Have you accepted your job as a minister?

August 21, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant–not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
(2 Corinthians 3:6 (NIV))

It has been said that the Old Testament and The Law are there to show us what we are supposed to do and how difficult it is to do it. If this is true, then the New Testament is there to show us that we have another way. The Law is there as the letter that we must follow perfectly and never falter or waiver from its course. The Spirit is given to us by the grace and mercy shown at the cross. The Spirit gives us redemption and salvation. It gives us freedom from the Law. This freedom does not mean that we are able to ignore the Law and do whatever we want. It means that we are given grace for we are not capable of being perfect even when we desire it with all of our hearts. It allows us to be human. It allows us to make mistakes and then learn from our mistakes.

The twist to all of this is that through the Spirit, we are all ministers one to another. In the Old Testament and under the Law, ministers had to be set apart from the rest of society. They had to be ceremonially pure. They had to be followers of the letter of the Law. If they did not follow the letter of the Law, they faced the possibility of death in the presence of God.

Today, we have grace and mercy as our mantle. We have salvation through the blood of Jesus. We have the Spirit. Through the Spirit, we are given life in the presence of God, were, before the Spirit, we only faced death. Speaking for myself, I do not long to follow the letter of the Law, for it is inflexible and unforgiving. I want forgiveness and mercy, for I know that I am not perfect and cannot ever achieve perfection on my own.

I need to repent and turn away from my sin!

I need grace!

I need to help others find that grace!

I, in all of my human shortcomings, am a minister of that grace. I have accepted my position.

Have you accepted your job as a minister?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Has your faith stayed strong?

June 6, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
(Acts 2:36-47 (NIV))

The early church did not have the ability to look back into history and see what Jesus had done. They didn’t need it! Many of the people who came to be believers in this time had seen Jesus perform the miracles and had heard Him teach. They had seen Him crucified and had seen Him resurrected. Those who did not see all these things happen, knew of them. They also had the eye-witness accounts of the disciples who had been with Jesus during all of this. No matter how they knew of Jesus, they knew that He is Lord and Savior of all Creation. They fervently praised God and prayed for what they knew comes from these actions.

Have the centuries dulled our intensity? Have they caused us to be less than our brothers and sisters from the early church? We have more evidence today that all of these things happened. Historical records besides the New Testament verify many of the accounts of Jesus’ life. Have we grown complacent in our faith? Take a serious look at your life and priorities. Can you say that you devote yourself to Jesus’ teachings and fellowship with other believers?

Has your faith stayed strong?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How can we accept forgiveness if we cannot give it?

August 21, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
(Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV))

Does this bother you?

Do you ignore scriptures like this because it goes against what you want to believe? Does it remind you of someone that you still have not forgiven because of something that happened years ago? You did not realize that your salvation could possibly hinge on your ability to forgive others. God’s grace and mercy are truly a gift, for we cannot earn our salvation. Yet, these words speak of the possibility of losing that gift.

How could this happen?

Take a look at the true meaning behind God’s grace. Does He hate us or does He love us?

Hate would not offer a gift such as grace. Hate would call for revenge. Love is the only thing that can offer a gift such as grace. When we accept Jesus with our whole heart, mind and spirit, we fully accept His love for us and then His love indwells us in the form of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is part of the Triune God that we worship. If the Holy Spirit indwells us, then we have love for others within us. This love would cause us to pass God’s grace and mercy on to others. It would not allow us to harbor hatred and unforgiveness if we truly face what we have hidden from ourselves.

Closely examine every hiding place within your memory to search for those that you have not forgiven, for how can we accept forgiveness if we cannot give it?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you truly free from sin and death?

July 27, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin– because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
(Romans 6:4-7 (NIV))

What a glorious statement! We, as believers, are free from sin!

This does not mean that we do not sin. We are still human. What this means is that we are free from the punishment of sin. We have accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. He has paid the price for our sin. It has been washed away from us by His crucifixion. Through His resurrection, we have been granted the right to be born again, to be looked upon by God as righteous and spotless in His sight.

We will still sin. We are in the world. The world is controlled by Satan, the father of all lies and sin. But, we will not be condemned to suffer the consequences of sin, for we have a risen Savior in Jesus Christ! This does not mean that we can choose to sin all that we want. It means that when we do slip up, we can ask for forgiveness.

