What are your motives?

June 24, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
(1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NIV))

The Bible states that a person can not gain access to heaven through good works. All of the things that are described here are useless if your heart is not right.

Take a look at the Pharisees. They did everything by the “book” in the eyes of the nation of Israel. To others, it looked like they did everything right. Yet, God knew their hearts. They did not do things out of love, but, rather out of ego and pride so that they could say that they were better than others. Their hearts did not reflect their actions. They were doing the right things for all the wrong reasons.

Sometimes I think that it is possible to do the wrong things for the right reasons. In our fallen state of humanity, we are not perfect. If we earnestly seek after God’s own heart and do things out of OUR love, we are bound to make mistakes. Even with the Holy Spirit guiding us, we will lapse into thinking that we know what is best and do what we think out of “love” or concern for others.

Even if we have love, we must not allow our own hearts to guide us. We must look to the Father who is perfect in Will and in Love. If we continually look to God for guidance, then we have placed our hearts in the hands of the Father who will teach us to do what is best in His site and provide us the proper motives for all that we do.

What are your motives?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery

Advertisements

Do you understand God?

May 14, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.
(Ecclesiastes 11:5 (NIV))

Does this still apply today?

Science can track the winds and predict where they will strike. Doctors know what happens each week as a baby grows in its mother’s womb. We have become very aware of our surroundings and as a result, we seem to think that God is not so difficult to understand if He exists at all.

Personally, it appears to me that the more we increase our understanding of these things, the more we should be in awe of how they actually work. We should recognize that they are far too complex to be mere accidents. They are designed.

Do we truly know about these things, or are we blinded to the truth by the limited knowledge that we have gained? We feel that we are in control, but nothing could be further from the truth. We only understand a very limited piece of God’s creation. As a result, I feel that even though our knowledge is increasing, we still only possess a fractional amount of knowledge.

Humanity, in our limited knowledge, is no where near understanding God’s creation, or God Himself. Even if we did understand it all, we should stand in awe of the complexity of God’s creation while enjoying the simplicity of a sunrise or the simplicity of a summer day. God, just like His creation, is both complex and simple.

The complexity of God calls us to admire Him and to worship Him for the wonderful things that He has done. The simplicity of God calls us to repentance, for one simple fact matters the most.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Understanding God is complex in the eyes of the world, but through the eyes of faith, it is simple.

I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.
(Luke 18:17 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


God’s NOT Dead!

April 3, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily. But with wise and knowledgeable leaders, there is stability.
(Proverbs 28:2 (NLT))

Moral rot within a nation!

Stability?

I am sure that each of us have our own opinions of these two simple statements. I am also sure that each of us would like to see things differently. As the Body of Christ. we should all long for righteousness. We should all long for peace and stability.

Are we so far removed from God’s law that we, as a nation, cannot turn from our moral rot? Can we find the righteousness that we long for? Can we, as the Body of Christ, do anything?

I honestly pray that this is able to be turned. I honestly pray that we seek after righteousness in all that we do. According to the media, and the normal entertainment venues, as well as many in the government, we are not a nation that seeks after God’s own heart.

I believe.

No, I know that there is a very strong voice for righteousness still alive in this country. When we see televisions shows such as Duck Dynasty, which is openly Christian, in the top of the ratings, there is hope. When we see a movie that no one thought would draw an audience continually break attendance records and continually add more theaters, then we as the Body of Christ are loudly proclaiming that God’s NOT Dead!

We have to take a stand for what is right in the eyes of God. We must seek after righteousness and not give in to the world.

We must continually seek God in all that we do.

Our nation, and the world, is not lost. God loves impossible odds!

Think about that for a moment.

What are the odds that the son of a carpenter would fulfill all of the prophesies? What are the odds that a person could be violently killed and in three days be raised from the dead? What are the odds that twelve men of simple birth could proclaim the Gospel in such a way that two thousands years later it is still impacting the lives of people and bringing salvation?

We don’t know what the future holds. We do know that Jesus will return. We do know that many of the signs are indicating that this is very close. We also know that God is not slow in keeping His promises. He does not wish any to perish.

Still, in the world today, we have extreme moral rot. We do not have stability. We do not have righteousness in our society. That does not mean that you cannot have an impact on one person and that one person will have an impact on another person, and so on.

Where there is life, there is hope. Where there is hope, faith matures. When faith matures, we see wonderful things unfold.

God’s NOT Dead!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


God looks at the heart!

March 25, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.”
(Luke 11:52 (NIV))

What makes a person an expert?

An expert is someone who has skill or knowledge in an area. In other words, they study or practice a subject until they can slice it and dice it in ways that were probably never intended to happen.

Think about this for a moment and then think about what it means to follow the letter of the law.

