Whose son or daughter are you?

May 25, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
(Galatians 4:28-31 (NIV))

Unlike our biological families, we have a choice to make!

We can choose to be a child of slavery to sin or we can choose to be a child born of the Spirit. It has been, and will forever be, our choice. But, it was a choice that we could not fulfill on our own merit if we chose to be a child born of the Spirit.

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))

Did you pick up on the very simple adoption policy that God put in place so that we could abandon our sinful childhood and be welcomed into a childhood of freedom? All that we have to do is believe that Jesus is God’s one and only Son and accept the grace that is freely given through the ransom, through the adoption fee that Jesus paid to make each of us a part of the free woman’s family. We are no longer a part of the slave woman’s family.

I must do the responsible thing and remind everyone that becoming a child of grace does not mean that you will never face persecution from the enemy and those bound by slavery to sin. We have elected to leave our natural, sinful nature and those who are still bound to sin do not like that we have become children of God. They will do anything and everything to trip us up, to deceive us into turning away from God.

Once again, when this happens, we have a choice!

Each and every day we must consciously make that choice.

Whose son or daughter are you?

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

February 1, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”
(Mark 11:33 (NIV))

I find it funny that those who were supposed to be learned leaders when Jesus walked the earth felt that they had to question Jesus. Some feel that they were trying to get Him to commit blaspheme while others believe that they were simply trying to trick Him. They had no idea just who they were dealing with!

No matter what their true motives may have been, they ended up in a battle of wits. A battle that they were destined to lose! Ironically, people have been trying to engage the Lord in just such type of exchanges ever since. Think about that for a moment. How many times have you heard people trying to negotiate with Jesus? Perhaps you have even been guilty of such an act yourself.

In this story from Mark, the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders tried to get Jesus to say under whose authority He was able to do all that He was able to do. It was their plan to deceive Jesus and catch Him in something that they could use against Him. Jesus knew their intentions and He knew just how to turn the situation around. This was not the only time that Jesus was confronted and He turned the tables.

I don’t know about you, but I come away with one valuable lesson from all of this.

Never get into a battle of wits with the Lord.

It won’t end well for you!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t let the things of this world distract you from Jesus!

October 11, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, `I am he,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
(Mark 13:5-8 (NIV))

I know that things will get much worse than they are, but I honestly have to stop and make myself realize that what we are seeing could be just the beginning of the birth pains. We see the wars going on in Syria and in the lands surrounding Israel. We see other things, such as the terrorism, going on all around the world. I have seen reports that the main stream media has not and probably will not cover. I have seen reports that the Russian government is telling its citizens to prepare for nuclear war with the US.

I want to remind you that when this was written, a nation was considered a people group. Think about the stressed relations between different people groups in this country. I have also heard reports that this is happening in other parts of the world and it is not simply an isolated occurrence here.

There is something that I want you to consider with respect to kingdom against kingdom. For the longest time, this has been thought to mean actual governmental structures such as the United States and Russia. What if this actually means something more? I can think of two very distinct kingdoms right now that are definitely at odds with each other. One is the Kingdom of God or as some may refer to it, the Kingdom of Heaven. Then we have the kingdom of the prince of the air and this world. These two kingdoms have always been at war with each other since Satan rebelled against God. The attacks from the kingdom of the prince of this world are rapidly escalating to the point where God will soon say enough is enough.

The things that are going on in this world are enough to make anyone cringe out of fear. Sadly for the lost world, things will be getting worse. No matter what may happen, don’t lose faith. Don’t lose hope. We have a tendency to think that this presidential election can change things. I honestly pray that it does, but more importantly, I pray for God’s Will to unfold and not mine.

If the current state of the world makes you fearful, remember that we are not to place our hope in the things of this world. We are to place our faith and our hope solely on Jesus!

Look up!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t lower your standards!

June 20, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.
(1 Corinthians 3:18-19A (NIV))

What standards do you live by?

There is the standard that God has set for us that He longs for us to follow and then there is the standard that the world sets.

The world says that truth is relative and that if it feels good, do it. The world says that no one else matters. Life is about getting all that you can get no matter what you have to do to get it. If we follow that philosophy, then we play right into the lies of the enemy. We become foolish in the eyes of God, for we have literally traded gold for ashes.

Have you ever felt like a fool?

What made you feel that way? Who do you think felt that way about you?

Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and felt that you are foolish in the eyes of man? Have you ever looked in the Bible and felt that you are foolish in the eyes of God? Have you ever looked at yourself in relation to the world and felt that the world sees you as foolish because of your faith in God?

There is a question that asks if you were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? The way that the world is going, people who profess a faith in Jesus are coming under persecution. The world looks upon us as foolish. Would you be convicted of being a fool for Jesus?

God has set a higher standard than the one the world has set. Some call it foolishness, but I call it wisdom.

