Don’t be like Pharaoh. Listen for God!

August 6, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then say to him, `The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you: Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the desert. But until now you have not listened.
(Exodus 7:16 (NIV))

Have you ever wondered what happens to people when they don’t listen to God?

Ask Pharaoh.

He and his country endured plagues, locusts, and a river of blood because Pharaoh refused to listen to God. God eventually got his attention, but it cost Pharaoh and his country a tremendous toll. It cost them their first-born sons.

God doesn’t always work like this. He started off with smaller miracles, but Pharaoh was not inclined to listen. God racheted up the intensity of the miracles, yet, Pharaoh still would not listen.

Are we like Pharaoh? Do we ignore God when He desires to get our attention with His still, small voice? Does He have to rachet up the visibility a bit when we ignore Him? If we are not careful, our circumstances get to the point where we ask God how it could have gotten so bad. Isn’t it interesting that we blame God for making things bad when, all along, He was trying to get our attention so that He could lead us out of where we were heading?

We will never know what would have happened to Pharaoh and to Egypt if the Pharaoh had softened his heart and listened to God. We do have the opportunity to know what will happen in our lives if we will only listen to that still, small voice when He is trying to guide us through and away from our hard times.

Don’t be like Pharaoh. Listen for God!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you ever betrayed someone?

July 28, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.”
They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely not I, Lord?”
(Matthew 26:20-22 (NIV))

Have you ever betrayed someone? What did it feel like?

As I read these words, I wonder what these men felt when Jesus said that one of them would betray him. I honestly believe that each and every single person in that room questioned themselves at this time. They were only human, and who among us has never had a negative thought about something that you profess an allegiance to. I can picture these men and what they were thinking. Each was probably saying to themselves, “Please, don’t let it be me. I don’t think I could do that, but I have never been put to the test before. Could I pass that test or will I fail and betray His love? Please, don’t let it be me!”

That is so very hard to know.

Now, think about how each of them felt when they knew that it was not them. They breathed a big sigh of relief. Even in this hour when all of God’s plans to save humanity hung in the balance, they still could only think about themselves.

Something changed in these men. Something changed these men. They went from being afraid of what would happen to them to bold proclaimers of the truth. They experienced the next three days. They saw Jesus crucified. They saw Jesus buried. They saw the greatest miracle of all time. They saw Jesus resurrected from the grave.

“Perhaps the transformation of the disciples of Jesus is the greatest evidence of all for the resurrection.”
(John R. W. Stott)

These men were transformed from insecure, self-centered people to boldly proclaim that Jesus is the Son of God.

God took simple men who all felt the pains of potential betrayal and gave them a hope and a faith that made them turn the world upside down.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who do you want to be like?

March 10, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.
(Titus 1:16 (NIV))

Do you know anybody like this? I bet that all of us could name a few names of people that we think fit this description. People who think that they have to run everything. People who blatantly ignore God’s Word. People who never find time to help out when it is needed.

Now, for the blind sided hit. Are you like this? Think about it. We all are like this at one time or another. We all have our pet idiosyncrasies that we tend to overlook but may get on the nerves of everyone else. Could we all be guilty of claiming to know God, but denying Him by our actions? Even Peter denied Jesus.

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”
(Matthew 26:34 (NIV))

What is the difference between people whom Titus 1:16 speaks of and people like Peter? It is a matter of their actions. People who truly know God will reflect this in their actions and in a heart of repentance. People who do not truly know God think that they can do anything they want and by saying a few words, they will be forgiven. Forgiveness is conditional. It is based on the single condition that the person asking truly desires it with all of their heart. If this is true, then you are not like those people written of in Titus 1:16. You are like Paul.

Who do you want to be like?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you confident and unashamed in your faith?

November 14, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.
(1 John 2:28 (NIV))

It has been almost two thousand years since these words were spoken, yet the message is as true today as it was then. We must stay focused on Jesus. We must keep our eyes on the prize. We must not forget that He is coming again.

