Are you alive in Christ?

April 17, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
(Galatians 2:19-20 (NIV))

In just a few days, we, as the Body of Christ, will celebrate the anniversary of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave. We need to truly reflect upon the meaning of what happened some two thousand years ago, for it had never happened before that time and it has never happened since. A man was brutally killed and three days later, He was alive again. Not only was He alive, He told us that if we follow Him, we too can have life after death!

Has any other person ever defeated death? Has any other person voluntarily faced the cruelty and torture that Jesus faced when He could have prevented it or even escaped it?

Jesus is unique in all of the history of the world!

He was with God in the beginning. He died on the cross. He arose again on the third day. He lives in the hearts of those who earnestly call upon Him. He sits at the right hand of God, the Father. He is our salvation!

This Easter morning when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, we also need to celebrate our death to sin and our resurrection into grace and mercy paid for by the blood of Jesus.

Easter is perhaps the most important day to our faith. If we accept Jesus and the grace and mercy that He has freely offered to us, then it is a day of glorious salvation and freedom. If we have not accepted Jesus, then it is a day of foolishness.

Are you alive in Christ?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you walk in the light?

January 13, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
(1 John 1:7 (NIV))

I know that we are all familiar with this passage, but have you ever truly stopped to think about what it really means to be in the light?

Unlike popular belief, each person is not their own light. There are not multiple ways to walk in the light. We can not be enlightened, and we cannot achieve anything on our own. Jesus is the light of the world!

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
(John 8:12 (NIV))

I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
(John 12:46 (NIV))

Being in the light of Jesus means that you have recognized your sinful nature and that you need a Savior. Being in the light of Jesus means that you recognize your need to surrender your life to His guidance. You willingly accept Jesus as not only your Savior, but also your Lord.

Just what does having Jesus as your Lord mean. The word “Lord” means one who is in power or authority, of a high position, and one to whom service and obedience are due. In the physical world, a lord requires submission and allegiance. Those under the lord do not really have a choice. That is not the case when we give lordship over our lives to Jesus. We voluntarily surrender. We recognize the authority and willingly come in under that authority. In Jesus, the authority is not one of fear, but one of love, guidance and grace. We realize that we, in all of our human frailties, need Jesus. We need God!

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
(John 14:6-7 (NIV))

When we walk in the light, we walk under the authority of Jesus! We walk under the power of Jesus! We walk under the grace of Jesus! We walk under the love of Jesus!

Do you walk in the light?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Focus on Jesus and not on man-made theology!

October 28, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
(Hebrews 10:19-23 (NIV))

No matter what denomination you may be a member of, the true source of our faith is Jesus and Him crucified and resurrected. All else is trivial, for the differences that we have established in the name of our particular brand of faith in Jesus are all man made attempts at reaching God.

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(NIV))

We cannot reach God through our own righteousness. God had to reach us and pull us out of our sin. We could not lift ourselves out of it. We are completely helpless without God and His gift of grace and mercy through the blood of Jesus.

Reread Hebrews 10:19-23. There is even an illustration of one of the primary differences that marks our denominations today, the debate over baptism and whether to sprinkle or submerge. This passage clearly states that our hearts have been sprinkled and our bodies washed. Baptism is, first and foremost, an act of total submission to God. We cannot judge others in their outward expression of this submission. Only God can judge, for He sees the heart.

Consider John the Baptist. His methods and outward appearance were contrary to everything the established religion of the day said he should be. Who did God’s Will? John the Baptist or those who condemned him?

How can we, who are not worthy to judge, judge each other in the trivial issues yet ignore the true source of our common faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Be on your guard against false teaching!

August 21, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
(Matthew 16:6 (NIV))

The Pharisees and the Sadducees were the two different schools of thought about the interpretation of the scriptures. It is interesting that neither group had been able to interpret the scriptures the way that they should. They had introduced different teachings that had their origins from man and these teachings had spread through the temple and the nation like yeast through bread.

Jesus warned his disciples to watch out for these teachings and to not allow them to enter into their lives again. It is so easy to replace God’s Word with human interpretation of it. Humanity has been taking God’s Word and twisting it for their own reasons for as long as history has been recorded. The sad part is that we can all fall prey to this. Even those who proclaim to desire to know God’s Word are susceptible to twisting it for their own selfish desires. Take a long look at your life in faith. Has there ever been a person or group of people that you know who have twisted God’s Word? Now comes the hardest question of all. Have you been guilty of this yourself?

