How are we to glorify God?

May 11, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
(Psalms 23:1-3 (NIV))

These are probably the most comforting words that a believer can read or hear, for they affirm that God is with us and desires good things for us.

Just why does He desire to be our shepherd? Why does He desire to give us “green pastures” and “quiet waters?” Why does He desire to restore our souls?

God is the Creator of all things. To be even more specific, He is our Creator and the Creator loves the creation.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
(Genesis 1:26-28 (NIV))

God made us in His image. He created us to be with Him. Through our actions in the Garden of Eden, we lost that righteousness that allows us to be with Him. God desires for each of us to be restored to that righteousness so that we may glorify His name.

How are we to glorify God?

We were created in His image. We lost that image. God desires to restore each of us to that image. We glorify God by following where He leads so that we may become closer to what He created us to be.

Think about an antique car that is in a junkyard. The man who owned that car when it was new finds it and buys it again. He lovingly restores it. He takes it to places where it will be renewed in its original image. He becomes happy because what he loved has been restored to what it should be. The restoration glorifies the owner of the car.

You are that car. God is the owner. Let Him lead you to where you can be restored to the image that you were created to be.

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

October 13, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But Samuel replied [to Saul], “What is more pleasing to the Lord, your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Obedience is far better than sacrifice. Listening to him is much better than offering the fat of rams. Rebelling is as bad as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as bad as worshiping idols.
(1 Samuel 15:22-23 (NLT))

Do you give your weekly “sacrifice” to God by attending church on Sunday morning or do you praise Him with every breath that you take?

Are you so set in your ways that you refuse to listen to the will of God or have you been able to place ego, stubbornness and pride behind you?

What we give to God is a very good measure of where our heart truly lies. If we “give” to God reluctantly when we do give to Him, are we truly able to give what He desires from us? Does this make sense? God desires for us to give Him our all. He wants us to place all of our faith and our trust within His capable hands. When we give Him our “burnt offerings,” could we actually be guilty of the old illusionist trick of smoke and mirrors where we offer God something to distract Him from what we are keeping from Him?

Let’s face facts!

Not a single one of us is an illusionist with skills so great that we can deceive the God who created everything! It is a sin to think otherwise.

Are you still trying to play “smoke and mirrors” with God?

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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Do people thank God for you?

August 24, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—in all your speaking and in all your knowledge
(1 Corinthians 1:4-5 (NIV))

Besides salvation, what can be more rewarding than to have someone say that they always thank God for you?

Personally, that is my goal. I want to be able to hear my Lord and Savior say the following words to me on the day that I stand before Him.

His master replied, `Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
(Matthew 25:21 (NIV))

I know that we are not supposed to seek after recognition from men, but Godly thanks, such as described in 1 Corinthians, could be an indicator of our personal commitment to Jesus. If men are to utter things about us, it is better that they say that we walk with Jesus and do what He calls us to do.

What is it that would make people thank God for you? I can imagine that it is having a heart that seeks after things that God desires. Galatians tells us just what that means.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

I cannot think of a more desirable thing for someone to say about me than to say that I seek after love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, for these attributes are from God.

Do people thank God for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you able to be re-molded?

March 23, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
(Jeremiah 18:1-4 (NIV))

Is your life going the way that you want it to go? Have you made a complete mess of things trying to live your life on your terms? If you are like a lot of people in our society, you probably believe that you have to do it your way in order to succeed. As a result, many people make such a complete mess of their lives that they feel nothing can help them to salvage and restore what they have left.

Repent!

When we have tried to do things on our own, we have missed the mark. There is an old archery term that means to miss the mark. That word is “sin.” We have sinned. We have missed the mark that is the life that God intended for us. We are out of sync with the potter’s wheel. We no longer turn effortlessly. We are drastically out of balance. When this happens, God, who is the ultimate potter, will take the clay that is our life and re-center it and reshape it to make us into the vessel that will glorify Him in our remaining days.

All that we have to do is allow Him to work within our lives. God will take that useless lump and bring it back into balance and then create something beautiful out of your life.

the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
(Genesis 2:7 (NIV))

God created us from dust. We literally are clay in His hands. Each of us must allow God to reshape us when we get out of balance. Each of us must allow God to redefine our purpose in life when we have lost sight of that purpose for which He created us.

Allow God to be the potter.

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

March 15, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. 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))

What does God see when He looks at you?

Is it what you think it is?

