How do you classify greatness?

August 19, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me `Teacher’ and `Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
(John 13:12-17 (NIV))

How do you classify greatness?

Is it military might and power? Is it financial wealth? Is it political power? Is it the ability to hire and fire people at will? Exactly what do you consider greatness?

Chances are that most of the population of the world thinks in terms similar to the questions listed above. We, as humanity, have a tendency to see greatness as an elevation of one person over others to the extent that the one person has power and authority over the others. We do not have a tendency to see greatness as a humble spirit that is willing to do anything for others.

On the contrary, this type of person is seen as weak by our society. We do not think of a person who is willing to be a servant as a great person. They are seen as nothing more than a door mat for others to walk upon. However, God has another opinion.

God sent His Son, Jesus, to be our servant. Jesus was with God, yet, He humbled himself to the point of death so that He could do what the Father asked of Him. Now, through His humility, He sits at the right hand of God the Father as an example of what we are supposed to be like.

Jesus came into this world and turned our perceptions upside down. He died so that many could have life. He arose from the grave to defeat sin and death. He ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of God, the Father.

How do you classify greatness?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready to remodel?

September 19, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Unless the LORD builds the house,
its builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchmen stand guard in vain.
(Psalms 127:1 (NIV))

When did the government take prayer out of public schools?

When did abortion become legal?

When did the rights of the criminal become more important than the common good of society?

When did we start allowing the vocal minority to remove God from our society?

When did it become socially unacceptable to mention Jesus in the military, in government and in everyday life?

The LORD may have built this house, but we have allowed it to be remodeled in a way that has excluded God. It is time to remodel it again and rebuild it with God’s help.

I often wonder what the founding fathers would say about what has happened. History books are being rewritten. Men and women who were once revered as godly and righteous are now simply mentioned as owning slaves. I don’t condone slavery, but to relegate all of the great achievements to a lost bit of information simply because they happened to own slaves. No one is perfect, yet these very same people followed God’s leading and established the tenants that would later bring freedom to all.

We need to allow God to not only rebuild, but to also watch over this country and this world. In order for that to happen, we must turn to Him. He will not do it if we do not ask.

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))

People wonder why we have such troubles and such insecurity. We have been given the answer. I pray that we, as the body of Christ, will rise to the occasion and allow God to rebuild us and to watch over us once again.

Are you ready to remodel?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you accepted your mission?

February 22, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious. But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.
(Ezekiel 2:7-8 (NIV))

We have a mission!

Just like Ezekiel, we are to tell people of God’s Word, whether they listen or not. We must be faithful in fulfilling this mission, for we never know what seed that God may use us to plant in the life of someone. We may never know the outcome, but we must stand firm in the faith that we must plant that seed.

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, `Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
(Matthew 17:20 (NIV))

Someone had to have faith to tell you of the grace and mercy freely given to us through Jesus. Perhaps that faith was only as small as a mustard seed. Did that faith grow and spread into your life enough that you, too, accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? If you have accepted Jesus a your personal Lord and Savior, then you have had a small seed planted within you that must grow and blossom. If you remember that the spiritual world has a direct correlation to the physical world, then you will recognize that there is a life cycle. A seed germinates and grows into a plant. The plant matures and produces seeds and then the cycle starts over. Someone planted the seed within you. If it has grown, then we have a mission to plant the seeds that God has entrusted to us into the lives of others. It is not our task to nurture those seeds. God will use others to do that. In fact, sometimes we may plant. Other times we may water, and still other times we may see the harvest. It is all part of the same mission.

We must never forget, as members of the Body of Christ, that we have a mission. We must plant the seed of God’s Word into the lives of others.

Have you accepted your mission?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It is a matter of focus

January 4, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints
(Ephesians 1:18 (NIV))

Have you ever heard about the eyes of your heart? I know that this passage was the passage from yesterday’s devotional, but something about this passage stuck with me. To be honest with you, I had not heard this expression and I had to read this passage several times.

If you stop to think about it, our heart dictates what we desire. We can be, like David, and be a person after God’s own heart, or we can allow the world to fill our heart. With this in mind, our heart will “see” what it wants to see. If we see God in everything, then we will desire things that are Godly and that is what our “eyes” will see. If we desire the world, then our “eyes” will not see the glory and grace that God has placed right before us. Our “eyes” will only allow us to see the sin and temptations of the world.

Ironically, both are right in front of us. There is not a person alive who is not offered the grace and mercy that is freely given through Jesus. There is also not a person alive who is not tempted by the sins of the world.

Have you ever focused on something so close to the end of your nose that everything else loses focus? Perhaps you have gone to the other extreme and scanned the horizon for something only to miss what is right before you. I honestly believe that the “eyes of our heart” work the same way. We see what we want to see and focus only on it to the exclusion of anything and everything else. Paul knew that our hearts will make us see only what we want to see, that is why he wrote this to the church at Ephesus. It was his desire that only the things of God are seen and only the things of God will be our focus.

