Have you been redeemed?

July 26, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. But what does the Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
(Galatians 4:28-31 (NIV))

I have read this passage many times. I have always known that the child born by the power of the Spirit was Isaac and that the son born in the ordinary way was Ishmael. In reading this again, I stopped cold when I saw that the passage was saying that Ishmael was persecuting Isaac. I literally froze when I read the next words – “It is the same now.” Those very words can still be spoken today of these two half-brothers. Isaac’s descendants are the tribes of Israel. Ishmael’s descendants are the Arab people.

Upon further reading, something else struck me about the slave woman’s son never sharing in the inheritance with the free woman’s son. At the time, a slave was property. A slave’s son was also property. How could such a person share in the inheritance with the free son?

The slave’s son was born out if sin, We are all born out of sin and are slaves to sin and death.

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
(Galatians 3:26-29 (NIV))

The current situation in the world is not hopeless. We know who is victorious. We also know that those who are lost in the sin of the slave’s son can be redeemed. We are seeing this all throughout the world where the descendants of Ishmael are accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior. We must pray that the redeeming grace through the Blood of Jesus breaks down the barriers and brings together slave and free, Jew and Greek, male and female.

Have you been redeemed?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The Book of Life!

June 16, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
(Revelation 20:11-15 (NIV))

The book of life!

God’s book of every name that has ever called upon His Son, Jesus, as their personal Lord and Savior. What a book this must be. The simple act of having your name recorded in this book saves you from an eternity cast in the lake of fire for an eternity with God.

Revelation makes it clear what happens to those whose name is not in the book of life. Is this something that we can accept for our family and friends who have not accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior? Can you honestly look at them without feelings of urgency and despair? Can you sit idly by while they continue to make a decision to make no decision for Jesus? Can you look at them the same way knowing that if something were to happen to them, they would be included in the group who is cast into the lake of fire?

Look at these people, and yourself, with eternal eyes. What can you do to portray Jesus to them in a way that they will show them the grace and mercy that is available if they will only accept it?

Jesus gave us a commandment to go into all the world and spread the good news. What can we do to get people to understand that Jesus offers salvation when they do not know the consequences of no salvation? We must be able to convince them of the need for salvation. We must not forget the fate of those who are not in the book of life.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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By what nature do you live?

February 9, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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
(Romans 8:13 (NIV))

By what nature do you live?

Do you long for the things of the world and the physical pleasures that they temporarily bring? Are you enthralled by what the world has to offer even when it brings harmful consequences to those who pursue them?

Lust, fame, fortune and greed are but a few of the things that manifest themselves as the sinful nature. Are these worth dying for? Are these worth an eternal separation from God? They definitely are not of the Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
(Galatians 5:22-26 (NIV))

In other words, truly belonging to Jesus will crucify the sinful nature.

There is an old saying that you are what you eat. This is also true at the spiritual level. Perhaps another way to say this is garbage in, garbage out. What you put into your heart will be reflected in your life by what comes out. The sinful nature brings death.

Jesus brings life!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have the faith to survive your wilderness?

December 1, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I would flee far away
and stay in the desert;
Selah
I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm.
(Psalms 55:7-8 (NIV))

What is your place of shelter?

Do you think of the desert as this place?

Most of us do not think of the desert as a place of refuge, after all, a desert is a harsh place that brings about pain and death.

Perhaps it is our perspective on our situation and our location that gives us this attitude. All throughout the Bible, people who had to experience the desert often came out stronger on the other side. Perhaps this is due to the fact that human nature expects to find God in the lush and plentiful. Let’s face facts. God often appears to us when we do not expect it and in situations that we do not expect. That is exactly why God uses the desert to draw us closer to Him.

The desert lacks the distractions of this world. We can either choose to focus on the fact that we must rely upon God, or we can focus on our situation. If we focus on our situation, if we come out of the desert, we will be weakened and lack focus. Satan will have won.

