What is in your heart?

October 13, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man `unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man `unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him `unclean.’ ”
(Matthew 15:16-20 (NIV))

Do you actually listen to the words that come out of your mouth?

Perhaps you are like most people. Most of us have a tendency to listen to what other people say and criticize their words instead of truly listening to what we are saying. We have a tendency to think that the words that we utter are blameless and have no wrong associated with them. Oh, if we would only listen to what we are saying!

Jesus was correct in teaching us that what comes out of the mouth makes us unclean, for it truly is a reflection of what is in our hearts. There is a saying that we should think before we speak. All too often we simply open our mouths and let out the first thoughts and words that arise. We have hoarded these thoughts and made them the treasure of our heart. Accordingly, because they are the treasure of our heart, they are the first thing on our mind and therefore the first thing out of our mouths. Is your heart’s treasure unclean? We must find a new treasure.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

We must bury the old treasures and replace them with the treasures that are important to God.

What is in your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What makes you unclean?

March 14, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a man can make him `unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him `unclean.’ ”
(Mark 7:14-15 (NIV))

Jesus knew that what goes into a man can not change his heart. What comes out of a man is a reflection of the heart. If unclean thoughts, words or deeds come out of a man, then his heart is unclean and nothing that goes into a man can change that.

From a worldly point of view, it is true that we must wash our hands and anything that we put into our mouths, but this “dirt” does not change a person’s heart. It may make them sick for a day or two, but it will not make their heart unclean. An unclean heart comes from being around sin and not distancing yourself from that sin. An unclean heart comes from holding grudges and being angry against others. An unclean heart comes from resentment. An unclean heart does not come from what we physically put into our bodies. It comes from what we spiritually put into our hearts, and then let grow there without being removed. It then comes out through our thoughts, words and actions.

Be careful what you put into your heart, for it is what can make you “unclean.”

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you see yourself?

November 15, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: `God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, `God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
(Luke 18:10-14 (NIV))

Do you compare yourself to other people? Do you find their faults and fail to recognize the faults that you possess? Are you grateful that you are not like they are? Brace yourself ! Here it comes! Do you congratulate yourself on not being like others?

I know that these are painful questions, but they are questions that we must ask ourselves. We don’t want to get so full of ourselves that we think our set of filthy rags make us more righteous than someone else and their set of filthy rags. Even worse, we don’t want to get to the point where we think that we don’t have any filthy rags.

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))

Once again it is a matter of attitude. We must not elevate ourselves to the point that we feel that we are better than others. We must see ourselves as the reflection truly is. We must see ourselves as the sinful creature that is in need of grace and mercy. If we see ourselves as anything else, we are lying to ourselves. We are also trying to lie to God. He sees the truth.

How do you see yourself? How do you see others?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Motives and the heart

September 17, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, `Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, `Raca, ‘ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, `You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
(Matthew 5:21-22 (NIV))

What is within your heart is what you must answer for. Jesus spoke of this principle many times during His time on this earth. It is not what is visible on the outside, but, rather, what is the intention on the inside. This ranges from anger to adultery to any other aspect of your life that is different on the inside and the outside. Remember that God sees the heart and knows your true intentions. You cannot keep anything from God.

You have heard that it was said, `Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
(Matthew 5:27-28(NIV))

Nothing outside a man can make him `unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him `unclean.’
(Mark 7:15(NIV))

Carefully consider your true, inner motives and intentions when dealing with people. How would Jesus classify your actions? Would your motives be clean or would you be in danger of the fire of hell?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Peace in His arms

March 18, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The fruit of righteousness will be peace;
the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.
(Isaiah 32:17 (NIV))

The peace that passes understanding!

Those who do not have it do not understand it.

Think about that for a moment.

Before someone spent the time to tell you about fractions, did you understand them? Before someone spent the time to tell you about the rules to a football game, did you understand it?

Practically anything and everything that we know, we know it because someone took the time to explain it to us. Now, think back upon one of your times. Perhaps it was even the fractions, but there are always things that you just simply don’t want to understand because they make absolutely no sense to you and you have no idea how you would ever use that knowledge.

Many people who do not have the peace that passes understanding are in a similar situation. They do not understand it. They do not understand how anybody can be peaceful even under extreme situations. They do not think that it applies to their lives, so they ignore it.

They can not grasp the concept that with God there is peace, wonderful peace.

Unfortunately, I had a moment today that was not peaceful. It was not righteous. It was not pretty. I had received another peace of bad news that was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. I regret my actions, yet, I know that I am forgiven, and because of that knowledge, I still have peace. If it were not for an acceptance of God’s grace and mercy, my actions, and the actions of all believers, would condemn us. Fortunately, we have grace. We have been allowed to bring God back into our lives.

With that in mind, we were created to have God in our lives. Without God, we have an emptiness, a restlessness that cannot be satisfied. There is an everlasting longing and yearning for this emptiness to be filled. Many try different things to fill it, but, there is only One who can fill it perfectly. God is what we need in order to have this peace.

Righteousness is a benefit of being filled with God.

Peace is a benefit of the knowledge that you are loved. Peace is a benefit of a loving relationship with Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.

With this comes a peace that lets you know that no matter what may happen, all is well, for God loves us enough to have sent His only Son to save us from our sins.

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?
(Romans 8:31 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but I find great peace in knowing that I am safe in His arms.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are your words unclean?

November 5, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
(Ephesians 4:29 (NIV))

What comes out of your mouth?

Perhaps, a different translation says it clearer.

Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
(Ephesians 4:29 (NLT))

We are clearly told that we are to not speak using foul or abusive language. If we can control the tongue, then we are one step closer to controlling the heart. When we control the heart, we are able to follow the teachings of Jesus. We are able to do everything more closely to what Paul told us in Colossians.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men
(Colossians 3:23 (NIV))

If we speak in foul and abusive language, do we truly have Jesus as our Lord and Savior? Do we have the Holy Spirit within us and guiding us? Is this the type of language that God desires for us to use? The foul and abusive words only reflect what is in our hearts.

But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man `unclean.’
(Matthew 15:18 (NIV))

Think about the things that you say. Do they uplift or do they come out as unwholesome talk?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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