Are you still a servant to sin?

October 17, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The rich rule over the poor,
and the borrower is servant to the lender.
(Proverbs 22:7 (NIV))

Do you owe anyone anything?

Are they pressing you for payment?

I know that in today’s society, it is impossible to do anything without owing someone. You need to have a job to earn money to live off of. In order to get to work, you have to have a car. Most people have to borrow money to buy a car. You need someplace to live. you either rent because you are borrowing a place to live, or you pay monthly payments because you borrowed money to buy a home. I could go on and on.

Is this biblical? Are we borrowing against our future and paying it back over time so that we become indebted to those whom we borrowed from?

If we plan our personal budgets, we can make it work, but what happens if we over borrow? Can we go on borrowing and never expect to pay it back?

Think about this from a different perspective.

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

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

If we have all sinned and the wages of sin is death, then all of us, until we accept Jesus, are living on borrowed time!

Think about that. Humanity, in its sinful nature, owes a debt that we could only pay with our lives.

Jesus paid that debt for all who would simply ask for forgiveness of their sins. Jesus is now that one that we are indebted to. We should be proclaiming this wonderful gift of grace every moment of every day. We are no longer bound by our indebtedness to sin and death. Our debt has been paid. Jesus has set us free.

Are you still a servant to sin?

Are you living on borrowed time?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We have the truth!

October 16, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Truthful lips endure forever,
but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.
(Proverbs 12:19 (NIV))

Truth stands the test of time; lies are soon exposed.
(Proverbs 12:19 (NLT))

If you stop to look at these two translations, at first it appears that they are saying something completely different. Reread the two translations and closely examine how each of these tell us what is on the heart of God.

Both translations give us firm wording that states that lies are temporary and that truth is eternal. Perhaps, we should take this to heart when we look at today’s society. The lies of the world seem to have many people fooled, yet, the Body of Christ seeks the truth behind the lies.

We have the truth!

The truth is the Word of God. John 1:14 tells us that:

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))

Even though Jesus was crucified on the cross, He arose. Jesus will endure forever. Satan, the father of all lies, is destined for the lake of fire. His time is short.

It should be our desire to earnestly seek the truth and to share this truth with others.

What have you shared lately?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you endure or do you give in?

October 15, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been proved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
(James 1:12 (NKJV))

Temptation is everywhere. Is it really possible for anyone to resist the temptation that they see everywhere they look? Even those who follow God have given in to temptation at some point in their lives.

Take a look at David. The Bible says that he was a man after God’s own heart, yet, in a moment of weakness, he did something that was a direct result of temptation. Even Jesus was tempted. When he was in the desert, Satan tempted Him, yet, Jesus held firm. What was the difference then between David and Jesus?

Only Jesus, as God’s Son, could perfectly resist all temptation. Frail humanity does not have the wisdom and insight that Jesus had due to His direct communication with God the Father. Jesus was perfect. No one else can ever be perfect in this world because of the sin introduced through Adam and Eve.

But, we have the power of forgiveness! God, through His infinite wisdom and mercy gave us His Son, Jesus Christ as a way to wash away the sins of this world. All we have to do is call upon the name of Jesus as our Lord and Savior and the sin results of temptation will be as far from us as the east is from the west.

Do you endure or do you give in?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Without mercy, what can a filthy rag do?

October 14, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.
(Daniel 9:18 (NIV))

We do not make requests of you because we are righteous!

This hit me today in a way that it hasn’t hit me before.

How many times have you gone to God and asked for His intervention? Have you ever been guilty of arrogance during these requests? Did you make these requests out of a selfish desire that would benefit you? I think that we have all been guilty of this. I know that I have more times than I care to admit. When we do this, I can almost picture God sitting there shaking His head in disbelief that we are doing it again.

Isn’t it great to know that God does not grant our requests based on our righteousness.

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))

I don’t know about you, but I am eternally grateful for God’s mercy, for without His mercy, I would have no hope. Without mercy, what can a filthy rag do?

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.
(Ephesians 2:4-5 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have the resolve to not defile yourself?

October 11, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.
(Daniel 1:8 (NIV))

It was only food, but Daniel stood his ground. He knew that what he was being given to eat was not what he was supposed to put into his body. He could have very easily told himself that he had no choice and that it was the only thing that he had to eat. He could easily have justified doing what he was told to do.

How many times have you found yourself in a situation in which you thought you did not have any other option but to do what was right in front of you? We justify it by telling ourselves things like “just this once won’t hurt,” or “nobody will know.” What if Daniel had followed this philosophy? Would God have honored him with the strength and insight that He gave him? Daniel chose to stand his ground with respect to his faith. He did not waiver when things did not allow him to be obedient. He found ways to obey what God asked. This even carried through to later in his life when it was a royal decree to only pray to the king. Did Daniel waiver in his faith then? He did what he knew to be right with the food and he did what he knew to be right with prayer. If we give in to our circumstances, will we be faithful? Will we be held righteous in the eyes of God if we falter during these moments.

Through the atoning blood of Jesus, God will forgive us, however, will He use us? He longs for us to be faithful in our hearts and in our actions. If we justify our choices and give in to things that we shouldn’t, will God be able to trust us in fulfilling what He has called us to for His Kingdom?

