Do you worship like you are truly thankful?

November 28, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then the Lord said,
“Because this people draw near
    with their words
And honor Me with their lip service,
But they remove their hearts far from Me,
And their reverence for Me
    Consists of tradition learned by rote,
Therefore behold, I will once
    again deal marvelously with
    this people, wondrously marvelous;
And the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
And the discernment of their discerning men shall be concealed.”
(Isaiah 29:13-14 (NASB))

Are we guilty of “tradition learned by rote?”

Are our church services merely a series of traditions that we do because they are the way that we learned them? Do we understand the true meaning behind the traditions?

God spoke through Isaiah against meaningless traditions. Judgment was poured out on the descendants of Israel for simply doing “what they have always done.” They had forgotten that these traditions were actually acts of worship. Worship is not the act of doing things because that is the way they have always been done. It is a sincere reverence for God. It is a “thanksgiving” for what God has done for us, and not a series of rituals done in a certain sequence. God wants us to follow the intent of the Law, and not the letter of the Law. Jesus spoke against the Pharisees for following the letter of the Law without following the intent.

Are you bound by tradition learned by rote?

Are you truly thankful?

Do you worship like you are truly thankful?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Sounds like a reason to worship!

April 25, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Clap your hands, all you nations;
shout to God with cries of joy.
(Psalms 47:1 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but it sounds like the author of this passage knew how to praise and worship! It sounds like he also knew how to lead others in worship as well. If someone born long before our salvation came to earth can praise God in this manner, should we not do the same, if not more?

Think about that for a moment. This was written when all that humanity had was a promise of salvation. Now we have seen the promise fulfilled from the virgin birth, the miracles, and to the crucifixion, resurrection and the ascension. We have the great and valuable perspective of looking at all of this after it happened. We claim that we firmly believe that Jesus is the Son of Man and the only begotten Son of God the Father, yet we fail to praise and worship in a manner that conveys that we are the recipients of the greatest gift ever to have been given. All too often we sit for an hour a week among other people who simply sit as well. Where is the praise for what we have been given? Where is the worship of the one who gave it?

Are you thankful for what has been freely given? Are you filled with joy because you have accepted this priceless gift?

I realize that God has created each of us to be unique, but I honestly don’t think that God created any of us to not praise Him and to not worship Him? If we profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we should be leaping with joy for we no longer have to face eternity away from God.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

Sounds like a reason to worship!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you willing to endure to worship?

December 20, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
(Matthew 2:1-2 (NIV))

Do we earnestly seek Jesus?

Do we go out of our way to find Him and to worship Him?

Would you be willing to travel to the ends of your known world in hope of finding salvation?

In today’s world, it is not uncommon for people to travel further than the Magi did for something that is of little importance. We have churches in every community, yet, many people will never step inside of one. These same people will drive hours to see a favorite sports team, yet willingly ignore the grace and mercy that is there for the taking. Our society may be more technologically advanced, but are we wiser than our ancestors? Are we wiser than the Magi?

We seek superficial rewards!

What is of importance to you?

Do you feel that what the Magi sought was and still is of importance?

Where does it rank in importance to you?

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

I honestly believe that our society has turned this upside down. We do not care about our souls. We only care about what the world has to offer. We only partake or participate in something if we are guaranteed a reward or a personal gain.

Too bad that the world does not consider gaining eternal life a big enough reward.

The Magi were considered to be wise men. I honestly believe that our modern interpretation of wisdom is all wrong. Wisdom is not worldly knowledge and power. In the eyes of God, this is foolishness. True wisdom comes from seeking God and recognizing what you seek when it does present itself. The Magi brought expensive gifts. They were kings. They were learned men. In their worldly status, they chose to humble themselves and seek God’s Son.

We should willingly do the same. We should seek Him to whom all praise is due.

It is my prayer that we find our true reward through Jesus this Christmas.

What are you willing to endure to worship?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We should never stop praising our God who loves us!

February 28, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come.”
(Revelation 4:8 (NIV))

Have you ever read this passage and thought that it was easy for these creatures to praise God because that is what they were created to do?

Have you ever come to the realization that we, as humanity, were created to lift up praise to God? We were created to walk with God and to be in fellowship with Him, but that all came to a drastic change when Adam and Eve fell from grace in the Garden of Eden. Because we had sinned, God in all of His holiness, His righteousness, could no longer walk with us and be in fellowship with us. Perfection cannot be in the presence of sin!

I can only imagine how Adam and Eve must have felt after having that intimate relationship with God only to lose it because of a lie.

Thankfully, God had a plan of restoration, of redemption, that would allow us to trade our sinful nature for His righteousness.

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” 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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
(John 3:14-17 (NIV))

In other words, God reached down from heaven with a way to redeem us and bring us back to a loving relationship with Himself. All that we have to do is choose to accept that redemption. We have a choice because God made a choice to send His Son to redeem us to Himself! If that is not worthy of our praise, then I don’t know what is!

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,” should be forever upon our hearts and our lips.

We should never stop praising our God who loves us!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your worship based on?

June 14, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”
(Isaiah 29:13 (NIV))

Are you the type of person who likes to follow a ritual and a routine? Do you freak out if something disrupts that ritual and routine? Who is it that says that you must follow a set order for anything? Do you even bother to ask why the routine is what it is?

Personally, I am a creature of habit, but I like to have a reason for my habits. I don’t like doing something just because everyone else is doing it. I don’t blindly follow a routine just because it has always been done that way. If you truly stop to think about most rules, regulations and routines, they were all started by people who thought that they had a better way to do things. People who all had a similar approach to how they thought things should be done banded together so that they could all do things the same way. Years passed and the reasons became lost, and today, we blindly follow someone else’s plan for doing any number of things.

Sadly, this even extends to the worship of the Lord. People blindly do things simply because that is how it has always been done. It is tradition.

Did Jesus come to tell us that the traditions of the Jewish people were correct as carried out by the Pharisees and Sadducees, or did He come to show us a better way? The Holy Spirit was sent as a guide, as a teacher and as a companion so that we would not lose site of the fact that human rituals, routines and traditions are not what God ordained. We are to worship Him as the Holy Spirit directs.

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
(John 4:23 (NIV))

What time do you have?

What is your worship based on?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will you be someone who will always worship?

April 5, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. When they finished, James spoke up: “Brothers, listen to me. Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:

” `After this I will return
and rebuild David’s fallen tent.
Its ruins I will rebuild,
and I will restore it,
that the remnant of men may seek the Lord,
and all the Gentiles who bear my name,
says the Lord, who does these things’
that have been known for ages.
(Acts 15:12-18 (NIV))

The first time that I read this passage, I missed the implications of this one sentence.

That the remnant of men may seek the Lord!

Perhaps I should use a paraphrased translation.

All the men that are left will seek the Lord!

In other words, those who have rebelled against God will be gone. Only those who are left will be there to worship.

Think about that for a moment. After all that these people will have gone through, they are the ones who will worship, who desire to worship. If they can desire worship after going through all that they must face, how can we desire any less than to worship? It is human nature to do things differently when things are easy and when things are hard. It is my prayer that we, as the Body of Christ in this day and age, do not get complacent and lose our desire to worship.

No matter what we may face, I pray that we will have the strength to be the remnant that will always worship the Lord.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you committed anything to the glory of God?

November 13, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
(Proverbs 16:3 (NIV))

If you wholeheartedly commit what you do to the glory of God, what are the chances that what you do is not righteous in the eyes of God? Think about it. If you place God where He should be in your life and worship Him by committing everything to Him, would you do something that was a sin or would you do something only half way?

When you commit something to God, you give it your all. You give it the best that you can do. Even your best is as filthy rags in the eyes of God, but, because you are willing to make that commitment, God will bless your endeavor because of what is in your heart. After all, God looks at the heart to see the true person. If you commit something to God, it is from the heart and God sees that.

Have you committed anything to the glory of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Confess! Repent! Worship!

October 8, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

They took turns confessing their sins and worshipping the Lord their God.
(Nehemiah 9:3 (NLT))

This passage just stopped me in my tracks!

Do you realize what was going on?

All of the people of Israel were gathered together in one place. They were fasting. They were dressed in sackcloth. They were asking for forgiveness of their sins. It was not just a few people. It was not just the members of one town.

It was the whole nation!

What do you think would happen if our whole nation would gather together and confess their sins? What would happen if everyone worshipped the Lord?

I hate to say this, but I believe that we have become so self centered that we will never come together if we don’t think that there is something in it for us. We are too worried about the personal pronouns me, myself and I to see beyond our own greed, ego and pride.

It is a shame. We know what happens when we, as a people, turn to God.

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 7:14 (NIV))

Even though I find it difficult to believe that something like this could happen, I also believe that nothing is impossible with God. I know that times are strange. Good is called evil and evil is called good. Still, we must pray. We must not give into the world and the prince of the world.

We serve a risen Savior. Whether Jesus comes for His church tonight or one hundred years from now, we must hold fast to the promises. We must hold fast to the hope that this nation can be turned back to Jesus!

Confess! Repent! Worship!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you still making sacrifices to try to achieve righteousness?

June 12, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming–not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
(Hebrews 10:1-4 (NIV))

Law is only a reminder of what we should be like. It cannot force us to be that way. It is only a mirror of what we should be, not what we are.

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
(1 Corinthians 13:12(NIV))

Perhaps it is this dark, poor reflection that makes us think we need to make sacrifices in order to be good enough, to be righteous before God. After all, it is human nature to try to achieve things on our own. We try in our abilities to bridge the chasm that separates us from God while we ignore the bridge that He has built for us. The law keeps us from crossing that chasm. Perhaps we should consider this “bridge” that God has provided and the roadsigns that God has placed for us as the good things that are coming and our attempts at reaching Him as the sacrifices we feel we must make.

Without Jesus, we are kept in the dark of the shadows. With Jesus, we are free to walk in the light and to bridge the chasm between us and God.

Are you still making sacrifices to try to achieve righteousness?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you understand God?

May 14, 2014

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))

Does this still apply today?

Science can track the winds and predict where they will strike. Doctors know what happens each week as a baby grows in its mother’s womb. We have become very aware of our surroundings and as a result, we seem to think that God is not so difficult to understand if He exists at all.

Personally, it appears to me that the more we increase our understanding of these things, the more we should be in awe of how they actually work. We should recognize that they are far too complex to be mere accidents. They are designed.

Do we truly know about these things, or are we blinded to the truth by the limited knowledge that we have gained? We feel that we are in control, but nothing could be further from the truth. We only understand a very limited piece of God’s creation. As a result, I feel that even though our knowledge is increasing, we still only possess a fractional amount of knowledge.

Humanity, in our limited knowledge, is no where near understanding God’s creation, or God Himself. Even if we did understand it all, we should stand in awe of the complexity of God’s creation while enjoying the simplicity of a sunrise or the simplicity of a summer day. God, just like His creation, is both complex and simple.

The complexity of God calls us to admire Him and to worship Him for the wonderful things that He has done. The simplicity of God calls us to repentance, for one simple fact matters the most.

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))

Understanding God is complex in the eyes of the world, but through the eyes of faith, it is simple.

I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.
(Luke 18:17 (NIV))

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