Are you looking to yourself instead of Jesus?

November 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
(Revelation 3:17 (NIV))

Do you consider yourself a follower of Christ?

Do you like to be self-sufficient?

Are you the type of person who has to take care of everything yourself?

Do you feel that unless you do it, it isn’t done right?

Would you rather starve than ask for assistance?

Do you look around and think to yourself that you have your life in order and are prepared for anything that may happen?

Hopefully, everyone who reads this will answer the first question with a resounding “Yes!”

The other questions fall into an area where human ego and pride come into play far too often. To be honest with you, I am guilty of answering these questions with a “yes” more often than I care to admit. Everyone likes to be self-sufficient. Do you feel guilty asking for help? I understand.

For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
(2 Thessalonians 3:10 (NIV))

Everyone has a certain way that you want things done. Everyone would love to have a nest egg to know that they are taken care of. We like to be able to predict our comfort and our future. But is this what God wants?

He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”‘
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
(Luke 12:17-20 (NIV))

In case you did not realize this, Revelation 3:17 is about the church at Laodicea. This is the church that Jesus called lukewarm. He even said that He was about to spit them out of His mouth. They had accepted Jesus, yet they failed to leave the comfort of their physical lives. They thought that they had everything covered. They thought that they were self-sufficient. They thought that they didn’t need any assistance and that everything was in order. The sad part of this is that is was all based on their efforts and not on the strength of Jesus! If we take a look at the next sentence from Luke, we see exactly what will happen to those who fail to look to the Lord.

“This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
(Luke 12:21 (NIV))

Don’t be caught up in your ability. Don’t be so arrogant that you rely on your feeble works. Look to the Lord and grow in your faith.

Are you looking to yourself instead of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you faithfully answered this call of duty?

July 11, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.
(2 Timothy 2:4 (NIV))

I have a few things for you to consider.

As a spouse, what should be your priority? What happens if you become entangled with other relationships?

As a parent, what should be your priority? What happens if you become entangled with things that take you away from your children?

Now that I believe that we can agree on determining priorities and the consequences of ignoring what should be our priorities, I have one more question for you to consider.

As a follower of Christ, what should be your priority? What happens if you become entangled with things that distract you from Jesus?

Let’s face it. Just like a soldier should strive to please his commanding officer, we should strive to please Jesus. In both situations, we are to be obedient to the instructions that we are given. We are to focus on the mission that we have been given. Failure to do so could have dire consequences. As a soldier, failure to obey could mean the physical loss of life. As a follower of Jesus, failure to obey our one objective could mean that someone is eternally separated from God. What is our one objective?

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
(Matthew 28:19 (NIV))

Are you on mission or are you entangled in things of the world? Have you faithfully answered this call of duty?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you embraced your new job description?

July 10, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
(1 Peter 2:9 (NIV))

If you have ever been employed, you have probably been given a job description. Have any of them ever sounded so full of promise and hope as the one that we have been given as a follower of Jesus? Even your dream job in this world falls drastically short of this new calling, this new job description, that we have been given.

Think about that for a moment. Let it sink in!

How would your resume be received if you put the words from this passage on it? Everyone wants to be part of an elite group. Even in a fallen world, being able to rightfully claim that you are a member of a chosen people should catch someone’s attention. What about being able to claim that you are part of royalty? What about convincing people that you are special and set apart as holy? I realize that this sounds like we, as the Body of Christ, are bragging, but we aren’t bragging about anything that we have done. Nothing of our own has been able to place us into this special job description. It was only because of the grace and mercy freely given to us at the cross that any of us can claim these traits. Sometimes I think that members of the Body of Christ fail to see ourselves the way that God sees us. We see ourselves as sinners, as filthy rags with no value. Because we know where we have been, we fail to embrace where we are called to be. We fail to embrace how God sees us and to where He is calling us.

Have you embraced your new job description?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t get caught up in the moment!

July 9, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
(Romans 8:18 (NIV))

Have you ever faced ridicule or suffering because you proclaim a faith in Jesus?

How did you react?

Did you hold your head up high and proud because the enemy has identified you as a follower of Jesus or did you turn tail and try to hide? Did you stay true to your beliefs or did you change course with the slightest sign of trouble? Do you hate the idea of any type of discomfort in this life and simply hope that an hour on an occasional Sunday will not come up on the enemy’s radar?

If these questions didn’t make you stop and think about the sincerity of your faith, then perhaps these will!

