Our thoughts condemn us

January 29, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not pay attention to every word people say,
or you may hear your servant cursing you–
for you know in your heart
that many times you yourself have cursed others.
(Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 (NIV))

It is human nature to think and say things under your breath. Things that you would not want anyone to even know that you knew. These are the things that are secretly holed away in your heart.

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.
(Matthew 15:19(NIV))

Perhaps it is this characteristic of humanity that lead Jesus to say:

“If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
(John 8:7b(NIV))

Not a single one of us is above reproach. Not a single one of us is capable of leading the perfect life that God wishes for us to live. Our thoughts condemn us. Our thoughts manifest themselves as words and deeds. Our words and deeds condemn us. Only one thing that we can do will remove the condemnation from our lives.

We must accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. We must accept His righteousness in exchange for our condemnation. He willingly takes our sin upon His shoulders and gives us His grace and mercy.

We are not perfect. Even if we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we will stumble. We will curse others in our heart and sometimes, even, under our breath. But, we have a Savior who is living within us, and teaching us that we must follow Him and not give in to that side of our nature.

Do you curse or do you accept righteous instruction?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you walk or do you stumble?

March 21, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Who is wise? He will realize these things.
Who is discerning? He will understand them.
The ways of the LORD are right;
the righteous walk in them,
but the rebellious stumble in them.
(Hosea 14:9 (NIV))

I have one simple question to ask, but your answer may cause some personal reflection and hopefully, it will be honest.

Do you walk or do you stumble?

If you are like me, you probably desire to say that you walk in the ways of the Lord, but, be honest. We all have times that we stumble. We all have times that we fall short of God’s desires and our own. The difference between those who desire to walk and those who stumble is just that – it is their desire. It is their priority.

Let me ask another question for you to consider.

Does a professional basketball player always hit the three pointer? It is their desire, but they often miss the mark. That does not mean that they are intentionally stumbling. It simply means that they are not capable of such a task. Now, does a person who professes a belief in Jesus as their Lord and Savior always do what Jesus would have them do. I know that in my frail humanity, I am not capable of it, yet I still try just as the basketball player still tries to make the three point shot. Sometimes I will fail, but the times that I succeed, I give praise where praise is due.

For those who profess a faith in Jesus, the failed attempts are not the same thing as when a rebellious person stumbles. Perhaps it would be better to put it this way. A rebellious nature is knowing that you aren’t supposed to do something, yet you do it anyway. There is no attempt at having a desire to do what is right. To a rebellious person, placing what is right and true in their path will only make them lash out and bring attention to the fact that they have no desire to follow what is right.

A rebellious person does not desire to walk. They desire to stumble.

With that in mind, let me rephrase my initial question like this.

What do you desire? Do you long to walk in the ways of the Lord, or do you desire to stumble against God in an attempt to avoid Him?

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

March 1, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,
“The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone,”
and,
“A stone that causes men to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall.”
They stumble because they disobey the message–which is also what they were destined for
(1 Peter 2:7-8 (NIV))

Just what are the uses for a stone?

Think about that question, for just like anything else, the uses are a matter of attitude.

If you are walking and not paying attention to what you are doing, a stone in your path could be very bad. Now, imagine that you are living your life without any thought to your actions. All of a sudden you encounter a stone. This stone is set firmly and will not alter its stance with respect to how you live your life.

What if you are a passenger on a boat that is drifting aimlessly. The boat has no course or sense of direction, no sense of right or wrong. What happens when the boat hits a stone and goes down? Again, the stone will not alter its stance with respect to how you live your life.

Suppose that you desire to build a firm foundation and a firm shelter that will stand up to whatever the world will throw at it. What would you choose as the building material? Once again, the stone will not alter its stance with respect to how you live, but it will offer protection and salvation if you are willing to alter your relationship to it.

You can beat your head against the stone or you can accept the stone and allow it to become your foundation. That foundation is Jesus. That stone is Jesus. You can beat yourself against Him by denying His status as Lord and Savior or you can accept that He is the rock of our salvation and accept God’s offer to stand firmly upon Jesus.

It is a matter of perspective and attitude. You can curse the stone that you stumble upon or you can embrace the stone and cling to it for safety. How do you look upon the stone that is Jesus? You can accept Him or you can curse Him. Either way, He is not changing. It is His desire to change you and your attitude about Him.

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