This doesn’t sound very appealing, does it?

July 17, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
(Romans 7:15 (NIV))

How many people can truly relate to what Paul wrote to the Romans?

Do you ever find yourself doing the very things that you hate while you turn your back on the things that you want to do?

We all have certain pet sins that we just can’t seem to get rid of. We long to turn away from the things that we hate, but our sinful human nature leads us right back to the very things that we despise.

As a dog returns to its vomit,
so a fool repeats his folly
(Proverbs 26:11 (NIV))

This doesn’t sound very appealing, does it?

Why do we do the things that we despise and turn away from what we truly long to do?

No one is perfect. No one can live a life of complete righteousness in the eyes of God. We all will fail more times than any of us care to admit. Why do we do this? How do we overcome our human frailties?

God knew that we would do things like this. God knew that once humanity fell from grace, sin would have a very powerful hold on each and every one of us. Thankfully God knew that we would need a savior to bring us grace and mercy. We, as fallen humanity, cannot do it on our own.

Accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior does not mean that you are automatically made perfect. It simply means that you realize that without Jesus, you are nothing. Without Jesus, you have no hope of salvation.

Have you ever truly stopped and thought about the words that Paul wrote?

If the man who had the Damascus road experience and was called to preach the Gospel to the gentiles faced this dilemma, why do you think that we will not face it? We must not punish ourselves, but, rather we should do as Paul did and focus on Jesus. The more that we focus on Jesus, the less time that our sinful nature can present itself.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you paying attention to God?

July 16, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, `A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”
Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, `The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”
(John 1:29-34 (NIV))

Do you listen to the Holy Spirit?

Do you even try?

Is there something that God is trying to tell you, but you are too engrossed in the world that you don’t even know that He is talking to you?

Unfortunately, today’s society is all about “me.” It is all about self gratification. It is all about self fulfillment. It is all about drawing your attention away from God and focusing it on you!

How can we focus on God when we focus on our smart phones? How can we focus on God when we focus on our bank accounts? How can we focus on God when we focus on our careers?

This passage is a prime example of what God can accomplish if we will simply focus on Him.

Can you imagine how frustrated God gets with us when we pay more attention to digital angry birds than we do to Him?

I am so glad that John was willing to listen to God. I am so thankful for the important role that John played in introducing Jesus to the world. I am so thankful for the selfless acts that John and countless others have been willing to do to further God’s kingdom.

They did these selfless acts without thinking about themselves. They allowed God to speak to them and through them. They allowed God to use them to get the attention of the world.

Is God trying to use you? Are you paying attention, or are you so engrossed in yourself that you fail to recognize God at all?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you despise your sinful actions?

July 15, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.
(1 John 1:8-9 (NLT))

Do you still sin?

Too many people falsely believe that after accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you somehow stop sinning. Others recognize that they sin, but they believe that it is ok since they have accepted Jesus. There are still others who acknowledge that they sin and constantly seek forgiveness for their sins.

Which group are you in?

Perhaps I should ask which group would others say that you are in? What group would you say that Jesus places you in?

Accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior requires a commitment. It is a relationship that you must work to maintain. Jesus will freely give you grace and salvation, but He looks at the heart. Does your heart rejoice at the thought of Jesus? Do you find yourself giving thanks and praise for the grace that He has given you? Do you find yourself seeking to follow Jesus in all that you do?

Or, do you simply think that you can do whatever you want and then call upon Jesus to rescue you when you get in trouble?

“Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV))

All of us will continue to sin. Jesus looks at the heart. If we earnestly seek Him and desire to leave our sin behind, then we can be considered like David.

After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: `I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’
(Acts 13:22 (NIV))

Do you still sin? Do you despise your sinful actions?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you love God’s law?

July 14, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I hate and abhor falsehood
but I love your law.
(Proverbs 119:163 (NIV))

I wish more people in the world today would claim this statement as the truth in their lives. To be honest with you, I wish that more people who claim to be a member of the Body of Christ would truly understand this passage and claim it as the truth in their lives.

Think about that for a moment.

It is said that if something is only 99% true, then it is a lie. Satan twists God’s Word and God’s law to the point where they sound correct, but they are not. We, as the Body of Christ, must be able to discern the smallest of lies from the enemy, for it is the smallest of lies that will entrap many who claim to be believers.

Can you think of any teachings that are being presented as God’s Word, but fall short of what God truly says?

Can you honestly tell the difference?

Do we, as the Body of Christ, know God’s Word as we have been instructed to know His Word?

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
(Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NIV))

How can we hate and abhor falsehood if we do not know what the truth is? Do we love God’s law so much that we know it and can discern it from a lie?

Satan is counting on the Body of Christ to not know God’s Word well enough to discern his lies.

Can you?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God’s love stands faithful!

July 10, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever;
with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all
generations.

I will declare that your love stands firm forever,
that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself.
(Psalms 89:1-2 (NIV))

Even before Jesus came to earth, people were singing the praises of God. They were preaching the good news before they knew what that news was. All they knew was that God had promised, and that was sufficient for them. What faith they had!

Today, we have the benefit of history to look back at and see that:
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.
(2 Corinthians 1:20a)

Is it no less appropriate to realize that what God has promised that has not yet happened, will happen. God has promised that His people would know the season for things to come. Even to the end, He is faithful and His love does stand firm forever.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Expect the unexpectable!

July 8, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”
He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, `Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.
(Luke 17:5-6 (NIV))

How would you have felt if Jesus told you to increase your faith, and then proceeded to tell you that if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, God can do things through you? In other words, would you have perceived this as an insult or would you have taken it as instruction to see beyond the physical and expect things in the spiritual?

