Are you truly living under freedom?

July 5, 2022

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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 just celebrated another July 4th. It is a day of celebration for the freedoms that we enjoy in this country. It is a day that we celebrate the resolve of our founding fathers to break the chains that tied them to a king and country that did not see them as equals.

What was done by our founding fathers was great, but I want you to think about what Jesus did.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

God the Father had the resolve to break our captivity to sin. Jesus the Son had the resolve to do what was needed to break our chains of bondage. He willingly went to the cross so that we could be free; so that we could have salvation. He freed us from a far greater bondage than any physical oppression. He freed us from sin!

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
(Romans 8:1-2 (NIV))

Please think about the fact that nothing in this world lasts. It is possible that something will happen and we will lose some or all of our freedoms that our founding fathers fought for.

The freedoms that are given through the Blood of Jesus can never be taken from us. We, in our human frailty, can turn our backs on the freedom from sin, but Jesus will never take it from us.

Jesus has broken every chain that can bind us to the law of sin and death!

All that you have to do is accept it.

Have you accepted your servanthood and freedom?

Are you truly living under freedom?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you standing firm in the freedom that Christ has given?

July 4, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
(Galatians 5:1 (NIV))

What is freedom to you?

If you are a follower of Jesus, then freedom means something different from how the world defines it. It has such a deeper meaning and carries with it a longer lasting impact than what the world calls freedom. Worldly freedom can be gone in an instant, but the freedom that Jesus came to offer lasts an eternity. Worldly freedom is good, for with it comes the freedom to worship as you please. Worldly freedom also has its drawbacks, for worldly freedom allows us to do things that the world sees as appropriate even if they are not right in the eyes of God. Freedom through the atoning blood of Jesus washes away all the sins of the world. We are made right in the eyes of God. When we are made right in the eyes of God, we should long to strive toward the perfection that we are being called to. We are not to use this freedom as an excuse to return to our sins.

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

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
(Galatians 5:13 (NIV))

I love freedom! I also love knowing that there are boundaries to this freedom. Those boundaries protect us. They nurture us and they guide us into righteousness in the eyes of God. Thankfully, we have the Holy Spirit to guide us if we will only listen. Does a person who is freed from prison immediately turn around and asked to be placed back in prison? Why should we, who are freed from the prison, from the bondage of sin and death, immediately return to sin?

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
(2 Corinthians 3:17 (NIV))

We must stand firm. We must keep our eyes focused on Jesus. We must cling to the freedom that was given to us by Jesus.

Are you standing firm in the freedom that Christ has given?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you free indeed?

March 9, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
(John 8:36 (NIV))

This passage came to mind while I was having a conversation with a friend. The subject came up about people questioning their salvation because of their past being too much for God to forgive. Sadly, there are always people who believe that they have done so much wrong that God can’t forgive them. They feel that they are above God’s thresh hold of forgiveness.

Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save,
     nor his ear too dull to hear.
(Isaiah 59:1 (NIV))

In essence, they can’t forgive themselves even when God freely gives grace and mercy to all who will simply accept.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

Do you know someone who needs to come into the light? Are they afraid to come into the light for fear of what will be exposed? It seems that even Paul wrote about such people when he wrote to the church at Corinth.

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
(1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NIV))

He went into detail about the sinful past of the members of the church at Corinth, but he didn’t stop there. He went on to remind them that that is what they were and not what they are due to the saving grace freely given through the blood of Jesus.

And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
(1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NIV))

If you think, or someone you know thinks that they are too far gone for grace, remind them that we are all sinners in need of a savior, and His name is Jesus. I don’t often start and end with the same scripture passage, but in this case, I feel that it is merited.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
(John 8:36 (NIV))

Are you free indeed?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must proclaim that only Jesus is the truth!

March 19, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
(John 8:32 (NIV))

If you truly stop to think about this passage, it completely destroys the concept that truth is relative. How can anything that is relative, that constantly changes, have the power to set you free. If truth is relative, then the one who espouses a relative truth is not constant. They change with the seasons. They change with the winds. They change with whatever crowd and whatever lie is most popular at the moment. What they say is their truth one day will not be their truth the next day. In fact, all that they proclaim is a lie. The last that I looked, a lie cannot set you free. In fact, all lies come from satan who is the father of all lies. His lies didn’t get him set free. His lies led to him being cast out of heaven and will lead to being cast into the lake of fire.

Does this sound like any “truth” that you want to be associated with?

Does that sound like freedom to you?

