Why do we try to tell God what to do?

April 5, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?
(Romans 11:34 (NIV))

What is it about human nature that makes us want to give advice to anyone and everyone? Why do we think that the world would be so much better off if everyone would simply listen to us? Is it ego, pride, or arrogance that makes us feel that we have all of the answers, or is it a combination of all of these traits and many more? What is so interesting and sad at the same time is the fact that we even do this with God. This is the equivalent of a loaf of bread arguing with the baker who made it. Our perspective, our understanding is nothing in comparison to that of the Lord.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

Who has known the mind of the Lord?

I find that question so laughable since we, as humanity, don’t spend enough time drawing close to the Lord. Through His Word, He has given us insight into His heart and mind, but very few of us spend enough time diving headfirst into this treasure to truly know God. We read something and take it out of context and soon twist it to mean what we think that it should mean. We then point a proverbial finger at the Lord and accuse Him of not doing what we think He should do based on our twisted understanding.

Let’s be honest with ourselves, each other and with the Lord. There is absolutely nothing that we can do or say that will be above and beyond what God has thought. To be perfectly honest, I believe that the following passage, even though it refers to our righteousness, can be applied to our wisdom and understanding.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

Again, I wonder what it is about human nature that makes us want to give advice when we truly don’t understand anything. Why are we so arrogant that we feel that our understanding is far above what it truly is?

Why do we try to tell God what to do?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Does creation think it is better than the Creator?

June 8, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, “You did not make me”? Can the pot say to the potter, “You know nothing”?
(Isaiah 29:16 (NIV))

I have read this passage many times before, but reading it today made me hang my head in sorrow and shame!

What is it about human nature that makes us think that we know better than anyone and everyone else, including the very one who formed us out of dust?

Do you ever find yourself telling God how things should be done? It may be something as small as a selfish prayer that only benefits you in a way that you don’t really need. If you stop and think about it, this kind of action is telling God that you can handle things better than He can. If we look at society, we see this type of arrogant attitude as the root of all of the issues that society is facing today. God has a plan, yet, too many people have come forward and believe that they have a better plan. Biblical values and principles are ridiculed and mocked by the so-called “educated” and “enlightened” people of this world. Even though they say that they don’t believe in God, they mock anything that is Biblically based. They believe that they have a better way than what is contained within God’s Word.

It’s sad how these people act.

If you have children, then you will probably agree with me on this mental picture. Is it just me, or do these people seem to be stuck forever in the “Terrible Twos” and forever trying to assert their authority when they truly don’t have any authority? To be honest with you, this all goes back to the Garden of Eden. God told Adam and Eve to stay away from the tree in the center of the garden and they believed the lie that He didn’t really mean it. In other words, they were convinced that they knew better than God.

And to this day, we all have a tendency to believe it, too!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you truly able to be humble?

October 12, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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

Humility is a trait that is difficult for most people. To be honest with you, it is humility, or the lack of it, that caused Satan to rebel against God. It has been the proverbial thorn in the side of humanity ever since. To humble oneself requires a complete submission of yourself to the point where you are not proud, haughty, arrogant or assertive. In other words, to be humble means that you do not elevate yourself in words or deeds, but you simply live your life knowing that you are no better than other people.

Think about that concept in the light of the truth it contains.

God created all of us through the creation of Adam and Eve in the Garden. When Adam and Eve fell from grace, not a single one of us, their descendants, was spared from the consequences of that fall. We are all sinners. In the eyes of God, because of our sin, we are all the same. We are all equal. God loves each of us the same, yet, it is human nature to think that God loves us more than the next guy.

Can you look at yourself in the mirror and say that you think you are better than anyone else, or do you feel that nagging twinge of guilt when you honestly look deep inside?

I have asked this question before, and I will ask it again. What would your reaction be if, when you get to heaven, you find that Adolf Hitler had accepted Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior? Would you rejoice, or would you refuse to enter because you know that you were better than him? Would your reaction be evidence of humility?

I want you to take a look at this passage from the point of view of the person who most scholars believe wrote it: James, the brother of Jesus. How would you react to the crowds gathering around your brother and ignoring you? How would you react to the miracles that Jesus performed when you can’t even begin to do anything like them? How would you react to the crucifixion? How would you react to the resurrection? Would there be feelings of hatred? Would there be a crushed ego? Would there be guilt and shame, and would there be rejoicing? I find it interesting that the passage that instructs us to humble ourselves was written by someone who, from a worldly point of view, would have had to struggle to actually do that.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you full of pride?

May 27, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In his pride the wicked does not seek him;
in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
(Psalms 10:4 (NIV))

I have been accused of tooting my own horn before. I have also been accused of having an ego, as I know any and all humans have. Do you know the difference between these characteristics and an ungodly pride?

It is almost as if I can hear the thoughts as you read this. If you are like me, you try not to toot your own horn or let your ego get the better of you.

