What do you need to give up?

November 12, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come! If your hand or your foot causes you to sin cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.
(Matthew 18:7-9 (NIV))

This is far different from the “If it feels good, do it” mentality that is so prevalent in the world today. The sad thing about this mentality is that it doesn’t recognize, or even care, that it is pushing sin as the preferred choice.

Do we, as the Body of Christ, admit that sin has crept into our lives or do we sit back and look at everyone else as the sinful ones? Have we become overwhelmed by the world that we fail to recognize what is sin and what is not? Are we able to not only recognize sin when it enters into our lives, but are we able to take the drastic actions that are needed to remove the sin from our lives?

I can still hear the old saying, “If everybody else jumped off a cliff, would you do it, too?”

Why are we, as humanity, so blinded to the sinful nature of our actions, even when we long to be righteous in the eyes of God? Why do we justify ourselves by saying that at least we are not as bad as someone else?

In the eyes of God, sin is sin. It doesn’t matter what it is.

Thankfully, God has provided a way for us to redeem ourselves. He knows that we can’t do it on our own. That way is through the atoning blood of His Son, Jesus. Sadly, too many people look upon this as a free ride to do whatever they want. It does not work that way!

We are to take drastic action!

We are to repent. We are to change our lives. We are to follow Jesus. We are to turn away from our sin. We are to leave our sin behind us. For some, that may mean ending friendships. For others, that may mean changing jobs, and still, for others, that may mean so much more.

We are to give up the things of this world when we follow Jesus.

What do you need to give up?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do your eyes see – the world or your salvation?

June 10, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.
(Luke 2:30-32 (NIV))

When Simeon spoke these words, Jesus was only a newborn infant and Mary and Joseph had brought him to the temple to consecrate him to God. Simeon had been looking for salvation all of his life. Perhaps that is why he so readily recognized it when it was presented to him, even though, to most people, Jesus was simply a baby just like all of the others. Simeon was able to look beyond the obvious and see the miraculous.

With all that is going on in the world, what do you see?

Do you see what the news media wants you to see or do you see things from God’s perspective? Are you aware of all that is going on in the world, most of which simply is ignored because it doesn’t fit into the politically correct agenda? Have you grown tired of all of the so called news and entertainment that appears to be designed to keep you from paying attention?

The Body of Christ has been told that we are aliens in a foreign land. Do you recognize the world in which you live? Does it look anything like what it did when you were a child? Do you long for what Simeon longed for – to be in the presence of your Savior?

The world is capable of enticement. Focus on Jesus! Focus on your salvation!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do we allow the world to steal the power of God’s Word?

May 1, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You shall not steal.
(Exodus 20:15 (NIV))

Does society even pay attention to any of God’s Commandments anymore?

I know that the world is far from perfect and that there are complaints that are legitimate, but with far too many episodes in the news such as Baltimore, it appears that far too many people think nothing of breaking any and all of God’s Commandments.

How should the Body of Christ respond to the problems that face society?

We know what the world truly needs, but do we come off as judgmental and condescending when we try to share the answer?

I want you to think about something for a moment.

When Jesus walked the earth, how did people react to Him telling them how to live according to God’s laws? How did the religious leaders treat Him? How did the general population treat Him once the religious and political leaders worked them up into a frenzy?

Think about Paul. What happened to Paul when the people that he was called to minister to turned on him? He was stoned,, imprisoned and eventually martyred.

Think about Stephen. He was stoned to death for preaching about Jesus.

The Body of Christ has the answer to all of the problems in this world, but we have good examples of what can possibly happen when we take a stand for what is right in the eyes of God. Sadly, we allow these examples to hinder us from doing what we should do.

The Body of Christ is to be salt and light. We are to be the city on a hill. We are to be the ones who share the Gospel to a dark and dying world. We are to hold fast to the truth and let God’s truth impact the world. Far too often, we allow the world to impact our understanding of God’s truth.

I believe that the Body of Christ is often guilty of allowing the power of God’s Word to be stolen!

Stand firm in God’s Word!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you truly need?

February 10, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You say, `I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
(Revelation 3:17-18 (NIV))

Do you need anything?

The world has so many distractions, so many things that we consider to have great material value. We spend all of our lives struggling to accumulate these material possessions and we call them wealth. We look at gold and long for its accumulation. We look at fancy cars and long to own and drive the ones that make people turn their heads as we go by. We want big homes so that we can impress people, and then we have to build a wall and put up a gate to keep out the very people whom we want to impress.

In all of this, we focus on things that are of this world and can easily be taken away from us. We focus on what will make us look better than our neighbor. We focus on what will cause our family, friends and neighbors to devise plans to take what we have.

What good will a big bank account do you when you are standing before God? What good will a huge home do you when you are standing before God?