We can ask for and be shown grace and mercy in spite of our sins. This is the ultimate freedom!

Are you truly free from sin and death?

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

July 3, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
(Psalms 51:1-2 (NIV))

Everyone desires mercy, but not everyone wants to be cleansed of the reason that they desire mercy!

Think about that in relationship to your own life. We all have something that we know that we shouldn’t do, but we do it anyway. We ask for forgiveness when someone brings it up, but do we truly desire to have this characteristic removed from our lives? Do we truly desire to be cleansed of what we continually ask for mercy for?

For some people, these traits are simply things that annoy those we love. We do them over and over again until someone says something and then we apologize by uttering a “Forgive me! I’m sorry!” For others, these traits are something much worse. They are so ingrained into our sinful nature that we do things that we know aren’t right by any stretch of the imagination. We know that our sins are forgiven and that we have been washed clean by the Blood of the Lamb, but we fail to do the one thing that will give us true freedom. We fail to do the one thing that the Lord desires for us to do.

We fail to surrender!

We fail to let go of our sins. We cling tightly to them even though we claim that we have left them at the foot of the cross. It’s just like old things that we have collected. We know that we should get rid of them, so we pack them up and take them away to be discarded. Far too many of us change our minds along the way. Why do we bring them back into our lives once we have gone through the motions? I often think that we are afraid of what our lives would be without these things. The fear of change keeps us from breaking free. Are we afraid of truly leaving our sins at the foot of the cross? Do we truly repent if we pick them back up? Jesus understood that we may desire to do what is right, but we face obstacles within ourselves. Jesus understands the human condition! He has walked where we walk.

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
(Matthew 26:41 (NIV))

If you read Psalm 51 as a response to the words recorded in Matthew, they can and should be taken as a prayer that every believer presents to God when they are confronted with the sinful nature of the flesh. We should all desire to be cleansed. In order to be cleansed, we have to submit. We have to seek it. We have to allow God to cleanse us.

Have you allowed yourself to be cleansed?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you capable of giving what you long to receive?

June 15, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
(Colossians 3:13 (NIV))

What is it about human nature that makes us reluctant to give away what we have been freely given?

Why do we feel that we must hold on to things that shouldn’t even be a part of our lives?

We all seek grace and mercy, but are we willing to give what we so desperately seek for ourselves?

Through the atoning blood of Jesus, we have been given the gift of forgiveness. This is a gift that, once accepted, wipes clean our sinful past in God’s eyes as if it never happened!

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
(Psalms 103:11-13 (NIV))

All who call upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior have had their transgressions removed as far as the east is from the west. If the Lord can completely forgive us of our sinful nature, we should be able to forgive each other of any grievances, of any transgressions that we have with each other. In fact, we are told that we will be forgiven in the same manner that we forgive others!

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
(Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV))

Are you capable of giving what you long to receive?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Does the world know that you are His disciple?

May 21, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
(John 13:34-35 (NIV))

Sometimes it seems like all that the world recognizes in people who profess a faith in Jesus is the less than loving way that we treat each other at times!

I am going to use a cliché because it seems to say best what we need to be thinking and doing.

What would Jesus do?

We know without a doubt that Jesus would not let the pettiness that leads to family squabbles become foremost in our minds. Why do we do that if Jesus wouldn’t? We know that Jesus even embraced Judas out of love and he betrayed Him unto death. Why do we treat each other as if they have done worse to us than what Judas did to Jesus? Think about that the next time that someone does something that makes you mad. Chances are that they aren’t even aware that they made you mad.

Think about your family. Has anyone ever made you angry? Do you still love them? Do they still love you? Sadly, sometimes families, since we are a fallen and sinful humanity, will say and do things that will leave a bad taste in your mouth. We all say and do things that we wish we could take back. Families are no different. The members of the Body of Christ are a part of a bigger family. By grace, we have been made children and heirs of God, but in our sinful nature, we will stumble. No one is perfect. We will hurt each other at times. Repentance is a big part of the love that we must show. Forgiveness is also a big part of the love that we must show. We must remember that each of us have been offered grace and what we have been offered, we must also offer.

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

If Jesus offered grace and showed love to all who would accept, can we do any less? Will we be held accountable for our actions if we don’t? What will the world see in us if we don’t?

Does the world know that you are His disciple?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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