I don’t ever want to be like this again!

May 25, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.
(Titus 3:3 (NIV))

Do you ever look back at your life before you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior?

No matter how “good” you may have been, it was a far cry from what we have been called to as followers of Jesus. In this current state of our faith, we are by no means mature and perfect. We still have human nature to contend with. We still have times when we fall and find ourselves having moments that remind us of this passage. No matter how close we try to follow Jesus, on our own we are still unclean.

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))

Thankfully, we have been saved by grace. We have been saved from ourselves. We have been saved from our sinful nature by the only one who is perfect.

I know that I am far from perfect. I know that I have a long way to go. I know that I am being matured in the image of Christ. I also know that what I was is someone that I don’t ever want to be like again!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you able to do this?

June 2, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
(Luke 6:27-28 (NIV))

Why does Jesus ask us to do exactly the opposite of what our human nature wants us to do?

Life would be so much easier if we just gave in to our human nature!

Or would it?

Sometimes we think that life would be so much easier if we didn’t have the internal struggles that we have because we choose to follow Jesus. We wouldn’t have to resist temptation. We wouldn’t have to be nice to our pesky neighbors or that weird uncle that everyone seems to have. We wouldn’t have to worry about who we mistreated to get that promotion. We wouldn’t have to worry about anyone but ourselves!

If you are like most people, we seem to degenerate into this type of individual several times a day. Do you honestly like yourself when you sink to this level? Do you like it when other people have their moments and they sink to this level? Life in this fallen world is difficult, but it would be so much more difficult if we did not profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. I am forever thankful that Jesus came into this world to offer us grace and mercy. Jesus modeled life as God intended it to be. Jesus showed us how to live a sinless life. He showed us how to live a life of love expressed to God, to Him, to the Holy Spirit and to each other.

Do you truly want to know what humanity would be like if we do not live our lives as we are told in Luke? Those traits are fruits of a life lived in Christ; a life spent listening and following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If we ever want to consider how life would be if we did not live in Christ, then all that we have to do is read about the seven years written about in the book of Revelations.

Jesus did not tell us that following Him would always be easy.

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))

He also did not tell us to give up!

Are you able to follow what Jesus asks of those who follow Him?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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In spite of severe suffering!

September 8, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.
(1 Thessalonians 1:6 (NIV))

In spite of severe suffering!

Think about that the next time you feel like you are asked to do too much in our current easy life. Today’s church is not willing to go the extra mile in many cases. We see the world from the safety of our living room couches as we watch television or we see it going by as we drive in air conditioned comfort. To be honest with you, transportation in today’s world is like watching television. We see the world pass us by through the glass and we don’t even feel the wind, the cold or the heat. What we see takes on an aura of something that is not real.

Are we, as today’s Body of Christ, willing to follow Jesus even in severe suffering? Are we ready and willing to face the reality that following Jesus has a cost? The early church knew this. The early church accepted this.

Think about the brothers and sisters in Christ who have gone before us. Would you have been able to stand firm in your faith when Saul was persecuting the Body of Christ? Would you have been able to stand firm when the Roman empire was killing followers of Jesus in the Coliseum?

Are you able to stand firm in the face of what may be coming to this part of the world as those in other parts of the world are facing now?

In spite of severe suffering!

It is my prayer that all of us are able to stand firm in our faith no matter what we may face.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Why do you place your hope in Jesus?

October 2, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.
(1 Corinthians 15:9-19 (NIV))

Why do you profess a faith in Jesus?

Is it for what you will receive in this life? Do you believe that following Jesus will get you ahead in the world?

There was a time when professing a faith in Jesus was socially acceptable and expected. Today, that is no longer the case. In this country, it often brings ridicule and it is rapidly getting to the point where it brings much worse. In many parts of the world, it can mean death.

Are you following Jesus for what you will receive in this world?

Based on what is happening, from a worldly perspective it makes no sense to follow Jesus.

However, we are not following Jesus for what we will receive in this world.

Jesus actually told us that we would face persecution for proclaiming His name. He told us that we would face troubles.

