Are you praying for a clean heart?

March 31, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
      and renew a right spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (NIV))

Do you find yourself praying this more often in the last few years?

I realize that this could sound like a trick question, but I promise that it is not.

As believers, we should continually pray this. I find myself needing to pray it as I watch the current state of this world. It is human nature to want to go on the offensive when we see things that aren’t right. Our own nation was founded by men and women who did just that. They felt emboldened to the point where they drafted a document that said enough was enough. They went to war and they laid down their lives to do what was right. Today, I find myself in a predicament. Our founding fathers were fighting against tyranny. We are facing a different adversary and many times it is family members, friends and people we work with. The struggle is spiritual and the struggle is real. We must remember that those who are currently against us are also part of God’s creation and that He loves them.

We must never look at these individuals as an enemy not worth saving!

Have you ever been guilty of this? Are you guilty of this at this very moment? What would have happened if the person who lead you to Jesus had the very same type of thoughts about you?

Think about that!

This is why we must pray for God to create a clean heart in us and to renew a right spirit within us. We can’t demonstrate the love and redemption that God has freely given if we cannot, if we will not, show that love to those who need it most. With that in mind, I have a homework assignment for you. The next time that you encounter someone who is against you, pause and pray for God to give you a clean heart so that you will see that person through His eyes. Pray that God will renew a right spirit within you so that you will love that person simply because He loves them.

You will find that your outlook on the world will change. You will also grow closer to the Lord because you will understand just how great His love truly is.

Are you praying for a clean heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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You can start with a clean slate!

January 3, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.”
      “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
(Luke 7:41-43 (NIV))

I hate to say this, but debt is something that we, as a society, seem to know more and more about. It almost seems that we can’t live in this world without incurring debt. Take a look at your finances. If you are like the typical person living in this country, you probably have loans, credit cards, and a mortgage.

What would you do if your mortgage company called you one day and said that you didn’t need to make any more payments? How would you feel if you large balance had been miraculously wiped away? I don’t know about you, but I would be overjoyed.

What other type of debt do you have?

It is said that the biggest debt that each of us have is the debt that we owe because of our sin. That debt requires eternal separation from God. It requires a spiritual death in addition to our physical death. No one can pay the price of their debt. It is a burden that all must bear. It is a burden that no one can escape through any actions of their own. It is written in the law of sin and death.

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.
(Romans 8:1-2 (NIV))

God canceled our debt through Jesus! We should all rejoice for our debt to sin and death has been paid. Our “mortgage” has been given to us free and clear!

How much do you rejoice? How big was your debt?

You can start with a clean slate!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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He knows just how to renew your spirit!

July 2, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
     and renew a right spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (ESV))

What is the state of your spirit within you?

If you are anything like me, if you suffer as part of humanity, then the things that happen around us and to us have an impact on us whether we want to admit it or not. With what the whole world has experienced over the last year or more, it impacts even those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Sometimes I just look at the things of this world and sigh because I can’t put my thoughts into accurate words. I sigh because of the unrighteous things that I see. I sigh because I long for God’s righteousness and not the world’s evil. If you are like me, you can understand how Elijah felt when he ran from Jezebel.

But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”
(1 Kings 19:4 (NIV))

Elijah had fled Jezebel. He was afraid and he was tired. Human nature took control and he wanted to have God end his life. He was physically, mentally and spiritually exhausted.

And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.
(1 Kings 19:5-8 (NIV))

Elijah was a prophet. He heard from God on many different occasions, and yet he still had a crushed spirit due to the events in the world in his life. How can we assume that we will have the strength to achieve on our own what Elijah was unable to achieve on his own?

A day’s journey into the wilderness means that he found a place to escape his troubles and rest. This allowed for the Lord to send comfort and renewal not once, but twice. Because he was able to find rest in the Lord, he was prepared to face the journey ahead. That journey had him face many dark days, but he was able to face them because he found rest in the Lord and the Lord renewed his spirit.

When you sigh and groan under the weight of the world, remember Elijah. Seek the Lord and seek rest in His presence. Our sighs and groans are not incomprehensible to the Lord.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
(Romans 8:26 (NIV))

He knows just how to renew your spirit!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you see the Lord as Holy Glorious?

