Are you a walking contradiction?

August 21, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?
He whose walk is blameless
and who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from his heart
and has no slander on his tongue,
who does his neighbor no wrong
and casts no slur on his fellowman,
who despises a vile man
but honors those who fear the LORD,
who keeps his oath
even when it hurts,
who lends his money without usury
and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things
will never be shaken.
(Psalms 15:1-5 (NIV))

If these do not offer great insight into how we should live, then I don’t know what does. These verses tell us exactly how we should live each and every day. In other words, we should treat each other as we would want to be treated. We should love each other as we would want to be loved. We should turn our eyes toward the things that are of God and turn away from things of this world. We should read and study God’s Word so that we may be well prepared to react in a righteous manner.

And …

We should pray. We should pray for guidance. We should pray for discernment. We should pray for understanding. We should pray for wisdom. We should simply pray that we may lead our lives so that they are an example of God’s grace and mercy in all that we do. Perhaps St. Francis of Assisi stated it best when he said:

Preach always. When necessary, use words.
(St. Francis of Assisi)

Our lives are very visible signs of what we truly believe in. If we profess a faith yet do things that are opposite of those spoken of in the passage from Psalms, we preach something different with our actions than we do with our mouths. We send out contradictory messages. How can the world believe what we say when we do otherwise?

Are you a walking contradiction in the eyes of the world and of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Today’s church needs to embrace the power of prayer!

June 1, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
(James 5:16 (NIV))

The early church knew the power of prayer. The apostles had watched Jesus pray and had seen the results of His prayers. They had prayed and seen the results of their prayers. They had seen first-hand what prayer can do. They were used to confessing one to another and praying for each other. When they lifted each other up in prayer, God gave them strength and increased their faith.

In today’s society, we have all but stopped this practice. Our hectic life-styles have become a burden. We seldom meet with each other. When we do, it appears that most of us put on a false front and say that everything is alright, while inside we are hurting. We need to return to the practice that James spoke of. We need to have a group of believers that we can turn to on a weekly or a daily basis. This group is our accountability group. They are there to listen and encourage, and most of all, pray for each other. When we meet together in this manner to fulfill God’s will for our lives, our prayers will be heard. A righteous man is one who seeks the will of God. If we seek the will of God, then God will hear.

Are your prayers powerful and effective or are they just quick and meaningless “hellos”?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God’s Word is greater than what society says!

March 16, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
(1 Timothy 1:8-11 (NIV))

Does a righteous person need the law?

If you seek after God’s heart, then His Laws will be part of your life. You will find yourself meditating on His Word and walking in His Word because you have a desire to do what is right in the eyes of God.

Does a sinful person need the law?

Far too many people need laws to tell them what not to do. They need a law telling them not to murder. They need a law telling them not to steal. They need laws telling them what is not good in the eyes of God.

What is the difference between these two groups of people? Why do some people accept God’s plan and His Laws while others rebel against God’s plan and His Laws? We may never know the exact reason, but I know that we can trace the root cause back to the fall from grace.

Did you notice that what was listed in the passage was described as contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel?

Did you notice anything listed that hit too close to home? Are any of these your own little pet sin, a sin that is keeping you from God’s grace because it does not conform to what Jesus taught?

Did you notice anything in this passage that is contrary to what many in the church today believe? The church has allowed the world to change it. We are failing in our mission. We are to be the salt and the light. We are not to allow the world to change God’s Word and the church!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you still making sacrifices to try to achieve righteousness?

June 12, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming–not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
(Hebrews 10:1-4 (NIV))

Law is only a reminder of what we should be like. It cannot force us to be that way. It is only a mirror of what we should be, not what we are.

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
(1 Corinthians 13:12(NIV))

Perhaps it is this dark, poor reflection that makes us think we need to make sacrifices in order to be good enough, to be righteous before God. After all, it is human nature to try to achieve things on our own. We try in our abilities to bridge the chasm that separates us from God while we ignore the bridge that He has built for us. The law keeps us from crossing that chasm. Perhaps we should consider this “bridge” that God has provided and the roadsigns that God has placed for us as the good things that are coming and our attempts at reaching Him as the sacrifices we feel we must make.

