Are you living your life in this manner?

September 10, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
(Romans 12:12 (NIV))

The world has a tendency to throw things at us that make us do things that we wish we wouldn’t do!

How you react during these times is viewed as a reflection of all of Christianity by the non-believing world. The world sees us at these times and judges all believers based on our shortcomings and then they call us hypocrites. What they fail to realize is that everyone is human and we will all make mistakes. The only difference between believers and the world is that we, as the Body of Christ, get judged quite harshly and ridiculed by the world while the rest of the world gets a much lesser judgment from their own.

Think about that for a moment!

The world receives some semblance of grace from those who follow the world, while those who follow Jesus receive judgment from the world. Those who follow Jesus will receive the ultimate grace from God while those who follow the world will receive the ultimate judgment from God. Personally, I prefer to receive grace from God. With this in mind, I don’t mind if the world judges me and ridicules me. I know that I am far from perfect. I know that I will make mistakes, but, I also know that my mistakes, my sins, are covered by the redeeming blood of Jesus. My hope lies solely with Jesus. Because of this, I know that whatever I face in this world is only temporary. I also know that prayer will keep me focused. I do my best to remain joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.

Are you living your life in this manner?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your life built upon the cornerstone?

February 2, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;”
(Psalms 118:22 (NIV))

Have you ever truly stopped to think about the meaning of the word cornerstone? There are a few basic meanings and I honestly believe that they both apply in this passage. One meaning represents a stone that is basically as the word sounds. It is the stone that is used at the corner of a building, but part of that definition also includes the fact that the cornerstone is laid in a formal ceremony. The other definition has the word cornerstone meaning a basic element.

I want you to think about these meanings with respect to Jesus.

When you think of a corner, you get a mental image of a change of direction. John the Baptist called everyone to change direction, only he used the word repent. Jesus offered us a way to repent of our sins by accepting Him as our personal Lord and Savior. God cemented this possibility through a formal event that has captivated millions since the time that it occurred. The trial, crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection were orchestrated like clockwork according to God’s plan, according to a ceremony that we still do not fully understand.

Has Jesus allowed you to change direction?

The basic tenet of Christianity is that Jesus is the not a mere man. He is the Son of God! That concept is the basic element of faith in Jesus. Jesus is the basic element of salvation!

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))

The more that I consider the meanings of the word cornerstone, Jesus fulfills all of them. He is the corner upon which we may change direction. He is the cornerstone that was established through God’s formal plan. Jesus is the basic element, the very foundation upon which our faith is built.

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

Is your life built upon the cornerstone?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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I pray that you have a “Mighty Christ Mass”

December 17, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus said, “I am with you for only a short time, and then I go to the one who sent me. You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.”
(John 7:33-34 (NIV))

Has Jesus been away too long? Do people find Him when they look for Him? Perhaps I should ask if people even bother to look for Him anymore.

We are in the time of year when we are preparing for the celebration of His birth. The Body of Christ is under continuous assault for saying Merry Christmas. Anybody who clings to traditional Biblical values is ridiculed and condemned. There is a mass movement by a very vocal minority to completely remove Jesus from all aspects of our lives. There is more falsely placed concern for tolerance as long as what you are asked to be tolerant of is against Biblical teachings.

Has the Body of Christ grown soft? Have we forgotten that we have a risen Savior and that we are called to be bold in the face of the enemy? Society has made us think that the meaning of Christianity is timidity. We are falsely told that in order to follow Jesus we are to accept each lifestyle choice that anyone makes.

I think not!

Jesus did not tell the men who caught the woman in adultery that it was okay for her to do what she did. He told them that if they were without sin, they could judge her by casting the first stone. Jesus did not tell the woman to go her way and live her life of sin because it is what she wanted to do. Jesus told the woman to leave her life of sin!

There is a lesson in this parable. We are to not be too quick to judge and condemn, but we are to not allow people to continue in their sin. That is a fine balance. Jesus loves the sinner, yet He cannot condone the sin. He cannot force them to repent. It breaks His heart to see people reject the gift of grace that He came to give.

I know that when Jesus spoke the words of John 7:33-34 He was saying them to His disciples in reference to His crucifixion. I also see a message for us today in these same words. It has become more and more evident in today’s society that we will look for Jesus and see less and less of Him. With this in mind, we need to double down on our resolve to celebrate the birth of Jesus as it truly should be celebrated. Christmas is the time that we celebrate the beginning of the fulfillment of God’s promise to send a Savior.

Just a reminder of the strength behind the celebration. When we say Merry Christmas, we are actually wishing someone to have a “Mighty Christ Mass” so that the power and the presence of Jesus is manifested mightily in our lives.

Merry Christmas!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is sincerity your goal?