Following the letter of the law means that you are more concerned with being legalistic and doing what the law says to do to the very last detail. You become more concerned with following the checklist of things that you think the law asks of you to the point that you don’t really understand what the law was created to do.

What do you think of speed limits?

What is the purpose of a speed limit? What is the intent?

First and foremost, the speed laws were intended to provide a level of safety to those who are traveling and to those whom they encounter. As a typical driver, I can honestly say that the last thing on my mind is the intent of these laws when I look in my rearview mirror and see a police car. My first response is one that everyone has. Make sure that I am not doing something wrong because I don’t want a ticket.

What does this have to do with the intent of the speed laws?

Now, think about the spiritual laws that we have been given. Think about the laws that God has given us through His Word. We must be very careful not to end up trying to obey the letter of the law and miss out on the intent of the law.

God gave us life. He gave us His Word and His Laws. He also gave us grace. He knew that we are prone to focus on the wrong things. He knew that what was the most important thing to understand would be relegated to a minor status once we got our hands upon it.

How many times have you seen someone miss out on a blessing because they were focusing on the wrong things. Don’t get bogged down in the details to such a point that you don’t understand the intent.

God intends for us to have abundant life through the grace offered at the cross. Don’t lose sight of the gift because you are trying to understand the details.

God looks at the heart!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Are we truly showing the love of God?

July 19, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
(1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NIV))

This is a lesson that is very hard to learn. It is a lesson that I am still learning.

We can know what God’s Word says in all circumstances. We can have the faith to know that Jesus is God’s only begotten Son. We can have the faith to stand firm in the face of sin. We can love those whom we deal with on a daily basis.

And . . .

We can be so weak in our faith that we cross the street to avoid someone in need!

Is this showing the love of God? Why do we often turn our backs on someone in need when God didn’t turn His back on our need? Just because someone doesn’t look like us or have the same background as us is no reason for us to abandon the love that Jesus has taught to us. We are to preach the gospel. We are to share the good news. We are to share out of love. We are to love out of faith.

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
(1 John 4:19-21 (NIV))

We are to share God’s love with all we meet, and not just the ones we already know.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Where is the philosopher of this age?

April 12, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.
(1 Corinthians 1:20-25 (NIV))

I find it sadly interesting that we are seeing this passage come to reflect our world more and more. The wise man, the scholar and the philosopher all look upon the things of God as foolishness. In all reality, humanity has come to the point where we feel that we can do it all. We can solve all of the world’s problems if we just get the smartest people to work on them.

Think about that for a moment.

I have heard it said that our university system allows a person to learn more and more about less and less. In other words, someone can focus so much on the smallest details and know everything about these small details, that they don’t see the big picture. We may be gaining knowledge, but we are not gaining wisdom. I am sure that we can all think of someone who is a specialist in a certain field and can tell you minute details about things, but can they carry on an intelligent conversation about anything else?

We think that understanding the smallest details will make us wise. We can look at the stars and understand that they are thousands of light years away, but do we stop and recognize the majesty and the awe that has been spread out before us?

God has given us a tremendous gift with the physical world. He has also given us a priceless gift of salvation through His Son, Jesus. Knowledge is looking at these gifts and trying to dissect them. Wisdom is knowing that dissecting them will make you miss the gifts themselves.

We need to understand. We need to seek wisdom. We need to seek knowledge. There used to be a time when an education was intended to make you well-rounded in many areas. Now, people tend to look upon it as a way to become a know-it-all about something very small.

How does God fit into this picture?

In today’s society, we are so focused on other things that we miss the gifts that He has given to us. It has come to the point that we are being taught “knowledge” that has nothing to do with wisdom.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Just what is real knowledge?

April 9, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;
(Philippians 1:9-10 (NIV))

Just what is real knowledge?

If you follow the media and the larger universities, many are claiming that what was once called wisdom is no longer true. They claim that we have become educated and the old wisdom and knowledge is no longer relevant. They claim that we, as humans, can apply our knowledge and solve any problem.

Are you laughing as hard as I am at this thought?

Human knowledge has its limitations. It has its errors in judgment and reasoning. It is flawed and no matter how much humanity claims that it can perfect human knowledge, there will always be circumstances that push human ability to understand, reason and to respond.

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:16 (NIV))

With this truth before us, there is only one true knowledge. There is only one real knowledge. God is good and that Jesus Christ is His only begotten Son.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
(John 1:1-5 (NIV))

When you gain knowledge, it is said that you are enlightened. Jesus is the light. Knowing Jesus and following Jesus will not result in senseless results of rash decisions based on false knowledge. Jesus will walk with you in all that you do. He will be with you. The knowledge of the Holy Trinity will be with you.

Do you know the real knowledge that God desires for you to know?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


%d bloggers like this: