What are we guilty of doing in our churches?

April 16, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When Jesus entered the temple courts, he began to drive out those who were selling. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be a house of prayer’; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.'”
(Luke 19:45-46 (NIV))

We, as the Body of Christ, have a tendency to gloss over the events between Palm Sunday and the Upper Room, but it is crucial to remember one important event in relation to the temple during this time. Jesus made it a point to criticize the established practices of the day. He made it a point to let Jerusalem and all of Israel know that what they were doing in the temple was not acceptable in the eyes of God. They had turned the concepts of prayer, repentance and sacrifice into a business.

I want you to think about this for a moment. Most people who came to the temple came a long way so it was not easy for them to bring animals to sacrifice. As a result, someone started the practice of having animals and other offerings for sale within the outer courtyard. I am sure that these people thought that they were providing a service to their fellow Israelites who had come a long way, but it appears that they were more concerned about helping themselves get rich by charging high prices for their goods. It appears that they were so much more concerned about profit than honesty and righteousness. Jesus saw their hearts and reacted accordingly.

I want you to stop and consider some of the things that we allow to take place within the boundaries of our churches!

As we move from Palm Sunday into Good Friday and then Resurrection Sunday, it is my desire that everyone who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior would take a serious look at their actions and their motives for these actions. It is my prayer that each of us would reflect on what faith in Jesus and church has become. I want you to ask yourself a few simple questions.

Is this what Jesus had in mind when He went to the cross?

Do my actions and my motives glorify Jesus or do my actions and my motives glorify me?

In essence, we need to make sure that we treat the Lord’s house with the same zeal we know that Jesus had for the temple. Are we doing things that would make Jesus chase us out?

What are we guilty of doing in our churches?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you proclaiming the blessed name of Jesus?

April 15, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
    “Hosanna to the Son of David!”
    “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
    “Hosanna in the highest!”
(Matthew 21:9 (NIV))

I have read this passage many times, and I am fully aware of the events that led up to this as well as the events that follow. We, as the Body of Christ, have the good fortune to be able to see these events in hindsight with a very good understanding of what was happening, but something caught my attention today that made me stop and think!

Let me explain.

We all know that Jesus split time. All that you have to do is take a look at our calendar to understand this concept.

B.C. and A.D. refer only to Jesus!

Before Jesus came into the world, we also had no opportunity for grace. We had no opportunity to be cleansed of our sins. During this time, those in the know were looking for a Savior to redeem us to God. They were looking for the Blessed One who would come in the name of the Lord! They were looking for the one whom the prophets foretold. Since Jesus has come into the world, lived, was crucified, dead and buried, and was resurrected on the third day, we have the glorious ability to call Jesus the Blessed One because He came in the name of the Lord. We have the ability to praise His name because He fulfilled everything that the prophets had foretold!

He now sits at the right hand of God, the Father, interceding for those who proclaim Him as their personal Lord and Savior!

The events that we refer to as Palm Sunday that are recorded in Matthew 21 show us the pivotal moment in which humanity crossed from looking for the one who would come in the name of the Lord to proclaiming the one who has come in the name of the Lord. Those who went before Him in the procession were announcing His coming just as the prophets had announced it. Those who followed after Him in the procession were proclaiming that He is here! That is a job that the Body of Christ should have been doing ever since this event. We should be shouting, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” We should be shouting, “Hosanna in the highest!” Jesus is Lord!

Are you proclaiming the blessed name of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Show others that they can be made new!

April 12, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
(Matthew 9:16-17 (NIV))

Have you become so set in your ways that God cannot do something new in your life? Is your heart so old that it cannot handle anything new?

If you associate physical age with “oldness,” then let me explain something. I have seen very old men and women who have a “new” heart – one that is open to the love, grace and mercy that God has blessed them with and I have seen people who are physically young who have such an “old” heart. It is closed to anything and everything that has to do with God. Fortunately, God has a way of softening hard hearts. He can reverse the aging process that we have applied to ourselves. Just like the old wineskins that would burst if new wine were poured into them, our old hearts must undergo a change before we can fully accept the love, grace and mercy that God so freely gives.

We are those wineskins!

If God were to pour out new wine of His Spirit upon your heart, would it be able to hold it? Would it be so brittle and break because of the new shape that God desires for it to take, or would it bend and accept the changes from within? Just like the new wine changes the wineskin from within, God changes our heart from within. He pours out His Spirit and allows it to flow into the very recesses of our heart. It works slowly and before you know it, just like with the wine, God has soon changed the vessel that He has used to contain His Spirit.

There is no wrong time to open yourself up to the newness that God wants to bring Allow God to use you to show others that He can bring a newness and a refreshing even when the world is saying that there is no hope.

Show others that they can be made new!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will you find shelter in what you seek?

