What have you read today?

March 17, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He must always keep this copy of the law with him and read it daily as long as he lives.
(Deuteronomy 17:19 (NLT))

We have been told to keep God’s Word in our hearts and in our lives since the beginning of creation. God’s Word has been classified into several different categories, one of which is the Law. The Law tells us how we are to live. We are to read it daily for we live our lives daily. We need the guidance that the Law provides to us.

Some people believe that because Jesus came to die for our sins, we are free from the Law. They believe that the grace and mercy that He brought keeps us from needing to live be the righteous statutes that it conveys. They feel that they can do whatever they want because they are forgiven; that they are covered by the Blood of the Lamb.

Jesus, Himself, put this belief to a very sound resolution.

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.
(Matthew 5:17 (NIV))

Just because God’s Word may come from what we call the Old Testament does not mean that it is to be ignored because Jesus saved us from the Law. He did save us from the Law, but He did not save us to blatantly ignore the Law. We are to keep God’s commands because Jesus kept His commands. Jesus fulfilled every single one of them. We, as believers, are destined to be matured into the very image of Jesus. If He fulfilled them, then we should also.

What have you read today?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


What makes you unclean?

March 14, 2014

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.’ ”
(Mark 7:14-15 (NIV))

Jesus knew that what goes into a man can not change his heart. What comes out of a man is a reflection of the heart. If unclean thoughts, words or deeds come out of a man, then his heart is unclean and nothing that goes into a man can change that.

From a worldly point of view, it is true that we must wash our hands and anything that we put into our mouths, but this “dirt” does not change a person’s heart. It may make them sick for a day or two, but it will not make their heart unclean. An unclean heart comes from being around sin and not distancing yourself from that sin. An unclean heart comes from holding grudges and being angry against others. An unclean heart comes from resentment. An unclean heart does not come from what we physically put into our bodies. It comes from what we spiritually put into our hearts, and then let grow there without being removed. It then comes out through our thoughts, words and actions.

Be careful what you put into your heart, for it is what can make you “unclean.”

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


God’s perfect love!

March 13, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
(1 John 4:18 (NIV))

Have you ever felt that you loved someone but spent most of your time afraid that you would lose the love of that person?

I think that all of us have had that type of experience when we started dating.

Fear is a force that all too often we find at the center of our lives. We fear the loss of a job. We fear the loss of a home. We fear the loss of our wealth. We fear the loss of our fame. Fear is a major weapon used by Satan against us. It causes us to cling tightly to something that is delicate. Love is delicate. Love is the thing that the enemy frequently attacks through fear.

I often think that fear and love are close to polar opposites. Fear is often one step away from hate and often leads to hate. Think back on your early dating. Was there a situation where love was fearful and eventually lead to hate?

Human love is a frail thing.

When we love, often we want to possess what we love. This love is a selfish love and is only interested in the proverbial what’s in it for me. We fear losing the possession and punish each other because of our selfish motives.

Be thankful that God does not have a love like this toward us!

It is true that He longs for us to rejoice, but He does not force us to do anything. God’s love is patient. Is our love toward God as patient? Do we fear God’s love? Do we try to keep God’s love in the same type of confining box as we have tried to put our love?

God is much more than our feeble attempts at love can comprehend. He is capable of so much more than we can understand. He is capable of so much more love than we can understand.

Would you send your only son to die so that others may live? Would you willingly give something so precious with no guarantee that the gift would be accepted? God loves us unconditionally. He loves us far beyond our ability to comprehend. His love is perfect. We, are His creation, had fallen into sin. God, out of His perfect love for us, reached out to us in our sin and offered us salvation from the death that is the consequences of sin. He did not cause us to sin. He did not need to do anything to offer us salvation, He did not need to reach out to us in our sin. We had placed ourselves in that predicament. God did not do it to us.

Even so, God’s love is perfect. He had a plan. He had a perfect love!

“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.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


What does freedom mean to you?

March 12, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
(Galatians 5:13 (NIV))

What does freedom mean to you?

To many people, it means that they have the right to do whatever they want to do. They look upon freedom as a blank ticket to indulge in anything and everything. They see freedom as a right that cannot be taken away from them. They see freedom as something that they are due.

Is this your definition of freedom? It isn’t God’s definition of freedom.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
(Romans 8:1-2 (NIV))

God defines freedom as escaping the just condemnation that is a result of our sins. God gave us a way to become free. Jesus came into this world to free us from the power of sin and death. When we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we accept this freedom. Does that mean that we are free to sin without suffering the consequences of our sin? Contrary to what many believe, we cannot accept the freedom that God has given to us and still desire to sin. When we do, we reject God’s grace.

Freedom has a price. Not many people today are willing to admit this. Jesus paid the price for us to be free from sin and death. We must pay the price to accept it. That price is to leave the old ways behind. We must repent and turn away from our sin.

Have you paid the price for accepting God’s grace and mercy?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Don’t be slow in accepting Jesus!

March 11, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

Do you think that the Lord is slow?

Perhaps you think that He is causing things to unfold too fast.

Are you aware of God’s timeline? Do you know what He has planned since the beginning of time? Do you find yourself oblivious to what is going on in the world? Do you think that what is happening is simply a matter of circumstances?

God is continually unfolding His timeline. Are you so engrossed in your own personal timeline that you fail to see what God is laying out before you? Do you see beyond your own daily routine?

We must remember that we are part of what God created. That simply means that we are in His world. We did not create Him. We live by His timeline, even when we ignore it.

Even when we ignore it!

How often do we ignore God?

