Are you clean on the inside?

February 21, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“”Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”
(Matthew 23:25-26 (NIV))

Have you ever wondered why the examples are a cup and a dish? If you think about these two items, upon first inspection you cannot see inside the cup. Depending on the type of dish, it is either stacked or it is of a shape that also hides what is inside. When you first look at these items, they can appear clean, neat and orderly, but once you take a closer look, the part of the item that actually serves the main function can be so filthy that it is not even capable of serving that function.

Appearances aren’t everything?

It is what comes from within that makes things unclean!

Take a look at your life. What do you show to the world? We all like to put up a good front. Take a look at your heart. Are you harboring anything that is less than righteous in the eyes of God? We all like to look like we are upstanding citizens and model followers of Jesus, but is that true? Is there something on the inside that would surprise your family and friends?

Do we spend too much time polishing our outward appearances and too little time cleaning up the sin that is in our hearts?

Are you clean on the inside?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How can we overcome human nature?

September 7, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
(Colossians 3:5-8 (NIV))

If you are like every single human that has ever lived, you probably read this and come to the conclusion that it would be easier to go live in a cave. The only problem with that approach is that it doesn’t solve the root problems that have plagued humanity since the fall from grace. We would still have our sinful nature, and our sinful nature would run rampant and unchecked in the solitude that we would run to. The solitude would take away the external stimulation, but the root cause would still be there.

On our own, we fail miserably at controlling our sinful nature. If we don’t live it out, we think about it. No one is capable of walking in righteousness because we are all sinners by nature.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

We may be able to escape sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, but we will fail at anger, rage, malice, slander or filthy language. Living in a fallen world with a fallen, sinful nature doesn’t make it easy to walk in the ways that Jesus commands. If you are like me, you can look back on your day and see a multitude of events that you should have taken a different direction. Let’s face it, by the time you wake up, get ready and get out the door, you have probably done things that are better left unsaid. Then, there is the day at work or at school. How many incidents can you count from your last day at work or school? It also needs to be mentioned about family and friends. We seem to lash out at those we love the most. We take out the frustrations of the day on those we see at the end of the day.

I have come to the conclusion that being human is difficult!

We can’t do it on our own. We need help. We need someone to turn to. Someone who has inside track on the who, what, where, when, why and how of being human while still being righteous.

We need Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you realize who you belong to?

March 16, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
(Romans 14:8 (NIV))

Who do you belong to?

Based on Romans 14:8, do you belong to the right master?

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))

In this world, there are other things besides money that can become your master. No matter what it may be, when something becomes your master, you belong to it. Just as a slave used to call the person who owned him or her their master, the thing that owns you is your master.

Is it your job? Is it your authority? Perhaps it is your money. It might even be something completely different than these things.

If something is your master, you belong to it. It has control over you. You do not have control over yourself. With this in mind, whom or what do you want to belong to? Do you want your greed for money to control your life or do you want a loving Savior to control your life. Your greed will only cause grief.

Have you had your share of grief? Who do you belong to?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you clean from the inside or the outside?

January 25, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
(Matthew 23:25-26 (NIV))

Sadly, too many people believe that they must get their lives in order before they come to Jesus or start attending a church. They are focused on the outside. They are focused on the appearances.

They are focused on the symptoms and not the cure!

It is not what is seen on the outside, but what God sees on the inside. Too many focus on the symptoms and overlook the root cause. They overlook the simple fact that they need Jesus!

Don’t focus on the symptoms, which are what is visible. Focus on what is inside. Focus on allowing Jesus to clean your heart!

Woe is an expression of grief, regret or distress. I find it interesting that we are told that those who focus on the outward are subject to woe. We could not have a clearer message that it is not the outward things that are the problem. When you go to a doctor with a health concern, do you want the doctor to give you medicine to mask the symptoms or do you want the doctor to get to the inner root cause of the problem?

Your spiritual life should be the same as your concerns when you have scheduled a doctor’s visit. You must allow the Great Physician to treat the inner sin and then the outer appearance of that sin will disappear.

Do you clean the inside or do you simply mask the outward appearance?

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

October 8, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

They took turns confessing their sins and worshipping the Lord their God.
(Nehemiah 9:3 (NLT))

This passage just stopped me in my tracks!

Do you realize what was going on?

All of the people of Israel were gathered together in one place. They were fasting. They were dressed in sackcloth. They were asking for forgiveness of their sins. It was not just a few people. It was not just the members of one town.

It was the whole nation!

What do you think would happen if our whole nation would gather together and confess their sins? What would happen if everyone worshipped the Lord?

I hate to say this, but I believe that we have become so self centered that we will never come together if we don’t think that there is something in it for us. We are too worried about the personal pronouns me, myself and I to see beyond our own greed, ego and pride.

It is a shame. We know what happens when we, as a people, turn to God.

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))

Even though I find it difficult to believe that something like this could happen, I also believe that nothing is impossible with God. I know that times are strange. Good is called evil and evil is called good. Still, we must pray. We must not give into the world and the prince of the world.

We serve a risen Savior. Whether Jesus comes for His church tonight or one hundred years from now, we must hold fast to the promises. We must hold fast to the hope that this nation can be turned back to Jesus!

