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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Whose son or daughter are you?

May 25, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
(Galatians 4:28-31 (NIV))

Unlike our biological families, we have a choice to make!

We can choose to be a child of slavery to sin or we can choose to be a child born of the Spirit. It has been, and will forever be, our choice. But, it was a choice that we could not fulfill on our own merit if we chose to be a child born of the Spirit.

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))

Did you pick up on the very simple adoption policy that God put in place so that we could abandon our sinful childhood and be welcomed into a childhood of freedom? All that we have to do is believe that Jesus is God’s one and only Son and accept the grace that is freely given through the ransom, through the adoption fee that Jesus paid to make each of us a part of the free woman’s family. We are no longer a part of the slave woman’s family.

I must do the responsible thing and remind everyone that becoming a child of grace does not mean that you will never face persecution from the enemy and those bound by slavery to sin. We have elected to leave our natural, sinful nature and those who are still bound to sin do not like that we have become children of God. They will do anything and everything to trip us up, to deceive us into turning away from God.

Once again, when this happens, we have a choice!

Each and every day we must consciously make that choice.

Whose son or daughter are you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Our hope is from above! Look up!

September 23, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
(Acts 7:55-56 (NIV))

I know that this was the verse from yesterday, but something stood out about this passage and how Stephen responded that warranted further consideration. I want you to pay special attention to how Stephen reacted when he was confronted by the Sanhedrin.

Most people, when confronted, will look down. This is often taken as a sign of surrender. Stephen did not surrender.

Some will look their accusers in the eyes. This can be taken as a sign of confidence in their stance based on their own merits. From what has been written, Stephen did not look his accusers in the eyes to stare them down.

Stephen also did not turn away out of shame, or as a veiled attempt to escape.

He looked up!

Stephen, even in his circumstances that lead to his death by stoning, refused to focus on anything else but his God and Savior. As a result, God appeared to him to give him confidence, to give him assurance, and to give him hope. Stephen was not disappointed by his focus!

I have been reading and watching many testimonies lately about dreams and visions that members of the Body of Christ are having. There is a common theme to these dreams and visions. We must keep our focus on Jesus no matter what the world may send our way. We must remember that our hope is not of this world. We have a God who loves us so much, that He sent His only begotten Son to live as one of us and to die bearing our sins. We have a risen Savior who was willing to suffer death on the cross and was resurrected so that He could now sit at the right hand of God, the Father. If we have them with us, as the Body of Christ, where else do we ever need to look?

We must never lose focus, because our hope is from above! Look up!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you truly realize the greatness of God’s gift?

November 6, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,
(Hebrews 12:28 (NIV))

This passage reminded me that we all too often seem to forget the greatness of the gift that we have been given!

We are not worthy of the gift.

We did not earn the right to claim the gift.

We could never attain such a gift on our own merit, yet, it is ours free and clear!

Why, then, with such a great gift freely given to all who would ask, do we act like it is something to take for granted? Why do we act as if it is worth nothing? Why do we not seek to share this great gift with all whom we see?

Human nature is a strange thing. We make such a great big fuss over things that are so trivial and we make them out to be the greatest thing that ever was. The thing that truly is the greatest thing that ever was is the gift the God freely gives to all who will accept it. It is this gift that we make out to be worth little or nothing!

I am so glad that God has not revoked this gift of grace because of the way that we treat it!

I am so glad that we serve a loving God.

Aren’t you glad that God is not bound to human frailties and feelings. I know that most people who give great gifts would be offended if we treated their gift the way that we treat the gift that God has given each of us.

Do you truly realize the greatness of God’s gift?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What would you rather face?

October 12, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into the hands of men.”
(2 Samuel 24:14 (NIV))

Isn’t it interesting that most people would rather face the wrath of people than face the mercy of God? We, as a rule, tend to forget that God loves us and wishes to give us grace and mercy even when we do not merit such a favor.

People have a tendency to be judgmental and hold a grudge, even to the point of ridicule and revenge. When given the option, most people would rather exact their pound of flesh instead of forgiving and forgetting. Perhaps this is due to our fall from grace through Adam and Eve. You must remember that this fall opened us up to the power of sin. We are at the mercy of our sinful nature, which now acts opposite of the Fruits of the Spirit, which are, as told in Galatians 5:22-23; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

If God desires for us to express love, our sinful side will act in hatred. If we are to express gentleness, then we will act in anger. With this in mind, it is easy to understand why David desired to fall into the hands of God instead of the hands of men.

Where will you turn in your times of distress?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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