Is your spirit able to make that claim?

September 19, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
(1 John 4:2-3 (NIV))

Too many people simply cannot believe that the Gospel is so simple. They feel that they must do something in order to receive anything from God, let alone salvation. They feel that unless they do something great for God, then they are not worthy to receive anything from God. Because of this misconception, many people find it impossible to believe that God would reach out to save them. They feel that God could not love them because of all the bad things that they have done, and that there is nothing great enough that they could do to reach God on their own!

Thankfully, this is not how this works!

It does require that we take a serious look at ourselves. In that introspective, we must recognize our need for salvation.

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

Even though we are all sinners, God has a plan to redeem us.

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Do you believe?

Can you believe that God would devise a plan so simple and all that we have to do is acknowledge that Jesus has come in the flesh from God as your personal Lord and Savior?

Is your spirit able to make that claim?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God instructs us through the Holy Spirit!

September 16, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
(Titus 2:11-14 (NIV))

Walking with God is more than just having the Creator as our champion. We also have a teacher.

God instructs us, through the Holy Spirit, on how we should act in all situations. We, as students, need to pay more attention to the “teacher” and do as instructed. Even when we have accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit is still a ‘gentleman”. He will not force us to do anything.

We must submit our wills to God’s Will. If we willingly do this, then we will be matured in our faith and prepared for Jesus’ return to gather the church together in the clouds. That is something that I do not want to miss.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Just what is denial?

October 21, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
(Matthew 10:32-33 (RSV))

Have you ever been in a situation in which you were with people that did not believe in Jesus? Perhaps you even found yourself in a situation that had you among people who ridiculed and mocked those who profess a faith in Jesus.

What did you do?

Did you give in to peer pressure and go along with the crowd of people you were with or did you stand firm in your faith?

Perhaps I am asking far too many questions, but I think that we have all found ourselves in situations similar to what I describe. It isn’t easy to always do the right thing. Sometimes it makes you feel awkward. Not doing the right thing makes you feel ashamed. Denial makes you feel ashamed.

Just what is denial?

According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, one definition of denial is the refusal to admit the truth or reality.

Perhaps the best way to look at this is by realizing that even though we profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we are not perfect. We will still sin. We can repent. We can turn away from our moments of denial and ask for forgiveness. We need to strive to avoid these moments of denial, but we can rest assured that if we earnestly repent, then we will not be denied.

Jesus was once asked by someone how many times that they should forgive someone when they are sinned against.

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
(Matthew 18:22 (NIV))

If Jesus instructs us to do this, do you think that He would do any less if we are sincere in our request?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Our thoughts condemn us

January 29, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not pay attention to every word people say,
or you may hear your servant cursing you–
for you know in your heart
that many times you yourself have cursed others.
(Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 (NIV))

It is human nature to think and say things under your breath. Things that you would not want anyone to even know that you knew. These are the things that are secretly holed away in your heart.

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.
(Matthew 15:19(NIV))

Perhaps it is this characteristic of humanity that lead Jesus to say:

“If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
(John 8:7b(NIV))

Not a single one of us is above reproach. Not a single one of us is capable of leading the perfect life that God wishes for us to live. Our thoughts condemn us. Our thoughts manifest themselves as words and deeds. Our words and deeds condemn us. Only one thing that we can do will remove the condemnation from our lives.

We must accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. We must accept His righteousness in exchange for our condemnation. He willingly takes our sin upon His shoulders and gives us His grace and mercy.

We are not perfect. Even if we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we will stumble. We will curse others in our heart and sometimes, even, under our breath. But, we have a Savior who is living within us, and teaching us that we must follow Him and not give in to that side of our nature.

Do you curse or do you accept righteous instruction?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Live as if He means something to us

December 7, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;
for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.
(Psalms 95:6-7a (NIV))

Does this sound familiar?

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.
(Matthew 2:11 (NIV))

The Magi, who were kings in their own right, bowed down to Jesus. They kneeled before Him. They recognized just who it was that they had found. They worshipped Jesus and gave Him honor. They had been seeking Him and recognized the star that guided them to Jesus. They went out of their way to find Jesus and to worship Him.

Do we do that?

Do we go out of our way to find Jesus? Do we go out of our way to worship Him?

Think about those questions.

Would we travel across deserts to find Jesus? Would we face harsh conditions in order to see His face and to be in His presence? Would we bring gifts of great worth to lay at His feet?

