What are we guilty of doing in our churches?

April 16, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When Jesus entered the temple courts, he began to drive out those who were selling. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be a house of prayer’; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.'”
(Luke 19:45-46 (NIV))

We, as the Body of Christ, have a tendency to gloss over the events between Palm Sunday and the Upper Room, but it is crucial to remember one important event in relation to the temple during this time. Jesus made it a point to criticize the established practices of the day. He made it a point to let Jerusalem and all of Israel know that what they were doing in the temple was not acceptable in the eyes of God. They had turned the concepts of prayer, repentance and sacrifice into a business.

I want you to think about this for a moment. Most people who came to the temple came a long way so it was not easy for them to bring animals to sacrifice. As a result, someone started the practice of having animals and other offerings for sale within the outer courtyard. I am sure that these people thought that they were providing a service to their fellow Israelites who had come a long way, but it appears that they were more concerned about helping themselves get rich by charging high prices for their goods. It appears that they were so much more concerned about profit than honesty and righteousness. Jesus saw their hearts and reacted accordingly.

I want you to stop and consider some of the things that we allow to take place within the boundaries of our churches!

As we move from Palm Sunday into Good Friday and then Resurrection Sunday, it is my desire that everyone who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior would take a serious look at their actions and their motives for these actions. It is my prayer that each of us would reflect on what faith in Jesus and church has become. I want you to ask yourself a few simple questions.

Is this what Jesus had in mind when He went to the cross?

Do my actions and my motives glorify Jesus or do my actions and my motives glorify me?

In essence, we need to make sure that we treat the Lord’s house with the same zeal we know that Jesus had for the temple. Are we doing things that would make Jesus chase us out?

What are we guilty of doing in our churches?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you thankful to praise and serve the Lord?

March 8, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

O Lord, I am your servant; yes, I am your servant, the son of your handmaid, and you have freed me from my bonds! I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord. I will keep my promises to the Lord in the presence of all his people, in the house of the Lord, in the heart of Jerusalem. Praise the Lord!
(Psalms 116:16-19 (NLT))

How do you see yourself in relationship to God?

It is true that we are bought by the blood of Jesus and we have been saved from the laws of sin and death, but we owe God a big debt of gratitude for what He has done for us. We have been rescued from certain eternal death.

In many cultures, if someone rescues you or saves your life, it is said that your life is no longer yours. It is owed to the person who saved you. If we take that same philosophy with the salvation that we have been given, then the life that we live is also not our own. We owe it to God. We owe it not out of an attitude of slavery and bondage, but out of an attitude of hope and gratitude.

We have been given the greatest gift that we could ever conceivably receive. This gift literally saved our lives. As a result of that salvation, we should rejoice in the grace we have been given. We should seek ways to serve the One who saved us. We should be thankful and give Him praise for what He has done. We should desire to please Him in all that we do.

This type of servanthood is one performed out of love and gratitude!

Are you a joyful servant?

Do you seek to praise God for what He has done for you? Do you share that joy with others?

Are you thankful to praise and serve the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your house built upon?

January 22, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
(Matthew 7:24 (NIV))

If you have ever built something, no matter how big or how small, what was the first thing that you did? What was the first step you undertook to make sure that your endeavor would be successfully completed?

If you are in school studying to achieve a career goal, the first thing that you do is build a solid foundation of the basics in the subject that you are interested in. If you are the athletic type, you study and get the best equipment and learn how to properly use it so that you have a solid physical foundation upon which to build? If you are an architect or a structural engineer, you work diligently to make sure that the building has a solid base upon which to rest.

I hope that you are starting to pick up on the concept that Jesus presented, for it applies to all aspects of life. Why, then, do we tend to forget that we need to build a solid foundation of faith? You can say that you believe, but unless you dive headfirst into God’s word and into the teachings of Jesus, do you truly even know what you believe? Sadly, far too many people in this day and time spend a few minutes cherry-picking a few passages and make false assumptions on what it means to profess that Jesus is their personal Lord and Savior. They are eager to say that they believe, but when presented passages that actually present the truth, they walk away. They did not build a firm foundation.

