Will Jesus know you as someone whom He has set free?

April 30, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
(Galatians 5:1 (NIV))

Freedom from what?

Why did Jesus come into this world? Why did Jesus die on the cross? Why was He resurrected three days later?

Jesus came to free us from the bondage of sin that humanity has been under since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. He died on the cross to bear the pain and to pay the price for all sin for all of humanity so that we could find grace and mercy. Through His resurrection, Jesus broke the power of sin and death. The grave no longer holds power over those who profess the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

Does this mean that we are perfect?

Does this mean that we will never make mistakes?

Does this mean that we can do whatever we want including continuing in our sins because Jesus loves us and He wants us to be happy?

If we could continue in our sins and still find salvation, why did Jesus die?

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

“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. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

If you profess a faith in Jesus, you will follow His teachings. You will seek to live according to the example that Jesus left.

“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))

Will Jesus know you as someone whom He has set free?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where do you place your trust?

April 29, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
(Psalms 20:7 (NIV))

With the state of the economy, where do you place your trust?

With the state of the government, where do you place your trust?

With the state of society, where do you place your trust?

Is it just me, or does it seem like everything is falling apart? It is acceptable to kill unborn children but it is a profoundly intolerable crime to kill an animal. It is acceptable to embrace sin, but to confess that you are a follower of Jesus is socially unacceptable. It is okay to teach our children about Islam in schools, but if we mention Jesus we are told to be tolerant. It is okay to allow someone who very publicly states they want to destroy us to have the very weapons that would allow it to happen, yet we cannot have weapons to defend ourselves. It is okay to be homosexual, transgender or whatever else someone’s mind tells them that they should be, yet if we say we disagree with their choices, we are labeled as haters.

In the midst of all that is going wrong in the world, where do you place your trust?

Every man-made organization is falling apart. Sinful man cannot create anything that will last.

Even the church is having issues. Let me clarify this. Society thinks of the man-made aspects of the church and not the true church. Man-made traditions are falling apart. God’s truths last forever and no amount of societal pressure can change that. Think about that last statement and then decide where you will place your trust. Would you place your trust in the fallen systems created by a sinful, fallen humanity or would you trust a perfect Creator who has a perfect plan?

Take a long, hard look at all that is going on in the world and tell the Lord our God that you place your trust solely in Him?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who is worthy of your praise?

April 28, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds – his name is the Lord – and rejoice before him. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.
(Psalms 68:4-5 (NIV))

All things good are from God. He is Creator. He is Father. He is Savior.

If we cannot praise God, then we have nothing to praise in our lives! God has given us life. He has given us breathe. He has given us everything that we know as good. Even when we rebelled against His goodness, He remained faithful. Even when we turned from Him and sought after other gods, He remained there patiently waiting for the right moment to call us back to Him in repentance.

He gave us His only Son, Jesus Christ, as a personal atonement for our sins. Just as the prodigal son was welcomed with open arms when he returned to his senses and to his father, God welcomes us with open arms when we turn to Him through Jesus. Jesus came to bring forgiveness so that we could be reconciled to God the Father. If this is not worthy of praise, then nothing else ever will be. God sent His Son, Jesus, to die for us when we were still sinners and only worthy of death. Jesus came to pay the ultimate price so that we would not have to.

Picture the cross and the agony of the crucifixion. Is that something that you would want to go through? Now, imagine an eternity of pain and suffering just like that. Jesus suffered for us so that we would not have to suffer. Through His suffering, we are cleansed and allowed grace and mercy. That is something to shout to the top of the mountains about!

Do you show praise and gratitude for your salvation? Sing it out so that those whom you see will know that you belong to the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

April 27, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
(2 Timothy 1:8-10 (NIV))

Are you ashamed to testify about Jesus?

Are you willing to suffer for the Gospel?

Chances are very good that if you are ashamed of Jesus, then you will not be willing to suffer for the Gospel. Let’s face the truth. Are you even willing to tell someone about Jesus or do you change who you are depending on who you are around?

Faith in Jesus is not something that can be turned off and on to suit your needs. In fact, I would venture to say that this is not a true faith at all. We already know what will happen if we deny Jesus before men.

“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.
(Matthew 10:32-33 (NIV))

That group of words should be enough of a reason to stand firm in your faith. It should be enough of a reason to make you be consistent in testifying about Jesus. Sadly enough, though, there are many people who will change their story depending on whom they are around.

