How are you known?

November 13, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
(John 13:35 (NIV))

After reading this passage, I have a very difficult question for you to consider!

Is there someone in the church that you do not love?

I started to ask this question using the following words. Is there someone in your church that you do not love? I quickly realized one thing that was drastically wrong with that wording, for it is not your church. It is not my church. It is THE church. It is the Body of Christ! It is not your body. It is not my body! We cannot claim ownership.

What we can claim, by the grace and mercy shown on the cross, is membership in the body!

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
(Romans 12″3-8 (NIV))

Do you hate your physical body?

We may have parts of our physical bodies that grow weak with age, but do we hate these parts? If we have a knee that can no longer support the weight that it once could, we do not inflict damage and hurt upon that knee. Do we hate the knee and reject it because it is not capable of doing what it once could? On the contrary, we bandage the knee. We treat the knee with care and sympathy. We do not inflict more pain and anguish upon it.

Why do we even think about doing this with other members of the Body of Christ? We should love each other just as Jesus has loved us! Do you wish to be known as the member of the Body who hates the knee?

How are you known?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Your sins are not so great that grace cannot be yours!

October 20, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.
(1 Timothy 1:15 (NIV))

Do you believe that Paul thought that he was the worst sinner of all?

Does this sound like the man that history has shown to be the one who brought the Gospel to the Gentiles? Does this sound like the man who is responsible for writing numerous books from the New Testament? Does this sound like the man who went to prison for spreading the Gospel?

I realize that all of these things were after his Damascus Road experience. It was this experience that saw a change of heart and a conversion from Saul to Paul. I can understand Paul if he had stated that he had been the worst, especially when you consider all that he had done to persecute the church. Paul did not place his sin in his past. He did not try to say that he no longer sinned. Paul realized that he was human and human nature is sinful, even after accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.

Paul realized that his sinful nature was still very much a part of him!

Paul also realized that grace extended even to him after all that he had done.

He could have given in to the idea that God could not save him after all that he had done. Thankfully, he did not believe this. Paul realized that the gift of grace was freely given for everyone no matter how great the sin. If God can extend grace to someone who persecuted and killed believers, I find it hard to believe anyone when they claim that God can’t forgive them for what they have done.

It is so simple!

Admit that you are a sinner.

Believe that Jesus died for your sins.

Confess that Jesus is the Son of God.

If salvation was freely given to Paul, who thought of himself as the worst of sinners, it can be freely given to all.

Your sins are not so great that grace cannot be yours!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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There are no limitations to God’s grace!

October 16, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.
(Isaiah 59:1 (NIV))

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you needed grace and mercy? Have you ever come to the false conclusion that you are so far gone that God cannot help you? Do you think that your sins are so great that God cannot rescue you?

All too often I hear people say that God couldn’t possible love them because of all of the things that they have done. I hear people say that God would not want to rescue them because of these very same things. I hear them say, “How could He love me after all that I have done?”

Luckily, grace knows no limitations for none of us are worthy!

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

Thankfully, grace is not based on our righteousness. It is based on God’s love. Think about God’s love based on these words from John 3.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

If God was willing to offer His only Son, what does that say about His love for us? With this in mind, I pray that you come to the realization that there are no limitations to God’s grace!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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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What is your one thing that you seek?

September 11, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.
(Psalms 27:4 (NIV))

Collectively, we ask for so many things of the Lord. Most of the requests seems to be physically self-serving. We ask for healing. We ask for a better job. We ask for love. We ask for money. We ask and we ask, but we fail to ask to be considered righteous in the eyes of the Lord!

Do you realize that what David is asking for in this verse is to be considered worthy, to be considered righteous in the eyes of God?

On first reading this passage, that may not sound like that big of a request in the grand scheme of things, but you have to stop and consider that God cannot associate with sin. In order to dwell in the house of the Lord and to gaze upon His beauty, you must be sin free. David was asking God to fulfill His promise of redemption. He was asking God to fulfill His promise to send the Messiah. Later generations knew that the Messiah would come from the house and lineage of David, but it is not understood at what point this promise was made. Did David know of this promise when he wrote this passage? I have read arguments both for and against, but one thing that I do know is that David asked for God’s mercy. He made it a point to seek God.

After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: “I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.”
(Acts 13:22 (NIV))

God found David to be a man after His own heart. God wants to redeem His creation to a full relationship with Him. It makes sense that David would seek the same thing.

What is your one thing that you seek?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you free of condemnation?

August 17, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
(Romans 8:1-2 (NIV))

Do you ever feel that no matter what you do, you are always guilty of something? Do you go through life looking over your shoulder, afraid that something you did in the past will come back to haunt you? Do you feel that you are constantly just one step away from being trapped in a situation from which there is no escape? Do you feel that God is out to get you?

Rest assured that God is not out to get you. Satan is the one who is constantly trying to trick you. He is the one who is lying to you and making you feel as if there is no escape. Ever since Satan tried to overthrow God, he has made it his purpose to trap and trick God’s greatest creation in order to keep us from God. It is he who condemns. It is not God!

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

We have a God given way to escape condemnation! We can rest assured that the accuser has no legal claim on us. All that we have to do is accept the gift of grace and mercy that was freely given at the cross. Jesus paid it all so that no accusations against us have any merit whatsoever. All of our sins have been washed clean!

Are you free of condemnation?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 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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