The enemy even tried to trick Jesus!

August 12, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”
“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator `made them male and female,’ and said, `For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ ? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”
(Matthew 19:3-6 (NIV))

Isn’t it sad how creation tries to take everything that God has created and completely turn it upside down? Ever since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden, the enemy has been planting deceptions and lies into the minds of people to get them to step away from what God desires. The enemy, as witnessed by the above passage, has deceived people who claim to follow God in order to trip up other people. The enemy even tried to do that very same thing with Jesus.

I never realized the level of arrogance that satan has until I thought about this passage with the realization that he is the one who planted the idea for this question into their minds. He knew who Jesus was, yet he had the audacity to try to trick Jesus with His own Word.

We are up against a very deceitful, vengeful and arrogant persona, but we, as the Body of Christ, must never forget that Jesus has defeated satan. All that needs to happen is for satan to realize it. His days are numbered! He is like a wounded animal who is more dangerous because of the wound.

We must arm ourselves and be prepared to face the enemy at any time. We must stand firm in God’s Word and be prepared to use God’s Word to remind satan of his place.

I find it interesting that the concept of man and wife is what the enemy used to try and trick Jesus when He walked the earth. Satan never learns. He is using the very same concept to try and trick the followers of Jesus today.

Stand firm in the knowledge that Jesus has defeated the enemy!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you desire the things of God or the things of man?

January 12, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But give what is inside the dish to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.

“Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.

“Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.
(Luke 11:39-43 (NIV))

What do you love?

Do you long for the adulation of man? Do you do all within your power to make sure that the things you do are seen by man?

Think about these last two questions.

What does man see?

What does God see?

All too often, when we try to look good in the eyes of man, we only present a false facade. It is this facade that we use to hide the filth that is inside of us. What happens when this false facade springs a leak? What happens when what is truly on the inside becomes visible to those on the outside? It is this that causes fear in people. They are afraid that others will find out how they truly are.

God sees us from the inside. He knows our hearts. He knows our thoughts. If we clean up the inside, we don’t have to be afraid of what will show when we allow it to be seen. Also, when the inside is clean, the outside is easier to clean. We spend less time worrying about what others will find out about us and we spend more time focused on God.

Do you desire the things of God or the things of man?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you teach what Jesus commanded or do you teach the world’s agenda?

November 18, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV))

With all of the talk about embracing Islam, we have to remember the words that Jesus spoke. He did not tell us to embrace what is good about what others believe and make it a part of what He has taught us. He told us to baptize them and to teach them to follow Him.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

Unless something confirms Jesus as the only begotten Son of God, then it is a false religion no matter how much humanity wants to embrace it.

He did not tell us to be like the Sadducees. They were more concerned with social issues and politics than they were about religion. Too many of our churches today preach social issues and do not focus on the saving grace that is available through Jesus. Jesus did not command us to do this. He commanded us to baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. He also taught us to teach people to obey everything that He taught. Jesus often criticized the Sadducees because they ignored God and focused on social and political issues.

He did not tell us to be like the Pharisees. They were more focused on God’s Word, yet they placed equal authority on human tradition and oral histories. Jesus often found fault with them.

Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”
Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:

“‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules.’”
(Matthew 15:1-9 (NIV))

What have we been told about embracing other gods? What have we been told about intermingling? What have we been told about embracing the world?

and after they have been destroyed before you, be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods, saying, “How do these nations serve their gods? We will do the same.” You must not worship the Lord your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the Lord hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods.
(Deuteronomy 12:29-31 NIV))

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
(Romans 12:1-2 (NIV))

Too many people who call themselves Christians have lost site of what we are called to do. Too many embrace the world and water down what Jesus came into this world to accomplish. Jesus did not die on the cross so that we can embrace other religions and gods!

“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 underfoot.
(Matthew 5:13 (NIV))

Jesus calls us to be the salt and light to the world, yet we allow the world to trample all over us! Too many so called members of the Body of Christ are preaching and teaching things that are contrary to what we have been commanded.

Do you teach what Jesus commanded or do you teach the world’s agenda?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Be on your guard against false teaching!

August 21, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
(Matthew 16:6 (NIV))

The Pharisees and the Sadducees were the two different schools of thought about the interpretation of the scriptures. It is interesting that neither group had been able to interpret the scriptures the way that they should. They had introduced different teachings that had their origins from man and these teachings had spread through the temple and the nation like yeast through bread.

Jesus warned his disciples to watch out for these teachings and to not allow them to enter into their lives again. It is so easy to replace God’s Word with human interpretation of it. Humanity has been taking God’s Word and twisting it for their own reasons for as long as history has been recorded. The sad part is that we can all fall prey to this. Even those who proclaim to desire to know God’s Word are susceptible to twisting it for their own selfish desires. Take a long look at your life in faith. Has there ever been a person or group of people that you know who have twisted God’s Word? Now comes the hardest question of all. Have you been guilty of this yourself?

I hate to say this, but I would venture to say that all of us have done that at one point or another. We are sinful and selfish in nature. Even though we claim grace through the blood of Jesus, we are not instantly perfect. We are, however, instantly forgiven. We are being made perfect.

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
(2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV))

Even as we are being transformed into His likeness, we can also stumble and fail because of false teaching. We must be on our guard and test what we hear and see against God’s Word. We must not allow anything to make us falter in our course. We must not fall for the false teachings of today’s Pharisees and Sadducees.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have we become modern Pharisees?

August 20, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
(1 Timothy 1:15-17 (NIV))

Paul was probably the worst person in the eyes of the church before his Damascus Road experience. Even afterwards, many believers did not trust him or want to associate with him.

Does this sound familiar? How many of us today do not want to accept people whom we consider to be worse than ourselves? We claim to want sinners to turn from their sin and to turn to God, yet, if they try to do it in our “church,” we feel uneasy and do not want them to be a part of us. This is not Godly.

We never know what God has in mind for those whom He has called out of their sin through Jesus Christ. God may have a plan for those whom we do not want, and through our un-acceptance of these people, we are actually standing in God’s way. When we stand before God, do we want to have to answer the question asking us why we did not accept someone whom God has called? I know that I don’t.

People need to realize that all of us are sinners, and in the eyes of God, no sin is greater than another, for all sin leads to death. It is our human nature that has labeled some sins more sinful than others. If we fall into this way of thinking, then we have become modern Pharisees in the eyes of God.

Before you dismiss this, remember how Jesus treated the Pharisees of His day!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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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Do you feel that you are too sinful to receive grace?

October 18, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, `Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
(Luke 15:1-7 (NIV))

Some people believe that they have done so many terrible things in their life that there is no way that God could forgive them. They feel that God’s grace is for everyone but them.

Have you ever felt that way?

I think that it is human nature to fall prey to the lies of the enemy. He tells us that we are so vile a sinner that God has abandoned us. If we hear it often enough, we start to believe it. Isn’t human nature a sad thing sometimes? Repetition can change the minds of many people and make them believe the worst of lies.

Even though we may feel that we are too bad for grace, God never feels that way. God reached out to all sinners through His Son, Jesus, so that none should perish. All of heaven rejoices when a soul that is close to eternal separation from God returns to the Father. This passage should tell people that they are not too far removed from God’s grace. All that has to be done is to turn toward God and He will meet you with open arms and rejoicing. Don’t let the enemy tell you any different.

Rejoice in your salvation! Rejoice in the saving grace as it reaches others. Join all of heaven in rejoicing when a fellow sinner returns to God.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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