Do you see yourself in this list?

April 24, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
(2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV))

What is it about human nature that makes us want to make lists? What is it about human nature that makes us want to place ourselves right at the top of the lists that we make?

We like to classify and identify almost every aspect of our lives as well as the lives of others. Have you noticed that if someone likes to make lists of the faults of others, they are usually trying to hide their own faults? We like to think that by pointing out the problems in the lives of others, we draw attention away from our faults and make ourselves look much better than we truly are. In essence, we like to toot our own horn! We like to be the center of attention.

Does this sound anything like the characteristics listed in the passage above?

We are told the characteristics that people will possess in the last days. In today’s world, are people lovers of themselves and lovers of money? Are people boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient, ungrateful and unholy? Are people loveless, unforgiving, slanderous, lacking self-control and brutal? Do people love good or are they treacherous, rash, conceited and lovers of pleasure? If you answered yes to these questions, then by logical reasoning, what can you claim is true of the times in which we live?

As previously stated, people like to make lists. God also makes lists. He has defined the characteristics that He despises in humanity and how they will be very evident in the last days. These are characteristics that we do not wish to possess. This is a list that we do not wish to be on.

Do you see yourself in this list?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you able to bring this sacrifice?

November 29, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.
(Psalms 51:17 (NIV))

We all make sacrifices. Some of us sacrifice for our spouses. Some sacrifice for their children. Some people will sacrifice for their jobs and some will make sacrifices for their church, but how hard is it to overcome human nature? It is this human nature that at times makes each of us think that we are the center of the universe.

Does this sound like a broken spirit?

Does this sound like a broken and contrite heart?

The sacrifice that God does not despise is the one in which we come humbly into His presence. It is a sacrifice in which we offer up our humility, our ego and our pride. It is a sacrifice that places our needs and desires much lower than our selfish human nature demands. It is a sacrifice that recognizes that we are not capable of doing anything that will make us righteous in God’s eyes.

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))

It is a sacrifice that places God first and others as equals with ourselves.

To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.
(Mark 12:33 (NIV))

Our sinful human nature makes it so difficult to sacrifice ourselves in this manner, but it is exactly what we must be able to do.

Are you able to bring this sacrifice?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is in your heart?

October 4, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.
(Deuteronomy 6:6 (NIV))

Human nature is a strange thing. We are uniquely created, yet we all suffer from the same maladies. Basically, we suffer from a desire to be the center of our own little worlds. We suffer from a desire to be obsessed with certain aspects that are out of our control. We suffer from a desire to possess things to the point that our desires possess us. All of these things are stumbling blocks to what God has called us to be simply because they become the central focus of our existence. When something takes on this role in our lives, it has our heart, it has our mind and it has our complete existence.

With this in mind, it is no wonder that God told us to place His commandments in our hearts. They are to be the central focus of our lives. When God’s commandments are the central focus of our lives, our lives are complete. They are built upon the solid foundation of God’s truth. Everything that we do will be based on achieving what is in our heart!

Have you ever known someone who coveted money? It was all that they thought about and every action that they ever took was directed at getting more money.

Now, take that example and replace the money with a desire to know God and His commandments and His truth. Everything that is done is done to further that desire.

Each of us have the ability to place a number of things in our hearts. There is always a priority. There is always an ultimate treasure.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

What is in your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you struggle with humility?

April 4, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
(James 4:10 (NIV))

This is so hard to do in today’s world, especially when everybody seems to seek their proverbial fifteen minutes of fame. If you don’t seek recognition, society tends to look down upon you, to think that you don’t matter. I hate to say this, but this type of thinking has even infiltrated our churches. We are guilty of judging our brothers and sisters in Christ through the eyes of the world. We get to the point where we look upon someone for what they can do for the particular congregation or even for ourselves. We even start to look for opportunities to elevate ourselves within our congregations so that we become the center of attention.

It is so difficult to be humble!

Humility is the act of being humble, of being not proud or arrogant. It is also categorized as having a spirit of deference or submission.

