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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What Jesus did for you was personal!

March 2, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
(Hebrews 9:27-28 (NIV))

Many people believe that we are getting closer to the second time that Jesus will appear. This second appearance will not be anything like His first appearance on this earth. The first time, He came to teach and to save. The second time, He will come to gather together those who have placed their faith in Him. He will also come to judge those who do not place their faith in Him!

It is true that He will bring salvation to those who are waiting on Him. Seriously look at your heart and make sure that you are part of this group, for He will also come to judge those who have not called upon Him as their personal Lord and Savior. This judgment can only mean one thing for those who are in this group of people. They will face eternity cast away from God.

I cannot think of any greater anguish than to be eternally separated from the Creator, the one who intimately loves me in spite of all of my flaws caused by sin. He loved me so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to pay the punishment for my sins so that I could be with Him eternally. Perhaps you have never thought about it on a personal level before, but it is true. If there had only been one person to ever need salvation, Jesus would have come to save that one person. What if that one person had been you? He would have died for your salvation. Now consider that He did die for your salvation. What He did, He did out of love for each and every one of us. Salvation is a personal commitment between God the Father, God the Son, and you.

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))

Personalize this and consider what Jesus did for you.

For God so loved (YOUR NAME) that he gave his one and only Son, that if (YOUR NAME) believes in him, (YOUR NAME) shall not perish but have eternal life.

Does it take on a different meaning to you? I pray that it does.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God’s Word is the only judge!

January 27, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.
(John 12:47-50 (NIV))

Did this passage catch anybody off guard?

Think about that for a moment.

How many people, including believers, have this notion that Jesus is to be our judge? This is easy to come to this false realization if you picture Jesus as He is during the Second Coming. We see Him dishing out justice on the world as He defeats the armies of the world in the Valley of Megiddo. Still, He is not the judge. There is one piece of information that we fail to bring to mind.

Jesus is wielding the Word of God as His sword. It is the Word of God that judges.

Perhaps we should think of Jesus as our defense attorney, and I know that I need one.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

For those who call upon His name, Jesus is our Lord and savior. He is our defense attorney for when we stand before God to be judged. He knows God’s Laws and our sins, and He will stand in the gap for our benefit. He will claim the true believers as His own.

He will get our sentence pardoned.

Looking back at this passage, would you rather have Jesus as your judge or defense attorney?

I know that I want Him on my side.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Now for the good news!

November 12, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; it is he who will save us.
(Isaiah 33:22 (NIV))

Our deeds cannot save us. Our good works cannot save us. We cannot do anything to rectify us to what God created us to be. We have failed miserably in our sin. We have fallen far short of guiltless in the eyes of our judge, who is the One who created the laws. We cannot escape the punishment for our judge knows the laws that we have broken intimately. He also knows us in all of our sinful nature. We have been judged and found guilty. We have been condemned by our sinful nature and have been sentenced to eternal separation from God.

Now for the good news!

Even though we have been found guilty by the One who made the laws, He has had compassion upon us and has given us a means to escape the sentence that we face for our sins. God knew that we would need a savior. He knew that we would need someone to intercede for us because we could not do it on our own. That is why he sent His only Son, Jesus, to be an atoning sacrifice.

Even though Isaiah was written long before Jesus came to the earth to fulfill this prophesy, we had the promise! We knew that it would come to fruition. Every promise that God has ever made has come to pass. Some people say that God has not kept all of His promises because some of them have not happened, yet. But that is only their interpretation. They do not choose to believe the record of God’s promises.

What do you believe?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you do when the world starts to get to you?

October 21, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
(Galatians 6:9 (NIV))

Sometimes it seems that doing what God wants us to gets us nowhere in this world except laughed at and ridiculed by everyone around us.

Don’t give up. What you do does not go unnoticed.

The world may not appreciate the fact that you desire to be Godly and righteous, but there is one who notices your heart and will reward you based on your true intentions. God sees everything that you do and knows the true reasons that you do them. He will reward you for your faithfulness. He will reward you for your faith and integrity. He will prepare the harvest for you based on your heart.

The next time that the world starts to get to you, remember that God does not judge as the world judges. He does not care for the things of this world or the games that the world plays. God looks at the heart.

What will God see when He sees your heart? Will He see an eagerness to do His Will, or will He see that the world has begun to take its toll on your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How are we doing?

February 11, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
(Ephesians 6:12 (NIV))

Who do you get angry at when you see the state of the world?

Do you get angry at those who mock Jesus?

Do you get angry at those who try to take away your way of life?

Do you get angry with those who try to kill you because of your faith?

Where do you think that these people got the ideas from? Did they just come to them one day, or were they planted by the enemy and slowly matured by the enemy until they had lost all signs of anything righteous in their lives?