June 10, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And they were calling to one another:
    “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
     the whole earth is full of his glory.”
(Isaiah 6:3 (NIV))

There are two basic premises outlined in this passage. Two very true details that we need to fully embrace. How we embrace them determines our whole outlook and understanding of God the Father, Jesus His Son, and the Holy Spirit.

First and foremost, the LORD is holy. I am not certain if the word “holy” is repeated three times because of a subliminal reference to the Trinity, or whether it is repeated simply as a matter of driving the concept home. It may even be both. No matter why it is repeated, we must never forget that the LORD is holy. If we treat God in any way less than holy, we have sinned. We have taken the Creator of all things and redefined Him within our comfort zone. We do not praise Him if we make Him less than He is.

Ouch!

I hate to say this, but human nature finds us doing just that. We have a tendency of not understanding just how magnificent that He is. We tend to define God and our relationship to Him by our own thought processes and our own relationships. God is holy.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
      declares the LORD.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

We cannot comprehend God. We must simply trust Him and accept that He is holy.

The second premise that is presented is the fact the the whole earth is full of His glory.

Everywhere that you look, you see wondrous things that God has created. Can man imagine a rainbow into existence? Can humanity divide the waters above from the waters below? Can anybody create a continent and clothe it in the vast splendor that we see?

God’s glory is manifested through His creation. Not only is He holy, but everything that He creates is glorious.

I hope that you fully caught what I just said. Everything that God creates is glorious. God created you and I. It is simple deductive reasoning that allows us to draw the conclusion that we are intended to be glorious. Even though we have fallen from grace through our sin, we are intended to be glorious. Even though we may not always follow God’s call, we are intended to be glorious.

God sent His glory into the world so that we could gain salvation and grace. Jesus, the son of God and the son of man, came into this world so that we could be washed clean and reunited with God in all of His glory.

Holy. Glory.

How do you see God in relationship to these two simple words? Do you see the Lord as Holy Glorious?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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We must overcome!

November 18, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
(Romans 12:21 (NIV))

It seems like we have many opportunities to do this in today’s world. Evil seems to abound.

First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.
(2 Peter 3:3 (NIV))

Is this where we are in God’s history? Many people believe that we are. There are many things that point to it, yet, no matter where we are in God’s timeline, we should be faithful in our response to the evils of the world.

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
(1 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

Think about that for a moment.

If we react in that manner, we fall into sin. We are drawn into the very thing that we have been washed clean by the grace of the cross. Also, what does our falling tell those who ridicule and attack us and call evil good and good evil? We know from where our salvation comes. It is our calling to tell others, even when we are facing evil.

Evil abounds in this world. Satan roams freely. He is busy spreading lies. We must be ready to counter those lies – the evil – that is being spread. We cannot return evil for evil and expect good to come of it.

Why not say–as we are being slanderously reported as saying and as some claim that we say–“Let us do evil that good may result”? Their condemnation is deserved.
(Romans 3:5 (NIV))

We must stand firm in our faith. We must be the light upon the hill. We must not sway from what we know to be good.

We must overcome!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you a new creation in Christ?

January 2, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
(2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV))

Everyone wants a clean start. We have all done things that we are not proud of. Quite often, we wish that we could simply forget our past and start again with a clean slate. Perhaps that is why so many people love to celebrate the beginning of a new year. It is as if you get a reset on the things that you wish you could have done differently. Sadly, too many people resolve to do things differently, but end up giving up on their plans after only a few days.

There is a reset that we can take advantage of that has so much more probability of lasting more than a few days. In fact, it has the ability to last for all eternity!

Think about that and what it truly means. Man’s religion can’t change you. Only by accepting God’s offer of a reset through the acceptance of Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior can you change for all eternity! Only through the process of being born again, can the new creation come.

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
(John 3:1-6 (NIV))

Are you a new creation in Christ?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can you claim that purity on your own?

November 1, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.
(Psalms 24:3-4 (NIV))

A pure heart is all God really asks for. If your heart is pure, then all things that you are involved in will also be pure, for the heart leads us where it is focused. If your heart is focused on sin and perversion, then your life will be full of sin and perversion. If your heart is focused on God and His righteousness, then your life will be filled with those things.

It is said that you are what you eat. Perhaps that saying should be stated that you are what your heart desires. Jesus even stated that what goes into your body does not make you unclean.

