Aren’t you glad that Jesus welcomes sinners?

November 11, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
(Luke 15:1-2 (NIV))

Which group of people would you have been in if you were alive when Jesus walked the earth?

Each of us like to think that we would recognize Jesus and understand what He was doing if we were alive at that time. Is that true? Sadly, I am not certain that many of us would have recognized Jesus and understood what He was doing. Think about that for a moment in relation to our recognition and understanding of Jesus in this current time. To help with this, I want to do what I often do and ask a few questions that will hopefully cause you to reflect on your life and your understanding.

Do you believe that Jesus came to offer redemption to those who are sinners? If you believe this, then how can Jesus reach sinners if He didn’t associate with them? How could He call them out of their sin if He was chastising them from a distance?

Are you perfect? Are you a sinner? Did Jesus reach you because you were perfect according to your church, or did He reach you because you realized that you are a sinner in need of a Savior? Why do we, the members of the Body of Christ, look at sinners any differently than Jesus does? Why do we look at the sins of others as greater than our own sins? Why do we look at certain individuals who have professed a faith in Jesus and claim that their past sins are too great for them to be a member of the Body of Christ? When someone who is a very blatant sinner repents and professes that Jesus is their personal Lord and Savior, we should rejoice just as the angels rejoice!

In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.
(Luke 15:10 (NIV))

Unfortunately, not everyone who professes a faith in Jesus is able to see beyond what that person was and embrace them as the new creation that they are! They are not able to understand that the love that Jesus has shown to them is also available to all who will accept it. They seem to have forgotten that their sin was great when they turned to Jesus. Don’t let the distance from the point of your salvation blind you to what you used to be. Don’t let your life since your salvation blind you to the fact that there is still sin in this world and that the world still needs Jesus!

Pray that you don’t find yourself acting like the Pharisees and the teachers of the law?

I want to ask one more question. It is a question that I have asked before, but I feel that it needs to be asked again.

What would you do if, when you get to heaven, you find that Adolph Hitler had repented and accepted Jesus? Do you think that his sin was too great? Do you think that the Lord thinks his sin is too great? Would you storm out of heaven because you think that he shouldn’t be there? Would you question Jesus or would you understand that we are all sinners in need of a savior?

Aren’t you glad that Jesus welcomes sinners?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Never stop rejoicing in the Lord!

August 28, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
(Philippians 4:4 (NIV))

What brings joy and great delight in your life?

There are many things in this life that we can and should be thankful for, such as family, friends, laughter and love, but what is it that brings you joy? What brings you happiness beyond measure? If you have truly professed a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, I can’t think of anything more appropriate that can bring joy and happiness beyond measure.

Think about that in relationship to the concept of grace and salvation!

Does spending eternity in the presence of the Lord make you joyful? There is really only one other option and it is not one that I want to even think about. Imagine an eternity of joy and praise when the other option is an eternity of separation from the Lord. The separation also brings eternal suffering and torment. I rejoice in the gift of salvation. There are days that things don’t go as I would have them to go, but we have been told we would have such days. We are to keep our eyes on Jesus.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
(John 16:33 (NIV))

Even with the not so good days on this earth, we know that something better is coming. We should never think of throwing our eternal future of grace away for something of this world that results in torment. I love the way that the psalmist expressed it.

Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
(Psalms 84:10 (NIV))

If being in the Lord’s presence for only one day is better than a thousand elsewhere, just imagine the joy that an eternity will bring. Does this make your heart jump for joy? Does this give you a fresh understanding of the last stanza of Amazing Grace by John Newton?

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.

Are you fully prepared to never stop rejoicing in the Lord!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you truly free?

July 2, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
(Ephesians 2:19-22 (NIV))

This was written to the church at Ephasus when Gentiles were not looked upon by Jewish believers as true heirs to the promises of God. Paul’s words were meant as a reassurance to those people at Ephasus, as well as to those of us today, who had heard all of the legalistic requirements that some people were trying to impose upon them.

Other people were saying that the promises fulfilled through Jesus Christ were only available to the Jews. Paul corrected these wrongs and set the record straight so that the freedom from the Law that Jesus brought would not be compromised by people who did not understand.