I have read this passage many times, but this evening, human nature saw something that it hadn’t allowed me to see before. I saw the potential for a wrong perception in these words. I seriously doubt that Jesus was hurling an insult at His disciples, after all, that would be a sin. However, it is interesting how human nature can read something and see the wrong message in it. Even though Jesus was telling His disciples, who were still infants in the faith, to increase their faith, He was not being degrading. He was telling them what they could expect if they did increase their faith. Perhaps it was their willingness to increase that allowed Jesus to increase it exponentially. Take a look at the miracles that His disciples were a part of after His resurrection.

Don’t allow the enemy to twist God’s Word. A simple passage can have many meaning, but make sure that the meaning you receive is of God. Test it to make sure that it follows the principles and teachings that God has already set forth. He cannot contradict Himself. Prepare yourself through study and prayer so that when you do see things from a “human” perspective, you are able to recognize them as just that. Do not allow your perceptions to cloud what God is really saying. Increase your knowledge and increase your faith. The more that you know about God and His Son, the more that you expect God to do great things.

Nurture your faith and allow it to grow into that mustard seed. Expect the unexpectable!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Hold fast to the faith

July 7, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
(Matthew 5:10-12 (NIV))

Hold fast to what is of God and do not let the world distract you. The rewards of God are far better than anything the world has to offer. If you hold fast to God’s Word, then you will have the world trying to distract you. If they cannot distract you, then they will try to torment and persecute you. Unfortunately, persecution is a sign of righteousness and unswerving faith in God. Satan is trying with all of his arsenal to make you forsake God and accept the world view of things. Do not be dismayed! Hold fast to the faith and remember that the persecution that you are facing is not from God, but from Satan. If Satan is persecuting you, then he is afraid of what God will do through you and he is trying to stop it. Always remember that

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
(1 John 4:4)

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
(2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you free indeed?

July 3, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
(2 Corinthians 3:12-18 (NIV))

With all that is going on in the world, too many people turn to worldly things to try to find freedom.

Some turn to the government. Some turn to money. Some turn to fame. Still, others turn to themselves.

No matter where you turn, true freedom can only be found in one source – Jesus Christ!

Even the very best version of freedom that the world has to offer will eventually result in the ultimate imprisonment – death! All that the world has to offer cannot provide a freedom from death. The world can provide a sense of freedom during your lifetime, but it cannot provide an escape from death.

What do you think of when you think of the definition of the word freedom?

For most people, the definition can be stated simply as the ability to make your own choices and determine your own direction.

Do we have this in this world? Do we truly have the option to determine our own direction?

Most people apply this concept to such things as jobs, an unobstructed mobility within the world, and even to the lifestyle that they choose to live. In a sense, that is a form of freedom, but this freedom without the freedom offered through Jesus is nothing more than a false hope. Physical freedoms without the spiritual freedom that can only come through accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is a false hope. Adam and Eve, through the fall from grace, had the freedom to choose. The freedom that they chose has actually enslaved humanity to sin since the fall.

Is that the freedom that you want?

True freedom can only come through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. Accept the gift of grace that was freely given so that you could be free.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
(John 8:36 (NIV))

Are you free indeed?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Now choose life!

July 2, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
(Deuteronomy 30:19-20 (NIV))

These words were spoken long ago. So long ago that it has now become popular for many “scholars” to doubt that these words, or any other word from the Bible actually ever were spoken. What they doubt is not really the fact that these words were spoken, but the fact that there is truth behind them. A truth far greater than any truth humanity can fathom or create or our own.

Too many people have a hard time believing that there is a God, for they do not want to be accountable to anyone but themselves. They want to continue to believe that whatever they do is all right as long as it makes them feel good. God gave us words to the contrary. He gave them to Moses on Mt. Sinai. If you follow these words, you are promised life. If you do not, you are faced with death. Humanity is not capable of following these words to perfection. We are not capable of following them for more than a few minutes before we stray from their path.

How can we have life if we cannot follow the instructions that lead to life? God has given us a savior. He has given us someone who can, and has followed them to perfection. He has given us His Son, Jesus, to be our intercessor.

We now can choose life and know that our choice will be a true choice. We have a savior. We have a perfect intercessor who has taken all of our imperfections and removed them from us. We now have life and all of the promises that God has given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you embrace?

July 1, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
(Genesis 2:15-17 (NIV))

Just what is good and what is evil?

In today’s society where everything is relative, that simple question does not get a simple answer from man.

Why do you suppose that this simple concept of good and evil has been lost?

Perhaps it is because we, as humanity, lost site of what is good in the Garden of Eden and the more time that passes since this happened, the more we embrace evil as good and good as evil.

How can we recapture the truth behind good and leave evil behind?

We have been given a redemptive gift through Jesus. This gift allows us to experience grace and mercy when we really don’t have a concept of what grace and mercy are! We are given a wonderful gift when we don’t understand or have the ability to appreciate this gift. Even so, God gave it to us anyway!

Why did God give us grace and mercy when we don’t understand it or deserve it?

God created us! God loves us! He longs to embrace us in His sinless perfection, but we are sinful. For this reason, God provided a “graft” that allows us to escape the knowledge of evil and embrace the good that He has given us.

We are now free once again to embrace the good that God desires for us even though we have embraced the evil in the past. We can turn from the evil and embrace the good.

When you hold out your arms, what do you embrace?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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