“Luke Warm” commitment

March 15, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV))

Don’t you get tired of people saying that they believe that God created the universe, yet they have trouble with Jesus being the Son of God? Or, they accept certain parts of the Bible, yet reject other parts. How can someone profess to believe, yet reject many of the basics of what that belief should be based on?

Many people have a problem with various aspects of the Bible because of pride, arrogance, ignorance, or insecurity in their lives. For this reason, they pick and choose what they wish to accept. The above passage states that “ALL” Scripture is given by God. If this is the case, then it is necessary to either believe all or nothing!

Those who are selective about their beliefs are usually those who do not wish to allow the Holy Spirit to have access to every aspect of their lives. They give only what they want to give up. They do not totally surrender everything to God. Imagine a professional athlete who does not give all to their sport. They would soon find themselves without a profession, and would also find themselves hopelessly lost in trying to achieve their goals. Now, place that same attitude within someone who professes to believe, yet, only believes what they choose to accept because the rest makes them feel uncomfortable. Total commitment is essential for any activity, or relationship, for that matter, to succeed. This means every aspect of your life.

Remember that it is stated that God despises “luke warm” commitment.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Wash and be cleansed

February 1, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, `Wash and be cleansed’!” So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.
(2 Kings 5:13-14 (NIV))

How many times have we been like Naaman? We want to do God’s Will. We want to live like God would have us to live. We want to be touched by God and anointed by God. Yet, in our desire to have God touch us, we overlook the simple and Godly touch because in our minds it is not grand enough to be from God. We miss the blessing because we are looking for signs, wonders and miracles.

It took Naaman’ servants to point out that if he was willing to do something grand if God asked him to, why would he not be willing to do something simple? I think that human nature gets in the way of far too many encounters with God because of this very attitude. We either see ourselves as much greater than the simple tasks or we see ourselves in so much sin that we think a tremendously large task will be needed to save us.

If you stop to think about it, Naaman is foreshadowing what we must do to accept grace and mercy through Jesus. We think that simply calling upon Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior is far too easy to gain us redemption. We expect to have to perform some huge undertaking to prove our worth. God sees it differently for He knows that we cannot perform any great undertakings because of our sin. He had Jesus perform the greatest task when He died on the cross for us. He had Jesus perform a salvation earning task when He was raised from the dead. To each of us, God is calling. He is saying that it is easy. Follow a simple plan by accepting Jesus and then we, too, can do what Naaman did – “Wash and be cleansed!”

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What about you?

November 23, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil;
with you the wicked cannot dwell.
The arrogant cannot stand in your presence;
you hate all who do wrong.
You destroy those who tell lies;
bloodthirsty and deceitful men
the LORD abhors.
(Psalms 5:4-6 (NIV))

Lord, help me to be a man after your own heart.

If you are like me, you probably see the things going on in this world and you are earnestly praying for a revival and for God’s Will to be done. It is so easy to slip from this type of prayer into one where we are thankful that we are not like those who are evil, wicked, arrogant, bloodthirsty and deceitful.

Be very careful.

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: `God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, `God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
(Luke 18:9-14 (NIV))

In God’s eyes, we too are sinners. We are no better than those who practice these things. The only difference is that we recognize our failures, our sins, and we earnestly seek forgiveness and we earnestly seek after God’s own heart.

The difference between the Body of Christ and nonbelievers is knowledge. We were once like them. We don’t need to be arrogant in our salvation, for we did not earn it. They cannot earn it. It is freely given to all who seek.

I mentioned knowledge is the difference.

It is a knowledge that we are supposed to share.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
(Acts 1:8 (NIV))

God does not take pleasure in sin. He sent His Son, Jesus, to offer grace and mercy. We have been given a task to share that grace and mercy with the world. Are we sharing it, or have we become like the Pharisee and stand off to the side and thank God that we are not like the sinners?

I am thankful for grace. It is my prayer that we, as the Body of Christ, will forever be thankful and not arrogant. it is my prayer that we do not act as the Pharisee, but rather as the tax collector. God does not want us to have a “holier than thou” attitude. We cannot reach others when we do. In fact, when we have that attitude, we are the ones who need grace.

I would rather be a humble person who recognizes that he is a sinner in need of a savior instead of a “holier than thou” person who completely misses the mark.

What about you?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you see yourself?

November 15, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: `God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, `God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
(Luke 18:10-14 (NIV))

Do you compare yourself to other people? Do you find their faults and fail to recognize the faults that you possess? Are you grateful that you are not like they are? Brace yourself ! Here it comes! Do you congratulate yourself on not being like others?

I know that these are painful questions, but they are questions that we must ask ourselves. We don’t want to get so full of ourselves that we think our set of filthy rags make us more righteous than someone else and their set of filthy rags. Even worse, we don’t want to get to the point where we think that we don’t have any filthy rags.

