Are you free of condemnation?

August 17, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
(Romans 8:1-2 (NIV))

Do you ever feel that no matter what you do, you are always guilty of something? Do you go through life looking over your shoulder, afraid that something you did in the past will come back to haunt you? Do you feel that you are constantly just one step away from being trapped in a situation from which there is no escape? Do you feel that God is out to get you?

Rest assured that God is not out to get you. Satan is the one who is constantly trying to trick you. He is the one who is lying to you and making you feel as if there is no escape. Ever since Satan tried to overthrow God, he has made it his purpose to trap and trick God’s greatest creation in order to keep us from God. It is he who condemns. It is not God!

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))

We have a God given way to escape condemnation! We can rest assured that the accuser has no legal claim on us. All that we have to do is accept the gift of grace and mercy that was freely given at the cross. Jesus paid it all so that no accusations against us have any merit whatsoever. All of our sins have been washed clean!

Are you free of condemnation?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are your desires?

July 20, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
(Galatians 5:17 (NIV))

Do you ever find yourself in internal conflict? Do you find yourself doing exactly what you know that you shouldn’t do? The Spirit tells us to do what we should, but our flesh tells us something else. Even Paul, whom we credit with taking the Gospel to the Gentiles, faced the very same dilemma.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
(Romans 7:15 (NIV))

It is human nature. We can’t escape the sin nature that we were born into. Even on our best days, our attempts at fulfilling the desires of the Spirit fall way short.

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))

On our own, we are helpless, hopeless and lost! Thankfully, we are not on our own.

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))

We have been given a way to proclaim to the Lord that we don’t like our sinful desires and that we want to focus on the desires of the Spirit. It is a simple, yet eternity changing, process. It is a process that exchanges all of our sin for all of the righteousness of Jesus. Are you tired of being condemned without any hope? Do you desire to strive for righteousness? Do you desire grace and mercy? Is it your desire to proclaim that Jesus is your personal Lord and Savior?

What are your desires?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are the results of sin and its approval?

February 9, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”
(Romans 1:32 (NIV))

Does this sound like the current world view?

It takes no stretch of the imagination to see people rebelling against God’s righteous decrees. What they are doing is being practiced, tolerated and flaunted by society. Certain groups within our society seem to take great pleasure in thumbing their proverbial noses at those who seek after righteousness as well as God, Himself.

There is even division in the church!

Some people have embraced sin under the false concept that God loves everyone, and that since He created them, He must be okay with the sin. They erroneously think that God loving the individual and God loving the sin is the same thing. Nothing could be further from the truth!

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

In other words, no one is worthy to be in God’s presence because we are all sinners.

Where do we belong as a result of our sinful nature? How do we escape what is our rightful condemnation?

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

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
(Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV))

Jesus is the narrow gate!

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

With it clearly spelled out for all to see, what I don’t understand is why anyone would choose the sinful nature? Why does anyone approve of the sinful nature?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you weary in your walk with Christ?

January 30, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
(Galatians 6:9 (NIV))

Do you get tired of seeing the terrible, ungodly things that happen in the world? Do you ever think that you are only one person and are not capable of changing anything on your own? Do you grow tired of doing what is right in the eyes of God and not seeing anything happen?

It is so easy to get discouraged by the events in this sinful, fallen world, especially when your only desire is to see God glorified through His Son, Jesus. Sadly, too many people rely on their strength to do what God has called them to do. Are you strong enough to carry the weight of sin on your shoulders? Are you strong enough to provide a way for people to escape their sin? Are you strong enough to bridge the gap between humanity and God?

None of us are strong enough!

Thankfully, we are not called to be strong enough. We are called to allow God to work through us. We are not the ones called to carry the burdens. We are called to be obedient and answer God’s call. If we become weary, there is a good chance that we are trying to rely on our strengths and not on God’s strengths. I can think of so many mental pictures for this concept, but the one that seems to represent this concept the best is the story about the footprints in the sand. In this story, we learn of Jesus walking side by side with an individual. Then, all of a sudden we see only one set of footprints. Jesus is asked why He abandoned them and He replies that He did not abandon them, but He was carrying them!

