Is your belief based on your ego?

September 29, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
(Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV))

Too many people still believe that they can be saved by good works. They believe that it is of their own good works that will save them. This belief is based on ego. The inflated ego that they are different from everyone else and that they alone set their destiny. Nothing could be further from the truth.

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; (Isaiah 64:6a)

Nothing that we can do can bring us to the level of righteousness that is required in order to be saved. It is by grace alone that we are saved. Grace is a gift freely given to all who will accept it. There is only one thing that we can do to receive salvation: accept God’s gift of grace.

Works then become important after we have received this gift of grace. These works are the acts of Christian love and compassion that we use to reach others for Jesus Christ. The works are no longer our attempt at becoming good enough for God. We work, not out of a need to prove ourselves, but out of a desire to prove that God loves us. In essence, we become the bearers of the good news of God’s grace once we have accepted God’s grace.

From which side of grace are you performing your good works?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you free indeed?

July 3, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
(2 Corinthians 3:12-18 (NIV))

With all that is going on in the world, too many people turn to worldly things to try to find freedom.

Some turn to the government. Some turn to money. Some turn to fame. Still, others turn to themselves.

No matter where you turn, true freedom can only be found in one source – Jesus Christ!

Even the very best version of freedom that the world has to offer will eventually result in the ultimate imprisonment – death! All that the world has to offer cannot provide a freedom from death. The world can provide a sense of freedom during your lifetime, but it cannot provide an escape from death.

What do you think of when you think of the definition of the word freedom?

For most people, the definition can be stated simply as the ability to make your own choices and determine your own direction.

Do we have this in this world? Do we truly have the option to determine our own direction?

Most people apply this concept to such things as jobs, an unobstructed mobility within the world, and even to the lifestyle that they choose to live. In a sense, that is a form of freedom, but this freedom without the freedom offered through Jesus is nothing more than a false hope. Physical freedoms without the spiritual freedom that can only come through accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is a false hope. Adam and Eve, through the fall from grace, had the freedom to choose. The freedom that they chose has actually enslaved humanity to sin since the fall.

Is that the freedom that you want?

True freedom can only come through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. Accept the gift of grace that was freely given so that you could be free.

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

Are you free indeed?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus was willing. Are you?

June 26, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
(Matthew 8:1-4 (NIV))

“I am willing.”

Three little words that changed the course of history! Three little words that allowed each of us to receive grace and mercy.

I can imagine a conversation in heaven a long time ago in which God the Father says something like, “I have a plan to offer grace, mercy and salvation to my creation. It will require a great sacrifice. Are you willing?”

“I am willing.”

It is very easy to comprehend the idea that when Jesus spoke these words to the leper, it was not the first time that He had said them. Perhaps the best part of this is that He says them still. He says them to each of us who willingly come to Him as Lord and Savior. No matter what garbage we bring with us, we can ask Him if He is willing to take it from us and His answer will always be “I am willing.” The only thing that holds us back from hearing these words and receiving His gift of grace and mercy is the simple fact that we do not answer Him. He asks each of us “If you are willing, I can take that from you.” Far too many are not willing. Far too many will never know God’s grace and mercy.

Jesus was willing. Are you?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you delight in your walk with God?

May 31, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise son delights in him.
(Proverbs 23:24 (NIV))

What is wisdom?

Do you think of it as the world thinks of it? Do you look upon wisdom as the ability to deal with people and come out better off than they do? Do you look upon wisdom as knowledge and power? Take a serious look inward and reflect on what is wise in your eyes.

What is righteousness?

Do you look upon this the way our society now looks upon it? Righteous now means something completely different in today’s slang than it does to God.

Righteousness and wisdom are traits that should denote a fear of God. This fear is not one that makes you stay away from God, but, rather it is a healthy respect and reverence for the Creator by the creation. The worldly definitions of these words place the creation above the Creator. Leave it to the enemy to turn what God has called good and make it have a meaning that is completely opposite of the truth.

Don’t give up hope. There is true wisdom and true righteousness! It is available only through God’s gift of His Son, Jesus, as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Accepting this gift of grace and mercy truly makes you wise no matter what the world thinks of you or what your IQ may be. This wisdom is the only wisdom that matters, for it is a wisdom of recognition of authority and submission and not a wisdom that seeks its own authority and for everyone to submit to it.

The words written in Proverbs 23:24 are true. Righteousness and wisdom do bring great joy and delight. Do you delight in those whom you love? Do you delight in your walk with God?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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