Don’t be a fool in the eyes of God!

June 17, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

Who would consider you to be a fool? Would the world say that of you or would God?

You cannot appease both. Either you throw your faith with God and the world thinks you a fool or you stand with the world and God knows you for what you are. Either way, we make a decision that leaves us a fool in the eyes of someone.

Each of us is born with a void inside of us. That void can only be filled by God. Many people try to fill it with other things, but they can never be satisfied. To those who say that there is no God, they have attempted to fill that void with worldly things and have found no peace. Since they cannot find peace in this manner, they assume that God does not exist. They reason that how could a being who created us leave us with such an emptiness? Since we have an emptiness, then there must be no God. They marvel at their reasoning.

The way of a fool seems right to him,
   but a wise man listens to advice.
(Proverbs 12:15 (NIV))

They lack the very peace that they seek.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (NIV))

Peace comes from only one source. It is that source that can also fill the void within us. When that void is filled with God, then we have a change of heart. We realize that there is a God and that He loves us. He guides us in our deeds. We learn to walk in His ways. We realize that we have been the very fools that we claimed others to be.

If you have to chose who will label you as a fool, who will it be?

Don’t be a fool in the eyes of God!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will this be changing soon?

May 19, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
(Matthew 5:45b (NIV))

I truly love the fact that God shows His mercies to everyone whether we deserve them or not. Based on this passage, He uses everything in His creation to draw people to Himself. Sadly, too many people simply ignore Him, or even worse, they curse Him. He even sent His Son, Jesus, to live in this world as a teacher and to die on the cross as an atoning sacrifice. He even resurrected Jesus from the dead to overcome the power of sin and death, and still, people ignore Him or curse Him.

We are told that a time will come at the end when His wrath will be poured out on the world!

What do you believe will happen with the righteous at this time?

I am sure that someone has drawn this conclusion before, but I want to present a passage that I believe tells us of God’s heart toward the righteous. It comes from the parable of the ten virgins.

At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
(Matthew 25:1-5 (NIV))

We know all too well God’s definition of a fool.

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))

I believe that we can interchange righteous with wise and unrighteous with foolish. Based on that, I believe that we see the next obvious step in the process with those who are ready and waiting for Jesus will be taken to be with the bridegroom!

But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
(Matthew 25:10 (NIV))

I have never heard anything about Jewish wedding traditions that say those waiting for the bridegroom would undergo suffering. I have never heard anything about these traditions that indicate they would miss the joyous celebration. If Jesus is coming for His bride, His bride would be spotless!

We see the sun rising on both the evil and the good. We see rains falling on both the righteous and the unrighteous. I believe that this is in the process of changing.

Will this be changing soon?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who are your companions?

July 21, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.
(Proverbs 13:20 (NIV))

There are many different ways to say this. Here are two of the many that I have heard in my life.

“If you lay down with dogs, you get up with fleas” paints a very vivid picture of what can and will happen simply by association.

“Garbage in, garbage out” is another one that comes to mind. This implies that what you put into your life is what you will get out of your life.

The concept is basically the same and has not changed since Solomon wrote his version. It relies on a very sad, but true, characteristic of human nature. We tend to pick up traits and characteristics from those with whom we associate. What is even sadder is that we tend to change our behavior based on who we are around at any given moment. If that is the sad truth of human nature, those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior must hold each other accountable!

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
(Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV))

Not only do we have an assignment to share the Gospel with those who do not believe, we are also called to encourage each other so that we can stand firm in our faith. When we gather together, we share a common belief and a common desire. This strengthens the human weakness that makes us pick up the traits of others. We then can walk out into the sinful, fallen world and hold fast to our faith. This also strengthens us and makes us able to deal with “fools” when we encounter them.

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

What do you consider wisdom?

Based on that answer, who do you consider to be wise?

Hopefully your answers point to Jesus and to those who seek to follow Jesus. If we take on the characteristics of those we are around, choose wisely. Godly wisdom and those who seek it will take you on a walk with the wise. We must learn to stay away from fools!

