Just whose body is it?

January 12, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
(Romans 12:1 (NAS))

What we do with our bodies and what we put into our bodies is as important as what we do in the spiritual world. God created us in His image, and we, as believers, must respect not only God for the spiritual salvation that He has given us through His Son, Jesus Christ, but we must also respect, or fear, God for what we do to His creation.

God created us in his image. Would you expect God to defile His image with things that are un-holy as we defile our bodies in the name of personal habits? We must take the attitude that life, both physical and spiritual, is a gift from God.

How many people do you know who would destroy a precious gift after it was given to them? Life is more precious than any gift that this world has to offer, yet, many people do just that. They destroy that gift by sinful acts that they may not see as sinful. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He takes us where we are and does not expect us to be able to change ourselves. The Holy Spirit enters into our lives and works within our lives to guide us towards the image that God had intended for us.

Re-read the first sentence of the first paragraph. Have you ever thought that by defiling your body, you may actually allow Satan a stronghold that may not have otherwise been there. If you are addicted to drugs, when that “urge” for another “fix” has you in its grasp, the last thing that you may be thinking about is “What Would Jesus Do?”

It is through this worldly body that we inhabit that many sins have taken hold of the spiritual side of a person. It is for this reason that Paul wrote these words.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to tell God that you decided to do it your way?

August 9, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
(Proverbs 16:25 (NIV))

“I did it my way” carries with it the idea of a self-made person who has achieved whatever they wanted in this life. What they achieved usually was done with great sacrifice and usually with some deeds that even humanity would consider wrong. The sacrifice is often applauded while the bad deeds are ignored. The end justifies the means.

Look at it from God’s perspective. Does the end justify the means? Does God applaud the sacrifices and ignore the sins?

The sacrifices that people make are all self-centered sacrifices and benefit only themselves. God desires for us to be sacrificing of ourselves for others, not for personal gain.

Sin cannot be overlooked! God cannot associate with sin. He desires for us to be righteous, yet, our own ways always lead us into sin. Remember that the wages of sin is death. In other words, all sin leads to death, or eternal separation from God. There is nothing that we, as humanity, can do in our own capacity that will lead us away from sin.

God knew this from the beginning.

God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us as an atoning sacrifice for our sins!

Think about this.

Human reasoning tells us that this sounds funny and is too simple of a solution. With that in mind, many of us find a way that seems right to us as a way to reach salvation. Again, humanity follows what they think is right, only to find that they are on the road to sin and death.

If you were on an Interstate and saw a sign that warned of traffic problems ahead, and you saw a sign showing an alternate route around the problems, most of us would take the alternate route. Why is it that spiritual matters do not follow the same “logic?” We would rather drive along heading straight into death instead of accepting the grace, mercy and love of God through Jesus Christ.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you seek the Lord?

June 10, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
Those who know your name will trust in you,
for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.
Sing praises to the LORD, enthroned in Zion;
proclaim among the nations what he has done.
(Psalms 9:9-11 (NIV))

Do you seek the Lord?

Do you seek Him at all times or only when things are not going the way that you want them to go?

He is a refuge for the oppressed and a stronghold in times of trouble, but, if those are the only times that you seek the Lord, then are you truly seeking Him?

It is human nature to turn to someone when you feel that you cannot handle things on your own, but when things seem to be going our way, it is human nature to take the credit. We seem to want God in our lives only when we fail on our own.

Is that how you see God? Is that the only time that you honestly seek the Lord?

Let me pose a question.

For those of you who are married, do you honestly think that the relationship is strong and that you honestly know you spouse if the only time that you turn to them is when you want something from them? Can you honestly say that you know the very heart and desires of your spouse if you never spend time with them?

God is the same way. If we only turn to Him in times of trouble, how do you think the relationship is going? Can you honestly say that you have spent time at the feet of the Lord? Can you honestly say that you know the heart of God and what makes Him rejoice and what makes Him sad?

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, but He is so much more than that if you will simply spend time in His presence. In order to know someone, you must spend time with them. you must learn what makes them happy and what makes them sad. you must learn what they love. You cannot learn this when you are seeking refuge. You learn it when the focus is off of you.

Be still, and know that I am God
(Psalm 46:10a (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Discipline!

May 16, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
(Hebrews 12:11 (NIV))

Think about this statement.