If we focus on God and what He can provide, then we will come out of the desert stronger in our faith and ready to be the servant that God is calling us to be. In the Bible, “desert” and “wilderness” are often used to indicate a place of testing. A desert is used to indicate a crossing or a right of passage where refuge may be found, while a wilderness indicates an untamed place. Many times throughout each of our lives, we will find ourselves in such a place. How we look upon it will determine our outcome. If we have the faith to look upon our situation as a place of shelter because we have found God to be there, then we will not only survive, God will make us thrive in our work for Him.

Do you have the faith to be in the desert or the wilderness?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you believe in praise?

November 17, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

It is good to praise the LORD
and make music to your name, O Most High,
to proclaim your love in the morning
and your faithfulness at night,
(Psalms 92:1-2 (NIV))

Praise!

Some people do not think that it is good to sing and shout to the Lord. We have something to be very thankful for and it is hard not to praise God for what He has done for us. Grace is an amazing thing. We have not earned it. We cannot buy it. We can only accept it for what it is: the unmerited favor from God. If this is not something to sing and shout about, then we have nothing to sing and shout about.

We should proclaim God’s love from the time that we get up to the time that we go to sleep, for without God’s love, we would be lost in a world of sin and death. God, in all of His mercy, sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the atoning sacrifice for our sin so that we would not have to face the death that is the punishment for sin. All we have to do is accept this gift and then praise God for His love, grace and mercy.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can you claim perfection in the eyes of God?

November 11, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.
(James 3:2 (NIV))

Do you know anyone who thinks that they are capable of doing no wrong?

For those of you who have been married for a long time, I heard those comments that you just made!

Seriously, though, do you know anyone who thinks that they are capable of doing no wrong? Do you know someone who has an ego so big that they think they are perfect? Do you know someone who fits that description and looks back at you when you look in the mirror?

We are all fallen individuals who have surrendered to sin. Sin controls us. We long for pleasure and we long for things that personally benefit us. It is these desires that cause us to do things that we should not do. We fall short of what we are called to be. We miss the mark. We sin!

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

No one is perfect except Jesus. Contrary to what we may think, we sin more than we care to admit. We fall short in all aspects of our lives.

Fortunately, our salvation is not based on our perfection and on our ability to not sin. Our salvation is solely based on our acceptance of a gift of grace as presented through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Only Jesus had no fault. Only Jesus is a perfect man. It is through His atoning sacrifice that those of us who are not perfect can gain salvation.

Jesus never stumbled! Jesus never failed!

Can you truly make this claim?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you proclaim that Jesus is the Lamb of God?

October 24, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
(John 1:29 (NIV))

Are we like John was in that we can recognize Jesus for who He is? Can we confidently proclaim that Jesus is the Lamb of God? Can we confidently proclaim that Jesus can take away the sin of the world? Can we confidently proclaim that He has taken away our sin?

We think that John had an insight into God’s heart because of the things that God sent him to proclaim. I don’t doubt this at all.

What I do doubt is us!

We have written records of the things that Jesus has done, yet, we fail to recognize the power that He had. We have written records of the lineage and the prophesies concerning Him, yet, we fail to recognize the authority that He possesses. Our society has taken the power of His life, death and resurrection and watered it down so much that many believe that there is no power in the name of Jesus. Many believe that he was just a man. Sadly, too many believe that what He taught and came to do means condemnation and hate. In our society where love has grown to mean complete acceptance of everything about a person, this view of Jesus must be countered by the truth.

There is no other name that can save us!

There is no other name that can cleanse us!

There is no other name that has the power to reconcile us to God!

Only Jesus can take our sins and wash us white as snow. And no, this is not a racist remark. God’s grace and mercy are available to everyone regardless of the color of your skin or the amount of sin in your life.

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

There is no such thing as a sinless person. There is no such thing as earning salvation through your works. There is no such thing as entering heaven in your sinful state. The price had to be paid to take away our sin. There had to be a sacrifice to settle the score. Humanity sinned. It required a perfect human to redeem us. It required a spotless lamb – the Lamb of God.

Contrary to what society says, the Lamb of God is Jesus!

Contrary to what false religions claim, the Lamb of God is Jesus!

Do you proclaim His glorious name?

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