Reality Check

February 15, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“The King will reply, `I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
(Matthew 25:40 (NIV))

I read this and a question immediately came to mind. It was a question that sent chills down my spine. It was a question that made me realize that I can be considered one of the least of these and that I too am also someone who needs to do for others.

Think about that and then answer the same question that came to mind when I read this passage.

Have you ever felt that you were insignificant?

It is human nature to want to believe that we are of great worth and that we are worth more than our fellow brothers and sisters. This is pride.

The LORD detests all the proud of heart.
Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.
(Proverbs 16:5 (NIV))

Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud,
but humility comes before honor.
(Proverbs 18:12 (NIV))

Our significance does not come from our deeds, actions or abilities. It comes from grace. If we could not earn our salvation, then we can make no claim to be proud of.

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

Are we proud to be a filthy rag? Are we any better than other filthy rags in the pile? We may find that we are not on the bottom of that pile, but that does not make us better than others. Eventually, all rags have one of two things happen to them. They are either washed or they are tossed away and destroyed. The rags do not have a say in what happens. We, as the Body of Christ, have proclaimed a faith in Jesus as the one and only one who can pick us up and wash us clean. We have made a stand and we have had a say in what becomes of us.

If we are as filthy rags, we are included in the least of these whether we admit it or not. Have you ever stopped to think that what you do for others means that you are doing it for Jesus?

And, now, the reality check !

Have you ever stopped to think that what someone does for you, they are doing for Jesus?

This puts things in a whole new perspective.

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

November 30, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever.
(Psalms 23:6 (NIV))

There are houses and there are homes. There are buildings and then there are dwellings. What makes the difference is a matter of attitude. A house is simply a place to sleep. A home is a place of refuge and comfort. A building is simply four walls. A dwelling is someplace that you have completely moved in to and have made it your own.

God is looking for those who wish to make His presence their home. He is looking to believers to desire to dwell in His presence. He does not want us to simply come into His presence to sleep and then go our own way. He wants us to long to be at home in His presence. He desires for us to desire Him and be completely content; to be completely at peace with Him.

Peace!

Perhaps that is what makes the difference between a house and a home and a building and a dwelling. Peace allows you to settle in and to get comfortable. God wants us to get comfortable in His presence.

Are you comfortable in God’s presence?

Are you at home in God’s presence?

Do you dwell in the presence of the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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And who is my neighbor?

October 27, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered: ” `Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ ; and, `Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
(Luke 10:25-29 (NIV))

“And who is my neighbor?”

How many times have you asked that very same question simply because you did not want to be put outside of your comfort zone to help someone who was in need? I hate to say this, but I am guilty of this more than I care to admit.

Let’s face the truth. It is human nature to be concerned only with ourselves or those who immediately impact our lives. We become so wrapped up in our own little worlds that we fail to recognize the simple fact that we are only a small part of God’s creation, and, more importantly, we are not the center of that creation.

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))

If God loves each of us that much, then each of us, no matter how many miles may separate us, are neighbors. We must continually strive to remember this the next time that we feel outside of our comfort zone.

What if Jesus decided that He did not want to come to earth as a man because He was going to be outside of His comfort zone?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Does God stop loving?

October 24, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.
(Luke 6:27-31 (NIV))

At what point do you think that God allows us to stop loving our enemies?

And, yes, this could very easily be a trick question.

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))

With that in mind, every single person is a loved child of God.

Does God stop loving? Does Jesus stop loving?

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV))

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
(1 Peter 4:8 NIV))

Love is a powerful force. It can turn an enemy into a brother. It can turn a foe into a friend. It can restore relationships that seem to be lost. It can bring healing and wholeness.

Do you remember the words that Jesus spoke on the cross?

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
(Luke 23:34 (NIV))

If Jesus can pronounce forgiveness and love after suffering what He suffered on the cross, how can we do any less?

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

October 11, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.”
(Matthew 12:1-2 (NIV))

Some things never change!

Jesus had to deal with people pointing out the flaws and failures of those around them. It is sad that the very people who were making an issue of the so called flaws and failures were only trying to do this so that they would look good. These people were the established religious order and if things were not done their way, they made sure that they pointed them out.

Do you know anybody like this?

Were you like this at one point in your faith journey?

It is so easy to get caught up in thinking that what you do is the only way to do things and to interpret things that we miss out on the blessings because we are more focused on the letter and not the intent.

The Sabbath was, and still is, the day of rest. Unfortunately, things happen and life must still continue. We, as did the disciples, deal with what is needed. We, as the disciples were, are under scrutiny – under a microscope – because we profess a faith in Jesus. Some people scrutinize us because we are Christians. Others scrutinize us because we look differently or act differently than they do. Sadly, this is true even within the church.

Legalism is a deadly trap. Don’t allow others to force the letter of the law upon you. Don’t try to force it upon anyone else. Grace has purchased us. Legalism is a divisive force. Let’s focus on what unites us.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV))

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
(1 Peter 4:8 (NIV))

If God can grant us grace and mercy through the blood of Jesus, then why do we still try to hold each other accountable according to our self-imposed laws?

Love and you will soon find yourself overlooking all of the little things.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Join in the heritage of rejoicing

September 23, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
(Psalms 100:1-5 (NIV))

Take a look around you.

What do you see?

Do you see random chance and “natural selection” where we are simply the product of millions of years of impossible permutations, or do you see order and design?

How can we, as the Body of Christ, see anything but joy in all that God has created. He created everything for us! He created us to be in a relationship with Him. He created us out of love. He gave us authority over His creation because of His love.

Unfortunately, we rebelled against His love. We rejected God and allowed Satan into the world. Still, God loved us to the point where He wanted to redeem us from our sin and from Satan’s grasp. Because of His great love for us, He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die as a sacrifice, one for all, so that we could be saved. We should be singing His praises in all that we do. We should be thankful for His faithfulness.

What did your grandparents have faith in? Was it God’s steadfast love?

What did your great-great grandparents have faith in?

It was probably also God’s steadfast love.

They rejoiced in His grace and mercy. For thousands of years, people have rejoiced in His grace and mercy.

Do you share this heritage of rejoicing with all of those who came before you?

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