What do you do with your freedom?

August 2, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
(Galatians 5:13 (NIV))

How do you define freedom?

You may find yourself among the group of people who look at freedom as a political right, as in being free to do whatever you desire. If this is the case, then you may be surprised to find that this definition is not the primary definition in many dictionaries. In many dictionaries, freedom is defined as personal liberty from bondage, slavery or confinement. No matter how you look at freedom, it is generally accepted to mean a state of being free, whether from confinement, bondage or in actions. It is the subtle nuances of the definitions that catch people off guard and have them making choices that are not the true definition of freedom.

In this country, we have many freedoms. We are free to choose how to live our lives. We are free to choose to do things that should probably be left undone. Yet, too many people make these choices simply because they think that they have a right to do so. Let’s put these types of choices in perspective. We have the freedom to go to the top of a tall building to enjoy the view. Some people take that freedom to extreme and jump! When a choice that someone makes under the guise of freedom harms themselves or others, is it really freedom? Would you want to be free in this manner, especially when you consider the consequences of the choices made in this type of freedom?

The freedom that Jesus came to offer is not this type of freedom!

We, as humanity, have been sentenced to a physical world where we simply cannot live without making mistakes. Those mistakes are called sin. No one is perfect.

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

Because of our sin, we have been tried, convicted and condemned.

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

The freedom that we have been given through Jesus is a washing clean of our sin and the consequences of that sin. Let’s look at it from a perspective not many of us will ever know, but hopefully one that will help us to understand. Imagine that you are convicted of murder and sentenced to death for your crime. You spend every day knowing that one day you will face the consequences of your actions and there is absolutely nothing that you can do. You desire to escape the consequences, yet you know that you deserve all that is coming.

With this image still fresh in your mind, the best way to describe true freedom is this.

Godly freedom is being given a pardon for the consequences of your actions and you are so thankful that you joyfully refrain from any similar actions. You also joyfully share the story of how you gained your freedom so that others may find theirs. Is this how you see freedom through Jesus?

What do you do with your freedom?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you been convicted enough to change?

February 8, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
(1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NIV))

It is impossible for the wicked to be a part of God’s kingdom, “and that is what some of you were.”

God does not wish that any should perish! How can this be?

Once we have accepted God’s grace through the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, He works within us to change us to His image. For the things that do not fit His image, He cleans up and replaces with His righteousness.

The people, and some so-called church members, who are saying that some specific sins are okay are misreading what God has said within this passage. We are to hate the sin, but love the sinner. We are not to accept the sin. That would be a sin in and of itself.

In the scripture, it states “that is what some of you WERE.” The people who are pushing acceptance are not willing to embrace all of God’s Truths. They are not willing to change. They are doing all that they can to change this to read “that is what some of you ARE.” They want to be able to tell God that their sin is acceptable, even though God has clearly stated that no sin is acceptable. They cannot stand up to the conviction and repentance that God requires of us.

Let’s face the truth. Conviction is not comfortable!

Do you accept all of God’s Word, or only the parts that don’t convict you?

Have you been convicted enough to change?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Join in the victory as conquerors

April 24, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin– because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

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 6:5-14 (NIV))

Grace is an amazing thing. All throughout the Old Testament, man lived under Law. The Law convicted man in everything that he did. Man could not live up to the standard of the Law. We had fallen from Grace and sin had entered into our lives, and no matter what we tried, we could not be perfect in God’s eyes.

Grace changed all that! God knew that we would need a Savior – someone who was perfect in His sight to pay the price for our sinful nature. Jesus’ death was that price paid once for all. But, there is more. Jesus’ resurrection was the crowning glory to God’s plan for salvation. God knew that in order for us to be able to live with Him, we must conquer death which was brought about by our sin. Jesus HAD to be resurrected in order for us to fully have salvation.

Sin cannot be present with God. Death was brought about by sin. Death HAD to be conquered once and for all. All we have to do is proclaim our faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and we can join in the victory as conquerors.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do your thoughts tell you?

March 5, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good–except God alone. You know the commandments: `Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’ ”
“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
(Mark 10:17-22 (NIV))

Jesus had a way of searching the heart, or perhaps I should say that he had a way of making people search their own hearts. We do not know what happened to this man. Did he closely inspect his heart and realize that he was controlled by his wealth, or did he go his own way and not give another thought to what Jesus said?

When Jesus walked the earth, He did not preach to those whom He knew were not ready to fully receive Him, yet, he did not ignore them, either. Jesus had a way of making people look at themselves in detail. The man went away sad not because he had great wealth, but probably because he realized that Jesus was right. He probably walked away thinking about what Jesus had said and became convicted that maybe he did let his wealth control him. Jesus had planted a seed in this man’s heart that would grow and possibly blossom into the fruit that Jesus knew the man needed.

Notice that Jesus did not pursue him. He let him go his own way knowing that what He had said would be the subject of much thought and reflection. It is thought and reflection that leads a person to acknowledge that something needs to change. It is thought and reflection that leads to a person realizing that they are a sinner in need of a Savior.

What do your thoughts tell you?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Would you be convicted?

June 19, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You shall not murder.
(Exodus 20:13 (NIV))

You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, `Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, `Raca, ‘ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, `You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
(Matthew 5:21-22(NIV))

God clearly defined for us that to take another life is a sin, yet, how many times have we said things in anger that could convict us just the same? We may have learned to put up a front to society and to ourselves, yet, our thoughts can be just as sinful, if not more so, than our actual actions.

Sin is a matter of the heart. A heart that longs to do the Will of God will still sin, but it will not be as sinful as someone who does not long to be like God. Their thoughts will focus on God and the things that are righteous in nature. Someone who does not focus on God focuses on themselves. I have heard it said that sin has as its basis the human desire to be at the center of all things. Sin focuses on “me” and what “I” can get from things quickly. It is this type of an attitude that makes a person’s thoughts stray from what God would have you think about. “Me” turns to anger and anger into actions. The only difference is the physical act, yet, the heart still had the very same intentions. Perhaps it is the intention that convicts us of our sins.

What thoughts have you had recently? Would you be convicted?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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