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))

Once again it is a matter of attitude. We must not elevate ourselves to the point that we feel that we are better than others. We must see ourselves as the reflection truly is. We must see ourselves as the sinful creature that is in need of grace and mercy. If we see ourselves as anything else, we are lying to ourselves. We are also trying to lie to God. He sees the truth.

How do you see yourself? How do you see others?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 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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Hostility toward God!

August 24, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
(Romans 8:5-8 (NIV))

Hostility toward God!

Those three words seem to sum up much of what is going on in the world, and, in my opinion, much of what is going wrong. We have become polar opposites and the chasm seems to be getting wider. On one side you have those who faithfully cling to the Word of God as truth and life and on the other side you have those who mock God and all things associated with Him. They relentlessly cling to what they desire and boldly mock the truth.

They live for their desires and most pay a very high price for it in this lifetime, and all pay a very high price for it throughout eternity.

What is it about their desires that are so appealing to them? Most lead to poor health and premature death. Rebellion has its costs and as written in Romans, the mind of sinful man is death.

Think about that.

Have you noticed that many who seek their sinful ways live on the edge. One slip and they are gone. It is almost as if they hate the very gift of life that God has given them. They are controlled, consumed by their sinful nature.

Consumed.

What do you think of when you hear this word? There are many definitions, yet the one that stands out the most also applies here. The word literally means destroyed. Those who are controlled by their sinful nature are destroyed by it.

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.
(Galatians 5:22-24 (NIV))

Those who are controlled by sin do not know any of these things. Sin literally steals love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Without these, life is not worth living. Imagine your life with all of these removed. How would you cope? How would you respond to life?

I find it saddening that the world is making choices every day that are based on the sinful nature. We truly have come to a time when good is considered evil and evil is considered good.

What controls you?

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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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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Stubbornness and pride

May 22, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD and I will not let Israel go.”
(Exodus 5:2 (NIV))

Stubbornness and pride have been the downfall of many people, and not only the Pharaoh.

I am sure that we all now of someone who has said something to the effect of “Who is God and why should I obey Him?” Perhaps we have even said it ourselves in our younger and more foolish days.

Ever since the fall from grace, it has been human nature to believe that we have the ability to be the masters of our own destiny. We often feel that we answer to nobody but ourselves. We have the false sense that we know what is best for ourselves and those around us. Nothing could be further from the truth.

What did Pharaoh’s hardheartedness get him? His country was devastated by plagues and the firstborn in all the nation died. After anger set in, he also lost an army of men at the bottom of the sea because of his stubbornness and pride. What a terrible price to pay because you won’t listen to the truth when it is right before you.

People never learn. It is said that if we do not study history, we are destined to repeat it. We can study the events of the past. We can read about the people of faith and the people who shunned God. It is even possible to know of these events and still be stubborn and proud. Unfortunately, each of us must learn for ourselves.

Pray for the stubborn so that they may be willing to give the proverbial inch. God only needs someone to ease up a little so that He can plant the seed.

Pray for the proud so that they can realize that they are not perfect and that they are not in control. God can use a small glimmer of non-selfish thought to break down that barrier of pride.

Pray for those who feel that they are neither stubborn nor prideful, for no one is perfect and all can fall into the trap set by the enemy.

Pride goes before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall.
(Proverbs 16:18 (NIV))

Don’t let your heart be hardened by stubbornness and pride.

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

April 20, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He appointed judges in the land, in each of the fortified cities of Judah. He told them, “Consider carefully what you do, because you are not judging for man but for the LORD, who is with you whenever you give a verdict. Now let the fear of the LORD be upon you. Judge carefully, for with the LORD our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery.”
(2 Chronicles 19:5-7 (NIV))

How many in today’s society still believe in this concept?

I am a student of prophesy. I have also become a student of human nature as a result of my interest in what God is doing. Sadly, over the last few years I have witnessed what appears to be a sharp decline in human judgment in general and in fearful judgment in particular. We have become a society of Pharisees who are more concerned with the letter of the law than the intent of the law. We judge each other vehemently. We have trials and convict someone in our own minds solely based on partial information or false information.

We are no longer careful in our thoughts and actions.

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.
(Matthew 15:19 (NIV))

Are we, as the Body of Christ, guilty of this?

I have seen some comments lately that make me wonder. These comments, many of which are easy to see how they could be made, are not reflective of what we are called to by Jesus. They are attacks of a personal nature and not directed at the sin. We cannot be witnesses of grace and mercy if we are attacking the very people who need it.

We must be careful to guard against thoughts and actions that are not what Jesus calls us to. We must be willing to look at ourselves with honesty and ask God to show us what we need to surrender so that we will be righteous in His eyes. If we do not surrender to Jesus as Lord, then we will be part of the group of people that Jesus told us about.

“Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV))

“I never knew you.”

Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
(John 10:25-27 (NIV))

Follow Jesus!

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