We have all heard stories of people finding treasures that others have overlooked. The only thing that they did differently was to focus on what was in front of them all along. The reward was there for anybody to find, it simply took a different focus.

Don’t miss out on the riches of His glorious inheritance because you were focused on things of this world.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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He is, and was and is to come

December 30, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
(Revelation 1:8 (NIV))

Human nature is such a funny thing.

What is your reaction when the grocery store that you normally go to is closed for some reason? Do you complain or do you simply adapt? What do you do when your favorite shirt is no longer suitable for public appearance? Do you throw it away or do you cling to it like a small child clings to a blanket? How do you react when your favorite magazine stops publication because the content is now readily available on the Internet? Speaking of the Internet, how do you react to reading something online versus reading it from a book that you can hold and feel?

Let’s face it, we are all creatures of habit. We have our routines and we all have our favorite things that we think that we could never do without. In all honesty, most people do not like change. Change is something that we fear. It is unknown.

Too many of us do not like anything to ever change, yet we often are guilty of saying that God is not the same as He was in the Old Testament. We have a double standard for what we expect of ourselves and what we think that God is like. We have heard the stories and we have read the passages that tell of God’s laws, yet we find it difficult to comprehend that God could remain the same for all eternity.

Personally, I like knowing that God is constant, that He is, and was and is to come.

If we spend time getting to know God through His Word, then we will know the very heart of God for all time. He doesn’t change. I honestly would not like having to constantly second guess what I was supposed to do because of a constantly changing god. That is not our God. That is not our creator, our Father. God is a God of eternity.

January 1 will soon be here. It is the beginning of a new year. Many people look upon this day as the opportunity to start fresh, to change what they have been doing. For humanity, change for the better is good, especially when that change means that we repent of our sins and turn to God. When we desire to change, isn’t it good to know that the One who welcomes us in our change, never changes. God will welcome us with open arms any day of the year.

Today is that day.

Happy New Year !!!

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

December 1, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.
(Luke 22:27 (NIV))

Have you ever thought about this passage?

I honestly think that this may be one of the biggest reasons why people refuse to acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Savior. It is human nature to expect someone in authority to be served. You don’t expect someone in authority to be serving.

If you went to a store and had a problem with the service, you would probably ask to see the manager. How would you react if the person you were introduced to was on his or her hands and knees scrubbing the floor? How would you react if their clothes were coveralls instead of professional attire?

Now, carefully consider the idea of following someone who people say is God’s Son and has all authority in heaven and on earth, and then they tell you He came and was poor, beaten, mocked and killed, how would you react?

It goes against everything that conventional wisdom tells us to be true.

Could it be that in order to understand Luke 22:27, you must understand that authority is not what we understand it to be? When we think of authority, we think of the master. We don’t think of the servant. Think about the store manager scenario once again. How do you think that person became the store manager? In many instances, it is by doing what they knew needed to be done, and then being recognized for that knowledge, that initiative. They know every job within their store and are not ashamed to do the dirty work if it will help.

God sent Jesus, His only begotten Son, to do just that. Jesus knew everything that there is to know about this world, so, in a superb plan to make things right, He willingly came to this earth to do the dirty work. He came willingly to do the job that no one else knew how to do. He came to do the job that only He could do, even though He had all authority over all creation. He simply accessed the situation and willingly did as His Father determined. He was not afraid to get His hands dirty, for He loves the business of His Father. He loves us!

Being a servant does not mean that you have a place of no authority. It simply means that you recognize the need to do something and that you are not afraid to do it yourself.

I have heard many people say that a good manager will not ask his employees to do something that he is not willing to do himself. Even though the authority may be there to simply dictate that it be done, sometimes it requires the personal touch by someone who wants to make sure it is done according to higher standards.

What is your perspective on authority?

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

October 14, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
(Isaiah 6:3 (NIV))

There are two basic premises outlined in this passage. Two very true details that we need to fully embrace. How we embrace them determines our whole outlook and understanding of God the Father, Jesus His Son, and the Holy Spirit.

First and foremost, the LORD is holy. I am not certain if the word “holy” is repeated three times because of a subliminal reference to the Trinity, or whether it is repeated simply as a matter of driving the concept home. It may even be both. No matter why it is repeated, we must never forget that the LORD is holy. If we treat God in any way less than holy, we have sinned. We have taken the Creator of all things and redefined Him within our comfort zone. We do not praise Him if we make Him less than He is.

Ouch!

I hate to say this, but human nature finds us doing just that. We have a tendency of not understanding just how magnificent that He is. We tend to define God and our relationship to Him by our own thought processes and our own relationships. God is holy.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

We cannot comprehend God. We must simply trust Him and accept that He is holy.

