Hostility toward God!

August 24, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
(Romans 8:5-8 (NIV))

Hostility toward God!

Those three words seem to sum up much of what is going on in the world, and, in my opinion, much of what is going wrong. We have become polar opposites and the chasm seems to be getting wider. On one side you have those who faithfully cling to the Word of God as truth and life and on the other side you have those who mock God and all things associated with Him. They relentlessly cling to what they desire and boldly mock the truth.

They live for their desires and most pay a very high price for it in this lifetime, and all pay a very high price for it throughout eternity.

What is it about their desires that are so appealing to them? Most lead to poor health and premature death. Rebellion has its costs and as written in Romans, the mind of sinful man is death.

Think about that.

Have you noticed that many who seek their sinful ways live on the edge. One slip and they are gone. It is almost as if they hate the very gift of life that God has given them. They are controlled, consumed by their sinful nature.

Consumed.

What do you think of when you hear this word? There are many definitions, yet the one that stands out the most also applies here. The word literally means destroyed. Those who are controlled by their sinful nature are destroyed by it.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
(Galatians 5:22-24 (NIV))

Those who are controlled by sin do not know any of these things. Sin literally steals love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Without these, life is not worth living. Imagine your life with all of these removed. How would you cope? How would you respond to life?

I find it saddening that the world is making choices every day that are based on the sinful nature. We truly have come to a time when good is considered evil and evil is considered good.

What controls you?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How is your wall of self control?

August 10, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Like a city whose walls are broken down
is a man who lacks self-control.
(Proverbs 25:28 (NIV))

In ancient cities, the purpose of the walls was protection. They were built high and thick in order to keep out those who would attack and leave the city in ruins. If the walls were broken down, the city was vulnerable. Those who lived within the city took their chances that they would not be attacked and lose their lives. The walls of a city were the defenses that kept those inside safe from the evil that could attack from the outside. The city was only as safe as the weakest part of its walls.

How good is your self control? Are your vulnerable to the attacks of those things that find the weak places within your self control? Perhaps your weakness is greed. Perhaps it is pride. Perhaps it is lust. Carefully consider how your area of weakness could be the very place by which sin enters into your life and takes control.

For the wages of sin is death
(Romans 6:23a (NIV))

Just as it is dangerous for the inhabitants of a city whose walls are broken down, it is also just as dangerous for a person to lack self control. Perhaps it is even more dangerous, for the death that comes from sin is an eternal separation from God. Self control is difficult, but we have an ally in our battle. The rest of Romans 6:23 tells the complete story.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

If we place our faith in Jesus and rely on Him to be our Savior and our Lord, the Holy Spirit will dwell within us and guide us. The Holy Spirit will bear fruit within our lives.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
(Galatians 5:22-24 (NIV))

Self control will be part of our defenses against sin.

How is your wall of self control?

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

July 23, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.
(Acts 10:34-35 (NIV))

I find it interesting how God will reveal things to you through a passage that you have read many times before. This happened today with this passage.

I have heard and read this passage many times and each time my main focus was on the part of the passage where God does not show favoritism. I hold firmly to that truth. I also hold firmly to the truth that God accepts men from every nation into His Kingdom. This is a common sense extension of the Great Commandment.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
(Mark 16:15-16 (NIV))

I wish that the world would understand the last part of this passage.

“. . . who fear him and do what is right.”

To be honest with you, I believe that many who profess a faith in Jesus need to understand this passage.

I am not able to judge, so I will not even begin to point fingers. I am not qualified. All that I know is what we are told about fearing the Lord.

And he said to man,
`The fear of the Lord–that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.’ ”
(Job 28:28 (NIV))

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
(Proverbs 1:7 (NIV))

We cannot have wisdom without fearing the Lord. I honestly believe that this definition of the word “fear” could be rendered as the word “respect.” Think about that from this perspective. Growing up, I loved my parents, and I still do. However, I also feared them. I did not fear them because of anything that they had done. I feared them because I feared what would happen if I did something wrong. In other words, I feared the just consequences of my own actions as laid out by my parents. I realize that fearing God goes deeper than this example, yet, I feel that the fear of God is based on His righteous actions to discipline my sins.

Sadly enough, our society no longer seems to fear the consequences of any actions.

As a result, the world also seems to ignore the “and do what is right” part of this passage.

Just what is right in the eyes of God?

He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
(Micah 6:8 (NIV))

I could quote many other passages. I know that part of doing what is right also hinges on our faith in Jesus. It also hinges on these words.

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
(Matthew 5:17 (NIV))

Accepting Jesus does not mean that you may continue to sin. We are to do what is right.

What do you do?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you exhibit?

May 17, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men!
(Acts 5:29 (NIV))

Let me fill you in on the back-story of this passage.

Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people the full message of this new life.”
At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people. When the high priest and his associates arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin–the full assembly of the elders of Israel–and sent to the jail for the apostles. But on arriving at the jail, the officers did not find them there. So they went back and reported, “We found the jail securely locked, with the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside.” On hearing this report, the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests were puzzled, wondering what would come of this.
Then someone came and said, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people.” At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them.
Having brought the apostles, they made them appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.”
(Acts 5:17-28 (NIV))

The apostles had been arrested and put in jail. They were arrested for preaching about Jesus. An angel opened the doors and let them out, and they went right back to what they knew God wanted them to do. They were again confronted and their response is one that I pray I will have the faith to utter if I am ever in this situation.

