Can you claim that purity on your own?

November 1, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.
(Psalms 24:3-4 (NIV))

A pure heart is all God really asks for. If your heart is pure, then all things that you are involved in will also be pure, for the heart leads us where it is focused. If your heart is focused on sin and perversion, then your life will be full of sin and perversion. If your heart is focused on God and His righteousness, then your life will be filled with those things.

It is said that you are what you eat. Perhaps that saying should be stated that you are what your heart desires. Jesus even stated that what goes into your body does not make you unclean.

Nothing outside a man can make him `unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him `unclean.’ ”
(Mark 7:15)

So then, it is possible for people to ascend the hill of the Lord!

This is an awesome thought, for all throughout the Old Testament, being in the presence of God meant certain death. This death was probably due to the fact that people are sinful and God cannot be around sin. We are still sinful, yet, we have a Savior who has paid the price for our sins. Jesus Christ died on the cross for all of us, and through His selfless act, we have the ability to be made white as snow in the sight of God.

A popular laundry detergent for baby clothes states that it is 99 and 99/100 percent pure. We have the ability, through Jesus Christ, to be 100 percent pure in the eyes of God.

Can you claim that purity on your own?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you allowed God to make you pure?

January 17, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“Come now, let us reason together,”
says the LORD.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.
(Isaiah 1:18 (NIV))

There is something about snow that reminds us of purity. Looking out over the surrounding area after a snowfall, you become amazed at the freshness and the newness of everything. The virgin snow is pure and without blemish, just as humanity was in the beginning. Then, we start to see footprints and the effects of the sun and we see little patches of brown starting to show through.

It only takes a little blemish to start the process of degeneration. Soon, everything is muddy and brown and how we long for the purity of the way it used to be. This is the same in our lives. We cannot do anything about the snow, but we can do something about our lives.

After many years of living in this sinful world, our countenance is very muddy, but God has promised us that we will be made white as snow. He has sent us a Savior in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son. Through God’s grace and mercy, He is willing to exchange our muddy, sinful nature for a pure, snowy countenance in which all things have been forgiven. All it takes is a simple, heartfelt longing and an acceptance of this God given grace and mercy.

The purity of the snow is only temporary. God gives a purity that lasts an eternity.

Have you allowed God to make you pure?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you long for a pure heart?

December 5, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (NIV))

What is a pure heart?

Do you think that it has anything to do with the following?

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
(Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV))

Perhaps I should ask if you think that it has anything to do with the lack of those characteristics and the presence of the following characteristics.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Perhaps the best way to describe a pure heart is in a similar manner that God used to describe David.

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))

In essence, a pure heart despises the worldly, sinful nature and seeks the things of God. A pure heart longs to have the same desires that God has in His heart. Is this something that you truly desire? Think about that the next time someone cuts you off in traffic, or the next time that someone takes the credit for something that you have done.

Do you long for a pure heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will you be ready to leave the worldly things behind?

June 19, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
“At midnight the cry rang out: `Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, `Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
” `No,’ they replied, `there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
“Later the others also came. `Sir! Sir!’ they said. `Open the door for us!’
“But he replied, `I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
(Matthew 25:1-13 (NIV))

I read something that someone posted today on this passage that made me take a second, long and hard look at what is being said.

What do you think of when you hear the word “virgin?”

Besides the obvious sexual connotations, it means purity. It refers to those who have decided to do what was righteous and have kept themselves pure. They follow the teachings of the master. They strive to do what is right and have made a decision to avoid what is wrong or sinful.

Still, some are called out as foolish!

Why would someone who strives to do what is righteous be called foolish?

They were not prepared for the bridegroom’s return.

Jesus is the bridegroom!

Are we ready for the bridegroom to return? Will He find us not prepared and, as a result, not ready to enter into His grace?

Have you ever stopped to think about what it means to be prepared for the return of Jesus? According to this passage, we have work to do so that we can be prepared. Perhaps it is similar to the story of Martha and Mary. Mary chose to sit at the feet of Jesus. Martha chose to be distracted by the preparations of daily life. Jesus told Martha that Mary had chosen wisely.

What does that tell us?

Are we distracted by the things of daily life? Are we easily sidetracked from what should be our first love? When the bridegroom comes, will you need to get anything or will you be ready to see Jesus? Will you be ready to leave the worldly things behind?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Keep your way pure!

January 8, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Thy word.
(Psalms 119:9 (NAS))

In today’s society it is easy to stray from what should be done into what is detestable in the eyes of God. With all of the influences of our society taking their toll on practically every aspect of our lives, it is difficult to stay away from these very things that are begging for our attention. People growing up today face problems that previous generations did not even dream about. It is our responsibility to provide a strong presence and grounding in the faith for those who are trying to keep pure. This requires knowledge of God, His Son Jesus Christ, and God’s Word. Test everything against these as benchmarks. If they do not pass these tests, then it is something that will eventually lead to destruction. Provide guidance to anyone and everyone who needs it. Do not turn from someone in need because of their circumstances. No one is above the possibilities of falling. No one is above the bounds of grace and mercy that God has granted us through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.
(Philippians 4:8)

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are your thoughts true and noble, right and pure in the eyes of God?

November 8, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praise-worthy, think about such things.
(Philippians 4:8 (NIV))

What do you find yourself thinking about?

