How can we accept forgiveness if we cannot give it?

August 21, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
(Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV))

Does this bother you?

Do you ignore scriptures like this because it goes against what you want to believe? Does it remind you of someone that you still have not forgiven because of something that happened years ago? You did not realize that your salvation could possibly hinge on your ability to forgive others. God’s grace and mercy are truly a gift, for we cannot earn our salvation. Yet, these words speak of the possibility of losing that gift.

How could this happen?

Take a look at the true meaning behind God’s grace. Does He hate us or does He love us?

Hate would not offer a gift such as grace. Hate would call for revenge. Love is the only thing that can offer a gift such as grace. When we accept Jesus with our whole heart, mind and spirit, we fully accept His love for us and then His love indwells us in the form of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is part of the Triune God that we worship. If the Holy Spirit indwells us, then we have love for others within us. This love would cause us to pass God’s grace and mercy on to others. It would not allow us to harbor hatred and unforgiveness if we truly face what we have hidden from ourselves.

Closely examine every hiding place within your memory to search for those that you have not forgiven, for how can we accept forgiveness if we cannot give it?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Society teaches us something much different!

April 6, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
(Hebrews 13:5 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to think that when we love money we are simply substituting one treasure for another? To be honest with you, we are actually trading down. There is nothing more valuable, nothing more worth having than the assurance that we have been given grace and salvation. That is the ultimate treasure, but far too many people simply ignore that treasure for a treasure that can be stolen.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV))

Why do we want to make such a ridiculous trade?

Why do we trade eternity for something shiny in the moment? Why do we long for things that will fade and rust?

As long as I can remember, we have been taught to toot our own horn, to follow our own will, and to go for the gusto so that we can enjoy the moment and reap all of the pleasures that it has to offer.

But see, there is joy and revelry, slaughtering of cattle and killing of sheep, eating of meat and drinking of wine! “Let us eat and drink,” you say, “for tomorrow we die!”
(Isaiah 22:13 (NIV))

Too many people follow the sentiment in this passage without realizing that it has consequences.

The Lord Almighty has revealed this in my hearing: “Till your dying day this sin will not be atoned for,” says the Lord, the Lord Almighty.
(Isaiah 22:14 (NIV))

Society has deteriorated to the point where no one truly thinks of the consequences of their actions. Being self-centered is the normal state anymore. When you are self-centered, all that you can think of is worldly increase. We are told, and we soon begin to believe, that we deserve all that we can get. If we aren’t careful, we will get what we deserve.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

We must ignore what society is preaching and teaching and repent. We must turn to Jesus and love the Lord. We must love the Lord with all of our heart, our soul and our mind! We must ignore what society is doing, for society teaches us something much different!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to forgive?

October 10, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
(Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV))

Most people like to ignore this passage because it is difficult to admit that grace received is based on grace that is given. We like to think that it is okay to withhold forgiveness to those who have wronged us. We like to think that we are above what others are called to do. Let’s be honest! Everyone is self-centered. Everyone is prideful. It is human nature to think that we are better than everyone else, and since we are better, then we don’t have to forgive others.

What if God had that attitude in dealing with us?

It would not be a pretty picture. In fact, if you think about this stipulation that we are forgiven in the same manner that we forgive, you begin to see that God is trying to make us realize that we are all in need of forgiveness. We need to forgive each other for the things that they have done to us. No one is perfect and it is impossible to live life without having someone sin against you. It is also impossible to live life without sinning against someone else. No one is perfect. No one is able to claim righteousness on their own.

Jesus taught on this concept many times.

Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.
(Matthew 18:32-35 (NIV))

Are you beginning to understand God’s heart and forgiveness? What is freely given to others is freely given to us!

Are you willing to forgive?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you here for such a time as this?

