Are you a viper?

June 26, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.
(Matthew 12:34 (NIV))

Isn’t it interesting that Jesus called these people a brood of vipers. Carefully consider what a viper is and then carefully consider what deceived Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Was Jesus comparing these people and their actions to the actions that deceived humanity and lead us into sin?

Satan was called a serpent in the Garden of Eden. A serpent is simply a snake, however, a viper is a deadly snake.

Was Jesus saying that the words and actions of this group of people were more deadly than those that originally lead humanity into sin? Let’s take a serious look at this concept. Satan introduced sin into the world by saying that man could be equal to God. How can the creation be equal to the Creator? These words and actions that lead to this deception have sentenced every person who has ever lived to live in sin and to suffer for it. In retrospect, I can see how a serpent fits.

Now, consider the people that Jesus was speaking to. He came into the world to bring grace, mercy and salvation from our sin. The people that He was speaking to were speaking what they, in their sin, wanted to be true. They spoke words that were intended to turn people away from the idea that there was a way to attain salvation. Now, consider what is worse, to lead someone into sin or to mislead someone by saying that they cannot escape from their sin. The first trapped us. The second attempts to keep us in the trap that leads to death. We know better than to be lured into staying in the trap of sin, for Jesus paid the price that allowed us to escape from the sin that has shrouded our lives.

Have you done anything that would be considered an act of a viper? Have you done anything that would cause someone to stay in their sin?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we guilty of following these ideas?

March 28, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith. Grace be with you all.
(1 Timothy 6:20`-21 (NIV))

Just what are the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge?

Are we guilty of following these ideas?

How can we recognize these ideas that are falsely called knowledge?

I don’t often look at the Amplified Bible, but the added notes and words make a lot of sense.

O Timothy, guard and keep the deposit entrusted [to you]! Turn away from the irreverent babble and godless chatter, with the vain and empty and worldly phrases, and the subtleties and the contradictions in what is falsely called knowledge and spiritual illumination. [For] by making such profession some have erred (missed the mark) as regards the faith. Grace (divine favor and blessing) be with you all! Amen (so be it). (1 Timothy 6:20, 21 AMP)

Do you see the wording used in this version?

Subtleties and contradictions are the key issues. Satan is the father of lies. What better lie to tell than one that sound almost true. A lie that has just enough wrong that it is not blatant. It is not obvious. Soon, everyone thinks the subtle lie is the truth, and then it is time for the enemy to introduce another subtle lie that contradicts God’s word.

If we do not stay in God’s Word, then we will not recognize the subtleties and the contradictions. We will accept the ideas that are falsely called knowledge.

Test everything to make sure that it is one hundred percent accurate with respect to God’s Word. We must realize that if it is one percent wrong, then it is totally wrong. God does not change. He does not place subtleties and contradictions within His Word to try and trick us. If something does not completely go along with God’s Word, then it is not God’s Word.

Take John 3:16 as an example.

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))

It would be so easy to change the meaning of this in numerous ways that would still sound almost right.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever knows his name shall not perish but have eternal life.

Close, but no cigar!

Test everything!

God’s Word does not change. We must know it so that we can be prepared to recognize the false knowledge.

I want you to think about this. Is there something that has crept into the church that is close to be God’s Word, but yet is wrong enough to be false knowledge? Are we strong enough in our understanding of true knowledge to recognize false knowledge? Do we know God’s Word well enough to know when lies are being introduced?

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

February 13, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (KJV))

Is that your desire? Do you wish for God to create a clean heart within you? Do you long for the things that are of God, or do you only pay “lip service” to God and do whatever you want to the rest of the time.

Acknowledging God does not make you righteous. Acknowledging that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God does not make you a Christian. Satan and his legions acknowledge both of these facts, yet, they continue to do whatever they desire in their sinful, arrogant and prideful hearts. You could even say that they have dirty hearts, for they do exactly opposite of what God desires. Their spirits are evil and bad.

Take a look at yourself. Do you follow after God in all things? Do you desire what God desires? What is the condition of your heart and spirit?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Stay firmly rooted in God’s Word

January 16, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.
(Revelation 13:16-17 (NIV))

Control . . . and on a global scale.

In order for this to happen, several things must occur. The most important one with respect to this prophecy being able to happen is the adoption of a global currency or a global banking system. It is so much easier to control things when everyone is forced to use the very same thing. Something was pointed out to me that made me stop in my tracks. It sent chills up my spine. It was a news article that reported the world’s top financial experts are urging the adoption of a global standard for currency. Their reasoning is that it would help to overcome the economic issues that the world is facing if everyone was on the same standard.

Think about what is being proposed. If we were told that our national identity was going to be taken and replaced with a global identity, would we accept it? I don’t think that we would. If we were told that Satan’s master plan would come closer to being fulfilled if we went to a global currency, would we allow it to happen? I honestly pray that we wouldn’t.

