Why do we try to tell God what to do?

April 5, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?
(Romans 11:34 (NIV))

What is it about human nature that makes us want to give advice to anyone and everyone? Why do we think that the world would be so much better off if everyone would simply listen to us? Is it ego, pride, or arrogance that makes us feel that we have all of the answers, or is it a combination of all of these traits and many more? What is so interesting and sad at the same time is the fact that we even do this with God. This is the equivalent of a loaf of bread arguing with the baker who made it. Our perspective, our understanding is nothing in comparison to that of the Lord.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

Who has known the mind of the Lord?

I find that question so laughable since we, as humanity, don’t spend enough time drawing close to the Lord. Through His Word, He has given us insight into His heart and mind, but very few of us spend enough time diving headfirst into this treasure to truly know God. We read something and take it out of context and soon twist it to mean what we think that it should mean. We then point a proverbial finger at the Lord and accuse Him of not doing what we think He should do based on our twisted understanding.

Let’s be honest with ourselves, each other and with the Lord. There is absolutely nothing that we can do or say that will be above and beyond what God has thought. To be perfectly honest, I believe that the following passage, even though it refers to our righteousness, can be applied to our wisdom and understanding.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

Again, I wonder what it is about human nature that makes us want to give advice when we truly don’t understand anything. Why are we so arrogant that we feel that our understanding is far above what it truly is?

Why do we try to tell God what to do?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you desire to love?

March 2, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
(1 John 3:18 (NIV))

How many times a day do you say the words, “I love you.”?

Do you always mean it when you say them?

Do you have varying degrees of meaning behind what you say?

If you are like most people, these words could carry a meaning of anything from a strong like to a feeling of complete and total devotion. We say that we love ice cream. We say that we love puppies. We say that we love our families. We say that we love our spouse. We say that we love Jesus, and we say that we love God. When we say any of these, how do our actions reflect the statement? Do we say that we love puppies and then kick the next dog that we see? Do we say that we love our families and then spend all of our time at work? Do we say that we love Jesus and then use His name as a profanity? Do we say that we love God, yet choose to not spend time in His Word and in His presence?

It is said that talk is cheap and that actions speak louder than words. I truly like the following statement about how we are to convey the greatest love of all.

“Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”
(St. Francis of Asisi)

Gospel means good news. It is the good news of God’s great love for us.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

God loves us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross as an atoning sacrifice to save us from our sins. Even though Jesus was the Word made flesh, it took action on His part to redeem us and to claim us for the truth. God said that He loves us, but He showed us just how much He loves us through actions. Think about that concept as it applies to your own life. What garners more results? Telling someone that you love them, or going out of your way to show them that you love them? The Lord went way out of His way to show us!

We can follow His example and show love or we can simply utter a few words.

How do you desire to love?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you long for His return?

May 16, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
(1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (NIV))

What is on your mind and in your heart?

Do you love the world so much that you forget about Jesus, or do you long for His return? Do you grow tired of seeing the sin that runs freely everywhere you look, or do you see the things of this world and find yourself wanting to participate? Do you long for righteousness and peace or do you dread hearing anything to do with God and His Word?

It is a matter of your personal priorities!

I recently have seen several people who speak about our desires to see Jesus. Most of them have presented a very interesting point with respect to what the church is calling the rapture. I am not going to get into the pre, mid and post arguments, but rather the honest desires of our hearts. Many of these people are espousing a point of view that states that only those who are earnestly waiting for His return will be raptured. I want you to consider two people from the time when Jesus was born. Simeon was a very devout and righteous man. Anna was an old woman who spent all of her time at the temple. Both Simeon and Anna longed to see the coming of the Messiah. In the midst of a nation who was trying to find the Messiah, these two people apparently lived this desire full time and as a result of their longing, they were allowed to witness what they longed for.

I cannot begin to say that I know how God will work, but I do know that, based on His previous track record, He reveals Himself to those who earnestly and fervently seek Him.

With this in mind, do you need to reevaluate your priorities? Do you need to take a long, hard look at your heart and take a look at the thoughts that fill your mind? If God will rapture only those who earnestly long to see Jesus, where does that leave you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you really lack for anything in order to spread the Gospel?

January 25, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
(2 Corinthians 9:8 (NIV))

Do you have all that you need?

Before you answer that question, step back and take a look at your life from both a worldly point of view and then a spiritual point of view. Hopefully, you recognize that the things that you think you need in the physical world are not needs. They are wants.

Has God blessed you with a family? Has He blessed you with a place to sleep and a place to call home? From a worldly perspective, all of us think that we need a bigger house and better cars. We all think that we need more money, but in all reality, what would we do with these things? The more worldly things we have, the more that we think we need to have. We all think that we would be more generous if we had an abundance. Ironically, studies have shown that this is not the case. It is true that there are always exceptions, but for the most part, people who have more are less willing to give freely. They get tied down and bound to their worldly possessions.

Take a look at your life from God’s perspective!

What do you see?

I bet that your understanding of needs are much different if you will only allow yourself to see things from God’s perspective.

Do you have a heart filled with love and compassion for your fellow man? Do you need to fellowship with others?

Do you have a love for God and His Word? Do you need God and His Word? Do you need to share His Word? Do you need to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

All that you truly need is God. If He is your priority, all of your other needs will be met. Don’t get me wrong and take this to mean that I believe that God will take care of us all in the same manner. God will use us where we are to reach out to those around us. He is not going to place all members of the Body of Christ in a single, upscale subdivision and ignore the rest of the world! He needs to have people in all walks of life to be able to minister.

There is an old saying to grow where God plants you. You have been equipped with all that you need to abound in good works where you are.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you someone for whom the law was made?

January 20, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers–and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
(1 Timothy 1:8-11 (NIV))

Everyone knows that we are supposed to obey laws, but have you ever thought about why laws exist to begin with?

It took someone stealing something to make people realize that we needed laws against stealing. It took someone driving too fast to make people realize that we needed laws on how fast we could drive. It took Cain killing Abel to make people realize that we needed laws to keep people from killing each other.

Do you see the trend?

It took someone doing something bad that made others realize that type of bad behavior had to be prevented!

How many people do you know who have to be told not to murder anyone?

How many people do you know who have to be told not to steal anything?

As we are told in 1 Timothy, laws are not made for the righteous, they are made to remind people who don’t follow God and His Word how they should behave. They are made to set boundaries on people who will not set boundaries on themselves. Do you know someone like this? I know that it is human nature to rebel, but do we have to take it so far that we steal, kill and destroy? Does that sound familiar? If you stop to think about it, laws based on God’s Word are designed to make us stop and think about not following the lies of the enemy.

Are you someone for whom the law was made?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you been cleansed and renewed?

October 21, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (KJV))

How many times have you heard this passage quoted or read this passage? If you are like me, you are probably well acquainted with the words contained in this short sentence.

Do you take them to heart?

Do you honestly desire to have a clean heart? Do you want God to search you and to cleanse you of anything that is less than righteous in His eyes? Take a look at your life. Take a look at your heart. What do you find yourself doing when you think that no one is looking or when you are by yourself? Do you need a clean heart?

What about your spirit? It is human nature to have a rebellious spirit. You can blame that on the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. Do you truly wish to get rid of the spirit that was in you at birth? Do you wish to rid yourself of the very nature that has condemned you, along with all of humanity, to an eternity away from God? Hopefully, your answer is a resounding yes.

Let’s be honest. We all need a clean heart. We need to rid ourselves of the things in this life that distract us from what God has called us to be. We need to replace our sinful spirit with a right spirit. We need to focus on God and His Word. We can do that by surrendering our lives. We can do that by professing a faith in God’s Word made flesh. We can accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. We can earnestly seek after God’s own heart.

We never know what tomorrow may bring. It may be too late. With the state of the world, we never know what day may be our last, or when Jesus will come to remove those who earnestly seek to follow Him. Shouldn’t we turn Psalms 51:10 into a daily prayer for our own souls?

Do you want a clean heart and a right spirit?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do we gather or do we sleep?

September 6, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Lazy hands make a man poor,
but diligent hands bring wealth.
He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son,
but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.
(Proverbs 10:4-5 (NIV))

Whenever God speaks through His Word, it always seems to have both a near and a long term impact. When taken literally, this speaks of actual physical labor here on earth for our sustenance. Nothing could be more true.

Take a look at the same passage through “Kingdom Eyes” and it takes on a whole new meaning. When we consider that all who accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior are to be saved, that is grace. Just like the son who sleeps during the harvest is fed by his earthly father, God will “feed” His spiritual son. But that son will not receive a reward for his labors. Those “sons” who work the harvest of God’s Kingdom will be rewarded with positions of authority within Heaven.

The summer of gathering is upon us. Will we gather and prove to be a wise son, or will we “sleep” during the harvest of souls and be disgraceful?

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