God can take our impure motives and turn them to His glory!

February 26, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,
(Philippians 1:18 (NIV))

What does this passage mean to you?

I was given a very interesting point of view of this passage earlier today, and to be completely honest with you, it makes perfect sense!

When this passage was written, Paul was in prison and other people started to preach the Gospel. Some had pure motives while others had selfish motives. Paul recognized the value of both, since spreading the Gospel was his biggest concern. I know that I do this all the time, but let me ask a few questions of you.

Do you think that the people who heard the Gospel from those with false motives knew of those motives, especially if what they preached was true to the Gospel? Let me ask this a slightly different way. If you are channel surfing and come across a television preacher who is preaching the truth, will everyone ignore this preacher simply because they may seek money? Perhaps your church has a guest speaker and they are very eloquent at conveying the truth of the Gospel. Do you stop listening to them because they set up a table to sell the books that they have written?

Let’s be honest with ourselves!

We are all human and we all have motives for doing things that are less than perfect. Does that stop us from doing them? Does that stop us from listening to those who have less than perfect motives? Think about that in relationship to your job. What if you are having a bad day, but you need your paycheck? Do you put on a fake smile and go about your day, or do you storm off? Most people will put on a fake smile. They may have less than a proper motive, but they come across with something that will impact those around them in a positive way.

Think about that in terms of the Gospel!

As long as the truth is being preached, God can and does use that truth to help spread the Gospel. I don’t condone this, but have you ever seen two churches become rivals? They try to do anything and everything to be “better” than their rival. One may take out billboard ads with scripture passages while the other will place ads in local newspapers. One may apply for and receive a license for a radio station, while one may use the internet to broadcast their services. In all of this rivalry, who really wins?

If you say that God wins because the Gospel is being spread, then you are correct.

We are only human and our human motives are less than perfect, but God is perfect. In fact, He is perfection. To use an old saying, “God can take our mess and make a message!” If God can do that, then God can take our impure motives and turn them to His glory!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Does the Lord detest anything in your life?

January 19, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Differing weights and differing measures— the LORD detests them both.
(Proverbs 20:10 (NIV))

We have a tendency to think of dishonest scales when we hear this passage. Perhaps we should think about the possibility that it could also apply to the double standards that we, as humans, have a difficult time with? Be honest with yourself. We all have a select group of people to whom we apply a special set of standards. They can do no wrong and if they do, we make excuses for them. We also have the select group of people who can do no right in our eyes. Even if these people sold everything that they possess and used the money to feed the poor, we would find something wrong with their actions by attacking their motives.

Does this sound like differing measures to you?

It does to me!

What do you think the Lord thinks of this type of behavior?

What if He applied this type of behavior to you and you were not on the good end of the exchange?

Fortunately, we don’t have to worry about this.

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))

The passage does not say that whoever has blond hair and blue eyes. It also doesn’t say whoever has a college degree, nor does it say whoever belongs to a specific church in town. It simply states that whoever believes in Jesus will have eternal life.

If God doesn’t apply differing weights and measures to His children, why do we think that we have that right? We know that He detests these types of actions.

Does the Lord detest anything in your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you offer God only your second best?

March 3, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the Lord Almighty.
(Malachi 1:8 (NIV))

Let’s put this in a modern context.

When you give out of what you have left, is that truly giving with a cheerful heart?

When you give out of your rejects, are you truly giving or are you throwing away what you don’t want?

When you do less than what is expected, even though you can do much more that what is expected, is that right?

When you allow others to do for you and you take the credit, is that right?

When you give to God as an afterthought, what does that say about your motives and your heart?

I hope that you know exactly how God feels about this type of giving. Would you treat your family in this manner? Would you treat your friends in this manner? What if God had treated us in his manner? What if God had given us His second best? What if He had decided not to send His Son, Jesus, to walk among us and to be an atoning sacrifice for our sins?

What if God had decided that we weren’t worth His best?

Think about that. Where would that leave each of us? It took God’s best to atone for our sins. Why do we think that we can give less than our best to thank God for giving us His best?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are your motives?

February 10, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
(James 4:3 (NIV))

Do you consider yourself to be selfish?

If you are like me, you have probably glossed over this question with a halfhearted response that, if you said it out loud, would sound weak and pathetic. Let’s face the truth. If you are human, then you are selfish. The proper question to ask yourself is to what degree does your selfishness surface in your life? Do you go through life throwing temper tantrums because you didn’t get your way and get all that you wanted, or do you face the reality that you can’t have everything that you want?

What do you pray for?

If you recorded your prayers and had someone else listen to them, would you be embarrassed by what you ask for in your prayers? Would they come across as self-centered?

I believe that every single one of us needs to truly take a long, hard look at our motives. We all have ulterior motives for doing the things that we do. Some of us do better at subjugating our ulterior motives, but we all still have them.

Perhaps we should pray the words of David as part of our daily struggle to have righteous motives.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
(Psalm 51:10 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you try to trick Jesus?

February 1, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”
(Mark 11:33 (NIV))

I find it funny that those who were supposed to be learned leaders when Jesus walked the earth felt that they had to question Jesus. Some feel that they were trying to get Him to commit blaspheme while others believe that they were simply trying to trick Him. They had no idea just who they were dealing with!

No matter what their true motives may have been, they ended up in a battle of wits. A battle that they were destined to lose! Ironically, people have been trying to engage the Lord in just such type of exchanges ever since. Think about that for a moment. How many times have you heard people trying to negotiate with Jesus? Perhaps you have even been guilty of such an act yourself.

In this story from Mark, the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders tried to get Jesus to say under whose authority He was able to do all that He was able to do. It was their plan to deceive Jesus and catch Him in something that they could use against Him. Jesus knew their intentions and He knew just how to turn the situation around. This was not the only time that Jesus was confronted and He turned the tables.

I don’t know about you, but I come away with one valuable lesson from all of this.

Never get into a battle of wits with the Lord.

It won’t end well for you!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are your motives?

June 24, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
(1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NIV))

The Bible states that a person can not gain access to heaven through good works. All of the things that are described here are useless if your heart is not right.

Take a look at the Pharisees. They did everything by the “book” in the eyes of the nation of Israel. To others, it looked like they did everything right. Yet, God knew their hearts. They did not do things out of love, but, rather out of ego and pride so that they could say that they were better than others. Their hearts did not reflect their actions. They were doing the right things for all the wrong reasons.

Sometimes I think that it is possible to do the wrong things for the right reasons. In our fallen state of humanity, we are not perfect. If we earnestly seek after God’s own heart and do things out of OUR love, we are bound to make mistakes. Even with the Holy Spirit guiding us, we will lapse into thinking that we know what is best and do what we think out of “love” or concern for others.

Even if we have love, we must not allow our own hearts to guide us. We must look to the Father who is perfect in Will and in Love. If we continually look to God for guidance, then we have placed our hearts in the hands of the Father who will teach us to do what is best in His site and provide us the proper motives for all that we do.

What are your motives?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are your motives for giving?

June 2, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable–
how much more so when brought with evil intent!
(Proverbs 21:27 (NIV))

Some give so that others will know that they gave. Others will give so that they can position themselves to receive something in return. Others give so that they will appear to look better than those around them. Others give simply because they desire to give.

I suppose that giving could almost run parallel with prayer, for each can have motives much deeper than appearances.

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.
(Matthew 6:5(NIV))

When you give, do so freely. Do not expect anything in return. Do not think that you can “buy” favors from God. Do not give so that you appear to be righteous in the eyes of others. Give freely and completely of yourself no matter who knows or who does not know that you give.

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 6:6(NIV))

What are your motives for giving?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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