Have you ever attempted to get in shape physically only to hurt in places that you didn’t even know could hurt? You probably thought seriously about reversing your decision to get in shape, only to later be thankful that you stuck with it.

This was self-discipline. How much more do we detest discipline that is imposed upon us? It is very painful to go through something knowing that you cannot do anything to change it, yet, afterward, it feels good to have survived it and to have “grown” from the experience. Perhaps this is the best example of the old saying “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” When we are in the middle of the discipline, we do not see the rewards or the long term goal. All we see is the immediate pain. We fail to understand the big picture, just as the bigger “forest” cannot be seen because we focus too much on the individual “trees.”

It is a matter of perspective. If we focus on the discipline, then we will become bitter and angry and overly exaggerate the pain. If we focus on the results, then the pain of the discipline takes a lesser position within our current situation, for we focus on the bigger picture.

God desires to mature each of us, and this will mean that each of us will go through some discipline. How we handle this discipline is a matter of focus and perspective. The bigger picture is becoming more like Jesus. The smaller picture is the pain and the discomfort that it causes “me” at this very moment.

What is your perspective?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Validation and faith

April 6, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV))

What do you hope for?

Is it wealth or fame or power?

Is this where your faith lies?

Simple questions that may not have such simple answers.

Carefully consider the one universal hope that all of humanity has. That hope is for an eternal existence. Every religion has a variation on the human desire to continue after this physical existence ends. That is the biggest hope that every single person has.

We have a unique faith as the Body of Christ, for we have evidence of a salvation that is offered to us directly from God through His Son, Jesus. It is said that there is more historical evidence that Jesus existed and did all of the things recorded in the New Testament than there is for the existence of either you or I. If this is true, I propose the following:

We all have enough faith to believe that we exist. How can we deny the existence and documented accomplishments of someone who has more validation than we do? Perhaps it is because we have not seen with our own eyes. Are we like Thomas? Does Jesus have a reason to say to us what He said to Thomas.

Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
(John 20:27 (NIV))

Does your faith require vision to make it solid? Do you have enough faith to believe even if you never see your hope in this lifetime?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Desires and responsibilites

March 29, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
(Acts 1:8 (NIV))

Did you notice the sequence of events in this passage?

The Holy Spirit comes upon you.

You receive power.

You will witness to the ends of the earth.

Am I seeing something here, or do you see it, too? People pray to receive the Holy Spirit because they want the power that God grants through the Holy Spirit, but I think that they don’t truly want the responsibility that goes with that power.

Why is that?

Think about that for a moment.

Are you truly willing to step outside of your comfort zone and go to the ends of the earth telling people about Jesus? Are you truly willing to go across town to tell people about Jesus? When was the last time that you went next door to tell someone about Jesus, or to invite them to church? I hate to say this, but we want the power without the responsibility. I know that this is a line from “Spiderman,” but it applies all too well in our walk of faith.

“With great power comes great responsibility!”

Are we ready to be responsible with the grace, mercy and power that God is willing to give to us?

How can God fill us with the Holy Spirit if the vessel that we want filled is a vessel to store and not a vessel to share. Is your vessel a jug that has a lid that gets closed once the contents are inside, or is your vessel a watering can that allows the contents to flow out onto all that you encounter? Being responsible to the Holy Spirit does not mean that you accept the power and then keep it all within. Being responsible to the Holy Spirit means that you open yourself up to allow Him to flow in you and through you so that others may receive the blessing.

Responsibility does not mean that we seek after spiritual gifts because it will make us look more spiritual. It means that we humbly accept the power and acknowledge that all things are to the glory of God. Responsibility means that we set our priorities to be those that God desires. Responsibility means that we place God and His kingdom first and our desires last.

We have a great message because we have a great Savior. We have a great Savior because we have an awesome God. It is our responsibility to share that news.

Think back on the person who was willing to share that news with you. Were they responsible to the Holy Spirit? Were they responsible in the areas of their influence? Have you shared to the ends of your influence?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What would Jesus Do?

December 9, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

May those who hope in you
not be disgraced because of me,
O Lord, the LORD Almighty;
may those who seek you
not be put to shame because of me,
O God of Israel.
(Psalms 69:6 (NIV))

Do our actions reflect the fact that we proclaim salvation through the atoning blood of Jesus?

Do you ever find yourself doing things that embarrass other people? Do you embarrass other believers because of your actions? We are all representatives of Jesus. Have you ever heard the saying that we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus until He returns? Would the hands of Jesus do what we sometimes do? Would the feet of Jesus walk where we sometimes walk?

