What do you do when you look into a mirror?

November 17, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
(Psalms 139:13-14 (NIV))

Blessed is the person who knows the power and majesty of his or her Creator, for they know that they are no accident. They know that, contrary to what society would have you believe, they are not evolved from apes, but are created to be in the image of God.

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
(Genesis 1:27 (NIV))

Have you ever truly studied the human body?

It is no chance accident. We were fearfully and wonderfully made. The intricacies and complexities of life, especially the human body, are so interwoven that it is obvious that there was a design. It is obvious that there was a Creator. When was the last time that you saw anything, if left to its own random chance, grow into something more than it already is? Think about that. Everything deteriorates. There is nothing that does not deteriorate. The basic principle of evolution is that things randomly improve and adapt. If left to the natural order of this sinful world, everything gets dirty, gets old, falls apart and eventually rots. Where is the improvement there?

We are made up of millions of cells. The basic building blocks of each cell are so intricate that the possibilities of them coming together and then aligning in the required order are so staggering that for all practical purposes they would not come into existence in that combination. They had to be designed!

The next time that you look into a mirror, stop and think of the words from Psalms 139:13-14. We must never forget that our existence is no accident. We were created by a loving God and Father. Every single time we look into the mirror we must praise God for what He has done.

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How are you at saying “No?”

November 16, 2009

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,
(Titus 2:11-12 (NIV))

How many of us are capable of saying “No” to the ungodliness and worldly passions that constantly bombard us from all sides? How can we live according to God’s Word when all around us is sin and chaos?

We would all like to think that we say “No” to everything ungodly that comes our way, but we are only human. We all need to turn certain areas of our lives over to God and not take them back. Not a single one of us is perfect in our walk, in our faith. We all fail, sometimes miserably. Even when we strive to live upright and godly lives, we don’t always do as we should.

It is by God’s grace that we are not held accountable.

I can imagine that many of you read that and stopped dead in your tracks wondering why I would say that. Let me explain.

Once we have accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we are given grace. All of our previous sins are forgiven. Our slate has been wiped clean. Once we receive grace, we do not become perfect creatures instantly. We still have our old habits and our old sins that the Holy Spirit helps us to overcome. We have made a choice to live godly lives, yet, we will stumble. We will fail to listen and we will do things that will break the very heart of God. What makes the difference at this point is the fact that we have made a commitment to Jesus. If we strive to follow Jesus, then our sins will be forgiven.

It is said that Christians are not perfect, just forgiven. There is so much truth in this. I know that I am far from perfect. I know that I have done many things just in this time period that we call today. Still, I know that I am forgiven. I rest assured on the promises that God has given through His Son, Jesus.

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))

God’s grace, once granted, will continue as long as we strive to do what is righteous in His eyes.

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
(Matthew 18:21-22 (NIV))

We are to strive to be like Jesus. We are to strive to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions. We are to strive to be self-controlled. Sometimes we will fail.

Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:10-11 (NIV))

God never fails. When we fail to say “No,” simply turn to God and repent. He will be there with open arms.

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who do you recognize as the final authority?

November 13, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
(Revelation 22:13 (NIV))

Think about this passage and these words.

What do they mean to you?

Have you ever heard anyone say something similar to these words? If you have, they were probably trying to convey to those around them that they were the ultimate authority with respect to whatever the topic was. In the last century, we even had a President who uttered words with a similar intent when he said, “The buck stops here.” In other words, there is no option of passing the decision up the proverbial ladder to someone who has more authority.

God is the ultimate authority!

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
(Genesis 1:1 (NIV))

God has a plan. He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus to fulfill that plan.

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.
(Revelation 22:20-21 (NIV))

Nothing can change that plan. God is in control and nothing that we can do will change that plan. It may change where we will end up, but it will not change the outcome. God is the ultimate authority and Satan will be defeated.

When the words, “The buck stops here” were spoken, it meant that the final decision had been made and nothing could alter that decision. Consider once again the words. We can either accept God’s plan and His grace or we can reject His plan and His grace. If we accept it, He has already told us what will transpire.

Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.
(Revelation 22:12 (NIV))

Personally, I don’t want to be given what is to be given to those who reject His grace.

What will God in all of His authority give to you?

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The Master builder

November 12, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
(John 14:1-3 (NIV))

What imagery do you see when you read this passage? Do you focus on the splendor of the dwelling that you have the hope and the promise of attaining? Perhaps you focus on the shear number of dwellings that must exist. Perhaps you read that Jesus is preparing a place for you and then you realize that the Lord of all is personally taking care of your needs. These are all fantastic visions of what awaits, but I find solace in the last statement.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
(John 14:3 (NIV))

Isn’t that amazing? Jesus, in all of His glory, is not only personally preparing our future dwellings, He will also come back personally and take us to be with Him. He is NOT sending an angel to come and pick us up. He is not using a GPS system or Mapquest to send us directions so that we can find our own way. He is coming personally to take us to be with Him.