I have a few questions for you. Have you ever had to go on a job interview? If you have, then you have had to toot your own horn. You had to convince someone that you were the perfect person for the job. You had to tell them of all of your accomplishments. It is hard to do this without tooting your own horn. If you listen to yourself long enough, you start to believe what you say about yourself and then your ego gets in the way. Have you ever had that happen to you?

One more important question that I want you to think about.

When you toot your own horn or let your ego get in the way, do you still thank God for the talents and gifts that He has blessed you with? Do you do so with humility?

I pray that what we call the little things like tooting your own horn and showing a little bit of ego does not grow into something far worse. I pray that everyone who calls upon Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior will be able to acknowledge that all that they have in life are gifts from God the Father and not of their own creation. If anyone crosses that line, they stand a chance of growing into a wicked pride. This pride is what caused Satan to rebel. This pride rejects God and seeks to place itself above God.

It is my prayer that no one ever becomes so prideful that they reject God!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your belief based on your ego?

September 29, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
(Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV))

Too many people still believe that they can be saved by good works. They believe that it is of their own good works that will save them. This belief is based on ego. The inflated ego that they are different from everyone else and that they alone set their destiny. Nothing could be further from the truth.

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; (Isaiah 64:6a)

Nothing that we can do can bring us to the level of righteousness that is required in order to be saved. It is by grace alone that we are saved. Grace is a gift freely given to all who will accept it. There is only one thing that we can do to receive salvation: accept God’s gift of grace.

Works then become important after we have received this gift of grace. These works are the acts of Christian love and compassion that we use to reach others for Jesus Christ. The works are no longer our attempt at becoming good enough for God. We work, not out of a need to prove ourselves, but out of a desire to prove that God loves us. In essence, we become the bearers of the good news of God’s grace once we have accepted God’s grace.

From which side of grace are you performing your good works?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Stay strong in your faith in Jesus!

September 14, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour. Take a firm stand against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.
(1 Peter 5:8-9 (NLT))

Do you ever feel that you are alone in the things that you face?

Satan only has so many tricks up his sleeve. What he is using to attack you is nothing new. He has used it millions of times. He is the father of lies. He is not able to create. All that he is capable of is destroying and he only has so many things that he can use.

His biggest lie is that we cannot be worthy. If that is true, then why did God send His Son, Jesus, to die for our sins? Don’t accept the lie that your sins are too great to be forgiven.

Something that comes to mind as another lie from the enemy is that we are better than everybody else. Satan will use this to get to our ego and our pride and make us fall. We are no better than anybody else. God created all of us. He loves all of us equally. When we start thinking that we are better than someone else, we are guilty of the sin of pride and we fall right into the deception that the enemy has left for us.

He also likes to tell us that it is only a little sin. The next thing you know, you are trapped in something horrendous. Keep in mind that the enemy knows God’s Word well enough to twist it. He can make it sound true, when it is not. Even a small lie in the middle of the truth makes the whole thing a lie. Study God’s Word so that you are able to discern what is God’s truth and what is a lie.

We will all come under attack at some point in time. Remember who you are and whose you are. Don’t fall for the lies. Stand firm on the truth of God’s Word. Surround yourself with other believers.

I want you to remember that God created the zebra with his stripes. He also create them to be in a community. When they are in community, the animals that prey on them cannot tell where one zebra stops and another one starts. We, like the zebra, are strongest in community. Rely on each other. Rely on the truth that is God’s Word.

Rely on Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready to offer the sacrifice that God seeks?

August 31, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The sacrifice you want is a broken spirit. A broken and repentant heart, O God, you will not despise.
(Psalms 51:17 (NLT))

Have you ever found yourself asking why God would want us to have a broken spirit?

Think about that question for a minute. It may come to you.

Most of the time, a person’s spirit is driven be ego and pride. It is always about them. It is about what they can get and what they can do.

Does this sound like an attitude that God wants us to have?

To God, a broken spirit means that the individual realizes that they can do nothing without God’s guidance and grace.

I can hear the thoughts, Many of you are thinking things like, “What about my career? God has had nothing to do with that.” Or you may be thinking something like, “I pulled myself out of poverty by hard work. God had nothing to do with that.”

In other words, many of you are thinking that you accomplished these things.

Who gave you the talents?

Who gave you the personality?

Who gave you the determination?

And, who gave you life?

We, as part of creation, have no control over many things. In fact, we have control of far fewer things than we may like to admit. When we come to realize that whatever we have in this life could be gone in an instant, that our very lives could be gone in an instant, it puts a whole new perspective on things.

When we stop trying to place ourselves at the center of the universe we quickly realize just how small and insignificant we are. Once we realize this, our hearts are ripe for the harvest. We become a part of God’s plan and not the center of our own.

Are you ready to offer the sacrifice that God seeks?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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