With the state of the world it is easy to find yourself thinking about such things as terrorism, warfare, hunger, school shootings, and just about any other so-called news worthy event that transpires. It seems that the world is no longer interested in anything that remotely resembles what is written of in Philippians 4:8.

Whatever happened to the good things that used to occur in this world?

They are still there. As long as the Body of Christ stands determined to not give in to the pressures and the sins of our world, then things that are true and noble will remain. The problem seems to be that we don’t spend enough time within God’s Word, which is the ultimate truth. We spend more time reflecting upon the wrongs of our society and not enough time searching God’s Word for ways to fix our society. I am guilty of this. News events upset me to no end, but I don’t stop and earnestly pray. I don’t seek God’s heart and wisdom as I should.

If I am not part of the solution, then I am part of the problem.

God has a plan for this world. He has a plan for you and I. In order for us to fulfill God’s perfect plan, we must learn to focus on His Will. We must learn to recognize that this world is not our home. It is a battlefield between the forces of God and the forces of the enemy. We must stay true to our calling. We must think about what God would have us to do. We must pray. We must listen for God’s still, small voice for guidance. We must not think of things that are detestable to God.

Are your thoughts true and noble, right and pure in the eyes of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What thoughts fill your mind?

August 14, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The LORD detests the thoughts of the wicked,
but those of the pure are pleasing to him.
(Proverbs 15:26 (NIV))

What thoughts fill your mind?

Are you obsessed with how to gain wealth or power? Do you fill your mind with thoughts of greed and selfishness? Perhaps you occasionally visit thoughts of lust. In the midst of all of these thoughts, do you find yourself thinking of things of God? Do you find yourself longing to change what has taken control of your mind and your actions? Do you long to replace sinful thoughts with thoughts that are pleasing to God?

It is true that you become what you spend your time thinking about. If you spend time thinking wicked thoughts, you will soon find yourself filling your mind with more and more of the same. If you spend your time reflecting on things of God, you will soon find yourself following these thoughts toward a life that is centered around God and His Word. It is the ultimate fulfillment of the saying “You are what you eat.”

Spiritual food is important. If you desire for God to be pleased with you, then you need to put things into your mind that will make you pleasing to Him. Your thoughts will be filled with the things that you decide are important. It all comes back to one simple word – priorities.

What are the things that you have made your thought priorities?

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

July 5, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
(2 Corinthians 6:3-10 (NIV))

Contradictions!

According to the world view, we are totally wrong in our faith, yet, according to God’s Laws we are totally right in all that we believe. Even though we are right in our faith, we must be humble and willing to endure whatever is presented to us for the sake of those who may be able to be reached. We should never act in such a manner as to give anyone cause to criticize us for making others stumble or fall in their faith.

Paul was an excellent example of what we are to do when faced with hardships because of our faith and our witness. Most of us will never have to face even a portion of the circumstances that Paul had to face for the Gospel. Still, in our everyday lives, we must strive to follow Paul’s example no matter what the circumstances.

No matter what we may face today, tomorrow, or whenever, we must always “REJOICE” for the grace and mercy of God has redeemed us!

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

April 13, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.
(1 Timothy 5:1-2 (NIV))

Purity!

If we could only fulfill this simple command!

All too often we treat each other in ways that are less than desirable. We treat older men as if they are senile and foolish. We treat younger men as if they are not worth anything. We treat older women as if they didn’t matter. We treat younger women as objects. All of this is because of the way that society has taught us to look at people. Whether we like to admit it, we stereotype people.

What if Jesus had stereotyped people? What if He claimed that He did not need to go to the cross because no one was intelligent enough to make the connection between the prophecies and His life? What if Jesus had been stereotypical when it came to Saul? He could have easily looked at Saul and made the claim that Saul was a typical holier-than-thou person and would never change.

To put it simply, we need to treat each other with the respect, kindness and love that we would expect in return. There is a saying that Jesus loves each of us too much to leave us as we are. With this in mind, we need to respect the work in progress that God is doing within each other. You may be surprised at the calling that God is placing on that young man with the funny looking hair. You may be amazed at the spiritual warfare that nice older lady has been involved in. You may be caught off guard by the witness a young lady has on those around her, and you may be completely startled to learn that the older man who drives slowly is driving that way so that he may pray for those whom he passes.

Learn to look at people with the eyes of Jesus. Look at others as God is maturing them – with the love and purity that He has placed in their hearts and in yours.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Which way do you want to reason?

September 29, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
(Isaiah 1:18 (NIV))

According to human reasoning, this does not make sense. It is physically impossible for something to be red and then to be made perfectly white. The very nature of the material will not allow it. At best, the red would simply become faded, but it would never become perfectly white. In fact, the red, just like the sin that it represents, would stain anything cleaner and lighter than itself.

Fortunately, God works beyond the physical realm and is capable of far greater things than we can imagine.

As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:9 (NIV))

Our ability to reason is limited in understanding and scope. God’s ability to reason is infinite. His is the ultimate reasoning, for with a single thought, anything can be done.

When faced with the red stains of our sins, isn’t it nice to know that we have a fresh perspective on their impact upon our lives. We have the atoning blood of Jesus that will wash them away. In the natural world, the red of sin plus the red of blood does not make white. Thankfully, the atoning blood of Jesus is so much more than natural blood. By God’s way of reasoning, the red of Jesus’ blood washes away the red stain of sin.

Which way do you want to reason – man’s or God’s?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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