What comes from within you?

March 8, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come — sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.
(Mark 7:21-22 (NIV))

Some people say that society has gone downhill. I actually believe that society has simply allowed what is within to be let out without any repercussions.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

In today’s society, it is possible to find numerous people with like-minded evil thoughts. No matter what the thought may be, there are others who also have them. To be honest with you, people have been experiencing these thoughts ever since the fall from grace. There have always been thieves. There have always been murderers. People have always been greedy and envious. Deceit and arrogance have always existed, as well as sexual immorality and adultery.

What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
(Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NIV))

If this is the case, then why does it seem that we, as a society, are straying further and further away from God’s desires?

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'”
(Matthew 13:24-30 (NIV))

We are that field of wheat. The enemy has sown weeds within each of us that crop up in our lives and show themselves as what is within our hearts. We can choose to focus on the weeds and ignore the good wheat or we can focus on the good wheat and choose to ignore the weeds. Too many people are focusing on the wrong things and allowing the weeds that come from within to overshadow their lives.

I have heard the following told much more eloquently, but imagine that within each of us there are two wolves – a good wolf and a bad wolf. The one that becomes prominent in our lives is the one that we feed. We all have the potential to do much evil. If we feed that potential, evil will come from within.

What comes from within you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Has our society lost the ability to be humble?

June 29, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
(1 Peter 5:5 (NIV))

If you look closely, there are some words in this passage that strike a nerve in most people. Can you spot them?

Did you say “submit” and “humble”?

What is it about our human nature that just doesn’t like the concept behind these two words? Why is submission so difficult and why is humility so hard to find anymore? Our society seems to thrive on thwarting these two desirable characteristics at any and every opportunity that presents itself. All that you have to do is pay any attention to the events that are transpiring in the world and you quickly see a total lack of these two characteristics, especially when it comes to a Biblically based perspective. It seems like the only thing that most people are willing to submit to are their own wicked thoughts and desires!

Contrary to what is the absolute truth, society has been convinced that the only truth is what is true for you. The concept that we all answer to an absolute truth does not exist in the minds of many people. They have been taught that if they think that it is true, then it is. If you have a vast number of individuals thinking that whatever they think or say is true, then they rapidly become arrogant. They no longer feel that they must be considerate and humble, after all, they are always right. They are perfect!

I think I can safely say that when you read that last paragraph, the description made you think of some of the recent events and groups that are in the news. In your reflections on these groups, does anything that they do even have any semblance of submission or humility? Does anything about these events and groups have a basis in what we would consider Biblical morals and values?

Has our society lost the ability to be humble?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you accept God’s authority?

August 22, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
(Romans 13:6 (NIV))

Too many people who are in authority seem to have forgotten that they are supposed to be God’s servants. Most of those people don’t even acknowledge that God exists, let alone serve Him. They do not give any respect to anyone or anything except their inner, sinful desires. Perhaps, if I may go out on a limb, this is why our society has sunk to new lows.

Even though many of the people who are in authority over us are there for selfish reasons, we must remember that they have been put there for a reason. We must pray that God will use them to His greater glory. Have you ever stopped to consider the fact that in the end times, the wheat and the tares are to grow up evenly and that maybe God is using these people to unknowingly fulfill His plans. Even so, we must pray that God’s Will be done. We must pray that we, on a personal level, may be able to accept God’s authority over that of human authority. We must be alert to the needs of the world and give what is needed when it is needed.

We must be prepared to give respect and honor for God loves everyone and does not wish for any to perish. God may plan to use us to show the love of Jesus to these people. We may be the one who plants the seed within their lives. If we do not honor and respect the authority, how can we expect them to honor and respect the authority that is God? We must teach by example. We may not like the actions of those in authority over us, but we must remember that no one is perfect and that we are all sinners in need of a Savior. What if you had not been shown enough respect and had not been shown salvation, after all, Jesus came to this earth not as a ruler, but as a common man?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t be a fool!

