Are you full of pride?

May 27, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In his pride the wicked does not seek him;
in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
(Psalms 10:4 (NIV))

I have been accused of tooting my own horn before. I have also been accused of having an ego, as I know any and all humans have. Do you know the difference between these characteristics and an ungodly pride?

It is almost as if I can hear the thoughts as you read this. If you are like me, you try not to toot your own horn or let your ego get the better of you.

I have a few questions for you. Have you ever had to go on a job interview? If you have, then you have had to toot your own horn. You had to convince someone that you were the perfect person for the job. You had to tell them of all of your accomplishments. It is hard to do this without tooting your own horn. If you listen to yourself long enough, you start to believe what you say about yourself and then your ego gets in the way. Have you ever had that happen to you?

One more important question that I want you to think about.

When you toot your own horn or let your ego get in the way, do you still thank God for the talents and gifts that He has blessed you with? Do you do so with humility?

I pray that what we call the little things like tooting your own horn and showing a little bit of ego does not grow into something far worse. I pray that everyone who calls upon Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior will be able to acknowledge that all that they have in life are gifts from God the Father and not of their own creation. If anyone crosses that line, they stand a chance of growing into a wicked pride. This pride is what caused Satan to rebel. This pride rejects God and seeks to place itself above God.

It is my prayer that no one ever becomes so prideful that they reject God!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is anyone else tired of groaning?

May 13, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice;
when the wicked rule, the people groan.
(Proverbs 29:2 (NIV))

I don’t know about your thoughts on the current state of the world, but I feel that there is far more groaning going on than I have ever seen in my lifetime!

What does that say about those who are in authority over the people all over the world?

What does that say about the current desires of the people all over the world?

I honestly believe that the current state of the Presidential race in this country is a direct result of far too many people groaning. Whether the groaning is leading us in a direction that God wants us to follow is yet to be seen. All that I can do is pray for God’s wisdom and guidance. I can pray for repentance. I can pray for humility.

To simplify this, I can pray!

We can all pray!

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (NIV))

It is said that when you don’t know what to pray, your spirit will groan in agony and that this is your spirit calling out to God when you don’t know what to pray or how to pray. If that is the case, then I find it interesting that when people are ruled by wickedness, something inside each spirit utters such a heartfelt cry to God that it is the purest of prayers that we could ever lift up to God.

I am in no means trying to be political. What I am trying to be is godly in my thoughts, actions and prayers. Sadly, for a long time, my spirit has been groaning. We need to humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face and repent!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you doing to confront the strutters?

May 6, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The wicked freely strut about
when what is vile is honored among men.
(Psalms 12:8 (NIV))

Far too many things are no longer looked upon as they should be. Police are in our schools because weapons are there. Those who take the weapons strut around as if they are important. Marriages end in divorce far too often because people no longer are willing to honor their word and their commitment. Unborn children never get to see life because they are looked upon as a choice and not a unique individual created by God. Thousands of innocent people are killed simply because someone does not like the freedoms that we have in this country. Some abuse those freedoms, but the freedoms are there so that we have the right to worship God as we want and not as someone else dictates. In certain parts of the world, these people are looked upon as heroes.

It certainly appears that the wicked are strutting more in recent years. What does that say about our world? Even the very weather seems to protest. Severe floods, fires and droughts seem to be taking over, and that is just in this country. Take a look at the incidents world wide. It seems that all of creation is groaning under the weight of the vile things that are happening. How do we answer this vileness and arrogance? We must turn to God. We must pray.

When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (NIV))

We may not know what is coming tomorrow. We do know that God tells us it will get worse. Even so, we must pray. I honestly do not believe that God placed us here to simply sit back and wait. We can be active for His glory no matter what may come.

What are you doing to confront the strutters?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What good will we be if our light is going out?

December 6, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.
(Acts 17:30 (NIV))

There are many types of things that we can be ignorant of. We can be ignorant of the Law. We can be ignorant of our sin. We can be ignorant of our need for a savior, and we can be ignorant of God’s calling upon our lives.

We can also be ignorant of our need to repent!

This applies individually and as a society.

As I look around, I see evil being called good and good being called evil. Our world is turned upside down. I recently saw that only 49% of our country profess to a belief in Jesus. Sadly enough, in the age range of young adults, that is only about 25%. We, as a society, are rapidly turning and are greatly in need of repentance. How can we, as a society, repent, when the people who feel the need to repent are now in the minority?

