Go now and leave your life of sin

June 28, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.
(Galatians 6:1 (NIV))

This is just another reminder that no one is above falling into sin.

We can point our fingers at those around us who have slipped into a sinful nature, but we must remember that we are not above the same temptations that tempted and caught others in the snares of sin.

Perhaps I should say that we do not have the right to point our fingers at those who have fallen into sin. Jesus did not point his finger at the woman caught in adultery.

“If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
(John 8:7b (NIV))

Jesus simply invoked her to sin no more.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 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 8:9-11 (NIV))

Jesus did not condemn sinners. He came to save them. We, too, are sinful in nature and in need of a savior. We must constantly be on our guard or the enemy will tempt us and we will return to our sin. We must watch ourselves. We must not condemn those who are still caught in their sins.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we listening?

June 27, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
(Revelation 3:13 (NIV))

So many things have been happening lately that many members of the Body of Christ are in shock over. Each day seems to bring more and more things to light that appear to go against God’s Word. We are to hold fast to our faith in Jesus.

We have been told that things would happen.

We have been told that we would come to a time when good would be called evil and evil would be called good.

What can we, as the Body of Christ, do?

We must pray! We must hold fast to the Word of God. We must not let our focus be swayed. We must continue to reach out to those in need with the only thing that can save them, We must be Jesus to a dying world. Now is not the time for the Body of Christ to sit back and wait for the Second Coming of Jesus. There are people that He wants to take with him. Think about your family and friends. I bet that there are people that you want Him to take with Him as well.

We must hear what the Holy Spirit is telling us and we must act upon it. Salvation is not limited to only a handful of people. Jesus died on the cross so that everyone may be saved.

“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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

We must listen intently to what the Holy Spirit is telling the church. The things that are going on in the world are the physical evidence of what God is whispering to the Body of Christ.

To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
(Revelation 3:21-22 (NIV))

We must hear what the Spirit is saying. We must overcome the world.

Are we listening?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus was willing. Are you?

June 26, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
(Matthew 8:1-4 (NIV))

“I am willing.”

Three little words that changed the course of history! Three little words that allowed each of us to receive grace and mercy.

I can imagine a conversation in heaven a long time ago in which God the Father says something like, “I have a plan to offer grace, mercy and salvation to my creation. It will require a great sacrifice. Are you willing?”

“I am willing.”

It is very easy to comprehend the idea that when Jesus spoke these words to the leper, it was not the first time that He had said them. Perhaps the best part of this is that He says them still. He says them to each of us who willingly come to Him as Lord and Savior. No matter what garbage we bring with us, we can ask Him if He is willing to take it from us and His answer will always be “I am willing.” The only thing that holds us back from hearing these words and receiving His gift of grace and mercy is the simple fact that we do not answer Him. He asks each of us “If you are willing, I can take that from you.” Far too many are not willing. Far too many will never know God’s grace and mercy.

Jesus was willing. Are you?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can you realize your full potential on your own?

June 25, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 5:17-20 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to reflect on the meaning of the word “fulfill.” There are several meanings and all of them shed a slightly different, yet profound meaning on these words that Jesus spoke.

According to Merriam-Webster.com, one meaning is to make full. If you consider the promises that God has given to us through the Law, those promises have been made full in what Jesus has done. Before Jesus, no one could live up to the ideals set forth through God’s Laws. The fulness of God’s Laws were salvation. We could not bring fulness on our own.

Another meaning is “to put into effect.” Still another is “to meet the requirements of.” There are more, but I think that my favorite definition is “to convert into reality; to develop the full potentialities of.” Before Jesus, the reality was that no one could fulfill the Law. Since Jesus, the reality is that no one else has fulfilled the Law. What are the full potentialities of fulfilling God’s Law? Think about that. We know what the outcome is when we fall short of God’s Law. Falling short of God’s Law is sin. The consequences of sin is death.

Through Jesus, we have realized the full potential of God’s Law. We have seen what it is to be perfect in God’s eyes. We have seen God set that example through Jesus. Jesus fulfilled the Law perfectly. We don’t need to fulfill it. This does not mean that we can do whatever we want. It means that we will not be condemned when we try in all sincerity and fall short. We will be condemned if we reject grace.

We can accept His fulfillment and His Lordship and, by grace, we can be granted our salvation – our fulfillment of God’s Laws through Jesus. We have a choice to make. We can accept this grace or we can live and be judged according to the Law – the very Law that ONLY Jesus was able to fulfill.

Can you realize your full potential on your own?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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There is a time for everything

June 24, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NIV))

I was sadly reminded of this over the weekend.

As adults, we have a tendancy to put things off. We forget that time is not always our friend, and that there truly is a time for each thing as told in Ecclesiastes. We think that we can put off something for a day or two, and then it ends up months later.

One of my best friends from high school took a different life path than I chose. He chose law enforcement while I went to college. Over the course of the years we lost track of each other as this often happens. His parents moved, so I didn’t know how to find him. My parents still live in the same place and several years ago, he was in the city were we lived. He stopped by my parents house and they told him where I was. We talked off and on over the years since this time.

Last week I had a feeling that I should call him. My day got busy as it usually does, and my plans slipped away.

Saturday, my parents emailed me his obituary. He had died of a heart attack mid-week.

As humans, we have a tendancy to think that our time is guaranteed. We make plans for what we will do tomorrow, next week, next month, next year and even for the rest of our lives. We spend so much time focusing on the future that we have a tendancy to lose sight of the moment that we are living in.

Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in this way of thinking. Time is precious. We have been told that there will be many seasons in our lives and that each is here only for a time. Focus on today. Focus on your family.

Focus on Jesus!

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
(Acts 4:12 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you thought to be discerning?

June 21, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.
(Proverbs 17:28 (NIV))

It seems that all too often I am found out for my true identity. I have an alter-ego and it is not one that I am proud of. All too often my tongue gives me away for who I do not want to be. I am sure that I am not alone in this. Since we are all human, I think that it is safe to say that all of us have been guilty of this more often than we care to admit.

Why does the tongue rule our lives so much? How can an organ that spends most of its time out of sight of ourselves and others cause so much damage when it does show up?

Reckless words pierce like a sword,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
(Proverbs 12:18 (NIV))

For the lips of an adulteress drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil;
but in the end she is bitter as gall,
sharp as a double-edged sword.
(Proverbs 5:3-4 (NIV))

Perhaps it is simply due to our rebellious nature. God, in all of His glory, speaks and the truth that comes forth cuts through all that it touches.

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
(Hebrews 4:12 (NIV))

We in our sinful, fallen state desire to be in control, to be like God. Our words are pronounced judgments upon those whom they are directed towards. Perhaps our words cut in an effort to elevate ourselves above others. Perhaps they even cut to try to elevate ourselves above God. Either way, we play the part of the fool, for we are no better than the one we confront, and we are definitely no better than God.

Are you thought to be discerning?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How strong is your faith? How deep are your roots?

June 20, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.
(Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV))

How deep are your roots? Do they go deep enough to sustain you when the world turns upon you?

Of course, I am speaking of your faith and how firmly rooted you have become within God’s Word. These are the roots that matter. These are the roots that will give you water, for these are the roots that keep you firmly grasping Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. These are the roots that keep your faith strong no matter what may happen to you.

Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.
(John 7:38 (NIV))

God did not put any limitation upon this. He did not say that if we believe in Him and are having a good day, then the streams will flow. He stated that “Whoever believes in me” would have streams of living water. These streams are there to give us strength. They are there to give witness and strength to others. Our roots of faith tap into this strength. These are the very same roots that will allow you to overflow and to spread the Word of God to all who are around you.

We are the tree. Our faith is the roots. We have an abundant supply of water to keep us refreshed and vibrant no matter what the world may send our way. We have Jesus. He is the living water.

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
(John 4:13-14 (NIV))

How strong is your faith? How deep are your roots?

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