Focus on the ultimate power and authority

October 31, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
(Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV))

No matter what the world throws at us, we have to focus on the ultimate power and authority that will eventually claim His own and then the world for Himself. We cannot be swayed by powers of this world, for they are fleeting.

A person’s life has been compared to a blade of grass. We are here for a short time, and then the world remembers us no more. With this kind of certainty in the physical world, we need to place our hope and faith in something that has better lasting potential than a blade of grass.

No matter how the world is going in your opinion, remember that God IS in control, and all powers of this earth have been put here for a reason. We do not know the exact details, but we can pray that God will be in control of us as well.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who owns the world that you live in?

October 30, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
(Psalms 24:1 (NIV))

Too many people in our world today seem to have forgotten this simple fact. They go about their daily lives as if they owned everything that they touch. They think that the world was created just for them and that it owes them everything that they can get from it.

Exactly what makes someone forget the truth extolled in Psalms 24:1? What makes someone think that they are the owner of all they see? They have nothing that gives them the rights of ownership. They did not create the world. They did not buy the world. They did not do anything that would entitle them to this belief, for only God can claim any of these actions as His.

for he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the waters.
(Psalms 24:2 (NIV))

Ownership requires authorship, or at least having paid a high price to take possession of it. God has done both. He is the Creator. After we were given dominion of the world in Genesis, we also gave it away. God, in all of His grace and mercy, paid the price through His Son, Jesus to take possession of it again.

Legally, this would stand up in any court in the land, yet, we treat the world as if it were our own.

We are simply stewards. We must remember who owns everything. God reminds us.

for every animal of the forest is mine,
and the cattle on a thousand hills.
(Psalms 50:10 (NIV))

Who owns the world that you live in?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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All that you have to do is ask!

October 29, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
(Matthew 7:11 (NIV))

What do you consider as a good gift?

Think about that question and take a look at your heart. What is it that your heart longs for more than anything else? Be honest with yourself. Is it something that will benefit you? Is it something that will benefit you and a few others? Or, is it something that will benefit a vast amount of people?

Most people are selfish in nature, especially when it comes to the desires of the heart. We have a tendency to be self serving in all aspects of our lives, so it is not a problem to imagine what we think of as being good has a direct impact on us the most.

Aren’t you glad that Jesus didn’t have this attitude when He went to the cross?

If we put ourselves in His place, we would not consider that selfless act to be a good thing simply because of the price that had to be paid. He paid it all and He did not get any personal benefit as the world sees it. Jesus suffered and was crucified. He died a horrible death. From a worldly perspective, this was not good.

Fortunately, God works in ways that counter what the world says and thinks.

The gift that was given to us through the selfless acts of Jesus are far better than anything that we, as part of the world, could ever give. Everything of this world that we can ever give will fade, rot or decay. Sadly, it is these very gifts that we give and receive that are the basis for our understanding of what is good. Many simply cannot comprehend anything that does not fit into this understanding. The gift that was given to us by our Father is far more precious. It is something that we all truly need. It is something that we all overlook, many until it is too late.

Grace!

Forgiveness!

Salvation!

No matter how you may describe it, God’s gift is perfect. It is good. It is a gift that no other can give us. We may provide food, clothing, shelter and love to our families, but these will all eventually fade. Even our lives will fade. Only God can provide the gift that surpasses all others and allows us to escape the consequences of sin and death.

All that you have to do is ask!

Have you asked?

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

October 28, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!
(Philippians 2:5-8 (NIV))

I think I understand some of the nonbelievers mindset when it comes to Jesus!

Think about human nature and then think about what most people spend a lifetime trying to do. If you came to the conclusion that most people spend a lifetime trying to prove that they are better than everyone else, then I think you may be thinking what I am thinking.

Human nature, in its sinful, fallen state, wants to think that we are better than everyone else. We spend a lifetime trying to elevate ourselves to a place of being worshipped and served. Jesus took the exact opposite approach. He lowered Himself to our level. He left heaven and became a servant. This is a very difficult concept to grasp, especially for those who fail to recognize that being worshipped and served is not what life is about.

We want to have control. We want to be in a position of authority. We want fame. We want people looking to us and worshipping us. In essence, we want to be the god of our little world. We just can’t comprehend the fact that Jesus did not consider equality with God as something to be grasped. He was willing to surrender what each of us have strived for in one way or another.

Jesus came from heaven and lived among us. He did not seek to be worshipped. He came to serve. He did not seek glory. He came in humility. He did not seek power. He deliberately left all power and authority behind. He did not come to be rich. He was born in a stable!

Too many people simply cannot comprehend the idea of deliberately lowering your status to help and serve others. We are always looking for the next pat on the back, the next promotion and the next raise. Where is Jesus in any of these activities?

The attitude of a believer should be exactly opposite of what the world says. Jesus turned the world upside down. Believing requires us to see things as Jesus sees them and not in the way that the world sees them. To many people, this makes absolutely no sense.

Pray for them, for they see Jesus through their senses and the so called logic of this world.

