Have you believed?

February 8, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–
(John 1:12 (NIV))

Have you been given the right to become children of God?

It is an offer that is open to anyone and everyone, but it is not an offer that all will accept.

I know that it is sad, isn’t it?

All that anyone has to do is receive Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior and believe that Jesus is the Son of God. I know that it sounds simple, yet, far too many people choose to make it complicated. They look at this whole thing with human eyes and a physical perspective. They fail to receive and fail to believe because it doesn’t make sense from a worldly point of view.

They fail to look beyond the world!

It takes the ability to see the universe with something other than your eyes. It takes the ability to let yourself go and rely on something, on someone, more than you can see and understand. It takes faith!

Think about faith.

Our society relies on the media to entertain us, to inform us, and far too often, to educate us. We see media magic and we are no longer willing, we are no longer able, to believe that things can be more awesome than the tricks we see on television or at the movies. We fail to realize that no matter what we may see, it is only a trick. it is not real. Perhaps this a one of the ways that the enemy gets us to believe the lies he tells. We see things and we no longer are awed by the things that God has done. We no longer have the faith to believe because we think that we understand how the awe and wonder is created. We don’t receive and we don’t believe because we can choose to see things that make it hard to believe.

Think back on your childhood.

Wasn’t it a time of innocence? Wasn’t it a time when faith played a bigger part of your life?

We can all be given the right to be children of God. All it takes is a simple act of belief.

Have you believed?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we any different from Barabbas?

April 2, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now it was the custom at the Feast to release a prisoner whom the people requested. A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did.

“Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, knowing it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.

“What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them.

“Crucify him!” they shouted.

“Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.
But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
(Mark 15:6-15 (NIV))

Tonight, I was presented something that made me look at this in a different light and with a different perspective.

What do you think of Barabbas?

Have you often thought that he deserved to die? Have you ever wondered how the crowd could be so stupid and request the release of a murderer over Jesus?

We all know that it was God’s plan for Jesus to suffer and to go to the cross and die for our sins, but have you ever stopped to realize that Barabbas was a picture of the grace that Jesus would bring to everyone?

We do not know if Barabbas repented and accepted the true grace and mercy that Jesus came to bring, but he had that opportunity. Jesus went to the cross so that Barabbas might live and have that opportunity.

Are we any different from Barabbas?

In the eyes of humanity, our sins may not be as great as his, but in the eyes of God, we are just as guilty of sin as Barabbas was. Didn’t he deserve the chance to repent? Didn’t he deserve the chance to know the grace and mercy that God offers through the death of Jesus on the cross? God loves each and every individual that has ever walked the earth or ever will walk the earth. Jesus came to bring the gift of salvation to everyone and not just the ones that society thinks are the good people.

With the somber reality of the crucifixion rapidly approaching, we, as the Body of Christ, must come to terms with the fact that Jesus died for everyone. Just because you may think that someone is too far gone into their life of sin does not mean that the gift that Jesus died to offer is not available to them.

Would you be surprised to find Barabbas in heaven? Would you rejoice in his salvation? Would you rejoice in the salvation of those whom society considers too far gone to redeem?

Are you any different from Barabbas?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you given in to the wolves?

March 31, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.
(Matthew 10:16 (NIV))

Once we become part of the Body of Christ, we , too, have the same directive as that which Jesus spoke in Matthew. We are to be wise to the ways of the world, but we are not to take part in the ways of the world.

We must go out into the world like sheep among wolves.

Think about that statement. When a wolf sees a sheep, it definitely gets the undivided attention of the wolf. The wolf sees something about the sheep that it wants and the sheep walks around knowing that it is in the watchful gaze of the wolf. It becomes a game of survival. The ways of the wolf are cunning and are out to trip up the sheep and devour it. The sheep longs to be at peace with the wolf. This is very similar to the way the enemy treats those who have called upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. We must walk very carefully so that we do not get devoured.

It is a fine line that we walk while we are still in this earth. Knowing the ways of the world does not mean that we need to be tempted to follow them. We must keep our eyes upon Jesus and follow Him each and every day.

Have you given in to the wolves?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Innocence or sin?

May 30, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.
(Matthew 19:14 (NIV))

Innocence and innocence betrayed! We were once little children in the eyes of God, innocent and very willing and eager to climb onto the lap of “Abba, Father.” Our innocence also lead to our fall from this peaceful existence into a life of sin and death. Our innocence was used against us by Satan in order to get back at God. Satan wanted to be God, and in his attempt at getting his desires, he was cast down from heaven. In his anger, he deceived humanity in our created innocence and now we are no longer innocent in the eyes of God. We are no longer those children who could sit on the lap of our “Abba, Father.”

Reading the words written in Matthew 19:14, I can’t help but wonder if Jesus was trying to tell us to come back to God as we were before the fall from grace, innocent and naive about the deceiving nature of sin. Deceit and distrust are a learned characteristic, as are honesty, truth and righteousness. We can be taught either characteristic, but, it is an attitude that actually makes us turn towards one direction or another. Little children are trusting by nature and have not learned to be wary of anything. When it comes to God, we need to trust wholeheartedly as a little child. When it comes to Satan, we must be wary of all things and have the wisdom of his ways so that we can avoid him.

Which attitude do you wish to have? Do you desire to have the innocence that God desires for you, or do you desire the wisdom of sin that Satan uses to trap? It is your choice!

Innocence or sin?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you do?

July 23, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.
(Acts 10:34-35 (NIV))

I find it interesting how God will reveal things to you through a passage that you have read many times before. This happened today with this passage.

I have heard and read this passage many times and each time my main focus was on the part of the passage where God does not show favoritism. I hold firmly to that truth. I also hold firmly to the truth that God accepts men from every nation into His Kingdom. This is a common sense extension of the Great Commandment.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
(Mark 16:15-16 (NIV))

I wish that the world would understand the last part of this passage.

“. . . who fear him and do what is right.”

To be honest with you, I believe that many who profess a faith in Jesus need to understand this passage.

I am not able to judge, so I will not even begin to point fingers. I am not qualified. All that I know is what we are told about fearing the Lord.

And he said to man,
`The fear of the Lord–that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.’ ”
(Job 28:28 (NIV))

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
(Proverbs 1:7 (NIV))

We cannot have wisdom without fearing the Lord. I honestly believe that this definition of the word “fear” could be rendered as the word “respect.” Think about that from this perspective. Growing up, I loved my parents, and I still do. However, I also feared them. I did not fear them because of anything that they had done. I feared them because I feared what would happen if I did something wrong. In other words, I feared the just consequences of my own actions as laid out by my parents. I realize that fearing God goes deeper than this example, yet, I feel that the fear of God is based on His righteous actions to discipline my sins.

Sadly enough, our society no longer seems to fear the consequences of any actions.

As a result, the world also seems to ignore the “and do what is right” part of this passage.

Just what is right in the eyes of God?

He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
(Micah 6:8 (NIV))

I could quote many other passages. I know that part of doing what is right also hinges on our faith in Jesus. It also hinges on these words.

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
(Matthew 5:17 (NIV))

Accepting Jesus does not mean that you may continue to sin. We are to do what is right.

What do you do?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Actions and Words

June 25, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell
(Mark 9:42-47 (NIV))

Today’s society seems to have forgotten these simple yet profound statements that Jesus made. In both cases, He was referring to innocence. The innocence of children and the judgment that awaits those who cause children to sin and the innocence of the whole person with respect to a part of them that causes them to sin.

Perhaps Jesus was drawing the distinction between the innocence of children and the innocence that we should have as children of God. In either case, sin should not be allowed in to corrupt what God has created. Sin must be removed so that it cannot cause the person to pay the ultimate price – eternal separation from God. Do not allow sin into your life and do not introduce sin into another person’s life.

We should remember that God demands more from those who teach and preach His Word. Perhaps we should also associate the fact that He demands more from those who cause others to sin. I would not want to be one who God demands more because of sin. I would rather be held accountable for preaching and teaching His Word than for causing others to sin.

Remember that people are watching everything that you do. Would your actions and words be held accountable for God or for sin?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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