Ignoring God will not stop what He has planned. Ignoring God will not save you from death. It will not save you from judgment. Only the redeeming grace bought by the blood of Jesus can save you from judgment. It is humanity that is slow in accepting this grace for ourselves.

Don’t be slow in accepting Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Love

March 10, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
(1 Corinthians 13:6-7 (NIV))

Do you think that your pet sin loves you? Does greed love you? Does envy? Does lust, just to name a few? Will they stand by your side when all else fails you?

These are the very things that the enemy uses to bring you down. Love empowers you. It lifts you up. It seeks after your best interest. The things that the enemy uses to get us hooked are only designed for one thing and that is to make us falter, and eventually fall. Love doesn’t seek our failure. It doesn’t seek out the very thing that is promises and then use it to destroy. Love is many things, but it is not destructive.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV))

Exactly what is evil? Based on these passages, it is easy to come to think of evil as the opposite of love. If we define evil as the opposite of love, then what is love?

We are told that God is love.

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
(1 John 4:8 (NIV))

If God is love, then He is patient. He is kind. He does not envy. He does not boast. He is not proud. He is not rude. Think of Jesus as He walked this earth. It is not difficult to think of examples of each of these characteristics from His time among us. Think of the ultimate gift that He, through His love, gave to each of us. Would your pet sin do that for you? Would the enemy say that you have been tormented enough, I will put a stop to your failures.

Only the love of God rejoices with you. Evil scowls at your victories. It detests when you allow God’s love to shine, so let the love of God shine in you and through you. you will be amazed at the difference love makes.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Grace and peace!

March 7, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
(Galatians 1:3 (NIV))

Grace and peace!

Both are attributes that can only come from God.

Nobody can grant grace, for grace is the unearned forgiveness of sins by one who has the authority to forgive them. Only One has the authority to be able to forgive sins. Only One has the ability to give us peace. A peace that passes all understanding. It is not an earthly peace, for this peace holds fast even when our earthly situation is far from peaceful.

I have often heard of brothers and sisters in Christ who are persecuted for their faith, yet in the middle of this adversity, they have a peace that no one around them can understand. This peace shines through even when in the darkest of situations, for it comes from One who grants internal peace, because it is eternal peace.

My prayers for you are as from Paul to the Galatians. Grace and peace; for these can only come from knowing God and His Son, Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Give freely and it will return to you measure upon measure!

March 6, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you–and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.”
(Mark 4:24-25 (NIV))

This doesn’t sound very fair, does it? It sounds like those who are rich will be greatly rewarded while those who are poor will be stripped of what little they do possess.

Think about that concept, though, from a different perspective and not from a worldly perspective.

If you have compassion, you will be given compassion. If you have love, you will be given love. If you have joy, you will be given joy. If you have peace, you will be given peace.

If you do not show compassion, what little you do have will eventually be taken and none will be shown to you. If you do not show love, what love that may be around you will soon be withdrawn and replaced with contempt and hatred. If you do not have joy, what joy that may be around you will also be chased away the minute that you enter a room. If you do not have peace, your presence will soon take the peace of others.

There is an old saying that you reap what you sow. If you want a bountiful harvest, sow graciously. Be willing to freely give away that which you desire to possess. There is something about this concept that draws measure upon measure. If you want to be loved, then freely love all that you see. If you desire to surround yourself with great joy, be extremely joyful in all that you do. Do not allow yourself to be beaten down by the world. Turn to Jesus and let Him keep full the measure that you are able to give. Do this by giving freely of what He has given to you. Don’t hoard what He has given to you, for how can He give you more if you don’t use it wisely and you don’t make room for it?

What do you desire to be blessed with? Give it freely and it will return to you measure upon measure.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Salvation is found in no one else!

March 5, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is
” `the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the capstone. ‘
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 4:10-12 (NIV))

Do you recognize where authority comes from when it is right in front of you? The people that Luke wrote about are good examples of what we would like to think that we are not. They did not recognize that Jesus was the authority that had healed the man. They did not recognize that Jesus alone fulfilled the passage from Psalm 118:22. They did not recognize that Jesus alone brought salvation.

Are we any different from the people that Luke wrote about?

If we were faced with the exact same circumstances today, would we recognize what was right before our very eyes? Would we be so blind to the truth that we would fail to see the proverbial forest for the trees?

Unfortunately, too many people reject the stone that is our firm foundation in grace, mercy and hope. They simply discard the stone because it doesn’t fit in with the world’s point of view. Think about that point of view. It says that a man cannot be raised from the dead. It says that one man cannot heal another man. It says that one man cannot save the whole world.

Authority is a wonderful thing when it is wielded properly. It is unassuming and ready to be of service instead of boisterous and demanding, which is the world’s point of view of authority. Perhaps this is why so many people miss out on the truth. They are looking for a worldly authority.

Don’t reject Jesus because He doesn’t fit your view of Godly authority. It will be a costly mistake.

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 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


How do you see the cross?

March 4, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
(1 Corinthians 1:18 (NIV))

It is human nature to think that something is foolish if we do not understand it. For those who do not like football, it is foolish. For those who do not like racing, it is foolish. For those who do not know and trust Jesus, the Gospel is foolish. Only when you truly know and understand something does it take on meaning for you.

Think back on your life. I am sure that there are things in your life that you have grown to think differently about. Many of these things probably meant that you had a change of heart about them. Jesus is probably one of those! Before you fully understood what Jesus did for you, it was probably difficult to accept the fact that God loved you so much that He sent His only Son to suffer and to die so that you could have grace and mercy. That is true with many people. They do not understand and they see what happened at the cross as simply a foolish act with no importance to them.

How do you see the cross? Is it in foolishness or is it in thanksgiving?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


%d bloggers like this: