Have you tried to change Jesus?

January 4, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8 (NIV))

I realize that I say this quite often, but it is true. Human nature is such a funny thing!

We are all guilty of looking at everyone else and seeing the sins in their lives while failing to see the sins in ours. The sad thing is that we tend to gravitate to others who have the same tendencies, the same way of looking at others. In our associations, we then start to take God’s Word and put our own interpretations into what is written. Some of us even go to the extreme and say that the teachings are no longer relevant in today’s society. We pick and choose what we want to believe and what we want to follow.

Shouldn’t God’s Word be the benchmark and we strive to live accordingly?

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
(2 Timothy 3:16 (NIV))

Instead, we twist and distort, we pick and choose, and we ignore completely in the false sense that Jesus couldn’t have meant it the way that it was written. God surely didn’t mean what was written because He is love and if that is true, why would He tell me that my favorite thing to do is a sin?

God’s Word is alive. It is meant to change lives. It is meant to touch the deepest places in our lives and make us look at the darkness within. It is meant to help us turn to the light of Jesus. Humanity failed to realize the truth, so God sent an example. He sent His Son.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 (NIV))

Two thousand years have passed since Jesus walked among us and we still twist His Word. We still ignore His Word. We pick and choose. In essence, we do our best to try and change Jesus to fit our desires even when we are told that He never changes.

Have you tried to change Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you hate your sinful nature?

November 20, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
(Romans 7:15 (NIV))

Sadly, I know all too well what Paul meant when he wrote these words. I bet we all do!

What is it about human nature that makes us do the things that we do, especially when we know that we shouldn’t do them? Why do we react the way that we do knowing that we will regret it as soon as we do it? Unfortunately, we all probably have our “favorite” things that we hate to do. These are the things that we despise, yet we can’t stop doing them. For some people, it may be anger. For others, it may be lust. For others, it may be greed. What is it about your actions that you hate? What is it about your life that you wish you could change?

I realize that this is of little solace, but we must come to terms with the fact that even Paul faced the undesirable actions in his life. If Paul, who had a life changing, face to face encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, still had things in his life that he hated, we must realize that we will face things in our lives that we hate.

If you stop to think about this from a different perspective, it may shed a new light on this. Before you met Jesus, would you have even stopped to think about the things that you now hate? Would you have even given them a second thought? Would you even have the hatred towards these things in your life? When you consider the things that you now hate, I want you to consider the simple fact that this hatred indicates a new desire to change. It indicates a desire to repent. It indicates a desire to be something different than you were. It indicates a desire to be something different than you are. It indicates a desire to be like Jesus, and out of that desire, you see things in your life that make you realize that Jesus would not do what you do!

With this in mind, I realize that it is okay to hate the things that I do, for I know that I am not perfect and that I will never be able to walk in Godly perfection as long as I am a sinful creation. I can strive to follow Jesus, but I must realize that there will be times that I will fail. When I fail, I pray that I will, like Paul, be able to recognize what made me fail and hate what made me fail.

It is a matter of attitude.

Do you hate your sinful nature?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is it that you will receive?

November 15, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
(1 Peter 1:8-9 (NIV))

When I read this passage, the word “faith” and how the book of Hebrews defines it come to mind.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

If you stop to think about it, loving someone whom you have never seen and having the faith to believe with confidence that this person can bring salvation are probably the two most difficult things to do. Both require a wisdom and a faith beyond what is humanly possible, especially if you look at these aspects from a so-called mature perspective.

Take a look back at your life.

Was there ever a time when you could display such characteristics in your life? Was there ever a time when you could be so innocent that it was actually possible for you to love without seeing and believe without seeing? I think I now have a better understanding of why Jesus told his disciples the following.

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
(Matthew 18:2-5 (NIV))

The world and all of the sinful natures that we experience take a toll on our innocence. It takes a toll on our ability to love and believe. It takes a toll on our ability to recognize grace and to receive salvation. Don’t allow the world to take away your ability to love. Don’t allow the world to take away your ability to believe. Don’t allow the world to take away the joy of your salvation.

What is it that you will receive?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It is time to make up your mind!

November 2, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!
(Revelation 3:15 (NIV))

Are you still sitting on the fence?

Are you thinking of following Jesus but still enticed by the world?

Does your attitude change based on whomever you are with?

Do you go from one extreme to the next in your thoughts and actions?

