Do you do what is right and good in the eyes of God?

January 7, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“”Be just and fair to all,” says the LORD. “Do what is right and good . . . ” ”
(Isaiah 56:1 (NLT))

In today’s society, many people claim to do this, but there is a catch! They are only concerned about doing what is right if it benefits them. Too many people do not consider the good of other people above their own needs.

Think back throughout history.

What events and what people stand out as having the biggest impact in history?

There are two extremes to this answer. Either they were extremely egotistical and selfish and wanted to dominate the world, or they were selfless and extremely giving of themselves and impacted the lives of other people in a positive way. The world has a tendency to remember the extremes. It is easy to see where the extremes stand in perspective. What is difficult to see is where the middle ground, or lukewarm people stand. They can be easily swayed one way or another, but never really make a commitment to do what is truly right and good. They never commit to follow God. They are indecisive.

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
(Revelation 3:15-16 (NIV))

Do you do what is right and good in the eyes of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What would Jesus do?

October 7, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.
(Philippians 2:14-16 (NIV))

How do you react to situations when you find yourself in less than ideal circumstances?

Do you complain or argue?

Let’s face the simple truth. It is human nature to look out for numero uno. It is human nature to see every situation from the “me” perspective. Sadly enough, all too often we react as if we were the only person who mattered. We complain when we feel that we are not getting what we deserve. We argue when we feel that we have to make our point of view understood and accepted.

Just what do we deserve?

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

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))

Because we are all sinners, we deserve far worse than anything we can imagine. We deserve the very punishment that Jesus bore for our sins. By grace, we have been set free. By grace, we are offered salvation. How can we, who have been given everything in exchange for nothing, complain about what we may be facing at this moment?

The next time that you feel the urge to complain or argue, think about what you have been given. Think about what you deserve. I hope that this will make you think twice about your actions.

To put it simply – What would Jesus do?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Remember the sacrifices

May 31, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
(John 12:25-26 (NIV))

Think back on the history of this country.

Have we ever had a time when a king or a dictator forced anyone to fight and die?

Have we ever had a time when we turned tail and ran from the responsibilities that we have been given?

We owe our country to our faith in God and to the brave men and women who were willing to sacrifice everything for the principles that our country is founded upon.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

Think about that verse.

Our nation was founded by people who were seeking something. Some came seeking adventure. Some came seeking opportunity. But, many were seeking freedom to worship God as they saw fit. It was this freedom that became an integral part of our nation’s mindset. We were founded by people who saw something that they didn’t agree with and were willing to do something about it.

Some spoke out about the things that they saw. Others rallied people behind them. Many gave their lives to battle the very things that they saw as oppressive. We have never been a country to shy away from doing what is right. We have been driven by a desire to see God’s love, grace and mercy prevail. It is true that some people may not have known Jesus as their Lord and Savior, yet they had an inner feeling about right and wrong. It was part of our culture and our society. They answered the call many times even before they knew there was a call.

They gave it all. They were willing to lay down their lives so that others could know the freedoms that God had granted us. They followed the example of Jesus when He went to the cross. It was something that would end in their death, yet they faced it with dignity and pride. They did not run from their responsibility.

They faced the enemy with honor. They did not shy away from the task at hand because it would mean their death. They were living out the words of Jesus.

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

They gave their lives in much the same way that Jesus gave His. They knew that without their sacrifice, countless lives would be lost.

Memorial Day is upon us. It is a day that we are supposed to remember the sacrifices. It is a day to say thank you. It is a day to ask ourselves if we are capable of stepping up and defending what we hold to be true. There may come a day when we will be called upon to proclaim our faith and suffer the consequences. It is my prayer that we may all love God more than we love our own lives.

Honor and praise to God and to those who answer His call.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What do you live by?

April 20, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
(Romans 1:16-17 (NIV))

Are you ashamed to share the gospel?

Think long and hard about that question. Which is more likely to happen – you repeat the joke that you heard the other day or you tell the same person about how Jesus has changed your life? What type of a message are you conveying if the joke is off color and something that should not be repeated? Have you ever stopped to think that perhaps what you don’t do is having more of an impact than what you do?

Place yourself in this scenario. You are the guest of honor and featured speaker at a respected business convention. The place is packed. What will the audience think of you if the first words out of your mouth put down the event and the city because it was out of your way to come to this location? What will be their reaction if you praise the kindness of the host and the beauty of the city?

What if words are not your strong suit?

Preach always. When necessary, use words.
(St. Francis of Assisi)

Perhaps your actions are what people really pay attention to. Do your actions reflect your faith? Do your actions speak louder than your words? What do your actions say? Do your actions speak a different message than the words that you say?

According to Merriam-Webster, righteousness is “acting in accord with divine or moral law : free from guilt or sin.” Righteousness is basically thinking, speaking, acting and living according to what God desires. We are to live by His Word. We are to reflect His Word in all that we do, even when no one is watching, even when it is not politically correct to profess a faith in Jesus.

Faith is the backbone, it is the foundation of a life lived in Christ. It is not something to be turned on and off when it is convenient. It is what we should live by.

What do you live by?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Birth pains

March 2, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
(Matthew 24:7 (NIV))

Since September 11, 2001, the birth pains seem to be getting closer and closer. Wars and rumors of wars are on the increase. Nations are rising up against nations. Even “allies” are in conflict. Look at the disagreements between nations over what to do with the nations that are threatening the peace of the world.

