Are you too proud to accept God’s gifts?

October 12, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, `Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

“When he came to his senses, he said, `How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

“The son said to him, `Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

“But the father said to his servants, `Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
(Luke 15:11-24 (NIV))

Everybody is familiar with the story of the prodigal son. I have heard someone comment on it in such a way as to shed new light on God’s mercy and grace.

God does not wait until we ask for forgiveness to forgive us. We are forgiven even before we ask for it!

We must ask in order to receive it, but He has already decided that He will forgive us. Asking for forgiveness shows a change of heart on our part and this change of heart prepares us to accept the grace that God has already granted us. Without this change of heart, we cannot accept God’s grace. We do not feel that we need it. It is a matter of pride.

Asking for grace shows that we have humbled ourselves. Sadly, far too many people are too proud to ask for anything.

Grace and mercy are free. We pay the personal price by swallowing our pride when we ask for them.

Are you too proud to accept God’s gifts?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus offers grace from the Law!

October 4, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“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. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 5:17-20 (NIV))

Many people read the Old Testament and the Laws and think that they do not apply to them because they are under the blood of Jesus.

On the contrary, they still apply. What God gave man through the Law still applies. We must live by the Law. They are guidelines for how God wants us to live. But, unlike the Jews before Jesus came, we are granted salvation from the consequences of our inability to uphold the Law.

God knew that man could not uphold the Law on his own. He knew that we would need a means of grace in order to be righteous. Thank you God for sending us Your Son, Jesus Christ.

When you are faced with things of this world, remember that Jesus is our example! Jesus offers grace from the Law!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you come into the Light?

August 20, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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 3:19-21 (NIV))

Light is something that all of us need, both in the physical world and the spiritual world. Just as we need light to survive in the physical world because of its life giving warmth, we need spiritual light to warm our hearts and souls.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
(John 8:12 (NIV))

In this world where spiritual warmth is often void, we have someone to turn to that can light our hearts and warm our souls. Jesus is the light of the world. As long as He shines in our hearts, we have the warmth of the love, grace and mercy of God.

Do not hide from the light. Death is in the darkness. It is a death that you may not recognize immediately as a danger, but this darkness is far more dangerous than the darkest alley in the most dangerous city. If you reject the “Light” that Jesus came into the world to bring, then you reject God and any hope of salvation.

Have you come into the Light?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you made heaven rejoice?

August 7, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
(Luke 15:7 (NIV))

God does not wish for any to perish. He rejoices when one who is lost is found!

If you have something of value, and you know where it is, you have no reason to rejoice. If that prized possession is lost, you earnestly and fervently seek to find it so that you can return it to its rightful place. You become extremely happy when it is found. You rejoice over the fact that the thing of great worth has been restored!

God is the same when it comes to sinners who repent and turn to Him!

To God, each and every one of us is that prized possession. Each of us are a thing of great worth to Him for He created each of us in His image, yet each of us are unique. In all of creation and in all of history, there is no one like you! Each of us are special in God’s eyes. Each of us is that thing of great worth to God. Because we are of great importance to God, then we are of great importance to all of heaven.

Sadly, we are all lost!

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

Because of our sin, we are lost to God. Even through all of this, He had a plan to redeem us, to restore us to Himself. When we accept His plan, when we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we are no longer lost. We have repented and have been found. This makes all of heaven rejoice!

Have you made heaven rejoice?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you look at acceptance and rejection?

July 16, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
(Romans 11:15 (NIV))

What do you think of when you think of rejection?

Is it a cause for tears and sadness? Is it a cause for depression and anxiety? Or is it a cause for rejoicing?

That last option sounds extremely strange!

Who in their right mind would rejoice over rejection?

When Paul wrote these words to the believers in Rome, he was speaking of the rejection of Jesus by the nation of Israel. Jesus, who was sent first to the Jew and then to the Gentiles.