Jesus referred to people like this as being lukewarm. They can’t make a commitment to stand firm. They do one thing that is right in the eyes of God and the very next thing that they do is a major sin. Perhaps you simply walk a path that is neither an attempt to follow Jesus, nor is it a rejection of the world. Unfortunately, there are consequences for this type of behavior.

So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
(Revelation 3:16 (NIV))

You may ask, “What about grace?”

If you call upon Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, and then deny Him, have you truly accepted God’s gift of grace? Have you decided in your mind that you are a sinner in need of a Savior?

It is time to make up your mind!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Your sins are not so great that grace cannot be yours!

October 20, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.
(1 Timothy 1:15 (NIV))

Do you believe that Paul thought that he was the worst sinner of all?

Does this sound like the man that history has shown to be the one who brought the Gospel to the Gentiles? Does this sound like the man who is responsible for writing numerous books from the New Testament? Does this sound like the man who went to prison for spreading the Gospel?

I realize that all of these things were after his Damascus Road experience. It was this experience that saw a change of heart and a conversion from Saul to Paul. I can understand Paul if he had stated that he had been the worst, especially when you consider all that he had done to persecute the church. Paul did not place his sin in his past. He did not try to say that he no longer sinned. Paul realized that he was human and human nature is sinful, even after accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.

Paul realized that his sinful nature was still very much a part of him!

Paul also realized that grace extended even to him after all that he had done.

He could have given in to the idea that God could not save him after all that he had done. Thankfully, he did not believe this. Paul realized that the gift of grace was freely given for everyone no matter how great the sin. If God can extend grace to someone who persecuted and killed believers, I find it hard to believe anyone when they claim that God can’t forgive them for what they have done.

It is so simple!

Admit that you are a sinner.

Believe that Jesus died for your sins.

Confess that Jesus is the Son of God.

If salvation was freely given to Paul, who thought of himself as the worst of sinners, it can be freely given to all.

Your sins are not so great that grace cannot be yours!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is God at work in you?

October 2, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
(Philippians 2:13 (NIV))

Have you changed since you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?

Have you truly thought about and attributed this change to anything?

Do you like the changes that you see in yourself?

Do others like the changes that they see in you?

Everyone changes as they get older. Some people attribute this to maturity. Some will attribute this change to anything and everything that they can think of, but are not willing to give credit where credit is due. They will not acknowledge that God is working in them and through them to bring maturity, increase faith, and be a witness to those whom they encounter.

It is a matter of priorities!

Do we want God to work in us?

Do we allow God to work in us?

If we do not want or allow God to have work within us, then we will never mature. We will never change into the person that He desires for us to be. We will never fulfill His good purpose.

Is God at work in you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Yes and Amen!

August 30, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
(2 Chronicles 1:20 (NIV))

What is your favorite word in the English language?

It may not be your favorite word, but “Yes” carries so much promise in three letters. It can be the word that is said that means you will spend the rest of your life with that someone special. It can be the word that is heard when you ask if you got the job. It can be the word that is said when a door is opening for you. It can be the word you say in response to God pursuing you. It can be the word you say or have said to you that will change your life and your eternity.

Now, let’s take this one step further.

Do you like promises?

I realize that everyone has had people who have made promises to them that were never kept. That is not the type of promise that I am talking about. I am talking about a promise from a reliable source. I am talking about a promise from someone who you know will keep their word. This type of person will go out of their way to make sure that what they promise comes true. What if the source of the promise has all the resources in all of creation and His reputation for keeping His promises is impeccable?

“So let it be.”

“He is faithful.”

“It is true.”

From doing research on the word “Amen,” I have come to understand that it can mean any or all three of these statements, and so much more! It is used to emphasize and to punctuate the power and the glory and the truth of God. It is a term of praise. It is a term of authority. It is also a term that represents the humility of the person who says it. When we say “Amen,” we are willingly placing ourselves at the feet of God and using the word to indicate that His will be done.

Think about that in context to God’s promises being “Yes” in Christ. What has God promised humanity? What has God promised you? Please understand that I am not talking about our interpretation or our understanding of what we want Him to promise us, but what He actually has promised. Through the two words, “Yes” and “Amen,” we are told that God’s promises will come true and then we are told that God, the One who promises, is faithful and true.

This may sound strange, but sometimes I hate the English language. “Amen” is so much more expressive than we have words to understand. I know one thing, though, and that is I will hold fast to the promises of God!

Yes and Amen!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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