Have you made heaven rejoice?

August 7, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
(Luke 15:7 (NIV))

God does not wish for any to perish. He rejoices when one who is lost is found!

If you have something of value, and you know where it is, you have no reason to rejoice. If that prized possession is lost, you earnestly and fervently seek to find it so that you can return it to its rightful place. You become extremely happy when it is found. You rejoice over the fact that the thing of great worth has been restored!

God is the same when it comes to sinners who repent and turn to Him!

To God, each and every one of us is that prized possession. Each of us are a thing of great worth to Him for He created each of us in His image, yet each of us are unique. In all of creation and in all of history, there is no one like you! Each of us are special in God’s eyes. Each of us is that thing of great worth to God. Because we are of great importance to God, then we are of great importance to all of heaven.

Sadly, we are all lost!

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

Because of our sin, we are lost to God. Even through all of this, He had a plan to redeem us, to restore us to Himself. When we accept His plan, when we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we are no longer lost. We have repented and have been found. This makes all of heaven rejoice!

Have you made heaven rejoice?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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There is nothing that is too big for our God!

March 12, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
(Romans 8:31 (NIV))

We all face things in our lives that make us stop dead in our tracks because we see no way around them.

For some people, this is a very long stop. They have a tendency to reflect on the circumstances way too much. These individuals may not believe in God and they feel that they are on their own. It is possible that these individuals may have a superficial understanding of God and think that He is not capable of doing anything for them. There are also those individuals who profess a faith in God, but the littlest trouble completely breaks that faith.

For those who earnestly profess a faith in the Lord, they truly understand that God loves us and He will intercede for us. These are the individuals who realize the difference between God and humanity.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

We are very limited in our understanding of the Lord. Each of us have a mental image of God, but no one has ever seen God. Our understanding is limited by our humanity. We simply cannot comprehend the majesty of the Lord in our current existence.

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
(1 Corinthians 13:12 (NIV))

Even in our limited understanding, we are repeatedly told of God’s goodness and His might. All we have to do is choose to focus on God in order to see this come about. When we face troubles, and we will, we must never lose sight of God’s power. Whether we cling to the way it was described in Romans or the way that it was recorded in Isaiah, we must never forget that we serve a mighty God!

Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.
(Isaiah 59:1 (NIV))

There is nothing that is too big for our God!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is this how you know the Lord?

March 6, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
(Psalms 88:15 (NIV))

Everyone in the world has an image of how they see God!

Some see an angry old man. Some see a vindictive character. Others see someone who just doesn’t care about us, while others see Him as someone who takes great joy in each of us. Even atheists, who claim that He doesn’t exist, have a mental image of Him, or should I say the absence of Him, for it takes a very vivid imagination to claim that He doesn’t exist.

What is your image of God?

Is you image of God distorted by the characteristics that your earthly father displayed?

Do you find it difficult to believe that someone who created everything that exists knows you intimately? We are told that He does!

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
(Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV))

When you think of God, do you see Him in this manner?

Is this how you know the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you allowed the potter to reshape you?

July 10, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
(Jeremiah 18:1-4 (NIV))

We are all flawed in one way or the other. There is a good chance that we are all flawed in more ways than one. Ever since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden, our human nature is a flawed, sinful nature. It is a nature that chooses things it shouldn’t even when we supposedly know better. We are not capable of doing good in the eyes of God, yet He loves us anyway. God has always had a plan to redeem us from our sinful nature. It is a plan that allows Him to remake us from the inside out!

What is the purpose of a pot? The purpose is the same whether the pot is large or small, ornate or plain. A pot is made to be a vessel that will hold something of importance to the owner of the pot. When this passage was written, pots could hold oil, water, wine, wheat, corn or a number of other items that were essential for day to day life.

God designed each of us to hold something essential!

We were designed to hold a part of God in our hearts. That design, and the contents of what we were to hold, made us a creation above all other of God’s creations.