Would we, do we, kneel before Him? Do we even give Jesus the honor and glory that is due to the Son of God?

Have we become complacent in our worship? Have we become jaded by the world? Have we been led to believe that Jesus is not worthy of our praise and worship?

It has been the custom for centuries to bow before royalty. We have a tendency to focus on the savior part of Jesus and ignore the Lord part. Do we treat Jesus as the King of kings and Lord of lords, or do we simply treat Him as an acquaintance that we give lip service to for an hour a week?

If Jesus is our Savior and our Lord, then we must live as if He means something to us.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What good will we be if our light is going out?

December 6, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.
(Acts 17:30 (NIV))

There are many types of things that we can be ignorant of. We can be ignorant of the Law. We can be ignorant of our sin. We can be ignorant of our need for a savior, and we can be ignorant of God’s calling upon our lives.

We can also be ignorant of our need to repent!

This applies individually and as a society.

As I look around, I see evil being called good and good being called evil. Our world is turned upside down. I recently saw that only 49% of our country profess to a belief in Jesus. Sadly enough, in the age range of young adults, that is only about 25%. We, as a society, are rapidly turning and are greatly in need of repentance. How can we, as a society, repent, when the people who feel the need to repent are now in the minority?

There is an old Jewish saying that if the whole world repents, then the Messiah will come. One man sat out to bring the world to repentance. However, he found that the world was too big, so he decided to focus on his country. This, too, was too big, so he decided to focus on his town. He soon found that this, too, was too big. He decided to start with his street. Then his house. He finally decided that he needed to start with himself.

Start with yourself!

We all have things that we tend to push under the rug, so to speak. These things are the sins that we have become familiar with and tend to ignore. In God’s eyes, these sins are no different from the ones that we have a tendency to point our fingers at.

We have become ignorant of our own sins. Have we been focusing so much on the sins that we see in the world that we ignore our own? We need to stop and take a look at our own lives in context. We need to pray that we are following God’s will. We need to pray that we can be that light that the world will see and not a spent candle slowly devouring itself.

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV))

What good will we be if our light is going out?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you fully embrace His grace?

November 9, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you.
(Psalms 86:5 (NIV))

In this day and time when certain aspects of our society and our nation have made it “unconstitutional” to call upon the name of God, it is imperative that the Body of Jesus not forget why this nation was founded.

Several hundred years ago, many people gave their lives so that they could come to a land where they were free to worship God as they say fit, and not how the government said that they had to. This nation was founded on that principle, the principle of freedom of religion and not freedom from religion. Today, we have let a very vocal minority rewrite history to the point where they now say this country was founded on diversity. Exactly what is their idea of diversity? Perhaps we have let these people become the type of people that the early settlers came here to escape. They came here to escape people who tried to control their lives by saying where, when and how they could worship God. This sounds exactly like the vocal minority that we have today. They, too, wish to control our lives by saying where, when and how we can worship God.

The spirit of this nation is one that worships God. We chose then to call upon the name of God. We must not allow people today to keep us from calling upon the name of God. We must choose the same as our ancestors.

Based on the words of Psalms 86:5, we have a loving God who will help those who call upon Him. Think about the people who deny Him or who try to make us deny him. What do they have? What can they expect to have? We must pray for them!

But, above all else, we must call out to God for His Will to be done in our lives, in the lives of those who deny Him, in the life of our nation, and in the life of the nations of the world, for He will be sending His Son, Jesus to return for those who call upon His name. Perhaps this is the greatest forgiveness and love that God has for us.

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))

Repentance simply means turning to God, His desires, and calling upon His forgiveness. It is a single instance that saves us and a continual process that matures us.

Do you truthfully call upon God in all that you do? Do you fully embrace His grace?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Worshipping idols?

September 28, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Being greedy, indecent, or immoral is just another way of worshiping idols. You can be sure people who behave in this way will never be part of the kingdom that belongs to Christ and to God.
(Ephesians 5:5 (NIV))

This passage has some very deep ramifications.

I like the way the Contemporary English Version translates this passage.

Being greedy, indecent, or immoral is just another way of worshiping idols. You can be sure people who behave in this way will never be part of the kingdom that belongs to Christ and to God.
(Ephesians 5:5 (CEV))

Does this translation put it into a better perspective?

Have you ever been greedy? Have you ever wanted to hide something from someone else because you wanted it?

