Do you still feel the weight of guilt and shame?

September 2, 2021

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
(Hebrews 9:14 (NIV))

What weighs on your conscience?

Every single one of us is guilty of so much in our lives. We can’t seem to go a single day without adding something more to the already overwhelming burden of sin that we have accumulated during our time on this earth. If you ever truly stop and reflect on the sin that has permeated your life, it is staggering.

In your opinion, what is the worst thing that you have ever done in this life?

Do you try to bury it so deep inside that you never have to think about it? It is still there. It is still ammunition that the enemy can use against you. It is one of his primary tactics to get you to think that the grace offered by Jesus on the cross could never be for someone like you! The enemy loves to make you feel guilty and then drive that guilt home. The enemy loves to take the guilt and then turn it into shame. When this happens, you lose all hope, for you have not only accepted the lie, you have embraced the lie of condemnation as your own story.

Stop right there!

That does not have to be your story!

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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

Do you believe?

If you answered that you believe, then you are not condemned. You have absolutely nothing to feel guilty for and you have absolutely nothing in your life that needs to cause shame. Jesus took these sins and covered them with His blood. The blood of Christ has cleansed you. You have been washed white as snow.

Do you still feel the weight of guilt and shame?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


What is your answer to what Jesus asks each of us?

July 23, 2021

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

‘What about you?’ Jesus asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’
(Matthew 16:15-16 (NIV))

This is the question that Jesus is asking each and every one of us!

Who do you say that Jesus is? Think carefully about your answer.

Some say that Jesus never existed and that the stories are fabrications of a group of people who were determined to trick people.

Some say that he was simply a good man. This is partially true. Jesus definitely was a good man, but He was much more than a mortal man. Others say that he was a prophet. This is also partially true. He did speak the words of God, but not as a man who was given these words, but as one who spoke out of the authority that comes from the words.

Search your heart. Reflect on what is written about Jesus. Consider that He is the most controversial person to ever have walked the earth. For two thousand years people have been either praising Him or denying Him. Consider what He taught. Consider His status in life as a carpenter in a country that was under foreign domination. How can a man who had no worldly claim to fame captivate the world for two thousand years? Even the men of power during His lifetime do not receive the same attention that this lowly carpenter has received.

There is something in His words that draws people who are seeking the truth. There is something in His words that offends people who are seeking their own way. There is something about Him that still draws people to Him over two thousand years after His brief ministry on this earth.

Just what is that something? That is for each and every one of us to discover. Once you discover it, you will answer as Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

What is your answer to what Jesus asks each of us?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Do your thoughts run wild?

July 19, 2021

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
(2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV))

In other words, we should control what we say, see, hear and do so that we can focus on the Lord, and we should also control what we think!

This sounds wonderful, but as Paul wrote these words to the church at Corinth, he was giving instructions to the members of that body of believers on how to conduct spiritual warfare.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
(2 Corinthians 10:3-4 (NIV))

In fact, it was Paul who was coming under attack by others who were professing to love the Gospel. These words were encouragement to weigh what he was preaching to see if he was boasting. Paul was telling this group of people, and us, to look at the message and not the messenger, for they were saying that his writings were powerful yet his speaking was not.

You are judging by appearances. If anyone is confident that they belong to Christ, they should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as they do.
(2 Corinthians 10:7 (NIV))

Sadly, we still experience this very same thing today. We judge the messenger and not the message. We can have a dynamic speaker who doesn’t speak the truth and this person will be followed. We can also have a speaker who is shy and timid and speaks the truth, but who follows this person? We must learn to discern who is speaking the truth and, as Paul wrote, demolish arguments so that we can take captive our every thought so that we are obedient to Christ. If we are too tied up in appearances, we will not be focused on the truth. Our thoughts will run out of control toward the worldly things that we say that we want to turn away from. We will have not only failed to take our thoughts captive, we will have enabled them to run wild.

Do your thoughts run wild?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Freedom always has a cost!

July 5, 2021

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
(Galatians 5:1 (NIV))

What is the difference between freedom and independence?

Do you think that they are the same?

We, as a nation, just celebrated the anniversary of our independence from rule by another country. Is this the same as freedom?

We, as believers, celebrate the fact that we have been set free from the bondage of sin and death. We are no longer bound by the sins that shackled us. Is this the same as independence?

One of the definitions for the word freedom says that it is a state of being free from confinement or physical restraint. One of the definitions for the word independence says that it is freedom from the control or influence of others. I find it interesting that the word freedom is used in the definition of independence. I also find it interesting that this country was settled be those seeking freedom to worship God as they saw fit. They may not have all faced physical restraint, yet they were restrained in other ways. These people faced persecution because they did not believe as the official church dictated that they believe. In the course of seeking their freedom to worship, they gained their independence. They were no longer controlled by others.

