Do you practice what you preach?

March 10, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.”
(Matthew 23:1-3 (NIV))

I’m sure that you have heard the old saying, “Do as I say, not as I do!”

Have you ever been guilty of saying it?

Did you grimace after reading that question? I know that I did.

It is human nature to tell people that they should do one thing when you are doing the exact opposite of what you say they should do. Jesus knew that people in authority do this. He knew that all people do it. We like to think that what applies to everyone else doesn’t apply to us. If you stop to think about it, we see a lot of this in our political system. Laws are made that apply to everyone except themselves.

We are all called to obey God’s Word. We are all called to repentance. We are all called to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves. We are called to accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. These are all things that each of us are called to practice. We are also called to preach these truths to those who don’t know them. Our actions are supposed to match our words.

Do you practice what you preach?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you put forth the effort?

November 18, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Be still, and know that I am God;
(Psalms 46:10a (NIV))

What are the things in life that you feel that you know so well that you can correct someone if they say something wrong? What did it take for you to come to this knowledge of this subject? Did it just come to you naturally? Were you born with the understanding that you possess? Did you wake up one morning to find that you had become the recognized expert in that topic?

If you are like me, none of these things have happened to you. You may possess a God given talent or understanding , but you still do not possess a complete knowledge of the subject. Where God has planted the seed of talent or understanding, you must work to expand that knowledge. If you love mathematics, you cannot become a college calculus teacher without expending the effort to further your knowledge and understanding. If you love football and can quote stats of each team and player, what drove that knowledge? Even if you have a so-called photographic memory, it requires an effort to place things in your memory. It requires an effort – a decision to pursue the very thing that you love.

Do you love God? Do you put forth the effort to get to know Him and come to a fuller understanding of Him?

Think about those questions in relation to the concepts previously introduced.

Have you put forth the effort, have you made a conscious decision to pursue God and to know Him and His Word? The sad thing about this is that you do not need to pursue Him, for He is pursuing you. He is always there waiting for you to turn to Him. He is waiting for you to ask if you can sit at His feet and get to know Him.

I still love the New American Standard Bible translation of this passage:

Cease striving, and know that I am God:
(Psalms 46:10a (NASB))

All of our lives we strive to possess something. We even feel that we need to strive to possess God. To some extent, we do, but not in the same way that we strive for other things in our lives. When we seek God, He gives us rest. When we strive for things of this world, we have no rest. When we cease striving, we find God in all of His glory because we find the time to simply sit in His presence. The work that we are called to do in order to know God is to stop and listen. The definition of work is an activity in which one exerts strength or faculties. Too many of us make knowing God a major work task. It is much easier than we make it. All we need to do is to “Be still” or “Cease striving” and allow God to open our hearts and our minds.

Do you need to cease striving in the worldly sense so that you may know that He is God?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?

March 6, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“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. And the second is like it: `Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
(Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV))

I want you to be honest with me. Actually, I want you to be honest with yourself. How well do you keep these two commandments?

We say that we love God, but do we love Him with all our heart and all our soul? That is a big commitment. It is one that takes more than an occasional “Amen” on Sunday. It takes more than simply having a Bible. It takes more than acknowledging God when it is convenient for us. Every aspect, every moment, every breath should be dedicated to God.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
(1 Corinthians 10:31 (NIV))

Is that possible for a sinful creation to place God above all else, after all, we are a selfish creation. We place ourselves above everything and everyone. Most of the time, we would rather ignore our neighbor if we could, yet we are told to love our neighbor as ourself. We are to not only place God above ourselves, we are to place our neighbor equal to ourselves.

Ouch !!!

I fully understand why Jesus answered the question in this way, but why does it have to shake us up, why does it have to rattle our cages, why does it have to make us move outside of our comfort zones? I suppose for the very same reason that Jesus placed God first in the Lord’s Prayer. It makes us think of others first. It makes us think of the well being of all of God’s creation and not just the part that He created for us. He wants to turn our world upside down. He wants us to reach out in praise. He wants us to reach out in prayer. He wants us to reach out in humility, for it is after we reach out to Him and to our neighbor, we realize His great love for us is not just for us. It is for everyone.

“This, then, is how you should pray:
” `Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
(Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV))

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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