Which law do you want to live under?

April 16, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
(Romans 8:1-2 (NIV))

In our lives, we all have to answer to many different types of laws.

There are physical laws such as the law of gravity. I have yet to meet anyone who has tested these laws and lived. It is true that we have learned to bend these laws and apply them to our daily lives, but there is no way that you can ever truly know with complete certainty that when you bend these laws that your efforts will succeed. Referring back to the law of gravity, it is possible to jump out of an aircraft and rely on a parachute to open and allow you to ride the air currents to slow you down. This only works as long as the parachute does what it was designed to do. If it does not, then you suffer the consequences!

There are man made laws that quite often are based on what is hopefully a common sense application of physical laws, moral laws and spiritual laws. Murder is a prime example. With man made laws, they are open to creation and interpretation of those who are in authority. Human authority can change!

There are moral laws, which are quite often derived from spiritual laws. Once again, murder is a good example. Almost everyone knows that it is wrong to kill someone, yet, there are many times when people ignore or bend this law to suit their needs.

Most of us are able to claim that we have lived a “good” life and that we have not tempted physical laws. We try to avoid breaking man made laws, especially the ones that we consider to be a moral or spiritual no-no. However, there are other things that we need to consider with spiritual laws. We all miss the mark. We all sin.

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

In other words, we have all broken God’s laws. Because of what we have done, we are all condemned to death, but God has placed another law into play that we can rightfully use to claim freedom. Through the law of the Spirit who gives life, we can claim forgiveness. We can throw ourselves on the mercy of God and claim the blood of Jesus Christ. We can acknowledge that Jesus is our personal Lord and Savior.

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

We have two choices as to what law applies to our lives. We can live under the law of sin and death, or we can find grace by living under the law of the Spirit who gives life.

Which law do you want to live under?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God’s Word is greater than what society says!

March 16, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
(1 Timothy 1:8-11 (NIV))

Does a righteous person need the law?

If you seek after God’s heart, then His Laws will be part of your life. You will find yourself meditating on His Word and walking in His Word because you have a desire to do what is right in the eyes of God.

Does a sinful person need the law?

Far too many people need laws to tell them what not to do. They need a law telling them not to murder. They need a law telling them not to steal. They need laws telling them what is not good in the eyes of God.

What is the difference between these two groups of people? Why do some people accept God’s plan and His Laws while others rebel against God’s plan and His Laws? We may never know the exact reason, but I know that we can trace the root cause back to the fall from grace.

Did you notice that what was listed in the passage was described as contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel?

Did you notice anything listed that hit too close to home? Are any of these your own little pet sin, a sin that is keeping you from God’s grace because it does not conform to what Jesus taught?

Did you notice anything in this passage that is contrary to what many in the church today believe? The church has allowed the world to change it. We are failing in our mission. We are to be the salt and the light. We are not to allow the world to change God’s Word and the church!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you been released?

January 10, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do you not know, brothers–for I am speaking to men who know the law–that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives? For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man.

So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.
(Romans 7:1-6 (NIV))

Isn’t it wonderful to be released from the bondage of sin and death?

Laws are necessary in our society. But, at the same time, laws can be condemning and confining. There are human laws that restrict what we can do. These laws try to dictate what we should and should not do. Human laws are different from the Law that God gave. Human wisdom pails in comparison and human laws pail in comparison. Yet, human laws are an extension of the Law that God gave to us. God gave us 10 Commandments. All throughout history, humanity has failed to keep 10 laws. Society has taken what God gave us and has given us countless “laws” to define what God gave us. It is hard to keep 10, let alone the thousands that have been ordained by man.

Through the blood of Jesus, we are free from the Law. This does not mean that we can go and sin by breaking every commandment. It means that we are forgiven and we are free to live life as God intended for us to live it without the consequences of sin.

In other words, we can “go and sin no more” with the knowledge that we belong to Jesus Christ.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We cannot pick and choose parts of God’s Word!

April 5, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV))

I am going to touch on a subject that probably may step on some toes, but based on the above passage, it must be addressed.

I am speaking of the idea that we no longer have to read or abide by the Old Testament since Jesus came to free us from the law of sin and death. Jesus spoke directly to this false idea.

“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. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
(Mark 5:17-20 (NIV))

We must remember that the only Word that the people had at this time was what we refer to as the Old Testament. Jesus was speaking clearly and telling us that we are to fulfill the commands given in these teachings. He did not change any of these teachings. He came to fulfill them and to offer grace and mercy for when we “missed the mark,” or sinned in God’s eyes. Jesus did not come to tell us that what was taught before no longer applied. On the contrary, Jesus tells us that it is very important and that we are to build our lives upon it.