Over the course of many years, the freedom that was sought for became a desire to be independent.

Do you see the trend?

When we seek freedom, independence is earned. When we give up freedom, independence is taken away. This is true for both the physical and the spiritual. If we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we are set free from the bondage of sin and death. If we allow a small foothold to sin, we are once again burdened by what we had previously cast off. I honestly believe that this holds true for all aspects of our lives, and not just our individual spiritual lives.

Think about that for a moment.

Over the last several years things have changed in our country. Many are willing to give up freedoms in exchange for a dependency. Many are willing to give up freedoms for what they think will mean peace and security. Many are willing to give up freedom of religion in exchange for political correctness. And now the very symbols of the freedom are under attack.

We have become complacent. We have become too willing to appease a vocal few. We have allowed the vocal fee to take our freedoms.

Freedom isn’t free. It has a heavy cost.

Jesus died on the cross to be able to set us free from sin. Countless people throughout our history have died to ensure that our freedoms remain. Have we become a consumer of the actions of others? Are we willing to sit back and observe or do we embrace the freedom and the price that has been paid and must be paid? Do we change our thoughts as easily as we change the channel? Do we stand firm in God’s Word or do we let others fill us with their thoughts?

Remember that Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we could be given salvation. Thousands of men and women since then have paid the price for physical freedom so that we may enjoy and embrace the freedoms that Jesus gave us through the cross. Are we willing to simply sit on the sidelines or will we stand firm in our faith and in our freedom?

Freedom always has a cost!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


We have a Savior and He wins!

June 8, 2021

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
(Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV))

I am so very weary!

I don’t know just how much more of this world I can stand. Jesus is mocked and chastised while evil is declared truth. Common sense and civility no longer seem to exist.

The whole world simply seems to be upside down and getting worse!

Perhaps I spend too much time watching and reading about events in the world and the current state of what the world says is good. It is heartbreaking to see, but I believe that it is important to know what is going on so that I am at least aware and possibly prepared. We were told to know the seasons. We can’t live our lives in a vacuum where we are completely oblivious to what is going on around us. That is what the enemy wants us to do.

I am weary, or should I say saddened by the current state of the world. I am also very excited, for we have a promise from God. He sent His Son Jesus to be our Savior. Because of this, even when I am weary from what I see in the world, all I have to do is look up to see my Savior.

Don’t forget the promises that God has fulfilled in sending His Son!

I am eternally thankful for Jesus! Even in the midst of troubles, He is in complete control. Everything is unfolding just as the Lord planned. We have nothing to fear even when all seems lost.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

Are you afraid of the events that are happening in the world? Are you weary and burdened by the things that you see unfolding? Are you saddened by the total rebellion against God? Does it break your heart to see evil being called good and good being called evil? There is an old saying that it is darkest just before the dawn. To put this saying into context – when it seems that things can’t get any worse, look up. When you can’t understand why things are happening as they are, look up. When you think that the world can’t do anything else that goes against God’s righteousness, look up. The dawn is coming!

Angels rejoiced when Jesus was born. The enemy rejoiced when Jesus was crucified for he thought that he had won. The disciples rejoiced at the resurrection. Each believer rejoices at the moment of accepting salvation. The enemy is rejoicing once again, but all of the heavenly host and all who call upon the name of Jesus will rejoice at His return.

We have a Savior and He wins!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Are you waiting for Jesus?

June 3, 2021

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
(Hebrews 9:28 (NIV))

As believers, we are fully aware of the first part of this passage. As part of the Great Commission, we should be able to communicate this truth to anyone. In fact, someone has simplified this to the point where anyone can witness to anybody at any time if you can simply remember ABC.

A is for admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior.

B is for believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead.

C is for call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.

Sadly, what far too many people have trouble with is the fact that Jesus will come again. Some proclaim that it has has been over two thousand years, so they mockingly ask where is He? Others refuse to believe beyond the physical and claim that no one can return from the dead. I have even known some people who profess a faith in Jesus and claim that He is not returning. They claim that this was simply a metaphor for when we die and are taken to heaven. Still others only think of Jesus for an hour on Sunday and never truly give any consideration to what faith truly means. Are you among those who live for this world and forget about Jesus coming again? In other words, do you profess a faith and live your life as if you don’t want Jesus to return?

Think about that last question!

Do you love the world so much that you aren’t looking for Jesus, or are you waiting patently for His second appearance even when the world claims that He isn’t coming soon if He comes at all?

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:8-9 (NIV))

When Jesus does return to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him, will you be on the receiving end or will you be left behind?

Are you waiting for Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Do you pass this test?

May 19, 2021

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?
(2 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV))

How did you do at taking tests when you were in school?