Do the things of this world make you weary? Keep in mind that Jesus bore all of this for us. It is not our calling to reinvent grace. It is not our calling to save people. Only Jesus can save. It is our calling to be willing to answer His call. He will equip the called. He will give you His strength and His peace to do what He has called you to do.

Don’t try to do it on your own!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Call upon the name of the Lord!

August 30, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Oh, how I wish I had wings like a dove; then I would fly away and rest! I would fly far away to the quiet of the wilderness. How quickly I would escape—far away from this wild storm of hatred.
(Psalms 55:6-8 (NLT))

Did this passage catch you off guard?

We have a habit of thinking that we, in our current society, are the ones who truly need to get away. We think that our lives are so hectic and full of troubles that no one else could possibly understand what we face. I do admit that things seem to be getting worse as far as the troubles, but in the grand scheme of things, every life in every generation since the fall from grace has had troubles. David was no different than you or I in that respect.

We all want to be able to simply leave the burdens, the troubles of the world behind us and get away to a place where we can just soar above the troubles down below.

It is universally human.

David may not have been able to have wings like a dove and fly away to the quiet of the wilderness, but he did know how to rise above his troubles. He called upon the name of the Lord. He sang praises. He lifted up his voice in song and in prayer. He spent time seeking after God’s own heart. He longed for God and in turn, he knew God and trusted that God would be there.

Can we say the same about our lives?

We all know of the things that David faced in his life, from Goliath to running for his life from Saul, yet in all that he faced, David made time to pray and to praise God. He knew where his hope lie. He knew that he had to constantly seek after that hope by seeking after God. Do you think that Goliath was a mere coincidence? Do you think that David was able to survive Saul’s attempts on his life by luck? David may not have physically flown, but he was guided by the hand of God and was protected by the hand of God because he was faithful.

Take an honest look at your life. Do you see a life of praise, prayer and gratitude or do you see a life that needs to move more in line with how David longed for God?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready and waiting?

February 1, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
(Luke 12:35-40 (NIV))

Are you ready?

Do you grow tired of waiting?

Two simple questions, yet, they seem to summarize a person’s walk with Jesus.

What does it take to be ready for Jesus? Perhaps it is a good idea to read the letters to the seven churches in Revelation. Jesus told them specifically what they were doing right and what they were doing wrong. Most of the praise was focused on the steadfastness of the churches that held to the teachings of Jesus. They held true to the Word and did not compromise. They did not pollute their lives with the evils of the day. They stayed true to the Word. Sadly, there were churches that received instructions to repent. These churches were not holding fast to the truth within God’s Word. They allowed society to influence them. They adapted their beliefs to those of the societies in which they lived. They added to or took away from the truth of God’s Word as it benefited them in the society in which they lived. They changed God’s Word to benefit themselves. In other words, they compromised!

Which way is the way that God desires? It is clear that He desires for us to hold fast to His Word. We are not to compromise what is truth in order to thrive or even survive in this world. With this truth in mind, are you ready?

With what is going on in this world, do you grow tired of waiting?

Think about that for a moment. I long to see Jesus come for His church, His bride, yet, I know that the timing is not up to me. There are times when I would love to escape the things of this world, but I realize that escape is not what I am called to do. I am to persevere. I am to press on toward the prize, and while I press on, I am to share the Gospel with any and all who will hear. It is true that I grow weary at times, but it is at those times that test my faith, my perseverance. Do I honestly believe in Jesus or do I simply give lip service that will change at the first sign of things not going as I expect them to go?

I have a mission. I have a task just as everyone who has professed a faith in Jesus has a task. We are to spread the Gospel. We are to persevere till His return. Do we give up on our task? Do we grow tired of waiting even though we are told that no man knows the hour or the day?

When you find yourself where you doubt your readiness, look up! When you find yourself where you doubt your ability to persevere, look up! If we keep our eyes focused on Jesus, He will make sure that we are ready and He will give us the strength and patience to persevere!

