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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What has God done for you?

July 17, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
(Psalms 136:1 (NIV))

When was the last time that you truly read and comprehended these words?

God is so good that His love truly does endure forever. David realized this when he wrote these words. David did not stop with these words only. He wrote and wrote about the good things that God has done and with each one, he emphasized that God’s love never ends.

Perhaps we should take a minute to read and reflect on what David wrote.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.
to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.
who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.
who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.
who made the great lights–
His love endures forever.
the sun to govern the day,
His love endures forever.
the moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures forever.
to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt
His love endures forever.
and brought Israel out from among them
His love endures forever.
with a mighty hand and outstretched arm;
His love endures forever.
to him who divided the Red Sea asunder
His love endures forever.
and brought Israel through the midst of it,
His love endures forever.
but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea;
His love endures forever.
to him who led his people through the desert,
His love endures forever.
who struck down great kings,
His love endures forever.
and killed mighty kings–
His love endures forever.
Sihon king of the Amorites
His love endures forever.
and Og king of Bashan–
His love endures forever.
and gave their land as an inheritance,
His love endures forever.
an inheritance to his servant Israel;
His love endures forever.
to the One who remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.
and freed us from our enemies,
His love endures forever.
and who gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever
(Psalms 136: 1-26 (NIV))

We would be hard pressed to list that many things in our lives that we are willing to give God the credit and the glory for. David did it. He gave God the glory for all things. Perhaps this is why he was called a man after God’s own heart.

There are things in my life that I pray would change, yet perhaps I should be thankful for them and wait on God to lead me through them instead.

What can you list that God has done for you?

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

February 6, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.
(Matthew 4:23 (NIV))

What would be your reaction to someone doing these things in your community?

Think about it carefully. Not only would this person be teaching and preaching in your church, they would also be healing anybody and everybody of anything that was wrong. Cancer. Diabetes. Paralysis. Blindness. Neurological problems. All would be miraculously healed by a person. Would you follow that person or would you be part of the gossip mill that would follow that person?

I am confident that the very emotions that you would feel are the very same emotions that people felt when Jesus walked the earth and did these wonderful things in Galilee. Human nature wants to embrace the miraculous and embrace the messenger of the miraculous. At the same time, the miraculous is different and human nature is afraid of what we do not know. I do know that I hope I would have accepted Jesus when He walked this earth. I also know that I am human and my faults are the same that kept many from embracing HIm. How about you? Can you say with complete certainty that you would have been one to embrace Jesus for who He is when He first walked this earth?

Sometimes I think that I would like to have lived during Jesus’ time on this earth. I would love to witness the Sermon on the Mount. I would love to walk with Jesus and listen to His teachings. I would hate to see the crucifixion and I would rejoice at the resurrection. I would love to be among the crowd at Pentecost. However, because of my human nature, I am also afraid that if I did not have the perspective of history as reported in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, I would not recognize who was right before me. With that said, it is probably best that I, like Esther, am alive for such a time as this.

God placed each of us in just the right point in history to bless us. Perhaps even more importantly, He placed each one of us in just the right point in history to bless those around us. Pray to be that blessing to others. Pray that you may have the faith to fulfill Jesus’ words.

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

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

February 3, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

On the day the tabernacle, the Tent of the Testimony, was set up, the cloud covered it. From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire. That is how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire. Whenever the cloud lifted from above the Tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped. At the LORD’s command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the LORD’s order and did not set out.
(Numbers 9:15-19 (NIV))

Obedience!

I often wonder what I would have done if I had seen these things first hand. Would I have been as obedient or would I have doubted? I like to think that I would have obeyed what God commanded, yet, I find myself doing the opposite in many circumstances. It is not that I mean to disobey. In many occasions, it is a matter of laziness or fear. I have the benefit of being able to look back through history and read about the things that happened. I have the assurance, contrary to what many people today would have you believe, that the Word of God is the Truth. It never fails.

Still, I do.

Perhaps I can pass it off to human nature. Perhaps that is why God chose to manifest His presence over the tabernacle as a cloud by day and a flame by night. God new that we are frail and need constant reminding of His bountiful presence.

Today, we have the Old and the New Testaments. We have the history of the church. We have so much to remind us of God, yet, we often fail to see the wonderful “cloud” or “flame” that God has set before us to guide us. We have become busy with our day to day lives, that we often fail to see the obvious signs from God. We disobey out of spiritual blindness.

