Be careful of where you travel!

November 12, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The one whose walk is blameless is kept safe, but the one whose ways are perverse will fall into the pit.
(Proverbs 28:18 (NIV))

We see the results of people using their cell phones when they are driving, and it is not a very happy ending.

We see the results of people being distracted by their cell phones while they are walking, and many times they are so ridiculous that we can’t help but laugh. Honestly, these incidents are often quite painful for the person involved.

There are many other types of distractions that have less than stellar consequences, and many people seem to be able to commit quite a few of them. Have you ever been distracted to the point where you caused yourself injury? Were you able to recover from this event? Now, what about the distractions that have a different source? What about the sins that distract you and lead you down a life path that leads you away from God’s grace and mercy? These sins can cause so much more damage to your life and your eternal existence than any episode with a cell phone ever could! Don’t misunderstand me on this. I realize that distractions can cause injury and even death. These events even occur to people who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. The sins that I am referring to are those that take you away from recognizing the need for God’s grace and mercy. These result in a ruined life, and, if repentance does not occur, an eternal separation from the Lord, our God!

If you choose to follow the ways of this world and ignore the gift of salvation offered through Jesus, you will travel through this life with the pit of Hell as your destination. If you choose to walk through life with Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, your destination is eternal life in heaven with the Father. The choice is yours! Each day and each step in your journey is a choice. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus and walk blamelessly as you go through this life. The enemy longs to trick you and to make you stumble as you travel. If you take your eyes off of your destination, you will not like the results.

Be careful of where you travel!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are the consequences?

June 11, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears.
(Hebrews 12:14-17 (NIV))

I have to honestly ask myself if I can remember the last time I lived through a day when I did not witness a conflict. I also wonder if society has completely forgotten what it means to be holy, or if most people even care anymore?

Everyone is concerned with what is in it for them and as a result, too many people simply will do whatever it takes so that they come out on top. With this type of mentality, people fail to see that any of their actions are sinful and have consequences. It’s almost as if people have become ignorant and arrogant as opposed to thoughtful and well mannered. I may be naive, but when I was a child, if I even thought about doing any of the things that I see children and teenagers doing, I would have been taught otherwise.

Consequences!

These still exist no matter what society may say.

Can a person commit murder, ask for forgiveness, and simply walk away?

Can a person rob a bank, say that they needed the money to feed their family, and get to stay out of prison?

What is true in the physical world is true in the spiritual world.

God will forgive you if you accept Jesus and earnestly repent, but He does not alter the consequences of your sin. If you have committed sinful acts that have altered your health, your health will probably still be the same after you repent. Decisions that you make in life are things that you have to live with. Just like Esau, things that we do will come back to haunt us. Grace and mercy are there for all who will simply ask, but the physical consequences of an imperfect life in an imperfect world will be a reminder of the sins that we have been set free of. I know that God will restore what the locust has destroyed, but it may never be the same.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the return of Jesus your biggest hope or biggest fear?

May 12, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.
(Revelation 22:12 (NIV))

This either is a blessed hope or a cause of extreme fear. How you look upon it is how you look upon Jesus Christ.

Even though these words speak of His return to bind Satan and judge those left on the earth or who have died without accepting Him, it is still a cause of fear or denial for many. True followers of Jesus will not have to face the judgement that He will dish out. Their judgement has been one of complete pardon by accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. All others who will face the judgement will have no where to turn to escape the consequences of what they have done in their lives, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Knowing that no one has lead a perfect, sinless life, how do you want to be judged? Do you have the hope and assurance of a complete pardon or do you have the fear of damnation?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What gate does your road lead to?

October 15, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
(Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV))

Have you ever read Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken?” The symbolism and the parallels between the poem and this passage of scripture are definitely there. I do not know much about Robert Frost’s life, but I know the longing and searching that he portrayed through his words. They portray a person at a decision point in their life. In both pieces, we are encouraged to follow the path that is not as well traveled.

The differences between Matthew 7:13-14 and “The Road Not Taken” end there, though. The words in Matthew cause us to pause and reflect on the most important aspect of our lives, our salvation. Robert Frost’s words cause us to look at each aspect of our life, but do not point us directly to the salvation that is ours if we only make the right choice. It is good to reflect on your life and the decisions that you make, but, we must not lose site of the one and only decision that can effect eternity.

In addition, life decisions cannot be undone easily. There will always be consequences for our earthly decisions. However, a decision for salvation can be made at any time in our lives. no matter how far we go done the wide road, it is only a matter of the will to change our course and travel on the narrow road.

God allows U-turns!

What gate does your road lead to?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is honor? What is humility?

October 31, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, `Give this man your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, `Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
(Luke 14:8-11 (NIV))

What is honor?

Honor can be a selfish, vain ego trip that greatly elevates you to a position from which humility is forced upon you, or it can be a humble, selfless act that will exalt you to a position of greatness. It doesn’t make sense, does it? Neither does honor.

The world thinks of honor as something that is bestowed because of someone’s greatness. All too often, this “greatness” has a tendency to go to your head and cause a greatly inflated ego. It is this ego that causes us to have a highly inflated self-worth. This self-worth makes us assume things and do things that are sinful in nature.

Do you remember what caused Satan to fall? It was ego. He wanted to be greater than he was. He wanted to be God. He tried to elevate himself and met with the consequences of his desires. From the Bible, we know that Jesus was with God from the beginning, yet, we do not hear about him until God chose to elevate Him. Now He sits at the right hand of God, the Father. Satan, on the other hand, has been cast down after his attempt to exalt himself.

Do you exalt yourself?

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

October 3, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

At the end of seven days the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked man, `You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die forn his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself.
(Ezekiel 3:16-19 (NIV))

When God spoke to Ezekiel and told him to warn Israel of their wrongdoing, God made it clear that if He sends someone to deliver His Word, that person carries the weight of those people as his responsibility. That is also true for today.

When God sent Ezekiel, Ezekiel did not have the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to deliver. He had the teachings of the Law to deliver. God sent Ezekiel to deliver prophetic words that would greatly impact their lives.

Today, we have words that will impact lives even more than in Ezekiel’s time. We can speak in general terms, not as prophets, but as people empowered by the Holy Spirit to warn people of their impending danger if they do not accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Where we differ from Ezekiel is that we have a direct route to God that we can offer to anyone who is willing to receive it.

If God places us in situations that He desires for us to warn and to witness, we need to respond. If we do, then the decision and the consequences are the responsibility of the person we witnessed to. If we do not tell them, then the responsibility is ours to bear.

If we have truly accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, then we need to heed what God asks of us to do. It has a far greater impact than we realize.

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

September 28, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Being greedy, indecent, or immoral is just another way of worshiping idols. You can be sure people who behave in this way will never be part of the kingdom that belongs to Christ and to God.
(Ephesians 5:5 (NIV))

This passage has some very deep ramifications.

I like the way the Contemporary English Version translates this passage.

Being greedy, indecent, or immoral is just another way of worshiping idols. You can be sure people who behave in this way will never be part of the kingdom that belongs to Christ and to God.
(Ephesians 5:5 (CEV))

Does this translation put it into a better perspective?

Have you ever been greedy? Have you ever wanted to hide something from someone else because you wanted it?

Have you ever had an indecent or immoral thought? Be honest. There have probably been times where you know you have thought things that were less than righteous. In today’s traffic, I can probably count on many of you, myself included, who have had less than stellar thoughts about other drivers.

In other words, we are all guilty of doing things that keep us away from Jesus. Anything that keeps us away from Jesus is an idol. When we give our attention to these things, we lose our focus on Jesus and we stray.

Don’t get me wrong. There is a difference between trying to follow Jesus and simply following greed or immorality. When Jesus walks with us, He knows that we will stumble. Sometimes, we may even fall.

Think of when a young child first learns to ride a bicycle. They strive to do what is required, yet they will often fall. This does not mean that their intentions make them fall. It is a matter of experience and maturity. As we mature in Christ, hopefully just as the bicycle rider, we will fall less and less.

It is when we allow something besides Jesus to become the focus of our lives that we lose sight of Jesus and we become greedy and immoral.

We have all done this. Hold up one finger on one hand and place it about six inches away from your nose. Focus on your finger. The background blurs. Move your finger out to arm’s length and stay focused on your finger. The things between your eyes and you finger become blurred. In both cases, we know that something else is there, but with our focus, we select what is important to us. It is when we take our eyes away from our primary focus and become distracted by what else is around us that we fall. It is at this point that we begin to worship idols. Our idols are whatever we focus on instead of Jesus.

Greed has us focusing on wealth. Immorality has us focusing on sins of the flesh. We cannot focus on these and on Jesus.

Take a look at yourself.

Do you find yourself worshipping idols that have come into your focus?

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