What are you earning?

September 20, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The wages of the righteous is life, but the earnings of the wicked are sin and death.
(Proverbs 10:16 (NIV))

Do you feel that you are paid what you are worth?

If you are truly honest with your answer, it wouldn’t surprise me to hear everyone say that they are underpaid and overworked. I think it is safe to say that even those who work for themselves think this. It is rare to find someone who turns down more money for their work.

Now, let’s look at our lives through the eyes of God.

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

Based on this and our understanding of what God calls wickedness, what have we earned? What wages have our sins brought us?

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

I love this passage! It starts off badly, but 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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

God does not want us to receive what we have rightfully earned. He has a plan of redemptive grace that allows us to trade what we should receive for that which we cannot earn on our own. All that we need to do to “earn” this grace is believe that Jesus is His one and only Son and accept Him as our personal Lord and Savior. Through God’s plan, we trade our wickedness for His righteousness. We trade sin and death for eternal life.

What are you earning?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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All that you have to do is ask!

October 29, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
(Matthew 7:11 (NIV))

What do you consider as a good gift?

Think about that question and take a look at your heart. What is it that your heart longs for more than anything else? Be honest with yourself. Is it something that will benefit you? Is it something that will benefit you and a few others? Or, is it something that will benefit a vast amount of people?

Most people are selfish in nature, especially when it comes to the desires of the heart. We have a tendency to be self serving in all aspects of our lives, so it is not a problem to imagine what we think of as being good has a direct impact on us the most.

Aren’t you glad that Jesus didn’t have this attitude when He went to the cross?

If we put ourselves in His place, we would not consider that selfless act to be a good thing simply because of the price that had to be paid. He paid it all and He did not get any personal benefit as the world sees it. Jesus suffered and was crucified. He died a horrible death. From a worldly perspective, this was not good.

Fortunately, God works in ways that counter what the world says and thinks.

The gift that was given to us through the selfless acts of Jesus are far better than anything that we, as part of the world, could ever give. Everything of this world that we can ever give will fade, rot or decay. Sadly, it is these very gifts that we give and receive that are the basis for our understanding of what is good. Many simply cannot comprehend anything that does not fit into this understanding. The gift that was given to us by our Father is far more precious. It is something that we all truly need. It is something that we all overlook, many until it is too late.

Grace!

Forgiveness!

Salvation!

No matter how you may describe it, God’s gift is perfect. It is good. It is a gift that no other can give us. We may provide food, clothing, shelter and love to our families, but these will all eventually fade. Even our lives will fade. Only God can provide the gift that surpasses all others and allows us to escape the consequences of sin and death.

All that you have to do is ask!

Have you asked?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Submission, Pride and Authority!

April 14, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.
(1 Peter 2:13-17 (NIV))

Submission is probably one of the hardest things that a human has to do! The very act requires that you admit that someone has authority over you and you are not the ultimate power in your life.

Just where does this “rebellion” come from?

It appears to be an inborn trait in each and every one of us. Perhaps it comes from the Fall from Grace in the Garden of Eden. Let’s face it, Satan did not want to submit to God. He deceived us and now we have turned over the earth to sin and death. It was the sin of pride that made Satan not willing to submit. Now, the same pride permeates the world because of the incident that happened in the Garden long ago.

Perhaps it is exactly for this reason that we are called to submit. It goes against everything that the world expects of us in our sinful nature.

Do you submit willingly, or do you still fight the sin of pride that has caused so many to not submit to the ultimate authority within their lives. That authority is Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and the only King of kings and Lord of lords.

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

September 28, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Being greedy, indecent, or immoral is just another way of worshiping idols. You can be sure people who behave in this way will never be part of the kingdom that belongs to Christ and to God.
(Ephesians 5:5 (NIV))

This passage has some very deep ramifications.

I like the way the Contemporary English Version translates this passage.

Being greedy, indecent, or immoral is just another way of worshiping idols. You can be sure people who behave in this way will never be part of the kingdom that belongs to Christ and to God.
(Ephesians 5:5 (CEV))

Does this translation put it into a better perspective?

Have you ever been greedy? Have you ever wanted to hide something from someone else because you wanted it?

Have you ever had an indecent or immoral thought? Be honest. There have probably been times where you know you have thought things that were less than righteous. In today’s traffic, I can probably count on many of you, myself included, who have had less than stellar thoughts about other drivers.

In other words, we are all guilty of doing things that keep us away from Jesus. Anything that keeps us away from Jesus is an idol. When we give our attention to these things, we lose our focus on Jesus and we stray.

Don’t get me wrong. There is a difference between trying to follow Jesus and simply following greed or immorality. When Jesus walks with us, He knows that we will stumble. Sometimes, we may even fall.

Think of when a young child first learns to ride a bicycle. They strive to do what is required, yet they will often fall. This does not mean that their intentions make them fall. It is a matter of experience and maturity. As we mature in Christ, hopefully just as the bicycle rider, we will fall less and less.

It is when we allow something besides Jesus to become the focus of our lives that we lose sight of Jesus and we become greedy and immoral.

We have all done this. Hold up one finger on one hand and place it about six inches away from your nose. Focus on your finger. The background blurs. Move your finger out to arm’s length and stay focused on your finger. The things between your eyes and you finger become blurred. In both cases, we know that something else is there, but with our focus, we select what is important to us. It is when we take our eyes away from our primary focus and become distracted by what else is around us that we fall. It is at this point that we begin to worship idols. Our idols are whatever we focus on instead of Jesus.

Greed has us focusing on wealth. Immorality has us focusing on sins of the flesh. We cannot focus on these and on Jesus.

Take a look at yourself.

Do you find yourself worshipping idols that have come into your focus?

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

September 14, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
the righteous run to it and are safe.
(Proverbs 18:10 (NIV))

In this world where sin and death have taken over due to man’s downfall, it is good to know that we have a place of refuge. Those who are of the world do not know of this refuge. They go about their daily lives not knowing of the grace and peace that can be found in this refuge. This wonderful refuge is our Lord. Even when the Book of Proverbs was written, Solomon knew of the great peace available through the grace of God. He was not able to partake fully of that peace, for Jesus had not come to the earth yet. Still, Solomon had a foreshadowing of that peace.

All throughout history, the righteous have been able to call on God as their sword and shield, even though:

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)

God looks at a person’s heart. He is capable of knowing if we seek after Him and if we do, we have a place of refuge.

Who or what do you turn to when you need shelter?

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