Whose acceptance is more important to you?

November 22, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“I do not accept praise from men, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?
(John 5:41-44 (NIV))

Ouch! That hurts.

Would Jesus say this to us today? Have we become like the people that He was condemning in this passage?

Many claim to be part of the Body of Christ, but do our actions reflect this? Do we seek acceptance from man more than we seek acceptance from God? Do we look to people who are accepted by man and think that they must be Godly for they have been blessed with fame and fortune? How do we look upon Christian music artists and mega-church pastors? Do we praise them for their fame or do we listen and discern what they are saying with respect to God’s Word?

It doesn’t only apply at the grand scale. It can apply to a local congregation if we seek acceptance from one another instead of from God. Please do not confuse this type of acceptance with what we are called to do as a church. We, as the Body of Christ, are called to accept people as Jesus accepted people. We are not called to place the desire to be accepted by people above accepting Jesus.

After we have done something that the Lord has called us to do, do we seek acceptance from our friends, family and fellow members of the Body of Christ? I honestly believe that the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector has merit in our ways of seeking acceptance.

    To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: `God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
    “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, `God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
    “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
(Luke 18:9-14 (NIV))

When we seek acceptance from anyone else but God, we are trying to exalt ourselves. We are prideful. We want everybody to know who we are and what we have done. Is this how Jesus told us to serve?

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
(Matthew 6:2-4 (NIV))

We can seek the acceptance of man or we can seek the acceptance of Jesus.

Whose acceptance is more important to you?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It is time we let the Lord define who He is!

September 3, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”

The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”
(Luke 13:10-16 (NIV))

Do you try to put limits on Jesus? Are you guilty of doing what the synagogue ruler did in this situation?

Instead of praising God for what He has done through Jesus, do you find yourself trying to put your own rules and regulations on what He is doing? Do you find yourself trying to put God into the confines of what you believe He should be instead of letting Him be who He is?

This is human nature. We try to define our limited understanding through things that we do understand. We are all guilty of it.

Consider those who believe in evolution. They cling to something because they want a “scientific” explanation for how life came to be. They cling to what they consider to be logic because they do not want to accept the truth. Their only desire is to be able to clearly define everything based on their own understanding. They want to be able to have things so well classified that they can predict what will happen. They ignore faith for a false knowledge that they have defined. Their definition is not God’s definition. They want definitions that clearly state what can be expected only as long as it meets their version of what can be expected.

What about your definition of God? Would Jesus call you a hypocrite because you fail to see beyond your definition of what can be expected? It is time we let the Lord define who He is!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who is your audience when you pray?

February 13, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“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. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
(Matthew 6:5-8 (NIV))

Jesus spoke many words about prayer. Prayer is important, but prayer must be done for the right reasons. If you are praying so that others will see you pray, then you must examine your motives behind your prayers.

When Jesus said to go into your room and close the door to pray, He knew that people’s true motives come out when they are alone. In public, people put on a different facade, but in private, people become what they truly are. When you pray in private, you are not influenced by what others will think of you and your true feelings will be expressed. When you pray in public, Jesus knew that public reaction, or even the possibility of public reaction, would influence you and that the prayers may even be as a show.

When you pray, be sure that it is not for the entertainment of others.

Who is your audience when you pray?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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.
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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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