Submission ! There is that word that everybody seems to hate. It carries so much negative context that people feel that it is a derogatory and shameful state of being. I venture to say that we have misunderstood how we are to be humble before the Lord because of the negative context that society has placed upon the concept of humility and submission.

Do you believe that God has created you for a specific purpose and calling? Do you fully understand what that purpose and calling is? Just as a young child must earn the trust of his parents, we must earn the trust of God. A child does not receive the full inheritance from their parents immediately. God is the same way. He will not give us more than we can handle. He will not simply dump the full weight of our calling upon us before we are ready to receive it. Humility before God is simply recognizing His authority and waiting for His will to unfold. It places you firmly at the feet of God in a position open and receptive to whatever He may ask or give. This is not a sign of weakness as the world sees it. It is a sign of strength. It is a sign that the person who strives to be humble is not concerned with what the world may think. It is a sign that you have the strength to defy what the world claims we should be.

No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
(Matthew 6:24 (NIV))

Humbleness before the Lord is a sign to the world whom you choose to serve. What does your sign say?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Humility or pride? It is your choice!

October 20, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor.
(Proverbs 29:23 (NKJV))

There is that word again.

Humble.

In the eyes of society, humility implies low self esteem, inferiority, and even a low place in the eyes of man. Being humble before God does not imply any of these. Humility actually means that you are aware of your surroundings and that you realize you are NOT the center of the universe, and that the universe would continue just fine without you.

Humility is not an act of self abuse, but of elevation of others. A truly humble person will always think of others before he or she thinks of themself. It is our pride that tends to elevate us to the point in which we think we are the center of everything.

Humility is the God given trait that makes us realize that we are only a part of the creation and not the Creator. As a part of the creation, we must not let our pride place us as better than any other part of God’s creation, for when God created us, He created all of us to be of equal value in His eyes. We may have different roles to play within His creation, but each role is important and nothing is gained by one of us bragging or boasting. Rather, do the work of God with humility and respect.

Remember the saying, “At all times preach the Gospel. If you have to, use words.” This can only come from a humbleness of heart.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Your heart does not lie!

April 22, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

Your heart does not lie.

Have you ever known in your mind that you should do something only to find that your heart was reluctant to let it happen. Your heart is the guardian of what is truly the center of your life. You may be able to ignore this with your mind and tell yourself that it is not the case, but let something hint at the possibility of getting to what your heart holds dear and you will see a different side of yourself.

If you seek money, then your heart will not let you do anything that goes against that. If you seek God, the same is true.

What do you earnestly seek after and is it in your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready to offer the sacrifice that God seeks?

August 31, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The sacrifice you want is a broken spirit. A broken and repentant heart, O God, you will not despise.
(Psalms 51:17 (NLT))

Have you ever found yourself asking why God would want us to have a broken spirit?

Think about that question for a minute. It may come to you.

Most of the time, a person’s spirit is driven be ego and pride. It is always about them. It is about what they can get and what they can do.

Does this sound like an attitude that God wants us to have?

To God, a broken spirit means that the individual realizes that they can do nothing without God’s guidance and grace.

I can hear the thoughts, Many of you are thinking things like, “What about my career? God has had nothing to do with that.” Or you may be thinking something like, “I pulled myself out of poverty by hard work. God had nothing to do with that.”

In other words, many of you are thinking that you accomplished these things.

Who gave you the talents?

Who gave you the personality?

Who gave you the determination?

And, who gave you life?

We, as part of creation, have no control over many things. In fact, we have control of far fewer things than we may like to admit. When we come to realize that whatever we have in this life could be gone in an instant, that our very lives could be gone in an instant, it puts a whole new perspective on things.

When we stop trying to place ourselves at the center of the universe we quickly realize just how small and insignificant we are. Once we realize this, our hearts are ripe for the harvest. We become a part of God’s plan and not the center of our own.

Are you ready to offer the sacrifice that God seeks?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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