How do you see Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have we become a people of perverse hearts?

October 27, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The LORD detests men of perverse heart
but he delights in those whose ways are blameless.
(Proverbs 11:20 (NIV))

I have said this before about having a database of scripture verses that God has placed on my heart as something to write about. Some nights I have a clear understanding of what has been placed on my heart and other nights, like tonight, I need prompting. I prayed for guidance and insight as to what to send out, after which I randomly stopped on this verse.

Have we become a people of perverse hearts? Do we accept what the world calls ok even though God’s Word tells us that it is not ok? Do we have a desire to intentionally disobey God’s Word? how can we truly call ourselves part of the Body of Christ when we do not do what He tells us to do? Basically, how can we ignore the fact that we are not obeying His command to go and sin no more as He told the woman caught in adultery?

When we have perverse hearts, we think that we can do whatever we want. We think that God will overlook what we do. Sadly, many in today’s church and in the non-believing world think this is how God works. Proverbs 11:20 tells us differently.

But wait!

Didn’t Jesus come to forgive our sins?

Jesus did come to offer us grace and mercy. The key word is offer. We have to accept that offer and accept the terms that go with that offer. We are to repent. Just like what Jesus told the woman caught in adultery, we are to go and sin no more. He did not tell us that to get salvation we turn to Him and beg for forgiveness and then keep on deliberately sinning. Too many people falsely believe that believing in Jesus will earn them salvation no matter what they do from that point on. Jesus told us that He would tell these type of people to get away from Him because He never knew them.

With so many passages telling us that we are to turn away from our sin, how can anyone honestly believe that Jesus condones a perverse heart? How can we believe that people who simply give lip service to Jesus will actually see the salvation and grace that they think they will get?

Jesus did not come into this world, live as one of us, teach us, and die on the cross so that we can continue in our sin. We have to have a change of heart. We have to accept all conditions of the offer of grace.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you proclaim that Jesus is the Lamb of God?

October 24, 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!
(John 1:29 (NIV))

Are we like John was in that we can recognize Jesus for who He is? Can we confidently proclaim that Jesus is the Lamb of God? Can we confidently proclaim that Jesus can take away the sin of the world? Can we confidently proclaim that He has taken away our sin?

We think that John had an insight into God’s heart because of the things that God sent him to proclaim. I don’t doubt this at all.

What I do doubt is us!

We have written records of the things that Jesus has done, yet, we fail to recognize the power that He had. We have written records of the lineage and the prophesies concerning Him, yet, we fail to recognize the authority that He possesses. Our society has taken the power of His life, death and resurrection and watered it down so much that many believe that there is no power in the name of Jesus. Many believe that he was just a man. Sadly, too many believe that what He taught and came to do means condemnation and hate. In our society where love has grown to mean complete acceptance of everything about a person, this view of Jesus must be countered by the truth.

There is no other name that can save us!

There is no other name that can cleanse us!

There is no other name that has the power to reconcile us to God!

Only Jesus can take our sins and wash us white as snow. And no, this is not a racist remark. God’s grace and mercy are available to everyone regardless of the color of your skin or the amount of sin in your life.

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

There is no such thing as a sinless person. There is no such thing as earning salvation through your works. There is no such thing as entering heaven in your sinful state. The price had to be paid to take away our sin. There had to be a sacrifice to settle the score. Humanity sinned. It required a perfect human to redeem us. It required a spotless lamb – the Lamb of God.

Contrary to what society says, the Lamb of God is Jesus!

Contrary to what false religions claim, the Lamb of God is Jesus!

Do you proclaim His glorious name?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Preach always. When necessary, use words.

October 23, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
(1 John 3:18 (NIV))

It is so easy to hear only part of what is said and as a result, the whole meaning is completely different from what is intended. Even words of friendship, fellowship and love can be misunderstood if we do not have a direct insight into the mind of the person who is speaking.

Why are our words so easily misunderstood?

Perhaps it is because we are sinful by nature and we seek self gratification even when we don’t realize it. I have heard it stated that when two people are in a conversation, the person who is supposedly listening is actually formulating what he or she will say next. This is done in order to ensure that we will get our point across. We are simply guilty of not truly listening to each other and as a result, we hear only a partial transcript. We miss many points that are relevant to the discussion.

How is it different when we love with actions and in truth?

Simply put, we are willing to place our desires as secondary to what is needed by the other person. It is a true form of agape love. When you love with actions and in truth, you are willing to step beyond your self-gratification and simply do something for someone else. You are willing to die to your desires so that others may see love just as Jesus died on the cross so that we could see love.

How do we love with actions and in truth?

It is a matter of attitude. We simply chose to do things for others because Jesus did such a great thing for us, and for all. If Jesus had come to simply preach and teach, it would have not had the same impact or the same results. In order for His ministry to succeed, it required an act of love and not just words. Salvation was not purchased through His teachings. It was purchased through His blood and the cross. Perhaps this is why the following words have had such an impact since they were first recorded.

Preach always. When necessary, use words.
(St. Francis of Assisi)

How are you preaching?

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