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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Turn your eyes upon Jesus!

April 16, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

In the midst of all the things that are happening in this world, another sad tragedy has occurred. Too many things are wrong with the world when someone will deliberately plant bombs to kill people.

I realize that many places in the world are facing events like this on a daily basis.

Why?

What has happened to the human race?

I know that things like this have happened all throughout history. The fall from grace truly has had a very bad impact on people since Adam and Eve sinned.

At times like this, many people turn to Jesus. Sadly enough, they soon fall away since their faith is founded on the world’s troubles and not on the salvation that Jesus brought. For those who are sincere, the following verse reminds us of where are faith is based.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Hebrews 12:2 (NIV))

In times of trouble and in times of good; In times of plenty and in times of famine; In times of hope and in times of despair there is only one thing that we can do that will truly bring joy and peace.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.

March 7, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“The LORD bless you
and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”
(Numbers 6:24-26 (NIV))

Peace!

Have you ever stopped to think about the opposite of peace?

War!

I saw something the other day that made me think about God’s peace in a different light.

Ever since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden, through our sin, we have been at war with God. We have attempted to do things our way with results that are less than stellar. We, as humanity, have been and still are in a war with God. We have rebelled and we are still fighting Him in all that we do. As a result of our war with God, things have happened throughout history and in each of our lives. We have suffered for our rebellion, and not because our Lord is a mean God. We suffer because we have rebelled. We have fallen away from His grace, but not His authority.

Accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is an acknowledgment that you are tired of fighting the war and the battles with sin. I know that to those who don’t understand, this next statement will label the Body of Christ as weak. Those who profess a faith in Jesus surrender to the authority that God was, is and is to come. God did not create us to be at war with Him. He created us to share in His peace. He created us to share in His blessings.

Once we are at peace with God the Father, we experience the blessings of life in ways that we could never imagine. We see the joy in a sunrise. We see God’s grace in the midst of troubles. We hear the voice of God when the world is shouting at us loudly. And in all of this, we become content.

The dictionary defines contentment as the state of being happy and satisfied.

We are not content in the state of the fallen world. We are content in knowing that whatever happens, God loves us and will see us through whatever the world may send our way.

Have you ever known someone who is content in the middle of chaos? I have met a few individuals who can fit into this picture, however, this is not the image that we are given in God’s Word. God offers us peace and happiness even when we, as fallen humanity, are at war with God’s grace.

Are you still at war with God?

Have you surrendered?

Have you found peace?

Have you found true happiness and contentment?

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
(John 14:27 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you understand what Jesus is telling us?

January 8, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
(John 18:36 (NIV))

Hindsight provides fantastic understanding. We can look back upon the words that Jesus has spoken and clearly see what He meant when He spoke them. We see through and understand through the veil of historical perspective that was not available at the time. The people that Jesus spoke to did not have this luxury. They understood things in the “here and now” concept as do most people to this day.

This basic human characteristic relies only on what can be seen, touched, heard or felt at that particular moment. It does not grasp the concept that there is more than meets the eye. We are bound to the physical realm, perhaps by the fall from grace, perhaps by our separation from God. Whatever has caused our bondage to the physical realm, we are obligated to live in it. Perhaps it is this physical realm that limits our spiritual understanding, after all, if it is spiritual, it rarely manifests itself in the physical world.

With this thought process, dare I suggest that we take a look at our true natures. How would we have understood these words if we did not have the advantage of historical perspective? I think that many of us, if not all of us, would have misunderstood them just as the people did when Jesus originally spoke them. With all of our technology, with all of our history, with all of our “understanding,” we are no different than the people who heard these words directly from Jesus. To me, this is a clear indication that humanity is still in need of a Savior. We have not gotten any wiser, just better educated.

What is your understanding of what Jesus is still telling us?

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

May 22, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD and I will not let Israel go.”
(Exodus 5:2 (NIV))

Stubbornness and pride have been the downfall of many people, and not only the Pharaoh.

I am sure that we all now of someone who has said something to the effect of “Who is God and why should I obey Him?” Perhaps we have even said it ourselves in our younger and more foolish days.

Ever since the fall from grace, it has been human nature to believe that we have the ability to be the masters of our own destiny. We often feel that we answer to nobody but ourselves. We have the false sense that we know what is best for ourselves and those around us. Nothing could be further from the truth.

What did Pharaoh’s hardheartedness get him? His country was devastated by plagues and the firstborn in all the nation died. After anger set in, he also lost an army of men at the bottom of the sea because of his stubbornness and pride. What a terrible price to pay because you won’t listen to the truth when it is right before you.

People never learn. It is said that if we do not study history, we are destined to repeat it. We can study the events of the past. We can read about the people of faith and the people who shunned God. It is even possible to know of these events and still be stubborn and proud. Unfortunately, each of us must learn for ourselves.

Pray for the stubborn so that they may be willing to give the proverbial inch. God only needs someone to ease up a little so that He can plant the seed.

Pray for the proud so that they can realize that they are not perfect and that they are not in control. God can use a small glimmer of non-selfish thought to break down that barrier of pride.

Pray for those who feel that they are neither stubborn nor prideful, for no one is perfect and all can fall into the trap set by the enemy.

Pride goes before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall.
(Proverbs 16:18 (NIV))

Don’t let your heart be hardened by stubbornness and pride.

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