Don’t lower your standards!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you practice what it tells you?

January 7, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
(James 1:22 (NIV))

How many times have you heard someone say that they read the Bible? Do there actions prove it? Do their lives reflect it? Do their business dealings indicate that they have heard the Word and have taken it to heart?

All too often we hear of people reading the Bible all of the time, but they do not practice what it tells them. They fail to recognize the fact that they are to reflect and to change according to what God tells them through His Word. When you read or hear the Word of God, do not simply let it bounce around without having any impact. Let the truth sink in and if it hurts a little, then you have actually experienced what was intended. The Word of God is living and is meant to direct and guide us in our daily lives. If this means that there is some self examination because of what was read or heard, then it is working.

Let God, through the Holy Spirit, guide you in all things through what God has told us in His Word.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you do what it says?

July 3, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
(James 1:22 (NIV))

Have you ever heard someone say that there are hard sayings in the Bible? At first read, this doesn’t sound like it is one of them, but take a very close look at the last four words of this passage.

“Do what it says.”

It doesn’t say to try to do what it says. It doesn’t tell us to do what it says when it is convenient. It doesn’t tell us to do what it says when it benefits us. It simply tells us to do what it says.

If you are like every other human being alive today, you probably don’t like to follow directions very well, especially when those directions come from someone that you think doesn’t know you and how you like to do things. How many have ever had a job where they handed you an employee manual? You were expected to perform according to that manual. You were required to read it and abide by what was contained within its pages.

How many of you truly know God’s manual that He has given to us? Do we spend enough time within God’s Word so that we know it? How can we do what it says if we don’t know what it says? Most of us are well versed in the basics, but, we need to get beyond the basic training that we have received. We are soldiers who are called to a higher understanding. We are, according to Paul, like athletes who are called to train for the competition.

No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs–he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules.
(2 Timothy 2:4-5 (NIV))

That training requires us to know the rules thoroughly. What are the rules that we are to live by? What are the rules that should govern our lives?

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.
(James 1:23-25 (NIV))

According to James, we should know God’s Word like we know our own faces. We should reflect God’s Word. What do you reflect?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?

February 12, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
(Galatians 6:7 (NKJV))

It is not possible to deceive God. Many people think that they can do things that are not in God’s Will, and they have convinced themselves that they are allowed to do them because of their particular situation.

God does not bend His Will or Laws because of someone’s feeble attempt to justify their actions. They will still be held accountable. No one is above the law, and no one is above God’s Law. You may think that you can get away with something, but God sees all and knows all.

We are all sinners and are all sentenced to eternal separation from God. Yet, God has given us a way to be redeemed so that we may spend eternity with Him. Not one person in all of human history has ever been perfect in the sight of God. This perfection is what God seeks and requires. Since no one was capable of this perfection, God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to come to this world and pay the price for our redemption.

There is only one way to escape what we deserve. There is only one way to spend eternity with God. There is only one name on which we can call that has the authority to save us from our sin. Jesus is that name. Without Jesus, we will inevitably face the “reward” for what we have sown. With Jesus, we have someone who can stand in the gap and help us to be “perfect” through His perfection.

Have you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Worship the Lord your God and serve him only

February 6, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus answered, “It is written: `Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’ ”
(Luke 4:8 (NIV))

I just saw something that sent chills through my body. It also brought great sadness to my very soul.

I know that many people place things before God, such as fame, fortune and power. Each of these is a small “god” that some of us allow to be our priority. Others will put God in a box and try to limit Him by their understanding of him. People think that they are worshipping the God of the Bible, but in essence, they are worshipping a god of their own creation. This was phrased very well by my friend and pastor, Bill Jackson, when he said that we worship the god we want instead of the God who is.

There are times that we are all guilty of this. It is human nature to place things as a priority even when we do not mean to do so. When this happens, we must repent and place God as our only Lord.

What happens when someone deliberately worships a god that is not God?

That is what sent chills through my body!

A large number of people are worshipping the president as the second coming of Jesus. In fact, they have formed a legal church and have over 50,000 members!

We are told that Jesus will return to the earth to battle Satan and his armies in the Valley of Megido. It does not say that Jesus will return physically to the earth before this. It does not say that He will be a political leader.

There are many things in this world that we can allow to replace God. We must be careful that we stay true to God’s Word. Test everything. If something is 90% correct, the 10% is wrong and we, as the Body of Christ, must recognize this and stay away from the subtle lies that can entrap us.

Keep your eyes focused on Jesus.

“So when you see standing in the holy place `the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel–let the reader understand– then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now–and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, `Look, here is the Christ!’ or, `There he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect–if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time.
(Matthew 24_15-25 (NIV))

Stay firmly rooted in God’s Word.

Be vigilant!

Pray for God’s guidance.

“Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
(Joshua 24:14-15 (NIV))

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