Would you be convicted?

June 19, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You shall not murder.
(Exodus 20:13 (NIV))

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))

God clearly defined for us that to take another life is a sin, yet, how many times have we said things in anger that could convict us just the same? We may have learned to put up a front to society and to ourselves, yet, our thoughts can be just as sinful, if not more so, than our actual actions.

Sin is a matter of the heart. A heart that longs to do the Will of God will still sin, but it will not be as sinful as someone who does not long to be like God. Their thoughts will focus on God and the things that are righteous in nature. Someone who does not focus on God focuses on themselves. I have heard it said that sin has as its basis the human desire to be at the center of all things. Sin focuses on “me” and what “I” can get from things quickly. It is this type of an attitude that makes a person’s thoughts stray from what God would have you think about. “Me” turns to anger and anger into actions. The only difference is the physical act, yet, the heart still had the very same intentions. Perhaps it is the intention that convicts us of our sins.

What thoughts have you had recently? Would you be convicted?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Which man are you like?

September 16, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value.
(Proverbs 10:20 (NIV))

Consider two men.

One does not know the Lord and seeks after only his own desires no matter what the consequences. This person becomes more self centered and less compassionate as time passes. He thinks less and less of others except for the way that he can use them to further his own desires. By putting himself first in all matters, he alienates any true friends that he may ever have. No one can trust him. No one desires to be with that person. It becomes a viscous cycle in which the more he is self centered, the less people desire to be around him, and the more he rebels and says to himself that he doesn’t need people. This drives his heart to be more hardened and wicked, which eventually leads to this person cursing God or blaming God for his short-comings.

The other has placed Jesus Christ at the center of his life and allowed the Holy Spirit to inhabit his heart. His life is filled with the fruits of the Spirit and this shows in all aspects of his life: speech, actions and works. He is joyous all of the time because he has realized that nothing on this earth can make him happy. True happiness comes from knowing Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. Once this realization is made, this person will seek to do God’s Will for his life. By seeking God’s Will, this person opens himself up to the righteousness of God and the wisdom that accompanies this righteousness. Everything that comes from this person’s life will be God focused and beneficial to others.

Can you think of people who fall into both categories? In this imperfect world that man has allowed Satan to take control of, it is impossible to be truly righteous without God in your life. Reflect on the people that you have known that fall into the two categories. Who would you rather associate with in all aspects of your life? Who would you like to use as a role model?

Which man are you like?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have the right to hate?

July 14, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
(Matthew 5:43-45 (NIV))

Did Jesus have the right to hate His enemies?

Let’s face the facts. Judas betrayed Him. The crowds turned against Him. The Roman soldiers beat Him and crucified Him. They nailed Him to a cross. They pierced His side. By all human standards, He had every right to hate His enemies.

What did Jesus do?

He went against every human reaction that you or I would have ever had.

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
(Luke 23:34a (NIV))

Even after suffering all the humiliation of the cross, He still loved those who had nailed Him to that cross. Grace is an amazing thing, for it flies in the face of all conventional wisdom and does exactly opposite of what is expected. Jesus could have hated those who did this. He could have spoken a single word and their very existence would have ceased. Instead, He allowed everything to happen so that everyone could experience grace. Even though people meant to do Him harm, He did not stop loving them. He knew that what He faced would mean the difference for millions of people throughout history. He loved those who hated Him.

The next time that someone tries to harm you, remember grace and ask yourself, “What would Jesus do?”

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you complain or argue?

October 29, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do everything without complaining or arguing
(Philippians 2:14 (NIV))

We are never satisfied!

Think about that statement. There is an extreme amount of truth in those words. We are constantly seeking something that we don’t have. We want more, and when we don’t get it, we complain or we argue. Take a serious look inward and think about what makes you complain or argue. If you are like me, then it is probably the insecurity and the emptiness that we all feel. There is a void that we long to fill. When we don’t get it filled, we complain and argue. If we look for perfect love through our relationships, then we will be disappointed. If we look for fulfillment through our jobs, then we will be disappointed. If we look for happiness in our material possessions, then we will be disappointed. Everything of this world will leave us short of what God intended. He has so much more planned for us.

To claim what He has planned, we simply must place our faith in Jesus. We must also place our hope in things that are of God and not of this world.

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

If we place our hope and our hearts in things that will disappoint us, then we are setting ourselves up to complain. If we focus on Jesus and the hope that He brings, then we can simply realize that what disappoints us is not important. It is at this point that our whole life comes in to focus. We no longer have a need to complain or argue. We keep our eyes focused on the prize and not the obstacles along the way. This shows a sign of spiritual maturity, for you are able to realize that each moment is quickly gone and the next moment brings hope for something better.

Place you hope in Jesus. Allow the Holy Spirit to mature you. Do everything without complaining or arguing.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Anger

October 5, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God “will give to each person according to what he has done.” To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.
(Romans 2:5-11 (NIV))

The old saying “What goes around comes around” is true. If you hold anger and resentment against someone, then it will come back to you when you do not want it to.

God will reward you for your actions and thoughts in His time. No one is immune from this. The same way God allows everyone to have grace through the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, God has granted that everyone will reap the rewards for what they do and think. No matter who you are, God will hold you accountable.

It only matters whose you are, not who you are. If you call on the name of Jesus, then your sins will be forgiven. Once you call on the name of Jesus, no matter who you are, God will work within you through the Holy Spirit to convict and to mature you into what He has called you to be. If you truly have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, and have allowed the Holy Spirit into your life to work God’s will, then you will not want to store up wrath. He will remove it from you. But, if you have not let go of your wrath, then you have not fully allowed Jesus into your life.

Jesus was our example. He did not show wrath or any other unrighteous actions or thoughts. Do not confuse wrath with anger. Jesus was angered by the money changers in the Temple. He overturned their tables. But He did not let this anger grow into a vengeful wrath that consumed His life.

God gave us all of our emotions. We can be angered by something or someone, but we must allow the Holy Spirit to dictate what to be angered by and when to be angered. We must also allow the Holy Spirit to cleanse us of this anger and not allow it to become something that will harden our hearts and turn us away from God.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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