Nothing outside a man can make him `unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him `unclean.’ ”
(Mark 7:15)

So then, it is possible for people to ascend the hill of the Lord!

This is an awesome thought, for all throughout the Old Testament, being in the presence of God meant certain death. This death was probably due to the fact that people are sinful and God cannot be around sin. We are still sinful, yet, we have a Savior who has paid the price for our sins. Jesus Christ died on the cross for all of us, and through His selfless act, we have the ability to be made white as snow in the sight of God.

A popular laundry detergent for baby clothes states that it is 99 and 99/100 percent pure. We have the ability, through Jesus Christ, to be 100 percent pure in the eyes of God.

Can you claim that purity on your own?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you allowed yourself to be cleansed?

July 3, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
(Psalms 51:1-2 (NIV))

Everyone desires mercy, but not everyone wants to be cleansed of the reason that they desire mercy!

Think about that in relationship to your own life. We all have something that we know that we shouldn’t do, but we do it anyway. We ask for forgiveness when someone brings it up, but do we truly desire to have this characteristic removed from our lives? Do we truly desire to be cleansed of what we continually ask for mercy for?

For some people, these traits are simply things that annoy those we love. We do them over and over again until someone says something and then we apologize by uttering a “Forgive me! I’m sorry!” For others, these traits are something much worse. They are so ingrained into our sinful nature that we do things that we know aren’t right by any stretch of the imagination. We know that our sins are forgiven and that we have been washed clean by the Blood of the Lamb, but we fail to do the one thing that will give us true freedom. We fail to do the one thing that the Lord desires for us to do.

We fail to surrender!

We fail to let go of our sins. We cling tightly to them even though we claim that we have left them at the foot of the cross. It’s just like old things that we have collected. We know that we should get rid of them, so we pack them up and take them away to be discarded. Far too many of us change our minds along the way. Why do we bring them back into our lives once we have gone through the motions? I often think that we are afraid of what our lives would be without these things. The fear of change keeps us from breaking free. Are we afraid of truly leaving our sins at the foot of the cross? Do we truly repent if we pick them back up? Jesus understood that we may desire to do what is right, but we face obstacles within ourselves. Jesus understands the human condition! He has walked where we walk.

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
(Matthew 26:41 (NIV))

If you read Psalm 51 as a response to the words recorded in Matthew, they can and should be taken as a prayer that every believer presents to God when they are confronted with the sinful nature of the flesh. We should all desire to be cleansed. In order to be cleansed, we have to submit. We have to seek it. We have to allow God to cleanse us.

Have you allowed yourself to be cleansed?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you capable of giving what you long to receive?

June 15, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
(Colossians 3:13 (NIV))

What is it about human nature that makes us reluctant to give away what we have been freely given?

Why do we feel that we must hold on to things that shouldn’t even be a part of our lives?

We all seek grace and mercy, but are we willing to give what we so desperately seek for ourselves?

Through the atoning blood of Jesus, we have been given the gift of forgiveness. This is a gift that, once accepted, wipes clean our sinful past in God’s eyes as if it never happened!

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
(Psalms 103:11-13 (NIV))

All who call upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior have had their transgressions removed as far as the east is from the west. If the Lord can completely forgive us of our sinful nature, we should be able to forgive each other of any grievances, of any transgressions that we have with each other. In fact, we are told that we will be forgiven in the same manner that we forgive others!

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
(Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV))

Are you capable of giving what you long to receive?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you want a clean heart or a pure heart?

May 29, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (NIV))

Most of us can quote this passage as it is translated in the American Standard Version, below.

Create in me a clean heart, O God;
And renew a right spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (ASV))

To be honest with you, that translation is so ingrained in my mind, that it is what I see no matter what translation I may be reading. Today, I think I truthfully read the New International Version for the first time. There were subtle nuances that became obvious to me.

Consider the two words that are used to describe the heart. One uses the word “clean,” which implies that all dirt has been removed as in a clean cup. The other uses the word “pure,” which implies a deeper cleanliness or purity. Consider a bar of gold. It can be dirty or it can be clean. Do either of these states cause any difference in the value of the gold. If you consider the purity of the bar of gold, we have a completely different understanding. If the bar of gold was 95% pure, it wouldn’t be worth as much as if it were 100% pure.

With this in mind, do you want a clean heart or a pure heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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