Without Jesus, we are kept in the dark of the shadows. With Jesus, we are free to walk in the light and to bridge the chasm between us and God.

Are you still making sacrifices to try to achieve righteousness?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your heart like?

September 27, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
the righteous run to it and are safe.
The wealth of the rich is their fortified city;
they imagine it an unscalable wall.
Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud,
but humility comes before honor.
(Proverbs 18:10-12 (NIV))

All throughout history, man’s pride has lead countless people to destruction, even when they had a way to “escape” the destruction. The Bible is full of stories of people who have accepted the “strong tower” that God has offered, even when they were not the perfect people that they should have been.

David is a good example. He was far from perfect in all that he did, yet because he humbled himself before God, he had a place to run to under the grace of God. David was not a proud person, yet, due to his earthly position and accomplishments, he could have easily become proud and strayed from God’s own heart. David, in all of his earthly frailties, kept his eyes on God and when he did stray, he humbled himself to the point of seeking forgiveness from God. Many times, this included a public display that today would be considered demeaning. Yet, even though he was a king, he humbled himself to the point of a slave.

What is your heart like? Is it like David’s.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Resist the world and keep your eyes on the eternal

June 6, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
(1 Peter 5:6-11 (NIV))

Remember that the world says to exalt yourselves and that the world does the opposite of what God would do, for it is ruled by Satan. Therefore, we must do opposite of what the world would do, for it is Godly and righteous.

We must not let the enemy sneak up on us, for he is cunning and crafty and the father of all lies. We must keep our eyes focused on God and Jesus and do the will of the Father in all that we do. We are called to become like Christ.

Jesus resisted the temptations of the world in the desert. Satan offered Him everything that is considered good in the eyes of the world, yet Jesus kept His eyes on God and rebuked Satan. Now, Jesus sits at the right hand of God the Father interceding for us. If He had accepted Satan’s offer, His glory would have come on this earth and not in heaven. We would not have a Savior, and we would not have a Redeemer.

Resist the world and keep your eyes on the eternal.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God, help me. I don’t know what to do.

October 25, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
(James 5:16b (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but there are many times that I just don’t feel effective. I simply feel overwhelmed, overpowered and overshadowed by the things in my life. These are the things that have a tendency to make us grown in agony because we simply have no other response that we can bring forth. I simply utter a few simple words and they always help me through whatever I am facing.

“God, help me. I don’t know what to do.”

Have you ever uttered these or similar words? I often wonder just how many people do say things likes this on a daily basis. I believe that everyone utters words like this at some point in their lives, whether they believe in God or not. I firmly believe that those who are strong enough in their faith to admit that we need God each and every day are the ones who will usher up simple prayers like this on a daily basis. We might even find ourselves saying them all throughout the day.

Perhaps this is what makes someone righteous in the eyes of God. We turn to Him daily because we cannot make it without Him. Contrary to what the world may say, I do not see this as a weakness. I see this as a strength that is firmly rooted in a hope and a faith that this world does not understand. When you see acts of terrorism, do you rejoice in what the world is doing or do you offer up a prayer to God? When you see wars and rumors of wars, do you find comfort in the circumstances or do you go to God and ask for peace? When you see injustice, do you think that this is how it should be or do you ask God for the strength to help you change it? When you see the lost, do you turn up your nose and think that they deserve what they get, or do you pray that God will touch them through you?

These types of prayers do not take long, but they show your heart. It shows a desire for the things that God calls righteous. If you seek the things that God calls righteous, then it stands to reason that God will call you righteous. It is when you pray for God’s Will that you find your prayers become powerful and effective, even when you do not feel powerful and effective.

Do you feel effective? Keep praying those short prayers asking for God’s help. He will show you His Will and then you will be effective.

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