How is your body and your mind?

May 8, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
(Romans 12:1-2 (NIV))

We like to think that we are the ones in charge, that we are the masters of our own destiny, but in all honesty, are we?

It is human nature to rebel against submission to others, for it sounds too much like slavery to us.

Think about those statements and then think about the fallen, sinful nature that we, as humanity, have inherited. We believed a lie from the father of lies, and now, if God says one thing, our deceived nature automatically tells us to believe the opposite. In order to break this trend, we must make a conscious effort to do so. We must decide to not follow the world, but follow God. We must decide to offer God all of ourselves. That means physically and spiritually. We must deliberately make a choice to go against the world for the world has become the domain of the enemy. The world is very good at calling good evil and evil good. In order to break out of this mindset, we must transform our minds. We must spend time in God’s Word. We must seek God in all things and break the bonds that hold us captive to the lies of the enemy.

We must be willing to sacrifice our natural selves and offer up ourselves to God in humility and sincerity. We must humble ourselves and admit that we are nothing without God. We must seek only what makes us righteous in the eyes of God. That means removing anything that tempts us in body or in mind.

How is your body and your mind?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you a servant of Christ or a people pleaser?

April 6, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
(Galatians 1:10 (NIV))

On its own, it appears that Paul is asking himself if what he was doing was to please people or to serve Christ?

I realize that he was writing to the church at Galatia and was asking them why they had deserted what he had taught as the true Gospel of Jesus. He wanted to know why they started believing something that apparently had been created to sound pleasing to people. His letter reprimanded the church at Galatia for following a false teaching and was trying to convince them to repent and return to the truth.

In this setting, Paul asks those who have strayed if what he is doing is pleasing to them or pleasing to God?

Think about that for a moment! He was asking them if what he was saying made them feel good or if it made them feel guilty. Was it pleasing to their ears to hear his words or was it pleasing to God to hear Paul say these words in the hope of their repentance?

Human nature and God’s nature are polar opposites. They are as far apart as possible. It is impossible to please both God and man. Paul knew this and in the light of this, he made sure that the church at Galatia knew it as well.

Do you know it?

When God’s Word calls something a sin, do you call it a sin? Do you sugar coat the truth in order to make it more palatable and pleasing to those who hear it?

I want you to think about this next statement with respect to Paul’s letter. When people used to leave a church service years ago, they would feel convicted and possibly guilty with a desire to repent. Is this what happens today? Too many churches are more concerned about making people feel good about themselves and some even about their relationship to Jesus. Don’t get me wrong! We should feel good about our relationship to Jesus, but we are still sinners. We must be given solid food in order to mature. We are not going to grow in Christ if all we ever do is come away with a feeling of being pleased. There is a fine line that we must be careful not to cross.

We must serve Christ in truth and not change His truth to make it pleasing to people.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Does the world accept or despise you for your faith in Jesus?

March 31, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.
(Isaiah 53:3-4 (NIV))

Does this sound like it would describe the one that God sent to earth to save us from our sins?

Does this sound like it would describe the Savior of the world?

Human characteristics are not what God looks at. When we see a strong physique, God sees the heart. When we see a pleasing exterior, God sees what is on the inside. Fortunately, Isaiah 53:3 was not the end of the story. It was only the beginning of the story that God would unfold to offer grace and redemption to a lost creation. Since humanity, in all of our fallen nature, looked up to the worldly as beautiful and of importance, God sent His Son, Jesus, to be the exact opposite of what we would expect. Instead of elevating Him to a place of worldly power, God sent Him to be a lowly servant. It was the nature of servanthood that made everything possible.

Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.
(Isaiah 53:4 (NIV))

Jesus willingly left the presence of God and came to earth as one of us. Would any of us do that?

Jesus willingly took upon Himself the weight of the sin of all humanity. That is a heavy burden to bear.

Jesus willingly suffered and died so that we could be offered grace and mercy! Would any of us be willing to suffer so greatly for those who rebuke us?

After all that Jesus suffered, He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. He told those who choose to follow Him that they, too, would be despised because of Him. He was telling us that the world would see us differently. The world would not see us by worldly standards and accept us. The world will see us by God’s standards and despise us.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you conform or are you transformed?

January 16, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
(Romans 12:2 (NIV))

Do you like to fit in? Do you like to conform? Do you like to go along with people so that you don’t make waves?