Did Paul waiver in his faith? Think about all of the times that he was stoned or ran out of town because of his faith in preaching the Gospel. Think about the house arrests and the imprisonments. Think about his martyrdom. Paul did not waiver in his faith. He did not change depending on who he was around even though there were times, from a physical human perspective, where it could have benefited him.

How would God have treated Paul if he had wavered? How would the church that grew from his faith look today if Paul had wavered?

I honestly don’t think that we will see too many more years pass before we see Jesus return for His bride. With this in mind, what do you think that the members of the Body of Christ in your circle of influence would look like if your influence is all they see and they see that you are ashamed of the Gospel?

Your testimony matters! Your story matters! Your faith matters!

If you are the only representative of Jesus that people will see, what will be their impression of the Gospel?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready for whatever may come?

April 24, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down.”
(Revelation 10:1-4 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to think about this passage?

Explicit instructions were given to John to not write down what he heard. Up until this point, he was told to record everything to give to the churches.

In all of my study, this is the only time that we are left without any clue whatsoever as to what will happen. In all honesty, if it were a trivial matter, John would not have even mentioned the angel and the seven thunders.

Just what does this foreshadow?

I know the old saying that curiosity killed the cat. I completely place my faith in trust in the Lord, but this has me curious.

I have come to read this passage with trust and faith. I know that I am in the hands of the Lord and if there is something that I need to know, I will be told. There is an old saying that a little bit of knowledge is dangerous. I also know human nature. If John had recorded what the seven thunders had said, I believe that people would spend enormous amounts of time trying to figure out when the events would happen, and possibly try to avoid them happening.

Perhaps these events are not relevant to our faith. We all take advantage of modern transportation. We get in a car and we travel to our destinations. We know the basics of how a car works. We know how to follow road signs or the GPS. What we don’t need to know in order to get to our destination is how the cylinders and the fuel create the explosions that rotate the shaft that propels the car. We know what we need to know in order to reach our destination. In this particular instance, our destination is following Jesus. We know that there will be bumps along the way. We don’t need to know in detail the size and severity of these bumps or when they will happen.

Faith is built through studying God’s Word. Faith is also built by understanding that we don’t know all that God knows. To be honest with you, I wouldn’t want to. I can’t comprehend the vastness of His wisdom.

We are told to have the faith of a little child. Does a child know where his or her parents are leading them? Do they care? They know that they are loved and will be protected.

Like I said, I often wonder what John was told to not write down. However, this does not hamper my faith. it does not have me fixated on what may be coming. I simply place my faith and trust in the Lord and I know that He will see me through whatever may come.

Are you ready for whatever may come?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We have so much to shout about!

April 23, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:

“Hallelujah!
For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
(Revelation 19:6 (NIV))

What a wonderous and joyful sound that must be when a vast multitude proclaims the truth about God without any hesitation or compromise. They will not be ashamed of what they know to be true.

Am I getting carried away with the exuberance that this portrays? I don’t think so, because we should be doing this now. We should be shouting that our God reigns for He is Creator and Master of all things, and not just at some point in the future when we are told of this praise.

We are told that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. If that is the case and the glimpse we have into the future proclaims that our God reigns, then He has reigned in the past, and, more importantly, He reigns now. This is something worth shouting about. The God of the universe who reigns supreme has allowed us to enter into His presence through His grace and mercy.

We have so much to shout about!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What good is the church if we condone sin?

April 22, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV))

I just saw something that made me wonder what is going on with people in this world!

To be more specific, what I saw makes me wonder if some churches even believe in the Gospel anymore.

I am certain that you are aware of the debate about homosexual marriage. Let’s take that one step further and completely stop focusing on sin in church! That is the very report that I just saw. A pastor has decided for himself that the church focuses too much on sin and salvation.

That is the very reason for the church!

The Body of Christ is called to be the church. We are to let people know about sin and God’s plan for salvation through the gift of His Son, Jesus. The job of the church is to preach the good news. How can we tell people that they can be saved from their sin if we don’t tell them about sin?

Jesus did not come to make everybody feel good about themselves. He did not come to bring social justice. He did not come to promise earthly prosperity to those who follow him. Jesus came into this world to live a sinless, perfect life. He came to offer himself up as the sinless, perfect sacrifice to atone for our sins. He died so that He could be resurrected and sit at the right hand of God, the Father.

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))

We must be aware of the false teachers. We must be aware of the lies from the enemy. We must be aware of the thief that has found his way into the pulpits. We must test everything that we hear against the Word of God. We cannot pick and choose what we believe and what we ignore.

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.
(Ephesians 6:10-11 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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