Are you too proud to accept God’s gifts?

October 12, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, `Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

“When he came to his senses, he said, `How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

“The son said to him, `Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

“But the father said to his servants, `Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
(Luke 15:11-24 (NIV))

Everybody is familiar with the story of the prodigal son. I have heard someone comment on it in such a way as to shed new light on God’s mercy and grace.

God does not wait until we ask for forgiveness to forgive us. We are forgiven even before we ask for it!

We must ask in order to receive it, but He has already decided that He will forgive us. Asking for forgiveness shows a change of heart on our part and this change of heart prepares us to accept the grace that God has already granted us. Without this change of heart, we cannot accept God’s grace. We do not feel that we need it. It is a matter of pride.

Asking for grace shows that we have humbled ourselves. Sadly, far too many people are too proud to ask for anything.

Grace and mercy are free. We pay the personal price by swallowing our pride when we ask for them.

Are you too proud to accept God’s gifts?

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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Is the truth shining in you?

April 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
(1 John 2:3-4 (NAS))

Many people falsely believe that once they accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, they are forgiven for anything that they may have done or will do.

This is partially true. Accepting and acknowledging Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is only the beginning. Grace and mercy are yours for the asking, but, once that is granted, a true desire to keep His commandments should fill you to the point that trying to do anything less is not even an option that you could consider.

Going around with the false belief that you can do anything and that God will forgive you is dangerous to yourself and to those whom you encounter. God has given us a great gift through His Son, Jesus Christ. This gift is not to be taken lightly. Acceptance of this gift exacts a responsibility and a toll on those who accept it. The responsibility is to change from your previous ways and to fully embrace everything that Jesus taught us to be. We are to be a light to the world. What kind of light would we be if we “shined” dimly or not at all?

Our actions will shine for Jesus if we keep His commandments, otherwise we do not shine at all.

Is the truth shining in you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What will we be willing to face for the Gospel?

November 3, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him,
(Philippians 1:29 (NIV))

Wait a second!

Did you just read what I just read?

Did Paul actually write this?

Today’s church needs to learn that proclaiming Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior does not mean that everything will be all rosy and without problems. The early church knew this. Those who left Europe to settle in the new world knew it. Both groups were persecuted because of their faith in Jesus and their desire to worship Him in truth. When you go against the accepted routine of the world and seek to believe in Jesus instead of the world, then you will face hardships. You will suffer at the hands of those who follow the ways of the world.

One way to look at this passage may help clarify things.

What is the one thing in your life that you were willing to make sacrifices for in order to obtain it? For some, that may have been physical training as an athlete. For others, it may have been education in a very specialized field. No matter what it was that you wanted, you were willing to make sacrifices to obtain it. You were willing to suffer in the present in order to gain something in the future.

You were willing to suffer in the present to gain something in the future!

I believe that this is what Paul was implying when he recorded these words. It is not enough to be willing to believe. Even though believing is crucial to salvation, it is only the beginning of our faith journey. Are you willing to suffer for your faith in Jesus? Are you willing to sacrifice in order to believe? Are you willing to suffer or give up something that is important to you in order to gain something that is of far more importance?

Human nature is a strange thing. Too many of us are willing to keep the sinful things that we know because we are afraid of the blessings that we don’t know. When we accept belief in Jesus then we must be prepared to accept that we may suffer temporarily for our belief.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Has your faith made you well?

January 22, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
(Luke 17:19 (NIV))

Are we capable of claiming such a statement as our own?

Can we believe with all of our being that our faith can make a difference in our health, in our lives, and in the lives of those around us?

It is a hard task to live up to. It is even harder than we care to admit. Faith is an unusual thing. It is the foundation for our society, yet our society is turning it’s back on it. It is the basis for our morals and ethics, yet they seem to be fading fast. Many people have something that they call faith, yet it is a faith in money, or government, or themselves. It is not the faith that can save. Only a faith in Jesus Christ can save.

We cannot mandate faith as a societal objective. However, we can develop our faith and share it with others in hopes that they will develop their own Biblically based faith.

Let’s take another look at the words of Luke 17:19 – “your faith had made you well.”

Faith in Jesus saves us from eternal separation from God, from a death far worse than a physical death. Through this faith, we escape the grave. We are made well. Through our faith, we have the ability to claim many healings. Eternal life with God is the greatest healing. Physical healings can also manifest themselves through your faith. Even if this type of healing never occurs, rejoice, for you have already been granted the ultimate healing – eternal life!

Has your faith made you well?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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To whom should our thanks be directed?

November 23, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

To You I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
And call upon the name of the LORD.
(Psalms 116:17 (NAS))

Do you look at our Thanksgiving holiday as a sacrifice to the Lord?

Far too many people look at Thanksgiving as a day to overeat and watch football. They don’t look at Thanksgiving as an act to be performed unti the Lord.

Are you truly thankful for what God has given to you, or do you take it for granted?

Are you more concerned with thanking the cooks than you are for thanking God for providing the blessings that sit before you?

Are you more thankful for the physical possessions that you have than you are for the gift of grace that was freely given to you?

Just what are your priorities? What are you thankful for? Are you more thankful for the things that will rust and decay than you are for grace that never goes away?

I pray that each of us truly recognize where our thanks should be directed.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are the things you ask of God selfish or selfless?

April 13, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, riches or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, riches and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.”
(2 Chronicles 1:11-12 (NIV))

Solomon is a good example of how God will honor someone if they honor God. Solomon was in a position to ask for anything in this world, yet, he chose to ask for wisdom to be able to be a just and wise king. God granted him this wisdom, plus, because he had asked un-selfishly, God granted him the other things that he had not asked for. Solomon had asked for something that did not benefit him directly, and God saw that Solomon wished to be a wise and righteous man.

If God asked you to name the one gift that you wished for, what would it be?

Would it be selfish or would it be righteous?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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