What is your inheritance?

August 3, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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))

How do you live?

Do any of these acts of the flesh still have a hold on your life? To be honest with you, we are only human and are not capable of perfection on our own. Chances are extremely good that all of us fall prey to some of these on a regular basis. Hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy all seem to sneak up on us more often than we care to admit, even if we have the other issues in control. Even when we desire to live a righteous life, our human nature seems to drag us down. For those who have professed a faith in Jesus, we have an advocate who sits at the right hand of God, the Father. I can picture Jesus shaking His head whenever we do something less than what He intends. I can almost picture this as a parent would react when trying to teach their young child how to ride a bike. I can hear Jesus saying to get up and try again, and that we will eventually get the hang of living a life according to His calling. I can also picture each of us, when we do fall, turning to Jesus and saying, “Help me! It’s too difficult. I can’t do it on my own!”

Sadly, too many of us seem to want to hold on to our terrible twos and all of the moments when we defiantly claimed, “I’ll do it!” When you were growing up, how many times did you get spanked because of this defiant attitude?

We have two clearly defined options. One is to turn to Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. With this option, we inherit the kingdom of God. The other option is that we defiantly claim “I’ll do it!” and we inherit an eternity being separated from God.

What is your inheritance?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Deliberate sin is harmful to your eternity!

April 26, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
(Hebrews 10:26-27 (NIV))

Have you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?

Do you still sin?

If you are human, the answer to that question is going to be a resounding yes.

Perhaps I should ask if you deliberately sin? Do you make a conscious decision and tell yourself, “I think that I will go and commit this sin!” None of us want to admit that we do this, but is it something that we do anyway?

We are all human and we will always make mistakes. We will always miss the mark. Even on our best day, we will sin. Even when we don’t intend to, we will sin!

Did you pick up on that concept?

Intention.

Did we set out to do it? Did we do it deliberately? What is the difference between doing something deliberately one time versus doing something deliberately every day? What is the difference between deliberately sinning once and when we deliberately keep on sinning? Is one a simple matter of a human mistake and the other a matter of open rebellion against the one whom we profess as Lord and Savior? One we can repent while the other is a direct flaunt of our rebellion.

Is this why we are told that if we deliberately keep on sinning we have no hope of grace?

It all comes down to a matter of the heart. You either have a repentant heart or a sinful heart.

What’s in your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you clean on the inside?

February 21, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“”Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”
(Matthew 23:25-26 (NIV))

Have you ever wondered why the examples are a cup and a dish? If you think about these two items, upon first inspection you cannot see inside the cup. Depending on the type of dish, it is either stacked or it is of a shape that also hides what is inside. When you first look at these items, they can appear clean, neat and orderly, but once you take a closer look, the part of the item that actually serves the main function can be so filthy that it is not even capable of serving that function.

Appearances aren’t everything?

It is what comes from within that makes things unclean!

Take a look at your life. What do you show to the world? We all like to put up a good front. Take a look at your heart. Are you harboring anything that is less than righteous in the eyes of God? We all like to look like we are upstanding citizens and model followers of Jesus, but is that true? Is there something on the inside that would surprise your family and friends?

Do we spend too much time polishing our outward appearances and too little time cleaning up the sin that is in our hearts?

Are you clean on the inside?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are the results of sin and its approval?

February 9, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”
(Romans 1:32 (NIV))

Does this sound like the current world view?

It takes no stretch of the imagination to see people rebelling against God’s righteous decrees. What they are doing is being practiced, tolerated and flaunted by society. Certain groups within our society seem to take great pleasure in thumbing their proverbial noses at those who seek after righteousness as well as God, Himself.

There is even division in the church!

Some people have embraced sin under the false concept that God loves everyone, and that since He created them, He must be okay with the sin. They erroneously think that God loving the individual and God loving the sin is the same thing. Nothing could be further from the truth!

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

In other words, no one is worthy to be in God’s presence because we are all sinners.

Where do we belong as a result of our sinful nature? How do we escape what is our rightful condemnation?

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

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
(Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV))

Jesus is the narrow gate!