We only need to turn to the words of Jesus to find the real truth. We only need to turn to Jesus to find a truth that is not relative and constantly changing. We only need to turn to Jesus to find the absolute truth that can only come from God!

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

Too many people simply do not understand or they choose to reject what this means. These are the people who proclaim that there are many ways to God and that Jesus is only one of those ways. If they had actually read and understood this passage, along with many others, they would not be able to make such a claim. They do not see the God of the Bible. They see a god of their own personal designs. They have bought into the lie that God is relative and that He is whatever you wish Him to be!

We, as the Body of Christ, know that only Jesus, as the only begotten Son of God, is the truth. With this concept firmly rooted in Scripture, let’s paraphrase John 8:32 with a simple word replacement.

Then you will know Jesus, and Jesus will set you free.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
(John 8:36 (NIV))

With all that is going on in the world, we must pray for people to come to the realization that there is only one truth and His name is Jesus! We must do all that we can to show that truth is not relative and that those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior know the truth and that they have indeed been set free!

We must proclaim that only Jesus is the truth!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Share the good news!

October 23, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
(Romans 8:1-2 (NIV))

Do you obey the law?

Do you always drive the speed limit? Do you ever throw something from your car? Do you sometimes cross busy streets in places other than the crosswalks? If you do any of these, then you do not obey the laws one hundred percent of the time.

If you are ever caught doing any of these things, then there will be a penalty to pay.

Do you obey God’s laws?

Have you ever murdered? Probably not.

Have you ever taken the Lord’s name in vain? Many of us probably have done so out of frustration or anger.

Have you ever committed adultery? Hopefully not.

Have you ever stolen anything? Probably. Even an ink pen on accident could be considered stealing. It did not belong to you and you left with it.

What type of penalties would you expect for any of these breaches of God’s law?

Think of the worst possible penalty that could be paid and that is exactly what Jesus paid on the cross for each of us. He willingly paid the penalty for all of the things that we have done or ever will do. He paid the price for the law of sin and death so that we could claim freedom from its hold on us. Through Jesus, we can claim that our penalties have been paid in full. All that we have to do is accept this grace and mercy.

We will still slip up and break God’s laws just like we break human laws, but we can be forgiven for these transgressions. It is a matter of the heart. We must long to do what God desires us to do. If this is our true heart, then God will see and forgive through the atoning blood of Jesus.

We are free from the law of sin and death! Share the good news!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What are you waiting for?

October 12, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.
(Revelation 22:17 (NIV))

Think back upon the last invitation that you received. Maybe it was an engraved, formal invitation to a wedding. Perhaps it was an email telling you of an event, the time and place. Perhaps it was a televised invitation to a concert. Better yet, was it a simple exchange between friends where one friend willingly opened his heart and home to you as a simple act of fellowship and love?

Now, imagine the best invitation that you have ever received is nothing more than filthy rags. That is exactly what it is in comparison to the invitation that all of us are given. All other invitations are to events that are fleeting in nature and are soon forgotten. The invitation that we are given by the Spirit is one to an eternal celebration of grace and mercy!

“Come!”

There is no other invitation needed. There is no other explanation needed. God, in all of His infinite wisdom and glory is freely offering us grace and mercy through the redeeming blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. All we have to do is accept the invitation.

Are you thirsty?

Do you long to have the water of life?

What are you waiting for? Grace and mercy are yours through this glorious invitation.

“Come!”

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you love this world?

August 26, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.
(1 John 2:15 (NIV))

The way that things are at this moment in time, I am pretty sure that most people will easily be able to say that they do not love the world.

What was your outlook last year? Did you love the world then? If everything suddenly became exactly as you long for, what would your outlook be? Would you love the world then?

Even in the very best of times, we still live in a sinful, fallen world. No matter what you may like in this world, it will fade, rust or die. Even the very best of friends will betray you. Thankfully, we are promised an eternal home that is so much better. It is so far beyond our ability to understand how good it will be. What we have in this world is as we are, filthy rags. We can trade our filthy rags for God’s perfection. We should desire to cast off the rags and leave them behind, for what we will receive is eternal grace, beauty, and peace in God’s presence.

Think about that for a moment.

We will no longer be confronted with wars, hatred, sin, riots, hunger, sickness and death. I realize that in the midst of all of this, we do have fleeting glimpses of beauty, love and peace, but they soon vanish. Why do we claim to love a place that seems to cause so much pain, when we can claim an eternal home free from all pain and suffering? All that we have to do is look beyond this world and acknowledge Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. He alone can change our eternity. He alone can fulfill the promises. The things of this world are fleeting. Don’t cling to what will fade!