Who are your companions?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you claim to be wise?

September 2, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.
(Proverbs 3:7 (NIV))

Do you see any wisdom in the world?

Based on this passage, perhaps I should rephrase that question.

Do you see people shunning evil and fearing the Lord, or are they more interested in mocking and ridiculing the Lord and anyone who seeks to follow Him? Are these people trying to claim that they are wise? Contrary to what they may think, the Lord doesn’t agree.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
      and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
(Proverbs 9:10 (NIV))

The present state of the world reminds me of the parable of the wheat and the tares. The bad seed that produces the tares are those who do not fear the Lord. They are doing all that they can to disrupt God’s plans. We have known that this time would come. We have known what the people would be like who do not fear the Lord. They claim to be wise in their own eyes. They feel a false sense of self-worth. They feel that only they are right and anyone who doesn’t agree is an enemy.

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—
(2 Timothy 3:1-4 (NIV))

As members of the Body of Christ, we must pray that we not fall into the traps that the enemy has set. We must fear the Lord and shun all evil. We must not think that we are more than we are – filthy rags.

Do you claim to be wise?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Let’s continue to turn to God in righteousness!

January 20, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice;
when the wicked rule, the people groan.
(Proverbs 29:2 (NIV))

Ouch !!!

Have we been rejoicing or groaning?

Think about the implications of that simple question.

Have we lost track of the principles upon which we were founded? Have we grown so accustom to looking out for only ourselves, that we forget that what we do has an affect on others? Have we allowed wickedness to replace righteousness? Do we look upon sin as something that is wrong, or do we look upon sin as an alternative lifestyle? Do we see those around us as individuals whom God created, or do we simply see someone who is an obstacle in our way?

I could go on and on with these types of questions, but I hope you understand my point.

Woe to those who call evil good
    and good evil,
  who put darkness for light
    and light for darkness,
  who put bitter for sweet
    and sweet for bitter.
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
    and clever in their own sight.
Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine
    and champions at mixing drinks,
who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
    but deny justice to the innocent.
(Isaiah 5:20-23 (NIV))

Does any of this sound familiar? It does to me.

Fortunately, God allows us to turn away from our sin and return to Him.

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (NIV))

The heavens may not be shut so that there is no rain, but I think I see the telltale signs of a different type of locust. This locust devours just like the type referred to in this passage, and just like we are told, if we will humbly turn to God in prayer, and turn toward Him, He will heal our land.

I don’t know about you, but I am tired of groaning. Join me in prayer! Let’s continue to turn to God in righteousness!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Only the Lord is a perfect fit!

December 6, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever.
The ordinances of the LORD are sure
and altogether righteous.
(Psalms 19:7-9 (NIV))

Some say that there is a God shaped hole inside of our hearts that we strive to fill. Some fill it with wealth; some with power; some with lust; some with greed; and some with false religions. All of the people who try to force fit a “square peg into a round hole” are never truly at peace. They occasionally can make something “fit” temporarily, but due to the mismatched shapes, whatever they place there eventually works its way out.

When this happens, there is much pain, sadness and anger. Filling the space that was intended for God to fill only leads to false hope and aggravation. The Psalmist knew of this and conveyed this truth very eloquently in the above passage. This was before the idea of a “God shaped hole,” but it conveys the same underlying truth.

How are you trying to fill this hole that yearns to be filled?

Only the Lord is a perfect fit!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you worship like you are truly thankful?

November 28, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then the Lord said,
“Because this people draw near
    with their words
And honor Me with their lip service,
But they remove their hearts far from Me,
And their reverence for Me
    Consists of tradition learned by rote,
Therefore behold, I will once
    again deal marvelously with
    this people, wondrously marvelous;
And the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
And the discernment of their discerning men shall be concealed.”
(Isaiah 29:13-14 (NASB))

Are we guilty of “tradition learned by rote?”