February 3, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God.”
(Psalms 14:1a (NIV))

Is it just me, or do you see an increase in fools?

I am not trying to be judgmental, just looking at the world from a Biblical perspective.

Why do so many people in our society today believe that there is no God? Why do they look at the very same things that believers see and fail to see the majesty of the creation and the awesomeness of the Creator?

Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone who is adamant about the absence of God? They are often bitter, self-centered and focused on what they can get in this life. I often wonder how they perceive the world. I often wonder what their motivations are for the life that they have been given.

To be honest with you, it breaks my heart to encounter people who say that there is no God. Where is their joy? What is their basis, their reason for living? I realize that each and every person is unique and that each person will have a different answer, but what do they do to fill that emptiness? What do they do to fill the proverbial God-shaped hole that is in their hearts?

I am sure that each of you is familiar with the old saying, “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” Have these people truly been blinded to the magnificence of God’s creation? Have they looked so much at the details that they fail to see the bigger picture? Have we become a society of people who focus so much on something so small that too many of us fail to see what is right before our very eyes?

If we focus on details, we see details and we often fail to understand the bigger picture. If we focus on God, we see God and we the details, and we see the bigger picture. We realize that it is us who is of little significance in this world. Thankfully, to God, we are of great significance!

Maybe that is why we are told that a fool says there is no God. They deny the one who created them and they deny the love that God has for them.

Don’t be a fool!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can we face the world with humility?

August 13, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.
(1 Peter 5:6-7 (NAS))

In today’s society it is hard to be humble, even when you desire that with all of your heart.

Humility asks us to place others first and think of ourselves as a servant. This is a fine line to balance upon when you must always present yourself as the best in what you do just to be able to make a living.

No matter what the world may ask of us, though, we must always keep our eyes focused on Jesus and remember that what God has given to us through Jesus cannot be achieved on our own. When we reflect on this, then the worldly side of us will come face to face with the humility that God desires for us, for we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you toot your own horn?

August 5, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Let another praise you, and not your own mouth;
someone else, and not your own lips.
(Proverbs 27:2 (NIV))

In today’s society, it is difficult to find someone who is not “Tooting their own horn.” The world is so self-centered that in order for someone to be noticed for their achievements, they must tell of them themselves. Take a look at Jesus when He walked this earth. The Son of God had the most right to shout to the world who He was, yet, He chose to do the Will of God the Father in a way that was quiet and unobtrusive. Many times, He would tell those that He healed to tell no one of the healing. He did not desire the attention of the world. He desired the Will of the Father. Jesus knew that if He proclaimed Himself to the world, then the sinful world would acknowledge His miracles for a time, and then fall away. It was, and still is, the desire of the Father to quietly bring individuals to Him for a one on one relationship, and not the throngs for a mass gathering. The same is true of you and I. Those who have “instant” recognition often only have it for an instant. It is better to have the praise of God the Father than of people. It should be the desire of everyone to hear these words.

…`Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
(Matthew 25:23)

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you still living in sin?

June 17, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the LORD your God.
(Deuteronomy 18:10-13 (NIV))

Today’s society draws a fine line when it comes to these practices. Some people say “as long as it is intended for good, it is okay.” God did not say do them only for Him or only for good! He said that they are detestable in His sight. This means no matter what the intentions are. The old saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions is true. Everyone thinks that they can do things their way or better than what God had planned. God has given us explicit instructions that these things are not from Him and are detestable to Him. Nowhere does it say that these practices are good.

When Joram saw Jehu he asked, “Have you come in peace, Jehu?”
“How can there be peace,” Jehu replied, “as long as all the idolatry and witchcraft of your mother Jezebel abound?”
(2 Kings 9:22(NIV))

He sacrificed his sons in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced sorcery, divination and witchcraft, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger.
(2 Chronicles 33:6(NIV))

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
(Galatians 5:19-21(NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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