Do you love this world?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Pray for discernment as we face the future!

July 24, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.
(Revelation 13:16-17 (NIV))

Control . . . and on a global scale.

In order for this to happen, several things must occur.

First and foremost, something must happen that makes people willing to do whatever those in authority say needs to be done. Then, they will need to remove cash and coins and convince everyone that it is for their own safety, security and convenience that everything goes digital. They will need to isolate people and then convince them that in order to resume normal life, they must receive something that indicates that they are safe from whatever excuse they originally used to make them go into isolation. In essence, they remove the ability to buy or sell without being tracked. They implement a way to tell if you are able to be tracked, and then they force you to be tracked if you want to participate in this thing that we call life!

Does any of this sound familiar?

Satan is the father of lies. He is maneuvering to have humanity do exactly what is told of in Revelation.

Watch the things of this world closely, for many lies are being told and many are believing them as truth. History is being rewritten. God’s Word is being ridiculed. Israel is being accused of war crimes for defending themselves. There are people who are trying to make us do things in the guise of making people safer. Will these actually pave the way for great confrontation? Nothing can be taken at face value.

Deception is the key to what is currently unfolding. Stay firmly rooted in God’s Word. Study so that you may know what the events in the world actually mean. Test everything by God’s Word. Do not accept anything espoused by man as the truth. Only God’s Word is true.

Don’t fall into the traps that are being laid. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus.

Pray for discernment as we face the future!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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This is true freedom!

July 2, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
(John 8:36 (NIV))

We are all familiar with this passage, but there is something that we probably need to clarify. Let’s start by asking one simple question.

What is your definition of freedom?

I told you it was a simple question. However, the answer is probably not so simple.

Do you go along with the definition that the world is trying to push on us at this point? According to this definition, freedom implies doing whatever you want, whenever you want, with whomever you want, regardless of what gets destroyed or who gets hurt. The old saying, “If it feels good, do it,” has nothing on this mindset. In fact, it pales in comparison to what is called freedom today. If you look up the word, freedom implies a liberation, being exempt from rules, and unrestricted. When theses concepts are taken with respect for others, you have balance and society. When you take these concepts to the extremes that we are seeing, you have debauchery, anarchy and riots. This type of freedom is self-centered, sinful and evil.

Is this your definition of freedom?

If you are reading this, I can safely assume that I know what your answer is.

Godly freedom is what we so desperately need. This freedom rescues us. It saves us from ourselves. It breaks the chains that bind us to our sinful nature.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

Do you understand why things are as they are in the world? They have been led astray by the enemy and have been taught to hate the light. In fact, they call good evil and evil good. Their minds have been polluted and controlled. The so-called freedom that they are expressing will only lead to one outcome according to the first part of Romans 6:23.

But, God…

Finishing reading the rest of Romans 6:23.

This is true freedom! This is true liberation! We are no longer bound to or by our sinful nature. We no longer must face death. We can spend eternity with the Lord!

This is true freedom!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How do we see each other?

May 28, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
(Galatians 3:28 (NIV))

I long for the day that we truly see each other as Jesus sees us!

I have lived long enough to honestly say that I am tired of people treating each other differently simply because we may not look the same. I want it to end, but since we live in a sinful, fallen world, we are going to continue to see these types of things happen. It breaks my heart just as I am certain that it breaks the very heart of God. What is it about human nature that makes us want to lash out at someone because of our shortcomings, our sins? Ever since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden, humanity has had to struggle with a vast array of sins including ego, pride and selfishness.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
(Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV))

The world is upside down. We are seeing things that our ancestors never saw. We also are doing things that our ancestors would have never dreamed about doing. This goes both ways. Some things are better while some things are worse. We, as the Body of Christ, recognize the intolerance and hatred. We also know that there is truly only one solution to this sinful nature. Unfortunately, not everyone will accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. It is also sad to realize that not everyone who professes a faith in Jesus is mature enough to embrace what the author of Acts recorded for us.

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
(Acts 20:24 (NIV))

We must all come to the realization that each person is a unique creation and is loved by God. We must treat each individual with this in mind. For those individuals whom we see who have accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, we can embrace them as part of the family. For those who haven’t yet accepted Jesus, we can show them the love of Jesus and invite them into the family.

How do we see each other?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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