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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Does this sound familiar to you?

February 3, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God– having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.
(2 Timothy 3:1-6 (NIV))

Does this sound familiar to you?

Take a look at society today, and then compare what we are going through with what was written by Paul. The “good life” has turned us into the “me” society where most people are only concerned about themselves. We, as a society, are definitely boastful, lovers of self and money, abusive to everyone, ungrateful, and everything else that is wrong in the eyes of God. Take a look at road rage. That is a good example of the manifestation of this attitude.

Consider the acquisition of knowledge. We have become a knowledge driven society. This knowledge is based on things that are fleeting and have a value only because we are looking for a “richer” life. We can make a car that protects people during an accident. We can send people into space to study the effects of weightlessness on seeds. We can produce a round, flat disk that is capable of entertaining us, yet, we seem to have lost the ability to truly grasp what type of knowledge is important.

Another piece of knowledge for you – it has been determined that the human body was designed to react at speeds much slower than our cars travel. Perhaps this is part of what God means when He told us to

“Be still, and know that I am God;
(Psalms 46:10a(NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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No matter what society says

April 12, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers–and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
(1 Timothy 1:8-11 (NIV))

The law that is spoken of is the Ten Commandments. It is correct that the law is not for the righteous, for the righteous do what God wishes them to do. It is for those who do not follow God’s Will that the law exists. It is intended to show those people that certain things are not acceptable.

In today’s society, the courts have removed God’s Laws from schools, from public buildings and some are trying to remove them from any aspect of our society. What does that say about society?

If a society removes the principles upon which it is built, can a society survive in this world, let alone in the eyes of God? Those who remove the laws are those who are guilty of the very crimes that the law speaks against. It is a shame that we have let criminals dictate how we can behave instead of allowing God to dictate how we can behave.

No matter what society says, we, as believers, must follow what God says.

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

March 8, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The angel of the LORD also said to her:
“You are now with child
and you will have a son.
You shall name him Ishmael,
for the LORD has heard of your misery.
He will be a wild donkey of a man;
his hand will be against everyone
and everyone’s hand against him,
and he will live in hostility
toward all his brothers.”
(Genesis 16:11-12 (NIV))

Abraham was a great man of God, yet, for all of his faith, he was not always patient to let God do what He had promised.

When Sarah did not bear any children, she gave Hagar to bear children for her. This caused a tremendous envy and jealousy that is still being played out to this day. The son born to Abraham by Hagar and his descendents have lived in hostility to their brothers ever since. The Arab nations and Israel claim the same roots in Abraham, yet, the conflict continues.

Consider that the custom was and is for the first-born to receive the blessing. According to the custom of man, that should have been Ishmael, yet, according to the ways of God, Isaac received the blessing and Ishmael was forced to flee with his mother. Perhaps if Sarah had not been so impatient with God, the events throughout history and especially the recent events in this world would never have happened.

Consider the fact that every time man tries to rush God or to second-guess Him, disaster follows. It happened with Adam and Eve. It happened with Abraham and Sarah. Is it happening in your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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A man planted a vineyard

February 9, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

A man planted a vineyard, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country for a long while. When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, that they should give him some of the fruit of the vineyard; but the tenants beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. And he sent another servant; him also they beat and treated shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. And he sent yet a third; this one they wounded and cast out. Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; it may be they will respect him.’ But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.’ And they cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy those tenants, and give the vineyard to others.
(Luke 20:9-16 (RSV))

God created a beautiful place when He created the earth. Unfortuantely, the tenants that inhabited the land did not listen to Him and soon had turned over control to someone else.

These tenants would not listen to God. They would not listen to Noah. THey would not listen to Moses. They wanted complete control.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, `Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ”
(Matthew 23:37-39 (NIV))

These tenants would not listen to God’s prophets. So, God sent His only Son, Jesus, to redeem the world to Him.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

The tenants killed God’s Son thinking that they would then inherit the world and all that is in it.

What will God do?

He will come and destroy those tenants, but those who call upon the name of Jesus will not be destroyed. They will be the ones to whom He gives the vineyard.

We must realize that we are the tenants that this parable speaks of and that we must reject the ways of the “vineyard” and turn toward God.

Do we desire to take what is not ours or do we wish to inherit what God desires to give us?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What does God have to do to get your attention?

January 4, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab. But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the LORD stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, she turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat her to get her back on the road.
Then the angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path between two vineyards, with walls on both sides. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat her again.
Then the angel of the LORD moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat her with his staff. Then the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?”
Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.”
The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?”
“No,” he said.
Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown.
(Numbers 22:21-31 (NIV))

Have you ever encountered something that just seemed to go completely different than expected, even when you have done it many times before? Were you able to come up with a logical explanation for the change in the results?

Perhaps the change in the results were similar to those that Balaam had. He was so blinded to the fact that his donkey had never done anything like this before, yet he still blamed the donkey. He did not stop to even contemplate the reason for the change. He did not stop to think that perhaps there was a reason that his trusted donkey had done what she had done. He did not even consider that there is more to this life than meets the eye.

He did not consider that God was intervening in his life!

Are we blinded to this just as Balaam was?

Think about that for a moment.

Does God still speak to His people? Does God still seek out relationships with those who seek Him? Does God work in our lives to guide us, to lead us and to mature us into what He created us to be?

Why should we be any different from Balaam? Why should we limit God’s intervention to the pages of the Bible? The Bible is the story of what He has done. We are the story of what He is doing.

