Are you looking to yourself instead of Jesus?

November 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
(Revelation 3:17 (NIV))

Do you consider yourself a follower of Christ?

Do you like to be self-sufficient?

Are you the type of person who has to take care of everything yourself?

Do you feel that unless you do it, it isn’t done right?

Would you rather starve than ask for assistance?

Do you look around and think to yourself that you have your life in order and are prepared for anything that may happen?

Hopefully, everyone who reads this will answer the first question with a resounding “Yes!”

The other questions fall into an area where human ego and pride come into play far too often. To be honest with you, I am guilty of answering these questions with a “yes” more often than I care to admit. Everyone likes to be self-sufficient. Do you feel guilty asking for help? I understand.

For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
(2 Thessalonians 3:10 (NIV))

Everyone has a certain way that you want things done. Everyone would love to have a nest egg to know that they are taken care of. We like to be able to predict our comfort and our future. But is this what God wants?

He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”‘
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
(Luke 12:17-20 (NIV))

In case you did not realize this, Revelation 3:17 is about the church at Laodicea. This is the church that Jesus called lukewarm. He even said that He was about to spit them out of His mouth. They had accepted Jesus, yet they failed to leave the comfort of their physical lives. They thought that they had everything covered. They thought that they were self-sufficient. They thought that they didn’t need any assistance and that everything was in order. The sad part of this is that is was all based on their efforts and not on the strength of Jesus! If we take a look at the next sentence from Luke, we see exactly what will happen to those who fail to look to the Lord.

“This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
(Luke 12:21 (NIV))

Don’t be caught up in your ability. Don’t be so arrogant that you rely on your feeble works. Look to the Lord and grow in your faith.

Are you looking to yourself instead of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who knows you?

October 26, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
(1 John 3:1 (NIV))

The world will not recognize us, for it did not recognize Jesus when He came.

In much the same way a mother recognizes her young, the world recognizes those who belong to it. Does a mother cow accept a puppy? Does a kitten find a home with a dog? The same is true of those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. They will not be accepted by the world! They may face rejection and tribulation for they have, in essence, turned their backs on the ways of the world and have focused on the ways of God.

Take a serious look at where you would be accepted. Do you find yourself still partaking of the world in such a way that it is impossible for anyone to know that you are a child of God? The old saying “You are what you eat” is true in the spiritual world as well. If you “eat” of the world, then the world is a part of you and you cannot leave it behind. If you “eat” of the things of God, then righteousness is a part of you, and the world is only something that you are passing through.

It has been said that it takes a thief to know a thief. If that implies that only those with similar thoughts can be recognized and accepted, then where would you be recognized and accepted? Would you be of the world, or would you be of God?

Who knows you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What would Jesus do?

October 19, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
(1 John 3:16 (NIV))

Several years ago, everyone was asking “What would Jesus do?” I understand the concept behind the question, for it makes us stop and reflect on our actions in any given circumstance. I know that it has made me stop and rethink my actions on many occasions, but perhaps we should ask ourselves another question.

What can I do that will make me more like Jesus?

When we ask what would Jesus do, it places Jesus at the center of our lives. It places Jesus as the ideal that we are to copy, that we are to imitate. To be honest with you, that is definitely not bad, after all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. With this in mind, it is perfectly okay to ask what would Jesus do. It shows that we strive to be like Jesus in our actions. Eventually, though, we need to move from an outward action to an inner desire, an inner change of heart. Jesus needs to become personal to us in ways far beyond imitation.

We need to desire, we need to strive to be more like Jesus!

For many people, that is conveyed by the simple question, “What would Jesus do?” These simple words convey their inner desires. For other people, the subtle nuances between these two phrases can take on such a powerful meaning. The simple question, “What can I do?” can convey a selfishness in the eyes of some people, while in the eyes of others, these words imply a total surrender to Jesus. They can indicate a me first type of mentality, or they can indicate that the person has reached the limits of their own understanding and are ready for complete surrender.

Perhaps the two questions go hand in hand. There are times when we need to ask ourselves what we can do that will make us more like Jesus. Then there are times when we need to ask Jesus what He would do in the situation in which we find ourselves.

No matter what you may ask, be prepared for an answer that may surprise you. It is essential to remember that Jesus did a wide variety of things including turning over the tables of the money changers. The one thing that was common in the life and actions of Jesus is that He obeyed God even to death. The next time that you face a situation in the world or in your life, remember that obedience to the Father was His only priority.

What would Jesus do?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you unswerving?

October 18, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
(Hebrews 10:23 (NIV))

Are you a person who likes to set goals in your life? Perhaps you have even gone so far as to develop a roadmap of the steps required to achieve your goals. Let’s face the facts. If you want something badly enough, you hold fast to the plan, you maintain a steady course, and you never take your eyes off of the prize!

