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
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What are your motives for giving?

June 2, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable–
how much more so when brought with evil intent!
(Proverbs 21:27 (NIV))

Some give so that others will know that they gave. Others will give so that they can position themselves to receive something in return. Others give so that they will appear to look better than those around them. Others give simply because they desire to give.

I suppose that giving could almost run parallel with prayer, for each can have motives much deeper than appearances.

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))

When you give, do so freely. Do not expect anything in return. Do not think that you can “buy” favors from God. Do not give so that you appear to be righteous in the eyes of others. Give freely and completely of yourself no matter who knows or who does not know that you give.

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
(Matthew 6:6(NIV))

What are your motives for giving?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you do what is right and good in the eyes of God?

January 7, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“”Be just and fair to all,” says the LORD. “Do what is right and good . . . ” ”
(Isaiah 56:1 (NLT))

In today’s society, many people claim to do this, but there is a catch! They are only concerned about doing what is right if it benefits them. Too many people do not consider the good of other people above their own needs.

Think back throughout history.

What events and what people stand out as having the biggest impact in history?

There are two extremes to this answer. Either they were extremely egotistical and selfish and wanted to dominate the world, or they were selfless and extremely giving of themselves and impacted the lives of other people in a positive way. The world has a tendency to remember the extremes. It is easy to see where the extremes stand in perspective. What is difficult to see is where the middle ground, or lukewarm people stand. They can be easily swayed one way or another, but never really make a commitment to do what is truly right and good. They never commit to follow God. They are indecisive.

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
(Revelation 3:15-16 (NIV))

Do you do what is right and good in the eyes of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting

September 24, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“This is the inscription that was written:
MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN

“This is what these words mean:

Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.

Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.

Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”
(Daniel 5:25 (NIV))

I have wrestled with this passage for a few days. I feel that I am being led to use this passage, yet, at the same time, I have this feeling in my stomach that this is going to make some people angry.

Here goes!

Think about the words “You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.”

Who is doing the weighing? Who is making the decision that we could be found wanting? This is not the only place that we are given a stern message like this.

“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))

Just how can someone be found wanting in the eyes of God?

I think that we see a glimpse of this in the above passage from Matthew.

Jesus warned against those who claimed the power of His name, but did not have a personal relationship with Him. If we have that personal relationship with Jesus, our hearts will seek after what is on His heart. We will seek to do His will. We will be in step with what He is calling us to do.

We can get out of step easily. We can follow false teachings. We can accept only part of Jesus, the part that most people like to think about – Savior. If we do not accept Jesus as both Lord and Savior, then we are refusing to listen and to follow. In other words, we will not know Him, and He will not know us!

We will be evildoers in His sight!

What happens when many get out of step with God?

Is it possible for a nation to get out of step with God?

The story from Daniel shows us that it is possible. They were shown the handwriting on the wall.

I often wonder what things we will be asked about when we stand before God. I know that we will be asked about our personal sins.

When I say to a wicked man, `You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself.
(Ezekiel 3:18-19 (NIV))

Could we be found wanting because we did not take action to intervene for others, out nation and our world?

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

September 17, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, `Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, `Raca, ‘ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, `You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
(Matthew 5:21-22 (NIV))

What is within your heart is what you must answer for. Jesus spoke of this principle many times during His time on this earth. It is not what is visible on the outside, but, rather, what is the intention on the inside. This ranges from anger to adultery to any other aspect of your life that is different on the inside and the outside. Remember that God sees the heart and knows your true intentions. You cannot keep anything from God.

You have heard that it was said, `Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
(Matthew 5:27-28(NIV))

Nothing outside a man can make him `unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him `unclean.’
(Mark 7:15(NIV))

Carefully consider your true, inner motives and intentions when dealing with people. How would Jesus classify your actions? Would your motives be clean or would you be in danger of the fire of hell?

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

April 5, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

Do you consider yourself to be politically correct?

I know that those words bring many different thoughts to light, but in the way that our society would have you believe, do you fit that definition? Do you even want to fit that definition?

Think about that in relation to the things that Jesus did while He walked among us.

Was Jesus politically correct when he ate with tax collectors? Was He politically correct when He performed the miracles that we all know? Was He politically correct in His dealings with the religious authority? Was He politically correct when He overturned the tables of the money changers in the Temple? I realize that the political climate was different then from now, but the same concept applies.

Did Jesus say that we must embrace each other’s sins because they are ok, or did He say that we must stop sinning? Why do so many people today make the false claim that Jesus did not teach that certain sins are wrong?

To use a saying that became popular a few years ago, let’s honestly think about “What would Jesus do?”

How would Jesus react to those who wish to modify His teachings in order to support their own agenda? How would Jesus react to people embracing sin because we are too worried about what people may think if we confront the sin?

Don’t get me wrong. We are to love the sinner, but hate the sin!

That does not mean to sit back and accept the sin because it is their right to sin. Think about this in relation the story of the woman caught in adultery. Did He tell her that it was ok to do what she was doing, or did He tell her to go and sin no more?

I honestly do not think that Jesus would ever be labeled politically correct.

How about you?

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

March 8, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The angel of the LORD also said to her:
“You are now with child
and you will have a son.
You shall name him Ishmael,
for the LORD has heard of your misery.
He will be a wild donkey of a man;
his hand will be against everyone
and everyone’s hand against him,
and he will live in hostility
toward all his brothers.”
(Genesis 16:11-12 (NIV))

Abraham was a great man of God, yet, for all of his faith, he was not always patient to let God do what He had promised.

When Sarah did not bear any children, she gave Hagar to bear children for her. This caused a tremendous envy and jealousy that is still being played out to this day. The son born to Abraham by Hagar and his descendents have lived in hostility to their brothers ever since. The Arab nations and Israel claim the same roots in Abraham, yet, the conflict continues.

Consider that the custom was and is for the first-born to receive the blessing. According to the custom of man, that should have been Ishmael, yet, according to the ways of God, Isaac received the blessing and Ishmael was forced to flee with his mother. Perhaps if Sarah had not been so impatient with God, the events throughout history and especially the recent events in this world would never have happened.

Consider the fact that every time man tries to rush God or to second-guess Him, disaster follows. It happened with Adam and Eve. It happened with Abraham and Sarah. Is it happening in your life?

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