The next time that something seems too odd and out of the normal realm of things, stop and reflect upon what is going on. God may be using the unexpected to reach out to you. He may be calling you to something and that moment in time is the decisive point where you must listen and respond or miss out on His blessings.

Everyone marvels at the story of Balaam and the talking donkey, but how many people overlook the reason that the donkey spoke? It took something completely out of the ordinary to get Balaam’s attention.

What does God have to do to get your attention?

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

December 22, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If they obey and serve him,
they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity
and their years in contentment.
(Job 36:11 (NIV))

Obedience!

To those who have not been saved by grace, obedience sounds like mindless adherence to the will of someone else. It sounds like you give up your individuality and free will when you are expected to obey and serve.

If we could make people understand that if God wanted people to be mindless and simply do everything that He commands, then He would not have given us free will. He would have simply made us to be servants. He has the ability to create anything that He desires. He could have simply made us robots. We would respond to His every desire without thinking about what we do. We would simply do it because we would have been created to serve. To those who have not accepted His grace, it appears that this is the biggest oxymoron of all times. They use this argument to bolster their misguided reasoning that since we have free will, we don’t need to obey. They even misuse this and reason that I was created this way, therefore whatever I do is ok.

Have you ever loved someone so much that you found yourself doing things for them that you normally would never do under any circumstances? You find yourself wanting to serve their needs because you care for them. You find yourself wanting to “obey” their desires because it gives you joy to please them.

How do you think it makes God feel when someone obeys Him out of the very same type of heartfelt desire to please? How do you think it rewards the obedient one? There is a joy present in this obedience. It resonates through the very soul of the person who longs to please God. Perhaps that is the best way to differentiate between the two views of obedience. The unsaved world sees obedience as a form of subjugation and dreaded servanthood. Those who know grace through the atoning blood of Jesus know obedience as the greatest joy and peace that can be obtained.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (NIV))

God blesses those who desire to obey out of a desire to please Him. What do you desire?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who is your master?

November 2, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
(Matthew 6:24 (RSV))

No one can serve two masters!

Who is it that you serve?

Many people find that they really are self-serving. Everything that they do is for their own benefit in one way or another. Most of this benefit is for some type of personal gain. Some gain is wealth. Some of the benefit is gaining the love or respect of someone else. No matter what the gain, too many people do things out of a selfishness and a lust to obtain something more.

Perhaps mammon is not “money” in the sense that we have always been told. Perhaps it is any selfish gain. Money is simply the most obvious thing that people strive to gain. Perhaps mammon is simply anything that causes us to have greed and lust for that object.

All throughout history, people have striven to obtain money and power. Greed for money and lust for power are powerful drives that have the ability to control just about all of us if we do not focus on who our master truly is.

Just who is that master?

Another word for master is lord. Who is your lord? If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then Jesus is your master. When someone is your master, you do what they instruct. Do you do what Jesus instructs you to do, or do you listen to the greed and lust caused by mammon?

Who is your master?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Self Control

October 12, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.
(1 Corinthians 9:25 (NLT))

Some translations say that the athletes go into strict training. To me, this translation hits a little closer to home. We may not have any idea of what strict training may be, but we can all understand the idea of strict self-control.

Think about that concept for a moment.

What do you think of when self-control is mentioned?

Is it the will power to not eat the last donut in the box, or is it much more?

Personally, self-control and personal responsibility go hand in hand. Let’s face the truth. Our society no longer believes in personal responsibility. People claim that they were born that way, or they were raised in a bad home, or . . .

I think that you get the picture. Our society, and each of us as a member of the Body of Christ, must be willing to practice self-control. We must be willing to accept the responsibility of our actions. We must strive to live our lives as Jesus taught us.

Using the athlete example, a life in faith is not a sprint that starts and is over quickly. A life in faith is a lifelong journey, a marathon, in which we must be prepared to face any obstacles that the world throws our way. In order to do this, we must practice self-control. We must be willing to accept personal responsibility. If you are willing to accept personal responsibility, then you are capable of learning from your mistakes and focusing once again on the prize that is set before us.

Imagine this scenario.

You are standing in front of Jesus and He is judging your life. You have never accepted His grace and mercy as your own. Every aspect of your life condemns you. Your only response, “It wasn’t my fault.”

I can only imagine the response from Jesus.

Strive for the prize that is won only through Jesus. Don’t allow the things of this world to sway your self-control.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Focus and priorities

October 7, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
(Luke 12:15 (NIV))

Ask any teenager what they want out of life, and it is an extremely good chance that they will say to make a lot of money. The bad thing about this is that this is a learned response. They have learned it from their parents. They have learned it from the media. They have learned it from each other.

Wanting money and possessions is not bad in itself. The continuation of this passage shows that God is not against someone accumulating wealth. What He is against is doing it for the wrong reasons and making decisions without going to Him in prayer to see if it is within His Will. Luke 12:15-21 tells us that the rich man’s sin was planning without going to God, for he planned for something that was not needed.

And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, `What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
“Then he said, `This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ‘
“But God said to him, `You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
“This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”
(Luke 12:16-21(NIV))

Perhaps our society is too focused on the wealth without focusing on the responsibility that goes with it. We have a responsibility to God, to other people and, lastly, to ourselves. When we focus on ourselves first, our desire for wealth becomes greed. When we focus on others first, our desire for wealth becomes a desire to be able to help others. This goes back to our “learned” responses. If we learn to place God and others first, then greed is not a problem. If we learn to place ourselves first, then we become greedy. It is a matter of training.

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
(Proverbs 22:6(NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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