Do you need to forgive someone?

July 20, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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 11:24-25 (NIV))

How many times have you heard Mark 11:24? It is a verse that we know quite well, and we rely on it and count on it because it is a promise from God. God always keeps His promises.

How many times have you heard Mark 11:25 in context with Mark 11:24? God has placed a “condition” on us. It is easy to stand firm in the promise that is made in Mark 11:24, but it is not so easy to take Mark 11:25.

God clearly wants us to forgive others as He has forgiven us. To put it simply, if we are not able to give forgiveness, we are not able to be forgiven. The ability to forgive is Christ-like and God-like. If we cannot show these traits as believers, we are not true followers of Christ.

Do you need to forgive someone?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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There is power in the blood!

July 19, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood. When Moses had proclaimed every commandment of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. He said, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.” In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
(Hebrews 9:16-22 (NIV))

Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness!

Do you think that this sounds barbaric?

What imagery does it bring to mind?

Do you agree with the examples that are given in this passage?

Now, think about the following sayings.

There is power in the blood.

There is life in the blood.

Blood brothers.

I could think of more, but I hope that you understand what I am getting at. Blood is essential to life. Without blood, life ceases. When a life is taken, most of the time, the removal of blood is part of the reason that the life ends. Even if that life is freely given out of choice, there is blood.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

Blood has become a symbol of the ultimate commitment. It is that commitment by Jesus that has brought us the ultimate in rewards. The blood of Jesus has brought us forgiveness if we will only accept it.

I have read this passage before, but the concept of a will did not sink in until reading it this time. Think about that from a worldly persepctive. God had something that He wanted to leave to His children, His creation. In worldly terms we understand that the heirs receive from the deceased through the will. God could not give grace to us without the formality. He needed to allow each of us to come to the inheritance freely. Inheritance is through blood. Jesus died so that we could inherit what He came to give to us. He arose from the grave to prove that He had the authority to give it.

This may sound a little morbid, but think of the offer of salvation as the reading of the will stating what Jesus left for you. Your personal salvation comes when you receive what He has given to you through His death and resurrection.

Always remember that there is power in the blood. There is life in the blood. Only through the blood can we be offered forgiveness.

It may sound legalistic, and to a point it is. Satan knows all too well about blood. He has been using it from the beginning of this world to draw people away from forgiveness. He has stated his case that all of humanity belong to him because of the sin of Adam and Eve. He makes that claim because of the inheritance through the blood. Jesus broke that inheritance and has offered us a new inheritance through His blood.

There is power in the blood!

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What can you do to spread the Word?

July 18, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
(Romans 1:16 (NIV))

Have you ever truly stopped to reflect on just how powerful words can be?

Words can bring encouragement. They can destroy. Words can bring great joy or great sadness. Words can do tremendous good or bring tremendous harm.

There is one Word that brings eternal life.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
(John 1:1 (NIV))

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

Consider the language that you speak. How many different words do you know? Do any of them carry the power to bring salvation? Only Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, can bring such a promise.

Every day, we speak hundreds, if not thousands of words. We must choose carefully what we say. We must speak the truth of the Word of God so that others may be brought to salvation, for only the Word can save.

Think about how powerful the Word of God has been in your life. What can you do to spread the Word?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What has God done for you?

July 17, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
(Psalms 136:1 (NIV))

When was the last time that you truly read and comprehended these words?

God is so good that His love truly does endure forever. David realized this when he wrote these words. David did not stop with these words only. He wrote and wrote about the good things that God has done and with each one, he emphasized that God’s love never ends.

Perhaps we should take a minute to read and reflect on what David wrote.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.
to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.
who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.
who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.
who made the great lights–
His love endures forever.
the sun to govern the day,
His love endures forever.
the moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures forever.
to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt
His love endures forever.
and brought Israel out from among them
His love endures forever.
with a mighty hand and outstretched arm;
His love endures forever.
to him who divided the Red Sea asunder
His love endures forever.
and brought Israel through the midst of it,
His love endures forever.
but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea;
His love endures forever.
to him who led his people through the desert,
His love endures forever.
who struck down great kings,
His love endures forever.
and killed mighty kings–
His love endures forever.
Sihon king of the Amorites
His love endures forever.
and Og king of Bashan–
His love endures forever.
and gave their land as an inheritance,
His love endures forever.
an inheritance to his servant Israel;
His love endures forever.
to the One who remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.
and freed us from our enemies,
His love endures forever.
and who gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever
(Psalms 136: 1-26 (NIV))

We would be hard pressed to list that many things in our lives that we are willing to give God the credit and the glory for. David did it. He gave God the glory for all things. Perhaps this is why he was called a man after God’s own heart.

There are things in my life that I pray would change, yet perhaps I should be thankful for them and wait on God to lead me through them instead.

What can you list that God has done for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Has your nature changed?

July 16, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
(Romans 5:8 (NIV))

I was recently presented with a concept that has made me look at this passage with more gratitude for what God has done for us through His Son, Jesus.

It is common knowledge that humanity has fallen from grace and that we have fallen into sin. It is also an accepted fact by the church that we are all sinners in need of a Savior. But, the question that was presented to me has had me reflecting on the answer for a few days. It is an answer that eludes me, but it brings some interesting things to the table.

