Are you too proud to accept God’s gifts?

October 12, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, `Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

“When he came to his senses, he said, `How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

“The son said to him, `Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

“But the father said to his servants, `Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
(Luke 15:11-24 (NIV))

Everybody is familiar with the story of the prodigal son. I have heard someone comment on it in such a way as to shed new light on God’s mercy and grace.

God does not wait until we ask for forgiveness to forgive us. We are forgiven even before we ask for it!

We must ask in order to receive it, but He has already decided that He will forgive us. Asking for forgiveness shows a change of heart on our part and this change of heart prepares us to accept the grace that God has already granted us. Without this change of heart, we cannot accept God’s grace. We do not feel that we need it. It is a matter of pride.

Asking for grace shows that we have humbled ourselves. Sadly, far too many people are too proud to ask for anything.

Grace and mercy are free. We pay the personal price by swallowing our pride when we ask for them.

Are you too proud to accept God’s gifts?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your delight?

June 14, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands are my delight.
(Psalms 119:143 (NIV))

In the events that we face in our lives, I don’t know too many people who can’t claim the first part of this passage as their own for we have all had trouble and distress.

But what about the second part?

Are the commands of God your delight?

Even when we face the troubles that the world throws at us, we should rejoice in the commands of God, for these commands lead us to righteous living and to eternal salvation through God’s only Son, Jesus Christ!

We can either delight in God’s commands or we can delight in the ways of the world. The two are diametrically opposite from each other. You cannot embrace both. You must embrace the one and reject the other. Which one you embrace and make your delight is your decision. Keep in mind that a lukewarm decision for God is the same as a decision for the ways of the world. God does not want you to pick and choose which parts of His Word and commands you wish to follow. You cannot be divided.

If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
(Mark 3:24-25 (NIV))

How do you stand?

What is your delight?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you ignore or embrace Jesus?

June 3, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other:
” `We played the flute for you,
and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
and you did not cry.’
For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, `He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, `Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.” ‘ But wisdom is proved right by all her children.”
(Luke 7:31-35 (NIV))

No matter how God manifests Himself in this world, there will always be someone who claims that His actions are inappropriate. Those who seek to ignore God will always find something wrong or something that they can point to that they use to try to convince themselves that God is not involved in what they are seeing. Jesus encountered people like this all of the time.

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebub. Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you.
(Luke 11:17-20(NIV))

These people are blinded. Perhaps they are blinded by the sin of the world; perhaps by their own ignorance; perhaps even by their own desire to avoid the truth. Whatever the reason, there will always be people who will choose to ignore God.

Even though there will be people who will choose to ignore God, we must do our part to open the eyes of the lost. We do not hold the truth about anyone. We cannot know whether they will ignore God. All that we can do is present God to them in every opportunity that we may be given. If we do not, then we are also guilty of ignoring God.

What would you do if Jesus were to walk into the room at this moment? Would you be like those who choose to ignore Him and claim that He was a demon or would you embrace Him as the Son of God?

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

July 20, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
(Mark 3:24-25 (NIV))

Truer words cannot be spoken, especially when you consider our country and our world in today’s circumstances.

In my lifetime, I have seen things change so rapidly, yet, not all change has been good.

One thing that appears to have changed for the worse is the deep divisions that are now so prevalent between people.

It used to be said that people could disagree and then put their disagreements aside and be friends. Now, if you disagree with someone, it is as if you are personally attacking them. There is too much selfish ego involved and no thought given to the simple fact that we are all human, and no one is perfect. Not a single one of us is right on everything. In fact, I think that I can safely say that most of us are wrong more times than we are right.

Are we so willing to alienate and create division when perfection is out of our grasp?

I understand the desire to create policies that take care of those who can’t take care of themselves. I understand the need to defend ourselves. I understand the need to be responsible to God, to others, and to ourselves.

I understand the need to be good stewards.

We must look upon everything that we have as a blessing from God and not as if it were ours to take and do with as we please.

Have you ever thought how history will look upon us?

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: ‘From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to selfishness; From selfishness to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.'”
– quote attributed to Alexander Fraser Tytler (1747?1813)

I am not trying to be political, but rather bringing something to light. We, as a society have become far too divided, with far too little common ground in the middle. For a country that was founded on freedom of religion, it has now come to mean freedom from religion in the eyes of far too many people. Our ancestors fought to break the bondage that tthey were under. Jesus died to free us from the bondage of sin and death. Why are we headed back into bondage?

This must change.

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV))

It is time to return to prayer and earnestly seek God’s face. We must turn from our wicked ways and pray that God will heal our land. We must pray that the words of Alexander Fraser Tytler, through God’s grace, will not come true.

Although, there is something else to consider.

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 root up 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))

Is the world becoming divided, even polarized, in preparation for this to be fulfilled?

Whether this division is man made or all a part of God’s plan, we, as His church must pray, for without prayer, we are lost.

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