October 18, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”
(Esther 4:12-14 (NIV))

Do you ever feel that you are out of place? Do you ever feel that the events that are unfolding around you will leave you alone? Do you feel that if you just ignore the trouble in the world that it will simply go away? We live in what many consider to be interesting times. Still others believe that we are in the last days.

I wonder what Esther thought when everything was going on around her.

She saw God’s people persecuted. She saw a sinister plan start to unfold that would have made it legal in that society to kill all Jewish people and take their possessions. She saw what was beginning to happen and new what could have happened. She would have been safe, for the time being, but she realized that God had her exactly where she needed to be to right the wrong that was about to be done. She was there for “such a time as this.”

Do you identify with Esther in any way?

Maybe you feel that the trouble will miss you. Maybe you feel that it couldn’t truly happen the way that it appears. Maybe you realize that God has created you and placed you exactly where He wants you to fulfill His will in a way that it will impact the lives of those around you.

I have a very serious question to ask. This is a question that you need to pray about and listen for God’s answer. His answer may impact more people than just you.

Are you alive and in your current situation for such a time as this?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you ignore or embrace Jesus?

June 3, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other:
” `We played the flute for you,
and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
and you did not cry.’
For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, `He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, `Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.” ‘ But wisdom is proved right by all her children.”
(Luke 7:31-35 (NIV))

No matter how God manifests Himself in this world, there will always be someone who claims that His actions are inappropriate. Those who seek to ignore God will always find something wrong or something that they can point to that they use to try to convince themselves that God is not involved in what they are seeing. Jesus encountered people like this all of the time.

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebub. Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you.
(Luke 11:17-20(NIV))

These people are blinded. Perhaps they are blinded by the sin of the world; perhaps by their own ignorance; perhaps even by their own desire to avoid the truth. Whatever the reason, there will always be people who will choose to ignore God.

Even though there will be people who will choose to ignore God, we must do our part to open the eyes of the lost. We do not hold the truth about anyone. We cannot know whether they will ignore God. All that we can do is present God to them in every opportunity that we may be given. If we do not, then we are also guilty of ignoring God.

What would you do if Jesus were to walk into the room at this moment? Would you be like those who choose to ignore Him and claim that He was a demon or would you embrace Him as the Son of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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There is only one way to be righteous in the eyes of God!

August 18, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.
(Romans 3:23 (ASV))

Too many people ignore this simple fact. They think that they are a good person and that they have done nothing wrong. They think that this will get them into heaven.

What they don’t stop to realize is that human nature is sinful. It has been ever since the fall in the Garden of Eden and their lack of doing anything bad does not make them righteous.

There is only one way to be righteous in the eyes of God. Accept His Son, Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and you will overcome the simple fact that is stated in Romans.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can you interpret this present time?

September 8, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, `It’s going to rain,’ and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, `It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?
(Luke 12:54-56 (NIV))

Have we become like the people that Jesus was speaking to when He walked the earth? Are we so engrossed in our daily lives that we fail to see the very things that we say we are looking for?

Each one of us is probably guilty of saying things about how bad society has gotten since we were in school or when we were little. We pray for revival but ignore the obvious instructions that God has given us with respect to what is to come. This last century has brought about more rapid, and often drastic, changes than any other period of time in history. In fact, the most rapid changes in social structure have taken place since the Supreme Court banned public prayer in schools in 1963. After this, it became “okay” to kill unborn children in 1973. Since these two events, people have become more and more self-centered, ignoring social and Biblical principles for what they see as the more important things in life – themselves.

There are many prophecies that deal with the end times, all of which describe the social and economic issues that we face today more so than at any other point in history. People have become so self-centered that they refuse to see that what they are doing is not Biblical. This is happening even among the church.

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

“The owner’s servants came to him and said, `Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

” `An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, `Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

” `No,’ he answered, `because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ ”
(Matthew 13:24-30)

It is clear that Jesus knew the way things would be. It is coming close to harvest time. Will you be wheat and gathered to Jesus, or will you be weeds and burned?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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