The question sounds simple.

Are we sinners because we sin, or do we sin because we are sinners?

To be honest, my first reaction was that we are sinners because we sin.

Why do we sin?

If we sin because we are sinners, that means that our human nature has been set to seek sin. We seek after the things that are wrong. In other words, humanity has a sinful nature. Individually we sin because we have a sinful nature. We sin due to the fact that since the fall from grace, the righteous nature has been replaced with a sinful nature.

“While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

If you realize that it is in our nature to sin, this takes on a whole new meaning.

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))

We are truly the filthy rags. We are not capable of doing good without grace, for we are all prone to sin. We sin because we have a sinful nature. Sin is anything that goes against the will of God.

Let me explain through an extreme example.

It is a sharks nature to feed. We have all seen the feeding frenzies. They cannot help their nature. It is deadly for anything that gets in the middle of it. Our sin is just as deadly for anyone who gets in the middle of it. Jesus did get in the middle of it. He came to provide a way for us to break the stranglehold that our sinful human nature has upon us. He came to provide a way, the only way, to change our nature. We were born, as human beings, into the life that has us sin because it is in our nature. We sinned because we were sinners.

We have been washed clean!

I just realized that this concept puts a whole new meaning into the concept of being born again. Our first birth was into the sinful nature that we could not escape. Our second birth, through Jesus, is into a renewed being who has had the sinful nature removed. Christ died for us while we still had that sinful nature. Through His death and resurrection, we have grace and mercy. We are free from our sinful nature.

Could our status change?

I honestly believe that it is at this point when we move from sinning because we have a sinful nature to one where we are sinners because we still sin. The difference is a matter of priorities. Being a sinner because we still sin implies that we have surrendered ourselves to Jesus and that we are seeking His Will. We will not be perfect in our walk. We will still sin. We will miss the mark, but it is our desire to follow God’s will.

I want to present one more idea for you to think about. It will require personal reflection.

Since accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, do you feel that your nature has changed? Do you still find yourself thinking and doing the same sinful things you did before your salvation? Now, think about the sins that you feel that you need to lay at the foot of the cross. Have these changed since your salvation?

Do you feel that you have moved, through the power of the Holy Spirit, from a sinful nature to someone who sins?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will you accept this gift?

July 13, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The LORD bless you
and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace.
(Numbers 6:24-26 (NIV))

That is all that we can hope for. All that we can pray for. This is what our hearts long for.

When this was first given to Aaron as a means of blessing Israel, it was their prayer as well. God wants to bless us and give us peace. The children of Israel had God with them for a long time in the form of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. They experienced God’s presence on a daily basis, yet, they rebelled against His love by not obeying God’s commands. As a result, it took them forty years to enter the Promised Land, and those who originally rebelled did not live to enter.

Today, we have the grace and mercy given to us through Jesus. It is this grace and mercy that allows us to approach the throne of God completely righteous in the eyes of God.

When this was written, God came to us and we rebelled. Now, through Jesus, we can approach God if our heart desires it. Today, the message is the same as it was when Numbers was written. God wants to bless you and give you peace.

It is God’s gift to each of us. It is given through Jesus.

Will you accept this gift through Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Lord, enlarge my territory so that you may be glorified!

July 12, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.
(1 Chronicles 4:9-10 (NIV))

Oh, that you would bless me!

This is something that we all think, and probably most of us actually pray it as well. Many sermons have been taught on the principle that God wants to bless us. The good thing is that He does want to bless us!

He wants to bless us so that we can be a blessing to others. He does not want to bless those who will hoard his blessings and keep them for themselves. He wishes to bless those who will, in turn, bless others through what He has blessed them with. A pastor once put it in a way that tells it well. He said that he did not want to be a jar for God to pour His blessings into. He wanted to be a teapot or a pitcher that was designed to pour out for others. He wished to received the blessings so that he could pour out the blessings to others.

Perhaps this is why God granted the prayers of Jabez, for he did not simply ask to be blessed. He asked to have his territory enlarged. Jabez honored God by asking for God to be with him. If God is with you, He will use you to spread the news of what He has done. If you are used by God to spread His Gospel, then you will be blessed. Your circle of influence will increase so that God can be glorified.

Look at the men and women of today who glorify God in all that they do. God has increased their circle of influence so that more people can be blessed through them.

Be careful in your heart when asking God to bless you. Do not let human nature take control and simply ask to be a blessing to others so that you will be blessed, after all, God knows what is in your heart.

It is my prayer for all who fervently seek the Lord to have their territory enlarged so that they may be His witness in all that they do. I also seek your prayers for this ministry that God has given to me. I pray that if Daily Living Ministries has touched your life, to please share that with those around you. I seek your prayers to help under gird me and to keep me focused on what God has called me to do. The world offers many distractions. I desire to avoid the distractions. I desire to enlarge my territory. Perhaps I should rephrase that. I desire to enlarge the territory that God has granted me. I do not do it for any personal gain or for any notoriety. That is not the reward that I seek.

Lord, enlarge my territory so that you may be glorified.

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