Have you been convicted enough to change?

February 8, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
(1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NIV))

It is impossible for the wicked to be a part of God’s kingdom, “and that is what some of you were.”

God does not wish that any should perish! How can this be?

Once we have accepted God’s grace through the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, He works within us to change us to His image. For the things that do not fit His image, He cleans up and replaces with His righteousness.

The people, and some so-called church members, who are saying that some specific sins are okay are misreading what God has said within this passage. We are to hate the sin, but love the sinner. We are not to accept the sin. That would be a sin in and of itself.

In the scripture, it states “that is what some of you WERE.” The people who are pushing acceptance are not willing to embrace all of God’s Truths. They are not willing to change. They are doing all that they can to change this to read “that is what some of you ARE.” They want to be able to tell God that their sin is acceptable, even though God has clearly stated that no sin is acceptable. They cannot stand up to the conviction and repentance that God requires of us.

Let’s face the truth. Conviction is not comfortable!

Do you accept all of God’s Word, or only the parts that don’t convict you?

Have you been convicted enough to change?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you accept Godly correction?

January 29, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you.
(Proverbs 9:8 (NIV))

It is not human nature to accept criticism. A foolish person follows his or her own desires and “wisdom.” Somebody who is doing their own will does not want to be told that they are wrong and need to change. However, a wise person realizes that they do not know everything and they need to submit their will to God. When someone submits their will and accepts Jesus as their Lord and Savior, they will grow in the things that are of God. They will desire to do all things that are Godly, and will accept Godly criticism with the knowledge that it will help them to grow closer to God.

Let’s stop and think about whose universe we live in and whose we are. If we refuse to listen to God, and follow our own sinful desires, where would we end up? Godly correction is essential in our lives if we wish to stay focused on what God is calling us to.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God is the same no matter when we seek Him!

December 29, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
(Revelation 1:8 (NIV))

Human nature is such a funny thing.

What is your reaction when the grocery store that you normally go to is closed for some reason? Do you complain or do you simply adapt? What do you do when your favorite shirt is no longer suitable for public appearance? Do you throw it away or do you cling to it like a small child clings to a blanket? How do you react when your favorite magazine stops publication because the content is now readily available on the Internet? Speaking of the Internet, how do you react to reading something online versus reading it from a book that you can hold and feel?

Let’s face it, we are all creatures of habit. We have our routines and we all have our favorite things that we think that we could never do without. In all honesty, most people do not like change. Change is something that we fear. It is unknown.

Too many of us do not like anything to ever change, yet we often are guilty of saying that God is not the same as He was in the Old Testament. We have a double standard for what we expect of ourselves and what we think that God is like. We have heard the stories and we have read the passages that tell of God’s laws, yet we find it difficult to comprehend that God could remain the same for all eternity.

Personally, I like knowing that God is constant, that He is, and was and is to come.

If we spend time getting to know God through His Word, then we will know the very heart of God for all time. He doesn’t change. I honestly would not like having to constantly second guess what I was supposed to do because of a constantly changing god. That is not our God. That is not our creator, our Father. God is a God of eternity.

January 1 will soon be here. It is the beginning of a new year. Many people look upon this day as the opportunity to start fresh, to change what they have been doing. For humanity, change for the better is good, especially when that change means that we repent of our sins and turn to God. When we desire to change, isn’t it good to know that the One who welcomes us in our change, never changes. God will welcome us with open arms any day of the year.

Today is that day.

Happy New Year !!!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you constant in your faith?

September 3, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.
(Matthew 19:29 (NIV))

There is a lot of talk about family values and the Judeao/ Christian ethic. Family values are fantastic if taken in context of what Jesus said. Jesus knew that there would be conflict within families due to His teachings. We must not waver from what He taught, but we must also realize that we, as believers, may have family who turn their backs on us because they do not understand. We must pray for them and continue to love them, but we must not compromise our faith in order to save family.

We must also remember this when people are speaking of tolerance and change. We must love the sinner but hate the sin. We must stand firm in our faith and not waiver for the sake of people. God will deal with them and touch them by our standing firm, not by our wavering.

Are you firm in your dealings with family and acquaintances when it comes to the teachings of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you ever betrayed someone?

July 28, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.”
They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely not I, Lord?”
(Matthew 26:20-22 (NIV))

Have you ever betrayed someone? What did it feel like?