When Jesus returns, are you confident that you will be rewarded? Have there been times that you did less than you should have simply because you were in a group of people and you did not want to be thought of as a Christian? Have you been ashamed to show the world that you have been bought by the Blood of the Lamb? It seems that no matter how hard we may want to do what Jesus asks of us, we falter and we deny Him. We are not alone.

Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”
But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.
(Matthew 26: 34-36 (NIV))

We all know what happened to Peter a few short hours later. He did just as Jesus said He would do. Thankfully, Jesus did not come to condemn us in our sins. He came to forgive us of our sins. He looks at the heart. Just as He forgave Peter, He will forgive you if you simply ask for it. Even when Peter felt that he couldn’t be forgiven for his betrayal, he found that Jesus would not betray him. He fulfilled His promise. He encouraged Peter’s faith. He embraced Peter as if he had never sinned.

Are you as confident and unashamed in your faith as Peter?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is it that you treasure?

June 17, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my work,
and this was the reward for all my labor.
Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun.
(Ecclesiastes 2:10-11 (NIV))

Isn’t it interesting that the words written in Ecclesiastes still apply to so many people today?

It is human nature that we follow when we deny ourselves nothing that we desire. We have the attitude that we deserve everything that we desire. We justify this by telling ourselves that life is short and we should enjoy everything that we can before it is too late. We also believe that we can achieve anything that we desire if we simply put our mind to it and then work toward that goal.

In other words, we try to save up treasures in this world even though these treasures are fleeting.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
(Matthew 6:19 (NIV))

It is a wise person who realizes that the treasures of this world are not important, for the treasures of this world can and will be destroyed. What we should earnestly seek is a treasure far greater than any this world has to offer.

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
(Matthew 6:20 (NIV))

Eternal treasures are far more appealing. Money will lose its value. Houses will grow old and fall apart. Gold is useless when you are faced with the consequences of sin and eternal death. We must keep our eyes focused on Jesus for He is our treasure. He is more precious than anything this world has to offer.

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

Where is your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Just what is denial?

October 21, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
(Matthew 10:32-33 (RSV))

Have you ever been in a situation in which you were with people that did not believe in Jesus? Perhaps you even found yourself in a situation that had you among people who ridiculed and mocked those who profess a faith in Jesus.

What did you do?

Did you give in to peer pressure and go along with the crowd of people you were with or did you stand firm in your faith?

Perhaps I am asking far too many questions, but I think that we have all found ourselves in situations similar to what I describe. It isn’t easy to always do the right thing. Sometimes it makes you feel awkward. Not doing the right thing makes you feel ashamed. Denial makes you feel ashamed.

Just what is denial?

According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, one definition of denial is the refusal to admit the truth or reality.

Perhaps the best way to look at this is by realizing that even though we profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we are not perfect. We will still sin. We can repent. We can turn away from our moments of denial and ask for forgiveness. We need to strive to avoid these moments of denial, but we can rest assured that if we earnestly repent, then we will not be denied.

Jesus was once asked by someone how many times that they should forgive someone when they are sinned against.

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
(Matthew 18:22 (NIV))

If Jesus instructs us to do this, do you think that He would do any less if we are sincere in our request?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Practice acts of faith!

December 14, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
(Matthew 10:32-33 (NKJV))

Have you ever been in a situation in which you honestly hoped that the subject of Jesus did not come up? I don’t know if that is the same as actually denying Jesus before men, but it is too close for comfort.

This is a tough saying to deal with, for everyone probably has times when they at least thought about it. Only when your faith has matured do you face the question with a more stable attitude. Even so, everyone likes to think that they would not deny Jesus before men, that they would die rather than deny Him. I pray that this is true, yet no one really can say for certain until they are actually in that situation.

Faith is a strong thing if it is firmly rooted in God’s Word. Self preservation is also a strong thing, and unless faith is stronger, self preservation will win. How can you strengthen faith? Faith is very much like a muscle in that if you do not use it, it atrophies. If you practice acts of faith, your faith will increase.

Do not let your faith “muscle” atrophy from lack of use. If it does, the results may be denial. You will deny God and He will deny you.

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