How do we see each other?

May 28, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
(Galatians 3:28 (NIV))

I long for the day that we truly see each other as Jesus sees us!

I have lived long enough to honestly say that I am tired of people treating each other differently simply because we may not look the same. I want it to end, but since we live in a sinful, fallen world, we are going to continue to see these types of things happen. It breaks my heart just as I am certain that it breaks the very heart of God. What is it about human nature that makes us want to lash out at someone because of our shortcomings, our sins? Ever since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden, humanity has had to struggle with a vast array of sins including ego, pride and selfishness.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
(Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV))

The world is upside down. We are seeing things that our ancestors never saw. We also are doing things that our ancestors would have never dreamed about doing. This goes both ways. Some things are better while some things are worse. We, as the Body of Christ, recognize the intolerance and hatred. We also know that there is truly only one solution to this sinful nature. Unfortunately, not everyone will accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. It is also sad to realize that not everyone who professes a faith in Jesus is mature enough to embrace what the author of Acts recorded for us.

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
(Acts 20:24 (NIV))

We must all come to the realization that each person is a unique creation and is loved by God. We must treat each individual with this in mind. For those individuals whom we see who have accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, we can embrace them as part of the family. For those who haven’t yet accepted Jesus, we can show them the love of Jesus and invite them into the family.

How do we see each other?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can you do these things?

May 8, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Rejoice always,
(1 Thessalonians 5:16 (NIV))

I am the first to admit that this is not always the easiest thing to do. God didn’t stop there!

pray continually,
(1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NIV))

Am I the only one who has trouble doing this even though I long to be able to say that I do pray continually?

give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
(1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV))

Third strike!

If this were a baseball game, I am sure that my batting average is far less than perfect.

Have you ever wondered why the easiest sounding instructions that God has given us are always the most difficult to carry through with? Sadly, because of our fallen, sinful human nature, it usually just gets worse from here. Thankfully, even when we are at our worst, God’s love for us is at His best.

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Do you believe?

I realize that this is another seemingly easy thing to answer, but God realized that He needed to make things simple for us. We will still mess up on the easy things, but we have a simple way to be restored and be embraced by God’s love. We must believe. We may not always be able to say that we are able to rejoice. We may not be able to pray continually, and we definitely will have problems giving thanks in all circumstances, but we can rest assured that our belief in Jesus as God’s one and only Son will redeem us.

Can you do these things?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you long for the day of completion?

October 24, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 1:3-6 (NIV))

Isn’t it wonderful how we can come to Jesus just as we are and He accepts us in all of our rags? What is even more wonderful is that once we come to Jesus, He does not leave us in our rags. He begins to work within us and turn us into what God had intended for us to be all along.

We are not completed works. We are works in progress. We are not the same as we were the day we accepted Jesus as our Savior, and we are not the same today as we will be when we stand before the throne. We are constantly being changed into the image of Christ.

In this world, we will not be able to be completed due to the nature of sin. But when we stand before God, through the redemptive and cleansing power of Jesus’ blood, we will be completed.

God does not do anything only half way. He gave us a way to salvation through Jesus Christ, and He also gave us a way to be completed in His image.

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
(Genesis 1:27)

God created us in His image from the beginning. It was the introduction of sin into the world that corrupted that image. Through Jesus Christ, we again have the potential to be created in his own image.

When you look into the mirror, whose image do you see? Do you long for the day of completion?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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I am confident that God is not through with me!

July 11, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 1:6 (NIV))

Do you have the hope to believe this passage, or is there something deeper, something stronger that you hold on to?

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

Based on this passage and how it relates confidence in the fulfillment, I would safely say that this passage could be paraphrased something like the following.

I have faith that God is not through with me since Jesus has started working in my life!

This passage is something that each of us should remember when we feel like the world is getting the best of us. Have faith that God will see us through! When we struggle with things in our lives, have faith that God will see us through. When we face the enemy, have faith that God will see us through! I have come to the realization that life is beautiful, but it is also a constant struggle. The enemy does all within his power to steal, kill and destroy, but we have a God who has given us the ability to have confidence, to have faith, in His promises. I especially love the promise that He is not through with us!

I am confident that God is not through with me!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you delight in what brings delight to Jesus?

March 22, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
(1 Corinthians 13:6-7 (NIV))

Is this your definition of love?

Did you notice that this passage doesn’t say that love is accepting of the evil that is sin? Love does not delight in evil, so why do we think that if we love someone, then we accept the sin that they are involved in? Love means that we want the best for the person. Why would we accept evil and claim that evil is what is best for any person?

Jesus loves each of us, yet He didn’t say that it was okay for us to stay in our sin. He didn’t condemn us when He came to this world. He called us to repent. He called us to leave our life of sin.

“No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:11 (NIV))

I often wonder if this is how people have come to believe that Jesus will allow sin? Do people think that because Jesus didn’t blast sin while He was on the earth that we won’t face judgment for our actions? When Jesus came to this world, He didn’t come to judge. He came to offer salvation. He came to offer hope. He came to offer a way to repent before the judgment happens, and it will happen.

Jesus came to bring truth so that the truth would conquer evil. He came in love. He came so that we can overcome the evil of sin.

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

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do we have trouble forgetting what is behind us?