What happens when the things that you need to do to be able to fit in go against the things that you hold to be true and vital to your life? Do you find yourself abandoning your principles, your faith, so that you fit in? If so, what type of faith, what type of principles did you have that you could so easily abandon them?

As the Body of Christ, we must remember that humanity turned over authority in this world to Satan when Adam and Eve, and all of humanity, fell from grace in the Garden of Eden. Think about that for a moment and then honestly think about your answer to the following question.

Do you truly wish to conform to a world that has fallen to the enemy?

During World War II, after Germany invaded France, those who fought against the German enemy became known as the Resistance. They did not conform to what the enemy tried to tell them to do. They fought back! I believe that the Body of Christ could learn a lesson from the French Resistance. Instead of conforming to the world, we need to fight back against the enemy that has taken our world.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
(Ephesians 6:12 (NIV))

Ours is not a physical battle. It is a spiritual war! The enemy’s deceptions are everywhere. We must test everything against God’s Word. We must be like the Bereans.

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
(Acts 117:11 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God loves you, but is He pleased with you?

February 25, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
(Psalms 19:14 (NLT))

If you have children, no matter the age, what is it about them that pleases you? Please note that I did not ask what is it about them that you love, for love is a natural thing for a parent to have for their children.

What is it about them that pleases you?

I can safely say that what pleases you as a parent are not the things that stir up anger. The things about your children that please you are the positive things in their lives. Things such as love, joy, peace, patience, and other such traits. You are pleased when you see their words and their actions reflecting things that are righteous in nature.

Do you like it when your children do something wrong?

You still love them, but you are not happy with their actions.

God is the same way with each of us. He loves us no matter what we do, yet, He is only pleased with us when we do things that honor Him. Contrary to what the world says, God is not pleased with us when we go against His design.

Think about that for a moment.

If you like to bake and you make a pie, you are pleased with the pie if it tastes good. What happens when you find that the results of your labor is not what you intended? You try to come up with a way to fix the results, such as adding ice cream, and if that doesn’t work, you throw it out.

God came up with a way to fix our sinful nature so that He could be pleased with us once again. He sent His Son, Jesus, to bring that fix, to bring salvation. It is up to us to accept that fix so that we can be pleasing in the eyes of God.

Do I even need to go to the end result if we do not accept the fix that God has sent?

Are your words and your thoughts pleasing to God?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Spiritual Depth Perception

August 14, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
(Romans 12:2 (NIV))

If you focus all of your attention on one thing, all others will be ignored. It is true of the physical as well as the spiritual.

If you concentrate on a show on television, the events around you are ignored. They still happen, but you do not perceive their importance and place in the scheme of things. The same is true of spiritual matters. If you focus, intentionally or unintentionally, on matters of this world, then matters of and from God will be ignored. If you focus on matters of and from God, then the world will be ignored.

Could it be that we also have spiritual vision that works in a similar fashion as our earthly, physical vision?

Depth perception in vision allows us to focus on the details of what we focus our eyes on. All other items within our scope of vision are still there, but they are just shadows of what they truly are. If we change our visual focus to look at these things in detail, then the other items become shadows of their true detail. If we focus on God, then our spiritual depth perception “blurs” the things of this world that could serve to distract us. We know that they are still there, but we are not drawn to them because of the lack of detail and the strong focus of detail that comes from the things of God.

Where is your spiritual vision focused? Has your spiritual depth perception blurred the things of this world or has your physical depth perception blurred the things of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do your actions show?

April 17, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.
(Romans 12:1 (NIV))

We are God’s creation. We have been bought by the Blood of Jesus Christ, therefore, we are not our own. God has paid the price for us twice, yet, we continue to act as if we are solely responsible and accountable only for and to ourselves.

This “ownership” is not one of servitude, but one of faith and salvation. In many societies, if someone saves another person’s life, the person who was saved “belongs” to the person who saved them. This is a “belonging” of gratitude and thankfulness, and not a “belonging” of bondage. If these societies can claim such an act as rightful, how can we, who have been saved far beyond the capabilities of any human savior, do any less for the One who has saved us? This is accomplished through the instructions that Paul wrote to the Romans.

We ARE living sacrifices. People see our daily sacrifices. What do you show to God and to the world on a daily basis?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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