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

With it clearly spelled out for all to see, what I don’t understand is why anyone would choose the sinful nature? Why does anyone approve of the sinful nature?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Does your lack of self-control leave you defenseless?

January 11, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Like a city whose walls are broken down
is a man who lacks self-control.
(Proverbs 25:28 (NIV))

In ancient cities, the purpose of the walls was protection. They were built high and thick in order to keep out those who would attack and leave the city in ruins. If the walls were broken down, the city was vulnerable. Those who lived within the city took their chances that they would not be attacked and lose their lives. The walls of a city were the defenses that kept those inside safe from the evil that could attack from the outside. The city was only as safe as the weakest part of its walls.

How good is your self control? Are your vulnerable to the attacks of those things that find the weak places within your self control? Perhaps your weakness is greed. Perhaps it is pride. Perhaps it is lust. Carefully consider how your area of weakness could be the very place by which sin enters into your life and takes control.

For the wages of sin is death
(Romans 6:23a (NIV))

Just as it is dangerous for the inhabitants of a city whose walls are broken down, it is also just as dangerous for a person to lack self control. Perhaps it is even more dangerous, for the death that comes from sin is an eternal separation from God. Self control is difficult, but we have an ally in our battle. The rest of Romans 6:23 tells the complete story.

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

If we place our faith in Jesus and rely on Him to be our Savior and our Lord, the Holy Spirit will dwell within us and guide us. The Holy Spirit will bear fruit within our lives.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
(Galatians 5:22-24 (NIV))

Self control will be part of our defenses against sin.

How is your wall of self control?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you know what you do?

September 28, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
(James 4:17 (NKJV))

Everyone sins! There is no mistaking that one simple truth. However, if you do not know that what you are doing is wrong, then your accountability is not the same as someone who does know that it is wrong. This fact has even been applied even in our justice system. Consider someone who does not have their full mental capacity. If they do something wrong, they are “allowed” a less severe punishment due to their inability to understand and comprehend their actions. There is still a punishment for their actions, yet, it is not as severe as it would be for someone who fully comprehends the consequences.

Knowledge of sin is a knowledge that, unfortunately, we must all have since we are the descendants of a sinful nature. There is no escaping this nature. We can try to do what is good and righteous in the eyes of God, but we will fail. It is a wise person who realizes this and asks for forgiveness. Perhaps that is the test of ultimate knowledge. When we realize that we are not capable of goodness on our own, and that we need forgiveness for the things that we do wrong even when we know they are wrong.

This is why God sent us His Son, Jesus. Jesus is our atoning sacrifice for all of the things that we do wrong. By earnestly calling upon Jesus as our salvation, we have come to the realization of the ultimate knowledge – the knowledge that we are sinners in need of a Savior.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Don’t let sin distract you!

May 5, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them.
(Deuteronomy 28:14 (NIV))

How easily distracted are you?

Have you ever known the task at hand, yet you found yourself doing something else? If you are like me, that happens far more than any of us care to admit. The proper term for it in today’s society is attention deficit disorder, however, I think it is probably related to our fall from grace and the resulting sinful nature that is now ours as a result.

If you remember, the word “sin” is an archery term that means to miss the mark. When we turn aside from anything that God calls us to do, then we have missed the mark. We have sinned. I find it interesting that our society has placed a label on it, created medication for it, and we can have counseling to tell us that it is okay to miss the mark.

It is true that we are only human and our very nature is sinful, but instead of saying that it is okay to miss the mark, shouldn’t we be striving to hit the mark? Why do we accept the concept that it is okay to stop trying to follow God’s designs and seek to follow our own sinful natures?

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 5:23 (NIV))

Thankfully, there is a way to hit the mark, not on our own, but by the grace of 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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

Thankfully, Jesus did not turn to the right or the left. He stayed the course and because He did, we have a Savior who can guide us, who can redeem us when we do stray.

It is my prayer for all of us that we keep our eyes upon Jesus so that we will be able to stay true to the path that we are called to follow.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you friends with the world or with God?