Confess! Repent! Worship!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Love

March 10, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
(1 Corinthians 13:6-7 (NIV))

Do you think that your pet sin loves you? Does greed love you? Does envy? Does lust, just to name a few? Will they stand by your side when all else fails you?

These are the very things that the enemy uses to bring you down. Love empowers you. It lifts you up. It seeks after your best interest. The things that the enemy uses to get us hooked are only designed for one thing and that is to make us falter, and eventually fall. Love doesn’t seek our failure. It doesn’t seek out the very thing that is promises and then use it to destroy. Love is many things, but it is not destructive.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV))

Exactly what is evil? Based on these passages, it is easy to come to think of evil as the opposite of love. If we define evil as the opposite of love, then what is love?

We are told that God is love.

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
(1 John 4:8 (NIV))

If God is love, then He is patient. He is kind. He does not envy. He does not boast. He is not proud. He is not rude. Think of Jesus as He walked this earth. It is not difficult to think of examples of each of these characteristics from His time among us. Think of the ultimate gift that He, through His love, gave to each of us. Would your pet sin do that for you? Would the enemy say that you have been tormented enough, I will put a stop to your failures.

Only the love of God rejoices with you. Evil scowls at your victories. It detests when you allow God’s love to shine, so let the love of God shine in you and through you. you will be amazed at the difference love makes.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Unity or envy?

August 2, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
(Ephesians 4:11-13 (NIV))

In the world, it is easy to be overcome by the fact that all people are different. It is also difficult to overcome the desire to be like someone else. If only I could do that . . .

How many times have you heard someone say something like that? How many times have you said something like that?

It is easy to get overwhelmed by someone else’s gifts while overlooking your own. God created each of us to be unique. Do not lust after someone else’s gifts. God blessed you with your own. Find what those gifts are and then use them for God’s work in this world.

If we all had the same gifts, life would be boring. We are all part of the body of Christ. In our own physical bodies, no two parts are the same. The ears do not envy the eyes. Why should we envy other parts of the body? We should work together to do the will of God.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do your thoughts make you unclean?

July 24, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him `unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man `unclean.’ ”
(Matthew 7:20-23 (NIV))

If even our thoughts can make us unclean, then who among us is worthy? All of us are guilty of thoughts that we don’t want others to know about. Thoughts of anger, hatred, malice, arrogance, lewdness, theft, greed, and even murder. Many of these we will never deliberately act on, but they are in our hearts. Only our fear of repercussion may keep us from acting on them. Even the person whom we think is the kindest and nicest person we know possesses thoughts that are not what God desires of us. In other words, our hearts give us away. We sin even though we desire to do what is right.

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, `Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, `Raca, ‘ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, `You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
(Matthew 5:21-22 (NIV))

Even cross words can cause us to fall if we do not have the saving grace of the atoning blood of Jesus to cleanse us. We must not look upon our salvation as a free pass to do whatever we want. On the contrary. It is salvation from what we have done, and if we are sincere about accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, it is salvation from what we might do in error in the future. God does not want us to continue living in our sin. He wants us to allow Jesus into our hearts and allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives. Together, they will remove the unclean aspects of our lives from within.

Turn over even your thoughts to God. Allow them to be cleansed and guided so that they become the desires of God.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Embrace them with the love of God

May 15, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
(Luke 6:37 (NIV))

Why do people have such a difficult time with these simple truths?

Let’s face facts. Can you see someone who looks like they are homeless and not jump to conclusions? Can you see someone who dresses differently than you do and not jump to conclusions? Can you see someone who is covered head to toe in tattoos and not jump to conclusions?

We, as a fallen race, judge without mercy. We condemn without understanding, and we rarely forgive without getting something in return. This is so far from what God created us to be. Our fall from grace took so much from us. Look what it gave to us in return – greed, lust, envy, anger, hatred, and murder just to name a few.

I am thankful that God sent His Son, Jesus, to offer each of us a way by which we could be saved from all that we have earned. Through accepting Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we will not be judged. We will not be condemned. We are forgiven!

Look inside your heart.

What do you see?

Do you see someone bound by sin and quick to judge and condemn, or do you see someone freed from the bonds of sin and death? If you see freedom, then you have embraced God’s forgiveness. Share it with everyone you meet. Astonish them with your lack of judgment and condemnation. Embrace them with the love of God.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God calls us to pray. How often do you answer that call?

November 2, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
(1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NIV))

No matter what the outcome of the elections, this should be the prayer of every believer. We should pray for just what as we are told. We should pray for all of those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

Unfortunately, our society and our world is far from peaceful and quiet. Godliness and holiness seem to be fading from public view. These have been replaced with self-centeredness, greed and lust for power. Gone are the days when people could disagree about things and still be friends. We are becoming a divided society and a divided world.

What caused this division?

Did we wake up one morning and it had changed overnight? We let it happen gradually. We didn’t even see it coming. We can fix the problem. We can pray for those in authority. We can pray for peace. We can pray that God will be allowed back into our public lives.

Regardless of the outcome of the elections, we can pray!

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))

God calls us to pray. He calls us to pray for our leaders. He calls us to pray for our country. He calls us to pray for godliness and holiness. Voting is important, but we are called to do more than vote. We, as the Body of Christ, are called to pray for those in authority.

How often do you answer that call?

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