We cannot pick and choose what part of God’s Word we want to follow. We are to follow it all. We should long to follow it for it pleases God and it makes our lives much better.

The next time that you hear someone saying that we no longer live under the Law, remind them that Jesus lived under the Law. We are still to live according to God’s Law. The only difference is that we have Jesus sitting at the right hand of God the Father intervening for us when we cannot keep the Law, after all, Exodus 20:1-17 still applies. At no time did Jesus tell us to place another god before God. He did not tell us that it was all right to murder. He never told us that it was all right to steal. Why do we think that He told us to ignore the rest of God’s Word in the Old Testament?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who are we to judge?

February 14, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
(Luke 6:37 (NIV))

It is so hard not to judge. When you get the urge to judge, step back and take a look at the situation from a different perspective. Ask yourself the following questions.

Do you know the details about the person’s life?

Do you know the state of the relationships that person is involved in?

Do you know the medical issues that the person is dealing with?

Do you know whether that person is facing a life changing situation?

These are just some of the things that can make an individual do things that will make someone want to judge them. Any of these issues as well as countless others could easily sway your appearance to others. Would you want them to judge you because you are angry that someone you love has hurt you deeply? Would you want someone to judge you because you don’t act the way they do simply because you have a medical condition that has involuntary movements, sounds or the inability to focus or multitask?

Each of us faces situations in our lives that are known only to us and to God. If we are forgiven through the atoning blood of Jesus, how can others judge us? In turn, how can we judge others for their sins, especially when the sins that we claim forgiveness of are no better than their sins in the eyes of God.

If you start to feel self-righteous, remember the prostitute that Jesus met.

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:3-11 (NIV))

Jesus spoke words to live by: “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Are any of us in a position to judge? Are we without sin? Why do each of us want to pick up our stones so quickly?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Return to the freedom that is ours through God

January 18, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach and without the law. But in their distress they turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him, and he was found by them.
(2 Chronicles 15:3-4 (NIV))

Israel did many things that were detestable in the eyes of God. They turned completely away from Him. They worshipped at the temples of Ba’al. They did whatever was pleasing in their eyes. All of the while, God waited for them to return to Him. Even though they sinned against Him in practically everything that they did, God waited for them to return to Him. He knew that one day they would realize their iniquity and call out to Him. He knew that one day they would seek after His face once again.

We are all familiar with the parable of the prodigal son. What we have in 2 Chronicles 15:3-4 is a story of a prodigal nation that had strayed away from what they should be doing. Even so, when they realized the error of their ways, just as the prodigal son did, God, the Father, welcomed them home. He allowed them to find Him, and in so doing, they found themselves. They found the freedom and the joy that comes from knowing God. When you find freedom and joy, you truly do find yourself, because, without freedom and joy, the person that God created is not allowed to shine.

We must also realize that God is never very far away from us. No matter how far we may stray, God is as close as a simple turning away. We do not have to go all the way back to where we started to find God again. He will be there as soon as we make an effort to return to Him. Perhaps that is why He is so easily found once we truly seek Him, for He never really abandons us. We turn our backs on Him, but He never turns His back on us. This is true for an individual and it is true for a nation.

We are a nation that was founded on being able to turn to God. Our forefathers gave their lives so that they could have this freedom. Are we willing to return to the freedom that is ours through God?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Lord, help us to walk in Your ways

September 4, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul?
(Deuteronomy 10:12 (NIV))

If God wanted Israel to fulfill these desires, what does He want of us in today’s society?

When this was written, all that the nation of Israel had was The Law. The Law directed the people in what they should do, but it did not compensate for the fact that they could not keep The Law faithfully. If they did not do as was directed by the letter of The Law, they were not righteous in the eyes of God.

Or so they thought it would always be!

Jesus came and taught us that The Law is important, but it is the spirit of The Law that must be upheld. The Law can only show that we are far short of what God has asked us to be, and that we cannot do it on our own.

Now that Jesus has come, the above passage holds even more truth and promise than it did then. Imperfect humanity now has someone to call upon when we fall short of God’s righteousness. We can call upon the name of Jesus by saying that we are incapable of righteousness on our own. We can recognize Jesus as God’s Son, and our Lord and Savior.

Surely, we will all stumble in our walk with Jesus, but He is there to help us when we cannot make the journey on our own. He is there to carry us when we think that we cannot make the journey at all.

Today, we have even more of a reason to do as Deuteronomy 10:12 asks of us, for we now have someone who will help us to fulfill it.

Lord, help us to walk in Your ways, to love You, and to serve You with all of our heart and all of our soul.

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