Have you turned God’s Word into something less?

November 7, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“You shall have no other gods before me.

“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

“You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

“You shall not murder.

“You shall not commit adultery.

“You shall not steal.

“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
(Exodus 20:3-17 (NIV))

Controversy surrounds these simple, yet profound statements in today’s society. All of the Judeo-Christian ethic lies on this foundation which states that there is only one God, life is sacred and to respect others. Many people do not wish to acknowledge these truths as truths, or, even worse, that they even exist at all. They have tried to turn them into the 10 suggestions. Let’s take a look at the wording and how it’s meaning would change if they were not stated as they are.

You shall not murder.

Simple enough! But what would be the ramifications if it were worded differently? Try to remove the “negative” aspect of the Commandment. It might read something like this: Respect all human life.

It doesn’t carry the same impact as “You shall not murder.” Try to restate the others in a positive aspect and see what the meanings sound like when you are through. They do not carry the same message. They become what society has tried to turn them into, the 10 suggestions and not the 10 Commandments.

We, as believers, have a responsibility to uphold these basic premises of faith and life. Truth is not relevant. Truth is always the truth, no matter when and where it may apply.

Have you turned God’s Word into something less?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you truly prepared to follow Jesus?

January 18, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn

” `a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law–

a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
(Matthew 10:34-39 (NIV))

When most people think of Jesus, they think of peace and love. Even the modern church thinks of Jesus in this way, but there is a side to Jesus, or should I say a side to proclaiming a faith in Jesus, that is far from what the world thinks.

Jesus came to this world out of love for God’s creation. He came so that sinners could be set free from the bondage of sin and death. Sadly, though, not everyone will accept that free gift. Not everyone will acknowledge that Jesus has the authority to offer the gift of grace. It is this aspect that brings the sword. In most cases, it is only a figure of speech, but in some cases, it is a literal result of the rejection of Jesus.

We have all seen families where some members of the family are very firmly rooted in their faith in Jesus while other family members vehemently deny Jesus. They are at odds. They are at war with members of their own family. In some cultures, proclaiming that you are a Christian and follow Jesus is a death sentence. Contrary to societal beliefs, following Jesus is not all acceptance, love and Kumbaya.

He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
(Matthew 13: 37-39 (NIV))

There is a growing hatred in this world for anything that points to Jesus. The enemy is planting weeds in the hearts of people while Jesus is planting good seed.

There is a battle taking place. That battle may divide families. It may divide friends. Don’t let that battle find you opposing Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The enemy even tried to trick Jesus!

August 12, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”
“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator `made them male and female,’ and said, `For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ ? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”
(Matthew 19:3-6 (NIV))

Isn’t it sad how creation tries to take everything that God has created and completely turn it upside down? Ever since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden, the enemy has been planting deceptions and lies into the minds of people to get them to step away from what God desires. The enemy, as witnessed by the above passage, has deceived people who claim to follow God in order to trip up other people. The enemy even tried to do that very same thing with Jesus.

I never realized the level of arrogance that satan has until I thought about this passage with the realization that he is the one who planted the idea for this question into their minds. He knew who Jesus was, yet he had the audacity to try to trick Jesus with His own Word.

We are up against a very deceitful, vengeful and arrogant persona, but we, as the Body of Christ, must never forget that Jesus has defeated satan. All that needs to happen is for satan to realize it. His days are numbered! He is like a wounded animal who is more dangerous because of the wound.

We must arm ourselves and be prepared to face the enemy at any time. We must stand firm in God’s Word and be prepared to use God’s Word to remind satan of his place.

I find it interesting that the concept of man and wife is what the enemy used to try and trick Jesus when He walked the earth. Satan never learns. He is using the very same concept to try and trick the followers of Jesus today.

Stand firm in the knowledge that Jesus has defeated the enemy!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you love or hate your sinful nature?

May 9, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
(Luke 14:26-27 (NIV))

Ouch! This is painful, yet, this is exactly what we are expected to do.

Do you love the sinful life that you live? Do you love the sinful nature of those who are a part of your physical family? Do you hate the sin that has taken control of the world, and as a result, the very nature of everyone, including yourself?