What are the things that you know you shouldn’t do? How do you justify them to yourself? How do you try to justify them to God?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you forsaken your first love?

October 10, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
(Revelation 2:2-6 (NIV))

Far too many people claim salvation and then, eventually, they let the world back into their lives. They live as if they never accepted the grace and mercy freely given to them at Calvary. They seldom think of the great gift that they have been given. They seldom think of anybody but themselves. They have forgotten their first love!

When these people proclaimed their faith, they were enthusiastic and very much in love with their personal Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Soon, just like any relationship, they let it slip and stopped spending time with Jesus. They soon lost what it means to be a man after God’s own heart. They started following the ways of the world once again.

Jesus warned us about becoming someone like this. He told us to repent and to return to following Him.

If we do not repent, what could await us?

If we continue on our path to the point where we not only ignore Jesus, but completely turn away from Him, we are given clear results. We will have our “lampstand” removed. In the tabernacle, the lampstand is the light in the Holy Place. We will have our light removed! We will be removed from God!

We, as believers, must stay focused on our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We must not allow the world to come back into our lives and make us lose sight of our first love.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Hebrews 12:2 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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I am the Alpha and the Omega

October 9, 2013

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))

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

Are you starting to get the picture? Perhaps one more scripture will help to solidify the concept and make it a concrete reality for you.

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

God is the one to whom we owe our existence. He is the one to whom we owe our lives.

“This is what the LORD says–
your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb:
I am the LORD,
who has made all things,
who alone stretched out the heavens,
who spread out the earth by myself,
(Isaiah 44:24 (NIV))

In our frail human nature, we all too often forget this simple, yet profound truth. We try to elevate ourselves to the position of creator. We try to assume authority over our lives. Can an automobile take credit for the gas mileage that it gets? Can a house boast about the shelter, safety and comfort it provides to its occupants? In the same manner, we cannot take credit for anything that we have, for we are simply part of the creation. We are not the creator.

Long before we were, God was! Long after we are gone, He will still be! We have a definite beginning. Only through His grace and mercy do we have the option of not having a definite end. Through His grace and mercy we can spend the rest of eternity with Him.

What is the first thing that you remember? God was there!

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Then I saw a Lamb . . .

October 8, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song:

“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased men for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation.

You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth.”

Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang:

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!”

Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing:

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”

The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
(Revelation 5:6-14 (NIV))

Are you anticipating this scene as it unfolds in heaven?

Do you think that it will happen?

Perhaps the most important question is are you praying for it to happen?

We, as the Body of Christ, must not be focused on the things of this world. We must focus on the Will of God and having it unfold. We should not be so engrossed in our physical surroundings and the lives that we have been blessed with that we miss God’s bigger picture, His bigger plan.

Do you study God’s Word with a heavenly perspective, or do you simply study God’s Word to help you live your physical life? Both are important. Unfortunately, too many members of the Body of Christ focus on the physical realm and ignore the spiritual realm. Too many members of the Body of Christ say that it confuses them or that they don’t understand it.

We need to understand it. We need to recognize the spiritual implications of the things that we see. We need to recognize the physical manifestations of things that happen in the spiritual world.

Are we seeing the manifestation of spiritual events in the physical world? Are we prepared for these events?

Or, are we so focused on our daily lives that we are missing what God is telling us?

Do we join the four living creatures in saying “Amen” to the things that are unfolding?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you hunger and thirst for righteousness? Come!

October 7, 2013

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))

This is an open invitation to anyone and everyone who will willingly accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

Too many people have a false belief that salvation is not for them. They believe that what they have done is too bad and sinful to be forgiven. They think that they have committed sins far worse than anyone else. In essence, they think that they are above what God has offered them. They cannot accept grace at face value. They are the type of people who always have to look at things and expect the worst.

Nothing in this passage says that grace is limited. God did not send His Son, Jesus, to die for a few people. He came for all people. Salvation is for those who call upon the name of Jesus.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
(Romans 6:8-10 (NIV))

Grace is freely given to all who will accept it. We are freely given righteousness.

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
(Romans 3:21-24 (NIV))

Do you hunger and thirst for righteousness?

Come!

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready to surrender your life for the testimony?

October 4, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

They overcame him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.
(Revelation 12:11 (NIV))

It is often thought that those who call upon Jesus as their Lord and Savior are not supposed to love their life. This false belief is based on this passage from Revelation. It is often misquoted or misunderstood to mean that we should not love our life and fully embrace death.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10:10 (NIV))

If Jesus came that we may have life to the full, then why should we not love our life? Life is a precious gift from God. It is to be loved.

What is in question is not whether we are to love the life that God has given us, but do we love God’s Word and His truth more? Will we be willing to lay down our life, which is a gift from God, for the ultimate gift from God? Can we see beyond our limited perspective and realize that God is capable of so much more than our individual lives? Can we understand the simple truth that God created us and has something far greater in store for us?

Jesus knew this. Jesus lived this.

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

Do you know it? Are you ready to live it? Are you ready to surrender your life for the testimony?

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