Whose rules do you follow? Man’s or God’s.

August 11, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

” `These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
their teachings are but rules taught by men.’ ”
(Matthew 15:8-9 (NIV))

It is so easy to get side tracked by rules that men make. We like to come up with a vast multitude of rules for everything that we do. Sometimes these rules are good. Can you image any football or basketball game without rules? It would be utter chaos.

Man has even tried to create rules for how we can approach God. These rules have become rituals that often get repeated without end and eventually lose the meaning and the reason why they were created to begin with. When this happens, following the rules often becomes more important than the reason the rules were implemented. Following the rules becomes legalism and we soon miss out on the freedom originally intended.

We can be thankful that God has only given us ten basic rules to live by. These rules are the foundation for our society and our faith. However, we have had some problems keeping these rules. God gave us some additional rules to live by. These additional rules, if followed, allow God to overlook our shortcomings on the other rules.

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
(Acts 2:38 (NIV))

Whose rules do you follow? Man’s or God’s.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The road to Emmaus

April 23, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.

He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

“What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”

He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
(Luke 24:13-35 (NIV))

Everyone is familiar with this story of the two men walking with Jesus and not recognizing Him. How true that is in our lives every day. Jesus is with us always. It is only when we invite Him into our hearts that we see that He has been there all of the time. How many times have you longed to be with Jesus only to discover later that He had been with you even in the darkest of times?

The poem about the footprints tells the story of everyone’s life, and not just the author’s. He is with us always. Even when we do not recognize that fact, He is there, and many times it is He who carries us through the toughest parts of our lives.

The next time that you feel that you are alone, closely look at the footprints in your path. You will probably find that they are not yours, for Jesus is carrying you when things are tough.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What does your mind treasure?

April 16, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
(Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (NIV))

If you constantly talk about something, what will you constantly think about?

If you constantly think about something, how will your actions be effected?

I don’t know about you, but I believe that God had a purpose to this verse. He created us. He knows that we are wired to act out what we think about. If we think about money, we become greedy. If we think about power, we become obsessed with it. If we think about righteousness, then our actions will start to become righteous.

In helping my children study, I have a saying that they are probably tired of hearing. I tell them that they must repeat what they are trying to learn until it becomes ingrained within their minds and they can answer without thinking. It becomes a part of them. This is what God is telling us to do. We are to reflect upon His commandments until we know them so well that we do them out of knowledge and love.

What is the one thing that you know so well that you can quote details to anybody who asks, and possibly to those who don’t even ask? How did you get to be so knowledgeable about that subject? What if you applied the same earnestness toward God’s commandments? What would the outcome be? What would your life be like? What would other people say about you? What would God say about you?

What is constantly on your mind? What does your mind treasure? Is it God’s commandments?

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

Think about them?

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