Do you possess a bold faith in Jesus? Are you willing to stand your ground on the behalf of Jesus when confronted by the enemy? Think about that for a moment. Jesus was more than willing to stand His ground on your behalf when confronted by the enemy. He was willing to step out of heaven and face a few years of suffering so that each of us could have an opportunity to experience salvation. Shouldn’t we be willing to face ridicule and suffering from the enemy because we have accepted this? If you truly stop to think about this, the attacks make sense. Before Jesus came into the world to bring grace and mercy, legally all of us belonged to the enemy due to sin. We have been redeemed! In essence, the legal claim that the enemy had over us has been made null and void. He is angry. He will do anything and everything to make us reject God’s grace and mercy! He will attack anyone who professes a faith in Jesus in an effort to make us change our mind.

In the grand scheme of God’s plan, these attacks are only momentary in comparison to all of eternity that we will gain. Don’t be so focused on the things of this world that you trade eternity in heaven for comfort in this world!

In other words, don’t get caught up in the moment!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you thankful to be called a Christian?

April 10, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
(1 Peter 4:16 (NIV))

Have you ever faced anything simply because you are a believer in Jesus?

Perhaps I should ask if you have ever been in a situation where you would have suffered if it was known that you were a Christian? Think about that for a moment as you answer the following. Did you withhold the fact that you were a Christian or did you deny that you were a Christian? There is a difference! Regardless of how you handled yourself in that situation, do you regret not standing up and identifying as a follower of Jesus? Do you feel that you have abandoned Jesus through your actions and words?

Consider Peter.

He denied Jesus three times during the events between Jesus being arrested and being taken to Pilate. All of us can put ourselves into the events and justify the actions that Peter took that night. In all honesty, it is not told in detail how Peter truly felt. We can only imagine what Peter was facing within himself as these events transpired and afterward. What we do know is that after the resurrection, Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him. Peter was able to put his shame behind him and accept the grace that Jesus was extending to him.

Think about that!

Peter denied Jesus three times. He had seen Jesus beaten so badly that He was not recognizable. Peter had seen Jesus crucified, dead and buried. The guilt of his denial of Jesus must have been unbearable. Even after Jesus arose, what was Peter thinking? Was he thinking that Jesus would never forgive him for what he had done? Was Peter thinking that he had committed something so bad that he would be condemned to suffer for all eternity?

Grace is amazing!

What Peter did discover is that Jesus forgave him. Three times he was asked if He loved Jesus and three times he responded that he did. I can almost imagine that with each response Peter gave Jesus, the burden of guilt was being lifted until it was completely gone!

That is what Jesus does! He lifts the burden of guilt and replaces that burden with a joy that comes from knowing that all of your sins are forgiven! There is nothing greater to give thanks for.

Are you thankful to be called a Christian?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do your heart and your mouth profess the same thing?

April 4, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
(Romans 10:10 (NIV))

Have you ever known someone who says one thing with their words and a completely different thing with their actions?

Sadly, the old saying that talk is cheap is true. We can say just about anything with our mouths while we do the exact opposite with our hearts and our actions. It is very true that what we keep in our hearts is who we really are. It is also true that the heart will give us away when our words will not.

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

If you profess with your mouth a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, does your heart profess the same thing? Do your actions prove that you are a follower of Jesus? Do your actions shine the light of Jesus to others? Do your actions preach the Gospel by living the example that Jesus called us to live?

Preach always. When necessary, use words.
(attributed to St. Francis of Assisi)

Our heart for Jesus should control our actions especially since actions do speak louder than words. Our actions are a direct result of what is in our heart. If what we say with our words is not the same as what we say with our actions, then Paul was correct.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
(1 Corinthians 1:13 (NIV))

Do your heart and your mouth profess the same thing?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you ask the Lord for boldness in the face of threats?

March 9, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.
(Acts 4:29 (NIV))

Most people hate confrontation and would rather avoid it at all costs. In fact, most people who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior have this false understanding that we are to avoid confrontation. Too many people believe that being a follower of Jesus means that you are to be passive in the face of threats.

So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
(John 2:15-17 (NIV))

Does this sound like Jesus was passive?

Why does the world believe that those who follow Jesus are to be passive?

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

It is true that Jesus told us to turn the other cheek, but that was in respect to personal attacks and showing love in return. We are to love the Lord!

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.
(Matthew 22:36-38 (NIV))

When you love someone as strongly as we are told to love the Lord, then it is human nature to speak up when we see someone doing something wrong to them. For those who have families, would you sit idly by and watch a group of people do harmful things to your children? You would be bold and step in to defend them. And, no, I am not saying that we have to defend God. What I am saying is that we should be bold about pointing out that people are doing something contrary to what they should be doing. If that means that we speak the truth of the Gospel in the midst of threats and danger, then we need to ask the Lord for boldness.

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
(2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV))

Do you ask the Lord for boldness in the face of threats?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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