November 16, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV))

With all of the writings that are attributed to Paul, there is a major theme running through them that would make many of today’s mental health professionals say that Paul suffered from low self esteem.

We, as the Body of Christ, know better!

Paul, after his Damascus Road experience, simply knew his place and his relationship with His God in Jesus Christ. Paul knew that he fell drastically short of what God calls us to be. He knew that he was lost in sin and, on his own, could do absolutely nothing about it. He knew with certainty that Jesus was the Messiah. He knew, through his Damascus Road experience, that the one whom he had persecuted was the only way to the Father. He also knew that he needed to press on toward becoming the person that Jesus was calling him to be.

He would forever be on a journey toward that calling.

Barring the occasional yearning for regained youth, do you ever look back at the person you used to be and long to be that person once again? Paul did not long to be the person he used to be. He had been lost in sin and was guilty of persecution of Jesus and His followers. He longed to forget that version of himself and longed to be the person that Jesus was maturing him to be. He did not want to look back because he did not like what he saw.

Do you like what you see when you look at your former self?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What do you call yourself?

September 14, 2016

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 think of Paul as a sinner?

Think about that for a moment. The man whom Jesus appeared to on the road to Damascus considered himself to be a sinner. The man whom we, as Gentiles, owe an incredible debt to for bringing the Gospel to us considered himself to be a sinner. The man who planted numerous churches throughout the known world of his day considered himself to be the worst sinner of all.

How do you see yourself? Do you consider yourself to be a sinner or do you have a holier than thou attitude?

We think that we are pretty good. It is human nature to look at others and point out their sins while we fail to recognize our own. Jesus even taught about this very aspect of human nature.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
(Matthew 7:3-5 (NIV))

Before his Damascus Road experience, Saul may have been a major sinner and persecutor of the church, but he had an experience that changed his life. Saul met Jesus. Saul became Paul. Unlike many people today, Paul did not forget what he had been. He did not forget the sins that he had committed. He never lost site of the fact that if it weren’t for his encounter with Jesus, he would still be lost in his sin. He never lost site of the fact that Jesus didn’t make him perfect and that his own human nature would take him right back to where he had been. Paul did not go around with an arrogance and an attitude of being perfect. He knew that he was far from perfect. He knew that it was nothing of his own doing, but it was by grace that he had been redeemed. Why do many members of the Body of Christ fail to recognize this in themselves? Why do we drive so many people away with our attitudes?

Do you call yourself a sinner?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Each of us can impact the world for Jesus!

December 10, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
(1 Timothy 1:12-14 (NIV))

I know that this was written long ago and that it was written by Paul. We all consider Paul to be the one who is most responsible for preaching to the Gentiles. With this in mind, I want to ask you a question.

What is stopping you from claiming this passage as your own?

Has Jesus given you strength? Does He consider you faithful? Are you ready, willing and eager to serve Him?

In comparison to what your life has become since asking Jesus into your heart, were you a blasphemer? Did you persecute those who call upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior?

Have you been shown mercy? Have you been shown grace? Have you been blessed abundantly with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus?

If you truly follow Jesus, you should be able to recognize that these questions all answered as Yes. The only difference between you and Paul with respect to this passage is your circle of influence.

What can we do to impact the world for Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your belief based on your ego?

September 29, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
(Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV))

Too many people still believe that they can be saved by good works. They believe that it is of their own good works that will save them. This belief is based on ego. The inflated ego that they are different from everyone else and that they alone set their destiny. Nothing could be further from the truth.

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; (Isaiah 64:6a)

Nothing that we can do can bring us to the level of righteousness that is required in order to be saved. It is by grace alone that we are saved. Grace is a gift freely given to all who will accept it. There is only one thing that we can do to receive salvation: accept God’s gift of grace.

Works then become important after we have received this gift of grace. These works are the acts of Christian love and compassion that we use to reach others for Jesus Christ. The works are no longer our attempt at becoming good enough for God. We work, not out of a need to prove ourselves, but out of a desire to prove that God loves us. In essence, we become the bearers of the good news of God’s grace once we have accepted God’s grace.

From which side of grace are you performing your good works?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Satan condemns. Jesus saves!

June 19, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
(Romans 8:34 (NIV))

All too often I encounter people who feel that God is the one who is condemning them. They take a look at the lives that they have created for themselves and blame God for all of their shortcomings. They see God as an angry old man who is bent on giving them the very things that they have brought upon themselves. They blame their problems on the very one who desires to save them.

Unfortunately, they do not understand God or even have an accurate picture of Him. All that they know is what they may have been subjected to by people who erroneously claim to be doing God’s work. These are the people who shout at everybody telling them that they are going to hell. To be honest with you, I have seen these type of people shout at people who desire only to do God’s will in all that they do. These type of people are more interested in condemning than in reaching out to rescue. Perhaps they feel that they can scare people into salvation.

Scaring people into salvation and condemning people has never worked. Jesus did just the opposite.

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 8:10-11 (NIV))

Jesus never condemns. He came to save. The next time that you meet someone who thinks that God is condemning them, tell them of God’s love. Tell them of the prostitute that Jesus saved from being stoned. Perhaps it is you who will have an urge to blame God for your problems. Remember the prostitute.

Satan is the one who condemns. He clings to the letter of the law.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
(Romans 8:1-4 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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