What are you devoted to?

November 10, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
(Colossians 4:2 (NIV))

Human nature is a funny thing. If I asked one hundred people what they are devoted to, I would probably get one hundred different answers. I realize that some would be similar, but, just like the people that give them, each would be unique. No two would be exactly the same!

Some people would say that they are devoted to their spouse. Some would proudly claim that they are devoted to their family. Some would say that they are devoted to their church. All of these are great things to be devoted to, but how many would actually claim that they are devoted to prayer?

Perhaps we should step back and consider what devotion means. One dictionary has being religious as its first definition. On the surface, this sounds very good, but we have to stop and consider that religion is often thought of as man’s attempt to reach God. How many so called religious activities are simply man made rituals that truly don’t have anything to do with devotion. With this in mind, is being religious truly how you want to think of being devoted, especially when you consider what John the Baptist said of the religious men of his day?

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
(Matthew 3:7 (NIV))

This was also echoed by Jesus.

You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
(Matthew 12:34 (NIV))

Personally, I like another definition much better. Devotion is defined as being ardently dedicated. In other words, it is a priority and not simply because it has become a routine. Devotion means a dedication because it is integral to who you are.

What are you devoted to?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who do you speak to please?

March 7, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.
(1 Thessalonians 2:4 (NIV))

Paul wasn’t afraid to say what he knew to be true. I often wonder what he would think of our politically correct society? Perhaps I should take that one painful step further and ask the question that too many of us are thinking. How do you think Paul would react when confronted with our politically correct churches?

I hate to say this, but have we become too concerned with pleasing people, with not telling the truth because it would hurt their feelings?

Did Paul ever hold back the truth because it would hurt feelings?

Let’s go one step further. Did Jesus ever hold back the truth because it would hurt feelings? I’ll give you a little hint. Go ask the group of people whom He called a brood of vipers.

Sugar coating the truth does more damage than it does good.

Imagine that you are in a situation where you come across a group of people who are badly injured and dying. You look around and you see that there is a hospital across the street. Do you calmly tell them to be patient and that they will be all right, or do you tell them the truth?

If you want to live, follow me! I will take you to someone who can save you.

Paul knew the urgency of the words that he had been given to preach. He spoke with the desire to help people find salvation no matter what they may think or feel. He knew that his words would make some people angry. He knew that his words would make some people want to imprison him or kill him.

If given a choice between speaking words that please people of that please God, who do you speak to please?

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

June 26, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.
(Matthew 12:34 (NIV))

Isn’t it interesting that Jesus called these people a brood of vipers. Carefully consider what a viper is and then carefully consider what deceived Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Was Jesus comparing these people and their actions to the actions that deceived humanity and lead us into sin?

Satan was called a serpent in the Garden of Eden. A serpent is simply a snake, however, a viper is a deadly snake.

Was Jesus saying that the words and actions of this group of people were more deadly than those that originally lead humanity into sin? Let’s take a serious look at this concept. Satan introduced sin into the world by saying that man could be equal to God. How can the creation be equal to the Creator? These words and actions that lead to this deception have sentenced every person who has ever lived to live in sin and to suffer for it. In retrospect, I can see how a serpent fits.

Now, consider the people that Jesus was speaking to. He came into the world to bring grace, mercy and salvation from our sin. The people that He was speaking to were speaking what they, in their sin, wanted to be true. They spoke words that were intended to turn people away from the idea that there was a way to attain salvation. Now, consider what is worse, to lead someone into sin or to mislead someone by saying that they cannot escape from their sin. The first trapped us. The second attempts to keep us in the trap that leads to death. We know better than to be lured into staying in the trap of sin, for Jesus paid the price that allowed us to escape from the sin that has shrouded our lives.

Have you done anything that would be considered an act of a viper? Have you done anything that would cause someone to stay in their sin?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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