Bad words

September 19, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
(James 3:9-12 (NIV))

It is sad that the words written in James are all too true.

How many times have you left a wonderful worship service only to have someone cut you off in traffic and you find yourself saying things that you know you shouldn’t?

Be honest with yourself.

How can we, as the Body of Christ, do such things? How can we expect the world to see a difference in our lives when this is the rotten fruit that our mouths produce? How can we praise God, yet curse a part of His creation?

I can hear some of the grumbling now.

You are probably thinking that God did not intend for people to behave like those who get you upset. Did God intend for you to curse someone else? How is this showing the love of Jesus?

Did Jesus ever get angry? What angered Jesus?

You may be thinking about the money changers in the temple.

Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, ” `My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a `den of robbers.’ ”
(Matthew 21:12 (NIV))

Jesus did not get angry at people for their sins against each or against God’s laws. He got angry over the fact that people took God for granted, or they did not respect God. Think of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Why did Jesus get angry with them?

In every situation in which Jesus did show anger, it is not recorded that He cursed them or blasphemed. Why do we do any different?

Think about that old question, “Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?”

With some of the things that we all let slip, do we feel worthy of praising God with the same mouth?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What has God done for you?

July 17, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
(Psalms 136:1 (NIV))

When was the last time that you truly read and comprehended these words?

God is so good that His love truly does endure forever. David realized this when he wrote these words. David did not stop with these words only. He wrote and wrote about the good things that God has done and with each one, he emphasized that God’s love never ends.

Perhaps we should take a minute to read and reflect on what David wrote.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.
to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.
who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.
who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.
who made the great lights–
His love endures forever.
the sun to govern the day,
His love endures forever.
the moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures forever.
to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt
His love endures forever.
and brought Israel out from among them
His love endures forever.
with a mighty hand and outstretched arm;
His love endures forever.
to him who divided the Red Sea asunder
His love endures forever.
and brought Israel through the midst of it,
His love endures forever.
but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea;
His love endures forever.
to him who led his people through the desert,
His love endures forever.
who struck down great kings,
His love endures forever.
and killed mighty kings–
His love endures forever.
Sihon king of the Amorites
His love endures forever.
and Og king of Bashan–
His love endures forever.
and gave their land as an inheritance,
His love endures forever.
an inheritance to his servant Israel;
His love endures forever.
to the One who remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.
and freed us from our enemies,
His love endures forever.
and who gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever
(Psalms 136: 1-26 (NIV))

We would be hard pressed to list that many things in our lives that we are willing to give God the credit and the glory for. David did it. He gave God the glory for all things. Perhaps this is why he was called a man after God’s own heart.

There are things in my life that I pray would change, yet perhaps I should be thankful for them and wait on God to lead me through them instead.

What can you list that God has done for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord

February 17, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Ephesians 5:19-20 (NIV))

What do you find yourself doing when you are happy and full of joy?

I honestly don’t think that it is something depressing.

If you are like me, then you find yourself with a light spring in your step and a song in your heart. Chances are that sometimes you may not even recognize the song. Many times it is simply a song of joy that has no words, but it is overpowering just the same.

Think about that for a moment.

This makes sense if you stop and think about the times where you feel that you need to pray and you simply can’t find the words. Your spirit lifts up the concern and it is heard. What makes a joyful spirit different from one in need of close communication through prayer with the Father? Just as the unspoken prayer is lifted up and heard, the unspoken praise is also lifted up and heard. There are moments, and they should be many, where we simply cannot express our love with words and a song of the heart reaches God when our words cannot convey our praise.

We have been given an amazing gift. We have been given grace when we deserve nothing. We have been given a reason to be joyful. We have been given a reason to have a song in our heart.

Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord!

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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I have accepted my position

February 13, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant–not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
(2 Corinthians 3:6 (NIV))

It has been said that the Old Testament and The Law are there to show us what we are supposed to do and how difficult it is to do it. If this is true, then the New Testament is there to show us that we have another way. The Law is there as the letter that we must follow perfectly and never falter or waiver from its course. The Spirit is given to us by the grace and mercy shown at the cross. The Spirit gives us redemption and salvation. It gives us freedom from the Law. This freedom does not mean that we are able to ignore the Law and do whatever we want. It means that we are given grace for we are not capable of being perfect even when we desire it with all of our hearts. It allows us to be human. It allows us to make mistakes and then learn from our mistakes.

