Can your requests be considered a test?

January 27, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus answered, “It says: `Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”
(Luke 4:12 (NIV))

How many of us can honestly say that they have never done this?

It is human nature to try and get the upper hand in all things that we do. We like to come out on top. We like to be number one. We like to get the most out of what we do, or at least to get more than the people that we know.

How many of you, when presented with some fantastic news about someone else’s achievements, secretly think that it should have been you?

If we are not careful, we take this to extremes. To be honest with you, even a little is a sin. We covet what someone else has. Now, imagine if that someone else is God.

Yes, we even try to get the upper hand in our dealings with God. We will beg and plead. We will negotiate. We will do whatever we think that we can if it will mean that we come out on top. We will even go so far as to say something like this, “God, if You will only do this, I will serve you. I will devote my whole life to You.”

Sadly, this type of thing happens more often than we care to admit. I honestly believe that most, if not all, of us have tried to make this type of bargain with God.

If this isn’t testing God, then I don’t know what is. We base our faith on what God will do for us first. We base our faith on what we think that God is good for. We overlook the all important and obvious gift that He already willingly shares with all who will simply accept that gift.

I often wonder how God reacts to our feeble attempts to negotiate with Him. Does He roll His eyes? Does He shed a tear for our ignorance? Does He think that we are fools for asking for something that is trivial, when He has already given us the possibility of eternity with Him?

Think about how you approach God. Can your requests be considered a test?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Love

March 10, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
(1 Corinthians 13:6-7 (NIV))

Do you think that your pet sin loves you? Does greed love you? Does envy? Does lust, just to name a few? Will they stand by your side when all else fails you?

These are the very things that the enemy uses to bring you down. Love empowers you. It lifts you up. It seeks after your best interest. The things that the enemy uses to get us hooked are only designed for one thing and that is to make us falter, and eventually fall. Love doesn’t seek our failure. It doesn’t seek out the very thing that is promises and then use it to destroy. Love is many things, but it is not destructive.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV))

Exactly what is evil? Based on these passages, it is easy to come to think of evil as the opposite of love. If we define evil as the opposite of love, then what is love?

We are told that God is love.

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
(1 John 4:8 (NIV))

If God is love, then He is patient. He is kind. He does not envy. He does not boast. He is not proud. He is not rude. Think of Jesus as He walked this earth. It is not difficult to think of examples of each of these characteristics from His time among us. Think of the ultimate gift that He, through His love, gave to each of us. Would your pet sin do that for you? Would the enemy say that you have been tormented enough, I will put a stop to your failures.

Only the love of God rejoices with you. Evil scowls at your victories. It detests when you allow God’s love to shine, so let the love of God shine in you and through you. you will be amazed at the difference love makes.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Unity or envy?

August 2, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
(Ephesians 4:11-13 (NIV))

In the world, it is easy to be overcome by the fact that all people are different. It is also difficult to overcome the desire to be like someone else. If only I could do that . . .

How many times have you heard someone say something like that? How many times have you said something like that?

It is easy to get overwhelmed by someone else’s gifts while overlooking your own. God created each of us to be unique. Do not lust after someone else’s gifts. God blessed you with your own. Find what those gifts are and then use them for God’s work in this world.

If we all had the same gifts, life would be boring. We are all part of the body of Christ. In our own physical bodies, no two parts are the same. The ears do not envy the eyes. Why should we envy other parts of the body? We should work together to do the will of God.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do not envy a violent man

April 30, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not envy a violent man
or choose any of his ways,
for the LORD detests a perverse man
but takes the upright into his confidence.
The LORD’s curse is on the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the home of the righteous.
He mocks proud mockers
but gives grace to the humble.
The wise inherit honor,
but fools he holds up to shame.
(Proverbs 3:31-35 (NIV))

It is easy to get taken in by the ways of the world. How often have we seen those who follow the world receive great reward, or at least worldly reward? It is not always easy to stay focused on God’s promises when the world offers us things that we can see and touch now. But, we must not resort to the ways of those whom God spoke of in Proverbs. We must remember that we have a much greater reward to focus on – Eternity with God. We must always strive to remember that the world rewards wickedness and pride, but remember what Jesus said.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Pray for those who are described above. Do NOT envy them. Their reward is not what you want.

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