Just whose body is it?

January 12, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
(Romans 12:1 (NAS))

What we do with our bodies and what we put into our bodies is as important as what we do in the spiritual world. God created us in His image, and we, as believers, must respect not only God for the spiritual salvation that He has given us through His Son, Jesus Christ, but we must also respect, or fear, God for what we do to His creation.

God created us in his image. Would you expect God to defile His image with things that are un-holy as we defile our bodies in the name of personal habits? We must take the attitude that life, both physical and spiritual, is a gift from God.

How many people do you know who would destroy a precious gift after it was given to them? Life is more precious than any gift that this world has to offer, yet, many people do just that. They destroy that gift by sinful acts that they may not see as sinful. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He takes us where we are and does not expect us to be able to change ourselves. The Holy Spirit enters into our lives and works within our lives to guide us towards the image that God had intended for us.

Re-read the first sentence of the first paragraph. Have you ever thought that by defiling your body, you may actually allow Satan a stronghold that may not have otherwise been there. If you are addicted to drugs, when that “urge” for another “fix” has you in its grasp, the last thing that you may be thinking about is “What Would Jesus Do?”

It is through this worldly body that we inhabit that many sins have taken hold of the spiritual side of a person. It is for this reason that Paul wrote these words.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What does God have to do to get your attention?

January 4, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab. But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the LORD stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, she turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat her to get her back on the road.
Then the angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path between two vineyards, with walls on both sides. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat her again.
Then the angel of the LORD moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat her with his staff. Then the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?”
Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.”
The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?”
“No,” he said.
Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown.
(Numbers 22:21-31 (NIV))

Have you ever encountered something that just seemed to go completely different than expected, even when you have done it many times before? Were you able to come up with a logical explanation for the change in the results?

Perhaps the change in the results were similar to those that Balaam had. He was so blinded to the fact that his donkey had never done anything like this before, yet he still blamed the donkey. He did not stop to even contemplate the reason for the change. He did not stop to think that perhaps there was a reason that his trusted donkey had done what she had done. He did not even consider that there is more to this life than meets the eye.

He did not consider that God was intervening in his life!

Are we blinded to this just as Balaam was?

Think about that for a moment.

Does God still speak to His people? Does God still seek out relationships with those who seek Him? Does God work in our lives to guide us, to lead us and to mature us into what He created us to be?

Why should we be any different from Balaam? Why should we limit God’s intervention to the pages of the Bible? The Bible is the story of what He has done. We are the story of what He is doing.

The next time that something seems too odd and out of the normal realm of things, stop and reflect upon what is going on. God may be using the unexpected to reach out to you. He may be calling you to something and that moment in time is the decisive point where you must listen and respond or miss out on His blessings.

Everyone marvels at the story of Balaam and the talking donkey, but how many people overlook the reason that the donkey spoke? It took something completely out of the ordinary to get Balaam’s attention.

What does God have to do to get your attention?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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HAPPY NEW YEAR!

December 30, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8 (NIV))

Nothing is ever the same in this life. It is impossible to ground yourself in anything in this world. Just when you think things are as they should be, something terrible happens and things are a complete mess.

If you base your perspective of life on things worldly, then you are going to be let down many times. If you base your life on things that are of God, with the center of your focus on Jesus Christ, then you will never be let down. With the end of the year rapidly approaching, keep your perspective clearly focused on Jesus, for He never changes.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will you be changed?

December 29, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.
(1 Corinthians 15:51-52a (NIV))

The promise of salvation should be enough to encourage any believer and convert any non-believer, but the promise that is spoken of here is very encouraging. Not only do we have the assurance of salvation from our sins, but we also have the promise of not sleeping (i.e. death), but of being changed in the twinkling of an eye.

This change has caused much theological debate over the years. Some say that it is a physical resurrection, while others say that we are to be given spiritual bodies. One thing is certain. God has promised that we will be changed. Our current bodies are less than perfect and are full of sin. If we are to stand before God as His children, how can we stand there in our sin? We are to be given new life, not only spiritually, but physically. We will only desire to do what is right in the eyes of God, plus we will have heavenly bodies that will never die.

