was reluctant when He was forced to go to the cross? Whenever He was presented with an opportunity to extract himself, He would have taken it. Where would that leave you and I?

Sometimes we must do things out of a greater love than the love of ourselves!

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

September 19, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
(James 3:9-12 (NIV))

It is sad that the words written in James are all too true.

How many times have you left a wonderful worship service only to have someone cut you off in traffic and you find yourself saying things that you know you shouldn’t?

Be honest with yourself.

How can we, as the Body of Christ, do such things? How can we expect the world to see a difference in our lives when this is the rotten fruit that our mouths produce? How can we praise God, yet curse a part of His creation?

I can hear some of the grumbling now.

You are probably thinking that God did not intend for people to behave like those who get you upset. Did God intend for you to curse someone else? How is this showing the love of Jesus?

Did Jesus ever get angry? What angered Jesus?

You may be thinking about the money changers in the temple.

Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, ” `My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a `den of robbers.’ ”
(Matthew 21:12 (NIV))

Jesus did not get angry at people for their sins against each or against God’s laws. He got angry over the fact that people took God for granted, or they did not respect God. Think of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Why did Jesus get angry with them?

In every situation in which Jesus did show anger, it is not recorded that He cursed them or blasphemed. Why do we do any different?

Think about that old question, “Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?”

With some of the things that we all let slip, do we feel worthy of praising God with the same mouth?

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