Think about that. Jesus – King of kings and Lord of lords – loves us so much that He is coming for us. In fact, all of history is unfolding because He loves us and died on the cross so that we can receive salvation, grace and mercy. God’s Word tells of God’s love through His creation and how we, through Adam and Eve, fell from grace. The Old Testament shows us how we should live, but how we fail because of sin. It also points to a savior who will change all. Then, Jesus comes and shows us how to return to God. We are given a choice. We are given a free gift. Finally, those who trust in Jesus will be welcome home.

Jesus is that gift. Even now, He is still fulfilling these words.

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
(Mark 10:45 (NIV))

Jesus is preparing a place for us. Even in His Lordship, He is still serving us. How can we serve Him?

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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You are invited!

November 11, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.
(Revelation 22:17 (NIV))

Think back upon the last invitation that you received. Maybe it was an engraved, formal invitation to a wedding. Perhaps it was an email telling you of an event, the time and place. Perhaps it was a televised invitation to a concert. Better yet, was it a simple exchange between friends where one friend willingly opened his heart and home to you as a simple act of fellowship and love?

Now, imagine the best invitation that you have ever received is nothing more than filthy rags. That is exactly what it is in comparison to the invitation that all of us are given. All other invitations are to events that are fleeting in nature and are soon forgotten. The invitation that we are given by the Spirit is one to an eternal celebration of grace and mercy!

“Come!”

There is no other invitation needed. There is no other explanation needed. God, in all of His infinite wisdom and glory is freely offering us grace and mercy through the redeeming blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. All we have to do is accept the invitation.

Are you thirsty?

Do you long to have the water of life?

What are you waiting for? Grace and mercy are yours through this glorious invitation.

“Come!”

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Promises kept!

November 10, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.
(Revelation 21:4 (NKJV))

If God only chose one promise to keep and this was it, we would have an extremely good reason for calling upon His name. Yet, we know that God keeps all of His promises and that this is only a small portion of what He has in store for those who call upon His name through the grace and mercy offered through Jesus Christ.

Can you imagine what it will be like when this is fulfilled?

Does anyone ever have a single day in which something or someone does not cause them sorrow? Life in this sinful world is not capable of providing a single day like what is described in this verse, yet, those who truly call upon Jesus Christ as their Lord and Master will face an eternity of such bliss.

There is an old saying that nothing is certain in this life but death and taxes. Jesus has provided a way to defeat death, and through the promise of this verse, all matters that are taxing to the human spirit will no longer cause us pain. To claim this, and all of God’s promises, for yourself, all that you have to do is accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, and allow the Holy Spirit to work within your life.

You cannot do it on your own, but you can accept the gift of grace and mercy that God freely gives through His Son, Jesus.

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you taken action to use your gift?

November 9, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
(Ephesians 4:11-13 (NIV))

This past few days, God taught me a lesson about the gifts that He has given each of us. He used my sixteen year old son to emphasize something that many of us have a tendency to overlook.

As I may have stated in previous devotionals, my son plays alto and tenor saxophone in his high school band. I feel that he has a gift for music. Fortunately, he is in a school that has a band director who firmly believes in using what you have been given. He pushes the kids in a way that has brought discipline, maturity and confidence in their playing abilities. The band and the band director have taken the natural callings that the students have and have worked hard since summer. It shows. They earned the right to attend the national high school band competition recently held in Annapolis, Maryland. This right was granted to them by winning first place in the regional competition held just two weeks prior.

What made this band different was not their gifts, although it was a foundation. What made this band different was the fact that they acted upon those gifts and firmly believed that they could do it. God gave them each the ability to play. It was their decision and their action that turned that gift, that calling, into more than just a typical high school band.

How does that relate to some being apostles, some being prophets, some evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers?

God has also called each of us with spiritual gifts as well as physical gifts. He may not have called us to play music, but he has called us to other endeavors, endeavors that also need our decision and our action to turn that gift into all that God has called it to be. We may realize that we have a calling, but if we never act on that calling, is it truly what god desires? What if it is your calling to be an evangelist and bring countless numbers to salvation through Jesus? What will happen if you never take action on that calling.

We have to respond. We have to be willing to step out in faith just as my son’s high school band stepped out in faith when they believed that they could do more than simply playing at football games.

What is God calling you to do? If someone knocks on your door to tell you that you have won a fantastic prize, what happens if you do not answer the door? What will happen to your gift, your calling, if you never respond to God and step out in faith?

Being called is wonderful, yet, it is only the first step in the process. If you want to see what God will do if you answer your call, then step out in faith and allow God to mold you into the apostle, the prophet, the evangelist, the pastor or teacher that he knows that you can be.

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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