Have you ever had an indecent or immoral thought? Be honest. There have probably been times where you know you have thought things that were less than righteous. In today’s traffic, I can probably count on many of you, myself included, who have had less than stellar thoughts about other drivers.

In other words, we are all guilty of doing things that keep us away from Jesus. Anything that keeps us away from Jesus is an idol. When we give our attention to these things, we lose our focus on Jesus and we stray.

Don’t get me wrong. There is a difference between trying to follow Jesus and simply following greed or immorality. When Jesus walks with us, He knows that we will stumble. Sometimes, we may even fall.

Think of when a young child first learns to ride a bicycle. They strive to do what is required, yet they will often fall. This does not mean that their intentions make them fall. It is a matter of experience and maturity. As we mature in Christ, hopefully just as the bicycle rider, we will fall less and less.

It is when we allow something besides Jesus to become the focus of our lives that we lose sight of Jesus and we become greedy and immoral.

We have all done this. Hold up one finger on one hand and place it about six inches away from your nose. Focus on your finger. The background blurs. Move your finger out to arm’s length and stay focused on your finger. The things between your eyes and you finger become blurred. In both cases, we know that something else is there, but with our focus, we select what is important to us. It is when we take our eyes away from our primary focus and become distracted by what else is around us that we fall. It is at this point that we begin to worship idols. Our idols are whatever we focus on instead of Jesus.

Greed has us focusing on wealth. Immorality has us focusing on sins of the flesh. We cannot focus on these and on Jesus.

Take a look at yourself.

Do you find yourself worshipping idols that have come into your focus?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Pray for the peace of Jerusalem

July 25, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May those who love you be secure.
May there be peace within your walls
and security within your citadels.”
(Psalms 122:6-7 (NIV))

It seems that every time that you turn on the television or the radio, or read the news on the Internet or in a newspaper, there is something going on in Israel. Recent events are no exception.

Have you ever wondered why such a little nation is the focus of so much attention?

First of all, it is mentioned 760 times in the Bible. In 2 Chronicles 12:13, it is referred to as “Jerusalem, the city the LORD had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel.”

It is clear that Jerusalem has held a special place in the eyes of God. Perhaps more important is the role that it is to play in the fulfillment of God’s plan.

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
(Revelations 21:2 (NIV))

Jerusalem is the only city that is mentioned as being in existence after Jesus’ return. Perhaps even more important is the fact that is is called “the Holy City” and is remade in the way that God desires for it to be.

In the eyes of the world, Jerusalem is not that important. However, we must learn to look beyond the eyes of the world and see things through the eyes of God. To God, there is no city that is more important. According to His plan, all of history hinges on Jerusalem: history that has happened and history that has yet to happen. We must be prepared for what is to happen. We must read God’s Word and study what is said about this city. We must look at it through the eyes of an eternal God, for it is the home city of our faith.

Think about that last statement. Jerusalem is our spiritual home town. It is the root and we have been grafted into it as the branches.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Good instructions then and now

June 12, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.
(1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 (NIV))

Paul often wrote words of encouragement. The words just before this passage start off reminding people that they cannot know the hour or the day, for it will come like a thief in the night. Paul encouraged the church of Thessalonians to stay away from the darkness and to stay in the light. He urged them to encourage each other. He encouraged them to live in peace with each other.

Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.
(1 Thessalonians 5:12-15 (NIV))

Being a part of the Body of Christ is more than claiming Jesus as your Lord and Savior. That will give you salvation, but it is not all that Jesus asks of each of us. We are to live out our lives encouraging other members of the Body of Christ. We are to live by the teachings that we have been left, and that does include the Old Testament.

We are to be examples to each other and to those who are not part of the Body of Christ.

We are to also listen to the Holy Spirit. We must live our lives in such a way that we respond to where He is leading us. We must not turn away from that leading, and we must not do anything that will cause others to turn away from that leading. We must listen to those who are in authority over us spiritually, yet we must not take that authority blindly. We must know God’s Word.

We must be able to discern when something is not true.

As Paul so aptly put it, we must test everything, for the enemy can make a lie sound like the truth. The enemy can seduce us with lies that are pure evil coated in an appealing shell of partial truth. If we are not careful, we can be be lead astray.

Paul knew this and his words to the Thessalonians were good instructions then and now. They are extremely good words to live out your life of faith in Jesus.

Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.
(1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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