Are you willing to forgive?

October 10, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
(Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV))

Most people like to ignore this passage because it is difficult to admit that grace received is based on grace that is given. We like to think that it is okay to withhold forgiveness to those who have wronged us. We like to think that we are above what others are called to do. Let’s be honest! Everyone is self-centered. Everyone is prideful. It is human nature to think that we are better than everyone else, and since we are better, then we don’t have to forgive others.

What if God had that attitude in dealing with us?

It would not be a pretty picture. In fact, if you think about this stipulation that we are forgiven in the same manner that we forgive, you begin to see that God is trying to make us realize that we are all in need of forgiveness. We need to forgive each other for the things that they have done to us. No one is perfect and it is impossible to live life without having someone sin against you. It is also impossible to live life without sinning against someone else. No one is perfect. No one is able to claim righteousness on their own.

Jesus taught on this concept many times.

Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.
(Matthew 18:32-35 (NIV))

Are you beginning to understand God’s heart and forgiveness? What is freely given to others is freely given to us!

Are you willing to forgive?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you answered the call to follow Jesus?

September 10, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
(Matthew 9:9 (NIV))

What made Matthew leave behind his very lucrative job as a tax collector and follow Jesus?

Think about that question. Tax collectors had a certain amount that they had to collect for Rome. Anything that they collected above that, they could keep. It is thought that many people got very wealthy by being a tax collector for Rome. With this in mind, Matthew walked away from certain earthly wealth. He saw something of far greater value in what Jesus had to offer. He saw that he, too, could be a part of God’s plans and a part of God’s kingdom. Jesus, in telling Matthew to follow Him, was telling Matthew that God valued him, even when society looked upon him as an outcast. Tax collectors, even though they got very wealthy, were social outcasts. They were Jews in a country that was occupied by the Roman army. The Romans looked upon the Jews as second class citizens and the Jews looked upon the tax collectors as traitors to the nation of Israel. They couldn’t win.

Then Jesus came!

Matthew saw an opportunity to place his past behind him. He saw a voice calling to him in spite of what he had done. Matthew was being asked to forget his past and become someone new. Isn’t that exactly what Jesus offers each of us today? We are no different than Matthew. We have all done things in our lives that have placed us in situations where we feel like we do not belong. Through Jesus, we are offered redemption. We are offered cleansing. We are offered forgiveness. All that we have to do is what Matthew did. We have to get up and follow Jesus.

Jesus is telling each of us to follow Him. Will you do as Matthew and follow Him?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Our sin does not affect God’s nature!

July 21, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
(Ephesians 2:13 (NIV))

It was prophesied long before this was written that through Jesus, it would be:

as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
(Psalm 103:12)

It is God’s nature that He cannot associate with sin. Sin will perish before God. Because of this and because of the sin allowed into the world through Adam and Eve, we could never approach God. We literally had to stay as far as the east is from the west from God.

Sin is diametrically opposite of the righteousness that is God just as east is diametrically opposite of west. The two could never meet, except through an act of divine intervention. Because of this intervention, we, who accept the grace and mercy offered through it, are allowed into the presence of God. We have an intercessor who sits at the right hand of God the Father on our behalf.

If you can imagine a straight wire that is not bendable. The two ends could never meet. Now, imagine if you will, a “superman” who is capable of bending the two ends until they touch. This ‘superman” was Jesus and the two ends that He was able to make touch are God’s righteousness and our sin.

Our sin does not affect God’s nature, but His righteousness effects ours.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can we return to One nation under God?

July 2, 2015

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))

Soon, we celebrate the birth of our nation. A nation that was “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” A nation that prints “In God We Trust” on our money, yet disallows prayer in schools, the posting of the Ten Commandments, and any mention of Jesus in public places other than church buildings.

We have taken the words “freedom of religion” to mean freedom from religion. We have made the words “separation of church and state” mean that we cannot hold Judeo-Christian ethics at the heart of what we do in our government. We have allowed schoolbooks to be re-written to remove any reference to why this country was settled, often at a cost so great that it did not make sense. We have allowed our “One nation under God” to be taken from us little by little.

Reflect on what has made this country great and then reflect on where we are today in comparison to the standards that made it great. We have fallen a long way. Stop and pray for our nation, our leaders, and our people. Pray that the values that made this nation “One nation under God” can be resurrected before it is too late. True, we have not been a perfect nation or a perfect people. Only one person throughout all of human history was perfect, and it is this “perfection” that we need to call upon again.

We, as a nation, must turn, or return, to Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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That is a love that is worth giving to others!

July 1, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We love because he first loved us.
(1 John 4:19 (NIV))

Nothing could be so simple yet so true. God reached out to us in all of our sin and showed us the most overwhelming display of love that could be shown through the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ as an atoning sacrifice to cleanse us of our sins. Because of this, it is our responsibility to show and tell others of this love by sharing with them what God has done for us. We must show them that it was also done for them and all that they have to do is accept it.

How do we do this?

Many sermons have been preached on this. Many people have been driven away from the church through preaching. It is through actions that we will show the true meaning of this verse. Actions will be remembered long after the words have been forgotten.

Consider what Jesus did when confronted with someone who was in need of forgiveness. Did He preach to them or did He love them and forgive them? He was able to convict people of their sins through love and not through condemnation.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
(John 3:17(NIV))

How did He save the world?

God saved the world through a love so great that He gave His Only Son, Jesus, as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. That is a love that is worth giving to others.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 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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Who is worthy of your praise?

April 28, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds – his name is the Lord – and rejoice before him. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.
(Psalms 68:4-5 (NIV))

All things good are from God. He is Creator. He is Father. He is Savior.

If we cannot praise God, then we have nothing to praise in our lives! God has given us life. He has given us breathe. He has given us everything that we know as good. Even when we rebelled against His goodness, He remained faithful. Even when we turned from Him and sought after other gods, He remained there patiently waiting for the right moment to call us back to Him in repentance.

He gave us His only Son, Jesus Christ, as a personal atonement for our sins. Just as the prodigal son was welcomed with open arms when he returned to his senses and to his father, God welcomes us with open arms when we turn to Him through Jesus. Jesus came to bring forgiveness so that we could be reconciled to God the Father. If this is not worthy of praise, then nothing else ever will be. God sent His Son, Jesus, to die for us when we were still sinners and only worthy of death. Jesus came to pay the ultimate price so that we would not have to.

Picture the cross and the agony of the crucifixion. Is that something that you would want to go through? Now, imagine an eternity of pain and suffering just like that. Jesus suffered for us so that we would not have to suffer. Through His suffering, we are cleansed and allowed grace and mercy. That is something to shout to the top of the mountains about!

Do you show praise and gratitude for your salvation? Sing it out so that those whom you see will know that you belong to the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ!

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