Personally, I did good with tests but I hated the prep work needed for the tests. You could spend days reviewing and studying for a test and in less than an hour it would be over. These type of tests were designed to see how well you are able to learn and apply the material in a given subject. To be completely honest with you, the material that I would spend days reviewing is all trivial when you consider the test that each of us must face. The most important test that you will ever take has eternal consequences. It is a test of your faith that is administered by you on you every single day of your life! In essence, this is the prep work for the final exam when each of us stand before God when we hope to hear these words.

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
(Matthew 25:21 (NIV))

Just how do you test to see whether you are in the faith?

It starts with admitting that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. It starts with professing a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. It starts with surrendering your life to the authority and Lordship of Jesus. It starts with deciding to follow Jesus in all that you do.

To put it simply, it all starts with Jesus!

Each day I make it a priority to spend time in God’s Word. I look forward to my quiet time where I can cease my worldly striving and simply be still in His presence. I reflect on the meaning of the words and the lessons that the Lord is conveying. I look inward to ask myself if I am doing what I need to do with respect to the Scripture. That last aspect is of utmost importance, for if you only read the words and don’t apply them to your life, if you don’t learn and mature from these words, then you are only fooling yourself. This is how you examine yourself. You read and pray for insight and wisdom and then reflect and pray for maturity with respect to applying this to become more like Jesus.

I think I just stated the ultimate way to examine yourself to see whether you are in the faith. Do you desire to be more like Jesus in all that you do?

Do you pass this test?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Do you find joy in your trials?

April 14, 2021

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
(James 1:2 (NIV))

What is your state of mind considering the present state of the world?

I ask this because all of us have been facing trials that we never thought would happen and we honestly don’t know if and when they will end. With this in mind, are you filled with joy? Do you have a peace in your life that others just don’t seem to understand? If this is true, then it is time to share the reason behind your joy and your peace so that others may come to know the same truths.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (NIV))

No one knows what tomorrow may bring. This very moment might be the last opportunity that someone you know has to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. You need to tell them about Jesus! If you believe that the events foretold of in Daniel and Revelation are unfolding, then we should have a sense of urgency in sharing the hope and joy of our salvation with those who need to know Jesus before the time comes when it is too late.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
(John 16:33 (NIV))

We know that there will be trouble in this world. Sometimes the trouble is of a personal nature. Sometimes the trouble is of a catastrophic nature. No matter what trouble you face, we know that our redeemer lives! If you truly stop to think about the trials and troubles that this world sends our way, we should have such a joy and a peace just from the knowledge that the One in whom we trust has overcome the world and will see us through whatever we are going through.

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
(Philippians 1:21 (NIV))

We have been given a promise that Jesus is with us always in this world no matter what we may face. We are also given a promise that He is preparing a place for us. Based on these promises, why would anyone who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior ever feel anything less than joy since the promises of hope are true?

Do you find joy in your trials?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Would you be counted as alive in Christ?

February 9, 2021

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
(Romans 6:11-14 (NIV))

I am sure that we have all seen people who attend church regularly every Sunday, but once they leave the church building, they act as if they do not know Jesus. They do whatever they want to do and are able to justify it in their mind that since they attend church they are forgiven for whatever they do. The Bible says that these people will have a surprise awaiting them.

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

“Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:15-23 (NIV))

If you are truly a disciple of Jesus, then you will desire not to sin. You will want to bear good fruit. Those who attend church but still bear bad fruit are not part of the branch that Jesus has allowed to be grafted into Israel.

Look at it from a worldly perspective. If you were an employer who had someone who constantly created trouble and did bad things against you, what would you do? Think of God doing a performance evaluation on you in which the only questions consisted of whether you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior and whether you are bearing fruit accordingly. Would you be promoted or fired?

Would you be counted as alive in Christ?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

December 23, 2020

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy–
(Jude 1:24 (NIV))

This one statement, from a worldly point of view, is a difficult thing to grasp. The world is treacherous. The enemy is constantly trying to kill or destroy. Who can possibly keep themselves from falling into the traps that the world presents? Who can possibly keep others from falling into those very same traps? Every person who has ever lived has faced the traps that the enemy has set for each of us. No one has ever been exempt from this temptation. All of created humanity has failed.

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

There is one who was sent to save us from falling. He is not part of creation. He is the Creator. He came to earth as one of us. He took it upon himself to be what He created. He took it upon himself to save His creation so that we could have a way to keep from falling. He took the sins of the world upon himself so that we could be sin free. Only one has that authority. Only God can possess such power.

At this time of year, we think of Jesus as a little baby in a manger, but we must not lose site of the fact that He was also God. Even as an infant, He possessed authority over all of creation. This Christmas morning, stop and think about your children. Thank God for the grace and mercy that are celebrated through the birth of a child. Stop and think about the gift that child gave you. It is a gift that only God could give.

Praise God!

to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
(Jude 1:25 (NIV))

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


%d bloggers like this: