Do you worship anything above your worship of God?

May 30, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I will pronounce my judgments on my people because of their wickedness in forsaking me, in burning incense to other gods and in worshiping what their hands have made.
(Jeremiah 1:16 (NIV))

Have you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?

Have you stopped deliberately sinning?

We may not think that we worship other gods, but in all honesty, we still do.

Do you like your job? Do you want promotions and raises? Are you willing to sacrifice for your job? Do you like money and the things that money can buy? Do you like your things? Are you so addicted to your smart phone that it has become the center of every waking moment? Do you wait impatiently for the new model to come out and then run out and buy it? Do you like to watch sports? Have you ever missed out on something else, such as church, because of sports? Are you proud of your car? Would you go ballistic if something scratched the paint on your car?

Now, can you still tell me that you don’t worship other gods? We may not think that we do, but do our actions tell another story and is that story one that we would be proud of? Even more important, is that story one that God would approve of? Will He pronounce judgments on us for what we have placed before Him in our lives? Would He consider from our actions that we have forsaken Him?

Do you worship anything above your worship of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Stand firm on the Word of God

May 23, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
(2 Timothy 4:2-5 (NIV))

People not putting up with sound doctrine. People doing things after their own desires. People listening only to what they want to hear. People turning away from truth.

Does this sound anything like what we are seeing in our society today?

As I think about the state of the world, I can’t help but stop and say a prayer for the people who are caught up in the lies of the enemy. They have been blinded to the truth by the enemy to the point where they now hate the truth. They have refused to believe the truth, so it is only logical that they would believe the lie.

and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 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 2:10-12 (NIV))

What is it about human nature that makes some people refuse to accept the truth? There are some people who would argue with you if you tell them that the sky is blue. That is simply a combative spirit, but what about the people who will yell obscenities at you for telling them that God loves them?

It is so easy to become overwhelmed with all that is going on in the world.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
(John 16:33 (NIV))

Don’t allow the world to keep you from doing what you know to be right in the eyes of God. Preach the Word. Endure hardship and do the work that God has called you to do! Stand firm!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you truly as you appear?

October 4, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
(Matthew 23:27-28 (NIV))

Jesus never held back!

Since Jesus was and is able to look at the heart and also know what we are thinking, it is not a big stretch of the imagination to realize that He used this to truly size up the people that He met. Unlike everyone else, Jesus wasn’t fooled by the outward appearances. He could see beyond what someone presented as their public persona and see exactly what was in a person’s heart.

Everyone is guilty of putting up a facade. We want those around us to see us for something that we are not. We want to be seen as more than we truly are. With that aspect of human nature squarely out in the open, would you truly want to have Jesus look at you the way that He looked at the Pharisees? What would He say about you? I just realized that I am pointing the finger at everyone else. I should be asking what would He say about me?

That is a scary proposition!

Are you ready and willing to have Jesus truly tell you about yourself?

Are you willing to hear what He has to say about you?

Are you willing to accept rebuke if that is called for?

Are you willing to repent and seek after righteousness?

Think about that last question for a moment. Have you ever read anywhere in the Gospels where a Pharisee was willing to repent? Have you ever thought about the nature of repentance and how repentance and pride and ego just can’t seem to coexist? We saw that in the Pharisees and we still see it today. Jesus was able to see it.

What does Jesus see in you?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Repentance is a decision that must be made!

May 12, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who push the truth away from themselves.
(Romans 1:18 (NLT))

Have you ever stopped to wonder what would make God angry? Have you ever wondered if you could make God so angry that He would reject you? I believe that we have an answer in this passage.

God hates sin!

God hates wickedness!

He longs for people to repent and turn to Him. If we love our sin and our wickedness more than we love God and His righteousness, then we are in trouble. We should despise our sinful nature. We should reject the wickedness that is inherent within every person because of the fall from grace.

We live in a fallen world, but we don’t have to accept the state of the world as our own. Think about that for a moment in relationship to something a little easier to understand. I know that everyone has had a job that you just couldn’t stand. You hated the thought of being there. You dreaded getting up in the morning and going to that job. Did you simply accept the dreaded job as a part of your life? I can safely assume that you took action to make a change. You decided that you would leave that life and begin a new life under much different circumstances.

You can decide to leave sin and wickedness in much the same way as you decide to leave other aspects of your life. It is perhaps one of the greatest gifts that God has given us. That gift is free will. God gave us the ability to decide for ourselves to turn from our sinful, wicked ways and to follow Him. He gave us the free will to embrace His truth for ourselves.

With this in mind, do you understand that God loves us. He will get angry with us because of our sinful nature, but, if we choose to embrace His truth and accept His Son, Jesus, as our personal Lord and Savior, and repent of our sins daily, then we can rest assured that God will not reject us. Seek God in all things and seek His truth, for life is found only with the Creator!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you embracing worldly passions or suffering for your faith?

January 24, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
(Titus 2:11-14 (NIV))

Have we forgotten how to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions?

I see so many things going on in this world that makes me wonder if the Body of Christ is having any influence or if the world is influencing us.

Take a serious look at your life. Are there things that have crept in and slowly taken over? Have you lost the self-control that you may have once had? Do you find yourself forgetting godliness and righteousness because you have become too close to the world?

I have a question for your personal reflection.

Have you stopped longing for the return of Jesus?

Perhaps you are someone who does not want Jesus to return for His Bride because you are having too much fun in this world.

Do you truly embrace the grace that has been given to us, or are you still clinging to things of this world? What worldly passion keeps you from the full realization of God’s grace?

We never know when our life will end. We never know at what moment Jesus will return. We should never allow a distraction that is fleeting keep us from eternal salvation. We must truly live our lives each and every moment as if it were to be our last. We must live out our faith as if it is the most important thing in our lives.

I read something today that I want to share with you about faith, focus and worldly passions. It was about placing your faith in the wrong place and how it can lead to worldly passions, even in the Body of Christ. If the only reason that we profess a faith is because we believe that our faith will bring blessings, do we really have faith? God did not promise financial blessings. He did not promise an easy life. We have been told that truly following Jesus would cause tribulation, or stress, within our lives.

Following God has never been easy. Noah could have taken the easy way out. Moses had to flee. Joseph was tossed into a well and then sold into slavery. Jesus went to the cross. Why do we think that we will have financial blessings and an easy life if we turn our back upon worldly passions. We will be attacked by the enemy. We need to prepare for it. Today’s church has forgotten that the church was birthed through suffering, and that if we are true to our calling, we will be in the middle of it at every turn.

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
(1 Peter 4:12-17 (NIV))

Are you eager to do what is good even if you will suffer?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you look upon God and His gifts?

April 3, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”
(Acts 8:18-24 (NIV))

Does Simon sound like anyone that you know?

Far too many people think that God can be “bought” just like a valuable item in a store. God and His grace are not for sale! They are the most precious item that you can possess, but they are not yours for any amount of money. God gives of Himself freely to any and all who simply ask with sincerity and honesty. In fact, God gave of Himself so freely that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. This salvation is priceless, yet it is free!

Do not be ensnared by those who try to put a monetary amount on God. He does not value things that way that humanity values things. All of the worldly wealth will fade into dust, yet, the things of God are eternal. Do not attempt to gain the eternal through the worldly.

How do you look upon God and His gifts?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you fully embraced the new?

February 27, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.
(Hebrews 8:12 (NIV))

Is there someone in your life who constantly reminds you of every single mistake that you have made? Do they bring up these mistakes even though they may have occurred so far in the past that even you had forgotten them? It is sad that there actually are people who will hold everything against you no matter how many times you apologize or how long ago the act may have been.

I can honestly say beyond a shadow of a doubt that God does not do that. He will forgive your sins if you simply accept His plan of redemption and grace. He will not bring them up to you again. He will wipe you record clean and treat you as if you had never sinned. I have heard this called justifying grace – a grace that God gives us “just as if I” had never sinned. He does not justify holding our sins against us. He sent Jesus to die on the cross so that He could justify forgiving us of our sins.

The next time that you encounter that special someone who constantly reminds you of your mistakes, smile, and rest assured that their memory cannot condemn you. Only God can condemn, and He has justified you through your acceptance of the atoning blood of Jesus Christ.

God forgives our wickedness. In order for this forgiveness to be complete, we must forgive ourselves. We cannot hold anything over ourselves if God has forgiven us for it. We must remember our actions, not so that we can condemn ourselves, but, rather so we can remember the sin that we have been saved from.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
(2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV))

God’s saving grace makes us new creations. Have you fully embraced the new even when confronted by the sins of the old?

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

February 8, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
(Matthew 24:10-13 (NIV))

I have read this passage many times, and like all of God’s Word, it speaks differently each time. God’s Word is living. You can read something many times and each time, something new comes into view.

This time, what came to light is something that I honestly hope is just a translation issue. However, I honestly do not think that it is.

Did you see the word “most” in this passage?

“the love of MOST will grow cold”

This brings to mind that we, as the Body of Christ, have allowed false teachings in. We have started following human desires within the church instead of following God’s Word and Jesus. It also means that as we get closer to God’s ultimate plan for humanity, more and more will fall away. They will cling to human desires and understanding instead of relying on what we have been told in the Bible. We already see divisions and teachings that are based on social issues instead of Biblical truth.

Most!

That implies more than half of the people who profess a faith in Jesus will fall into wickedness!

As important as social issues appear to be, they are not what Jesus came into this world to address. He told us that we would always have the poor. He told us to stop sinning. He told us to love one another. Jesus did not preach social justice. He even told us that He would be the divisive factor even among families. Social justice does not bring salvation. Only a true profession of faith in Jesus as your Lord and Savior will bring salvation.

Don’t misunderstand my thought process.

The church is to be the light of Jesus in the world, but we are not to let the social issues divide us. Satan uses anything and everything that he can to make a believer turn away from the truth, even something that has a good purpose.

I also want you to think about this passage with respect to another point.

There are those who believe that once you are saved you are always saved. The words of Jesus in Matthew contradict that idea.

We must stand firmly upon God’s Word and not be swayed by the lies of the enemy, no matter how good they may sound.

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

March 7, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”
(2 Timothy 2:19 (NIV))

I saw something today that gave me a better understanding of sin and wickedness. When I understood the difference, chills ran down my spine and tears came to my eyes. The realization of what our world has become is heartbreaking.

Perhaps, it is better to use a different word and translation to describe wickedness.

Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”
(2 Timothy 2:19 (NKJV))

Iniquity.

That sounds like a good Old Testament word that has fallen out of use, but if you stop to think about the difference between sin and iniquity, you may be surprised.

I am certain that you have heard that the word “sin” means to miss the mark. That concept implies that you are trying, but you fall short. It implies that you desire to do what is right but simply cannot achieve it on your own. This is where we, as the Body of Christ, fall.

Have you ever truly looked at the word “iniquity?” Some translations use the word “wickedness.” Either way, the concept is that the person deliberately chooses to do things that are contrary to God’s Will. They simply do not care that what they do is wrong. In fact, they seem to live to do what is evil. It was explained to me that those who are living in this manner do not listen to the truth and will often lash out at those who offer them the truth.

Consider the story of Lot and Sodom.

The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”
“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”
But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom–both young and old–surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”
Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”
“Get out of our way,” they replied. And they said, “This fellow came here as an alien, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.
(Genesis 19:1-9 (NIV))

These men were wicked. They were evil. They did not miss the mark, They deliberately chose to commit something vile and evil. When Lot attempted to stop them, they threatened to do to him even worse than they intended to do to the two angels. They were willing to commit a vile act against someone who spoke the truth simply because he spoke the truth.

Does this sound sadly familiar to anything that we see today?

We have people so engrossed in their evil that they attack those who bring the truth. Has our world’s wickedness, its iniquity, grown so vile that people no longer desire to even do what is right? Think about that and how God has dealt with wickedness and iniquity in the past.

There is a difference between sin and iniquity. It is a matter of the heart. Do you long to do evil or do you long to do what is right?

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