August 6, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
(Romans 12:9-16 (NIV))

Simple rules to live by. A simple philosophy to hold fast to when all around you is falling apart.

If that is the case, then why do many of us cling to what is evil and reject what is good? Perhaps we will never truly know why human nature has sunk to a point where sin and Satan cloud our hearts, minds and spirits. They are clouded so much that we cannot see what is good when it is right before our eyes. Even believers in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior have trouble with these characteristics and discerning which is from God.

I cannot remember who said it, but there is a quote that says something to the effect that Christianity is a good thing, but it is too bad that nobody has ever practiced it. Following Jesus is a good thing, however, in our human nature and in our sinful flesh, we cannot follow Jesus on our own without making mistakes. Perhaps the person who spoke those words did not understand that we are not perfect, and as a result, our worship of Jesus as Lord and Savior, and our attempts to follow Him are far from perfect. Perhaps the most important aspect that they missed is that they are not perfect and are in need of a savior to justify themselves to God.

We must strive to be like Jesus in all that we do, yet, we must not be proud or conceited, for it is not anything that we have done that has allowed us special favor with God. It was a sacrifice planned by God that has allowed us to be forgiven when we are less than perfect. Perhaps the person who spoke about nobody practicing Christianity did not take into consideration the word “practice.” The last time I looked, the word “practice” meant to do something over and over again in hopes of getting better at it.

This is my goal, to get better at following Jesus. I desire to practice Christianity so that the words in Romans are more than mere words. What is your goal?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus is the only bridge to God!

December 10, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

It has been said that religion is humanity’s attempt at reaching to God. All throughout history, mankind has been searching for God in many different ways. No matter what we, as part of the creation, do to reach God, we can never acheive what we desire.

Now consider that the same people who say that religion is humanity’s attemtp at reaching out to God are the same people who state that Christianity is God’s way of reaching out to humanity.

God knew that we could never attain the goal that we had set for ourselves, primarily because we do not understand what our goal is. It is for this reason that God sent His Son, Jesus, to be the bridge that allows us to make that crossing that is impossible to cross without Jesus.

John 14:6 states what many in this world still fail to recognize. God wants us to be with Him in His kingdom, but we must come to Him through His Son. All of the world religions that do not recognize Jesus as their Lord and Savior fail to recognize that they must come to God as part of His plan and not theirs.

How can we help the world to see this only bridge to God?

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

September 9, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
(Hebrews 5:13-14 (NIV))

Satan has tricked our society and our churches into focusing on the “milk” of salvation. We do not spend enough time teaching how to distinguish good from evil. This is evident in our society when the courts can remove a judge for acknowledging where our laws come from and do so in the name of “ethics.” It is evident when an unborn baby can be killed because it is not yet a human life.

I could go on and on with examples. We are too soft and do not call evil what it is. We would rather ignore it in the hope that it will go away. It will not go away. It wants to control. I saw a sign on a church that stated this truth extremely well. “Don’t give Satan a ride. He wants to drive.” Satan wants control. He tries to gain control in any way that he can. Trickery is part of his arsenal. He has tricked us into shying away from the full promise that God has given us through Jesus. Satan knows that people will turn to Jesus. Some will fully understand. They will nourish themselves on the solid food of God’s Word. Others will try it and shy away. Still others will never desire to try the solid food. They are content in the “feel good” aspects of Christianity where they do not have to do anything and they are not held accountable for anything. These people are referred to as luke warm Christians in Revelations. I don’t think that I need to remind anybody about what awaits the luke warm believers.

Solid food is essential for both the physical body as well as spiritual growth. There comes a time when milk is simply not enough to sustain us. This is only natural for any person who is growing and maturing. I have never seen a forty year old who survived solely on milk. I have never seen a mature Christian who only ate of the salvation. Maturity requires deeper understanding. It requires a conscious effort to draw closer to God.

Are you on solid food?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus was willing. Are you?

June 26, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
(Matthew 8:1-4 (NIV))

“I am willing.”

Three little words that changed the course of history! Three little words that allowed each of us to receive grace and mercy.

I can imagine a conversation in heaven a long time ago in which God the Father says something like, “I have a plan to offer grace, mercy and salvation to my creation. It will require a great sacrifice. Are you willing?”

“I am willing.”

It is very easy to comprehend the idea that when Jesus spoke these words to the leper, it was not the first time that He had said them. Perhaps the best part of this is that He says them still. He says them to each of us who willingly come to Him as Lord and Savior. No matter what garbage we bring with us, we can ask Him if He is willing to take it from us and His answer will always be “I am willing.” The only thing that holds us back from hearing these words and receiving His gift of grace and mercy is the simple fact that we do not answer Him. He asks each of us “If you are willing, I can take that from you.” Far too many are not willing. Far too many will never know God’s grace and mercy.

Jesus was willing. Are you?

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