Why do we try to tell God what to do?

April 5, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?
(Romans 11:34 (NIV))

What is it about human nature that makes us want to give advice to anyone and everyone? Why do we think that the world would be so much better off if everyone would simply listen to us? Is it ego, pride, or arrogance that makes us feel that we have all of the answers, or is it a combination of all of these traits and many more? What is so interesting and sad at the same time is the fact that we even do this with God. This is the equivalent of a loaf of bread arguing with the baker who made it. Our perspective, our understanding is nothing in comparison to that of the Lord.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

Who has known the mind of the Lord?

I find that question so laughable since we, as humanity, don’t spend enough time drawing close to the Lord. Through His Word, He has given us insight into His heart and mind, but very few of us spend enough time diving headfirst into this treasure to truly know God. We read something and take it out of context and soon twist it to mean what we think that it should mean. We then point a proverbial finger at the Lord and accuse Him of not doing what we think He should do based on our twisted understanding.

Let’s be honest with ourselves, each other and with the Lord. There is absolutely nothing that we can do or say that will be above and beyond what God has thought. To be perfectly honest, I believe that the following passage, even though it refers to our righteousness, can be applied to our wisdom and understanding.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

Again, I wonder what it is about human nature that makes us want to give advice when we truly don’t understand anything. Why are we so arrogant that we feel that our understanding is far above what it truly is?

Why do we try to tell God what to do?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What comes from within you?

March 8, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come — sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.
(Mark 7:21-22 (NIV))

Some people say that society has gone downhill. I actually believe that society has simply allowed what is within to be let out without any repercussions.

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

In today’s society, it is possible to find numerous people with like-minded evil thoughts. No matter what the thought may be, there are others who also have them. To be honest with you, people have been experiencing these thoughts ever since the fall from grace. There have always been thieves. There have always been murderers. People have always been greedy and envious. Deceit and arrogance have always existed, as well as sexual immorality and adultery.

What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
(Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NIV))

If this is the case, then why does it seem that we, as a society, are straying further and further away from God’s desires?

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 uproot 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 13:24-30 (NIV))

We are that field of wheat. The enemy has sown weeds within each of us that crop up in our lives and show themselves as what is within our hearts. We can choose to focus on the weeds and ignore the good wheat or we can focus on the good wheat and choose to ignore the weeds. Too many people are focusing on the wrong things and allowing the weeds that come from within to overshadow their lives.

I have heard the following told much more eloquently, but imagine that within each of us there are two wolves – a good wolf and a bad wolf. The one that becomes prominent in our lives is the one that we feed. We all have the potential to do much evil. If we feed that potential, evil will come from within.

What comes from within you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you consider yourself?

August 21, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
(Philippians 2:5-7 (NIV))

Do you ever feel that you are special, that you are of greater value than other people? Do you feel this way about other members of the Body of Christ? Do you find yourself thinking that because someone is not on a certain church committee that you are of more importance than they are? Do you find yourself thinking that because you give more that you are more important than anyone else?

What does that say about your understanding of the Gospel? What does that say about you?

It is human nature to brag and to gloat, but that is not a Christlike nature. We are to overcome the world and do as Jesus taught us. If anyone has a right to brag and to gloat and to be prideful, it would be Jesus. Did he brag about being the Son of God? Did He gloat about being the Word made flesh? Did He ever respond with an attitude of arrogance and pride by claiming to be the Son of God? Jesus, who had every right if anyone ever had a right, was humble and willingly took on the nature of a servant. Why do we, the creation, feel that we have to elevate ourselves and try to make ourselves something that we are not, something that we could never be? Why do we feel that we have to feel superior to everyone else when we are far from righteous.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

Most days I hate being human!

I know that I need to explain this statement. I will start by saying that I love life for it is a wonderful gift. I love family, friends and people in general. It is the fallen, sinful nature of being human that I hate. I see things in the world that I know break God’s heart. I see things in my life that I know break God’s heart.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
(Romans 7:15 (NIV))

When we see ourselves as more important than someone else, do you think that it breaks God’s heart?

How do you consider yourself?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Turn from arrogance and turn to God!

December 4, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
(James 4:7-10 (NIV))

People surround themselves with things that they are comfortable with. Take a look at somebody’s home and you will see how that this is true. If you could take a look at somebody’s heart, you would also see that this is true in spiritual matters. People surround themselves with what they know.

Closely examine what you have surrounded yourself with. Is it Godly or is it worldly? The two are opposite extremes. You cannot be surrounded with worldly matters and still be able to focus on God. You cannot walk the middle ground between the two. It is time to break out of the comfort zone and focus exclusively on one.

