Are you wise and prudent or foolish and deceptive?

April 14, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways,
but the folly of fools is deception.
(Proverbs 14:8 (NIV))

Do you think about your actions? Do you think about what type of an impact that they will have on you? Perhaps you plan your actions so that you benefit from them. If that is the case, do you stop to reflect upon the impact that they will have on other people? This impact can be either positive or negative. The sad question that I must ask after making that last statement is if you honestly care if your actions have a negative impact on others.

Please be honest with yourself!

I realize that human nature has us looking out for ourselves all of the time, but as the Body of Christ, shouldn’t our focus not be on ourselves? Shouldn’t we temper our thoughts and our actions so that we do not lead someone to falter in their faith, or to be hurt by our unconcerned actions.

But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
(Matthew 18:6 (NIV))

And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 18:3-4 (NIV))

I realize that Jesus was actually talking about little children, but if we are believers, it requires the faith of a little child. If that is the case, it is not too difficult to realize that Jesus could very easily be talking about making any believer falter in their faith.

That is not something that I want to stand before God and be found guilty of!

If we truly long to be wise in the eyes of God, we need to be prudent about the things that we think, say and do. If we are not prudent, the logical conclusion is that we are fools and guilty of deception.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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There is no other way

August 11, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When anyone came to a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten. When anyone went to a wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were only twenty. I struck all the work of your hands with blight, mildew and hail, yet you did not turn to me,’ declares the LORD.
(Haggai 2:16-17 (NIV))

I received an email today that referenced an earlier part of Haggai 2.

This is what the LORD Almighty says: `In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the LORD Almighty. `The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the LORD Almighty.
(Haggai 2:6-8 (NIV))

Is it just me, or we facing the events in this world because we have turned away from God?

Governments being overthrown. Economic uncertainty in the whole world and economic collapse in some countries. Public riots because of racial and religious tension. Looting and burning because they want to show the authorities that they can do what they want.

Society treats the resources of this world as theirs. It is there only for them and not for anyone else, now or in the future. Society lives “high on the hog,” yet forgets that the future relies on wisely managing so that the hog will be able to reproduce.

Stewardship is long forgotten.

“I want it now!”

“I deserve it!”

“I have a right to do it!”

Selfishness has become the rule.

It is a scary world that has been so rapidly transforming right before our eyes.

Can we solve the problems that the world is facing if we turn to God?

There is no other way!

Everything is His. He is the Creator. He longs to bless us, but . . .

He will not bless us if we are foolish.

He will not bless us if we ignore Him.

He will not bless us if we spit in His face.

Think of a father who has lovingly purchased several toys for his children. He sits back and joyfully watches as his children play with the toys as they were designed. Slowly, the children begin to take these precious toys and do things that they shouldn’t. He gently reminds them that if they take care of the toys, they will last a long time. They will give joy for many years. Some time later, the children forget these words and start to do things that will break the toys. As a father, he reminds them again and tells them that if they do not stop, he will have to take the toys from them.

The father still loves the children, yet, he must do what is needed to reprimand and to teach. Only when the children return with a repentant heart does the father allow them to once again have the toys.

We, as a society, as a world, have mistreated what God has given to us. We have turned our back on Him. We have even gone so far as to expel Him from public life.

It sounds to me that we need to turn to God.

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 7:14 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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March 21, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Like one who takes a dog by the ears is he who passes by and meddles with strife not belonging to him.
(Proverbs 26:17 (NAS))

Do you like asking for trouble?

Why do you think that God tells us that meddling with strife that is not ours will be like taking a dog by the ears?

Grab a dog roughly by the ears and see what happens to you!

Chances are that the dog will growl at you. He will bite at you. He will probably sink his teeth into your arm and not let go! He will inflict pain.

We all have our own strife in this world. Some of this strife is direct while other strife is not direct. Some people, however, do not seem to have enough of their own. They want to meddle in the problems of others. Don’t get me wrong. Some people honestly have a caring heart and desire to do good. This is a gift of the Spirit and discernment comes with that gift. It is for those who do not have the gift of a caring heart that this applies to. They simply like to be in control and try to solve everyone else’s problems. Their intervention is unwanted and ungodly in nature. Perhaps, it is because they try to hide all of their problems from the world. In order to accomplish this, they must draw attention away from themselves by focusing on the problems of others. Whatever the reason, God calls it meddling and He has stated that this results in pain.

We all know someone who we think fits this description. Perhaps we are that person ourselves.

