Will you inherit the kingdom of God?

October 26, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
(Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV))

This list is rather long.

Did you see yourself in any of these sinful behaviors?

I realize that this question is one that we all want to avoid.

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

It is human nature to be a sinner. We cannot help but live out the results of the fall from grace. We all have our own “pet sins” that we struggle with. On our own, we are lost to sin. On our own, we can do nothing that will save us from the consequences of our sin. It is for this very reason that our loving Father sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross to save us from our sins. That salvation is not automatic. We cannot simply get to heaven because Jesus died for us. We cannot simply continue in our sin and get to heaven. There is a reciprocity. We must ask for forgiveness. We must accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, and we must repent of our sinful ways.

Repentance is not a one time occurrence. Once you accept Jesus, you will face things daily where you will need to ask for forgiveness. There will be days where you will be tempted, where you will feel hatred, and where you will feel jealousy and envy. Strive to overcome these through the power of the Blood of Jesus. Since we are only human, we will falter and when we do, ask for forgiveness and ask for the strength and wisdom to turn away from this in the future.

Priorities are an interesting thing. We all have them. We need to make sure that truly following Jesus is our top priority. To use an old saying, the rewards are out of this world!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Love

March 10, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
(1 Corinthians 13:6-7 (NIV))

Do you think that your pet sin loves you? Does greed love you? Does envy? Does lust, just to name a few? Will they stand by your side when all else fails you?

These are the very things that the enemy uses to bring you down. Love empowers you. It lifts you up. It seeks after your best interest. The things that the enemy uses to get us hooked are only designed for one thing and that is to make us falter, and eventually fall. Love doesn’t seek our failure. It doesn’t seek out the very thing that is promises and then use it to destroy. Love is many things, but it is not destructive.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV))

Exactly what is evil? Based on these passages, it is easy to come to think of evil as the opposite of love. If we define evil as the opposite of love, then what is love?

We are told that God is love.

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
(1 John 4:8 (NIV))

If God is love, then He is patient. He is kind. He does not envy. He does not boast. He is not proud. He is not rude. Think of Jesus as He walked this earth. It is not difficult to think of examples of each of these characteristics from His time among us. Think of the ultimate gift that He, through His love, gave to each of us. Would your pet sin do that for you? Would the enemy say that you have been tormented enough, I will put a stop to your failures.

Only the love of God rejoices with you. Evil scowls at your victories. It detests when you allow God’s love to shine, so let the love of God shine in you and through you. you will be amazed at the difference love makes.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Unity or envy?

August 2, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
(Ephesians 4:11-13 (NIV))

In the world, it is easy to be overcome by the fact that all people are different. It is also difficult to overcome the desire to be like someone else. If only I could do that . . .

How many times have you heard someone say something like that? How many times have you said something like that?

It is easy to get overwhelmed by someone else’s gifts while overlooking your own. God created each of us to be unique. Do not lust after someone else’s gifts. God blessed you with your own. Find what those gifts are and then use them for God’s work in this world.

If we all had the same gifts, life would be boring. We are all part of the body of Christ. In our own physical bodies, no two parts are the same. The ears do not envy the eyes. Why should we envy other parts of the body? We should work together to do the will of God.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do your thoughts make you unclean?

July 24, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him `unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man `unclean.’ ”
(Matthew 7:20-23 (NIV))

If even our thoughts can make us unclean, then who among us is worthy? All of us are guilty of thoughts that we don’t want others to know about. Thoughts of anger, hatred, malice, arrogance, lewdness, theft, greed, and even murder. Many of these we will never deliberately act on, but they are in our hearts. Only our fear of repercussion may keep us from acting on them. Even the person whom we think is the kindest and nicest person we know possesses thoughts that are not what God desires of us. In other words, our hearts give us away. We sin even though we desire to do what is right.

“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))

Even cross words can cause us to fall if we do not have the saving grace of the atoning blood of Jesus to cleanse us. We must not look upon our salvation as a free pass to do whatever we want. On the contrary. It is salvation from what we have done, and if we are sincere about accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, it is salvation from what we might do in error in the future. God does not want us to continue living in our sin. He wants us to allow Jesus into our hearts and allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives. Together, they will remove the unclean aspects of our lives from within.

Turn over even your thoughts to God. Allow them to be cleansed and guided so that they become the desires of God.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Embrace them with the love of God

May 15, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
(Luke 6:37 (NIV))

Why do people have such a difficult time with these simple truths?

Let’s face facts. Can you see someone who looks like they are homeless and not jump to conclusions? Can you see someone who dresses differently than you do and not jump to conclusions? Can you see someone who is covered head to toe in tattoos and not jump to conclusions?

We, as a fallen race, judge without mercy. We condemn without understanding, and we rarely forgive without getting something in return. This is so far from what God created us to be. Our fall from grace took so much from us. Look what it gave to us in return – greed, lust, envy, anger, hatred, and murder just to name a few.

I am thankful that God sent His Son, Jesus, to offer each of us a way by which we could be saved from all that we have earned. Through accepting Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we will not be judged. We will not be condemned. We are forgiven!

Look inside your heart.

What do you see?

Do you see someone bound by sin and quick to judge and condemn, or do you see someone freed from the bonds of sin and death? If you see freedom, then you have embraced God’s forgiveness. Share it with everyone you meet. Astonish them with your lack of judgment and condemnation. Embrace them with the love of God.

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