May our actions be pleasing in your sight!

July 5, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

If my people, which are called by my name, shall 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))

As I sit here contemplating the events of the last few days, this July 4th was a good day.

All across the country, hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets of small towns to see parades that will never match the production value of the parades in New York, but the heart and soul of this country was represented in those parades. Local businesses, high school bands, local volunteer fire departments, local farmers and their horses, and politicians who have a sincere desire to see this country return to the values that made it great all willingly walked a course in the heat to show their love of country.

I was recently reminded of an historical account of the writings of the founding fathers. Some things I remembered, such as the first official act of the first Congress was to order a large amount of Bibles to be printed. Did you know that each of the original 13 states started their documents of statehood giving praise and honor to God? I would love to read the personal thoughts and public documents of the founding fathers, for most of them professed a belief in the sovereign grace of God in guiding this nation. So much for separation of church and state!

I want you to think of the words to “America the Beautiful.”

“God shed His grace on thee.”

Why do you think that God has shed His grace upon this nation? Our history is based upon allowing people to worship Him as they see fit. It is built upon the idea that we have been blessed to be a blessing to others. What other nation has been willing to help rebuild war-torn countries? What other nation has been willing to come to the aid of countries when they could not defend themselves?

Looking back at the events of this day, both now and in the past, I don’t think that the people have lost site of what is important. This can be proven by the heartfelt responses we see to terrorist strikes, hurricanes, and accidents. What I believe has happened is that we, just like Israel had done countless times, have temporarily turned our focus away from the Lord. Over the last several years, humility, repentence and prayer have been front and center in the hearts, minds and prayers of the Body of Christ.

We have a choice to make. We can allow things to run their course in a way that is contrary to God’s Word, or we can pray for His forgiveness, His desires and His direction. In this prayer, there should be neither Democrat nor Republican, but only those who earnestly seeks after the heart of God. We need to stop seeking man’s will and turn to seeking God’s will.

Lord, guide us in your desires for this world, this nation, this state, this community and this household. May our actions always be tempered with your wisdom and grace.

May our actions be pleasing in your sight!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you allowed yourself to be cleansed?

July 3, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
(Psalms 51:1-2 (NIV))

Everyone desires mercy, but not everyone wants to be cleansed of the reason that they desire mercy!

Think about that in relationship to your own life. We all have something that we know that we shouldn’t do, but we do it anyway. We ask for forgiveness when someone brings it up, but do we truly desire to have this characteristic removed from our lives? Do we truly desire to be cleansed of what we continually ask for mercy for?

For some people, these traits are simply things that annoy those we love. We do them over and over again until someone says something and then we apologize by uttering a “Forgive me! I’m sorry!” For others, these traits are something much worse. They are so ingrained into our sinful nature that we do things that we know aren’t right by any stretch of the imagination. We know that our sins are forgiven and that we have been washed clean by the Blood of the Lamb, but we fail to do the one thing that will give us true freedom. We fail to do the one thing that the Lord desires for us to do.

We fail to surrender!

We fail to let go of our sins. We cling tightly to them even though we claim that we have left them at the foot of the cross. It’s just like old things that we have collected. We know that we should get rid of them, so we pack them up and take them away to be discarded. Far too many of us change our minds along the way. Why do we bring them back into our lives once we have gone through the motions? I often think that we are afraid of what our lives would be without these things. The fear of change keeps us from breaking free. Are we afraid of truly leaving our sins at the foot of the cross? Do we truly repent if we pick them back up? Jesus understood that we may desire to do what is right, but we face obstacles within ourselves. Jesus understands the human condition! He has walked where we walk.

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
(Matthew 26:41 (NIV))

If you read Psalm 51 as a response to the words recorded in Matthew, they can and should be taken as a prayer that every believer presents to God when they are confronted with the sinful nature of the flesh. We should all desire to be cleansed. In order to be cleansed, we have to submit. We have to seek it. We have to allow God to cleanse us.

Have you allowed yourself to be cleansed?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you possess God’s gift of grace and peace?

June 22, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
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Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
(Galatians 1:3-5 (NIV))

Grace and peace! What a wonderful concept! I did not fully understand how wonderful until I sat down this morning.

I have the NIV Bible on my computer and I am capable of doing searches for words and phrases. I performed a search for “grace” and “peace” so that they must appear in the same passage together. It returned 18 different verses. What was surprising to me was the fact that all 18 verses are from the New Testament. No where in the Old Testament (at least in the NIV version) are grace and peace mentioned together.

This was a concept that was not known to people before Jesus came to walk on this earth! Yet, after Jesus came to die for our sins, God gave us grace and peace through Him, and people spoke freely of this grace and peace that is from God and Jesus.

When was the last time someone gave you something that you considered precious? Take a look at what that gift was. No matter how fantastic it may be, it cannot compare to the gift that was given to all who would receive it freely – grace and peace. Grace for the forgiveness of sins. Peace for the inner realization that your sin debt will not have to be paid by you!

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