“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))

Jesus has overcome the world. He has overcome the power of sin and death! We have the faith to follow Jesus because of what we hope for in the future and not what we will receive today.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

I know that God wants to bless His people, but we must not lose site of what the real blessing is that awaits us. If we love the world, then we will want to be blessed in this world. If that is all that you desire, then I ask that you take a long hard look at what your relationship with Jesus is all about.

Do you desire peace? Do you desire love? Do you desire hope? Do you desire to know God’s Word? Do you desire to know Jesus? Do you desire to know the very heart of God? These are things that are not of this world. These are things that we seek when we place our hope in Jesus.

Why do you place your hope in Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you answered the call to follow Jesus?

September 10, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
(Matthew 9:9 (NIV))

What made Matthew leave behind his very lucrative job as a tax collector and follow Jesus?

Think about that question. Tax collectors had a certain amount that they had to collect for Rome. Anything that they collected above that, they could keep. It is thought that many people got very wealthy by being a tax collector for Rome. With this in mind, Matthew walked away from certain earthly wealth. He saw something of far greater value in what Jesus had to offer. He saw that he, too, could be a part of God’s plans and a part of God’s kingdom. Jesus, in telling Matthew to follow Him, was telling Matthew that God valued him, even when society looked upon him as an outcast. Tax collectors, even though they got very wealthy, were social outcasts. They were Jews in a country that was occupied by the Roman army. The Romans looked upon the Jews as second class citizens and the Jews looked upon the tax collectors as traitors to the nation of Israel. They couldn’t win.

Then Jesus came!

Matthew saw an opportunity to place his past behind him. He saw a voice calling to him in spite of what he had done. Matthew was being asked to forget his past and become someone new. Isn’t that exactly what Jesus offers each of us today? We are no different than Matthew. We have all done things in our lives that have placed us in situations where we feel like we do not belong. Through Jesus, we are offered redemption. We are offered cleansing. We are offered forgiveness. All that we have to do is what Matthew did. We have to get up and follow Jesus.

Jesus is telling each of us to follow Him. Will you do as Matthew and follow Him?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God, have mercy on me, a sinner!

July 8, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: `God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, `God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
(Luke 18:10-14 (NIV))

This brings up one simple but very painful question to answer.

Do you feel that you are better than others?

Ouch! Yes, I asked it.

As sinful, prideful and arrogant human beings, each of us has felt this at one time or another. It is human nature to self gratify. We like to look at others and compare our sins to theirs so that we feel better about ourselves. Why do we like to put others down in order to make ourselves feel better? Sadly, we never learn. Arrogance and pride are traits that seem to surface all of the time, yet, humility is one that we have to work to even see the light of day.

One thing that we need to learn from this passage is that God does not compare us with anyone else. He created each of us to be unique. The only thing that He looks at is whether we are being the unique person that Hen created us to be. Are we living our lives in sin or are we seeking after Him in all that we do?

I am far from perfect. I find myself comparing to others, but I always find the realization that my sins are enough to condemn me. It is at this point that I realize that I am not any better than anyone else. I am simply forgiven because I have called upon the name of Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior.

It is a matter of the heart. It is a matter of sincerity. It is a matter of willfully choosing to follow Jesus. We all make mistakes. It takes a humble person to admit the mistakes and repent. That is what the tax collector did.

God, have mercy on me, a sinner!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you feel like you are set apart?

May 4, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person–such a man is an idolater–has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.
(Ephesians 5:3-7 (NIV))

I was reminded today about the meaning of the word “holy.” It was something that I knew, but, like many things, it got relegated to the back of my mind. The true meaning was slowly replaced with the way society looks upon the word, and unfortunately, society has ruined the true meaning of the word.

The word “holy” means to be set apart. What the world thinks of is a twisted and convoluted take on this meaning. The world looks upon the word as a sarcastic jab at someone who wants to follow Jesus. What the word truly means has nothing to do with sarcasm at all. In fact, if you truly are set apart from society because you wish to follow Jesus, then you are not sarcastic toward the world. You long to see the world follow Jesus and you do not act as the world expects you to act. You do not portray a holier than thou attitude.

Think about the people that you consider to be holy. What characteristics do they portray that makes you think of them as holy? Think about Jesus. He was, and is, definitely holy. Did He rub it in people’s faces? Did He have an attitude of arrogance?

Just what characteristics did Jesus portray.

Do you portray those characteristics?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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