When God told Adam and Eve that they would surely die, the death that He spoke of was two-fold. Death can mean eternal separation from God. It also refers to the physical death. Before Adam and Eve allowed sin into the world, God did not mention that our days were to be numbered. Only since sin has been allowed in, has death actually been a constant subject.

We WILL be changed. Changed into what God had intended us to be all along. The change will come to only those who profess Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.

Will you be changed?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Frantic or eager?

December 28, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.* Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
(Luke 10:41-42 (NIV))

It is so easy to allow the things of this world to overtake us and distract us just as they did with Martha. It is so easy to focus on the busyness of life and completely miss out on the blessings that are right in front of us.

Do you think that Jesus is concerned about the cleanliness of our home, or with the fact that elaborate meals are not prepared? Do you think that Jesus cares more about our frantic effort to put on a good visible facade or that we simply choose to be in His presence?

It is human nature to try to create appearances that are different from reality. We often find ourselves doing just that when we should simply be basking in the moment.

Think about that.

Mary and Martha were sisters. They were in the same house. Jesus was present within their home. Mary recognized that she had a blessing and an opportunity that may never happen again. She chose to sit at the feet of Jesus. Martha was frantically trying to prepare for her guest and did not realize that what she would receive from Him was far greater than what hospitality traditions would provide. Martha followed tradition. Mary followed the Savior. Both loved Jesus. Both knew of His miracles and both probably had an idea of who He truly was, yet Martha chose a path that made her frustrated in the presence of the Lord. She was trying to do things her way, the traditional way.

When we choose to follow Jesus, we must be willing, ready and able to step out in faith even when that step goes against all traditions. We will be called to things that may not make sense to us. We will be called to things that are uncertain in our eyes. We will be called to be still in the Lord’s presence and to take a step of faith.

Be still, and know that I am God;
(Psalm 46:10a (NIV))

If we are like Martha, we will miss what Jesus is calling us to do. We must be like Mary and eagerly sit at the feet of Jesus.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Resident or guest?

December 26, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation.
(Hebrews 5:8-9 (NAS))

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him.
(Colossians 2:6(NIV))

The two verses go hand in hand. Jesus learned obedience even though He is the Son of God. He humbled Himself to the point of death for our sake. Because of this, He can offer eternal salvation.

Once we accept this salvation, we must not think that it is a one time relationship with Jesus. We must continually abide in Him and Him in us. We must open ourselves to the Holy Spirit and humbly listen to what the Holy Spirit is teaching us.

Jesus is the salvation. The perfect gift from God the Father. Once we accept that gift, we must open ourselves to what that gift truly means: an ever increasing walk of faith that will “perfect” us, or mature us in our faith walk.

Does Jesus live in you or is He just an occasional guest?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What better Christmas gift?

December 21, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
(Lamentations 3:22 (NIV))

When we hear these words, can we honestly claim them as our own?

It is not always easy to claim them because of the burdens of the world and the things that we face every “morning.” Yet, all we have to do is stop and reflect on God’s promises to see that He has gotten us through another day and that we were indeed not consumed by the burdens of this world.

Each day that we have is a gift from God and should be approached with thankfulness and joy for the enemy is all around and through God’s great love and mercy, we have escaped the enemy to see another day. The enemy that I speak of is death. Death through sin. Physical death and spiritual death are both a part of the enemy’s arsenal of weapons. The spiritual death is the consumption of our souls by the enemy.

Through God’s compassion, He sent His Son Jesus Christ to face the ultimate “consumption” for our behalf. Even though Satan tried to consume Jesus, Jesus defeated Satan, and through this act, we have the ability to claim that we will not be consumed by the enemy, but covered in grace and “compassion.”

What better Christmas gift can we receive?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Separation is our choice

December 16, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
(Romans 8:35 (NIV))

These are loaded questions, for each of these things pose the potential to draw us closer to Christ, and yet, at the very same time, they each pose the potential to drive us away from Christ. Please notice that I did not say that they could drive Christ away from us, for that is not possible.

