It is hard to forgive!

September 30, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, `I repent,’ forgive him.
(Luke 17:3b-4 (NIV))

It is hard to forgive!

Just what is it about forgiving someone that is so difficult? Is it a characteristic of the person that you do not want to forgive? Is it simply that they do not deserve forgiveness?

Let’s face the truth! None of us deserve forgiveness:

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

Could it be that we are too proud and arrogant to offer forgiveness even though it was freely offered to us? Perhaps human ego plays a bigger part in this than we truly care to admit. Take a look at the words in Luke. Not only are we to forgive each other, but we are to do it freely and without hesitation. Forgivenss is not something that is earned. It is something that is given. If we are to be truly like Jesus, then we are to give of ourselves.

One of the greatest ways to freely give of ourselves is to forgive others, for that places our desires, goals and feelings below those of the one whom we forgive. If we choose not to forgive, then we have wrongly elevated ourselves to a position of authority over the other person. The only person who has ever walked the earth who has that authority was Jesus, and He freely gave it up to obey God the Father.

Have you given up your authority over others?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your heart like?

September 27, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
the righteous run to it and are safe.
The wealth of the rich is their fortified city;
they imagine it an unscalable wall.
Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud,
but humility comes before honor.
(Proverbs 18:10-12 (NIV))

All throughout history, man’s pride has lead countless people to destruction, even when they had a way to “escape” the destruction. The Bible is full of stories of people who have accepted the “strong tower” that God has offered, even when they were not the perfect people that they should have been.

David is a good example. He was far from perfect in all that he did, yet because he humbled himself before God, he had a place to run to under the grace of God. David was not a proud person, yet, due to his earthly position and accomplishments, he could have easily become proud and strayed from God’s own heart. David, in all of his earthly frailties, kept his eyes on God and when he did stray, he humbled himself to the point of seeking forgiveness from God. Many times, this included a public display that today would be considered demeaning. Yet, even though he was a king, he humbled himself to the point of a slave.

What is your heart like? Is it like David’s.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Doubt is a serious crippler of faith!

September 26, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.

When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked.

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, `Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
(Matthew 21:18-22 (NIV))

Doubt is a serious crippler of faith. Jesus knew that what He commanded would be done. Yet, the disciples did not understand. Doubt can steal the blessings that God wishes to give us. Do you believe that God can be trusted? Do you believe that God never changes? Do you believe that Jesus was sent of God? If you answered “Yes” to these questions, then there is no room for doubt. Doubt comes from the enemy to deceive us and confuse us. Hold fast to what you know to be true.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Our society has enough darkness. Don’t add to it!

September 25, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV))

Jesus brought the “Light” into this world. We, as believers, have accepted His Light and have been blessed to shine so that others may see His Light. Do not be ashamed to shine His Light for others to see.

That is the most important task that we are to do. If we fail at this task, then we fail Jesus. We have not done the thing that Jesus came into this world to do.

He did not hide His Light, nor did He only let it shine when it was safe for Him to do so. He let it shine so that all could see. He also did not select when it would shine. The Light of God shone through Jesus at all times.

It is easy to let the Light shine through us when we are around other believers. How are you at shining when those around you are not believers? Do you still shine as bright, or do you have a spiritual dimmer switch?

Our society has enough darkness. Don’t add to it!

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you with Him or are you against Him?

September 24, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.
(Matthew 12:30 (NIV))

These words are straight from Jesus! Either you proclaim Him as your Lord and Savior or you are cast eternally away from God!

Nothing could be clearer!

Jesus is more than a good man. Jesus is more than a prophet. Jesus is the only way to gain salvation and eternal life. Jesus is the only begotten Son of God and the only one who has the authority to die as an atoning sacrifice for your sins. You either claim that gift of grace and mercy or you suffer the consequences.

Do you know someone who has not come to this realization? Have you come to it yourself?

Don’t let the world distract you and keep you from this all important decision.

Who do you say that Jesus is?

Carefully examine your life before you answer. Are you with Him or are you against Him? Your answer has eternal ramifications.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready for His return?

September 23, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
(Luke 12:35-40 (NIV))

Is Jesus your Lord and master?

Are you ready for His return?

Will He find you prepared and looking for His return?

Things are happening in the world today that appear to be very prominent signs that the season is rapidly approaching when Jesus will return. Are we prepared for His arrival? Will He find us diligent in our faith and living as He taught?

Will we be ready or will we be caught off guard?

The parable that we are told in Luke shows servants who have been assigned the responsibility to keep watch over the house. The gates or doors were locked and the servants who stood watch had the responsibility of alerting the whole household if trouble came or if an important event happened. The return of the master of the house was such an event. It was their responsibility to keep watch for him and to let him in when he arrived.

Are we keeping watch for Jesus?

Will we be ready to let Him in when He arrives?

We do not know the day or the hour, but we can know the season. I pray that the Body of Christ will look beyond their circle of influence and seek to learn what is going on throughout our country and the world. There are things happening that will send you to your knees. We do not have an exclusive claim to Christianity in this country. The Body of Christ is worldwide. The Body of Christ is being persecuted worldwide. Members of the Body of Christ are losing their lives simply because they profess a faith in Jesus.

Are you ready to stand watch? Are you ready to profess Jesus?

Are you ready for His return?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you learned the secret that Paul wrote of?

September 20, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
(Philippians 4:12 (NIV))

Nothing is certain in this life. We will all face ups and downs. Money cannot guarantee a happy and a comfortable life. Power and prestige will not. Fame will only result in being forgotten. Some days will simply seem like they last forever and it will all be due to your circumstances.

Far too many people believe that when you accept Jesus as your Savior, all things will miraculously become perfect. In fact, the biggest obstacle that the body of believers known as the church faces is the fact that we are not perfect . Things don’t always go the way we want them to. In fact, the non-believing world watches and waits for us to have the bad times. They watch to see how we react. When we react the same way that they would, they claim that Jesus could not be who He says He is because He has not made a difference.

Paul knew better. He knew that Jesus makes a difference. In all the troubles that he faced, Paul knew where his strength came from. He knew where his happiness came from. His strength was not in his abilities. His happiness was not in his circumstances. Paul drew his strength and his happiness from Jesus. Paul faced many circumstances in his life that we can only read about, many of which would have caused us to simply give up. No matter what he faced, Paul did not swerve in his faith. He kept his eyes upon Jesus. When you are earnestly seeking a prize, you are willing to go through anything because that prize is of great value. You may go through circumstances that are tough, but you do not stop seeking the prize. You realize that your circumstances are temporary and you keep striving. You keep focusing on that prize. Jesus is the greatest prize. He gives us eternal life. He gives us hope. He gives us peace.

What is it that Paul relied upon to stay content in any and every situation? Have you learned the secret that Paul wrote of?

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