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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Pride and arrogance!

October 23, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the LORD his God, and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense. Azariah the priest with eighty other courageous priests of the LORD followed him in. They confronted him and said, “It is not right for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD. That is for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who have been consecrated to burn incense. Leave the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful; and you will not be honored by the LORD God.”

Uzziah, who had a censer in his hand ready to burn incense, became angry. While he was raging at the priests in their presence before the incense altar in the LORD’s temple, leprosy broke out on his forehead. When Azariah the chief priest and all the other priests looked at him, they saw that he had leprosy on his forehead, so they hurried him out. Indeed, he himself was eager to leave, because the LORD had afflicted him.
(2 Chronicles 26:16-20 (NIV))

Pride and arrogance!

How many times have we all stepped over the boundaries that we knew had been established for one reason or another? Everyone has boundaries and limitations that have been placed on them in one form or another. In Uzziah’s situation, he had become king, yet that wasn’t enough. He wanted to approach God directly before that was possible. He attempted to fill a role that God had not planned for him. He wanted to do the job of the priests.

His pride and arrogance caught up with him.

God punished Uzziah for the same sin that caused Satan to be cast out of heaven. Uzziah wanted to be equal to God and proved it through his attempts at approaching God directly. Even Moses was not capable of approaching God directly.

Thankfully, today, we have the ability to approach the throne of God through the redeeming blood of Jesus, yet, I still feel that we have something to learn from Uzziah. God allowed him to keep his position, yet, he lost all of his authority. He was king only in name. If we, who are bought by the blood of Jesus, fall pray to pride, we may be able to keep our position of salvation, yet, we will lose our effectiveness in doing the work that the position calls us to.

How is your pride?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do your thoughts make you unclean?

July 24, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him `unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man `unclean.’ ”
(Matthew 7:20-23 (NIV))

If even our thoughts can make us unclean, then who among us is worthy? All of us are guilty of thoughts that we don’t want others to know about. Thoughts of anger, hatred, malice, arrogance, lewdness, theft, greed, and even murder. Many of these we will never deliberately act on, but they are in our hearts. Only our fear of repercussion may keep us from acting on them. Even the person whom we think is the kindest and nicest person we know possesses thoughts that are not what God desires of us. In other words, our hearts give us away. We sin even though we desire to do what is right.

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, `Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, `Raca, ‘ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, `You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
(Matthew 5:21-22 (NIV))

Even cross words can cause us to fall if we do not have the saving grace of the atoning blood of Jesus to cleanse us. We must not look upon our salvation as a free pass to do whatever we want. On the contrary. It is salvation from what we have done, and if we are sincere about accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, it is salvation from what we might do in error in the future. God does not want us to continue living in our sin. He wants us to allow Jesus into our hearts and allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives. Together, they will remove the unclean aspects of our lives from within.

Turn over even your thoughts to God. Allow them to be cleansed and guided so that they become the desires of God.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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“Luke Warm” commitment

March 15, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV))

Don’t you get tired of people saying that they believe that God created the universe, yet they have trouble with Jesus being the Son of God? Or, they accept certain parts of the Bible, yet reject other parts. How can someone profess to believe, yet reject many of the basics of what that belief should be based on?

Many people have a problem with various aspects of the Bible because of pride, arrogance, ignorance, or insecurity in their lives. For this reason, they pick and choose what they wish to accept. The above passage states that “ALL” Scripture is given by God. If this is the case, then it is necessary to either believe all or nothing!

Those who are selective about their beliefs are usually those who do not wish to allow the Holy Spirit to have access to every aspect of their lives. They give only what they want to give up. They do not totally surrender everything to God. Imagine a professional athlete who does not give all to their sport. They would soon find themselves without a profession, and would also find themselves hopelessly lost in trying to achieve their goals. Now, place that same attitude within someone who professes to believe, yet, only believes what they choose to accept because the rest makes them feel uncomfortable. Total commitment is essential for any activity, or relationship, for that matter, to succeed. This means every aspect of your life.

Remember that it is stated that God despises “luke warm” commitment.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What type of attitude?

August 30, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

This is what the LORD says:
“Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
Where is the house you will build for me?
Where will my resting place be?
Has not my hand made all these things,
and so they came into being?”
declares the LORD.
“This is the one I esteem:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit,
and trembles at my word
(Isaiah 66:1-2 (NIV))

I am going to ask you a very difficult question. I want you to be honest with your answer.

Have you ever had the attitude that God couldn’t get something done if it weren’t for you?

Ouch !!!

If you are like me, your answer probably hurt.

What goes with that type of an attitude? Is it humility or pride? Is it patience of arrogance?

I hate to say this, but we are all guilty of this at one time or another. It is important that we put a quick stop to this attitude and realize that God is in control and that we are not. I know that sometimes, from our limited perspective, it appears that nothing would get done if it weren’t for us. Have you ever stopped to think that maybe God is trying to teach us patience, or that He is trying to teach someone else responsibility?

We cannot presume to know the mind of God, but our human nature wants to tell Him how to run things. God longs for us to learn how to be in a different role in our relationship with Him. He wants us to take a role of a young son in the presence of a wise father. We have nothing to give, except love, and everything to learn. We must realize that God is far above our ways and that we are simply His creation. When we accept that relationship, we begin to learn humility. When we learn humility, we accept the fact that we are sinners in need of grace. When we accept that simple truth, we see ourselves differently. Hopefully, we will soon see ourselves in a relationship with God that has us sitting humbly at His feet, waiting for His wisdom to be perfected in us and not our filthy rags staining Him.

With what type of attitude do you approach your relationship with God?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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