When you look at things, are they possible or impossible?

February 9, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
(Matthew 19:26 (NIV))

We like to take Matthew 19:26 out of context and apply it to whatever we may be facing that appears to be a no win situation. To be honest with you, nothing is impossible with God, so it is a good application. Still, we tend to overlook the original message.

This particular passage was directed at His disciples and it comes at the end of a discourse with a rich young man.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
(Matthew 19:23-25 (NIV))

In case you didn’t catch the implication, Jesus was saying that salvation was only possible through God. Think about that for a moment. Each of us have something that we cherish. Each of us have something that we long to hold on to, that we don’t want to surrender. For some, it is money. For others, it may be power. For others, it may be any number of things. For this particular young man, it was his wealth. Jesus told him that it was necessary to surrender what he held dear to himself and choose to follow Jesus. I think that the disciples caught on to what Jesus was saying because they asked, “Who then can be saved?” The disciples knew human nature. They knew how difficult it is to surrender what is closest to your heart. They knew that it was and is a matter of priorities. They had made the choice to trade everything for the ultimate treasure.

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
(Matthew 13:44 (NIV))

Jesus let them know that a person cannot change their heart, but God can. God can take a cold and hardened heart and bring it back to life. God can take the “wealth” that a person holds dear and make it all look worthless in comparison to what He has to offer. If you think about this, Jesus also let us know that people are not in the business of saving each other. We don’t have the power or authority, but God does! How do you look at things, from your perspective or from God’s?

When you look at things, are they possible or impossible?

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

August 15, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
(Luke 9:23 (NIV))

Do you claim to follow Jesus? Do you consider yourself to be His disciple?

If you answered “Yes” to these two questions, then I have some more questions to ask. Do you still do the same things that you did before professing Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Do you still indulge in your personal favorite sins or have you given those up as a result of your relationship with Jesus? Do you still have the same friends as before you accepted Jesus? Has your vocabulary changed and you thought process changed or do you still spout off foul language? Have you lost friends because you no longer desire to associate with your old ways?

Following Jesus is not an easy thing to do, especially when you start realizing all of the things that you no longer desire to do. I want to stress one important aspect of following Jesus, and that is that too many people think being a follower of Jesus is about all the things that you can’t do. It is not about what you can’t do. It is about a change of heart and the realization that you no longer want to do these things. Jesus isn’t stopping anyone from sinning. He is simply pointing to a life where you lose your desire to sin. He is pointing to grace and mercy. He is pointing to redemption. He is pointing to a life that doesn’t end in death.

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

Following Jesus is not easy, but when you consider the consequences of the alternative, it is the only choice I would ever make.

Do you truly desire to follow Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How is your eternal outlook?

July 31, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.
(2 Corinthians 1:9 (NIV))

Who do you rely on?

Have you ever had a feeling so overpowering and gut wrenching that you had no idea what to do about it? Think about that for a moment and then stop to think about how it must feel to be overwhelmed with the thought of your own impending death and that there is nothing you can do about it. It is final. There is no way out of it on your own. You are utterly afraid of what will come during and after.

That is exactly what each and every one of us faces if we do not accept the free gift of grace that God freely gives us through the cross. That is what happens when we rely on ourselves.

Relying on God and His promises lifts that feeling. It lifts the death sentence.

It takes a change of heart!

Repent! Call upon the name of Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. Open your heart to what God has in store for you. Accept His grace and His mercy and allow the Holy Spirit to fill you and to guide you.

It is sad that so many people are not willing to make that one commitment that will change their eternal outlook. It is an outlook that will make your heart sing out in praise!

How is your eternal outlook?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What makes you unclean?

March 14, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a man can make him `unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him `unclean.’ ”
(Mark 7:14-15 (NIV))

Jesus knew that what goes into a man can not change his heart. What comes out of a man is a reflection of the heart. If unclean thoughts, words or deeds come out of a man, then his heart is unclean and nothing that goes into a man can change that.

From a worldly point of view, it is true that we must wash our hands and anything that we put into our mouths, but this “dirt” does not change a person’s heart. It may make them sick for a day or two, but it will not make their heart unclean. An unclean heart comes from being around sin and not distancing yourself from that sin. An unclean heart comes from holding grudges and being angry against others. An unclean heart comes from resentment. An unclean heart does not come from what we physically put into our bodies. It comes from what we spiritually put into our hearts, and then let grow there without being removed. It then comes out through our thoughts, words and actions.

Be careful what you put into your heart, for it is what can make you “unclean.”

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you see the cross?

March 4, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
(1 Corinthians 1:18 (NIV))

It is human nature to think that something is foolish if we do not understand it. For those who do not like football, it is foolish. For those who do not like racing, it is foolish. For those who do not know and trust Jesus, the Gospel is foolish. Only when you truly know and understand something does it take on meaning for you.

Think back on your life. I am sure that there are things in your life that you have grown to think differently about. Many of these things probably meant that you had a change of heart about them. Jesus is probably one of those! Before you fully understood what Jesus did for you, it was probably difficult to accept the fact that God loved you so much that He sent His only Son to suffer and to die so that you could have grace and mercy. That is true with many people. They do not understand and they see what happened at the cross as simply a foolish act with no importance to them.

How do you see the cross? Is it in foolishness or is it in thanksgiving?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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