Have you tried to change Jesus?

January 4, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8 (NIV))

I realize that I say this quite often, but it is true. Human nature is such a funny thing!

We are all guilty of looking at everyone else and seeing the sins in their lives while failing to see the sins in ours. The sad thing is that we tend to gravitate to others who have the same tendencies, the same way of looking at others. In our associations, we then start to take God’s Word and put our own interpretations into what is written. Some of us even go to the extreme and say that the teachings are no longer relevant in today’s society. We pick and choose what we want to believe and what we want to follow.

Shouldn’t God’s Word be the benchmark and we strive to live accordingly?

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
(2 Timothy 3:16 (NIV))

Instead, we twist and distort, we pick and choose, and we ignore completely in the false sense that Jesus couldn’t have meant it the way that it was written. God surely didn’t mean what was written because He is love and if that is true, why would He tell me that my favorite thing to do is a sin?

God’s Word is alive. It is meant to change lives. It is meant to touch the deepest places in our lives and make us look at the darkness within. It is meant to help us turn to the light of Jesus. Humanity failed to realize the truth, so God sent an example. He sent His Son.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 (NIV))

Two thousand years have passed since Jesus walked among us and we still twist His Word. We still ignore His Word. We pick and choose. In essence, we do our best to try and change Jesus to fit our desires even when we are told that He never changes.

Have you tried to change Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you show unwavering and unswerving faith!

December 11, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
(Hebrews 10:23 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to think about human nature and how easy it becomes during the Christmas season to profess a faith in Jesus? Even people who normally don’t even think about Jesus the rest of the year will stop and look at a nativity scene or watch movies based on the birth of Jesus. They will pause and some will even be thankful, but what do they do the rest of the year?

Are they consistent in their actions?

Are they consistent in the hope that they profess during Christmas?

Some refer to people who are not consistent in their attention to Jesus as C&E Christians. This name comes from the fact that the only time they show up at church or pay any attention to Jesus is at Christmas and Easter. The rest of the year, they live in the world fully immersed in their sin without any remorse. Is this what Paul calls us to do in this world? Is this a good example of holding unswervingly to the hope that God gave us and that we profess?

We are called to a life of consistency with respect to our faith. We are to focus on Jesus and follow His call. We are to not swerve to the left or to the right when the world temps us. We are to keep our eyes on Jesus for He is the author and perfecter of our faith. We are to look to Jesus every day of the year and not just at certain times of the year. We are to look to Jesus every day of our life and not just the times that are convenient for us to do so.

We are to live our lives in daily relationship with Jesus.

This is how we are to hold unswervingly to the hope we profess.

We are to live out unwavering and unswerving faith!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It is time to make up your mind!

November 2, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!
(Revelation 3:15 (NIV))

Are you still sitting on the fence?

Are you thinking of following Jesus but still enticed by the world?

Does your attitude change based on whomever you are with?

Do you go from one extreme to the next in your thoughts and actions?

Jesus referred to people like this as being lukewarm. They can’t make a commitment to stand firm. They do one thing that is right in the eyes of God and the very next thing that they do is a major sin. Perhaps you simply walk a path that is neither an attempt to follow Jesus, nor is it a rejection of the world. Unfortunately, there are consequences for this type of behavior.

So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
(Revelation 3:16 (NIV))

You may ask, “What about grace?”

If you call upon Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, and then deny Him, have you truly accepted God’s gift of grace? Have you decided in your mind that you are a sinner in need of a Savior?

It is time to make up your mind!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you live your life?

September 29, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.
(1 Peter 2:16 (NIV))

We have been given a choice as to how we will live. God has given us free will, and we can use that free will to follow Him or to reject Him. Too many people have two sides to them. There is the one side that puts up a good image while in the presence of those that you want to impress, and then there is the side that rebels against all that is good. This reminds me of the warning to the church at Laodicea. They were neither cold nor hot. In essence, they couldn’t decide if they were following Jesus or not.

Just like the church at Laodicea, we all have the choice to follow Jesus or to follow the world. Don’t use the grace that you have been given to convince yourself that you are able to do whatever you want. Jesus came to bring grace and mercy, but that does not mean that you can continue to sin. We are called to repent, to turn from our sin, and to follow Jesus. That means that we must change the way that we live our lives so that they honor God.

How do you live your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 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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Have you answered God’s call to be set apart?

June 5, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
(1 Peter 2:9 (NIV))

Do you believe that you have been called by God to follow Jesus?

Think about your answer before you just randomly say something.

There are those who believe that God had preselected those whom He wanted to save. To be honest with you, according to 2 Peter 3:9, there is some truth to that. He doesn’t want anyone to perish. He wants everyone to be saved, so, with this in mind, we are all preselected to be saved.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

If we are all preselected, how then can we be called a chosen people and a royal priesthood?

Belief in Jesus, like anything else, has a demographic. You have those who will respond and then you have those who are slow to respond. The sad thing is that there are also those who will never respond. Those who have responded are called to witness to those who have not responded. God has always equipped those whom He calls to spread the Gospel.

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
(Acts 2:1-4 (NIV))

This calling sets us apart from the rest of the world. Just as the Holy Spirit came to the early church to equip them for the task at hand, the Holy Spirit will also equip you and I for the task at hand. Sadly, too many people who profess a faith in Jesus seem to have lost touch with the power that was given to the Body of Christ. We have been called to be the salt and the light, but have we become just like the world that we are supposed to be telling about Jesus?

Have you answered God’s call to be set apart?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 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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