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
(Romans 1:16 (NIV))

Sometimes rejection is not as bad as it may seem on the surface. Often, it is simply a delay of what is to come until you are better prepared to deal with it. Other times, it is a simple redirection into something that is much better. The rejection of Jesus by the Jews is a good example. Through this rejection, which many throughout history have used to condemn the Jews, we, as Gentiles, have been given an opportunity to receive salvation.

I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.
(Romans 11:25 (NIV))

Rejection often brings about unforeseen opportunities. It is a matter of perspective. If you take rejection and let it control you, you will miss out on what God has in store for you. If you stop to think about it, rejection is merely a redirection of acceptance. If you look at your own salvation, this becomes evident, especially if you consider what would have happened if the Jews accepted Jesus two thousand years ago.

How do you look at acceptance and rejection?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you truly understand what Jesus did?

March 26, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”
(Matthew 20:18-19 (NIV))

Have you truly come to terms with all that Jesus did for you and I, or are you still stuck in the mindset that all that Jesus accomplished can be summarized in a basket full of treats that will soon go away?

Think about that.

Even as adults, we have a tendency to look at the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus as only a day to get together with family and have fun with some events for the children. In the back of our minds, we know that it is more than this, but have we turned the most crucial day to our faith into nothing more than a chance to over eat? Sure, we have Good Friday services and many of us will get up and go to a sunrise service on Resurrection Sunday, but do we truly understand the full implications of what we celebrate? Have we become so jaded by the fact that we can turn on a TV or go to a movie and see things that appear to be miraculous? If that is the case, what happens when we truly read about the power of God raising Jesus from the dead? Do we take it for granted? Do we overlook the magnitude of the implications for those who truly believe, for those who truly call upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior?

We are told many times that we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Jesus implicitly foretells the events that He would face. He knew that His fulfillment of the plan for humanity’s salvation would transpire exactly as foretold. He knew that His willingness to lay down His life would mean that you and I could walk with assurance that our sins have been forgiven. He knew the weight of the world’s sin that He carried would mean that you and I could stand before God the Father as a spotless bride. He saw the faces of every person to ever live and He willingly offered His sinless life for our sin filled lives.

Without the crucifixion, there would be no resurrection. Without the resurrection, there would be no grace and mercy that could be given. Without the grace and mercy freely given at the cross, you and I would be forever lost in our sin.

Do you truly understand what Jesus did?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you accept the hard teachings?

February 12, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
(John 6:60 (NIV))

Far too many people only consider the easy things that Jesus taught, ignoring the things that they find difficult to understand or to put into practice. If you stop to think about this, everything that Jesus said has been difficult for us to put into practice. Human nature simply wants to do what it wants to do! It is a daily struggle to admit that we are sinners. It is a daily struggle to admit that we are not capable of anything on our own. We don’t like to admit that even on our best day, we are far from perfect.

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))

John 6:60 catches the disciples asking this question after Jesus tells the crowd something that just didn’t make sense from their perspective. Does it make sense to you?

Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.
(John 6:53-57 (NIV))

Even though we have the benefit of two thousand years and much analysis, far too many people still have problems with this concept.

Think about it from this perspective.

What is the most intimate thing that you can do with something? You make it a part of yourself by either eating or drinking it. When this happens, the items that were consumed get broken down into the basic elements that you need and they become a part of you. There is no way to tell where you end and where these elements begin. I don’t know about you, but this sounds exactly like what Jesus wants for each of us. He wants each of us to consume Him in such a way that the very life that He came to give has become inseparable from the life that He has renewed within us. Just how do you consume Jesus? How do you make His teachings and His life inseparable from your? I love the simple instructions that we were given in Deuteronomy.

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
(Deuteronomy 11:18 (NIV))

Focus on the Lord. Focus on the Word. Focus on the teachings even when they are hard. Accept them. Bind them. Make them integral to who you are!

Do you accept the hard teachings?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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