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
Subscribe to daily email delivery


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
Subscribe to daily email delivery


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
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Where do you worship?

April 25, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month on the fifth day, while I was among the exiles by the Kebar River, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.
(Ezekiel 1:1 (NIV))

It sounds like Ezekiel was completely overwhelmed with his visions of God. He did exactly as I would do. He memorized the exact time and place that God came to him. I know that I would never forget such an experience, and it is human nature to want to create points of reference so that we can remember our special moments. However, we must be careful not to make the location more important than the encounter.

Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters–one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
(Matthew 17:4 (NIV))

Just like Ezekiel, Peter had an experience where he witnessed something that God desired for him to see. Peter was so moved by the experience that he wanted to build what basically would have been a set of shrines, or places of worship. The only problem is that Jesus knew the shrines would become more important than what actually happened there.

Ezekiel did not dwell on the location. He did not turn it into a place of worship. He knew that God was and is to be worshipped in truth and in spirit.

Take a serious look at your worship life. Have you turned your worship into a routine dictated by a place? Have you become so rooted in your habits that the place of worship is more important than the worship? We must learn not to dwell upon the insignificance of the place, but rather, we must learn to focus on the importance of “Who” we worship. God is not limited to only one place. He is everywhere. We must worship at all times and when we come together on Sundays, we must worship in unity as a single Body of Christ.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Give thanks to him and praise his name

November 28, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
(Psalms 100:4 (NIV))

Thanksgiving!

It is much more than a single day in which we have a tendency to overeat and watch football. It is a lifestyle of praise in which we glorify God and thank Him for all that He has given us. It should be a year round choice instead of an event that is limited to a single day.

What do we truly give to God?

Do we willingly give all that we should?

Do we acknowledge God as the source of all of our blessings?

Do we offer up our praise and thanksgiving to God in a manner that will please Him?

It is so easy to stop giving God the praise and the thanksgiving and simply give up a few hours a week sitting in a church. This is not what God wants.

I will praise God’s name in song
and glorify him with thanksgiving.
This will please the LORD more than an ox,
more than a bull with its horns and hoofs.
(Psalms 69:30-31 (NIV))

Is God pleased with your thanksgiving and your praise?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Take a look at your life of worship

November 11, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When the LORD made a covenant with the Israelites, he commanded them: “Do not worship any other gods or bow down to them, serve them or sacrifice to them. But the LORD, who brought you up out of Egypt with mighty power and outstretched arm, is the one you must worship. To him you shall bow down and to him offer sacrifices. You must always be careful to keep the decrees and ordinances, the laws and commands he wrote for you. Do not worship other gods. Do not forget the covenant I have made with you, and do not worship other gods. Rather, worship the LORD your God; it is he who will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies.”
(2 Kings 17:35-39 (NIV))

As the Body of Christ, we have been grafted into the root of Israel. We are to worship God in the same manner as the instructions that He gave to Israel.

Do we?

Are we guilty of worshipping other gods? If you stop to think about this question, it is very easy to fall into this mindset.

Do you spend more time shouting and praising your favorite football team than you do for the Creator of all things? Do you sit in a church service and watch the clock because you have someplace better to be? Do you spend more time on your boat than you do in worship? Do you spend more time pursuing money than you do pursuing godly righteousness? Are you more concerned with the stock market than you are with where you will spend eternity?

Just what is worship?

I have heard someone say that worship is the act of showing respect and love for God. I have also heard if explained as excessive admiration for someone or something.

Which definition of worship applies to what you practice? Is it the love and respect for God or is it the excessive admiration of something or someone? We have to be careful that we do not cross the line from loving God to admiring something else. When we do, we lose sight of where our worship truly belongs!

Take a serious look at your worship life. Are you overjoyed and desire to praise God or do you sit there with your arms folded thinking about anything else that occupies your mind?

Is worship confined to within the walls of a church building? Do you worship God wherever you may be or do you leave it behind when you walk out the doors of the church? Is this what we are called to do?

With all of the distractions that we have in this world, we need to focus on God.

Worship!

In all things that we do, we should worship God! We should praise His name. We should focus on the one who created all things and gave us life and not focus on the things that God created! The creation will fade. God is eternal.

Take a look at your life of worship.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Are you robbing God?

March 4, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, ” `My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a `den of robbers.'”
(Matthew 21:12-13 (NIV))

It is easy to turn our worship into something less than it actually is. Jesus took one look at the activities in the Temple and got mad. What God had intended for man to use to turn to God had been turned into a business venture. It was supposed to be a solemn act of reverence and atonement, but it had been turned into a venture that prospered a select few.

Think about that.

Do we still have a tendency to do such things? Do we try to turn what should be a solemn and sincere act of worship into something that will benefit us? I think that we have all been guilty of something like this. It is human nature to try and manipulate every situation so that we come out on top. To put this in context of the church, it is easy to see that we could quickly become focused on receiving a little more than the next person. It may not seem like much, but think about the last time that you tried to get on the good side of the preacher at your church. I bet that you can even think about a time when you needed money for a certain function that you were wanting to happen. When we play these games, is it for the glory of God or is it because we don’t want to lose or appear not to be on top? What about the family in the church that is not as well off as everyone else? Do you try to shun them and block the blessings that God wishes to bestow upon them?

You may not actually be making money on your activities, but would Jesus find you guilty of being a den of robbers? Are you robbing yourself? Are you robbing the blessings from others? Are you robbing God?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


%d bloggers like this: