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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Will you confess or deny Jesus before men?

August 10, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
(Matthew 10:32-33 (NKJV))

Have you ever been in a situation in which you honestly hoped that the subject of Jesus did not come up? I don’t know if that is the same as actually denying Jesus before men, but it is too close for comfort.

This is a tough saying to deal with, for everyone probably has times when they at least thought about it. Only when your faith has matured do you face the question with a more stable attitude. Even so, everyone likes to think that they would not deny Jesus before men, that they would die rather than deny Him. I pray that this is true, yet no one really can say for certain until they are actually in that situation.

Faith is a strong thing if it is firmly rooted in God’s Word. Self preservation is also a strong thing, and unless faith is stronger, self preservation will win. How can you strengthen faith? Faith is very much like a muscle in that if you do not use it, it atrophies. If you practice acts of faith, your faith will increase.

Do not let your faith “muscle” atrophy from lack of use. If it does, the results may be denial. You will deny God and He will deny you.

Will you confess or deny Jesus before men?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Does the peace of God guard your heart and mind?

March 16, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (NAS))

No matter what you may face in this life, there is one constant that you can always count on. This constant can provide a peace of mind when all around you is falling apart.

What can possibly give you peace when everything is going to the dogs?

The assurance that God is in control, and that salvation is yours through Jesus Christ, His only Son.

Do you have a peace about you at all times? Do you honestly want that peace? It is yours for the asking. Simply admit that you are a sinner and ask Jesus into your heart.

Some people experience the peace quicker than others, however, it is attainable. Focus on Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, and the rest will come. The key word is to FOCUS! Do not take your eyes off of Him, for it is through His redemptive blood that we are saved and given this peace.

Does the peace of God guard your heart and mind?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t let the things of this world distract you from Jesus!

October 11, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, `I am he,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
(Mark 13:5-8 (NIV))

I know that things will get much worse than they are, but I honestly have to stop and make myself realize that what we are seeing could be just the beginning of the birth pains. We see the wars going on in Syria and in the lands surrounding Israel. We see other things, such as the terrorism, going on all around the world. I have seen reports that the main stream media has not and probably will not cover. I have seen reports that the Russian government is telling its citizens to prepare for nuclear war with the US.

I want to remind you that when this was written, a nation was considered a people group. Think about the stressed relations between different people groups in this country. I have also heard reports that this is happening in other parts of the world and it is not simply an isolated occurrence here.

There is something that I want you to consider with respect to kingdom against kingdom. For the longest time, this has been thought to mean actual governmental structures such as the United States and Russia. What if this actually means something more? I can think of two very distinct kingdoms right now that are definitely at odds with each other. One is the Kingdom of God or as some may refer to it, the Kingdom of Heaven. Then we have the kingdom of the prince of the air and this world. These two kingdoms have always been at war with each other since Satan rebelled against God. The attacks from the kingdom of the prince of this world are rapidly escalating to the point where God will soon say enough is enough.

The things that are going on in this world are enough to make anyone cringe out of fear. Sadly for the lost world, things will be getting worse. No matter what may happen, don’t lose faith. Don’t lose hope. We have a tendency to think that this presidential election can change things. I honestly pray that it does, but more importantly, I pray for God’s Will to unfold and not mine.

If the current state of the world makes you fearful, remember that we are not to place our hope in the things of this world. We are to place our faith and our hope solely on Jesus!

Look up!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you love or hate your sinful nature?

May 9, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
(Luke 14:26-27 (NIV))

Ouch! This is painful, yet, this is exactly what we are expected to do.

Do you love the sinful life that you live? Do you love the sinful nature of those who are a part of your physical family? Do you hate the sin that has taken control of the world, and as a result, the very nature of everyone, including yourself?

We live in a fallen world and everyone is saturated in the sin that this world is consumed with. As a result, we can’t truly love what is saturated in sin, including our own lives. We can love the individuals to the point where we care about them and want good things to happen, but our understanding of good is severely distorted because of the sin that we live in. Our understanding of love is severely limited.

I know that I have asked something similar already, but I think that it merits being asked again. Can you honestly love someone if they are saturated in sin? Can you honestly love your own life if it is engulfed in sin? Most, if not all, sin is based on the individual. It takes hold of a person’s heart and makes them the center of their own universe. It turns the individual into the center of their own worship. If we truly love our lives and each other, then we are not capable of truly loving God in all of His perfect glory.

I know that it is human nature to look out for yourself and to love yourself, but I honestly believe that we are being told to hate our sinful nature and make a decision to turn away from our sinful nature. You embrace what you love and you reject what you hate.

What do you think of your life and the lives of those around you?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can your requests be considered a test?

January 27, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus answered, “It says: `Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”
(Luke 4:12 (NIV))

How many of us can honestly say that they have never done this?

It is human nature to try and get the upper hand in all things that we do. We like to come out on top. We like to be number one. We like to get the most out of what we do, or at least to get more than the people that we know.

How many of you, when presented with some fantastic news about someone else’s achievements, secretly think that it should have been you?

If we are not careful, we take this to extremes. To be honest with you, even a little is a sin. We covet what someone else has. Now, imagine if that someone else is God.

Yes, we even try to get the upper hand in our dealings with God. We will beg and plead. We will negotiate. We will do whatever we think that we can if it will mean that we come out on top. We will even go so far as to say something like this, “God, if You will only do this, I will serve you. I will devote my whole life to You.”

Sadly, this type of thing happens more often than we care to admit. I honestly believe that most, if not all, of us have tried to make this type of bargain with God.

If this isn’t testing God, then I don’t know what is. We base our faith on what God will do for us first. We base our faith on what we think that God is good for. We overlook the all important and obvious gift that He already willingly shares with all who will simply accept that gift.

I often wonder how God reacts to our feeble attempts to negotiate with Him. Does He roll His eyes? Does He shed a tear for our ignorance? Does He think that we are fools for asking for something that is trivial, when He has already given us the possibility of eternity with Him?

Think about how you approach God. Can your requests be considered a test?

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