April 29, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
(James 4:4 (NIV))

Have you ever truly stopped to think about what this passage means?

I know that the world has its moments of beauty. A sunrise on the ocean. A sunset out west. The leaves in the fall. The view from the mountain top. All of these things are beautiful. These are glimpses of what God had intended for us to experience in this world, but then sin was allowed into the world!

The very nature of sin is death.

It is not the world as created that brings hatred toward God. It is the sinful nature that was allowed into the world. It is what humanity has become in the world. It is an attitude. It is the sinful nature that we must not be friends with, for it is the nature of sin to lead us into places where we do not want, where we do not need to go.

Are you a friend of sin?

I honestly don’t think that I can get any more direct, any more blunt than that question.

Think about your friends. Do you turn your eyes away from the things that they do that they shouldn’t do? Do you accept the sins as just a part of them as they are? Now, consider the general world of sin that James 4:4 refers to. Do you accept the sins of the world simply because they are part of what makes the world as you know it? I am sure that people make excuses such as that is just how things are. Living in the world does not mean that you have to be accepting of the world. It does not mean that you have to become friends with the very sin that has cast all of humanity away from God.

Think about that last statement.

God cannot associate with sin. If we accept the sin of the world, then God cannot associate with us. We have become an enemy of God. Salvation requires repentance. We must turn away from sin in order to turn to God.

Which way will you turn?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you still desire your sinful nature?

February 16, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
(Romans 8:5-8 (NIV))

It seems that a lot of people today only have their minds on what they want. It is no wonder that many people refer to our society today as the “me” society. Everyone seems to think only of themselves. They do whatever they want without any serious thought of the consequences to themselves or to those around them. To me, this sounds very much like those people who Paul described in Romans 5:8. They live only for what they desire and when they desire it. They seek after love that is not true, joy that is fleeting, peace that is medically induced, kindness that is bought, goodness that is false and faithfulness that is fleeting. Their desires cause them to shift course whenever things start to get bad or whenever they feel that they can get their next desire met.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
(Galatians 5:22-24 (NIV))

When we sacrifice the sinful nature, we not only fully embrace what God desires, but we should also fully reject what we have become addicted to. We must focus on Jesus and trust in Him. We must forget the past and look to the future that He has saved us for. He did not die on the cross to keep us bound to our sinful nature. He died so that we can break free of that bondage. In order to do this, we must give ourselves completely to Him. We cannot be someone who claims that Jesus only came to teach about love. Love will not save you. We cannot be someone who thinks that they can pick and choose what they wish to believe. Jesus is a complete package. We must be the ones who proclaim that Jesus came to die for us. We must proclaim that Jesus is our personal Lord and Savior. We must proclaim that His love for us kept Him on that cross. We must proclaim that it is this same love that will help us to defeat our sinful nature.

If we proclaim Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and if we allow Him to work in our lives to clear the sinful nature, then we will be able to focus on what the Spirit desires and make these desires our desires.

What do you desire?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you like Paul?

January 15, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
(Romans 7:21-25 (NIV))

I find it very interesting that Paul, the very man whom we all are indebted to for bringing the Gospel to the Gentiles, faced these temptations and issues in his life.

I also find it very comforting to know that he faced these issues in his life!

I know that this sounds strange, that it sounds like I am glad that he faced the issues, but it is not a macabre sense of gloating even though it may sound like it. Paul’s account of his trials gives me comfort, for if someone who faced these tests as often as he says he did can find salvation and favor in the eyes of God, then it is possible for even me to find salvation and favor.

Paul considered himself to be chief among sinners, one of the worst, yet he found salvation. He found grace! He found it in the midst of his sin on the road to Damascus. He found it while on his way to commit a horrendous sin against God and against the Body of Christ. Paul’s life is an example of how God can turn someone around and use them for His glory no matter how off course that person may have been to begin with.

When God finds you, be prepared to have Him show you the things that cause you to sin. You will be amazed at what you do that you wish you didn’t. Rejoice in the good news that in the midst of your sin, Jesus is advocating for you and working within you.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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