What does your future look like?

September 9, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But the saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever–yes, for ever and ever.’
(Daniel 7:18 (NIV))

God gave this promise to Daniel long before it will come to be. Daniel was speaking about a vision that he was given concerning the end of days, yet all of us can hold fast to that promise no matter when God will end the Age of the Gentiles.

All throughout the Bible, God gives us foresight into what will happen, and guess what? He wins. God does not wish for any to perish, but one day He will bring about an end to the evils of this world and establish His Kingdom. Those who believe and keep God’s commandments will inherit the Kingdom as Children of God.

What does your future look like? Will you receive and possess the kingdom as a saint or will you receive God’s punishment for refusing His love?

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

September 4, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation–but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
(Romans 8:12-17 (NIV))

Paul could have made his living today as a trial attorney. His arguments that he presents are so powerful. Yet, given this gift of persuasion, Paul did not use this to his own ends. He presented the legal issues as they pertained to God and Jesus Christ.

Can we read these words and truly say that Jesus should not be the central aspect of our lives, for it is through Jesus that our sinful nature has been given an opportunity to be redeemed from the death that comes with sin. Accepting Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior is a vital step to our salvation. It is the most important step, but our actions afterwards still play a big part in our spiritual walk.

We can not simply claim Jesus with our lips and continue to claim the world with our actions. We must die to the world and fully embrace the Holy Spirit that has been sent to live within us. Our hearts must reflect the change that we say we have made within our lives. We must be able to know that the Spirit has “marked” us as children of God because of our desire to turn from the world.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you worth to God?

July 26, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
(Luke 12:6-7 (NIV))

It is human nature to feel that we are worthless from time to time. Perhaps it is a direct attack from the enemy or perhaps it is just an inherited memory of the lie that brought about the fall from grace. Either way, we are all prone to fall into this trap of Satan’s from time to time.

That is exactly what the enemy wants to happen. He wants us to feel worthless and afraid. He wants us to forget that we are all bought by the atoning blood of Jesus. He wants us to forget that as believers in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we have the power to defeat him at every turn. Satan uses this trick to make us look at our failings instead of looking at the power of the one who saved us.

Without Jesus, we are worthless, for we are all lost in our sin.

With Jesus, we are children of God and heirs to the promises that are fulfilled through Jesus.

Even in our sin, God does not see us as worthless.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
(Romans 5:8 (NIV))

If we were worthless, then why did God send Jesus to die for us? Why would someone pay such a great price for garbage?

What are you worth to God?

If we are of great worth to the Creator of all things, then why do we allow the enemy to tell us that we are worthless?

What is your worth?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Bad words

September 19, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
(James 3:9-12 (NIV))

It is sad that the words written in James are all too true.

How many times have you left a wonderful worship service only to have someone cut you off in traffic and you find yourself saying things that you know you shouldn’t?

Be honest with yourself.

How can we, as the Body of Christ, do such things? How can we expect the world to see a difference in our lives when this is the rotten fruit that our mouths produce? How can we praise God, yet curse a part of His creation?

I can hear some of the grumbling now.

You are probably thinking that God did not intend for people to behave like those who get you upset. Did God intend for you to curse someone else? How is this showing the love of Jesus?

Did Jesus ever get angry? What angered Jesus?

You may be thinking about the money changers in the temple.

Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, ” `My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a `den of robbers.’ ”
(Matthew 21:12 (NIV))

Jesus did not get angry at people for their sins against each or against God’s laws. He got angry over the fact that people took God for granted, or they did not respect God. Think of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Why did Jesus get angry with them?

In every situation in which Jesus did show anger, it is not recorded that He cursed them or blasphemed. Why do we do any different?

Think about that old question, “Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?”

With some of the things that we all let slip, do we feel worthy of praising God with the same mouth?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What priorities do you embrace?

August 13, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.
(1 Peter 4:1-2 (NIV))

Can we wholeheartedly accept these words? Can we embrace the fact that we will face suffering in our lifetime in the physical body that we are so proud of?

Humanity is frail. We admire the fragile shells that we call our bodies and pamper them to the point of sinful desires. We splurge and do things because they feel good without giving any thought to the long-term effects of our actions. We spend almost every waking hour doing something to take care of the physical side of our existence, which is mortal, while we come very close to completely ignoring our spiritual side, which has the potential to spend eternity in heaven.

It seems that we have our priorities backwards! We need to spend much more time concerned with our spiritual being. We need to resolve to look beyond the immediate needs of our physical shell and look to the needs of the part of us that truly matters. We must get to the point where we can recognize that our bodies are but dust and our spirits are the true treasure that we possess.

Can we truly allow our physical bodies to suffer so that our spiritual being will benefit?

I would like to think that it is possible, for we have been told that it is the way to do away with sin in our life. However, I do not know if I am capable of such a massive undertaking. Luckily, God knew that we were not capable on our own, even after He sent His Son, Jesus, to show us what to do. We may desire to do away with the physical desires and focus on God, yet, we are spiritual infants who happen to have a very strong urge from the physical side of our existence. For this reason, God allows us to call upon the name of Jesus as our atoning sacrifice, for His Blood covers a multitude of sins.

Can you suffer in the physical the way that Jesus did? Can you earnestly call upon the Blood of Jesus to help you when you fall?

What priorities do you embrace?

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

June 25, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell
(Mark 9:42-47 (NIV))

Today’s society seems to have forgotten these simple yet profound statements that Jesus made. In both cases, He was referring to innocence. The innocence of children and the judgment that awaits those who cause children to sin and the innocence of the whole person with respect to a part of them that causes them to sin.

Perhaps Jesus was drawing the distinction between the innocence of children and the innocence that we should have as children of God. In either case, sin should not be allowed in to corrupt what God has created. Sin must be removed so that it cannot cause the person to pay the ultimate price – eternal separation from God. Do not allow sin into your life and do not introduce sin into another person’s life.

We should remember that God demands more from those who teach and preach His Word. Perhaps we should also associate the fact that He demands more from those who cause others to sin. I would not want to be one who God demands more because of sin. I would rather be held accountable for preaching and teaching His Word than for causing others to sin.

Remember that people are watching everything that you do. Would your actions and words be held accountable for God or for sin?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you guilty of this?

June 4, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?”

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

“I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
(John 4:4-21 (NIV))

I love my Sunday School class!

This morning, I was leading a discussion on a new chapter in the book that we are studying, and, true to form, we got off topic. I must admit that we often get off topic, for we use the topic as a springboard for discussion and questions. The questions often lead to very interesting and deep answers. Today was no different.

I raised the question about how does society’s view and the Biblical view on Hell compare. After much discussion, someone asked a question about certain denominations claiming that those who are divorced and remarried would be going to hell. It was also asked if it is Biblical to withhold communion to these individuals.

This passage came to mind a few minutes later once the class was over.

How many husbands had the Samaritan woman had? Was she married to the man that she was living with at the time of this encounter with Jesus?

Did Jesus refrain from offering her salvation – living water – even though she was a Samaritan and a sinner in the eyes of the community?

We, as the Body of Christ, cannot place restrictions upon those who would come when Jesus did not put any restrictions on those who came to Him. We are not able to judge whether someone is worthy, for our judgment is human judgment. Only God can judge. Only Jesus can offer grace. Grace is freely given to any who would simply accept.

We, as the church, cannot put restrictions and limitations on what God has freely offered.

I can hear the thoughts that some may be thinking – that these people are sinners. I have some news for you. We all are sinners.

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

How can one sinner tell another sinner that they are not worthy to receive what God has freely given?

I pray that I am not guilty of this!

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