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
(Genesis 1:26 (NIV))

Sadly, in our sinful nature, the vessels that we were made to be have been marred. In order to be able to begin to have a chance to hold anything of value for God, we have to be shaped into something different than our sinful shape. We have to be made right with God and by God. We have to be molded into the image of Jesus. We have to be tested through the fire just as a potter uses a fire to prepare his creation for its intended use. Just as the master’s hands shape the pot, God’s hands shape us. God is the master potter.

Have you allowed the potter to reshape you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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But the greatest of these is love

October 8, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:12-13 (NKJV))

Have you ever had the opportunity to look into an old mirror that has faded and cracked? The image that you see is a very poor reflection of reality. If someone could only see life through this poor reflection, they would have a very distorted view of reality. The same is true for what we see of God’s Kingdom.

We can only see “glimpses” of what is to come, and compare these to the promises that God has made about the coming Kingdom. Consider the old story about the three blind men and the elephant. Each of the men touched a different part of the elephant and all three of them came away with a different view of what an elephant really is. We are like the blind men in that story. Each of us receives different glimpses of God’s Kingdom and we miss the big picture.

There will come a day when those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior will enter the Kingdom and will see clearly and understand clearly. That is to be our reward. Jesus gave us a little glimpse of heaven in these words. It is built upon our faith, our hope, and our love. He went one step further and told us that the greatest of the three is love.

God’s Kingdom is built on love!

If God’s Kingdom is built on love, then we should practice this at all times in our daily lives while still on this earth. It is true that our idea of love is only a dim reflection of heavenly love, but it is where we are to start.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your example?

June 5, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.

Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.

In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.

A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well. Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.
(1 Timothy 3:1-12 (NIV))

Jesus loves the sinner and hates the sin. However, the Bible clearly states that those in positions of authority should be “models.” Are the priests to model sin? If they renounce the sin, it is one thing, but to continue to embrace the sin is another. Do you agree that priests should model righteousness?

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
(1 Peter 2:9 (NIV))

Forget about the ordained clergy for a minute. We, as the Body of Christ, are all priests. We are the royal priesthood. We have been given instructions. If we are the royal priesthood, then we, as the Body of Christ, must model righteousness and not sin.

Homosexuality is a sin. Lust is a sin. Coveting is a sin. Greed is a sin. Knowing that something is a sin, yet making a conscious decision to continue down that path is one biblical definition of wickedness.

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
(1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NIV))

However, this is not from our own hand.

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:21-23 (NIV))

This does not mean that it is ok to continue to sin. Grace is not a free pass to do whatever we want.

As we grow in our faith, we are “perfected” in the image of Jesus. Jesus was sin free. He was not a sinner.

If you remember the adulterous woman who was going to be stoned, think about what Jesus told her:

But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

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 8:1-11 (NIV))

LEAVE YOUR LIFE OF SIN!

The church cannot have leaders who refuse to follow the teachings of Jesus. We, as the Body of Christ, are the leaders. We should set an example for the world to follow.

What is your example?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How are we to glorify God?

May 11, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
(Psalms 23:1-3 (NIV))

These are probably the most comforting words that a believer can read or hear, for they affirm that God is with us and desires good things for us.

Just why does He desire to be our shepherd? Why does He desire to give us “green pastures” and “quiet waters?” Why does He desire to restore our souls?

God is the Creator of all things. To be even more specific, He is our Creator and the Creator loves the creation.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
(Genesis 1:26-28 (NIV))

God made us in His image. He created us to be with Him. Through our actions in the Garden of Eden, we lost that righteousness that allows us to be with Him. God desires for each of us to be restored to that righteousness so that we may glorify His name.

How are we to glorify God?

We were created in His image. We lost that image. God desires to restore each of us to that image. We glorify God by following where He leads so that we may become closer to what He created us to be.

Think about an antique car that is in a junkyard. The man who owned that car when it was new finds it and buys it again. He lovingly restores it. He takes it to places where it will be renewed in its original image. He becomes happy because what he loved has been restored to what it should be. The restoration glorifies the owner of the car.

You are that car. God is the owner. Let Him lead you to where you can be restored to the image that you were created to be.

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