Is that pet sin that you won’t let go of worth it?

October 1, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God.
(Philippians 1:9-11 (NIV))

Do you think that you are able to discern what is best?

Do you think that you are able to remain blameless until the day of Christ?

Are you filled with the fruit of righteousness?

On the surface, these sound like simple questions, but have you actually tried to look at your life and honestly provide an answer? Do you believe your answers?

We all think that we can discern what is best, but do we always use God’s Word as the benchmark? Do we pick and choose what we think is good based on our own desires or do we honestly look to follow God in all that we do?

Do we, as the Body of Christ, do as society has us believe that truth is relative? How can we remain blameless if what we measure ourselves by is not a fixed target, but it is in the eyes of God? How can we claim to be righteous when the concept of righteousness is a moving target in our own eyes?

God has given us standards. He has given us instructions as to what is good and what is righteous. It is our fault, society and individually, that we have lost track of what is expected of us. In some cases, many of us have deliberately turned our backs on what God desires, yet, we still profess to follow Him.

I can hear His response now.

“Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV))

It doesn’t get much clearer than this. If we are not able to discern what is good, remain blameless and stay righteous, we will be cast aside. Jesus will have never known us.

Is that pet sin that you won’t let go of worth it?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Embracing evil is a rejection of God!

December 9, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and depart from evil.
(Proverbs 3:7 (NKJV))

Too many times in our society, we, as the Body of Christ, tell ourselves that it is only a small thing that we put up with. We tell ourselves that we must do it in order to have a job and put food on the table. Satan has tricked us into a permissive state in which he tells us that it is only a “little white lie” and no one will be hurt by it, after all, if you don’t do it, someone else will.

Evil comes in many forms. Some may even appear to to be for the good of a specific group of people.

Do not be deceived!

Evil, even when wrapped in the guise of being politically correct is still evil!

We, as the Body, should do all within our power to defeat the enemy at every chance we get. We should not be willing to compromise our faith to make a dollar simply because it is a good opportunity and if we don’t do it, someone else will. We should depart from evil no matter how enticing it may be according to the world’s standards. More importantly, we must run to God’s Word and embrace everything that it teaches, and not simply just what supports our position on any given spiritual issue.

Departing from evil without accepting God’s grace and mercy is no different from simply departing from evil. Without accepting God’s grace and mercy freely given to us through His Son, Jesus, we still belong to Satan.

Is it possible to accept God’s grace without departing from evil?

Just what is evil? It is a deliberate rebellion against God. Sin is defined as missing the mark that God has established for us to aim for. Evil means that we don’t even try to hit the target. We go off in a direction that is completely against God. Isn’t that arrogance and pride? Isn’t this what resulted in Satan being cast out of heaven?

Embracing evil is a rejection of God!

God cannot associate with sin. If you willingly embrace what God calls evil after supposedly accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior, how can you take part in God’s grace? Calling upon the name of Jesus is not enough! We must turn from our evil ways. Calling upon the name of Jesus is not a free ticket to sin. It is a plea of guilt and a humble desire for Jesus to change us.

“Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV))

I have some questions for you to think about in relationship to these thoughts.

Can a murderer accept Jesus? Can a person continue committing murder and truly follow Jesus?
Can we continue to steal? Can we continue to commit adultery? Can we continue to lie? Can we continue to curse God? Can we continue to lust after something or someone?

Can you knowingly commit things that are called evil in the eyes of God and enter the kingdom of heaven?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus came to finish God’s plan of salvation.

March 27, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
(John 19:30 (NIV))

Why did Jesus go to the cross?

What did He have to finish?

According to many people alive today, Jesus was concerned about social issues and equality. His own words let us know that this was not the reason for His crucifixion.

You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me
(John 12:8 (NIV))

Did Jesus come to preach acceptance of alternate lifestyles and diversity as some people now claim?

“Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV))

Don’t get me wrong. Jesus is concerned about social issues. He cares for the poor. He cares for the outcast. He cares for those on the edge of society. He does not care for them as the world cares. He cares for their repentance and salvation.

We all know John 3:16 by heart. What the world, and often members of the Body of Christ, forget is that this is not the complete passage. There is more to embrace.

“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 he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men 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 his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

Jesus is the Light of the World. He walked among us to bring light, to teach God’s desires and to offer salvation through repentance. He came to seek and to save the lost! He did not accept the sin of the lost.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:9-11 (NIV))

Jesus did not come to condemn. He came to bring salvation. He had to offer an atoning sacrifice that would cover all of our sins. He had to go to the cross. He had to finish the plan for repayment of our debt in sin.

Jesus did not come to condemn. Sadly, too many people are teaching that he came to ignore our sins and as long as we call upon His name we will be saved. Jesus did not tell the woman to call on him the next time she was caught in sin. He told her to leave her life of sin. If we continue to live in our sin, we are not truly living in the Light. We are still lost in our own evils and lost in the darkness.

Jesus came to finish God’s plan of salvation. God’s plan of salvation did not keep us in our sin. It cleansed us of our sin. All we have to do is repent and accept.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do not become the fool!

October 12, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If a wise man goes to court with a fool,
the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace.
(Proverbs 29:9 (NIV))

I have seen this verse show up a lot this evening. Most of the references have been a direct reference to the Vice Presidential debate.

One translation puts it more in context.

When the wise make a legal charge against the foolish,
the fools shout, they laugh—there is no calm.
(Proverbs 29:9 (CEB))

Stop to think about this verse and the current state of our nation and our world.

How many times have we played the part of the fool and laughed at something that we should have taken seriously? How many times has our government laughed or scoffed at something that is later discovered to be important. History shows us several examples. Hitler. Japan. We may even be looking at another example unfolding with Iran.

I have a serious question for you to consider.

What if we play the fool and ignore our faith? Something was said in tonight’s debate where both men claimed to believe in the sanctity of life. One said that he did not believe that it was his place to force his beliefs on others. In other words, he compromised his beliefs in what he stated was a core faith issue to him.

To me, this sounds like it is a denial of faith and the following may apply.

“Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV))

I am not trying to get political. I simply and honestly think that the words written in Matthew are meant to tell each of us that if we truly know Jesus, then we will not compromise our faith. If we follow Jesus, we are to do as He did. He did not ignore wrongdoing and sin. He confronted it. He confronted it out of love. He did not change His position or ignore His position when it was not politically correct.

Jesus did not change to please man!

He stayed true to what he knew God was calling Him to do.

Have you been true with what God has been calling you to do?

Have you laughed or scoffed at this calling?

Have you ever ignored what you knew to be true to be politically correct?

Has this become a personal denial of faith for you?

What happens if you deny the teachings? Does that mean that you deny the teacher? If we deny the teacher, the teacher will not know us.

If a wise man goes to court with a fool,
the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace.
(Proverbs 29:9 (NIV)

Stay true to God’s Word. Do not become the fool! Put Jesus first!

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