What are we guilty of doing in our churches?

April 16, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When Jesus entered the temple courts, he began to drive out those who were selling. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be a house of prayer’; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.'”
(Luke 19:45-46 (NIV))

We, as the Body of Christ, have a tendency to gloss over the events between Palm Sunday and the Upper Room, but it is crucial to remember one important event in relation to the temple during this time. Jesus made it a point to criticize the established practices of the day. He made it a point to let Jerusalem and all of Israel know that what they were doing in the temple was not acceptable in the eyes of God. They had turned the concepts of prayer, repentance and sacrifice into a business.

I want you to think about this for a moment. Most people who came to the temple came a long way so it was not easy for them to bring animals to sacrifice. As a result, someone started the practice of having animals and other offerings for sale within the outer courtyard. I am sure that these people thought that they were providing a service to their fellow Israelites who had come a long way, but it appears that they were more concerned about helping themselves get rich by charging high prices for their goods. It appears that they were so much more concerned about profit than honesty and righteousness. Jesus saw their hearts and reacted accordingly.

I want you to stop and consider some of the things that we allow to take place within the boundaries of our churches!

As we move from Palm Sunday into Good Friday and then Resurrection Sunday, it is my desire that everyone who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior would take a serious look at their actions and their motives for these actions. It is my prayer that each of us would reflect on what faith in Jesus and church has become. I want you to ask yourself a few simple questions.

Is this what Jesus had in mind when He went to the cross?

Do my actions and my motives glorify Jesus or do my actions and my motives glorify me?

In essence, we need to make sure that we treat the Lord’s house with the same zeal we know that Jesus had for the temple. Are we doing things that would make Jesus chase us out?

What are we guilty of doing in our churches?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you able to hear?

April 10, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
(Revelation 3:6 (NIV))

Have you been hearing some strange things lately?

That may sound like a very unusual question, but if you love the world, your hearing may be dulled. You may not be in-tune to what the Spirit is saying during these times in which we live. Logically, the next thing that needs to be brought up is another question.

Do you believe that the Spirit of God is saying anything to the churches today?

Do you hear the Spirit saying that the world is calling good, evil and evil is being called good?

Do you hear the Spirit saying that people have become lovers of self?

Do you hear the Spirit saying that you have left your first love or that you have become lukewarm?

Ouch!

It hurts when you ask things like this of yourself, but this is where the Spirit works. God calls us as individuals. He looks at our sins as individuals. He looks at our hearts as individuals, but when you are associated with others who are like-minded in sin, then the Spirit speaks differently. Just as He spoke to the seven churches as groups, the Spirit is speaking to us today as groups. He is also speaking to us as individuals. We must hear the Spirit and learn to respond to the Spirit. He may be calling us as individuals out of an existing situation into a new situation and direction if we can only hear what the Spirit is saying. The Spirit is trying to lead if we could and would only listen.

Are you able to hear?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you willing to endure to worship?

December 20, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
(Matthew 2:1-2 (NIV))

Do we earnestly seek Jesus?

Do we go out of our way to find Him and to worship Him?

Would you be willing to travel to the ends of your known world in hope of finding salvation?

In today’s world, it is not uncommon for people to travel further than the Magi did for something that is of little importance. We have churches in every community, yet, many people will never step inside of one. These same people will drive hours to see a favorite sports team, yet willingly ignore the grace and mercy that is there for the taking. Our society may be more technologically advanced, but are we wiser than our ancestors? Are we wiser than the Magi?

We seek superficial rewards!

What is of importance to you?

Do you feel that what the Magi sought was and still is of importance?

Where does it rank in importance to you?

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?
(Mark 8:36 (NIV))

I honestly believe that our society has turned this upside down. We do not care about our souls. We only care about what the world has to offer. We only partake or participate in something if we are guaranteed a reward or a personal gain.

Too bad that the world does not consider gaining eternal life a big enough reward.

The Magi were considered to be wise men. I honestly believe that our modern interpretation of wisdom is all wrong. Wisdom is not worldly knowledge and power. In the eyes of God, this is foolishness. True wisdom comes from seeking God and recognizing what you seek when it does present itself. The Magi brought expensive gifts. They were kings. They were learned men. In their worldly status, they chose to humble themselves and seek God’s Son.

We should willingly do the same. We should seek Him to whom all praise is due.

It is my prayer that we find our true reward through Jesus this Christmas.

What are you willing to endure to worship?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you hearing from the Spirit?

August 28, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
(Revelation 3:6 (NIV))

When John wrote down what he had been told to record in what we now know as the book of Revelation, he was given several messages for the churches. Each of the seven churches mentioned can be equated to an historical period, plus they can be equated to the conditions of almost any church that is in existence today. Each of the churches received a specific message that told them what they were doing right and what they were doing wrong.

How do you think these messages were received by the different churches?

How do you think these messages were received by the individual members of the different churches?

Now, imagine that you heard the following messages about your relationship with Jesus. How would you react?

You are dead. Wake up!

I am about to spit you out of my mouth!

I hold your sexual immorality against you!

Not very pleasant. Would you take it to heart and repent or would you go off in a huff because you got your feelings hurt? I have a little tidbit of information that you may want to consider. If it hurts your feelings, there is probably some truth to what you are hearing! Think about that from your experiences with different churches and pastors. Perhaps it was a passage of scripture that caused your feelings to be hurt. Whatever the situation may have been, remember the following.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
(Hebrews 4:12 (NIV))

God’s Word is not a sugar coated, feel good type of message. Truth can hurt. Are you willing to hear the truth even if it hurts your feelings? Are you willing to repent if the truth requires it?

What are you hearing from the Spirit?

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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What do you call yourself?

September 14, 2016

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 think of Paul as a sinner?

Think about that for a moment. The man whom Jesus appeared to on the road to Damascus considered himself to be a sinner. The man whom we, as Gentiles, owe an incredible debt to for bringing the Gospel to us considered himself to be a sinner. The man who planted numerous churches throughout the known world of his day considered himself to be the worst sinner of all.

How do you see yourself? Do you consider yourself to be a sinner or do you have a holier than thou attitude?

We think that we are pretty good. It is human nature to look at others and point out their sins while we fail to recognize our own. Jesus even taught about this very aspect of human nature.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
(Matthew 7:3-5 (NIV))

Before his Damascus Road experience, Saul may have been a major sinner and persecutor of the church, but he had an experience that changed his life. Saul met Jesus. Saul became Paul. Unlike many people today, Paul did not forget what he had been. He did not forget the sins that he had committed. He never lost site of the fact that if it weren’t for his encounter with Jesus, he would still be lost in his sin. He never lost site of the fact that Jesus didn’t make him perfect and that his own human nature would take him right back to where he had been. Paul did not go around with an arrogance and an attitude of being perfect. He knew that he was far from perfect. He knew that it was nothing of his own doing, but it was by grace that he had been redeemed. Why do many members of the Body of Christ fail to recognize this in themselves? Why do we drive so many people away with our attitudes?

Do you call yourself a sinner?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you listening?

May 18, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
(Revelation 3:13 (NIV))

God desires something from us. Each of us is called to a certain task in our walk with Him. That task may take on varying forms depending on what God has called us to do, yet, each of us has, in essence, the same task. We are to listen and obey.

John was given these words, and many more like it, in what is spoken to each of the seven churches. These words compel us to listen and obey the Word of God. We are to listen and take to heart the instructions that are given to us. Each of the seven churches was given specific instructions on how to correct their walk with God, for no one is capable of walking in perfect righteousness. It is whether and how we accept this correction that decides how well we “hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Are you listening?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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