What is your spiritual acuity?

Is it good enough that you obey God all of the time?

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

January 16, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.
(Ecclesiastes 11:5 (NIV))

How many know-it-alls do we have in this circulation?

Have you ever attempted to tell God how He should do things? I think that we are all guilty of it from time to time. It is a common occurrence throughout the Bible. Some of the stories you may be aware of. Stories such as Abraham and Sarah who had heard God’s promise and tried to make it come true on their terms. There are many others, but the issue is not the ones who have done it, but the ones who are still doing it.

We are all infants in our faith, and as infants, we do not fully understand the work of God. Just as an infant will attempt to show his or her physical parents how they can do things, we, as spiritual infants, are also guilty of trying to show God what we can do.

As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:9 (NIV))

We must learn, as the infant learns, that we are not the one in charge. God is in control. We do not understand, nor do we have the capacity to understand, all that God can do.

And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.
(Genesis 1:9-10 (NIV))

God can create with a word and it is good. All that we can do is utter words of destruction if we do not watch our tongue.

What do you profess to tell God?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready to go where Christ is not known?

August 18, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. Rather, as it is written:
“Those who were not told about him will see,
and those who have not heard will understand.”
(Romans 15:20-21 (NIV))

Paul did just that. He spread the Gospel as far as he could travel. He did not keep it to himself, nor did he keep it only for his close friends and family. He didn’t even keep it only for those who looked and acted like him.

Paul willingly and eagerly took the Gospel of Jesus Christ to what was then the far reaches of his world.

We owe our very heritage and faith to his eagerness to make sure that those who had not heard would hear.

What if he had decided that blindness was his fate? What if he had decided to stay in Jerusalem? What if he gave up after the first time that he faced persecution? Would we be alive in the faith? Would we even be alive at all, for the events that God set into motion through Paul’s ministry have impacted lives throughout history. We have no idea what this world, what our own individual lives would look like if Paul did not go where he was sent.

Paul had a heart for God’s Word. He had a burning desire to see that God’s grace and mercy were shared with everyone.

Think about Paul the next time that you find yourself saying, “Someone needs to tell them about Jesus.” What if Paul said that?

Today’s society has such a wrong understanding of God’s grace and mercy. They have such a wrong image of Jesus. Because of these misconceptions, many people ridicule anything remotely associated with Christianity.

They have not been told the truth about Him.

They have not heard, so therefore they do not understand.

What if we all got out of our comfort zones and took it upon ourselves to help one person to understand? What if we relied on the Holy Spirit to help us to tell someone about Jesus? What if we all prayed for some of Paul’s enthusiasm for the Gospel to fall upon us?

The world would be a different place with each of us starting with one person who does not know the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Are you ready to step outside of your comfort zone?

Are you ready to go where Christ is not known?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to tell God that you decided to do it your way?

August 9, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
(Proverbs 16:25 (NIV))

“I did it my way” carries with it the idea of a self-made person who has achieved whatever they wanted in this life. What they achieved usually was done with great sacrifice and usually with some deeds that even humanity would consider wrong. The sacrifice is often applauded while the bad deeds are ignored. The end justifies the means.

Look at it from God’s perspective. Does the end justify the means? Does God applaud the sacrifices and ignore the sins?

The sacrifices that people make are all self-centered sacrifices and benefit only themselves. God desires for us to be sacrificing of ourselves for others, not for personal gain.

Sin cannot be overlooked! God cannot associate with sin. He desires for us to be righteous, yet, our own ways always lead us into sin. Remember that the wages of sin is death. In other words, all sin leads to death, or eternal separation from God. There is nothing that we, as humanity, can do in our own capacity that will lead us away from sin.

God knew this from the beginning.

God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us as an atoning sacrifice for our sins!

Think about this.

Human reasoning tells us that this sounds funny and is too simple of a solution. With that in mind, many of us find a way that seems right to us as a way to reach salvation. Again, humanity follows what they think is right, only to find that they are on the road to sin and death.

If you were on an Interstate and saw a sign that warned of traffic problems ahead, and you saw a sign showing an alternate route around the problems, most of us would take the alternate route. Why is it that spiritual matters do not follow the same “logic?” We would rather drive along heading straight into death instead of accepting the grace, mercy and love of God through Jesus Christ.

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