Are you divisive or uniting in nature?

April 17, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
(John 17:20-23 (NIV))

Jesus, even though He was and is part of the Trinity of God, continually prayed to God the Father for His Will and for those He would leave behind.

The prayer that Jesus prayed here had both short term and long term aspects to it. He knew that those He left behind would need to be strengthened and that the world would need to be convinced that what they spoke of was true. He knew that they would need the strength of the Holy Spirit to present God to the world.

Today, we need the exact same thing. We must be united in Christ in order to let the world see Jesus as the Savior. If we fight amongst ourselves, then we are not doing justice to the world, for they will see this fighting and will want nothing to do with Jesus. We must unite in the Body of Christ, then the world will truly see something that could only have come from God.

Are you divisive or uniting in nature?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Has your nature changed?

July 16, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
(Romans 5:8 (NIV))

I was recently presented with a concept that has made me look at this passage with more gratitude for what God has done for us through His Son, Jesus.

It is common knowledge that humanity has fallen from grace and that we have fallen into sin. It is also an accepted fact by the church that we are all sinners in need of a Savior. But, the question that was presented to me has had me reflecting on the answer for a few days. It is an answer that eludes me, but it brings some interesting things to the table.

The question sounds simple.

Are we sinners because we sin, or do we sin because we are sinners?

To be honest, my first reaction was that we are sinners because we sin.

Why do we sin?

If we sin because we are sinners, that means that our human nature has been set to seek sin. We seek after the things that are wrong. In other words, humanity has a sinful nature. Individually we sin because we have a sinful nature. We sin due to the fact that since the fall from grace, the righteous nature has been replaced with a sinful nature.

“While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

If you realize that it is in our nature to sin, this takes on a whole new meaning.

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))

We are truly the filthy rags. We are not capable of doing good without grace, for we are all prone to sin. We sin because we have a sinful nature. Sin is anything that goes against the will of God.

Let me explain through an extreme example.

It is a sharks nature to feed. We have all seen the feeding frenzies. They cannot help their nature. It is deadly for anything that gets in the middle of it. Our sin is just as deadly for anyone who gets in the middle of it. Jesus did get in the middle of it. He came to provide a way for us to break the stranglehold that our sinful human nature has upon us. He came to provide a way, the only way, to change our nature. We were born, as human beings, into the life that has us sin because it is in our nature. We sinned because we were sinners.

We have been washed clean!

I just realized that this concept puts a whole new meaning into the concept of being born again. Our first birth was into the sinful nature that we could not escape. Our second birth, through Jesus, is into a renewed being who has had the sinful nature removed. Christ died for us while we still had that sinful nature. Through His death and resurrection, we have grace and mercy. We are free from our sinful nature.

Could our status change?

I honestly believe that it is at this point when we move from sinning because we have a sinful nature to one where we are sinners because we still sin. The difference is a matter of priorities. Being a sinner because we still sin implies that we have surrendered ourselves to Jesus and that we are seeking His Will. We will not be perfect in our walk. We will still sin. We will miss the mark, but it is our desire to follow God’s will.

I want to present one more idea for you to think about. It will require personal reflection.

Since accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, do you feel that your nature has changed? Do you still find yourself thinking and doing the same sinful things you did before your salvation? Now, think about the sins that you feel that you need to lay at the foot of the cross. Have these changed since your salvation?

Do you feel that you have moved, through the power of the Holy Spirit, from a sinful nature to someone who sins?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is God tempting you?

May 31, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.
(James 1:13-14 (NIV))

How many times have you heard someone say that God is tempting them? It is a popular misconception among non-believers and among those who do not truly understand the nature of God. God cannot tempt someone. It is not in His nature. Jesus explained this.

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebub. Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you.
(Luke 11:17-20)

Satan is the source of all temptation. God may use this temptation to strengthen us, but the temptation never comes from God. No matter what you are facing in this world, keep your eyes upon Jesus. Doing so will help you to realize that the problems you are facing are not from God, but from Satan.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33)

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