Conform to the image of Jesus!

October 14, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
(1 Peter 1:13-16 (NIV))

For anybody who professes to follow Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, this is excellent advise.

Too many people in the world today have the false impression that whatever we do is ok because God loves us and He wouldn’t condemn us for being who He made us to be. What they fail to take into consideration is that God did not create us in the current state that we find ourselves in. He created us to live in a perfect paradise and have a perfect relationship with Himself. Satan entered the picture and sin separated us completely from God. God did not create us to rebel and have a sinful nature. That was our doing. Ever since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, we have been a fallen race. We have been doing things that God does not want us to do. God’s perfect creation was ruined by our rebellion. God cast Adam and Eve out of the Garden because of that rebellion. What makes you think that God would accept us and our sins since He didn’t accept the original sinners when all that they did was disobey Him? We disobey God every single day of our lives.

Thankfully, God gave us a way to return to Him of our own free will. He knows that we cannot be sin free and righteous all on our own, so He sent His Son, Jesus, to atone for our sinful nature. To receive this gift of grace, all that we have to do is accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior and repent of our sins. God never told us that we could go on sinning! He wants us to conform to the likeness of Jesus. He wants us to be holy. Our holiness is inherited. It comes from accepting grace through Jesus. It comes new every day, for each day we fall short of being holy. Thankfully, we are washed anew every day when we repent and ask Jesus to guide us.

On my own, I am far from holy. With Jesus, God sees me as holy because He sees Jesus in me!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you embrace?

July 1, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
(Genesis 2:15-17 (NIV))

Just what is good and what is evil?

In today’s society where everything is relative, that simple question does not get a simple answer from man.

Why do you suppose that this simple concept of good and evil has been lost?

Perhaps it is because we, as humanity, lost site of what is good in the Garden of Eden and the more time that passes since this happened, the more we embrace evil as good and good as evil.

How can we recapture the truth behind good and leave evil behind?

We have been given a redemptive gift through Jesus. This gift allows us to experience grace and mercy when we really don’t have a concept of what grace and mercy are! We are given a wonderful gift when we don’t understand or have the ability to appreciate this gift. Even so, God gave it to us anyway!

Why did God give us grace and mercy when we don’t understand it or deserve it?

God created us! God loves us! He longs to embrace us in His sinless perfection, but we are sinful. For this reason, God provided a “graft” that allows us to escape the knowledge of evil and embrace the good that He has given us.

We are now free once again to embrace the good that God desires for us even though we have embraced the evil in the past. We can turn from the evil and embrace the good.

When you hold out your arms, what do you embrace?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What an amazing thing!

May 1, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28 (NIV))

What an amazing thing! Not only does God love us, but for those who love Him, He works things in our lives that will be for our good.

To those who do not love God, this is a perplexing statement. They see bad things happen and then ask how can God allow these things to happen. They only see the immediate results. They do not take into consideration that these things are “lessons in righteousness” and that with each negative action we experience, we get a positive, righteous trait as a reward.

God loves us so much that He was willing to send His Son, Jesus Christ, to earth for us. He also loves us so much that He will not let us stay as we are, which is in our currnet sinful state. Too many people believe that accepting Jesus as their Savior only implies that they will be blessed in this world. They are too shallow to see that God longs to change them into the likeness of Jesus, which is the best thing that could happen to anyone.

It is true that God wants to bless you, but you must look beyond the blessings of this world to see and receive the blessings of God.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you allowed God to give you grace?

February 17, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
(Romans 5:8-11 (NIV))

If God loved us enough to send His Son, Jesus Christ to die for us so that we may be reconciled to Him when we were in sin, how much more will His grace and mercy be poured out upon us after we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior?

Isn’t it amazing that the One who created us saved us from ourselves. We allowed sin into this world, yet, through God’s grace and mercy, He has allowed us to be redeemed from that sin and reconciled to Him.

Have you allowed God the opportunity to allow you to have grace and mercy?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The truth is that God loves us!

December 12, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?
(Psalms 8:3-4 (NIV))

Isn’t it amazing that the Creator of all that we know, and all that is beyond our imagination, cares for us unconditionally?

All of the splendor and majesty that is God’s creation pales in comparison to the love that God has for us, part of His creation. In all of creation, we, as humans, are uniquely loved. We, after all, were created in God’s image.

