Who is your audience when you pray?

February 13, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
(Matthew 6:5-8 (NIV))

Jesus spoke many words about prayer. Prayer is important, but prayer must be done for the right reasons. If you are praying so that others will see you pray, then you must examine your motives behind your prayers.

When Jesus said to go into your room and close the door to pray, He knew that people’s true motives come out when they are alone. In public, people put on a different facade, but in private, people become what they truly are. When you pray in private, you are not influenced by what others will think of you and your true feelings will be expressed. When you pray in public, Jesus knew that public reaction, or even the possibility of public reaction, would influence you and that the prayers may even be as a show.

When you pray, be sure that it is not for the entertainment of others.

Who is your audience when you pray?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you truly set free?

January 25, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
(John 8:31b-32 (NIV))

This is probably the easiest saying of Jesus to comprehend, yet the most difficult to actually fulfill. Each of us wants to hold onto Jesus’ teachings, yet, we are only human, and are not capable of the perfection that Jesus modeled. Luckily, we are not held to this perfection. This perfection was modeled through the Law of Moses. We are still to model ourselves after this law, but, God knows that this law is impossible to perfectly keep by people who have inherited imperfection. This imperfection is due to the introduction of sin into the world by Adam and Eve.

Jesus was and is the perfect person. The ONLY perfect person to have ever lived. Since He was perfect in God’s eyes, He is the perfect Lamb of God who was sacrificed for atonement for all sin, EVER! How awesome to have someone perfect in God’s eyes on our side!

If we accept that Jesus is the perfect Lamb of God, then we must accept His teachings. If we accept His teachings, then we must accept the truth that Jesus brought to earth. This truth truly does set you free.

Free from sin and death!

Are you truly set free?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you delusional?

January 23, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
(2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 (NIV))

What do you believe in this sinful, fallen world?

Think about the powerful delusion that this passage speaks of and take a good, long look at our world, our country and our society in general. Do you see a vast number of people rebuking and raging against God’s Word and the ultimate truth that it contains? People curse the name of Jesus and anyone who professes a faith in Jesus. They flaunt their sin as if it were a direct challenge for God to do anything about it. They have gotten to the point where they believe their own lies. They have become blinded to the truth. For the sake of time and space, I am not even going to begin listing all of the things that I have seen, for they are far too numerous and heartbreaking to give any thought to.

By definition, the word “delusion” can be defined as a persistent false psychotic belief that is held contrary to the evidence available. People can have delusions of grandeur. They can have delusional thoughts about anything, but perhaps the saddest is the delusion where people say that there is no God! They fail to recognize the truth and find delight only in their sinful pleasures. Not only do they flaunt their sin, but they utterly hate anyone who recognizes their sin for what it is. They despise God’s truth!

They completely reject God’s gift of grace and mercy.

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Sadly, they don’t believe. They turn to their own desires and believe only what their heart tells them.

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
(Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV))

If this is the powerful delusion, are you delusional?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your house built upon?

January 22, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
(Matthew 7:24 (NIV))

If you have ever built something, no matter how big or how small, what was the first thing that you did? What was the first step you undertook to make sure that your endeavor would be successfully completed?

If you are in school studying to achieve a career goal, the first thing that you do is build a solid foundation of the basics in the subject that you are interested in. If you are the athletic type, you study and get the best equipment and learn how to properly use it so that you have a solid physical foundation upon which to build? If you are an architect or a structural engineer, you work diligently to make sure that the building has a solid base upon which to rest.

I hope that you are starting to pick up on the concept that Jesus presented, for it applies to all aspects of life. Why, then, do we tend to forget that we need to build a solid foundation of faith? You can say that you believe, but unless you dive headfirst into God’s word and into the teachings of Jesus, do you truly even know what you believe? Sadly, far too many people in this day and time spend a few minutes cherry-picking a few passages and make false assumptions on what it means to profess that Jesus is their personal Lord and Savior. They are eager to say that they believe, but when presented passages that actually present the truth, they walk away. They did not build a firm foundation.

Jesus also presented this concept in another way through the following passages.

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
(Matthew 13:1-9 (NIV))

No matter how you understand the concept, either good soil, firm foundation or building your house upon the rock, it all is the same. If you do not build your life and your faith upon the truth of Jesus, then it is built on shaky ground and will not last.

What is your house built upon?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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When we truly forgive, then we can truly receive.

January 18, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, `Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
(Mark 11:22-25 (NIV))

Jesus has told us that if we have faith, then anything that we ask will be ours. We can petition God with prayer and believe that it will be done. God has never broken His promises. Sometimes, they are not what we would want to happen, but they fit into God’s perfect Will.

Jesus has told us that there is only one thing that could possibly cause this to not happen! Do you have anyone that has done something to you in your life that you have not forgiven? If you petition God in prayer, yet do not have a forgiving heart in ALL matters, then God cannot forgive you and reward your faith with your prayer request.

God is a just God. What you seek from Him, He expects you to freely give to others. If God had not granted you forgiveness from your sin, you would be forever lost and separated from God.

Take a look at the “big picture”. God forgave you much more in order for you to receive salvation than you will have to forgive someone else. It is true that people inevitably will sin against you in your lifetime. But, keep in mind that sin is ultimately against God. Every sin that has ever been committed, God is willing to forgive. How can we expect to receive God’s forgiveness if we cannot forgive one sin done to us by someone? After all, God has already extended forgiveness to them for the sin that they committed against you and Him. If God, the Creator of the universe, can extend forgiveness, we must also.

When we truly forgive, then we can truly receive.

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you heard the Word made flesh?

January 16, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
(Romans 10:7 (NIV))

Do you have faith?

Are you completely sure of what faith is? Let’s face the truth. It’s difficult to know if you possess something if you aren’t sure what that something is!

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

Do you see the one thing thing that is so obvious that most people tend to miss it? Faith is built on hope! Not only is faith built on hope, it is built on a confident hope. Hope can be both a noun or a verb, but in essence, the meaning truly doesn’t change. You want or desire something to happen or to be true. You either possess the characteristic of hope or you actively want or desire.

What do you want or desire? What is it that you hope for? Upon what do you build your faith?

Various things fall into this category, but there is something that will never fail you, and that is the promises that God has given to us in His Word. God’s Word is alive.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 (NIV))

God’s Word walked among us. God’s Word is Jesus! Have you heard the Word of God? Have you heard the Word made flesh?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you been born again?

January 11, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, `You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
(John 3:5-8 (NIV))

I once saw a bumper sticker that said “Born OK the first time.” After two thousand years, it is hard to believe that people still do not fully grasp what Jesus was speaking about. Either that, or they prefer the sin that the flesh has them in.

The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.
(Matthew 26:41b (NIV))

The body, or the flesh, is weak and prone to sin. Sin cannot be overcome by the flesh. How can weakness overcome sin? It take a stronger presence to overcome the power of sin. Those who reject the Holy Spirit are rejecting God’s Grace and telling the world that they love their sin. Only righteousness can stand before God. Righteousness comes only from accepting Jesus Christ and allowing the Holy Spirit to enter into your life. This is what Jesus spoke of when He said that “You must be born again.” Those who reject this, reject God.

Take a close look at your life. Have you allowed the Holy Spirit to enter into your life in such a manner that the world sees the difference? Have you been born again?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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