As I read these words, I wonder what these men felt when Jesus said that one of them would betray him. I honestly believe that each and every single person in that room questioned themselves at this time. They were only human, and who among us has never had a negative thought about something that you profess an allegiance to. I can picture these men and what they were thinking. Each was probably saying to themselves, “Please, don’t let it be me. I don’t think I could do that, but I have never been put to the test before. Could I pass that test or will I fail and betray His love? Please, don’t let it be me!”

That is so very hard to know.

Now, think about how each of them felt when they knew that it was not them. They breathed a big sigh of relief. Even in this hour when all of God’s plans to save humanity hung in the balance, they still could only think about themselves.

Something changed in these men. Something changed these men. They went from being afraid of what would happen to them to bold proclaimers of the truth. They experienced the next three days. They saw Jesus crucified. They saw Jesus buried. They saw the greatest miracle of all time. They saw Jesus resurrected from the grave.

“Perhaps the transformation of the disciples of Jesus is the greatest evidence of all for the resurrection.”
(John R. W. Stott)

These men were transformed from insecure, self-centered people to boldly proclaim that Jesus is the Son of God.

God took simple men who all felt the pains of potential betrayal and gave them a hope and a faith that made them turn the world upside down.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Divisions!

July 20, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
(Mark 3:24-25 (NIV))

Truer words cannot be spoken, especially when you consider our country and our world in today’s circumstances.

In my lifetime, I have seen things change so rapidly, yet, not all change has been good.

One thing that appears to have changed for the worse is the deep divisions that are now so prevalent between people.

It used to be said that people could disagree and then put their disagreements aside and be friends. Now, if you disagree with someone, it is as if you are personally attacking them. There is too much selfish ego involved and no thought given to the simple fact that we are all human, and no one is perfect. Not a single one of us is right on everything. In fact, I think that I can safely say that most of us are wrong more times than we are right.

Are we so willing to alienate and create division when perfection is out of our grasp?

I understand the desire to create policies that take care of those who can’t take care of themselves. I understand the need to defend ourselves. I understand the need to be responsible to God, to others, and to ourselves.

I understand the need to be good stewards.

We must look upon everything that we have as a blessing from God and not as if it were ours to take and do with as we please.

Have you ever thought how history will look upon us?

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: ‘From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to selfishness; From selfishness to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.'”
– quote attributed to Alexander Fraser Tytler (1747?1813)

I am not trying to be political, but rather bringing something to light. We, as a society have become far too divided, with far too little common ground in the middle. For a country that was founded on freedom of religion, it has now come to mean freedom from religion in the eyes of far too many people. Our ancestors fought to break the bondage that tthey were under. Jesus died to free us from the bondage of sin and death. Why are we headed back into bondage?

This must change.

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV))

It is time to return to prayer and earnestly seek God’s face. We must turn from our wicked ways and pray that God will heal our land. We must pray that the words of Alexander Fraser Tytler, through God’s grace, will not come true.

Although, there is something else to consider.

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
“The owner’s servants came to him and said, `Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
” `An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, `Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
” `No,’ he answered, `because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ ”
(Matthew 13:24-30 (NIV))

Is the world becoming divided, even polarized, in preparation for this to be fulfilled?

Whether this division is man made or all a part of God’s plan, we, as His church must pray, for without prayer, we are lost.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Change

June 24, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Even now,” declares the LORD,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the LORD your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.
(Joel 2:12-13 (NIV))

The words written long ago in the book of Joel still hold true to this very day. I imagine that they will be true until Jesus returns in triumph to the Mount of Olives. Only then, will it be too late for those who have made the wrong decision.

God wants us to turn from our sin and return to Him.

All too often, we do things that are extravagant in nature because we feel that we must do something of great magnitude, or great outward appearance, so that God will know that we mean it this time. Perhaps these acts are more for ourselves and our neighbors than they are for God, after all, God sees our hearts. He doesn’t need to see the flamboyant antics of someone who will break the promises that were just made. This is why we are told to “rend your heart,” for God sees the heart and He knows when it is truth. We can forever rend externally to ourselves and it will never have a lasting impact. When we rend our heart, it is the very center of our existence. We have made the decision to change from the inside out. Perhaps this is why Jesus spoke about what makes a man unclean.

He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him `unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man `unclean.’ ”
(Mark 7:20-23 (NIV))

Have you taken that ultimate commitment to God? Have you internalized the change by changing your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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