I hate to say this, but I would venture to say that all of us have done that at one point or another. We are sinful and selfish in nature. Even though we claim grace through the blood of Jesus, we are not instantly perfect. We are, however, instantly forgiven. We are being made perfect.

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
(2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV))

Even as we are being transformed into His likeness, we can also stumble and fail because of false teaching. We must be on our guard and test what we hear and see against God’s Word. We must not allow anything to make us falter in our course. We must not fall for the false teachings of today’s Pharisees and Sadducees.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t be slow in accepting Jesus!

March 11, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

Do you think that the Lord is slow?

Perhaps you think that He is causing things to unfold too fast.

Are you aware of God’s timeline? Do you know what He has planned since the beginning of time? Do you find yourself oblivious to what is going on in the world? Do you think that what is happening is simply a matter of circumstances?

God is continually unfolding His timeline. Are you so engrossed in your own personal timeline that you fail to see what God is laying out before you? Do you see beyond your own daily routine?

We must remember that we are part of what God created. That simply means that we are in His world. We did not create Him. We live by His timeline, even when we ignore it.

Even when we ignore it!

How often do we ignore God?

Ignoring God will not stop what He has planned. Ignoring God will not save you from death. It will not save you from judgment. Only the redeeming grace bought by the blood of Jesus can save you from judgment. It is humanity that is slow in accepting this grace for ourselves.

Don’t be slow in accepting Jesus!

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

October 23, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the LORD his God, and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense. Azariah the priest with eighty other courageous priests of the LORD followed him in. They confronted him and said, “It is not right for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD. That is for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who have been consecrated to burn incense. Leave the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful; and you will not be honored by the LORD God.”

Uzziah, who had a censer in his hand ready to burn incense, became angry. While he was raging at the priests in their presence before the incense altar in the LORD’s temple, leprosy broke out on his forehead. When Azariah the chief priest and all the other priests looked at him, they saw that he had leprosy on his forehead, so they hurried him out. Indeed, he himself was eager to leave, because the LORD had afflicted him.
(2 Chronicles 26:16-20 (NIV))

Pride and arrogance!

How many times have we all stepped over the boundaries that we knew had been established for one reason or another? Everyone has boundaries and limitations that have been placed on them in one form or another. In Uzziah’s situation, he had become king, yet that wasn’t enough. He wanted to approach God directly before that was possible. He attempted to fill a role that God had not planned for him. He wanted to do the job of the priests.

His pride and arrogance caught up with him.

God punished Uzziah for the same sin that caused Satan to be cast out of heaven. Uzziah wanted to be equal to God and proved it through his attempts at approaching God directly. Even Moses was not capable of approaching God directly.

Thankfully, today, we have the ability to approach the throne of God through the redeeming blood of Jesus, yet, I still feel that we have something to learn from Uzziah. God allowed him to keep his position, yet, he lost all of his authority. He was king only in name. If we, who are bought by the blood of Jesus, fall pray to pride, we may be able to keep our position of salvation, yet, we will lose our effectiveness in doing the work that the position calls us to.

How is your pride?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must not be afraid!

February 21, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
(Matthew 10:27-28 (NIV))

Have we, as today’s church, forgotten the words that Jesus told us? Do we simply wish to hide ourselves away cowering in the darkness because we are afraid to share the light?

If we claim to have the light of Jesus, yet, we do not share that light, do we truly have it? If we know that we are bought by the blood of Jesus, we will proclaim it for all who will hear it. We should not be ashamed of what we have be given. We should not be ashamed that we are wise enough to realize that we need salvation.

Professing a faith in Jesus is not a weakness contrary to what our society may think. Professing a faith in Jesus requires a courage and a strength to step out of the crowd and proclaim that we do not like the way the world is. We are proclaiming that we long for a world that is free from sin. We long for a life that is filled with God’s purpose. In a world that looks down upon anyone who does not think of themselves as the ultimate authority in their own life, we must stand firm in the faith and not be afraid to share the Gospel that we know to be true.

We must not be afraid.

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?
(Romans 8:31 (NIV))

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