Are you looking to yourself instead of Jesus?

November 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
(Revelation 3:17 (NIV))

Do you consider yourself a follower of Christ?

Do you like to be self-sufficient?

Are you the type of person who has to take care of everything yourself?

Do you feel that unless you do it, it isn’t done right?

Would you rather starve than ask for assistance?

Do you look around and think to yourself that you have your life in order and are prepared for anything that may happen?

Hopefully, everyone who reads this will answer the first question with a resounding “Yes!”

The other questions fall into an area where human ego and pride come into play far too often. To be honest with you, I am guilty of answering these questions with a “yes” more often than I care to admit. Everyone likes to be self-sufficient. Do you feel guilty asking for help? I understand.

For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
(2 Thessalonians 3:10 (NIV))

Everyone has a certain way that you want things done. Everyone would love to have a nest egg to know that they are taken care of. We like to be able to predict our comfort and our future. But is this what God wants?

He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”‘
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
(Luke 12:17-20 (NIV))

In case you did not realize this, Revelation 3:17 is about the church at Laodicea. This is the church that Jesus called lukewarm. He even said that He was about to spit them out of His mouth. They had accepted Jesus, yet they failed to leave the comfort of their physical lives. They thought that they had everything covered. They thought that they were self-sufficient. They thought that they didn’t need any assistance and that everything was in order. The sad part of this is that is was all based on their efforts and not on the strength of Jesus! If we take a look at the next sentence from Luke, we see exactly what will happen to those who fail to look to the Lord.

“This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
(Luke 12:21 (NIV))

Don’t be caught up in your ability. Don’t be so arrogant that you rely on your feeble works. Look to the Lord and grow in your faith.

Are you looking to yourself instead of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What kind of harvest is being produced in you?

May 7, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
(Hebrews 12:11 (NIV))

Discipline is a tough thing to undergo. I don’t know anyone who is willing to admit that they actually like being disciplined. It is human nature to do what we want to do regardless of the consequences. Without discipline, we resort to our fleshly sinful nature.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
(Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV))

Just for the sake of example, is there anyone in your life who exhibits any of these characteristics without any signs of remorse or regret? Are they easy to be around? Are their actions pleasant? Are they always causing trouble? The old saying that you reap what you sow is definitely true. Anyone who sows any of the characteristics of the acts of the flesh will produce a harvest equal to the sinful nature that they exhibit.

What do you consider to be characteristics of righteousness?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Based on these two sets of characteristics, the ones that come naturally lead to sin. The ones that lead to righteousness require discipline, both self discipline and correction from God. Do you find yourself under discipline?

What kind of harvest is being produced in you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Does the peace of God guard your heart and mind?

March 16, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (NAS))

No matter what you may face in this life, there is one constant that you can always count on. This constant can provide a peace of mind when all around you is falling apart.

What can possibly give you peace when everything is going to the dogs?

The assurance that God is in control, and that salvation is yours through Jesus Christ, His only Son.

Do you have a peace about you at all times? Do you honestly want that peace? It is yours for the asking. Simply admit that you are a sinner and ask Jesus into your heart.

Some people experience the peace quicker than others, however, it is attainable. Focus on Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, and the rest will come. The key word is to FOCUS! Do not take your eyes off of Him, for it is through His redemptive blood that we are saved and given this peace.

Does the peace of God guard your heart and mind?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What reward do you deserve?

January 8, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.
(Jeremiah 17:10 (NIV))

Do you ever search your heart and examine your own mind?

Self-examination can be painful!

No one likes to admit their shortcomings, their faults and the sinful nature that holds them captive. Even though we may have professed that Jesus is our Lord and Savior, we still face the issues that we did before this profession. The only difference is that we have acknowledged that we cannot face them on our own. We are to turn to Jesus constantly to help us.

With that in mind, what are your thoughts? What are your deeds? Are they focused on the sinful nature or have you replaced them with thoughts of Jesus?

Without Jesus, none of us deserve anything.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

Without Jesus, we are lost to our sin and will reap the fullness of what we deserve.