Is this all coincidence? I find it hard to believe that all of these events are happening because of human intervention. Let’s face the truth. Satan was given dominion over the earth when Adam and Eve allowed sin into the world. He realizes that his time is short and he is angry.

We must also take a serious look at other passages.

“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.
(Matthew 24:32-34(NIV))

Jesus spoke about being able to discern when things were in season. I believe that the season is upon us when the things that Jesus refers to are happening right before our eyes. It is accepted by many biblical scholars that the above passage actually refers to the return of Israel to their land. With this in mind, the generation that saw Israel return as a nation will also see what is spoken of in Matthew 24:7.

The world is in a serious mess. One that started with the fall of Adam and Eve long ago. One that will only get worse with the passage of time. The frequency of earthquakes is increasing. The frequency of wars is increasing. Human depravity is increasing. Everything that goes aginst the Will of God is on the increase. Satan is preparing for his entry into the world through the antichrist.

We must keep focused on Jesus, who is the true Christ, the Messiah, the Prince of Peace, and God’s only begotten Son. Through the blood of Jesus, we can rest assured that we are given grace and mercy.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Can you take it?

February 26, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
(Matthew 7:1-2 (NIV))

There is an old saying about giving as good as you get. Is that how we want to be known? Can we honestly say that when we judge others we expect to to be judged in like manner?

Think about that for a moment.

When we jump to conclusions and judge someone in a harsh manner, are we ready to receive in like kind? In other words, can we take it as well as we give it?

Judgment is such a funny thing. We have a tendency to judge quickly and apologize slowly. We have a tendency to jump to conclusions about someone even though we may not know anything about them.

Several years ago, a man came to my church for a revival service. It was on a weekday evening and he came and sat down. He was dirty and smelly and did not look like he had bathed in days. It would have been so easy to judge him and turn our backs on him. It would have been so easy to simply shun this person until he went away. And, to quote a famous saying, now for the rest of the story.

This man was relatively new to the area. If I remember correctly, he was visiting his brother who lived a few miles away. He owned a small construction company and had been on a job site all day and was going back to his brother’s house. He saw the sign out front advertising the revival and stopped. By all appearances, he was not what everyone expected him to be. He turned out to be an individual who brought life to our church through his energy and his desire to know and serve God. In fact, at one point during his stay in our area, he single handedly re-roofed a different church that had been set on fire.

Judgment is a funny thing. We only see the surface and then not clearly. In all of our frailties and shortcomings, we are not worthy to judge. Only God sees the heart. Only God is worthy to judge.

Will God reward you for your faith and acceptance, or will He judge you for your misguided judgment of others?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How do you view the hard passages of the Bible?

January 14, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”
(2 Thessalonians 3:10 (NIV))

Have you ever heard the saying “hard passages of the Bible?” This saying refers to passages that we choose to ignore because they are difficult to understand, or because they are difficult to follow. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 is definitely one of these hard passages, and I will probably step on some toes with this.

Think about those words. “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”

How do we balance this with the teachings of Jesus? Didn’t He feed the five thousand? Didn’t He tell the parable of the Good Samaritan? How can these teachings coexist with 2 Thessalonians 3:10?

Refusing to work could be considered deceitful, arrogant and folly. These are sins. It is God’s desire for each of us to do his or her part. If we do not do as God desires, we miss the mark. We sin.

For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man `unclean.’ ”
(Mark 7:22-23 (NIV))

Have you ever known someone who proclaimed a faith in Jesus, but expected everything to be given to them? This is arrogance. We are all sinners. No one deserves anything that is given to us. It is given to us out of grace. Those who expect things to be given to them do not understand God’s grace. They see God as the provider of all that they ask, not as a loving Father who desires spiritual maturity for His creation.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV))

Paul was the author of both 2 Thessalonians and 2 Timothy. God used Paul to show us that even the “hard passages” must be applied in our lives. It is the hard passages that define those who earnestly seek after God’s heart. We are to have compassion and feed the hungry. We are to have compassion and teach the hungry how to feed themselves. This enables us to move on to others who are hungry. It is a fine line that we must walk. We must walk it with prayer, after all, sin is sin, and not a single person alive is without sin.

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
(Matthew 18:21-22 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Authority and submission

September 15, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.

Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
(Colossians 3:12 – 4:6 (NIV))

Many people have taken bits and pieces out of this scripture to uphold their beliefs about someone’s role in their household or in society in general.

Let’s take a look at the whole text and examine the overall meaning. Instead of saying that wives are inferior in status to their husbands, or that slavery is justifiable, take a look at the overall theme running through the scripture.

Paul was writing to not justify the bad practices of society, but to set an example of how we are to act even if we find ourselves in situations that are in authority or are in submission. Simply stated, Paul was saying that we are to be Jesus to the people that we are around, no matter how we find ourselves in relation to them.

If we are in authority, we do not need to take advantage of that authority and harm people under our authority. The old saying that absolute power corrupts absolutely is true. But, we must remember who is our absolute authority and focus on that.

If we find ourselves in a position of submission to others, we must not desire the power for ourselves, nor must we be angry about our situation. Do your tasks with joy and you will be rewarded. Bitterness is a hard pill to swallow. If you go about your day with bitterness because of your situation, others will treat you as you treat them. If, in your situation, you still maintain a glad heart and joy and love are reflected through you, others will reflect these back to you and your situation will not be as bad as it appears.

To use a saying from the computer industry, “Garbage in, garbage out!” Basically, what you put into life is what you will reap. Put Jesus into yours.

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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