We are not responsible for fixing everyone else. We are responsible for following the Holy Spirit where He leads us in our life. We are to lead others to Jesus, but, we cannot fix them. God will heal the broken hearted. He will mature each of us. It is not our responsibility.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
(Matthew 7:3-5 (NIV))

Have you removed your plank?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are your words unclean?

November 5, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
(Ephesians 4:29 (NIV))

What comes out of your mouth?

Perhaps, a different translation says it clearer.

Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
(Ephesians 4:29 (NLT))

We are clearly told that we are to not speak using foul or abusive language. If we can control the tongue, then we are one step closer to controlling the heart. When we control the heart, we are able to follow the teachings of Jesus. We are able to do everything more closely to what Paul told us in Colossians.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men
(Colossians 3:23 (NIV))

If we speak in foul and abusive language, do we truly have Jesus as our Lord and Savior? Do we have the Holy Spirit within us and guiding us? Is this the type of language that God desires for us to use? The foul and abusive words only reflect what is in our hearts.

But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man `unclean.’
(Matthew 15:18 (NIV))

Think about the things that you say. Do they uplift or do they come out as unwholesome talk?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you too proud?

November 4, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, `Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

“When he came to his senses, he said, `How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

“The son said to him, `Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

“But the father said to his servants, `Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
(Luke 15:11-24 (NIV))

Everybody is familiar with the story of the prodigal son. I heard someone comment on it that shed new light on God’s mercy and grace. God does not wait until we ask for forgiveness to forgive us. We are forgiven even before we ask for it. We must ask in order to receive it. Asking for forgiveness shows a change of heart on our part and prepares us to accept the grace that God has already granted us. Without this change of heart, we cannot accept God’s grace. We do not feel that we need it. It is a matter of pride. Asking for grace shows that we have humbled ourselves and many people are too proud to ask for anything.

Grace and mercy are free. We pay the price ourselves by swallowing our pride when we ask for them.

Are you too proud to accept God’s gifts?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What is your heart like?

October 20, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
(1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV))

We can easily deceive each other with our outward appearances. We can even deceive ourselves with the falsehoods and “white lies” that we tell on ourselves, but we can never deceive God.

God looks at us for what we truly are. He sees the sin behind the facade that we try to project. He sees through the smoke and mirrors that we use to convince others and ourselves that we are different from what we really are.

Would you ever consider letting your guard down long enough for those whom you work with to see the real you? What about the people that you worship with? Would they recognize you if they saw the real you? Would they shun you or would they, too, be shunned for the real person that they are hiding?

God knows each of us better than we know ourselves. If this is true, then why do each of us try to be a different person, a “better” person, than the one that God knows us to be? Perhaps it is because we are ashamed of the sin that has a hold of us. Rejoice, though, for Jesus has saved us from that sinful nature. We have been washed white as snow!

God knows us for the sinful creatures that we are. He also knows us for the sinless reborn creature through Jesus Christ. If we have accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, then He sees a spotless person washed by the Blood of the Lamb. He still knows our heart, but He also knows that we have made a decision to willingly change that heart.

What is your heart like?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Praise the LORD

October 8, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD from the heavens,
praise him in the heights above.
Praise him, all his angels,
praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, you highest heavens
and you waters above the skies.
Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for he commanded and they were created.
(Psalms 148:1-5 (NIV))


It is human nature to seek after the praise of others. This, coupled with ego and pride, is probably the root cause of many of our sins. Let’s face the truth. We long to be the center of attention. We long to hear people say that they think that we are great. We want to out perform each other so that we will be looked upon as someone great.

Why do we seek after praise?

I honestly believe that it has something to do with the simple fact that we should praise God in all that we do. If Satan came to kill and destroy, then of course he is going to turn something that God intended for good and make it something sinful. In essence, we seek after praise because of our fallen nature. We are emulating the very one who tempted Adam and Eve and caused the fall from grace. Satan wanted to be like God. He wanted to be God. As a result, he and a third of the angels were cast out of heaven.

And we suffer the consequences as a result !

Self praise is following Satan’s example. It makes a statement, a statement that says, “Look at me. I am great.” Who does this sound like?

We can counter this attack from Satan by giving praise where praise is due.

To me, it is very similar in nature to the concept behind Jesus’ words about prayer, for the hypocrites were praying in such a way that they would be thought of as good. They were seeking praise.

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
(Matthew 6:5 (NIV))

There is only one worthy of praise !

Praise the LORD.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What is your “blank?”