Jesus came as a means of God’s grace. Grace does not require legalism or any other human intervention in order to work. It does not apply only to a certain group of people. It is available to everyone who will ask. As we remember a day that is celebrated for our political freedom, we must not lose sight of the true freedom and the one who brings it!

Are you truly free?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you forgiven as you wish to be forgiven?

March 6, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then the master called the servant in. `You wicked servant,’ he said, `I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
(Matthew 18:32-34 (NIV))

This is a recurring theme in the Bible. We are forgiven and shown mercy if we can forgive and show mercy to others.

Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
(Matthew 6:12(NIV))

These are characteristics of God that we are to learn and put into practice. It is the same characteristics that brought Jesus to this earth to die for us.

If Jesus came to this earth to be God’s payment for our debts, if we accept this payment, then we must also be prepared to extend this payment to others. We have been shown unmerited favor and grace. We cannot keep this to ourselves. We cannot hold others to the same laws that we have been granted forgiveness from. If we are not willing to forgive, then how can we truly be forgiven. When we are forgiven, we have a joy that we wish to share with the world. It is a burden that has been lifted.

Does anyone owe you an unpaid debt?

Have you forgiven as you wish to be forgiven?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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When we truly forgive, then we can truly receive.

January 18, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, `Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
(Mark 11:22-25 (NIV))

Jesus has told us that if we have faith, then anything that we ask will be ours. We can petition God with prayer and believe that it will be done. God has never broken His promises. Sometimes, they are not what we would want to happen, but they fit into God’s perfect Will.

Jesus has told us that there is only one thing that could possibly cause this to not happen! Do you have anyone that has done something to you in your life that you have not forgiven? If you petition God in prayer, yet do not have a forgiving heart in ALL matters, then God cannot forgive you and reward your faith with your prayer request.

God is a just God. What you seek from Him, He expects you to freely give to others. If God had not granted you forgiveness from your sin, you would be forever lost and separated from God.

Take a look at the “big picture”. God forgave you much more in order for you to receive salvation than you will have to forgive someone else. It is true that people inevitably will sin against you in your lifetime. But, keep in mind that sin is ultimately against God. Every sin that has ever been committed, God is willing to forgive. How can we expect to receive God’s forgiveness if we cannot forgive one sin done to us by someone? After all, God has already extended forgiveness to them for the sin that they committed against you and Him. If God, the Creator of the universe, can extend forgiveness, we must also.

When we truly forgive, then we can truly receive.

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you received adoption to sonship?

December 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.
(Galatians 4:4-5 (NIV))

Do you like to live under laws?

Think about that in relationship to what a law actually does. A law, any law, God’s Law, basically says what you cannot do. It also sets out the punishment for disobedience, for missing the mark, for sinning.

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

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

Even if it is worded in a positive tone, the end result still limits you in some aspects. Human nature has always been rebellious when told what we can or cannot do. Think about that in relationship to the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve only had one rule, one law, that they had to obey. They could not eat of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We all know how that turned out! We have been paying the price for breaking God’s law ever since.

Since we have proven ourselves to be rebellious, God had to give us more laws. After all, we have proven that we can’t be trusted to do the right thing. God created these laws after one or more of our ancestors did something wrong in His eyes. He gave us commandments that tell us how we are to respect Him by not having other gods, by not making images, by not misusing the name of the Lord, and by setting aside one day to rest and be in His presence. He also gave us commandments that tell us how to deal with each other. We are to honor our father and mother. We aren’t supposed to murder. We are to abstain from having sex with someone who is not our spouse. We are told not to steal, and we are told not to lie. We are also told not to long for or lust after something someone else has.

I realize that these laws are intended to be good, for they define sin, but have you ever stopped to consider what heaven is like? It is a place where God’s perfect presence exists. Sin is not present! If sin is not present, there is no need for a law that defines sin. There is no need for punishment to be defined. We will be filled with an amazing peace and an amazing freedom from sin and law! All of this is a gift of grace!

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))

We will be called sons and daughters of the most high God! We will be co-heirs with Christ!

Have you received adoption to sonship?

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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