Spiritual blindness

April 1, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.
(Mark 10:32-34 (NIV))

I often wonder what the disciples thought when Jesus told them this.

Think about what your reaction would be if you had been privileged to have been told of God’s plans just a few days before they actually happened.

Would you have believed what you had been told? Would you think that the man you had faithfully followed had lost his mind? Would you even consider the fact that everything He had ever done or had ever said He would do had come true?

If you stop to think about it, we have been told exactly what God is doing. We have the prophets who reported in detail the very events that were about to unfold. We have the same prophets and Revelation to show us what will happen at some point in the future. Do we believe these words?

It is human nature to say that we believe, yet, when it comes down to the actual events unfolding before us, we tend to not be able to recognize them as they happen. Perhaps that is why the old newspaper reporter’s adage is appropriate. When writing a story, tell the people what you are going to tell them, tell them what you have to tell them, and then tell them what you told them.

How many times had Jesus told them of the events that would transpire, yet, they still did not believe it? Fortunately, even though we are blind to what is happening right before us, Jesus still loves us. He leads us through our blindness.

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

March 16, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
(Luke 4:18-21 (NIV))

For hundreds of years, the nation of Israel literally waited for the fulfillment of the prophecy foretold in these words. Yet, as it unfolded right before them, most did not recognize what they had been waiting for. They did not recognize it for they had become so wrapped up in their interpretation of how it would happen, that they did not see God’s interpretation as it unfolded.

If we had been alive at this time, would we have recognized the fulfillment of this prophecy or would we have been like the majority of people? Perhaps even more important is our perception and understanding of what is to come in our life time. We have the luxury of being able to look back through history and see the events as they unfolded. We can recognize the events in hind sight, but how will we be in recognizing the events that are unfolding right before our very eyes?

Jesus will return. He will come for His church when the time is right.

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, `I am the Christ, ‘ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
(Matthew 24:4-8 (NIV))

What scripture is being fulfilled today? What do we look for that is our interpretation of these events? We must focus on God’s Word so that we truly understand God’s interpretation and not our own.

I know that I don’t want to be one who watches things unfold and I miss out on what God is doing because I have my own interpretation. I want to know God’s plans and His heart so that I may see things through His eyes.

God is setting the world’s stage for some amazing events. I don’t want to misunderstand any of them.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Grace is not a license to sin

January 27, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
(Jude 1:4 (NIV))

Be very careful what teachings you follow. The enemy has followers who have even claimed to be followers of Jesus so that they can spread division and lies within the Body of Christ.

Test everything against the Word of God for His Word never changes. What was once considered sin is still a sin in the eyes of God. Contrary to what some may teach, God’s love and mercy does not mean that you can commit any sin and then be saved. Grace is a forgiveness of the sins that have been committed in the past. It is not a license to sin indefinitely.

When we accept the grace and mercy freely given to us through the sacrifice that Jesus made at the cross, we make a commitment to repent and turn away from our sin. That is the path that God intended. Nothing in the teaching of Jesus indicates that we can continue to sin and still follow Him.

Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:10-11 (NIV))

Don’t fall for the false teachings of those that are spoken of in Jude. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus. He did not suffer and die on the cross so that you can continue to sin. He died to free us from that sin.

God’s grace is a grace to escape from sin, and not a license to continue to sin.

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

January 25, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The LORD is my light and my salvation–
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life–
of whom shall I be afraid?
When evil men advance against me
to devour my flesh,
when my enemies and my foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then will I be confident.
(Psalms 27:1-3 (NIV))

When we are faced with troubles, we have two basic reactions that we can take – turn and run out of fear or stand firm in our faith and face them with God’s strength as our strength.

Which do you prefer?

It is human nature to fear and to have self pity. It is our human nature that we must overcome. It is our sinful nature that we must take control of, for it is our sin that causes us to fear. In our sin, we know that we are not worthy. We know that we do not deserve victory. We do not deserve salvation. In our sinful, human nature, we wallow in self pity. In our sinful nature, we lack true confidence, for we know what we deserve.

That can easily change through the salvation and grace that was freely given to us through Jesus Christ.

Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.
(2 Corinthians 3:4-5 (NIV))

We can stand confident when we profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. We no longer have the uncertainty or our worth. We know that God values us enough to have sent His only begotten Son to die for our transgressions. We are confident in our salvation. We are confident not in who we are, but in who’s we are. With that knowledge, we can face anything.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

It is so easy to be overcome with what the world has thrown at us. Don’t allow the weight of the world to steal your joy and your confidence. When everything in your life is looking down, look up!

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do your eyes shine?

January 13, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you.
(Luke 11:34-36 (NIV))

It is said that the eyes are the window to the soul. Some believe that if you stare into someone’s eyes, you can see right into their soul. Have you ever noticed that if someone stares into your eyes, it leaves you feeling very uncomfortable? Perhaps there is more to this saying than we care to admit.

If the eyes are the lamp of your body and the window to our soul, then perhaps we should strongly consider that a window works in both directions. It allows the passage of light in and out. If a window is in a dark house and it is light outside, then the light is allowed into the dark house. If this same window is in a house that is light inside and night has surrounded it in darkness, the window allows light from inside to shine outward.

Our light must be strong. It must be stronger than the darkness, or the darkness will overcome the light. Jesus said that He was the Light of the world. If we have Jesus within us and allow His Light to shine through us, then His Light will shine through our eyes and into the darkness of the world. If we do not have the Light of Jesus within us, then the darkness has already overcome us, we just do not know it, yet.

Do your eyes outwardly shine the Light of Jesus or do they only reflect the darkness of the world?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do your enemies see Jesus in you?

November 8, 2010

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.
Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever.
(Psalms 23:1-6 (NIV))

David was probably one of the most prolific writers of all times. By today’s standards, he would have been considered a “self-made man,” yet, he focused on God in all that he wrote about. He eagerly embraced all that God had graciously bestowed upon him and gave thanks at all times for what God had done for him. It is true that David strayed, but when he was confronted with this fact, he realized his mistakes and repented. Psalm 23 speaks of the grace and mercy that God has bestowed upon David, and will bestow on anyone if they only seek after God. God will not allow those who earnestly seek Him to follow the paths of unrighteousness or to be troubled by enemies. We will still have troubles, but God is our assurance of victory through the troubles.

David wrote that God would prepare a table before him in the presence of his enemies. He did not say that God would destroy the enemies. It is God’s Will that none should perish. Perhaps the reason that you still have enemies is this fact. God is using you to be an example of His grace and mercy to those who hate you.

How do you react to your enemies? Do they see Jesus in you and in your actions?

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

November 1, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
(Revelation 3:5 (NKJV))

Do you ever feel like you will never overcome the weight of this world?

What is it that weighs you down? Is it debt? Addiction? Lust? Anxiety? Loneliness? The weight that the world burdens us with can not only take its toll on us emotionally, but it can drain us physically and spiritually as well. When you are drained physically, you start to drag and soon you find yourself in the dirt trying to pull yourself up. All too soon, you become comfortable in the dirt and eventually you don’t even realize that you are there. The next thing that the world throws at you drags you down even further. Soon you are filthy beyond recognition.

The weight of spiritual matters is just the same. When was the last time that you felt worthy? When was the last time that you did something and hoped that nobody would ever know?

God knows!

The good news is that He also knows that we cannot overcome the weight of the sin of this world on our own. He knew that we would need a Savior to bear the weight of our sins for us. Just what does that mean? It means that we can overcome, not through our own ability, but through the ability of Him who has overcome sin. All we have to do to overcome is to accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior and then keep our eyes focused on Jesus.

What color will your garments be?

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