What is truly important to God? Does God care about your riches or does He care about your eternal salvation? He did not send Jesus to die on the cross so that we can accumulate more earthly wealth. God sent Jesus to show us how to attain true wealth, a wealth so great that it lasts all of eternity.

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?
(Mark 8:36 (NIV))

What is truly important to you?

What do you truly need?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you teach what Jesus commanded or do you teach the world’s agenda?

November 18, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV))

With all of the talk about embracing Islam, we have to remember the words that Jesus spoke. He did not tell us to embrace what is good about what others believe and make it a part of what He has taught us. He told us to baptize them and to teach them to follow Him.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

Unless something confirms Jesus as the only begotten Son of God, then it is a false religion no matter how much humanity wants to embrace it.

He did not tell us to be like the Sadducees. They were more concerned with social issues and politics than they were about religion. Too many of our churches today preach social issues and do not focus on the saving grace that is available through Jesus. Jesus did not command us to do this. He commanded us to baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. He also taught us to teach people to obey everything that He taught. Jesus often criticized the Sadducees because they ignored God and focused on social and political issues.

He did not tell us to be like the Pharisees. They were more focused on God’s Word, yet they placed equal authority on human tradition and oral histories. Jesus often found fault with them.

Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”
Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:

“‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules.’”
(Matthew 15:1-9 (NIV))

What have we been told about embracing other gods? What have we been told about intermingling? What have we been told about embracing the world?

and after they have been destroyed before you, be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods, saying, “How do these nations serve their gods? We will do the same.” You must not worship the Lord your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the Lord hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods.
(Deuteronomy 12:29-31 NIV))

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
(Romans 12:1-2 (NIV))

Too many people who call themselves Christians have lost site of what we are called to do. Too many embrace the world and water down what Jesus came into this world to accomplish. Jesus did not die on the cross so that we can embrace other religions and gods!

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
(Matthew 5:13 (NIV))

Jesus calls us to be the salt and light to the world, yet we allow the world to trample all over us! Too many so called members of the Body of Christ are preaching and teaching things that are contrary to what we have been commanded.

Do you teach what Jesus commanded or do you teach the world’s agenda?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Whose kingdom do you belong to?

October 8, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
(Mark 13:8 (NIV))

I am sure that everybody is familiar with this passage. It is often quoted and many people read it and wonder what God is unfolding. I know that many people have their own understanding of this passage, but I came across something that caught my attention. When this was written, nation against nation did not mean the political and geographic boundaries that we think of. Nation against nation meant different people groups would rise up against each other. To put it in terms that our modern society has adopted, race would rise up against race. There will be hatred and fighting between the different races of humanity.

Sadly, we are seeing way too much of just that in our society and in our world. It is even coming from so called preachers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

There is something else that came to the forefront while reading this passage and that is in relation to kingdom against kingdom. Many people believe that this is what is referring to what we call countries. I believe that it is referring to this, but I also believe that it has another meaning.

Jesus referred to the kingdom of heaven. Satan was given dominion over the kingdoms of this earth. If you look at kingdom against kingdom in this manner, then we see the kingdom of Satan rising up against the Kingdom of Heaven. We see this every day in the way that good is called evil and evil is called good. We see this with the killing of Christians simply because they profess a faith in Jesus. We see this in far too many aspects of our society, most of which have rapidly become the norm. Satan’s kingdom is rising up against God’s Kingdom.

Take heart. Look up.

Keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

Birth pains are upon us.

If you have looked at any of the prophetic signs, you know about the moon turning to blood and the signs in the heavens. I know that we are told that we cannot know the hour or the day, but it sure feels like the season!

Whose kingdom do you belong to?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Just whose yeast is changing whom?

October 6, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.”
(Galatians 5:9 (NIV))

The Body of Christ is supposed to change the world just as yeast, when added to dough, changes the dough.

Sadly, the world has recently had more changes to the church than the church has had on the world.

Just whose yeast is changing whom?

The world says that evil is now good and good is now evil. I know of several “churches” that are now accepting this evil as part of their teachings. The world says that God is love and they leave out the reason that Jesus came to this earth and the need to repent. The world says that because God is love, there is no hell. If that is the case, then why did Jesus have to die? The yeast of these teachings has changed the church.

It is said that Satan is the father of lies. He knows God’s Word and he can twist it to the point where it sounds correct, but with one minor lie. Even if it is 99% true, it is still a lie. Satan can use that 1% that is the lie to trick and trap people. Test everything against God’s Word. Don’t let the wrong yeast get into your dough and make your life change in the wrong direction.

Be careful of what you put into your life. Just like with yeast, it only takes a little sin to make your life something bloated and unrecognizable. Allow the yeast that is God’s Word to work through your life and wait for the beauty that God will make through you.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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