We live in a fallen world and everyone is saturated in the sin that this world is consumed with. As a result, we can’t truly love what is saturated in sin, including our own lives. We can love the individuals to the point where we care about them and want good things to happen, but our understanding of good is severely distorted because of the sin that we live in. Our understanding of love is severely limited.

I know that I have asked something similar already, but I think that it merits being asked again. Can you honestly love someone if they are saturated in sin? Can you honestly love your own life if it is engulfed in sin? Most, if not all, sin is based on the individual. It takes hold of a person’s heart and makes them the center of their own universe. It turns the individual into the center of their own worship. If we truly love our lives and each other, then we are not capable of truly loving God in all of His perfect glory.

I know that it is human nature to look out for yourself and to love yourself, but I honestly believe that we are being told to hate our sinful nature and make a decision to turn away from our sinful nature. You embrace what you love and you reject what you hate.

What do you think of your life and the lives of those around you?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What if you had been the earthly parents of Jesus?

December 21, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

This is a repost, but it is worth sharing again. What if you had been the earthly parents of Jesus?

All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.
(Isaiah 53:6 (NAS))

This time of year is when we think about the birth of Jesus and celebrate what God set in motion in these simple events.

We realize that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Have you ever stopped to consider what that entails or have you thought about it from the view point of Mary, His mother?

Could you honestly feel no emotion if you knew that an infant would suffer and die for something that you had done?

What did Mary feel when she held Jesus for the first time? Did she see what was to come, or did she see only a baby? We may never know the answer to that question in this lifetime. We can know what we would feel if we were placed in that situation where we know that an infant was born to suffer and die for us. Thinking of Jesus as an adult, as the Son of God, makes it easier to comprehend and think about.

Think about Jesus as the infant who was sent by God to suffer and to die for us. Think about being the parents of that infant and having knowledge of the prophecies of what is to come. Jesus was fully God, yet He was fully man. He had earthly parents who loved Him and fully understood what was to happen.

What if you knew?

Could you face that in the life of “your” child?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you still waiting for your time?

February 13, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

“Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”
(John 2:1-4 (NIV))

Even though your time may not have come, don’t think that it is ok to do nothing!

Do you have an idea as to what type of ministry that God is calling you for? Do you feel that you are a long way from being able to fulfill that calling? Perhaps what God is calling you to is to start where you are. No one, not even Jesus, started his ministry reaching the masses. Jesus started His miracles and His ministry at a time when it did not seem appropriate. His “time” had not come. This beginning was not preaching in front of the multitudes. It was not healing the sick or raising the dead. It was simply an act of obedience.

He was given an opportunity to provide drink at a wedding ceremony. This situation was not in front of large crowds. In fact, it was probably only in front of a select few such as His mother, the chief steward and a few workers. It did not draw large crowds to hear Him teach. It simply was an opportunity that He did not pass up because it did not fit into His “time.”

God gives us opportunities to be witnesses and servants for Him every day. Too many of them are simply missed because in our attempt to see our “time,” we fail to see God’s timing. When we follow God’s timing, we often usher in the time that He has planned for us. We simply need to be open to His calling and obedient at all times, not just when we think it is appropriate.

What is your calling? Are you missing opportunities while you await the bigger “time?”

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God does not do things as we expect

December 11, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” –which means, “God with us.”

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
(Matthew 1:18-25 (NIV))

Could you imagine the confusion that Joseph must have felt? He wanted to do what was right according to Jewish society, and at the same time, he wanted to do what was right in the eyes of God. At the beginning, he must have thought that the two desires where one and the same. He thought that he knew what was right in the eyes of God, after all, Israel was God’s chosen people.

I can imagine how Joseph felt when the angel of the Lord appeared to him and told him to do the opposite of what he thought was correct in the eyes of God and society. Confused and, yet, obedient, he obeyed what God had told him to do instead of what society said to do. Because of this obedience, we have been granted two wonderful gifts: 1) the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ, and 2) the knowledge that God does not do things as society expects.

The next time you hear someone say, “That’s not the way we used to do it,” stop and think how Joseph felt and remember that God does not do things as we expect.

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