It is only one small step to repentance!

September 18, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
(1 Timothy 1:12-14 (NIV))

Paul had been the epitome of Jewishness. He was a Pharisee, well respected in society, and destined to be a high ranking official within society.

What made him give all of this up? What made him willing to spend the rest of his life preaching against everything that he had been taught to believe and an outcast in the eyes of the very society that he was a part of?

Paul had been given a message so loud and clear that he had to turn from the life that he had been leading and follow the truth that he so desparately longed for. Perhaps it was in his personality to seek after the truth that made him become a Pharisee to begin with. Paul was searching and longed to be close to God. He was only misguided and ignorant in his search. Does this sound familiar to events in your life? I know that it does in mine.

Consider what God did for Paul even when Paul was persecuting Jesus. How do you think God will treat you? Have you persecuted God or Jesus? Have you denied God? There is an old saying that states no matter how far you run from God, it is only one small step back. Paul realized this. God gave us this through the gift of His Son, Jesus.

Have you taken that one small step back?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can your requests be considered a test?

January 27, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus answered, “It says: `Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”
(Luke 4:12 (NIV))

How many of us can honestly say that they have never done this?

It is human nature to try and get the upper hand in all things that we do. We like to come out on top. We like to be number one. We like to get the most out of what we do, or at least to get more than the people that we know.

How many of you, when presented with some fantastic news about someone else’s achievements, secretly think that it should have been you?

If we are not careful, we take this to extremes. To be honest with you, even a little is a sin. We covet what someone else has. Now, imagine if that someone else is God.

Yes, we even try to get the upper hand in our dealings with God. We will beg and plead. We will negotiate. We will do whatever we think that we can if it will mean that we come out on top. We will even go so far as to say something like this, “God, if You will only do this, I will serve you. I will devote my whole life to You.”

Sadly, this type of thing happens more often than we care to admit. I honestly believe that most, if not all, of us have tried to make this type of bargain with God.

If this isn’t testing God, then I don’t know what is. We base our faith on what God will do for us first. We base our faith on what we think that God is good for. We overlook the all important and obvious gift that He already willingly shares with all who will simply accept that gift.

I often wonder how God reacts to our feeble attempts to negotiate with Him. Does He roll His eyes? Does He shed a tear for our ignorance? Does He think that we are fools for asking for something that is trivial, when He has already given us the possibility of eternity with Him?

Think about how you approach God. Can your requests be considered a test?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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“Luke Warm” commitment

March 15, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV))

Don’t you get tired of people saying that they believe that God created the universe, yet they have trouble with Jesus being the Son of God? Or, they accept certain parts of the Bible, yet reject other parts. How can someone profess to believe, yet reject many of the basics of what that belief should be based on?

Many people have a problem with various aspects of the Bible because of pride, arrogance, ignorance, or insecurity in their lives. For this reason, they pick and choose what they wish to accept. The above passage states that “ALL” Scripture is given by God. If this is the case, then it is necessary to either believe all or nothing!

Those who are selective about their beliefs are usually those who do not wish to allow the Holy Spirit to have access to every aspect of their lives. They give only what they want to give up. They do not totally surrender everything to God. Imagine a professional athlete who does not give all to their sport. They would soon find themselves without a profession, and would also find themselves hopelessly lost in trying to achieve their goals. Now, place that same attitude within someone who professes to believe, yet, only believes what they choose to accept because the rest makes them feel uncomfortable. Total commitment is essential for any activity, or relationship, for that matter, to succeed. This means every aspect of your life.

Remember that it is stated that God despises “luke warm” commitment.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What good will we be if our light is going out?

December 6, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.
(Acts 17:30 (NIV))

There are many types of things that we can be ignorant of. We can be ignorant of the Law. We can be ignorant of our sin. We can be ignorant of our need for a savior, and we can be ignorant of God’s calling upon our lives.

We can also be ignorant of our need to repent!

This applies individually and as a society.

As I look around, I see evil being called good and good being called evil. Our world is turned upside down. I recently saw that only 49% of our country profess to a belief in Jesus. Sadly enough, in the age range of young adults, that is only about 25%. We, as a society, are rapidly turning and are greatly in need of repentance. How can we, as a society, repent, when the people who feel the need to repent are now in the minority?

There is an old Jewish saying that if the whole world repents, then the Messiah will come. One man sat out to bring the world to repentance. However, he found that the world was too big, so he decided to focus on his country. This, too, was too big, so he decided to focus on his town. He soon found that this, too, was too big. He decided to start with his street. Then his house. He finally decided that he needed to start with himself.

Start with yourself!

We all have things that we tend to push under the rug, so to speak. These things are the sins that we have become familiar with and tend to ignore. In God’s eyes, these sins are no different from the ones that we have a tendency to point our fingers at.

We have become ignorant of our own sins. Have we been focusing so much on the sins that we see in the world that we ignore our own? We need to stop and take a look at our own lives in context. We need to pray that we are following God’s will. We need to pray that we can be that light that the world will see and not a spent candle slowly devouring itself.

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV))

What good will we be if our light is going out?

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

November 19, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And afterward,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
I will show wonders in the heavens
and on the earth,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.
And everyone who calls
on the name of the LORD will be saved;
for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem
there will be deliverance,
as the LORD has said,
among the survivors
whom the LORD calls.
(Joel 2:28-32 (NIV))

This passage has been quoted for many years to bring both fear and hope to those who hear it.

For those people who do not have the grace and mercy that is freely theirs through the gift of salvation brought by Jesus Christ, it is a time to fear. All who do not believe in Jesus as God’s only begotten Son choose to reject these words as the false ramblings of an old book that no longer has any meaning in the world today. They choose to believe that they are in control of themselves and they only have to answer to themselves. These people do not know that they have anything to fear, yet, they should be very fearful for what they will surely face.

For those people who know the grace and mercy freely given to them through the blood of Jesus, and who study God’s Word to know Him, they know that God always keeps His word. They know that He has promised salvation to those who call upon His name in earnestness and honesty. They know that they will not face this, but will have deliverance. These people know the hope that these words speak of.

Which of these two groups honestly knows the fear that these words speak of? It is not those who do not believe, for they are in a false peace brought about because of their ignorance. It is the body of believers who also know the fear. They fear, and hopefully pray, for the those who do not believe, for ignorance will not save them.

Pray for those who are trapped in their own ignorance of their sin and their need for grace and mercy through our Savior, Jesus Christ!

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

October 15, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is happy.
(Proverbs 29:18 (NLT))

Accepting guidance is a sign of maturity, after all, guidance was established for a reason. Most of the time the reason is for the safety and welfare of yourself and others. Other times guidance is used to assist you in learning something more quickly than you could on your own. When we accept guidance, we admit that we are in need of instruction in that particular area. We become willing to submit our intellect and ego to the authority of another.

Divine guidance is the same. We must be willing to submit to the Word of God and take it to heart. We must reflect upon the words of truth that God has placed in our hearts, meditating upon them as we go about our daily lives. We must partake of the the very substance of their fiber. We must eat of the Word of God and taste the sweetness of it (Ezekial 3:3). We must take God’s Word into our bodies and make it become an integral part of us.

When we accept God’s guidance, through His Word, we allow Him to come in and instruct us in His ways.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
(Isaiah 55:8(NIV))

There is an old saying that ignorance is bliss. If we are ignorant of God’s Word, what do we honestly have? We do not know God. We will not know the peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7) if we do not know God. Does ignorance sound like it is blissful? If we do not have peace, how can we honestly be happy?

Have you accepted God’s guidance in your life?

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