What are the reasons for what you seek?

October 16, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.
He replied, “When evening comes, you say, `It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, `Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.
(Matthew 16:1-4 (NIV))

Ouch !

I often wonder how Jesus would have answered if they had come honestly seeking the truth instead of seeking to test him. They were asking for a sign to prove to them who He is. They came in their doubt. How would Jesus have reacted if they had honestly came in faith?

Think about that and then think of the following story told in Matthew.

The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, `Go,’ and he goes; and that one,`Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, `Do this,’ and he does it.”
(Matthew 8:8-9 (NIV))

What was the difference in attitude of the people coming to Jesus? What was Jesus’ reaction in both cases?

Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.
(Matthew 8:13 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to think that the way that we approach Jesus actually makes a difference? Have you ever approached Jesus and then later realized that you were testing Him, and not approaching Him in faith?

The Pharisees and the Sadducees came to Jesus seeking a miracle so that they could test him and then decide whether to believe. The centurion came to Jesus seeking a miracle because he believed.

Jesus could see within their hearts. He knew the reasons behind their requests. It was, and still is, a matter of priorities and faith.

What are the reasons for what you seek?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your belief clouded by doubt?

November 8, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
(James 1:6 (NIV))

Why would anyone bother to ask for something if they didn’t believe that it could be attained?

Why would you ask and then vacillate, or waiver, about what you just asked for?

Think about this concept in the following contexts. From a man’s perspective, how would the following scenarios play out in relationship to the two questions above? Would you ask someone to marry you if you didn’t believe that it could happen? What if you asked someone to marry you and then immediately responded with something like, “Never mind! I didn’t mean it!”? Now, suppose that you then asked again and then changed your mind again.

The first scenario shows your lack of faith while the second scenario shows your lack of decisiveness. Both scenarios reflect negatively on you.

Think about this in terms of asking for something from God.

Why ask God for something if you don’t believe that He can or will do it? We have a tendency to place God in a box of our own design and by so doing, we limit Him to our understanding. If God spoke everything into existence, what makes you think that He is limited in His response to you?

Why ask God for something if you can’t decide what you want to ask Him? We are told that we should approach God with confidence.

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
(Ephesians 3:12 (NIV))

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
(1 John 5:14 (NIV))

With this in mind, let’s take this one step further. When we approach God in confidence, we are told that this is the very definition of faith.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

We must rest assuredly on the promises that we have been given. We must have faith that when we seek God’s will and when we ask for something in confidence according to His will, that it will be done. We must not be clouded in doubt?

Is your belief clouded by doubt?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready for the return of Jesus?

May 6, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
(John 14:1-4 (NIV))

This passage presents several questions for those who profess a faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Your answers may surprise you!

First, I need to lay a little ground work. If you are familiar with traditional Jewish weddings, once the bride was betrothed, or engaged, the bridegroom would then go back to his father’s house and start to build or prepare a room for he and his bride. When the room was finished, he would come for his bride. This is reflected in the parable of the lamps and the oil. No one knew the day or the hour the bridegroom would come for his bride. She simply knew that at some point in time, he would return for her.

Does this sound familiar? It sounds identical to the promises that Jesus made to His bride, the body of believers.

Do you trust in God?

Do you trust in Jesus?

Do you firmly believe that Jesus is preparing a place for you?

Do you know beyond doubt that Jesus will return for you?

I want you to think about the following passage and what it has to say in regard to those who are not ready.

“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
“Later the others also came. `Sir! Sir!’ they said. `Open the door for us!’
“But he replied, `I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’
(Matthew 25:10-12 (NIV))

One last and very important question for you!

If you believe and answered “Yes” to the previous questions, and you are not ready, what does that tell you will happen?

Are you ready for the return of Jesus?

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

March 1, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot see. God gave his approval to people in days of old because of their faith.
(Hebrews 11:1-2 (NLT))

What is faith?

Perhaps I should ask it in this manner: What is faith to you?

If you are like me, faith has always been a vague concept where you probably confused faith with a wish. There is a very big difference, or at least there should be.

When you wish for something to happen, in most cases you realize that it is a long shot and will probably never happen. People make wishes all of the time such as “I wish I could win the lottery!” I want you to be honest with yourself and tell yourself what you think the odds are of this ever happening to you. They are probably astronomically high.

If a wish is what people think of when they think of faith, then what is the real meaning of faith?

Do you have faith that you will wake up in the morning, or is that still a wish?

Do you have faith that you can retire when you reach 65, or is that still a wish?

Do you have faith that the sun will rise in the morning?

What is it that you have faith in? What in your life are you confident beyond all doubt that it will happen? Is there anything in this physical life that you are confident of?

Besides my faith in God, I can say that I have faith in myself. I know beyond all doubt that I will fail to live up to my standards and, more importantly, I will fail to live up to the righteous standards that God has established for everyone who has or will ever live. I have faith that I will fail my God. I also have faith that God sent His Son, Jesus, to save me from my failures, my sins, and all that I have to do is accept the gift that was freely given on the cross!

I am so overwhelmingly glad that my faith in the redeeming power of Jesus is ultimately far greater than the faith that I have in my failure. I have faith that the redeeming blood of Jesus has saved me and I will see Him face to face.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is it that you ask of God?

August 27, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, `Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. ”
(Mark 11:22-26 (NIV))

Prayer is the foundation of our faith. Prayer is more than just asking God for what you want in this world. It is a conversation with The Father. You can tell Him all of your concerns, ideas, and doubts just as you would your best friend. The more that you talk to God in prayer, the closer you become to Him in your thoughts and actions. Then, when you petition God for something in your prayers, it will be within His Will to grant it.

All too many people believe wrongly that God sits in heaven waiting to grant us whatever we want. God will give us good things, but He will not give us something that goes against His nature.

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:11-13)

God can only grant good things to His children. He is not capable of granting evil things. When you petition God, petition for things that are of God and from God, and not for things that are of this world. Remember Solomon. God told him that he could have whatever he wanted in this world. He asked for wisdom and God granted him this, plus much more.

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

July 2, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
(Deuteronomy 30:19-20 (NIV))

These words were spoken long ago. So long ago that it has now become popular for many “scholars” to doubt that these words, or any other word from the Bible actually ever were spoken. What they doubt is not really the fact that these words were spoken, but the fact that there is truth behind them. A truth far greater than any truth humanity can fathom or create or our own.

Too many people have a hard time believing that there is a God, for they do not want to be accountable to anyone but themselves. They want to continue to believe that whatever they do is all right as long as it makes them feel good. God gave us words to the contrary. He gave them to Moses on Mt. Sinai. If you follow these words, you are promised life. If you do not, you are faced with death. Humanity is not capable of following these words to perfection. We are not capable of following them for more than a few minutes before we stray from their path.

How can we have life if we cannot follow the instructions that lead to life? God has given us a savior. He has given us someone who can, and has followed them to perfection. He has given us His Son, Jesus, to be our intercessor.

We now can choose life and know that our choice will be a true choice. We have a savior. We have a perfect intercessor who has taken all of our imperfections and removed them from us. We now have life and all of the promises that God has given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Doubt is a serious crippler of faith!

September 26, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.

When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked.

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, `Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
(Matthew 21:18-22 (NIV))

Doubt is a serious crippler of faith. Jesus knew that what He commanded would be done. Yet, the disciples did not understand. Doubt can steal the blessings that God wishes to give us. Do you believe that God can be trusted? Do you believe that God never changes? Do you believe that Jesus was sent of God? If you answered “Yes” to these questions, then there is no room for doubt. Doubt comes from the enemy to deceive us and confuse us. Hold fast to what you know to be true.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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