Can you claim perfection in the eyes of God?

November 11, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.
(James 3:2 (NIV))

Do you know anyone who thinks that they are capable of doing no wrong?

For those of you who have been married for a long time, I heard those comments that you just made!

Seriously, though, do you know anyone who thinks that they are capable of doing no wrong? Do you know someone who has an ego so big that they think they are perfect? Do you know someone who fits that description and looks back at you when you look in the mirror?

We are all fallen individuals who have surrendered to sin. Sin controls us. We long for pleasure and we long for things that personally benefit us. It is these desires that cause us to do things that we should not do. We fall short of what we are called to be. We miss the mark. We sin!

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

No one is perfect except Jesus. Contrary to what we may think, we sin more than we care to admit. We fall short in all aspects of our lives.

Fortunately, our salvation is not based on our perfection and on our ability to not sin. Our salvation is solely based on our acceptance of a gift of grace as presented through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Only Jesus had no fault. Only Jesus is a perfect man. It is through His atoning sacrifice that those of us who are not perfect can gain salvation.

Jesus never stumbled! Jesus never failed!

Can you truly make this claim?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Through the eyes of a little child!

December 17, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all–he is the greatest.”
(Luke 9:48 (NIV))

I have read this passage many times and tonight it hit me in a way that I had not thought of before. Perhaps it is the time of year with Christmas very close, but something made me look at this in a different light.

I know that many Christians have trouble with the idea of Santa Claus, but if you consider the roots of this “person,” you come away with a different perspective. Nicholas was a 4th century Christian who was known for helping children. He is also known for other things, but his love and help of children has gained him much notoriety. There are various different stories about Nicholas, but the one thing that stands out is how he used his love for Jesus to reach out to the little children.

Perhaps our understanding of Santa Claus could use a true historical perspective based on church history and not on what society has made him. Perhaps our understanding of many things could use a true historical perspective based on church history.

Could you imagine a Christmas not tied up in gifts and decorations, but in the grace and mercy that God gave us through the manger? Could you imagine a Christmas based on the greatest gift of all times instead of the “perfect gift” that will be obsolete in a short time?

Nicholas came to mind because of his ministry to children. Jesus told us that we are to be as little children. We need to look at His love without the sins of the world trying to cling to everything and distort the truth about the greatest gift that humanity could ever be given.

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Perhaps we need to look at the gift of Christmas through the eyes of a little child once again!

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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I am the way and the truth and the life

September 6, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
(Matthew 7:14 (NIV))

How many ways to heaven have you heard in your lifetime?

If you truly stop to think about it, there have been countless opinions and philosophies that you have heard and countless others that have made so little sense that you didn’t even pay attention to them.

In today’s society, it has become acceptable to believe that there are as many different ways to heaven as there are people. Stop to think about that statement. Let’s compare this to a shotgun blast. A shotgun blast scatters and only a very few of the small shot actually hit their target. To be more precise, I would venture to say that not a single shot actually hits exactly where you aim. If there are as many ways to heaven as there are people, what does that say when compared to a shotgun blast?

The word “sin” is an archery term that literally means to miss the mark. There is no shotgun blast mentality in archery. There is no shotgun blast mentality in getting to heaven. Just like in archery, if we miss the mark established by God as what we have to hit to get to heaven, then we have sinned. We will not be allowed in.

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

If we have all sinned, then how do we gain eternal life?

and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
(Romans 3:24 (NIV))

Jesus hit that mark. Through His steadfast aim, we are redeemed.

“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))

Jesus is the way! Jesus is the only way. He is that gate.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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“Surely he was the Son of God!”

March 26, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”
(Matthew 27:50-54 (NIV))

We are all familiar with the crucifixion account. We know that there were earthquakes. We know that the curtain of the temple was torn in two. We know that the centurion came to believe that Jesus was and is the Son of God. There is one thing in the account of the crucifixion that many overlook.

The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
(Matthew 27:52-53 (NIV))

Why do we overlook this? Why do we ignore one of the greatest resurrection accounts of what God has done? I know that our focus is on the death and resurrection of Jesus, but I find it extremely interesting that at the moment of His death, people arose out of their tombs.

Who were these people? Even before Jesus came into the world, people where longing for His coming. They believed even before Jesus physically walked the earth. They were looking at salvation through eyes that longed to see it. We look at salvation through eyes that have read it as it actually happened.

Why did they arise at Jesus’ death? That is an interesting question and I am probably going to open up some debate, but I believe that it is simply a matter of timing. Humanity has been given grace and mercy through the atoning blood of Jesus. Jesus had to die in order for our salvation to be redeemed. Those people who believed in Jesus before He walked the earth had to wait until He had fulfilled the plan of salvation. Once He breathed His last, the debt had been paid.

If we truly perceived the events that happened during the crucifixion, we would undoubtedly come to the same conclusion that the centurion came to. The sky grew dark, the earth shook, the rocks split, the holy people were raised from the dead and the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

I honestly don’t think that any script writer could come up with something as awe inspiring as what actually happened.

There is a saying that truth is stranger than fiction. There is also a famous line from a movie that states, “You can’t handle the truth!” I also find it interesting that people base their perception of the truth upon their limited understanding. They refuse to believe until they see. I have never seen a millions dollars, but I know that it exists. Perhaps that is the limit to the faith of some people. They can believe things that they have never seen only if they are of a physical nature.

I know that people believe when they see miracles. I also know that we are told that we need to have faith without seeing miracles. Still, it is my desire to see people who are not believers come to the same saving knowledge as the centurion.

“Surely he was the Son of God!”

Copyright 1998 – 2013 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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A very special house call

August 6, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the “sinners” and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and `sinners’?”
On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
(Mark 2:15-17 (NIV))

Do you remember a time when doctors used top make house calls? This usually meant that the patient was too sick to go into the doctor’s office and the doctor had to go to the patient’s home. This meant that the doctor would go directly to the point of greatest need.

Consider Jesus as the ultimate physician on earth. He was sent by God the Father to call the dying to Himself. Does a doctor stand in the street and call to those who are in need of his healing knowledge? He goes directly to the point of need. Does a doctor visit places of athletic ability and physical health if he is determined to bring healing to those in need? He goes where his knowledge and abilities can be utilized to the benefit of those in need.

Jesus, as the great physician, came to those who are in need.

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

We are all sinners. We are all sick to the point of death. Jesus came for those who are sick from sin.

He came for all of us!

Have you allowed Jesus to make a house call?

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