Are our church services merely a series of traditions that we do because they are the way that we learned them? Do we understand the true meaning behind the traditions?

God spoke through Isaiah against meaningless traditions. Judgment was poured out on the descendants of Israel for simply doing “what they have always done.” They had forgotten that these traditions were actually acts of worship. Worship is not the act of doing things because that is the way they have always been done. It is a sincere reverence for God. It is a “thanksgiving” for what God has done for us, and not a series of rituals done in a certain sequence. God wants us to follow the intent of the Law, and not the letter of the Law. Jesus spoke against the Pharisees for following the letter of the Law without following the intent.

Are you bound by tradition learned by rote?

Are you truly thankful?

Do you worship like you are truly thankful?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where do your actions lead you?

November 19, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,
but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked.
Hatred stirs up dissension,
but love covers over all wrongs.
Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning,
but a rod is for the back of him who lacks judgment.
Wise men store up knowledge,
but the mouth of a fool invites ruin.
The wealth of the rich is their fortified city,
but poverty is the ruin of the poor.
The wages of the righteous bring them life,
but the income of the wicked brings them punishment.
He who heeds discipline shows the way to life,
but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.
(Proverbs 10:11-17 (NIV))

Too bad that nonbelievers do not take these words to heart! Nothing could be plainer than the truth these words speak of.

Today, too many people go about doing whatever “feels good” to them without any thought to the consequences of their actions. If you have ever studied Physics, there is a physical law that states for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. If these people would only realize that what is true in the physical world is also true in the spiritual world. Every time that they do a wicked act or do something that lacks spiritual judgment, then they are storing up equal and opposite actions that will be brought upon themselves. They store up rotten fruits as their reward for their actions. Believers store up abundant fruit that does not rot.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Where do your actions lead you?

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

October 28, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The way of a fool seems right to him,
    but a wise man listens to advice.
A fool shows his annoyance at once,
    but a prudent man overlooks an insult.
(Proverbs 12:15-16 (NIV))

If everyone lived by this truth, the daytime television shows that thrive on fights and outbursts would soon go away. Unfortunately, instead of thinking first, many in our society seem to act first and never think. This often leads to disastrous results.

I hate to say this, but this current philosophy of society is even beginning to find its way into the church. Nothing seems to be off limits in the eyes of many people. I bet that you can easily recall the last time that you heard someone talking badly about the preacher because a Biblically based message stepped on someone’s toes. Instead of taking the words that God wrote, and the preacher delivered, as an instruction on how to change their life, someone took it as a personal attack by the preacher.

We must pray for our society. We must pray for our churches. We must pray for our families, and we must pray for ourselves. We must pray that we are given discernment so that we never become like the fool who shows his annoyance and his ignorance. We must pray that we never become self-righteous and indignant. We must pray that God grants us wisdom in all that we do.

There is an old saying that “It is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” Think about this the next time that something begins to annoy you.

keep your tongue from evil
    and your lips from speaking lies.
(Psalm 34:13 (NIV))

Focus on God’s Word. Meditate upon it. Let His Word become your words.

May my tongue sing of your word,
    for all your commands are righteous.
(Psalm 119:172 (NIV))

Have you been acting foolishly?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you pray for wisdom and understanding?

August 26, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.
(Daniel 12:10 (NIV))

These words recorded in Daniel speak of the people who will see the three and a half years that will be the worst period of time in human history. All of history is coming to a pivotal point and each person has to make a decision. Each of us must choose to accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior or reject Him as the Son of the Most High God. Failure to make a choice is the same thing as rejecting Jesus. We must be able to answer the question that Jesus asked the disciples.

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
(Matthew 16:5 (NIV))

Our answer will determine our eternity. Our answer is not about us. It is only about Jesus! We may consider ourselves to be a good person, but we are nothing without Jesus.

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

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))

It should be the prayer of everyone who professes a faith in Jesus that wisdom and understanding be made manifest to all and that none should continue in their sin and wickedness.

Do you pray for wisdom and understanding?

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