How do you talk to God?

November 19, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
(John 11:41-42 (NIV))

Jesus knew, and still knows, human nature extremely well. When He resurrected Lazarus, He petitioned God verbally with prayer so that those around would hear Him and believe. He did not need to do this. God would have heard Him even if He had not spoken a single word. He would have heard His heart, His Spirit, and His anguish. Yet, Jesus spoke out loud so that those around Him would hear and believe. Everyone knows the outcome of this event.

When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
(John 11:43-44)

When we pray, is it necessary for us to speak out loud? Jesus taught the following:

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
(Matthew 6:5-6)

Prayer is an important part of life. It is a conversation with your Creator, your Father. When you talk to your earthly father, do you do it loudly in a public place, or do you find a private place where you can speak quietly and freely with each other?

How do you think that God wishes for you to talk with Him? How do you talk to God?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you living your life in this manner?

September 10, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
(Romans 12:12 (NIV))

The world has a tendency to throw things at us that make us do things that we wish we wouldn’t do!

How you react during these times is viewed as a reflection of all of Christianity by the non-believing world. The world sees us at these times and judges all believers based on our shortcomings and then they call us hypocrites. What they fail to realize is that everyone is human and we will all make mistakes. The only difference between believers and the world is that we, as the Body of Christ, get judged quite harshly and ridiculed by the world while the rest of the world gets a much lesser judgment from their own.

Think about that for a moment!

The world receives some semblance of grace from those who follow the world, while those who follow Jesus receive judgment from the world. Those who follow Jesus will receive the ultimate grace from God while those who follow the world will receive the ultimate judgment from God. Personally, I prefer to receive grace from God. With this in mind, I don’t mind if the world judges me and ridicules me. I know that I am far from perfect. I know that I will make mistakes, but, I also know that my mistakes, my sins, are covered by the redeeming blood of Jesus. My hope lies solely with Jesus. Because of this, I know that whatever I face in this world is only temporary. I also know that prayer will keep me focused. I do my best to remain joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.

Are you living your life in this manner?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How does that camel taste?

March 13, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
(Matthew 23:23-24 (NIV))

Everyone likes to pick and choose, especially when it comes to following instructions. We all have things that we are good at following. We also all have things that we tend to ignore. We focus on our strengths while we tend to ignore our weaknesses and the things that we aren’t interested in. We think that we can replace our weaknesses with other aspects of our personal traits, but is this really how it works? Can we sit in church and give money while ignoring what Jesus is really calling us to give?

It takes more than sitting in a pew for an hour a week!

In today’s society, if we are aren’t interested in doing something personally, we have a tendency to ignore it or we give a little money to ease our minds. Don’t take the giving of money comment incorrectly. If we give with a true desire to help, then our gifts are true. If we give out of guilt or ignorance, God can and will use these gifts, but our motives are not true. Sadly, we can easily see what we perceive as the motives of others, but we fail to see our own. We give money, but we fail to give justice, mercy and faithfulness.

If all that we do as the Body of Christ is to sit in church and write a check, we are missing the calling that Jesus left us with.

We are to go into the world and make disciples!

We are to love our neighbors!

We are to show justice and mercy!

You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
(Matthew 7:5 (NIV))

We are to be faithful to the things that we are called to do in our own lives. We are to be faithful to all of the things that we are called to do for the sake of the Gospel, and not just the ones that man has said are the priorities! When we do what we normally do, are we straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel?

I have just one question for you,

How does that camel taste?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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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Are you truly as you appear?

October 4, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
(Matthew 23:27-28 (NIV))

Jesus never held back!

Since Jesus was and is able to look at the heart and also know what we are thinking, it is not a big stretch of the imagination to realize that He used this to truly size up the people that He met. Unlike everyone else, Jesus wasn’t fooled by the outward appearances. He could see beyond what someone presented as their public persona and see exactly what was in a person’s heart.

Everyone is guilty of putting up a facade. We want those around us to see us for something that we are not. We want to be seen as more than we truly are. With that aspect of human nature squarely out in the open, would you truly want to have Jesus look at you the way that He looked at the Pharisees? What would He say about you? I just realized that I am pointing the finger at everyone else. I should be asking what would He say about me?

That is a scary proposition!

Are you ready and willing to have Jesus truly tell you about yourself?

Are you willing to hear what He has to say about you?

Are you willing to accept rebuke if that is called for?

Are you willing to repent and seek after righteousness?

Think about that last question for a moment. Have you ever read anywhere in the Gospels where a Pharisee was willing to repent? Have you ever thought about the nature of repentance and how repentance and pride and ego just can’t seem to coexist? We saw that in the Pharisees and we still see it today. Jesus was able to see it.

What does Jesus see in you?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Why do we refuse to see certain things?

April 25, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, `It’s going to rain,’ and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, `It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?
“Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?
(Luke 12:54-57 (NIV))

Why do we refuse to see certain things?

Have you ever been caught completely off guard by an event only to look back upon it with a different perspective? You look back and you see the telltale signs of the impending event that caught you off guard. Let’s face the facts. Human nature is a strange thing. We pay attention to the trivial things in life while we are completely blind sided by the major things.

Take a look at the world in it’s current state. What do we focus on? Is it the price of gasoline and the extra hurt that we feel when we fill up our cars or is it the events of the world where God is unfolding prophecy right before our eyes?

We become so engrossed in our daily lives and what will impact us in the short term, such as the clouds rising in the west, that we fail to see the catastrophic storm that is just beyond the horizon. We fail to judge what we should be paying attention to. We fail to recognize the truth in what we are seeing.

Failing to recognize the truth can be dangerous. We live in a time when people say that truth is relative, but I say that truth is always relevant and unchanging. With the state of the world, we cannot rely upon ourselves to be able to stay true to what is right. We must rely upon God and His Word to guide us. His Word is truth. His Word warns us of these times. We must prepare ourselves for daily life in His Word. We must also prepare ourselves for eternal life in His Word. God gives us insight into what He has planned. We must know God’s timeline of history – the past, the present, and His glorious future.

Can you judge according to God’s Word?

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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