What do you do with your freedom?

July 3, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.
(1 Peter 2:16-1 (NIV))

July 4th is the day that we as a nation celebrate our freedom, but exactly what does that mean?

Too many people claim that they are free to do whatever they want. People even claim that it is their right to do whatever they want.

Where do we draw the line? When do personal freedoms cross over into the realm of evil and selfish indulgence?

I honestly believe that our founding fathers would be appalled at how we have allowed our society to be twisted into something that is more concerned about protecting the rights of people who wish to live outside of the law that in protecting the public. I honestly believe that they would be appalled at how we have allowed a vocal group of people to rewrite history and vehemently object to any mention of God in government or public life. I honestly believe that they would strongly object to our big government, huge debt, and the courts rewriting laws because they don’t like them.

I know that most of our founding fathers were willing to give all that they had, even their lives, for the common good. They did not see their roles as a full-time career or as a right that they had earned. They saw their roles as an honor and a responsibility that they must bear. They new the difference between servanthood and personal gain.

When do personal freedoms cross into the area of evil?

Personally, I believe that this happens when we lose site of other people. It is true that we are free, but that does not mean that we are free to sin, and that does not mean that we are free to do things that cause harm to others. With freedom comes responsibility. This applies to us as a nation and to the Body of Christ. We are free to choose, but we must weigh our choices.

God gave us free will. He also gave us a list of Ten Commandments that are supposed to guide us in our lives. When we turn from these commandments, we turn from God. We may have exercised our freedom, but in the end, our choices that we make in this “freedom” often lead to consequences beyond our comprehension.

Once again, I will state that with freedom comes responsibility – a responsibility to God, to our neighbors, to our families and to ourselves. We must not claim that we have the right, but pray that what we do is right.

What do you do with your freedom?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is winning this conflict in your life?

June 25, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
(Galatians 5:17 (NIV))

What is your definition of freedom?

If you accept society’s understanding of that word, freedom means the ability to choose to do whatever you may wish to do and to say whatever you may wish to say. This is the freedom that focuses on the flesh and leads someone to choose sin.

Is this the way that someone who has been set free from bondage defines freedom?

This freedom implies no more chains. It implies that there will be no more consequences of the bondage. It implies an overwhelming joy that comes only when such a heavy burden has been removed. This is the type of freedom that comes when you focus on things of the Spirit. This is the freedom that allows someone to overcome the consequences of sin.

To far too many people, they see no difference in these definitions of freedom, but there is a significant and costly difference!

They are at opposite ends of the spectrum. There is no way that you can have both. When we choose the flesh, we deny the Spirit. When we choose the Spirit, we deny the flesh. Our life, and our eternity, are determined by which we choose and, consequently, which we deny. I have seen this illustrated as each person having two distinct paths that they can follow, or two distinct creatures within them – one good and one evil. The one that wins the conflict is the one that is fed.

What is winning this conflict in your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is there freedom in your life?

April 30, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
(2 Corinthians 3:17 (NIV))

What do you think of when you think of God? Are you prone to apply human understanding and limit God as a result? Do you have a mental image of how you think God looks? Does your mental image apply human characteristics to God?

God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.
(John 4:24 (NIV))

No one knows what the Father looks like. His glory cannot be comprehended by human minds. All throughout human history, people have made a vain attempt at creating a likeness of God or what people have called gods. We are told not to worship idols. Nothing that we can imagine comes close to the majesty that is our Lord! He has no physical limitations. He has no spiritual limitations except that He cannot associate with sin.

We think that we have a good idea of what Jesus looked like. Even so, nobody is completely certain. God sent Jesus into this world at a time when people and events were not recorded for all to see. I would probably venture to say that it was never God’s intention to have a perfect likeness of Jesus be a part of His legacy. I can already imagine the human ego being exactly what it is if we knew that Jesus had a certain look or a certain ethnicity. We do know that He was Jewish, but we don’t know how dark His skin was. We don’t know what color eyes He had. All that we do know and all that we need to know is recorded in the Gospels. God wanted us to believe in Jesus on faith and not because we saw a video of Him performing any of His miracles.