If we are capable of doing this for a worldly treasure, why do we so often fail to do this very same thing for a treasure of eternal value? Why do we focus so much on this world when we claim to desire God’s will and His desires?

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:19-20 (NKJV))

Perhaps it is related to our human nature and our limited ability to comprehend what we do not see, after all, all of human history has been a struggle about desiring the things that we can see. When we desire what we cannot see, we are ridiculed. We are made fun of. We are told to grow up. We are told that if we can’t see it then it doesn’t exist!

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

Have you ever seen God? I’m not talking about seeing His presence manifested in His creation. I am talking about actually seeing God. Let’s face facts. We cannot even begin to fathom His greatness. We cannot even begin to understand His omnipotence and His omnipresence. We cannot even begin to comprehend the awesomeness of heaven, yet we all have hope in these things. We have faith to proclaim that Jesus is Lord. We have faith to hold fast to His Word, yet, so many of us falter. So many of us are not unswerving in our hope and our faith. Thankfully, when we are not capable of doing this, our Lord is faithful. We must remember that it is not by our power that we hold unswervingly to Him, but it is His faithfulness that holds unswervingly to us. When we place our hope in Jesus, we have an unswerving guide who will never leave us, and because He will never leave us, we can be held unswervingly in His love.

Are you unswerving?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are the reasons for what you seek?

October 16, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.
He replied, “When evening comes, you say, `It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, `Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.
(Matthew 16:1-4 (NIV))

Ouch !

I often wonder how Jesus would have answered if they had come honestly seeking the truth instead of seeking to test him. They were asking for a sign to prove to them who He is. They came in their doubt. How would Jesus have reacted if they had honestly came in faith?

Think about that and then think of the following story told in Matthew.

The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, `Go,’ and he goes; and that one,`Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, `Do this,’ and he does it.”
(Matthew 8:8-9 (NIV))

What was the difference in attitude of the people coming to Jesus? What was Jesus’ reaction in both cases?

Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.
(Matthew 8:13 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to think that the way that we approach Jesus actually makes a difference? Have you ever approached Jesus and then later realized that you were testing Him, and not approaching Him in faith?

The Pharisees and the Sadducees came to Jesus seeking a miracle so that they could test him and then decide whether to believe. The centurion came to Jesus seeking a miracle because he believed.

Jesus could see within their hearts. He knew the reasons behind their requests. It was, and still is, a matter of priorities and faith.

What are the reasons for what you seek?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you still have your “flavor”?

October 9, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
(Matthew 5:13 (NIV))

Jesus told us to be the salt of the earth. We are to season our lives and the lives of those around us with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let the “flavor” of God be presented through what we do and say.

Jesus also gave us a warning in this verse. We are not to let our “saltiness” (our witness to the world) become ineffective. Once salt has lost its ability to season, it is useless. God is telling us to keep what is from Him and not lose sight of Him, or we will lose our ability to “season” the world.

“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”
(Mark 9:50)

Salt is a strong seasoning, yet when added to food, it blends to make a good balance. We must have “salt” (strength in God) and rely on that strength to do what God wishes for us to do and balance it in our lives.

Salt adds flavor.

Do you still have your “flavor”?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What does the Lord do with you?

October 5, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.
(Psalms 145:20 (NIV))

It is said that your life is defined by your choices!

Think about that in context to the following and see if you don’t agree.

Who you date and who you marry.

If you go to school and where you go to school.

The things that you love to do and the things that you do to earn a living.

How you see the world and how the world sees you.

If you have children or if you don’t.

If you got that promotion or if you quit your job.

I could go on and on about the choices that we all face and how each choice impacts our life far beyond what we could possibly imagine at that moment. Think about the choices that you have made in your life. Your life, as it is, is a direct result of your choices with each choice taking you down a path that is completely different from the one if you had only chosen differently. With that in mind, it is often said that life is a journey. You never truly know where you will go in life until you are there. Some people try to control that journey by making choices that they feel are the ones that will lead to wealth and power only find themselves alone and miserable. Others will make choices in life based on friendship and love only to find themselves surrounded by people who love them deeply no matter what they may have of value in this world.

I realize that I have avoided the biggest choice that anyone can make in this life, and that is the choice you make about the Lord.

To put it simply, the choice you make about who you say He is will impact you for all eternity. He is waiting with open arms to embrace you and to show you such grace and mercy, but you have to accept it. You have to claim it. You have to love the truth and love the Lord. You have to proclaim it! If this is your choice, then the Lord will watch over you. Sadly, you must be prepared for horrible consequences if you do not, for we are told what will happen to all who do not profess that Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords and their personal Lord and Savior!

What does the Lord do with you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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