April 11, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.
(Zephaniah 2:3 (NIV))

Human nature is an interesting thing. We like to think that we are complex in our thoughts and actions, but in reality, we are simple in nature. We all have a need for shelter. We all have a need for food, and we all have a need for acceptance and love. Each of us have things that drive us; things that we seek in order to fill these basic needs. One of those needs is the need for love and acceptance. It is said that we all have a God-shaped hole that we are trying to fill in order to fulfill that need. All of our efforts in life are our attempts to fill that hole with something besides what it was intended to be filled with. Some of the things that we seek to fill that hole will lead to death and destruction. Some will lead to pain and misery. Some will lead to fame and fortune, but the most important thing that we can choose to fill that God-shaped hole with is God!

There is an old saying that he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword. In other words, whatever you choose to focus on in your life to try to fill that hole is what will eventually cause your downfall.

There is only one thing that you can seek that will overcome the results of filling that hole with the wrong thing!

Perhaps we should put a new twist on the old saying. Perhaps we should say he who lives by God’s Word, dies to the world and lives in righteousness!

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
(Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV))

In all honesty, we all seek something. Make sure that what you seek is not a quick fix that will lead to destruction.

Will you find shelter in what you seek?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you able to hear?

April 10, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
(Revelation 3:6 (NIV))

Have you been hearing some strange things lately?

That may sound like a very unusual question, but if you love the world, your hearing may be dulled. You may not be in-tune to what the Spirit is saying during these times in which we live. Logically, the next thing that needs to be brought up is another question.

Do you believe that the Spirit of God is saying anything to the churches today?

Do you hear the Spirit saying that the world is calling good, evil and evil is being called good?

Do you hear the Spirit saying that people have become lovers of self?

Do you hear the Spirit saying that you have left your first love or that you have become lukewarm?

Ouch!

It hurts when you ask things like this of yourself, but this is where the Spirit works. God calls us as individuals. He looks at our sins as individuals. He looks at our hearts as individuals, but when you are associated with others who are like-minded in sin, then the Spirit speaks differently. Just as He spoke to the seven churches as groups, the Spirit is speaking to us today as groups. He is also speaking to us as individuals. We must hear the Spirit and learn to respond to the Spirit. He may be calling us as individuals out of an existing situation into a new situation and direction if we can only hear what the Spirit is saying. The Spirit is trying to lead if we could and would only listen.

Are you able to hear?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is what you do beneficial and constructive?

April 9, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive.
(1 Corinthians 10:23 (NIV))

Is it just me, or has our society become overwhelmingly focused on rights? We constantly see things in the news or hear people proclaiming that it is their body and therefore their right. They proclaim that it is their right to love who they want, and that it is their right to do whatever they want.

I think that they have a misconception of what they refer to as their rights!

In all honesty, if you think about it, humanity has had that misconception all the way back to the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve bought into the lie and thought that it was their right to be like God. Ever since then, it has been the mindset that, “It’s my right!

I love the two filters that we are given in this passage. These filters are what we should pass everything through before we even consider taking action on anything that we claim as a right.

1. Is it beneficial? This does not mean that will it benefit you alone? Will other people benefit in such a way that they grow and mature in life, in faith and in community?

2. Is it constructive? Will this build and leave a lasting impact on others or will it demean others and leave destruction in its wake?

These are simple enough questions to ask, but it is the answers that most of us fool ourselves on. We rush to judgment on our rights and actions. We become experts at justifying anything and everything that we want to do, but should we be so quick in doing so? Should we stop and answer these two questions from a different perspective other than our own? Should we look at our rights in relationship to these two questions from God’s perspective? Think about how potentially different the outcome in the Garden of Eden could have been!

Is what you do beneficial and constructive?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you spent time with God today?

April 8, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the LORD heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.
Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
Fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
(Psalms 34:4-9 (NIV))

This paints a very beautiful picture in your mind. It makes you envision a very loving Father who is there for His children. All He asks is that you turn towards Him.

You must seek after Him and He will deliver those who earnestly seek. Your reward will be a radiant peace that passes all understanding. He does not discrimate based on wealth, power, position, age, sex, or any other factor that humanity uses. For those who call upon Him in truth, He will send the Holy Spirit to guide, direct, and protect you from things of the enemy. God wants to feed you with the fruits that are from Him.

It has been said that of the human senses, taste is the most intimate for you actually take something into your body to experience it. We are to taste and see that the LORD is good, for He can provide the sweetness of life that we all seek. We must also fear God. This is not a fear that He will destroy us if we do something wrong. It is a fear that is built on love and respect.

When you love and respect someone, you are fearfull of the consequences of your actions. If you love and respect your spouse, you will not seek after another for fear of hurting them and yourself. If you love and respect God, then you will not seek after another god for fear of hurting Him and yourself. People have given the term “the fear of God” a bad meaning. It has been used to strike terror into the hearts of people, and not instill in them a true sense of the nature of God.

God has told us to “be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10a), yet, how many of us have actually take the time to do this. In any relationship, time alone with the other person is critical.

Have you spent time with God today?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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