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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We were given the better end of this deal!

May 12, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
(2 Corinthians 8:9 (NIV))

No matter how you look at this, it doesn’t make sense from a worldly perspective!

Everyone has heard the term the art of the deal. The concept is to get the upper hand, to get the best out of any situation. Most of the time this is applied to business ventures, but it has ramifications in so many areas. It can even apply to the Body of Christ. Consider the last time that you saw a well known, nationally or internationally recognized preacher speaking at a small country church. It is human nature to not trade down. You don’t see someone trading everything they have and getting little or nothing in return.

Thankfully, Jesus turned that concept on its head. I am thankful that what is foolishness to man is wisdom to those who believe. I am so thankful that Jesus was willing to trade all that He had in order to come to earth as one of us so that He could offer to us what He had left behind.

Humanity definitely was on the winning end of this deal.

Jesus offered us an eternity with God and took our sin upon Himself in order to make that offer. From a worldly perspective, this definitely doesn’t make sense, but from God’s perspective, it was the only way that sinful humanity could be redeemed.

Have you accepted this deal? Have you embraced the riches that are freely given to all who will simply accept?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do we gather or do we sleep?

September 6, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Lazy hands make a man poor,
but diligent hands bring wealth.
He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son,
but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.
(Proverbs 10:4-5 (NIV))

Whenever God speaks through His Word, it always seems to have both a near and a long term impact. When taken literally, this speaks of actual physical labor here on earth for our sustenance. Nothing could be more true.

Take a look at the same passage through “Kingdom Eyes” and it takes on a whole new meaning. When we consider that all who accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior are to be saved, that is grace. Just like the son who sleeps during the harvest is fed by his earthly father, God will “feed” His spiritual son. But that son will not receive a reward for his labors. Those “sons” who work the harvest of God’s Kingdom will be rewarded with positions of authority within Heaven.

The summer of gathering is upon us. Will we gather and prove to be a wise son, or will we “sleep” during the harvest of souls and be disgraceful?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where is your security placed?

July 21, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The wealth of the rich is their fortified city, but poverty is the ruin of the poor.
(Proverbs 10:15 (NIV))

Just like anything, it is all a matter of perspective.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
(1 Timothy 6:8 (NIV))

It is easy for the rich to start to believe that their wealth is what gives them security. They then start to find ways to acquire more wealth so that they can be even more secure.

To a poor person, they see that their lack of money as the root of all of their problems, so they start to scheme and devise ways to obtain money. Some even start to plan criminal acts in order to obtain money.

In both cases, security is falsely placed on something that can offer no security for wealth is fleeting.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV))

Faith in God and a firm foundation in the saving grace of Jesus is where security truly lies. These will never fail you. Moth and rust cannot destroy them.

Where is your security placed?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do we love God’s gifts more than we love God?

January 11, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 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. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
(Revelation 3:14-22 (NIV))

I know that I have spent a lot of time on this particular passage. I also know that it is something that we need to pay attention to, especially since many people believe that we are in the modern day version of this particular church.

I know that I have stressed that this church was known for bowing to the will of the people. I saw something today that puts an interesting, and very pertinent twist to this thought. I was reminded that the people of Laodicea were very wealthy. The city was at a very important spot for the trade routes and even the Christians were very affluent. They lacked for nothing except, possibly, fresh water.

Think about the concept of lacking nothing. Perhaps it should better be explained as not having a need for anything because they could do it themselves. Are we truly any different today in our thinking and in our capabilities? Have we gotten to the point where we love the blessings more than we love God? Could it be that we feel that we are self reliant, and as a result, we don’t need God?

Think about these questions and then think about the time directly after 9/11. People felt helpless, so they turned to God. It is human nature for us to feel complacent when everything is okay, and it is human nature for us to feel over confident when we think that we are in control. When this illusion is broken, we see a greater reliance upon God. Is our society today reliant upon God or are we cocky and arrogant. Do we think that we can take care of it ourselves?

Laodicea did many things wrong. It is my prayer that we, in our so-called modern lifestyle, do not repeat history and fall into the same traps as this church did. Repent and follow Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you still a servant to sin?

October 17, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The rich rule over the poor,
and the borrower is servant to the lender.
(Proverbs 22:7 (NIV))

Do you owe anyone anything?

Are they pressing you for payment?

I know that in today’s society, it is impossible to do anything without owing someone. You need to have a job to earn money to live off of. In order to get to work, you have to have a car. Most people have to borrow money to buy a car. You need someplace to live. you either rent because you are borrowing a place to live, or you pay monthly payments because you borrowed money to buy a home. I could go on and on.

Is this biblical? Are we borrowing against our future and paying it back over time so that we become indebted to those whom we borrowed from?

If we plan our personal budgets, we can make it work, but what happens if we over borrow? Can we go on borrowing and never expect to pay it back?

Think about this from a different perspective.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

If we have all sinned and the wages of sin is death, then all of us, until we accept Jesus, are living on borrowed time!

Think about that. Humanity, in its sinful nature, owes a debt that we could only pay with our lives.

Jesus paid that debt for all who would simply ask for forgiveness of their sins. Jesus is now that one that we are indebted to. We should be proclaiming this wonderful gift of grace every moment of every day. We are no longer bound by our indebtedness to sin and death. Our debt has been paid. Jesus has set us free.

Are you still a servant to sin?

Are you living on borrowed time?

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

July 4, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
(Isaiah 61:1 (NIV))

How do you define freedom?

Jul 4th is the day that we, as a nation, celebrate our freedom, but does freedom go deeper than what we have defined in our Declaration of Independence?

What can we, as humanity, be held captive by?

There is tyranny. There is political oppression. There is physical confinement. There is addiction. I am certain that if we try hard enough that we can come up with other things that are capable of holding us captive.

What about fear? What about death? What about the fear of death?

We can celebrate our freedoms that were signed into existence July 4, 1776, and we should rejoice over those freedoms, but there is another freedom that is far more important.

Humanity was condemned by the laws of sin and death, for we had sinned against God. In our sin, all were condemned to be captives of death. All were prisoners of a life that offered no escape from the consequences of this sin. We were, to use a line from a movie, “dead men walking.” We had no hope.

God had another plan!

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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

Jesus came into the world to offer us grace and mercy. His willingness to go to the cross for us paved the way for His resurrection. His resurrection gives freedom to all who will profess that Jesus is Lord and Savior.

July 4th is an important date in our history, for it gave us freedoms that no other government had ever granted to its citizens. No matter how great these freedoms may be, they pale in comparison to the freedom that was given to us through the cross. As you celebrate with family and friends, don’t forget where true freedom comes from. It is not through a man-made declaration written in ink. It is from a God ordained declaration written in the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. It is a declaration that was validated at the resurrection. It is a declaration that has no specific date. It is a declaration that each of us must accept for ourselves.

Only this declaration offers what no other can offer.

True freedom!

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