Satan is the father of lies. He is maneuvering to have humanity do exactly what is told of in Revelation.

Watch the things of this world closely, for many lies are being told and many are believing them as truth. History is being re-written. God’s Word is being ridiculed. Israel is being accused of war crimes for defending themselves. Our own government is about to do something in the guise of making people safer that will actually pave the way for great confrontations. Nothing can be taken at face value.

Deception is the key to what is currently unfolding. Stay firmly rooted in God’s Word. Study so that you may know what the events in the world actually mean. Test everything by God’s Word. Do not accept anything espoused by man as the truth. Only God’s Word is true.

Don’t fall into the traps that are being laid. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus.

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

August 29, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.

When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked.

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, `Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
(Matthew 21:18-22 (NIV))

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer!

Those are mighty powerful words. Words that many seem to gloss over. Many take them to mean that God is a genii and is there to grant every wish that you have. Some even use this to argue that God cannot be real because if He was, then everybody would be thin, good looking, rich and popular.

What are your thoughts on this passage?

Do you believe that your faith can do what Jesus did?

I know that this is a difficult question, after all, Jesus was and is part of the Triune God. We are filthy rags in comparison. What is it about our faith that lacks the ability to do what Jesus did? He said that if we believe, then we will receive whatever we ask in prayer. Perhaps it is that we still see ourselves as the filthy rags, and not as the spotless child of God that we are through faith in Jesus. I know that things in my life have a tendency to remind me of my shortcomings.

Shortcomings.

We all have them, and we just can’t seem to let them go. It doesn’t help that Satan reminds us of them daily. Why do we listen to Satan instead of standing on the promises that Jesus gave us?

He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, `Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.
(Luke 17:6 (NIV))

A mustard seed is tiny. In comparison, it is probably about the same size as a capital “O” in this text. Think about that. We are told that if we have that much faith, we can do things. It makes me wonder just how much faith I have if that is all it takes, and I still find myself doubting.

Faith, just like a mustard seed, must be nurtured. Neither will grow if left in a barren place. Neither will grow if the surroundings choke them out. Neither will grow if you allow yourself or others to cut them down.

Most of us think of faith as a rock, as something that cannot be shaken. However, when we face anything in this world, we quickly start to worry and rely on ourselves and others, and not on our faith. Our mustard seeds never get to fully germinate and grow.

My prayer for you and for myself is that we will all start the day asking God for guidance so that our faith is not shaken. I pray that our faith may be nurtured and grow so that as we mature in our faith, we may become the unshakable rock that we long to be.

How is your faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Pray that we know what to watch for

August 23, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Unless the LORD builds the house,
its builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchmen stand guard in vain.
(Psalms 127:1 (NIV))

Every night that I sit down to write, I pray for guidance as to what God wants me to convey. I have a database of scripture verses that I have selected and tonight, I closed my eyes and “randomly” stopped on this verse. I do not think that this is an accident or a coincidence, for right before this happened, I was reading about the two conventions coming up for the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates. These two parties will officially select the individuals who will be in contention for the White House.

God is up to something in this world. He is up to something big!

Israel is surrounded by people who want to destroy her. Iran is threatening just that. Israel is preparing it’s citizens for 30 days of shortages and is giving out gas masks. They are also preparing their citizens for massive amounts of missile strikes in retaliation IF they decide to be preemptive with Iran. Russia is standing firm in their lack of support for Israel and support for Iran.

Does this sound familiar?

There are countless things that I see that trouble me with respect to how our world is heading. At the same time, these things intrigue me for they offer glimpses into the things that the prophets have written about. Could these things that are unfolding be the very things that we have read about?

We, as the Body of Christ, must stand firm in our faith. We must pray for God’s guidance and seek to follow His will for our lives, our families, our neighborhoods, our country and the world.

You are probably asking how this ties in with Psalm 127:1 and the current state of things.

We have been given God’s plans for His creation. It will be His plans that prevail. We may not like the state of things or the things that must happen, but they all part of God’s plans.

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”
Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”
(Matthew 16:21-23 (NIV))

Jesus rebuked Peter for wanting his agenda and not God’s. We see things from a different perspective and even though we see things that go against what we have been taught to believe in, God has an eternal plan.

Think about that for a moment from Peter’s persepctive.

If you had been in Peter’s shoes, how would you react if Jesus told you the details about the painful death that He would face? Would you have stood as Peter did and try to physically protect Jesus? I honestly think that we would not, nor do we, understand exactly what God is unfolding. We see glimpses and we wonder if this is what we have been told to watch for.

Pray for God’s guidance and follow Him.

Pray for God’s Will and wait for miraculous things to happen.

Pray for wisdom to discern the worldly from the Godly.

Pray that the Lord watches over us as we stand in watch.

Pray that we know what to watch for.

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