What are you trying to become?

February 17, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“He must become greater; I must become less.”
(John 3:30 (NIV))

Everybody strives to become more than they are. We take classes. We get degrees. We strive to win awards. We drive expensive cars. We buy bigger homes.

What does all that get us?

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

No matter what we do, no matter how much we try to elevate ourselves, we are nothing! The very best that we can do is still tainted and overshadowed by the sin that we are trapped by. This is especially true when you consider that ego and pride drive our desire to elevate ourselves. In other words, it is sin that drives us. This makes perfect sense! After all, it was the sin of pride that drove Satan to rebel against God. All of sinful, fallen humanity still strives to do this very same thing. We try to elevate ourselves in an attempt to tell God that we don’t need Him. We fall for the same sin and try to elevate ourselves above God.

Pride, unfortunately, is all a part of the fallen human experience.

It takes a person who is strong in their faith to overcome pride. It takes a very strong desire and commitment to not elevate yourself, especially in the eyes of God. Satan’s downfall occurred because he wanted to become greater than God.

What are you trying to become?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God loves us enough to give us a lifeline!

February 16, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
(1 John 4:10 (NIV))

I saw this passage and had to share it. This definitely confirms that God loves us, but not in the way that society claims!

God loves us enough to offer His Son as an atoning sacrifice!

A sacrifice is something precious that is surrendered or destroyed for the sake of something else. According to this definition, it doesn’t make sense that God would surrender His Son to be killed if there was not a very good reason to do so. If, according to society, God accepts us as we are, then why would a sacrifice need to be made on our behalf? If you believe society’s interpretation, we are all perfect in the eyes of God. Think about this from a different perspective. If you are a parent and you have family members who are doing what you know to be right, would you willingly put yourself in harms way for no reason? Would you willingly suffer to rescue someone who didn’t need to be rescued?

I find it overwhelmingly sad that too many people reject Jesus because they don’t see that what they do is wrong in the eyes of God. They believe that God loves them and will welcome them with open arms just as they are. They fail to recognize their sinful nature and the righteous nature of God. They don’t see a need to be made right, to be redeemed, in the eyes of God. All that they choose to understand is that God is love. They fail to understand that we chose to rebel, and, as a result, we have no way back to God. We are without hope and we are perishing. In the midst of our hopelessness, God has given us a lifeline!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you truly able to be humble?

October 12, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
(James 4:10 (NIV))

Humility is a trait that is difficult for most people. To be honest with you, it is humility, or the lack of it, that caused Satan to rebel against God. It has been the proverbial thorn in the side of humanity ever since. To humble oneself requires a complete submission of yourself to the point where you are not proud, haughty, arrogant or assertive. In other words, to be humble means that you do not elevate yourself in words or deeds, but you simply live your life knowing that you are no better than other people.

Think about that concept in the light of the truth it contains.

God created all of us through the creation of Adam and Eve in the Garden. When Adam and Eve fell from grace, not a single one of us, their descendants, was spared from the consequences of that fall. We are all sinners. In the eyes of God, because of our sin, we are all the same. We are all equal. God loves each of us the same, yet, it is human nature to think that God loves us more than the next guy.

Can you look at yourself in the mirror and say that you think you are better than anyone else, or do you feel that nagging twinge of guilt when you honestly look deep inside?

I have asked this question before, and I will ask it again. What would your reaction be if, when you get to heaven, you find that Adolf Hitler had accepted Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior? Would you rejoice, or would you refuse to enter because you know that you were better than him? Would your reaction be evidence of humility?

I want you to take a look at this passage from the point of view of the person who most scholars believe wrote it: James, the brother of Jesus. How would you react to the crowds gathering around your brother and ignoring you? How would you react to the miracles that Jesus performed when you can’t even begin to do anything like them? How would you react to the crucifixion? How would you react to the resurrection? Would there be feelings of hatred? Would there be a crushed ego? Would there be guilt and shame, and would there be rejoicing? I find it interesting that the passage that instructs us to humble ourselves was written by someone who, from a worldly point of view, would have had to struggle to actually do that.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What does the world think of you?