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
(Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV))

I have come to the conclusion that the only person who is capable of separating us from the love of Christ is us! How we react to each of these things will determine how our relationship will grow. If we see everything that we face as an opportunity to draw closer to God, then each hardship, persecution, famine, and danger will have that very result. If we look upon God as a benevolent being that will keep us from these things, then our reactions will drive us from Him. We will be seeking the wrong things from God. In essence, we will eventually separate ourselves from Jesus because we have a false perception of what He will do for us. Once we turn away, it is our own understandings that have separated us from Christ. His love is still there. We simply deny it or we reject it. It is our doing.

Fortunately, we have the option of doing a U-turn. We can repent of this attitude and without venturing beyond our arrogance, God’s love is there. All that we have to do is turn and accept it. The love of Christ is never very far. It is our attitudes that make it seem so far away. It is our hardened hearts that keep the love of Christ from us. He does not withhold it. We build barriers against it.

Do you allow anything to separate you from the love of Christ?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Seeing is believing, or believing is seeing?

December 13, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
(Hebrews 11:6 (NIV))

Faith!

It has been defined as “Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. ”

It has also been defined as “Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, an idea, or a thing.”

In the case of faith in God, it appears that both definitions can be combined. This combined definition of faith results from the fact that God cannot be seen. Remember Moses when he spoke to God. He was told that he could not look upon the Glory that is God without dying. For that reason, and many others, man cannot see God. In the eyes of the society in which we live, “seeing is believing.” Even one of Jesus’ disciples displayed a lack of faith after Jesus’ resurrection.

Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”
(John 20:24-25)

Seeing something is a good reason to believe. Yet, many things in this life that cannot be seen are much more real and true than what we can see. Thomas was allowed the opportunity to not only see, but to feel the wounds just as he had stated.

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
(John 20:29)

What type of faith do you possess? Is it one of “seeing is believing,” or do you believe because something inside of you tells you that God is real and that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to die for your sins?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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You are all one in Christ Jesus

December 12, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
(Galatians 3:26-28 (NIV))

This may sound like a silly question, but what is it that we celebrate at Christmas?

Is it the denominational differences that we, humanity, have placed as barriers between ourselves? Is it how we profess our faith? Is it how we sing praises? Is it the color of the skin of the congregation?

Or is it the birth of Jesus?

I often wonder what Jesus would say of He were to come to earth and give us a report card update on how we are doing? Would he commend us or condemn us?

Personally, I believe that we would most likely get a mixed review. One in which we would receive severe judgment for the way that we have allowed the Gospel to be removed from society. I believe that we would be held accountable for the way that we still segregate the Body of Christ I believe that we would also be held accountable for not doing enough to share the Gospel, for it is a gift to everyone, and not just those who look, act and think like us.

It is for Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female.

In other words, it is for those who may not be like you. It is also for those who may be just like you. Think about that last statement. I know that if I found someone “just like me,” I would pray for them continuously, for I know the sins that they would be fighting.

We, as the Body of Christ, come from many different backgrounds. We must prevent these differences from separating us from the rest of the Body of Christ, and from Jesus. We come from many different traditions. Traditions are a funny thing. A tradition is simply a routine way of doing something. They are man-made and must not get in our way of rejoicing with each other about the birth of Jesus.

I once heard someone tell a story about a young bride who, after getting married, wanted to cook a pot roast for her husband. She bought the needed pot and the roast. She then called her mother to get instructions. After listening to her mother, she asked a very serious question. “Why did you always cut off the end of the roast? I want to do it exactly like you.” Her mother’s response was that she cut the roast because her pot was too small. It appears that not all traditions are ones that we need to continue.

Since we are all one in Christ Jesus, what “traditions” do we allow to keep us separated? If we are all sons of God through faith in Christ, why do we often treat our brothers and sisters like we do? I can hear some of you thinking that this is what brothers and sisters do. I honestly hope that the Body of Christ does not act like natural brothers and sisters. We should show the world a different side.

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

Can the world tell that you are a disciple of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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