Are you ready and waiting?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the kingdom nearer than you think?

September 4, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And afterward,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
(Joel 2:28 (NIV))

I have seen numerous things that lead me to believe that these things are happening with much more frequency and regularity.

I can hear your thoughts!

Some of you are thinking that I am losing my mind and that I am simply repeating things that others are saying. Some of you are thinking that I am wishing for a way to escape this world.

You would be surprised at what I see through all of the various outlets that I monitor. People from all across the world are prophesying the same thing. The dreams are too similar to be dismissed. The visions are too similar to be coincidence.

Still, there is that passage that says that no man knows the hour or the day.

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
(Mark 13:32 (NIV))

He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.
(Luke 21:29-31 (NIV))

Did you miss that past part of the passage?

When you see these things happening . . .

Take a look around. What do you see?

Do you see people who have the gift of prophesy? Do you see people who have the gift of dreams? Do you see people who have the gift of visions?

Is the kingdom nearer than you think?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the return of Jesus your biggest hope or biggest fear?

May 12, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.
(Revelation 22:12 (NIV))

This either is a blessed hope or a cause of extreme fear. How you look upon it is how you look upon Jesus Christ.

Even though these words speak of His return to bind Satan and judge those left on the earth or who have died without accepting Him, it is still a cause of fear or denial for many. True followers of Jesus will not have to face the judgement that He will dish out. Their judgement has been one of complete pardon by accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. All others who will face the judgement will have no where to turn to escape the consequences of what they have done in their lives, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Knowing that no one has lead a perfect, sinless life, how do you want to be judged? Do you have the hope and assurance of a complete pardon or do you have the fear of damnation?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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There is a final sentence that we all must face!

May 13, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil.
(Ecclesiastes 8:11 (NAS))

There is much more truth to this than most people would like to admit. Even those who fully profess to believe in God and follow His Laws and claim Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior are prone to do things because no one will find out.

Has humanity sunk to the point where we are afraid of nothing because we no longer have to even consider facing punishment for our deeds?

There is a final sentence that we all must face. There is a judgement that no one can escape. We must all stand before God and have our lives examined in detail. God will expose all of our sins and condemn us for our actions. No one is exempt from this judgement. There is a bright ray of hope in all of this. His name is Jesus Christ.

Calling upon the name of Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior pays for the best legal counsel that anyone could ever have. We will still stand accused and rightly so. The only difference is that we will have Jesus Christ as our defense. He will claim us as His own and by His stripes we will be healed of our transgressions.

Those who do not have Jesus at their side will suffer the full consequences of their sins.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Protection from the evil one

January 7, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.
(John 17:15 (NIV))

Everyone who claims that Jesus is their personal Lord and Savior clings to the hope that they will be taken to heaven. It is a promise that, if we maintain our faith, will come true. However, there is a fine line that many cross. Whenever they face troubles, they pray for that time to come quickly. They pray for Jesus to come and take them out of the world. Personally, I look forward to the day when I will be with Jesus in heaven. I also know that His timing is perfect and that I must remain strong and be patient. There are many times when I feel that I would rather be taken out of the world, but I know that it is not God’s timing. It is my desire to escape the attack of the evil one. I would rather flee than stand my ground.

Let’s face it. No one really likes confrontation. We want to avoid it if at all possible. The words that Jesus spoke in John 17:15 tell us that He does not want us to avoid confrontation. He does not want us to be removed from this world. He wants us to stay in the world and to stand up to the attacks of the enemy. He wants us to not only stand up to them, He wants us to be victorious. Jesus prays that God the Father will give us strength and that He will protect us so that the victories will come through Him and His strength. How is God glorified if He removes us from our attacks? God is glorified when we allow Him to be with us in all that we do.

If Jesus prayed for us not to be taken out of the world, why do we look for it when we are under attack? We must remember His prayer and join Him in His prayer for God to protect us. We can then be used to glorify God. There is an old saying that someone can be so heaven minded that they are no earthly good. How is God using you in the world? What battles has He won because of your willingness to go?

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