There is an old Jewish saying that if the whole world repents, then the Messiah will come. One man sat out to bring the world to repentance. However, he found that the world was too big, so he decided to focus on his country. This, too, was too big, so he decided to focus on his town. He soon found that this, too, was too big. He decided to start with his street. Then his house. He finally decided that he needed to start with himself.

Start with yourself!

We all have things that we tend to push under the rug, so to speak. These things are the sins that we have become familiar with and tend to ignore. In God’s eyes, these sins are no different from the ones that we have a tendency to point our fingers at.

We have become ignorant of our own sins. Have we been focusing so much on the sins that we see in the world that we ignore our own? We need to stop and take a look at our own lives in context. We need to pray that we are following God’s will. We need to pray that we can be that light that the world will see and not a spent candle slowly devouring itself.

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV))

What good will we be if our light is going out?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we listening?

September 20, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
(Revelation 3:22 (NIV))

With all that is going on in the world, what is the Spirit saying to the churches?

Are we listening?

Do we have an ear tuned to the Holy Spirit?

Or are we still focused on the things that center around our own little corner of the world? Do we, as the Body of Christ, even acknowledge the ramifications of what we are seeing unfold right before our eyes?

Some people say that prophecy and the Book of Revelations is difficult to understand. What about the Book of Daniel? It echoes many of the same things as Revelations. With this in mind, have we, as the Body of Christ, forsaken God’s Word with respect to what is to come? We read it and claim that we understand what has transpired. We pray that He will work in our personal lives, yet do we truly see and understand what God may be doing with the big picture?

We are supposed to!

We are supposed to be prepared!

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
(Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV))

How can we be prepared and understand when we focus on the easier teachings and ignore what may be right in front of us.

I do not profess to know what God is up to, yet, we have been instructed to know the season by the signs that Jesus laid out.

Do you know the signs of the season?

Do you know what to look for?

Do you know what to pray for?

It is my prayer, no matter what the season, that each of us will develop an ear to hear the Holy Spirit. You might be surprised at what He is trying to tell us.

He who has an ear . . .

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Even in the face of wickedness

August 2, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Though grace is shown to the wicked,
they do not learn righteousness;
even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil
and regard not the majesty of the LORD.
(Isaiah 26:10 (NIV))

Do you ever wonder why some people just seem to scoff at anything that is mentioned in the Bible?

Lately, there seems to be an outright hatred of anything that has Biblical roots. These people claim to seek tolerance and acceptance, yet, they are the first to be unaccepting of anything or anyone that clings to their faith.

I have seen comments from people wishing that those who profess a faith in Jesus would all die. I have seen comments where they vulgarly rant about what they would like to do to Christians. I have seen things that I thought that I would never see. I call it pure evil when people wish to do vile things to others and show no remorse for their thoughts and actions.

This sadly reminds me of the story of Lot.

The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”
“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”
But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom–both young and old–surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”
(Genesis 19:1-5 (NIV))

Innocence is lost.

That was Satan’s plan all along. Humanity was to lose the innocence and the joy that was theirs. He deceived Adam and Eve in the Garden, and he has slowly worked his way into every aspect of society. We are to the point where faith is ridiculed. There is anger and evil.

“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.
“It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.
(Luke 17:26-29 (NIV))

Noah and his family lived righteous lives in the midst of evil. Lot and his family lived righteous lives in the midst of evil. No matter what may come, we, as the Body of Christ, must not allow the evils of the world to sway us from our faith. We must not allow our imparted righteousness to be taken from us by giving in to the evils of this world.

John Newton was correct. Grace is amazing. It can overcome evil.

We must pray for guidance. We must pray for wisdom. We must pray for the Holy Spirit to give us the words and to guide our actions in hope that those who are lost may be shown the same grace and mercy that we have been shown.

Even in the face of wickedness, we must be the light of Jesus to the world.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t Compromise

June 18, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you.
(Exodus 34:12 (NIV))

How true this is!

The land where we are going is the world in which we live. Every day we face things that we either have to turn away from, or we allow them to have an influence in our lives. What are some of the things that you have allowed to have an influence in your life? Were they as harmless as they appeared to be when they first materialized in your line of sight?

The same warning that God gave to the nation of Israel during the exodus from Egypt still holds true today. We may not face the same issues, but the results can be just as catastrophic in our lives if we give in when we know that we shouldn’t. What seems like a harmless compromise often will lead to issues that we will only live to regret at a later date.