Jesus also presented this concept in another way through the following passages.

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
(Matthew 13:1-9 (NIV))

No matter how you understand the concept, either good soil, firm foundation or building your house upon the rock, it all is the same. If you do not build your life and your faith upon the truth of Jesus, then it is built on shaky ground and will not last.

What is your house built upon?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to tell others about Jesus?

August 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

At the end of seven days the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked man, `You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself.
(Ezekiel 3:16-19 (NIV))

We bear a great responsibility as believers. We have been instructed to

Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.
(Mark 16:15b (NIV))

If we know the truth and do not share it, then we are to be held accountable for the loss of the people we have not told.

Jesus paid a great price in order to save us from our own sin. Should we not be willing to tell others of this great price and how we receive the rewards? This does not seem like such a great thing to ask in return for what we have been given.

God places us in people’s lives in order for us to witness to them. We can either witness for Jesus or we can be a witness of nothing. If we witness for Jesus, it is up to the individual to receive or reject Him. If we do not witness, they may never have the opportunity to hear the Gospel, and then their fate will be our fault.

I have seen some friends do some radical things to their appearance. When asked why they did these radical things, they replied that they are using it to “break the ice” with others in being radical for Jesus. Are you willing to be radical in order to bring someone to Jesus?

Are you willing to tell others about Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you allow into your house?

March 21, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not bring a detestable thing into your house or you, like it, will be set apart for destruction. Regard it as vile and utterly detest it, for it is set apart for destruction.
(Deuteronomy 7:26 (NIV))

Would you bring a wild, rabid animal into your house?

Would you allow a thief into your house?

Would you allow an elephant into your house?

I think that it is safe to assume that the answer to all of these questions is a resounding “No!”

No one in their right mind would allow such destruction, such danger, into their homes. Ironically, we think nothing of doing just that with respect to our lives and to our bodies. Our bodies are our earthly shell, our earthly home, while we walk this earth. In addition, if we have invited Jesus into our lives, our bodies are much more than just our earthly shell.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
(1 Corinthians 6:19 (NIV))

If this is the case, why do we bring detestable things into our lives when we claim to be followers of Jesus?

We rightly turn away from murder and stealing. We turn away from drugs and alcohol. We turn away from many detestable things that are clearly visible, but yet, we allow many detestable things into our lives that are just as dangerous, but are not glaringly obvious. Why do we allow greed, envy, anger, and lust to take up residence? Why do we allow hate, pride and ego to have free reign in our lives when there is something so different that we should be letting in?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22 (NIV))

What do you allow into your house?

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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What is your one thing that you seek?

September 11, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.
(Psalms 27:4 (NIV))

Collectively, we ask for so many things of the Lord. Most of the requests seems to be physically self-serving. We ask for healing. We ask for a better job. We ask for love. We ask for money. We ask and we ask, but we fail to ask to be considered righteous in the eyes of the Lord!

Do you realize that what David is asking for in this verse is to be considered worthy, to be considered righteous in the eyes of God?

On first reading this passage, that may not sound like that big of a request in the grand scheme of things, but you have to stop and consider that God cannot associate with sin. In order to dwell in the house of the Lord and to gaze upon His beauty, you must be sin free. David was asking God to fulfill His promise of redemption. He was asking God to fulfill His promise to send the Messiah. Later generations knew that the Messiah would come from the house and lineage of David, but it is not understood at what point this promise was made. Did David know of this promise when he wrote this passage? I have read arguments both for and against, but one thing that I do know is that David asked for God’s mercy. He made it a point to seek God.

After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: “I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.”
(Acts 13:22 (NIV))

God found David to be a man after His own heart. God wants to redeem His creation to a full relationship with Him. It makes sense that David would seek the same thing.

What is your one thing that you seek?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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