Are you looking to yourself instead of Jesus?

November 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
(Revelation 3:17 (NIV))

Do you consider yourself a follower of Christ?

Do you like to be self-sufficient?

Are you the type of person who has to take care of everything yourself?

Do you feel that unless you do it, it isn’t done right?

Would you rather starve than ask for assistance?

Do you look around and think to yourself that you have your life in order and are prepared for anything that may happen?

Hopefully, everyone who reads this will answer the first question with a resounding “Yes!”

The other questions fall into an area where human ego and pride come into play far too often. To be honest with you, I am guilty of answering these questions with a “yes” more often than I care to admit. Everyone likes to be self-sufficient. Do you feel guilty asking for help? I understand.

For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
(2 Thessalonians 3:10 (NIV))

Everyone has a certain way that you want things done. Everyone would love to have a nest egg to know that they are taken care of. We like to be able to predict our comfort and our future. But is this what God wants?

He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”‘
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
(Luke 12:17-20 (NIV))

In case you did not realize this, Revelation 3:17 is about the church at Laodicea. This is the church that Jesus called lukewarm. He even said that He was about to spit them out of His mouth. They had accepted Jesus, yet they failed to leave the comfort of their physical lives. They thought that they had everything covered. They thought that they were self-sufficient. They thought that they didn’t need any assistance and that everything was in order. The sad part of this is that is was all based on their efforts and not on the strength of Jesus! If we take a look at the next sentence from Luke, we see exactly what will happen to those who fail to look to the Lord.

“This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
(Luke 12:21 (NIV))

Don’t be caught up in your ability. Don’t be so arrogant that you rely on your feeble works. Look to the Lord and grow in your faith.

Are you looking to yourself instead of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your worship based on?

June 14, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”
(Isaiah 29:13 (NIV))

Are you the type of person who likes to follow a ritual and a routine? Do you freak out if something disrupts that ritual and routine? Who is it that says that you must follow a set order for anything? Do you even bother to ask why the routine is what it is?

Personally, I am a creature of habit, but I like to have a reason for my habits. I don’t like doing something just because everyone else is doing it. I don’t blindly follow a routine just because it has always been done that way. If you truly stop to think about most rules, regulations and routines, they were all started by people who thought that they had a better way to do things. People who all had a similar approach to how they thought things should be done banded together so that they could all do things the same way. Years passed and the reasons became lost, and today, we blindly follow someone else’s plan for doing any number of things.

Sadly, this even extends to the worship of the Lord. People blindly do things simply because that is how it has always been done. It is tradition.

Did Jesus come to tell us that the traditions of the Jewish people were correct as carried out by the Pharisees and Sadducees, or did He come to show us a better way? The Holy Spirit was sent as a guide, as a teacher and as a companion so that we would not lose site of the fact that human rituals, routines and traditions are not what God ordained. We are to worship Him as the Holy Spirit directs.

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
(John 4:23 (NIV))

What time do you have?

What is your worship based on?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you clean from the inside or the outside?

January 25, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
(Matthew 23:25-26 (NIV))

Sadly, too many people believe that they must get their lives in order before they come to Jesus or start attending a church. They are focused on the outside. They are focused on the appearances.

They are focused on the symptoms and not the cure!

It is not what is seen on the outside, but what God sees on the inside. Too many focus on the symptoms and overlook the root cause. They overlook the simple fact that they need Jesus!

Don’t focus on the symptoms, which are what is visible. Focus on what is inside. Focus on allowing Jesus to clean your heart!

Woe is an expression of grief, regret or distress. I find it interesting that we are told that those who focus on the outward are subject to woe. We could not have a clearer message that it is not the outward things that are the problem. When you go to a doctor with a health concern, do you want the doctor to give you medicine to mask the symptoms or do you want the doctor to get to the inner root cause of the problem?

Your spiritual life should be the same as your concerns when you have scheduled a doctor’s visit. You must allow the Great Physician to treat the inner sin and then the outer appearance of that sin will disappear.

Do you clean the inside or do you simply mask the outward appearance?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We need each other in our faith!

November 19, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
(Colossians 3:16 (NAS))

There are those who say that they do not need to go to church, that their belief is a personal issue.

Belief is a personal issue, yet, when all of the world is against what you believe in, it requires strength to survive and maintain those beliefs.

What if you want to grow your faith? All throughout history, people have taken comfort from others. When we teach our children, we do it in groups so that they may have the benefit of not only learning from the teacher, but also learning from each other. Why do we treat learning about God any different than we treat learning about anything else?

It is true that it is a relationship between the Creator and His creation, but the creation is a fallen entity and needs external support in order to stay focused. That is one reason why schools have class-rooms; to keep an order and a focus. Without that external support, our focus tends to stray. We need each other in all aspects of life, not just social. We must gather together as believers to help each other keep our focus on God and to help us grow.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you notice what comes first?

May 5, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.”
(Joshua 3:5 (NIV))

Take a good look at the order of events in the passage above.

Do you notice what comes first?

Too many people expect God to do amazing things in their lives before they do anything to prepare themselves for it. They want the rewards before the commitment and the sacrifices are made.

God has an order in which He works. He seeks people who have humbled themselves and have prepared themselves for His presence. Take a look at Jabez. He prayed to have his area of influence increased so that more people would know about God. Take a look at Moses. He was raised in Pharaoh’s palaces, yet, he ended up tending sheep in the desert. During this time, he learned about God and was obedient to what his new place in life meant. Take a look at Mary. She was of such a nature that she found favor with God. You don’t find favor with God by going against everything that He instructs. You find favor through an earnest desire to know God personally.

Take a look at today’s society. We have become a society of instant food, instant credit, and instant divorce. If we want something today, we order it today and get it today. There is no personal patience. We expect everything now and our way. We have even extended this to our outlook and understanding of God. Even preachers are preaching this with all of the prosperity sermons that you hear. Don’t get me wrong. God wants to bless us, but the blessing only comes AFTER you have prepared yourself for that blessing.

What order do you expect in your life?

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

December 21, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
(Revelation 21:6-8 (NIV))

God makes it very clear what He detests, yet people still twist God’s Word to support whatever they wish to do.

God is constant. He has been and always will be. Before anything else existed, He existed. He is the Creator of all things.

How arrogant people are to believe that they can stand in the face of God and “thumb their noses” as if they had created all things. God created order and righteousness, yet man, through sin, corrupted all things. Man, in his limited wisdom, seeks after wicked thoughts and actions that are detestable in the sight of God.

Will humanity, as a whole, ever realize that they are fighting a losing battle? How can the creation overcome the Creator? For those who do not belong to The Lord, we must pray that they see the Truth before God’s Judgement comes.

No one knows the day or the hour, but we can identify the season of this judgement. The season is drawing closer every day. Pray for those whom you love that are not experiencing God’s grace and mercy through the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. The fiery lake of burning sulfur is a terrible mental picture. Just imagine what it would really be like!

I pray that our lives may reflect Jesus to those who do not know Him so that they too can experience grace and mercy.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t allow the world to change you!

May 10, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 5:17-20 (NIV))

I find it saddening that far too many people say that the Bible is no longer relevant in this modern world. I also find it very comforting that God’s Word is steadfast. It is true no matter what society or nonbelievers may say.

I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.
(Matthew 5:18 (NIV))

Did you notice that Jesus referred to the Law. There are many definitions for the word “law,” such as a binding custom or practice; a rule or order that you observe; and the revelation of the Will of God. Today, we have man-made laws that we tend to follow. Why do people willingly obey man-made laws and ignore God’s Law? It has not changed. It will not change. What was once a sin is still a sin, no matter how the media or any other group try to spin it.

At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.
(Matthew 24:10-11 (NIV))

I see many people being deceived. I see things in this world that I could never have imagined just thirty years ago. There are wars and rumors of wars. Our society had become polarized. We can no longer meet on a common ground. We must be careful to not fall for the traps that the enemy has set. We must not allow our focus to shift away from Jesus.

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
(Matthew 24:12-14 (NIV))

Stand firm in your faith. Do not allow the world to convince you that the sin that is being publicized is ok, after all the Bible was written such a very long time ago. Jesus gave us assurance that God’s Word would not change and that His Law would not change.

Don’t allow the world to change you!

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