Do you still have your “comfort sins?”

August 17, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
(1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NIV))

It is impossible for the wicked to be a part of God’s kingdom. Yet, God does not wish that any should perish! How can this be? Once we have accepted God’s grace through the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, He works within us to change us to His image. All things that do not fit His image, He cleans up and replaces with His righteousness.

Sin is what we were lost in before God’s grace. Sins are the things that go against the Word of God. Unfortunately, sin is what we are comfortable with. Too many people simply stand on the promises of grace and mercy but they ignore the simple truth that God does not want you to stay in your sin. You must allow the Holy Spirit to free you from the sin that enslaves you. Once you truly accept grace, you are no longer any of these – neither sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders not thieves nor the greedy nor drunkard nor slanderers nor swindlers. You have been washed in the blood of Jesus. You are no longer that same person. Still, you must willingly let these sins go. You must relinquish your life to the one who died for you.

Many people, and some so-called church members, who are saying that same sex marriage is okay are misreading what God has said within this passage. We are to hate the sin, but love the sinner. We are not to accept the sin. That would be a sin in and of itself. Do we accept thieves? Yes, but we do not tell them that it is ok to keep stealing. Do we accept swindlers? If we follow what Jesus taught, we do, but we do not tell them that it is ok to keep up with their sinful ways. Do we accept the drunkard? Out of God’s love, we accept the drunk, yet, we do not tell them to keep drinking.

In the scripture, it states “that is what some of you WERE.” It is not what we are. The people who are pushing acceptance are not willing to embrace all of God’s Truths. They are only embracing what they wish to embrace and are rejecting the parts that convict them of sins that they are unwilling to give up. God loves each of us too much to allow us to stay in our sin.

Stop and think about that for a moment. Are you the same as when you first accepted Jesus? Have you forgotten events of your life before God’s grace? Do you still cling to certain things because you simply don’t want to give them up? Do you still have your “comfort sins?”

Do you accept all of God’s Word, or only the parts that don’t convict you?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your spirit willing?

August 16, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
(Luke 5:5 (NIV))

How many times have you worked and waited for God to do something in your life or through your life? It probably seemed like He would never do what you have had faith that He would do. Think how Simon Peter felt. Here was this rabbi who knew nothing about fishing. He had grown up as a carpenter, yet He was telling the fisherman what to do. Knowing how Peter often overreacted, I find it very interesting that he did what he did.

Peter did just as he had been told, even though he was tired. He was probably very irritable from working all night with no results, and he was probably harboring arrogant and sinful thoughts about the man who told him to let down his nets.

Think about this situation. We, too, are often like this. We are at our breaking point and do not see any purpose in continuing with what we are doing. We simply wish to give up. When we are faced with this type of situation and mentality, we must remember Simon Peter. Mentally, he was saying that this will never work. Intellectually, he was thinking that a carpenter doesn’t know anything about fishing. Spiritually, he was willing to give it one more try.

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

Simon Peter overcame his physical weakness and trusted in what his spirit was telling him. He was able to make that leap of faith that allowed Jesus to call him as one of His disciples. He was able to make that leap of faith when every other sign pointed in the other direction. Because of his willingness to say “But because you say so, I will let down the nets,” Jesus used him to reach through history and to touch millions of lives with the Gospel.

Is your spirit willing to obey that one more time when reason says you shouldn’t?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It is a matter of faith.

August 13, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
(John 14:12-14 (NIV))

Did these words hit you in the same way that they hit me?

Think about the concept that Jesus left us.

Those who have faith in Jesus will do what He did.

We will even do greater things than He did!

I don’t know about you, but I know myself all too well. I know what I have done. I know what I am capable of doing on my own, both good and bad. I know that I have good intentions, but the world always tries to slow me down or stop me. How can I do greater things than Jesus? How can I even do what Jesus did?

Do you find yourself thinking the same type of thoughts?

Faith is a funny thing. Without it, we have a tendency to say that we cannot achieve what we are called to do. When we take possession of a brand new faith, we think that we are able to do anything for God. As we “mature” in our faith, we seem to allow the world to creep in and hold us back. Is this really a mature faith?

Take a look at the disciples. Take a look at John. Take a look at Paul. As each of these people matured in their faith, they grew bolder. They did not allow the world to hold them back. They went forward into the very heart of the battle for salvation. They did not back down. They did not slow down. They did not stop spreading the Gospel because it was not “politically correct.”

I honestly think that if we, the body of Christ, stood firm in our faith the way that the early church stood, then we could begin to say that with the power of the Holy Spirit within us, we are approaching the vision that Jesus had of those who have faith in Him. We could and should be doing what Jesus did.