August 5, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
(Matthew 10:21-22 (NIV))

What does the world think of you? Does it welcome you with open arms as one of its own, as one who embraces the lies that the world passes as truth? Do you feel at home in this world or do you long for a place that God calls you to?

This world is beautiful, after all it was created by God, but we must not lose sight of the fact that we, through the sin of Adam and Eve, have relinquished this world over to the enemy. Because of this, the world is not what it may seem. When we see forests that God has created, the world sees a chance for monetary gain by “harvesting” the trees. When we see love, the world sees lust. When we see salvation through the gift of Jesus Christ dying on the cross, the world sees foolishness. The world sees us as fools and it will soon come to the point where the world will see us as criminals because of what we believe and whom we believe in!

When the world hates you, take heart, for the world hated Jesus!

Because of this hatred, Jesus was crucified. We must not forget that He arose, and because He arose, we have the gift of eternal salvation if we call upon His name.

It is true that the world hated Jesus when He walked among us. It is also true that those who hate Jesus today will hate you as well, but we must take heart, for we have overcome this hatred and this world through the blood of Jesus. There is one catch. We must tell others of this grace and mercy. We must identify ourselves with Jesus. We must open ourselves up to the world by proclaiming Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We must stand firm. We must not take our eyes off of Jesus.

Again, I ask you to stop and reflect on this one simple question. What does the world think of you?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Stand firm in your faith even if the world thinks you are a fool!

February 26, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The heart of the wise inclines to the right,
but the heart of the fool to the left.
Even as he walks along the road,
the fool lacks sense
and shows everyone how stupid he is.
(Ecclesiastes 10:2-3 (NIV))

Have you ever encountered someone who just did not seem to understand how foolish they were to everyone else?

Did these people rebel against God? Did they deny God?

The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
there is no one who does good.
(Psalm 14:1 (NIV))

Foolishness is different things to different people. To the believer, those who deny God are foolish. To those who deny God, we appear foolish.

Who do you think God considers to be foolish?

I have seen too many things in my lifetime that I thought I would never see. All of these are centered around what God considers foolishness and how it has become the societal norm. We have moved far past foolishness into areas that are pure evil. We, as the Body of Christ, must take a stand. We must recognize the things that God calls foolish and stay as far away as possible from these things. We must pray for those who are doing foolish things. We must pray for those who are caught in the evils of this world.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.
(Titus 3:3-8 (NIV))

The time has come when professing a faith in Jesus Christ is considered foolish by many in this world. We must remember that we do not embrace the things of this world. We are to embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are to live the Gospel, even if it means looking foolish in the eyes of the world.

Now is not the time to falter in our faith!

Stand firm even if the world thinks you are a fool!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have the mind of Christ?

February 18, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment:
“For who has known the mind of the Lord
that he may instruct him?”
But we have the mind of Christ.
(1 Corinthians 2:14-16 (NIV))

I read this passage and it hit home!

We think that we are spiritual and listen to God because we don’t directly rebel. We look at those who rebel against God and think that we have an inside track to God’s heart.

What is the difference between those who rebel against God and those who seek after God’s heart? What is it that makes one person claim that anything to do with God is foolishness and the one person who embraces every word that God speaks?

Do you see yourself in these polar opposites? Perhaps you see yourself somewhere in the middle. Do you find yourself thinking that God is foolishness when what He says contradicts what you want to do? Do you embrace God’s promises when they will benefit what you want?

Do you want to know the mind of God?

Do you want to be so in tune with what is on His heart that you see things as He sees them?

We are seeing things unfolding in this world that I would have never imagined happening in my lifetime. Many in our society, and in the world, are calling the things of God foolishness. They are rebelling against what is righteous. We, as the Body of Christ, cannot be in the middle.

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.
(Revelation 3:15-16 (NIV))

We must fully embrace, we must fully know the mind of the Lord and accept His instruction.

We must have the mind of Christ in all that we do?

Do you have the mind of Christ?

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