By focusing on God, you will resist Satan, and, as the verse claims, he will flee. A relationship with God is like a relationship with anyone. If you are willing to become friends with someone, they are more receptive. The more that you learn about the other person, the more that they will learn about you. Do not present the world with an arrogant attitude, for that attitude is from the devil.

Turn from arrogance and turn to God.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God, have mercy on me, a sinner!

July 8, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: `God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, `God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
(Luke 18:10-14 (NIV))

This brings up one simple but very painful question to answer.

Do you feel that you are better than others?

Ouch! Yes, I asked it.

As sinful, prideful and arrogant human beings, each of us has felt this at one time or another. It is human nature to self gratify. We like to look at others and compare our sins to theirs so that we feel better about ourselves. Why do we like to put others down in order to make ourselves feel better? Sadly, we never learn. Arrogance and pride are traits that seem to surface all of the time, yet, humility is one that we have to work to even see the light of day.

One thing that we need to learn from this passage is that God does not compare us with anyone else. He created each of us to be unique. The only thing that He looks at is whether we are being the unique person that Hen created us to be. Are we living our lives in sin or are we seeking after Him in all that we do?

I am far from perfect. I find myself comparing to others, but I always find the realization that my sins are enough to condemn me. It is at this point that I realize that I am not any better than anyone else. I am simply forgiven because I have called upon the name of Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior.

It is a matter of the heart. It is a matter of sincerity. It is a matter of willfully choosing to follow Jesus. We all make mistakes. It takes a humble person to admit the mistakes and repent. That is what the tax collector did.

God, have mercy on me, a sinner!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can you fully accept His assurance?

March 19, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.
(Proverbs 19:20 (NIV))

No one wants to admit that they do not know everything, and in some cases, anything. It is hard for people to accept instruction.

Perhaps, it is for this reason that many people never accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. They are not willing to admit that they are not perfect and need help. An ego is a terrible thing when it keeps you from God. An ego is not from God. Take a look at Jesus. He had more right than anybody in history to boast and be full of pride and arrogance, yet, he was exactly opposite of what the world would have expected. Even though he was the Son of God, He always accepted and followed the instructions from God the Father even to His death upon the cross. You may say that He knew that death would not be permanent and that He did it because He was assured of what would happen. This is true. Now, take a look at your life and what Jesus has promised you. Did He not say that if you believe in Him then death would not be a permanent situation for you?

You have the same assurance that He had, yet, do you live as He did?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Embracing evil is a rejection of God!

December 9, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and depart from evil.
(Proverbs 3:7 (NKJV))

Too many times in our society, we, as the Body of Christ, tell ourselves that it is only a small thing that we put up with. We tell ourselves that we must do it in order to have a job and put food on the table. Satan has tricked us into a permissive state in which he tells us that it is only a “little white lie” and no one will be hurt by it, after all, if you don’t do it, someone else will.

Evil comes in many forms. Some may even appear to to be for the good of a specific group of people.

Do not be deceived!

Evil, even when wrapped in the guise of being politically correct is still evil!

We, as the Body, should do all within our power to defeat the enemy at every chance we get. We should not be willing to compromise our faith to make a dollar simply because it is a good opportunity and if we don’t do it, someone else will. We should depart from evil no matter how enticing it may be according to the world’s standards. More importantly, we must run to God’s Word and embrace everything that it teaches, and not simply just what supports our position on any given spiritual issue.

Departing from evil without accepting God’s grace and mercy is no different from simply departing from evil. Without accepting God’s grace and mercy freely given to us through His Son, Jesus, we still belong to Satan.

Is it possible to accept God’s grace without departing from evil?

Just what is evil? It is a deliberate rebellion against God. Sin is defined as missing the mark that God has established for us to aim for. Evil means that we don’t even try to hit the target. We go off in a direction that is completely against God. Isn’t that arrogance and pride? Isn’t this what resulted in Satan being cast out of heaven?

Embracing evil is a rejection of God!

God cannot associate with sin. If you willingly embrace what God calls evil after supposedly accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior, how can you take part in God’s grace? Calling upon the name of Jesus is not enough! We must turn from our evil ways. Calling upon the name of Jesus is not a free ticket to sin. It is a plea of guilt and a humble desire for Jesus to change us.

“Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV))

I have some questions for you to think about in relationship to these thoughts.

Can a murderer accept Jesus? Can a person continue committing murder and truly follow Jesus?
Can we continue to steal? Can we continue to commit adultery? Can we continue to lie? Can we continue to curse God? Can we continue to lust after something or someone?

Can you knowingly commit things that are called evil in the eyes of God and enter the kingdom of heaven?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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