Did God exist before creation?

Did Jesus exist before He came to earth?

Does God exist now?

Does Jesus exist now?

In case you are wondering where I am going with this, the answer is simple. God is Spirit – always has been and always will be.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
(John 1:1 (NIV))

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 (NIV))

He stepped out of eternity and took on human form in order to bring us freedom! This does not mean that we are to worship the form. We are to worship the Lord in all of His majesty and not in the limitations of the form that He took. When you see the cross, what do you see? Do you see a man who was nailed to it or do you see the Spirit of God come to earth to set us free?

Is there freedom in your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Grace does not mean that you can continue sinning!

July 26, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
(Galatians 5:13 (NIV))

What does freedom mean to you?

Many people believe that it means that they have the right to do whatever they want to do whenever they want to do it. This attitude is even prevalent in the church. Too many people who attend church falsely believe that since they are covered by grace, they can do anything that they want to do. Do you remember the woman who was caught in adultery? Do you remember what Jesus said to her?

“No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:11 (NIV))

Does this sound anything like the false belief that people have about grace? Jesus did not tell the woman to embrace the sin. We are to turn away from our sinful nature, no matter what it may be.

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
(1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NIV))

Do you know the difference between the word “are” and the word “were?”

Paul addressed the members of the church in Corinth by saying that some of them had been these things. Nowhere does it sound like Paul was implying that we could still cling to our favorite sins while claiming freedom, grace and mercy through Jesus. We are to leave the old behind and hold fast to the truth that is before us. If we could cling to our sins and still have salvation, then why did Jesus have to come to the earth? Jesus offers us a way out of our sins and a way to receive the true freedom from sin.

Focus on following Jesus and the indulgences of the flesh will fade!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you know true freedom?

July 4, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
(2 Corinthians 3:12-18 (NIV))

On this day of July 4th, the day that we as a nation celebrate our freedom, we must remember who really gives us our freedom. No matter what the political climate in the country where we may live, true freedom comes only from knowing Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior.

Look at the nation of Israel. They are the nation that God used to give us Jesus. Yet, despite this favorite nation status, to use a term from our society, most of the people living at the time did not accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. They were looking for a different type of freedom and this blinded them to the real freedom that was readily available to all who would accept it.

What is your view of true freedom?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you still desire your sinful nature?

February 16, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
(Romans 8:5-8 (NIV))

It seems that a lot of people today only have their minds on what they want. It is no wonder that many people refer to our society today as the “me” society. Everyone seems to think only of themselves. They do whatever they want without any serious thought of the consequences to themselves or to those around them. To me, this sounds very much like those people who Paul described in Romans 5:8. They live only for what they desire and when they desire it. They seek after love that is not true, joy that is fleeting, peace that is medically induced, kindness that is bought, goodness that is false and faithfulness that is fleeting. Their desires cause them to shift course whenever things start to get bad or whenever they feel that they can get their next desire met.

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.
(Galatians 5:22-24 (NIV))

When we sacrifice the sinful nature, we not only fully embrace what God desires, but we should also fully reject what we have become addicted to. We must focus on Jesus and trust in Him. We must forget the past and look to the future that He has saved us for. He did not die on the cross to keep us bound to our sinful nature. He died so that we can break free of that bondage. In order to do this, we must give ourselves completely to Him. We cannot be someone who claims that Jesus only came to teach about love. Love will not save you. We cannot be someone who thinks that they can pick and choose what they wish to believe. Jesus is a complete package. We must be the ones who proclaim that Jesus came to die for us. We must proclaim that Jesus is our personal Lord and Savior. We must proclaim that His love for us kept Him on that cross. We must proclaim that it is this same love that will help us to defeat our sinful nature.

If we proclaim Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and if we allow Him to work in our lives to clear the sinful nature, then we will be able to focus on what the Spirit desires and make these desires our desires.

What do you desire?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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