“We must obey God rather than men!”

Think about that simple statement. Do we, as the Body of Christ, live up to this faith? They did not back down from their calling just because they had ran into a little trouble. How often do we simply turn tail and retreat because we are confronted with something that takes us outside of our comfort zone?

If we, as the Body of Christ, would follow this simple concept completely, can you imagine . . .

I find it hard to put into words what our world would be like. Perhaps we can simply reflect upon this passage.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Peter and the other apostles did not back down. They obeyed God. They did not run from the torments of man. They exhibited love. They exhibited joy. They exhibited peace and patience. Most of all, they exhibited faithfulness.

What do you exhibit?

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

March 26, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He must become greater; I must become less.
(John 3:30 (NIV))

The American Standard Version translates this passage as “He must increase, but I must decrease,” but no matter how you translate it, the concept is the same. We must seek more of Jesus in our lives and less of us.

To those who are not believers, this sounds like we are willing to give up our individuality. It sounds like we are willing to become mindless followers. It sounds like we are weak minded and not able to make decisions for ourselves.

How do you feel about how the world sees this passage?

Do you agree with this, or do you have a different understanding of what this means to a follower of Jesus Christ?

What traits about Jesus do you love? I know that we are glad to call him Savior, but what about Him makes us want to call Him Lord? What traits do we want to see increased in our lives?

More difficult questions that the unbelieving world does not understand, yet, we need to be able to understand this for ourselves. We need to be able to defend our faith when we are confronted. I know that we are to rely on the Holy Spirit in times like this, but we are also called to be prepared.

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
(Ephesians 6:11 (NIV))

I firmly believe that Jesus lived an example of the traits that we should desire to see increase within us. We know them as the fruit of the Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

We know our actions and thoughts as well. They are of a sinful nature.

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
(Galatians 5:24 (NIV))

If we look upon John 3:30 with this in mind, then it is clearly a matter of self examination. If we follow Jesus, we don’t want to give up our individuality. On the contrary, we want to give up our sinful nature and fill ourselves with what fills Jesus.

Personally, I do not know of anyone who is truly happy in their sin. The drunk does not want to be a drunk. He is trying to wash away something. The same can be said for any sin. The sin is an attempt to fill a void, and it often leaves a scar. If we seek to remove the sin and fill ourselves with Jesus, we are seeking healing. We are seeking peace, and we are seeking the truth.

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

November 29, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
(Matthew 7:15-20 (NIV))

Think about this the next time that you hear of something that is just too good to be true, or is just a little off of what God’s Word says that it should be. Most of the time, lies are obvious, but deception is a trick of the enemy. When things sound almost right with respect to God’s word, they are totally wrong.

It should be easy for believers to realize that the “fruit” does not match the source. We should be able to easily distinguish that the things the enemy tells us are too good to be true, especially when they contradict everything that we should know to be true according to God’s Word.

Why do people fall for the deceptions of the enemy?

Are we, as a fallen, sinful race, too far removed from the truth to even recognize it?

The words in Matthew are amazing and sadly amusing if you stop to actually understand what is being said. We have enough common sense to not look for grapes on an apple tree, yet, we easily fall prey to the small lies of the enemy in hopes that the promises are true.

Test everything against God’s Word. If something is supposed to bear goodness, but it lies to do so, does it really follow God’s Word? If you are promised that it is only a small digression and no one will know about it, can it be the correct fit?

We have been told what the things of God will bear.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Think of this passage when validating the truth about something. Does it produce according to the fruit of the Spirit?

Are you on watch for bad fruit?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your it?

November 8, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Man’s days are determined;
you have decreed the number of his months
and have set limits he cannot exceed.
(Job 14:5 (NIV))

Why do so many of us live as if we have all of the time in the world?

We have a tendancy to think that we will get to “it” tomorrow. But, exactly what is “it?”

For some, it is spending time with family. For others, it is losing weight. Still, for others, it is giving up their own personal favorite sin.

What is your “it?”

I pray that it is not something that will have eternal repurcusions if it is not done now. Those repurcusions could be yours or someone elses. I pray that if you are reading this, then any personal repurcusions that may arise from putting off salvation are dealt with.

What about the eternal repurcusions as they effect others?

Are you putting off inviting your neighbor to church? Are you hesitant to talk to your co-workers about Jesus? Are you afraid to take a public stand for God? Our days are numbered, as well as those around us. What if you are supposed to talk to a loved family member about Jesus and salvation and you can’t bring yourself to do it? What if you are the very person through whom God desires to use to bring that person to savlation and you think that you can do it another day? What happens if there is no other day?

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))

As for man, his days are like grass,
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
(Psalm 103:15-16 (NIV))

Don’t think that you have all the time in the world. What is it that you are supposed to do?

What is your “it?”

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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