I know that these are tough questions to be asking yourself, but in all honesty, they are questions that we need to ask ourselves on a regular basis. The words to Samuel were spoken by God long before He sent His Son, Jesus, yet they still hold true today. Even though we can call upon the name of Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we still have to have a pure heart. If we profess a faith in Jesus that is not sincere and true, we have simply fulfilled these words.

“Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV))

Outward appearances can be deceiving. We can act righteous and have an evil heart. We can be at church every time the doors open, yet, not hold true to the precepts that Jesus taught us.

Have you stopped to look at your heart? Are you afraid of what you will see? Are you hiding from the truth with respect to what is truly in your heart?

Fortunately, we can turn to God in honesty and sincerity. We can turn away from what we are hiding in our hearts and allow the atoning blood of Jesus to cleanse us so that God will truly see a clean heart.

What does God see when He looks at you?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are your thoughts and actions pleasing?

February 12, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
(Psalms 19:14 (NIV))

I have some questions that I want you to think very seriously about. How often do the words that come out of your mouth make you wish you had not said them? How many times a day do you think thoughts that you wish you could get out of your head? Do these words and thoughts please you? If they don’t please you, what are the chances that they will please God?

I am sure that everyone is familiar with the phrase “garbage in, garbage out.” What have you seen in your lifetime that you wish you could remove from your memory? How many words have you heard that you wish had never been uttered? How many times have these things influenced your thoughts and actions?

These things can never be completely removed, but they can be relegated to bad memories simply by focusing on something else. That something else is God’s word.

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 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. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
(Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NIV))

It takes a commitment to fulfill Psalm 19:14. It takes a desire to change. It takes a desire to turn from what has been to what can be through God’s grace.

Are you ready to make that turn?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What about your definition of God?

February 8, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”

The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”
(Luke 13:10-16 (NIV))

Do you try to put limits on Jesus? Are you guilty of doing what the synagogue ruler did in this situation?

Instead of praising God for what He has done through Jesus, do you find yourself trying to put your own rules and regulations on what He is doing? Do you find yourself trying to put God into the confines of what you believe He should be instead of letting Him be who He is?

This is human nature. We try to define our limited understanding through things that we do understand. We are all guilty of it.

Consider those who believe in evolution. They cling to something because they want a “scientific” explanation for how life came to be. They cling to what they consider to be logic because they do not want to accept the truth. Their only desire is to be able to clearly define everything based on their own understanding. They want to be able to have things so well classified that they can predict what will happen. They ignore faith for a false knowledge that they have defined. Their definition is not God’s definition. They want definitions that clearly state what can be expected only as long as it meets their version of what can be expected.

What about your definition of God? Would Jesus call you a hypocrite because you fail to see beyond your definition of what can be expected?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your reaction?

February 3, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile–the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
(Romans 10:9-13 (NIV))

Nothing could be clearer!

We do not earn salvation through any works that we do or any offerings that we may make. Our salvation is only assured through our heart. If our heart desires salvation and is willing to confess that Jesus is Lord, then salvation is ours!

Isn’t it wonderful that God does not distinguish by nationality, race or sex. All have the opportunity to call upon the name of Jesus to be saved,

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

Salvation is freely given to all who will accept it through Jesus, for there is no other way to earn salvation. Jesus calls everyone to His table no matter what their background. If Jesus can look past our differences and accept us as we are, shouldn’t we be able to accept each other as we are? God did not create everyone with the same backgrounds. He gave each of us a unique life. If others confess that Jesus is Lord, we must embrace them as fellow brothers or sisters in Christ for there is no difference between them and us.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your heart God’s dwelling place?

January 28, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

How lovely is your dwelling place,
O LORD Almighty!
(Psalms 84:1 (NIV))

When we think of this, we think of the temple in Heaven in all of its glory.

There is another dwelling place.

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
(Ephesians 3:16-19 (NIV))

We are told that our hearts can be where Jesus will dwell. We are told that we can invite Jesus into our hearts. We are told that the Holy Spirit will come to live within us. God’s Word is very clear about where God, in His Triune majesty, wants to live. He desires a place within each of us.

Think about that. What does that say about the way that God feels about us? We cannot see it through our sinful nature, but the way that God sees us, the way that God designed us, He sees us in this manner. We were created to have God live within us. We were created to be temples of His Holy Spirit.

I don’t feel lovely. After all, I know all of the things that I have ever done. Sin makes us feel anything but lovely, but God sees beyond our sin and sees us for the person He created us to be. Because of this, He desires to dwell with us and to dwell within us.

Do you see yourself as lovely? God does, for He sees beyond your sin. Do you need help to see beyond your sin? Invite Jesus into your heart. He will change your perspective.

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