The twist to all of this is that through the Spirit, we are all ministers one to another. In the Old Testament and under the Law, ministers had to be set apart from the rest of society. They had to be ceremonially pure. They had to be followers of the letter of the Law. If they did not follow the letter of the Law, they faced the possibility of death in the presence of God.

Today, we have grace and mercy as our mantle. We have salvation through the blood of Jesus. We have the Spirit. Through the Spirit, we are given life in the presence of God, were, before the Spirit, we only faced death. Speaking for myself, I do not long to follow the letter of the Law, for it is inflexible and unforgiving. I want forgiveness and mercy, for I know that I am not perfect and cannot ever achieve perfection on my own.

I need grace!

I need to help others find that grace!

I, in all of my human shortcomings, am a minister of that grace. I have accepted my position.

Have you accepted yours?

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

December 16, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
(Romans 8:35 (NIV))

These are loaded questions, for each of these things pose the potential to draw us closer to Christ, and yet, at the very same time, they each pose the potential to drive us away from Christ. Please notice that I did not say that they could drive Christ away from us, for that is not possible.

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
(Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV))

I have come to the conclusion that the only person who is capable of separating us from the love of Christ is us! How we react to each of these things will determine how our relationship will grow. If we see everything that we face as an opportunity to draw closer to God, then each hardship, persecution, famine, and danger will have that very result. If we look upon God as a benevolent being that will keep us from these things, then our reactions will drive us from Him. We will be seeking the wrong things from God. In essence, we will eventually separate ourselves from Jesus because we have a false perception of what He will do for us. Once we turn away, it is our own understandings that have separated us from Christ. His love is still there. We simply deny it or we reject it. It is our doing.

Fortunately, we have the option of doing a U-turn. We can repent of this attitude and without venturing beyond our arrogance, God’s love is there. All that we have to do is turn and accept it. The love of Christ is never very far. It is our attitudes that make it seem so far away. It is our hardened hearts that keep the love of Christ from us. He does not withhold it. We build barriers against it.

Do you allow anything to separate you from the love of Christ?

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

November 23, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
(Psalms 100:1-5 (NIV))

This is the true source of thanksgiving.

To be truly thankful, you must acknowledge that you cannot do it on your own. You must acknowledge that whatever you have is not from your own hand. You must realize that what you have been given could just as easily have been given to someone else. It is true that what you have been given is a direct result of a response that you have made, but the blessings are not something that you have created.

Think about that for a moment.

What happens when someone thinks that they are responsible for all that they have? It is probably safe to assume that each of us have known people who felt that what they have was a direct result of their hard work and determination. It is also safe to assume that most, if not all, of these people looked upon what they had as a reward for their hard work. They may even have looked upon it as something that they earned, that they were owed, and as a result, were very stingy with what they have. This type of attitude places themselves as the provider and most of the time they give thanks for the things, and not the true source.

Thanksgiving is not only a holiday that we celebrate, it should be a life long attitude of gratitude for your true source of all things. Can we create life? Can we create the seasons? Can we create the food that we need? Too many people take these things for granted and only focus on the materialistic aspects of life. They miss out on the joy that God has provided to us in a sunset. They miss out on the grace that we have been given through the atoning blood of Jesus. They miss out on all things eternal because they are focused on the treasures of this world.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV))

Are you thankful for things that moth and rust will destroy?

I have a philosophy that I like to remind myself of every once in a while. I look at the things of this world and find myself thinking that it would be nice to have some of these “treasures.” When I find myself in this line of thought, I ask myself one simple question.

In 100 years, will it really matter if I had these things?

What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
(Matthew 16:26 (NIV))

What does matter is setting your priorities according to God’s priorities. What does matter is instilling God’s Word within your family. What does matter is being thankful to God for the blessings that He has given.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you one in 365?

November 22, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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.
(Colossians 3:15-17 (NIV))

Thanksgiving is almost upon us. We, as believers, truly have something to be thankful for. But, are we also guilty of setting aside only one day to give thanks. We have the ultimate reason to be thankful 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year for all of our lives. Can we, in all honesty, limit this thankfulness to only one day in 365.

We are told “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.”
(Colossians 3:17)

Every day when we get up, when we go to work or school, when we eat, when we share time with family, when we are in church, all should be spent with a reverence and thankfulness that is light to the world.

One day of thanks is good, but it also leaves us empty if that is all that we do. Our gratitude should overflow just as His mercy overflows upon us. We can be thankful one day in 365, or we can be filled with an attitude of thanksgiving each and every day.

Are you one in 365, or are you full?

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