What are you conscious of?

October 25, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
(Romans 3:20 (NIV))

Do you try to obey God’s laws?

How is that going for you?

If you are like me, the moment I wake up I start having trouble doing everything that I should be doing. Let’s face the truth. None of us can even obey the speed limit one hundred percent of the time! We think that we are doing good if we are driving 60 mph in a 55 mph speed zone. In essence, we are breaking the law.

Think about God’s laws. Let’s look at one that we all think that we are capable of keeping.

You shall not murder.
(Exodus 20:13 (NIV))

It is probably safe to say that most people have not committed murder, not would they even consider it. But, what about the times when you are so angry at someone and you utter words that don’t even sound that bad in the grand scheme of things. Have you ever called someone a fool? Think about that the next time someone cuts you off in traffic!

But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
(Matthew 5:22 (NIV))

Let’s take a look at another one of God’s laws.

You shall not commit adultery.
(Exodus 20:14 (NIV))

Pretty straight forward. No sex outside of marriage. There are those who think that they can get away with it, but most people will agree with the basic concept.

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
(Matthew 5:28 (NIV))

Most of God’s laws sound simple, yet they are so very hard to obey. The one thing that God’s laws do a good job of is reminding people of the daily struggle required to even attempt to be righteous in God’s eyes. God’s laws bring our shortcomings front and center. They make us conscious of the fact that we can’t do it in our own strength. We need a Savior. We need Jesus!

What are you conscious of?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who do you want to be friends with?

October 24, 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))

I just had a moment that I am still trying to comprehend and I am still waiting for the chills to go away! Every time that I think of the meaning of what i just realized, the chills come back and my eyes tear up out of sadness.

If you believe in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you are a part of the church. The church is called the bride of Christ. We are set aside for Jesus. We are to be a spotless bride. James writes words proclaiming an adulterous people. Adultery is defined as sex between a married person and someone who is not that person’s wife or husband. It is the ultimate betrayal of the relationship between a husband and a wife and James uses this word, this concept, to tell people that they have committed the ultimate betrayal to Jesus. They have accepted the world and it’s sin over the love and grace found in Jesus. The sad thing about this is that, like many people caught in adultery, they didn’t think that they would be caught or that it would matter. They were reluctant to leave behind what they claim to have left. They looked back and were seduced by the memories of the things of this world.

Do you long for the things of this world, or do you long for what Jesus has come to offer to those who will simply accept?

Grace is free, but it came with a heavy price that we do not have to pay. I honestly believe that because we did not pay that price, many don’t truly understand exactly what grace means. Humanity looks at the world and says that it can’t be bad, while God looks at the world and say that it is all evil. If we turn back to the world, what does that make us?

Stop for a moment and think about a true friend. Would you turn your back on them? Would you completely abandon them? If we don’t turn our backs to the things of this world, we are proclaiming that we are friends of the world. If we are friends of the world, we automatically become an enemy of God, for God calls the fallen world evil and our association with it makes us evil.

Is this a friendship that you wish to keep?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have we become a people of perverse hearts?

October 27, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The LORD detests men of perverse heart
but he delights in those whose ways are blameless.
(Proverbs 11:20 (NIV))

I have said this before about having a database of scripture verses that God has placed on my heart as something to write about. Some nights I have a clear understanding of what has been placed on my heart and other nights, like tonight, I need prompting. I prayed for guidance and insight as to what to send out, after which I randomly stopped on this verse.

Have we become a people of perverse hearts? Do we accept what the world calls ok even though God’s Word tells us that it is not ok? Do we have a desire to intentionally disobey God’s Word? how can we truly call ourselves part of the Body of Christ when we do not do what He tells us to do? Basically, how can we ignore the fact that we are not obeying His command to go and sin no more as He told the woman caught in adultery?

When we have perverse hearts, we think that we can do whatever we want. We think that God will overlook what we do. Sadly, many in today’s church and in the non-believing world think this is how God works. Proverbs 11:20 tells us differently.

But wait!

Didn’t Jesus come to forgive our sins?

Jesus did come to offer us grace and mercy. The key word is offer. We have to accept that offer and accept the terms that go with that offer. We are to repent. Just like what Jesus told the woman caught in adultery, we are to go and sin no more. He did not tell us that to get salvation we turn to Him and beg for forgiveness and then keep on deliberately sinning. Too many people falsely believe that believing in Jesus will earn them salvation no matter what they do from that point on. Jesus told us that He would tell these type of people to get away from Him because He never knew them.

With so many passages telling us that we are to turn away from our sin, how can anyone honestly believe that Jesus condones a perverse heart? How can we believe that people who simply give lip service to Jesus will actually see the salvation and grace that they think they will get?

Jesus did not come into this world, live as one of us, teach us, and die on the cross so that we can continue in our sin. We have to have a change of heart. We have to accept all conditions of the offer of grace.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do your thoughts make you unclean?

