Does this passage scare you?

July 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
(Ephesians 5:5 (NIV))

Did you catch yourself reading this and doing a quick, personal inventory to make sure that you didn’t fall into one or more of these categories?

Did you answer honestly? Did you like your self evaluation?

It is human nature to think that things are either better or worse than they truly are. Did you read this passage and brush it off with the thought that you have it made? Perhaps you read this passage and each word that you read had you squirming because you think you haven’t done well enough! In all honesty, if you profess a faith in Jesus and strive to be an obedient disciple, then you probably had some fleeting thoughts that you have disappointed Jesus in some manner! If you are like everyone else who professes a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then it is safe to say that not a single day goes by where you don’t do something less than perfect.

Fortunately, our perfection is not what is required, especially when you consider what we are capable of!

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

It is not our perfection. It is not our righteousness that gives us grace. It is a gift and all that we have to do is accept it!

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))

If you have truly accepted this gift and have made Jesus your personal Lord and Savior, then you have been washed by the blood of the Lamb. You have been redeemed. You are being transformed and matured into the image of Christ. No matter what you may have been, you are a new creation in Christ. You may have been immoral, but you are being changed. You may have been impure, but you are being changed. You may have been greedy, but you are being changed. No matter what you may have been, grace has been given and you are being changed!

If you truly have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then all of your sins have been forgiven. Don’t let the enemy tell you otherwise. Don’t let the enemy scare you with the thought that you aren’t redeemed.

Does this passage scare you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Does the world know that you are His disciple?

May 21, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
(John 13:34-35 (NIV))

Sometimes it seems like all that the world recognizes in people who profess a faith in Jesus is the less than loving way that we treat each other at times!

I am going to use a cliché because it seems to say best what we need to be thinking and doing.

What would Jesus do?

We know without a doubt that Jesus would not let the pettiness that leads to family squabbles become foremost in our minds. Why do we do that if Jesus wouldn’t? We know that Jesus even embraced Judas out of love and he betrayed Him unto death. Why do we treat each other as if they have done worse to us than what Judas did to Jesus? Think about that the next time that someone does something that makes you mad. Chances are that they aren’t even aware that they made you mad.

Think about your family. Has anyone ever made you angry? Do you still love them? Do they still love you? Sadly, sometimes families, since we are a fallen and sinful humanity, will say and do things that will leave a bad taste in your mouth. We all say and do things that we wish we could take back. Families are no different. The members of the Body of Christ are a part of a bigger family. By grace, we have been made children and heirs of God, but in our sinful nature, we will stumble. No one is perfect. We will hurt each other at times. Repentance is a big part of the love that we must show. Forgiveness is also a big part of the love that we must show. We must remember that each of us have been offered grace and what we have been offered, we must also offer.

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

If Jesus offered grace and showed love to all who would accept, can we do any less? Will we be held accountable for our actions if we don’t? What will the world see in us if we don’t?

Does the world know that you are His disciple?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you truly desire to follow Jesus?

August 15, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
(Luke 9:23 (NIV))

Do you claim to follow Jesus? Do you consider yourself to be His disciple?

If you answered “Yes” to these two questions, then I have some more questions to ask. Do you still do the same things that you did before professing Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Do you still indulge in your personal favorite sins or have you given those up as a result of your relationship with Jesus? Do you still have the same friends as before you accepted Jesus? Has your vocabulary changed and you thought process changed or do you still spout off foul language? Have you lost friends because you no longer desire to associate with your old ways?

Following Jesus is not an easy thing to do, especially when you start realizing all of the things that you no longer desire to do. I want to stress one important aspect of following Jesus, and that is that too many people think being a follower of Jesus is about all the things that you can’t do. It is not about what you can’t do. It is about a change of heart and the realization that you no longer want to do these things. Jesus isn’t stopping anyone from sinning. He is simply pointing to a life where you lose your desire to sin. He is pointing to grace and mercy. He is pointing to redemption. He is pointing to a life that doesn’t end in death.

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

Following Jesus is not easy, but when you consider the consequences of the alternative, it is the only choice I would ever make.

Do you truly desire to follow Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you love or hate your sinful nature?

May 9, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
(Luke 14:26-27 (NIV))

Ouch! This is painful, yet, this is exactly what we are expected to do.

Do you love the sinful life that you live? Do you love the sinful nature of those who are a part of your physical family? Do you hate the sin that has taken control of the world, and as a result, the very nature of everyone, including yourself?

We live in a fallen world and everyone is saturated in the sin that this world is consumed with. As a result, we can’t truly love what is saturated in sin, including our own lives. We can love the individuals to the point where we care about them and want good things to happen, but our understanding of good is severely distorted because of the sin that we live in. Our understanding of love is severely limited.

I know that I have asked something similar already, but I think that it merits being asked again. Can you honestly love someone if they are saturated in sin? Can you honestly love your own life if it is engulfed in sin? Most, if not all, sin is based on the individual. It takes hold of a person’s heart and makes them the center of their own universe. It turns the individual into the center of their own worship. If we truly love our lives and each other, then we are not capable of truly loving God in all of His perfect glory.

I know that it is human nature to look out for yourself and to love yourself, but I honestly believe that we are being told to hate our sinful nature and make a decision to turn away from our sinful nature. You embrace what you love and you reject what you hate.

What do you think of your life and the lives of those around you?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your past still tempting you?

February 19, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

He said to another man, “Follow me.”
But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.”

Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
(Luke 9:57-62 (NIV))

Today’s church does not count the cost of being a disciple. They count the blessings. The church has become infiltrated by the “me” generation and the “just-in-time” attitude that surrounds us every day.

Looking back, it was the same in Jesus’ day. Everyone wanted the blessing, but did not want to pay the price that Jesus asked. That price was, and still is, total commitment and faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

He is not just a quick fix guru that can take all of the bad things that have happened to us because of sin. He does not make them go away so that we can go back and sin more. Jesus wants one hundred percent from those who call upon His name. He knows that we will stumble and fall, but He does not want us to look back.

It is said that God puts our sins away as far as the east is from the west. If the Creator of all the universe can forget them, we must also.

Remember when God delivered the Jews from captivity in Egypt? Some wanted to turn back. Do you remember Lot’s wife? The price for looking back is a dangerous price to even consider. When you accept Jesus, you must look forward, for God has something much better ahead of you.

If your past is so tempting, why did God have to send Jesus to rescue you from it? If you are having thoughts about looking back, keep focusing on Jesus, for the prize is only attainable through what God has done through Jesus.

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