I know that it has become a very worn out saying, but it is very true – What would Jesus do? We must always remember that we are to be ambassadors of salvation, grace and mercy and not ambassadors of embarrassment and disgrace.

The next time that you find yourself in a situation that is difficult or could potentially place you, and therefore place Jesus, in a disgraceful dilemma, reflect upon these words.

What would Jesus do?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you treat Jesus?

November 15, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.”
Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him.”
The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, `Go,’ and he goes; and that one,`Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, `Do this,’ and he does it.”
(Matthew 8:5-9 (NIV))

How many of us, as the Body of Christ, think that we deserve blessings because we call upon the name of Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. We think that we deserve the blessings because of who we claim as our Savior. Sometimes, we probably even border on being arrogant. Perhaps we should rethink that position.

Take a look at the centurion. He was in a position of authority and power. He was in a position of authority and power in multiple ways. First, he was over soldiers who had to answer to his every command. Secondly, he was over soldiers who were an occupying army in Israel. All of Israel was subject to whatever the Romans decided. He could have asserted this authority. He could have been arrogant and demanded that Jesus come to his house and heal his servant. He could have looked upon the situation from a worldly point of view. Instead, this centurion realized that he, in all of his worldly authority, was not worthy to be in the presence of Jesus. He also realized that it was against Jewish custom to enter the house of a Gentile. He honored the customs and respected the power and authority. He simply came as a humble man standing before Jesus. He came with a desire for something that was not directly for him.

Today, we have a habit of doing whatever we want to do with little or no regard for what Jesus wants us to do, then we approach Jesus as if He were a genie whose sole purpose is to grant our every wish. Even though we call upon the name of Jesus to be our Savior, do we call upon Him to be our Lord? We do not show Jesus the same respect that this centurion showed.

How do you treat Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Seek God’s face – Pray!

October 27, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

if my people, who are called by my name, will 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))

In just a few short days, we will have an opportunity to take part in an act that too many seem to have taken for granted. The legal citizens of this nation will be able to vote. We will be able to send a message to those whom we have elected in the past and to those whom we will elect on that day. We have the opportunity to make changes or to let our elected officials know that we want more of the same.

I am sure that each and every person of voting age in this country firmly believes in what they want to happen. I would like to throw a curve ball at you and ask you to think about not what you would want to happen, but what God would want to happen. Do you think that they are the same? Do you think that your desires are much better than what God desires?

I would like to post a challenge to each and every single person.

Pray !

Pray for discernment. Pray for wisdom. Pray for guidance. Pray for God’s Will in this election. Pray for God’s Will in your lives. Pray for the forgiveness of our sins, both as a nation and individually. Pray for repentance. Pray for peace.

Pray that God will bless this nation because we have chosen to return to Him and we choose to bless Him.

Lately, I have seen bumper stickers that upon first read seem to be unpatriotic, but upon further contemplation, they are exactly what God desires. I am sure that you may have seen them as well. “God bless every nation.”

I firmly believe that we, as a nation, were founded to be a blessing to the nations. We have opened our arms to receive people from every nation, people who were seeking freedom. To many, that freedom has meant freedom to worship God as they see fit. Lately, it seems that this freedom is more a freedom to do whatever you desire, whether it is right or wrong.

With this in mind, pray that we may seek God’s face and turn from our wicked ways. Pray that we will be willing to humble ourselves and seek God in all that we do.

Pray !

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What would Jesus do?

October 7, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.
(Philippians 2:14-16 (NIV))

How do you react to situations when you find yourself in less than ideal circumstances?

Do you complain or argue?

Let’s face the simple truth. It is human nature to look out for numero uno. It is human nature to see every situation from the “me” perspective. Sadly enough, all too often we react as if we were the only person who mattered. We complain when we feel that we are not getting what we deserve. We argue when we feel that we have to make our point of view understood and accepted.

Just what do we deserve?

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

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))

Because we are all sinners, we deserve far worse than anything we can imagine. We deserve the very punishment that Jesus bore for our sins. By grace, we have been set free. By grace, we are offered salvation. How can we, who have been given everything in exchange for nothing, complain about what we may be facing at this moment?

The next time that you feel the urge to complain or argue, think about what you have been given. Think about what you deserve. I hope that this will make you think twice about your actions.

To put it simply – What would Jesus do?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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