Whose acceptance is more important to you?

November 22, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“I do not accept praise from men, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?
(John 5:41-44 (NIV))

Ouch! That hurts.

Would Jesus say this to us today? Have we become like the people that He was condemning in this passage?

Many claim to be part of the Body of Christ, but do our actions reflect this? Do we seek acceptance from man more than we seek acceptance from God? Do we look to people who are accepted by man and think that they must be Godly for they have been blessed with fame and fortune? How do we look upon Christian music artists and mega-church pastors? Do we praise them for their fame or do we listen and discern what they are saying with respect to God’s Word?

It doesn’t only apply at the grand scale. It can apply to a local congregation if we seek acceptance from one another instead of from God. Please do not confuse this type of acceptance with what we are called to do as a church. We, as the Body of Christ, are called to accept people as Jesus accepted people. We are not called to place the desire to be accepted by people above accepting Jesus.

After we have done something that the Lord has called us to do, do we seek acceptance from our friends, family and fellow members of the Body of Christ? I honestly believe that the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector has merit in our ways of seeking acceptance.

    To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: `God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
    “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, `God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
    “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
(Luke 18:9-14 (NIV))

When we seek acceptance from anyone else but God, we are trying to exalt ourselves. We are prideful. We want everybody to know who we are and what we have done. Is this how Jesus told us to serve?

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
(Matthew 6:2-4 (NIV))

We can seek the acceptance of man or we can seek the acceptance of Jesus.

Whose acceptance is more important to you?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can we face the world with humility?

August 13, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.
(1 Peter 5:6-7 (NAS))

In today’s society it is hard to be humble, even when you desire that with all of your heart.

Humility asks us to place others first and think of ourselves as a servant. This is a fine line to balance upon when you must always present yourself as the best in what you do just to be able to make a living.

No matter what the world may ask of us, though, we must always keep our eyes focused on Jesus and remember that what God has given to us through Jesus cannot be achieved on our own. When we reflect on this, then the worldly side of us will come face to face with the humility that God desires for us, for we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you faithful to God’s plans?

December 5, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

O LORD, you are my God;
I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
you have done marvelous things,
things planned long ago.
(Isaiah 25:1 (NIV))

If God has done marvelous things that He planned long ago, why do we wait impatiently for Him to do things in a hurry? Why can’t we get on God’s timeframe?

Human nature is an interesting thing. We are created to be in the image of God, yet our perspective is very limited. We desire to see and do marvelous things, but we expect them in a timeframe that is very short. We expect to see instant results. We, who grew up knowing fast food and credit cards, expect things without having to work for them or wait for them. In essence, we are not a patient creation. We want everything and we want it know.

If you have children, then you are willing to admit that you know that lifestyle expectancy. I propose, though, that all of us are like that. It is what drives us to strive for things that we want. It makes us build houses. It makes us start businesses. It makes us buy new cars and new toys. All too often, these things are done without knowing the consequences of our actions.

God plans. He planned the whole of creation. He planned man. He planned the crucifixion. He planned the resurrection. He planned salvation. He planned on saving us through grace. He planned on the blood of Jesus Christ washing away our sins. He planned all of this from the beginning of time. All that we can do is plan what we want to do and hope it happens. God plans what He is going to do and it does happen. Nothing can stop Him.

God has done marvelous things. He is planning on many more. He even wrote them down so that we could be in on His plans. God is faithful to His plans.

Are you faithful to God’s plans?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How is your faith?

March 27, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

O LORD, you are my God;
I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
you have done marvelous things,
things planned long ago.
(Isaiah 25:1 (NIV))

Many people today don’t even acknowledge that God exists. There are even believers who don’t believe that God is in control and that things that are happening in this world happen for a reason. Isaiah knew the truth and has written it down for generations to read and learn.

The numbers are staggering! Have you ever considered the number of prophecies that Jesus fulfilled when He came to this earth. His coming was planned by God hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years before His actual arrival. To the Body of Believers, Jesus’ atoning sacrifice is the most marvelous thing that could have ever happened in this world. It was planned long ago.

If God planned the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus, what other things has He planned? All we have to do is read the Bible and we will see page after page of prophecies that have yet to be fulfilled. These pages are alongside the pages of the prophecies that have been fulfilled. Based on this track record of what has been planned and accomplished, we can look forward to the others things that have been planned being fulfilled.

God keeps His promises. God has told us that He has planned marvelous things. It requires our faith to wait to see them fulfilled.

How is your faith? Are you waiting to see what God is going to do?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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