I honestly believe that these people have been lied to! In fact, I know that the they have been deceived.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
(Titus 3:3-7 (NIV))

Did you catch that?

At one time in our lives, we, as members of the Body of Christ, were just like those who are currently deceived. Our battle is not with the deceived, but with the deceiver. We must pray for those who are deceived. We must pray that their hearts will be opened to what Jesus offers. We must pray that they will be able to break the bondage placed upon them by the deceiver. We must be willing to go into battle with our Lord and Savior and confront the deceiver, the powers of this dark world. We must be willing to see those who are lost in the clutches of the enemy as Jesus sees them. Do you see them as the source of the problem or do you see them as pawns in Satan’s grand scheme?

Don’t be too fast to judge. In fact, we are not called to judge. We are called to bring them to repentance. To use the terminology of warfare, we do not want to inflict casualties, for that would mean that someone has been lost to all eternity. We want to take prisoners! We want to make converts! We want to get as many as possible to switch sides in this battle.

How are we doing?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Embrace them with the love of God

May 15, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
(Luke 6:37 (NIV))

Why do people have such a difficult time with these simple truths?

Let’s face facts. Can you see someone who looks like they are homeless and not jump to conclusions? Can you see someone who dresses differently than you do and not jump to conclusions? Can you see someone who is covered head to toe in tattoos and not jump to conclusions?

We, as a fallen race, judge without mercy. We condemn without understanding, and we rarely forgive without getting something in return. This is so far from what God created us to be. Our fall from grace took so much from us. Look what it gave to us in return – greed, lust, envy, anger, hatred, and murder just to name a few.

I am thankful that God sent His Son, Jesus, to offer each of us a way by which we could be saved from all that we have earned. Through accepting Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we will not be judged. We will not be condemned. We are forgiven!

Look inside your heart.

What do you see?

Do you see someone bound by sin and quick to judge and condemn, or do you see someone freed from the bonds of sin and death? If you see freedom, then you have embraced God’s forgiveness. Share it with everyone you meet. Astonish them with your lack of judgment and condemnation. Embrace them with the love of God.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you love Jesus?

January 11, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If you love me, you will obey what I command.
(John 14:15 (NIV))

We are told not to judge others. 2 Timothy 4:1 tells us “of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead.” It is only He who shall rightfully judge.

Even so, we have the right and responsility to take a look at our lives and measure ourselves based on John 14:15. Do we honestly obey what Jesus commands? Do we desire to do what He would have us to do? If that is the measure of our love for Jesus, where does it place our relationship?

It is human nature to judge others based on what we are supposed to be doing ourselves. We need to take a long and serious look at ourselves before we look at others. We also need to pray that others will take the same long and serious look at themselves. Perhaps, if everyone took John 14:15 as the benchmark of all of their activities and relationships, we would truly show the love of Jesus in all that we do.

Do you love Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Does this sound familiar?

October 24, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
(Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV))

When was the last time that you heard anything like this?

Today’s society is bombarded with words and images that tell us that we deserve better than what we have simply because we have earned it, or because we have succeeded where others have failed. We judge success on how much we have accumulated and not on how much we have given to others.

What would you think of someone who spent their whole adult life roaming from town to town without a true home to call their own? What if this person often slept outside and ate whatever they picked off of trees as they walked from one place to another? What would you think of that person if they chastised the church and its leaders for losing touch with God? Would you think of that person as a part of society that should be locked up, or perhaps killed? What if that person did nothing wrong, but taught people to love God and each other?

Does this sound familiar?

Would you have been one of the people shouting “Crucify Him!” almost two thousand years ago?

The person that did all of these things is Jesus.

We cannot even begin to imagine a life that gives of itself so freely that it thinks nothing of itself, yet, that is exactly what Jesus did when He walked the earth. Jesus was God with us. If God can humble himself and place others first, then how can we elevate ourselves above God by placing ourselves first?

Jesus is our example. Are you living according to the example of a Godly life that we were shown, or are you still an infant in the faith that always wants to be taken care of first?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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For days

July 31, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.
(Nehemiah 1:4 (NLT))

Nehemiah did something that we seem to ignore today!

It is the first two words of this passage – for days.

We have become such an instant gratification society that if something does not happen immediately, too many of us simply give up.

We mourn. We fast. We pray to God, but when God doesn’t answer on our time table, we assume that the answer is no. Nehemiah knew differently. He knew that God is like the judge in the following parable.

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, `Grant me justice against my adversary.’
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, `Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’ ”
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
(Luke 18:1-8 (NIV))

We must be persistent in our prayers. God answers every prayer, but He takes great joy in granting justice for those who call upon His name.

Do you call out for days or do you utter a few words and give up?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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