What have you compromised on lately?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Weeds are appearing everywhere

May 23, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter.
(Isaiah 5:20 (NIV))

I know that I have been skirting around this passage for a long time with references to what is going on in the world today. I honestly do not see how people have become so polarized. How they have forgotten the basic concepts of society and the basic principles of a life lived in harmony with God’s desires.

I can remember a time when pregnancy outside of marriage was considered wrong. Now it is a choice and often a reality television show. I can remember when abortion was illegal. Now it is a woman’s right. I can remember when victims could defend themselves. Now they are locked up and the criminal has more rights than the victim. I can remember when homosexuality was not talked about. Now it is supposedly a biological issue. I can remember when freedom of religion meant that you could worship in any manner that you wished. Now it means freedom from religion. I remember when the majority of the population went to church. A vocal minority now has us on tiptoes when the 10 Commandments are posted in a public building. I remember when prayer was allowed in school. Now, we can’t mention Jesus, but we can talk about any other religion freely.

There are many other passages that confirm what Isaiah wrote.

But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.
(Romans 2:8 (NIV))

We are in interesting times.

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 root up 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 14:24-30 (NIV))

Weeds are appearing everywhere.

We, as the Body of Christ, must not fall into the traps that the enemy has set. We must know God’s Word. We must know the enemy. We must be able to tell the difference between good and evil.

Do you call evil good and good evil?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Stand firm and shine our light

May 8, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God– having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
(2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV))

Having a form of godliness but denying its power!

What do you think could be traits that do this? Could it be acknowledging that God exists but not allowing Him into you life? Perhaps it is making money so that you can stockpile it in the bank. Perhaps it is even something else. Whatever it is, we all potentially have at least one of these traits. It could only take a very subtle nudge in that direction to make us fall into the category of people that deny God’s power.

Perhaps it is our busy schedules that keep us on this very edge. We think that everything that we have is by our own hand and that if we do not keep moving, we will lose everything that “WE” have spent our efforts building. Even our very existence seem to deny God’s power in today’s world. Too few of us stop to praise God and to thank Him for our blessings. We have become a society very much like what is written. Perhaps we are too like what is written.

We allow certain aspects of our society to remove God from anything and everything, then we complain about the shape that our society is in.

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV))

No matter what the times may hold, we are to remain constant in our faith. We must share our faith with a dark world. We must be willing to shine our light as a beacon for those who may still be searching. If the last days begin soon, we must be willing to stand firm and shine our light – the light of Jesus that shines within each of us.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Sin, Wickedness and Iniquity

March 7, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”
(2 Timothy 2:19 (NIV))

I saw something today that gave me a better understanding of sin and wickedness. When I understood the difference, chills ran down my spine and tears came to my eyes. The realization of what our world has become is heartbreaking.

Perhaps, it is better to use a different word and translation to describe wickedness.

Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”
(2 Timothy 2:19 (NKJV))

Iniquity.

That sounds like a good Old Testament word that has fallen out of use, but if you stop to think about the difference between sin and iniquity, you may be surprised.

I am certain that you have heard that the word “sin” means to miss the mark. That concept implies that you are trying, but you fall short. It implies that you desire to do what is right but simply cannot achieve it on your own. This is where we, as the Body of Christ, fall.

Have you ever truly looked at the word “iniquity?” Some translations use the word “wickedness.” Either way, the concept is that the person deliberately chooses to do things that are contrary to God’s Will. They simply do not care that what they do is wrong. In fact, they seem to live to do what is evil. It was explained to me that those who are living in this manner do not listen to the truth and will often lash out at those who offer them the truth.

Consider the story of Lot and Sodom.

The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”
“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”
But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom–both young and old–surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”
Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”
“Get out of our way,” they replied. And they said, “This fellow came here as an alien, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.
(Genesis 19:1-9 (NIV))

These men were wicked. They were evil. They did not miss the mark, They deliberately chose to commit something vile and evil. When Lot attempted to stop them, they threatened to do to him even worse than they intended to do to the two angels. They were willing to commit a vile act against someone who spoke the truth simply because he spoke the truth.

Does this sound sadly familiar to anything that we see today?

We have people so engrossed in their evil that they attack those who bring the truth. Has our world’s wickedness, its iniquity, grown so vile that people no longer desire to even do what is right? Think about that and how God has dealt with wickedness and iniquity in the past.

There is a difference between sin and iniquity. It is a matter of the heart. Do you long to do evil or do you long to do what is right?

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