Those who believe in evolution claim that we are descendants of apes. Isn’t it interesting that there is evidence that Charles Darwin denounced his own theory and professed a faith in Jesus Christ? Isn’t it interesting that many of the same scientists who were claiming that everything can be explained scientifically are now saying that the odds of everything happening are so astronomical that the universe had to have been designed?

Man can try to say that we are gods, or that we are no more than evolved apes, yet, the truth is that God loves us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus to die on the cross as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. There are skeptics who do not wish to admit this. They say that Jesus was not a real person. They choose to ignore the fact that there is more evidence that says Jesus lived and did what the Bible says than there is evidence that they exist! When you look at the facts, the facts don’t lie.

The truth is that God loves us and does not wish for any of us to perish.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Broken and loved by God!

December 4, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus looked directly at them and asked, “Then what is the meaning of that which is written:

” `The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone’ ?
Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.
(Luke 20:17-18 (NIV))

Which would you rather be – broken or crushed? Let’s face it, neither one of them sound like it will be good for anyone. Both options have drastic overtones that resound with pain.

Carefully consider the options from a two thousand year old perspective. To fall to the ground, or prostrate yourself, meant to throw yourself at the mercy of the one who was in authority. The authority was thought of as strong and as powerful as stone. Out of humility, people would prostrate themselves on the stone of the authority seeking mercy. In the situation where a faith in Jesus is professed, Jesus is that stone. He is that authority. It is at His feet that we prostrate ourselves seeking mercy. Fortunately, all who seek it will find it. Through our brokenness and humility, we will be strengthened. We will be made whole.

Consider those who did not throw themselves at the mercy of the authority. That stone of authority came down upon them and crushed any chances of mercy that may have existed. The same is true of Jesus. If we are too proud to turn to Him in brownness and humility, eventually, His authority will come down upon us and crush us. We will be broken and cast away without any hope. I know that this sounds harsh, but we must remember that God loves us and does not desire for any of us to face this. He calls us to Him, but our pride causes the separation.

In my opinion, it is much better to be broken than to be crushed. Brokenness implies that we can be restored. We can be made as good as new. To be crushed implies the return to the dust from which we came.

All of us must come to terms with the power and the strength of the stone that is Jesus. We can humbly approach Him in our brokenness and seek mercy, or we can deny Him in our pride and be crushed by His authority. One thing that we must never forget is that with the authority that belongs to Jesus comes the love and mercy of God. It is this love and mercy that kept Jesus on the cross. He faced the brokenness so that we can turn to Him in our brokenness and find love and mercy.

As for me, I would prefer to be broken and loved by God, instead of being proud and crushed by the weight of my sin.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.

March 7, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“The LORD bless you
and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”
(Numbers 6:24-26 (NIV))

Peace!

Have you ever stopped to think about the opposite of peace?

War!

I saw something the other day that made me think about God’s peace in a different light.

Ever since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden, through our sin, we have been at war with God. We have attempted to do things our way with results that are less than stellar. We, as humanity, have been and still are in a war with God. We have rebelled and we are still fighting Him in all that we do. As a result of our war with God, things have happened throughout history and in each of our lives. We have suffered for our rebellion, and not because our Lord is a mean God. We suffer because we have rebelled. We have fallen away from His grace, but not His authority.

Accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is an acknowledgment that you are tired of fighting the war and the battles with sin. I know that to those who don’t understand, this next statement will label the Body of Christ as weak. Those who profess a faith in Jesus surrender to the authority that God was, is and is to come. God did not create us to be at war with Him. He created us to share in His peace. He created us to share in His blessings.

Once we are at peace with God the Father, we experience the blessings of life in ways that we could never imagine. We see the joy in a sunrise. We see God’s grace in the midst of troubles. We hear the voice of God when the world is shouting at us loudly. And in all of this, we become content.

The dictionary defines contentment as the state of being happy and satisfied.

We are not content in the state of the fallen world. We are content in knowing that whatever happens, God loves us and will see us through whatever the world may send our way.

Have you ever known someone who is content in the middle of chaos? I have met a few individuals who can fit into this picture, however, this is not the image that we are given in God’s Word. God offers us peace and happiness even when we, as fallen humanity, are at war with God’s grace.

Are you still at war with God?

Have you surrendered?

Have you found peace?

Have you found true happiness and contentment?

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
(John 14:27 (NIV))

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