And, since Jesus said it, I will stand firm on the words and say that we could and should be doing greater things than He did.

It is a matter of faith. It is a matter of a strong faith and not a sedate, “mature” faith.

How is your faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Tomorrow

August 12, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.
(Proverbs 27:1 (NIV))

It is human nature to make plans and to say what will happen “tomorrow.” God does not promise us “tomorrow,” but He does promise us today. He also promises us a hope of a “tomorrow” if we accept the grace and mercy He gave us through His Son, Jesus Christ.

There may be no “tomorrow” as we understand the concept. Anything could happen in this physical world and our presence in “tomorrow” may never happen. We tend to take our physical existence for granted. Sometimes, it takes a very serious “wake-up” call to make us realize our mortality.

It is a lie of Satan that makes us think that we have all the time in the world. Satan knows that if he can make us think that we have a guaranteed “tomorrow,” then we will delay thinking about making a personal commitment to Jesus Christ. If we delay in making this decision, then Satan wins our soul if tomorrow does not come for us in the physical world.

Life is precious, yet it is urgent at the same time. God wishes for us to have a life filled with His grace, mercy and gifts, yet, at the same time, He wishes for us to be urgent in our decision to accept Jesus, for He knows that we may not have another chance at “tomorrow.”

If something were to happen and you do not see tomorrow in the physical world, will you be prepared for tomorrow in the spiritual?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you choose to be blessed or to be cursed?

August 11, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Today I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse! You will be blessed if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today. You will receive a curse if your reject the commands of the Lord your God and turn from his way by worshipping foreign gods.
(Deuteronomy 11:26-28 (NLT))

What Moses said to the Israelites many years ago about God’s commands was very true then. God was giving them a choice to either be blessed or to be cursed. Can you imagine being given a choice like this? All they had to do to be blessed was to follow the commands that God gave them. They only had to obey ten commands! God did not over burden them with hundreds or thousands of laws. He only gave them ten!

What are the consequences of disobeying these ten commands? The Bible defines this as sin. In essence, what are the consequences of sin?

It is true that sin brings a curse. It brings an eternal separation from God. It also has physical consequences as well. The Israelites sinned against God when they chose to disobey and not take the land that God had promised. As a result, they wandered for forty years in the wilderness. Other sins that have been committed have resulted in consequences resembling a curse.

No one is perfect. Only one man has ever been able to keep every single command that God gave. He had a slight advantage, for this man was not just any man. He was the only begotten Son of God. He was fully God and He was fully man. Through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, we see what a blessing obedience is. Through His obedience, we see what grace and mercy are. We can choose the blessing by choosing Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

Every day, God gives each of us the same choice that He gave the Israelites through Moses.

Today I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse!
(Deuteronomy 11:26 (NLT))

Do you choose to be blessed or to be cursed?

It is your choice!

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Footprints

August 10, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the desert. There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.
(Deuteronomy 1:30-31 (NIV))

Have you ever heard the story about the footprints in the sand? It is a story of how one person walks with Jesus through all the times of his life, but, looking back at the tough times, he only sees one set of footprints when there had always been two sets before. He asks Jesus were He went. Jesus replies that He did not abandon him. He was carrying him!

Take a look at the words that are written in Deuteronomy. It clearly states that God carried those whom He went before. Jesus said that He only does what He sees the Father do.

So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.
(John 8:28-29 (NIV))

If God, who is the Creator of all things, carries those whom He created who call upon His name, and Jesus carries those who call upon His name, we, as the Body of Christ, have nothing to fear from whatever the enemy and this world may send our way. God is for us!

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?
(Romans 8:31 (NIV))

To use a boxing term, we have a champion in our corner. If we truly call upon the name of the Lord in righteousness and sincerity, we have nothing to fear, for our champion, our loving father, is with us, carrying us.

When you look back at your life, how many sets of footprints do you see?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Love the Lord your God

August 9, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
(Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NIV))

I heard this passage again this morning and something hit me hard that had not come to mind before. I instantly felt chills.

Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
(Deuteronomy 6:8 (NIV))

He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead,
(Revelation 13:16 NIV))

Satan corrupts everything. God told us to tie His words as symbols on our hands and to bind them on our foreheads. At the time that this was written, the left hand was considered to be unclean. The right hand was the clean hand. The forehead was the center of wisdom. It is no simple matter of choice that Satan places his mark on the right hand and on the forehead. Symbolically, he wants everything to be his. He wants our righteousness and our cleanness. He wants our wisdom and our choices.

Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
(Deuteronomy 6:9 (NIV))

It is also no small matter that Satan has attacked the family and the home. He realizes that the home is the primary place of establishing and building faith. If he can remove God’s Word from our homes, then he knows that he can steal and kill.

Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
(Deuteronomy 6:7 (NIV))

Here is another attack, Think about this. Do we impress God’s Word upon our children? Our school system used to be able to teach Biblical principles. The schools would reinforce what was taught at home and at church. We used to be able to pray in school. That has been removed.

Satan is doing his best to make sure that what God has commended will be undone. Satan does not come up with anything that is new. He takes the very Word of God and twists it to his purposes. If you feel that something is not righteous, then check God’s Word. If it goes exactly opposite of what God says, then turn as fast as possible away from the lies and the deception.

I think that we all need to hear this as often as possible. We must also take it to heart.

Do you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Righteousness – inner or outer truth

August 6, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a man can make him `unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him `unclean.’ ”

After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him `unclean’? For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods “clean.”)

He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him `unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man `unclean.’ ”
(Mark 7:14-23 (NIV))

This was unheard of in Jesus’ time. The Jews did not want to defile their bodies by what they touched or put into them, yet Jesus taught that it did not matter. If someone’s heart was impure, evil would come from them no matter what they put into their bodies. He also taught that it was possible for someone to be righteous and put “impure” things into their bodies and it would not effect what was in the heart.

The measure of righteousness is not what goes in, but what comes out. If you seek after God’s Will, then it is not possible for evil to result. The Holy Spirit is at work in your life and it is not possible for God and evil to co-exist within you. It is true that you will still sin in your life, but this sin is forgiven for you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. It is removed as far as the east is from the west.

Righteousness does not come from outward actions but from inward desire. Do you look inward when you do something or are your actions determined by outward influences?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Fellowship and accountability

August 5, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!
(Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NIV))

Everyone needs support. Even Jesus had the twelve with Him. It is true that He was teaching them, yet, they were with Him. Perhaps it was the other way around. Perhaps the twelve had Jesus to help them up when they fell! Do you think that this is what really happened?

Either way you look at it, Jesus surrounded Himself with other people. He knew that it is not good to be alone. We need the comfort and security that comes from associating with those who are seeking the same things that we are. We need support and encouragement in our daily walk with Jesus. We cannot do it alone. Even though we may have invited Jesus to be our Lord and Savior, we need the day to day accountability that fellowship provides. We have been told that we should not stop meeting together with believers.

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
(Hebrews 10:25(NIV))

Accountability and support cannot be ignored. We hold each other up. We hold each other accountable. We pray for each other. We love each other.

When was the last time you provided accountability or were accountable to someone else?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Could it be me?

August 4, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And while they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.”
(Matthew 26:21 (NIV))

Can you put yourself into that upper room when Jesus spoke these words?

Think about that for a moment. He didn’t speak these words to a group of strangers. He spoke them to the twelve men that had spent the last three years with Him. These men had seen Jesus do things that no other man in the history of the world could even begin to imagine doing. They knew His heart and they knew Him. They all knew that Jesus had an ability to see to the very heart, yet, one of the people who sat in that room would betray Him.

And, Jesus knew it!

I can imagine myself sitting there. At first denial would come into mind. “Surely no one would even begin to consider such an idea!” Then, a strong, but brief bout of anguish. “Could it be me?” Then, just as the disciples did, I would probably begin to ask who it could possibly be.

I hate to say this, but human nature would also raise its ugly head in a way that would not be pleasant. We would all probably say to ourselves, “I am so glad that it is not me.” However, would any of us have a fist reaction that did not place us first? Would we stop to realize that even if it was not us, Jesus would still be betrayed? Would we be so absorbed in our own thoughts about our actions that we would miss the fact that Jesus would still be handed over to suffer?

My heart sinks when I think about what I would think and do if I were sitting in that room. However, I often feel that we still betray Jesus in many ways each and every day. Our betrayals may not be the one that God used to put His plan into motion, but they are still betrayals. They are still sins. They are the very reasons that Jesus willingly went to the cross.

I often wonder if Judas had turned to Jesus and said that he was sorry, what would have become of Judas. Sadly, Judas, even though he spent three years with Jesus, did not think to ask for forgiveness. He did not learn from any of the teachings of Jesus. Did Judas think about the woman caught in adultery and the compassion that Jesus showed? Did Judas remember Jesus telling others to forgive someone who sins against you seventy times seven?

Each of us betray Jesus in some way each and every day. Don’t forget that grace is there for the asking. It is a matter of the heart. It is a matter of priorities. My priority is to seek Jesus in all that I do and to have the wisdom to know when I fail at my priority.

Could it be me?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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