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

If you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then your heart should be filled with the things that Jesus desires for you. It should be filled with the things that God desires. We should be like David who was known to be a man after God’s own heart.

When the Lord searches your heart, what will He find?

What reward do you deserve?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Your sins are not so great that grace cannot be yours!

October 20, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.
(1 Timothy 1:15 (NIV))

Do you believe that Paul thought that he was the worst sinner of all?

Does this sound like the man that history has shown to be the one who brought the Gospel to the Gentiles? Does this sound like the man who is responsible for writing numerous books from the New Testament? Does this sound like the man who went to prison for spreading the Gospel?

I realize that all of these things were after his Damascus Road experience. It was this experience that saw a change of heart and a conversion from Saul to Paul. I can understand Paul if he had stated that he had been the worst, especially when you consider all that he had done to persecute the church. Paul did not place his sin in his past. He did not try to say that he no longer sinned. Paul realized that he was human and human nature is sinful, even after accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.

Paul realized that his sinful nature was still very much a part of him!

Paul also realized that grace extended even to him after all that he had done.

He could have given in to the idea that God could not save him after all that he had done. Thankfully, he did not believe this. Paul realized that the gift of grace was freely given for everyone no matter how great the sin. If God can extend grace to someone who persecuted and killed believers, I find it hard to believe anyone when they claim that God can’t forgive them for what they have done.

It is so simple!

Admit that you are a sinner.

Believe that Jesus died for your sins.

Confess that Jesus is the Son of God.

If salvation was freely given to Paul, who thought of himself as the worst of sinners, it can be freely given to all.

Your sins are not so great that grace cannot be yours!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to forgive?

October 10, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
(Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV))

Most people like to ignore this passage because it is difficult to admit that grace received is based on grace that is given. We like to think that it is okay to withhold forgiveness to those who have wronged us. We like to think that we are above what others are called to do. Let’s be honest! Everyone is self-centered. Everyone is prideful. It is human nature to think that we are better than everyone else, and since we are better, then we don’t have to forgive others.

What if God had that attitude in dealing with us?

It would not be a pretty picture. In fact, if you think about this stipulation that we are forgiven in the same manner that we forgive, you begin to see that God is trying to make us realize that we are all in need of forgiveness. We need to forgive each other for the things that they have done to us. No one is perfect and it is impossible to live life without having someone sin against you. It is also impossible to live life without sinning against someone else. No one is perfect. No one is able to claim righteousness on their own.

Jesus taught on this concept many times.

Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.
(Matthew 18:32-35 (NIV))

Are you beginning to understand God’s heart and forgiveness? What is freely given to others is freely given to us!

Are you willing to forgive?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you sarcastically reluctant or are you obedient?

January 24, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
(Luke 5:5 (NIV))

Because you say so!

Those words go against every natural, worldly human reaction that I have ever seen or heard. Perhaps we should think of them slightly reworded to fully understand the sarcastic emotion that they normally convey.

If you say so!

Think back on the last time that you said these words. I would venture to say that they were uttered as a biting, sarcastic comment to something that someone had just told you. Come on! Admit it. We have all been guilty of saying these very words with this very attitude.

Now for the sixty-four thousand dollar question!

Were you ever completely surprised by what happened immediately after you said these words?

Think about Simon. Have you ever stopped to think about his reaction after the events that followed his comment to Jesus? Have you ever heard the saying that he ate crow? Literally, the expert fisherman had to swallow his pride and stand there completely and utterly amazed and confused when a carpenter showed him up. I admire Simon for his attitude. He was willing to humble himself. He was willing to acknowledge that because of his obedience, he was shown something amazing.

He was also willing to take a step of faith and see where that step would take him. He left his boats and nets and followed Jesus.

He became a fisher of men.

That is quite a big change in attitude from what was probably said in sarcastic frustration. I just love the way how Jesus can take our obedience, even our halfhearted obedience, and turn it into something amazing.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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