Do you choose true freedom?

April 23, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
(Isaiah 61:1 (NIV))

Freedom! Such a gift. We are set free from the bondage of sin and death. This is not a freedom to do whatever we choose. We are free of the consequences of sin. It does not mean that we are free to sin. By accepting Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, we are forgiven and are granted freedom from our sin. It does not mean that we are free to go and sin again. As Jesus told the woman and the Pharisees:

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:3-11)

She was granted freedom, but this freedom did not give here permission to continue in her life of sin.

Do you look at your freedom as permission to continue or do you look at it as a warning to change your life? Do you choose true freedom?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you forgiven as you wish to be forgiven?

March 6, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then the master called the servant in. `You wicked servant,’ he said, `I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
(Matthew 18:32-34 (NIV))

This is a recurring theme in the Bible. We are forgiven and shown mercy if we can forgive and show mercy to others.

Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
(Matthew 6:12(NIV))

These are characteristics of God that we are to learn and put into practice. It is the same characteristics that brought Jesus to this earth to die for us.

If Jesus came to this earth to be God’s payment for our debts, if we accept this payment, then we must also be prepared to extend this payment to others. We have been shown unmerited favor and grace. We cannot keep this to ourselves. We cannot hold others to the same laws that we have been granted forgiveness from. If we are not willing to forgive, then how can we truly be forgiven. When we are forgiven, we have a joy that we wish to share with the world. It is a burden that has been lifted.

Does anyone owe you an unpaid debt?

Have you forgiven as you wish to be forgiven?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What will you bring to God?

September 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The LORD said to Moses, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke.
(Exodus 34:1 (NIV))

Do you recall how Moses was given the first two tablets?

When the LORD finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the Testimony, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God.
(Exodus 31:18 (NIV))

God gave Moses the tablets!

All that Moses had to do was receive what God had prepared for him and the Israelites. God came to Moses with the gift of the law.

When Moses descended from the mountain, the Israelites had sinned against God. The tablets were broken. Consequences of the sin had to be paid. People perished because of the sin.

God’s grace prevailed. He allowed Moses to intervene on behalf of the people once again. But, this time God required Moses to do the work of providing the tablets. Moses, as the liaison between God and humanity, had to take a step on behalf of humanity. He had to show a desire and a willingness to approach God.

We are forgiven by grace. We still sin. When we sin, we must be willing to repent and meet God in a humble attitude.

Our sins have left us in need of providing the tablets. We must be willing to bring something to God. What will you bring to God?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you thankful to be called a Christian?

April 10, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
(1 Peter 4:16 (NIV))

Have you ever faced anything simply because you are a believer in Jesus?

Perhaps I should ask if you have ever been in a situation where you would have suffered if it was known that you were a Christian? Think about that for a moment as you answer the following. Did you withhold the fact that you were a Christian or did you deny that you were a Christian? There is a difference! Regardless of how you handled yourself in that situation, do you regret not standing up and identifying as a follower of Jesus? Do you feel that you have abandoned Jesus through your actions and words?

Consider Peter.

He denied Jesus three times during the events between Jesus being arrested and being taken to Pilate. All of us can put ourselves into the events and justify the actions that Peter took that night. In all honesty, it is not told in detail how Peter truly felt. We can only imagine what Peter was facing within himself as these events transpired and afterward. What we do know is that after the resurrection, Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him. Peter was able to put his shame behind him and accept the grace that Jesus was extending to him.

Think about that!

Peter denied Jesus three times. He had seen Jesus beaten so badly that He was not recognizable. Peter had seen Jesus crucified, dead and buried. The guilt of his denial of Jesus must have been unbearable. Even after Jesus arose, what was Peter thinking? Was he thinking that Jesus would never forgive him for what he had done? Was Peter thinking that he had committed something so bad that he would be condemned to suffer for all eternity?

Grace is amazing!

What Peter did discover is that Jesus forgave him. Three times he was asked if He loved Jesus and three times he responded that he did. I can almost imagine that with each response Peter gave Jesus, the burden of guilt was being lifted until it was completely gone!

That is what Jesus does! He lifts the burden of guilt and replaces that burden with a joy that comes from knowing that all of your sins are forgiven! There is nothing greater to give thanks for.

Are you thankful to be called a Christian?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you allowed God to make you pure?

January 17, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“Come now, let us reason together,”
says the LORD.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.
(Isaiah 1:18 (NIV))

There is something about snow that reminds us of purity. Looking out over the surrounding area after a snowfall, you become amazed at the freshness and the newness of everything. The virgin snow is pure and without blemish, just as humanity was in the beginning. Then, we start to see footprints and the effects of the sun and we see little patches of brown starting to show through.

It only takes a little blemish to start the process of degeneration. Soon, everything is muddy and brown and how we long for the purity of the way it used to be. This is the same in our lives. We cannot do anything about the snow, but we can do something about our lives.

After many years of living in this sinful world, our countenance is very muddy, but God has promised us that we will be made white as snow. He has sent us a Savior in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son. Through God’s grace and mercy, He is willing to exchange our muddy, sinful nature for a pure, snowy countenance in which all things have been forgiven. All it takes is a simple, heartfelt longing and an acceptance of this God given grace and mercy.

The purity of the snow is only temporary. God gives a purity that lasts an eternity.

Have you allowed God to make you pure?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you accepted God’s compassion for you?

November 27, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.
(Psalms 103:13 (NIV))

How many times, as a child, did you do something terribly wrong? You knew that you were going to be in BIG trouble! You knew that there was going to be punishment for your actions. Many times you did receive punishment for what you had done. Think back and take a look at what you did and what you received in return.

Chances are that the punishment was far less serious than the action really deserved. Your earthly father had compassion on you and tempered the punishment with love. Our heavenly Father is far more compassionate than any person can ever be. No matter what you have done in your life, it can all be forgiven through one simple act of faith.

Profess the name of Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and the severe punishment for your sins is wiped away. You may still suffer the immediate consequences of your actions, but the long term consequences of sin are no longer to be applied to you. The wages of sin is death. God, through His compassion, has given us a way to escape what is rightfully ours to face.

Have you accepted God’s compassion for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Which do you seek, righteousness or worldly gain?

September 28, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice.
(Proverbs 16:8 (NIV))

How many of us, when first reading this passage, try to figure out if there is a happy medium where we are willing to compromise on righteousness in order to increase our gain?

I hope that if you did ask yourself if you could find a happy medium it was a short-lived question and you quickly came to the conclusion to never compromise on righteousness. If you stop to realize what compromising on righteousness entails, it means that you are willing to sin. To be righteous in the eyes of God means that you are free from sin. If you compromise on righteousness, then you are willingly opening the door to your life to allow sin back in.

Is this what you want to do?

Is this what God wants you to do?

Salvation was purchased with a very high price. It took the sacrifice, the crucifixion, of a sinless man in the form of Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, to allow our sins to be forgiven. The cost was too great. What we would lose is too great!

There is nothing in this world that is worth losing what was so highly valued that it took the death of the Son of God to purchase it for us. Still, human nature tries to figure out how to have the proverbial cake and eat it, too. We want the treasures of heaven, but we are too easily enticed by the worldly treasures.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

Which do you seek, righteousness or worldly gain?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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