The second premise that is presented is the fact the the whole earth is full of His glory.

Everywhere that you look, you see wondrous things that God has created. Can man imagine a rainbow into existence? Can humanity divide the waters above from the waters below? Can anybody create a continent and clothe it in the vast splendor that we see?

God’s glory is manifested through His creation. Not only is He holy, but everything that He creates is glorious.

I hope that you fully caught what I just said. Everything that God creates is glorious. God created you and I. It is simple deductive reasoning that allows us to draw the conclusion that we are intended to be glorious. Even though we have fallen from grace through our sin, we are intended to be glorious. Even though we may not always follow God’s call, we are intended to be glorious.

God sent His glory into the world so that we could gain salvation and grace. Jesus, the son of God and the son of man, came into this world so that we could be washed clean and reunited with God in all of His glory.

Holy. Glory.

How do you see God in relationship to these two simple words?

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

Praise.

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.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Prayer and freedom do mix

July 5, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If my people, which are called by my name, shall 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))

As I sit here contemplating the events of the last few days, this July 4th weekend was a good weekend.

Hundreds of people lined the streets of a small town to see a parade that will never match the production value of the parades in New York, but the heart and soul of this country were represented in that parade. Local businesses, the high school band, local volunteer fire departments, local farmers and their horses, and politicians who have a sincere desire to see this country return to the values that made it great all willingly walked a three mile course in the Georgia heat to show their love of country.

My youngest son and I visited a church where some of his friends attend. The sermon was a very interesting historical account of the writings of the founding fathers. Some things I knew, such as the first official act of the first Congress was to order a large amount of Bibles to be printed. Did you know that each of the original 13 states started their documents of statehood giving praise and honor to God? I would love to read the personal thoughts and public documents of the founding fathers, for most of them professed a belief in the sovereign grace of God in guiding this nation.

I want you to think of the words to “America the Beautiful.”

“God shed His grace on thee.”

Why do you think that God has shed His grace upon this nation? Our history is based upon allowing people to worship Him as they see fit. It is built upon the idea that we have been blessed to be a blessing to others. What other nation has been willing to help rebuild war-torn countries? What other nation has been willing to come to the aid of countries when they could not defend themselves?

Looking back at the events of this weekend, I don’t think that the people have lost site of what is important. This can be proven by the heartfelt responses we see to terrorist strikes, hurricanes, and accidents. What I believe has happened is that the government that we elect has forgotten that they are not above the law, and that they are not to make laws contrary to the heart and desires of the people, and contrary to God’s Word.

If my people, which are called by my name, shall 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))

We have a choice to make. We can allow things to run their course in a way that is contrary to God’s Word, or we can pray for His forgiveness, His desires and His direction. In this prayer, there should be neither Democrat nor Republican, but only those who earnestly seeks after the heart of God.

Lord, guide us in your desires for this world, this nation, this state, this community and this household. May our actions always be tempered with your wisdom and grace.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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If the rocks can sing of God’s greatness, why can’t you?

March 24, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.
(Psalms 19:1-2 (NIV))

What better way to prove that God exists then to let His own creation sing the praises of His name!

I do not understand how someone can look at all that is in this world and the fine balance that exists and still claim that there is no such thing as God. What is even more intriguing is how these people who claim that everything can be explained scientifically are uninformed about the very scientists who used to claim this line of thought. The same scientists who used to say that everything could be explained scientifically are now stating that they are convinced that the earth and everything else was designed.

At first reading of this statement, it doesn’t sound that significant, but consider the fact that if they are saying that everything was designed, then they are saying that there was a designer! What brought about this change in thinking? From what I can gather, the very technology that they used to say would prove that the earth arose from a big bang and that life evolved has proven that the basic building blocks are so intricate that there is no other explanantion except that they were designed.

Isn’t it amazing how, even when people try to disprove that God exists, His very creation sings of His handiwork. The very rocks tell of His awesome power. Leave it to sinful man to try and disprove what creation itself rings forth. Perhaps this is the influence of the enemy creeping into the lives of these people, for he does not want God to be glorified. He wants to be glorified. If he can not be glorified, then he will do all within his abilities to keep God from being glorified. What better way to accomplish this than to attempt to convince “educated” minds that everything we see just happened and was not designed and created.

When was the last time that you simply sat under the night sky and looked up at the stars? Were you not amazed at the sheer beauty and the majesty of what you saw? Now consider that the same God who created this beauty and majesty loves you so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to walk this earth as one of us. He taught us what God is like. He taught us what we should be like. He taught us that God is indeed the Creator and that He can make the rocks to sing His praises!

If the rocks can sing of God’s greatness, why can’t you?

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