July 24, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him `unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man `unclean.’ ”
(Matthew 7:20-23 (NIV))

If even our thoughts can make us unclean, then who among us is worthy? All of us are guilty of thoughts that we don’t want others to know about. Thoughts of anger, hatred, malice, arrogance, lewdness, theft, greed, and even murder. Many of these we will never deliberately act on, but they are in our hearts. Only our fear of repercussion may keep us from acting on them. Even the person whom we think is the kindest and nicest person we know possesses thoughts that are not what God desires of us. In other words, our hearts give us away. We sin even though we desire to do what is right.

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, `Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, `Raca, ‘ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, `You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
(Matthew 5:21-22 (NIV))

Even cross words can cause us to fall if we do not have the saving grace of the atoning blood of Jesus to cleanse us. We must not look upon our salvation as a free pass to do whatever we want. On the contrary. It is salvation from what we have done, and if we are sincere about accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, it is salvation from what we might do in error in the future. God does not want us to continue living in our sin. He wants us to allow Jesus into our hearts and allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives. Together, they will remove the unclean aspects of our lives from within.

Turn over even your thoughts to God. Allow them to be cleansed and guided so that they become the desires of God.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Our thoughts condemn us

January 29, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not pay attention to every word people say,
or you may hear your servant cursing you–
for you know in your heart
that many times you yourself have cursed others.
(Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 (NIV))

It is human nature to think and say things under your breath. Things that you would not want anyone to even know that you knew. These are the things that are secretly holed away in your heart.

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.
(Matthew 15:19(NIV))

Perhaps it is this characteristic of humanity that lead Jesus to say:

“If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
(John 8:7b(NIV))

Not a single one of us is above reproach. Not a single one of us is capable of leading the perfect life that God wishes for us to live. Our thoughts condemn us. Our thoughts manifest themselves as words and deeds. Our words and deeds condemn us. Only one thing that we can do will remove the condemnation from our lives.

We must accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. We must accept His righteousness in exchange for our condemnation. He willingly takes our sin upon His shoulders and gives us His grace and mercy.

We are not perfect. Even if we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we will stumble. We will curse others in our heart and sometimes, even, under our breath. But, we have a Savior who is living within us, and teaching us that we must follow Him and not give in to that side of our nature.

Do you curse or do you accept righteous instruction?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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False reasons for sin

November 14, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good–except God alone. You know the commandments: `Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’ ”
(Luke 18:18-20 (NIV))

People are still asking the same question today. The answer has not changed.

We are to keep the commandments, but we have been bought by grace for the times when we stumble.

This does not mean that we can apply the current feel good philosophy to these principles. We cannot take a look at ourselves and say that we had a difficult childhood, so that excuses my behavior. We cannot take a look at ourselves and proclaim that the reason we have sexual sin is because we were neglected as a child and are seeking love. We cannot claim that we were made fun of as a child because we were poor and that is the reason that we steal. We cannot claim that we were not told the difference between right and wrong and that is why we lie.

Society has taken the personal responsibility out of everything and look where it has gotten us.

The Bible did not tell us that we should not commit adultery or sexual sin unless we were born that way. The Bible did not tell us not to murder unless we were born with rage inside of us. The Bible did not tell us not to steal unless we were born with a disorder. The Bible did not tell us not to lie unless we would benefit from the lie.

We are told plain and simply “Do not” with no disclaimers and no exceptions.

If the Bible tells us not to do something, man has no right to claim that we are not bound by His instructions because we were created differently.

There is one sin that people are claiming that they were born that way. Consider another sin in comparison.

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.
(Ephesians 5:18 (NIV))

If people who are prone to alcoholism claim that they are born that way, does society, does the family and does the individual excuse the behavior and the sin? Does God excuse the behavior and the sin?

Each person has something that Satan uses to trap you. God does not tell us to stay strong in all areas of our lives except what Satan is attacking us with. We are told to turn from all attacks of the enemy whether they are pride, greed, lust, gluttony, envy, or any other thing. We are not told to pick a favorite and embrace it.

God gave us instructions for a reason. He gave us grace for when we truly desire to but cannot fulfill these instructions.

Grace is a choice. Fighting the temptations from Satan is a choice. We know that we are sinners, but if we accept the lie that we are born that way and cannot change, we have already lost our salvation.

God did not send Jesus to teach and to die on the cross so that we could claim a false reason to keep on sinning.

Stay strong in God’s Word.

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

September 17, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, `Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, `Raca, ‘ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, `You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
(Matthew 5:21-22 (NIV))

What is within your heart is what you must answer for. Jesus spoke of this principle many times during His time on this earth. It is not what is visible on the outside, but, rather, what is the intention on the inside. This ranges from anger to adultery to any other aspect of your life that is different on the inside and the outside. Remember that God sees the heart and knows your true intentions. You cannot keep anything from God.

You have heard that it was said, `Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
(Matthew 5:27-28(NIV))

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(NIV))

Carefully consider your true, inner motives and intentions when dealing with people. How would Jesus classify your actions? Would your motives be clean or would you be in danger of the fire of hell?

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