September 29, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

On that day there will be no light, no cold or frost. It will be a unique day, without daytime or nighttime–a day known to the LORD. When evening comes, there will be light.
On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and in winter.
The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name.
(Zechariah 14:6-9 (NIV))

Is this what you pray for?

Zechariah described what this world will be like once God’s Kingdom comes down upon the earth. It will be a marvelously beautiful world. God will have remade it and everything will be absolutely perfect.

Can you picture yourself in this setting?

Does it sound idealic or does it sound boring?

Think about that last question. When you read the words written in Zechariah, did you find yourself thinking that it would be wonderful, but you hope that they have ____________ ? What is the one thing that you think you simply cannot live without? That is your “blank,” that is your sin.

We all have things that we think we cannot do without. To some people, these center around wealth. Others – power. Others focus on food, entertainment, or even frivolous activities such as video games or computer activities.

I want you to honestly think about that for a moment. For those who have held steadfast in their faith, we will find ourselves in a wonderful place and in the presence of God. Yet, we, as frail humanity, find ourselves thinking that this is not enough. We need our “blanks.” In my opinion, we may be breaking a commandment.

You shall have no other gods before me.
(Exodus 10:3 (NIV))

We must carefully watch our thoughts, for Satan is always trying to trick us into giving up our salvation. When we are promised heaven, he will slyly bring up things and make us think we cannot live without them.

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”
(Matthew 16:23 (NIV))

Don’t let Satan use your “blank” to become your stumbling block. After all, whatever God has promised is far better than what man or Satan can bring.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Is your religion worthless?

September 15, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
(Proverbs 15:1 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to think about what your words produce? Do they turn away wrath or do they stir up anger?

We can all produce gentle words when the situation is not stressful and we can remain in control. What happens when the situation starts to get out of hand? What happens when someone cuts you off in traffic? What about the times when your spouse does something that seems to be a direct personal attack, even though it isn’t? What about any number of things that can happen throughout your day that can make your gentle words turn harsh? Sometimes it is not so easy to refrain from these words that stir up anger.

Even though it is difficult, we are given instructions to deal with one another in love and peace.

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
(Ephesians 4:1-3 (NIV))

Have you ever noticed that your words are like a magnet that attracts words that are similar. If you respond with harsh words, there is a very good chance that you will receive harsh words in return. If you respond with gentle words, the chance of receiving gentle words in return increases.

How would Jesus wish for you to respond? Think about what was written of in James.

If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.
(James 1:26 (NIV))

Could this mean that our harsh words prove our faith to be worthless? We must strive to follow Jesus in all things, even in the ways of our words.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Could it be me?

August 4, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And while they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.”
(Matthew 26:21 (NIV))

Can you put yourself into that upper room when Jesus spoke these words?

Think about that for a moment. He didn’t speak these words to a group of strangers. He spoke them to the twelve men that had spent the last three years with Him. These men had seen Jesus do things that no other man in the history of the world could even begin to imagine doing. They knew His heart and they knew Him. They all knew that Jesus had an ability to see to the very heart, yet, one of the people who sat in that room would betray Him.

And, Jesus knew it!

I can imagine myself sitting there. At first denial would come into mind. “Surely no one would even begin to consider such an idea!” Then, a strong, but brief bout of anguish. “Could it be me?” Then, just as the disciples did, I would probably begin to ask who it could possibly be.

I hate to say this, but human nature would also raise its ugly head in a way that would not be pleasant. We would all probably say to ourselves, “I am so glad that it is not me.” However, would any of us have a fist reaction that did not place us first? Would we stop to realize that even if it was not us, Jesus would still be betrayed? Would we be so absorbed in our own thoughts about our actions that we would miss the fact that Jesus would still be handed over to suffer?

My heart sinks when I think about what I would think and do if I were sitting in that room. However, I often feel that we still betray Jesus in many ways each and every day. Our betrayals may not be the one that God used to put His plan into motion, but they are still betrayals. They are still sins. They are the very reasons that Jesus willingly went to the cross.

I often wonder if Judas had turned to Jesus and said that he was sorry, what would have become of Judas. Sadly, Judas, even though he spent three years with Jesus, did not think to ask for forgiveness. He did not learn from any of the teachings of Jesus. Did Judas think about the woman caught in adultery and the compassion that Jesus showed? Did Judas remember Jesus telling others to forgive someone who sins against you seventy times seven?

Each of us betray Jesus in some way each and every day. Don’t forget that grace is there for the asking. It is a matter of the heart. It is a matter of priorities. My priority is to seek Jesus in all that I do and to have the wisdom to know when I fail at my priority.

Could it be me?

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