Do you understand the mystery?

April 19, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.
(1 Timothy 3:16 (NIV))

For many people, this is easily understood and makes perfect sense. To others, it is complete foolishness.

If you stop to think about the word foolishness, it means a ridiculous act or idea. Just what is so ridiculous about the idea of God as a loving creator? If God can create with words, why can’t His words reflect love and beauty? Why can’t they shine grace and mercy into a world that has fallen into sin and evil desires? Why is there such a mystery around the concept that God loves us enough to do something that will bring redemption to us?

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

I once heard a story that puts a unique perspective to this!

A man who questioned the whole story of Jesus found himself out on his property during a bad snow storm. There was a huge flock of birds who were unable to fly away due to the weather. They were also freezing to death in the snow. He had a large barn so he went out to open the doors to let the birds go in, but no matter what he did, they would not go. He tried everything and still no luck in getting the birds to move. In desperation he thought, “If only I were a bird. I could lead them where they can find safety.” At that moment, he realized that this is what God had done. He became a man in order to show us the way to life! In an instant, he understood the mystery of God’s plan of salvation. It was not foolishness!

Do you understand the mystery?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you divisive or uniting in nature?

April 17, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
(John 17:20-23 (NIV))

Jesus, even though He was and is part of the Trinity of God, continually prayed to God the Father for His Will and for those He would leave behind.

The prayer that Jesus prayed here had both short term and long term aspects to it. He knew that those He left behind would need to be strengthened and that the world would need to be convinced that what they spoke of was true. He knew that they would need the strength of the Holy Spirit to present God to the world.

Today, we need the exact same thing. We must be united in Christ in order to let the world see Jesus as the Savior. If we fight amongst ourselves, then we are not doing justice to the world, for they will see this fighting and will want nothing to do with Jesus. We must unite in the Body of Christ, then the world will truly see something that could only have come from God.

Are you divisive or uniting in nature?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Which law do you want to live under?

April 16, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
(Romans 8:1-2 (NIV))

In our lives, we all have to answer to many different types of laws.

There are physical laws such as the law of gravity. I have yet to meet anyone who has tested these laws and lived. It is true that we have learned to bend these laws and apply them to our daily lives, but there is no way that you can ever truly know with complete certainty that when you bend these laws that your efforts will succeed. Referring back to the law of gravity, it is possible to jump out of an aircraft and rely on a parachute to open and allow you to ride the air currents to slow you down. This only works as long as the parachute does what it was designed to do. If it does not, then you suffer the consequences!

There are man made laws that quite often are based on what is hopefully a common sense application of physical laws, moral laws and spiritual laws. Murder is a prime example. With man made laws, they are open to creation and interpretation of those who are in authority. Human authority can change!

There are moral laws, which are quite often derived from spiritual laws. Once again, murder is a good example. Almost everyone knows that it is wrong to kill someone, yet, there are many times when people ignore or bend this law to suit their needs.

Most of us are able to claim that we have lived a “good” life and that we have not tempted physical laws. We try to avoid breaking man made laws, especially the ones that we consider to be a moral or spiritual no-no. However, there are other things that we need to consider with spiritual laws. We all miss the mark. We all sin.

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

In other words, we have all broken God’s laws. Because of what we have done, we are all condemned to death, but God has placed another law into play that we can rightfully use to claim freedom. Through the law of the Spirit who gives life, we can claim forgiveness. We can throw ourselves on the mercy of God and claim the blood of Jesus Christ. We can acknowledge that Jesus is our personal Lord and Savior.

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 have two choices as to what law applies to our lives. We can live under the law of sin and death, or we can find grace by living under the law of the Spirit who gives life.

Which law do you want to live under?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the truth shining in you?

April 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
(1 John 2:3-4 (NAS))

Many people falsely believe that once they accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, they are forgiven for anything that they may have done or will do.

This is partially true. Accepting and acknowledging Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is only the beginning. Grace and mercy are yours for the asking, but, once that is granted, a true desire to keep His commandments should fill you to the point that trying to do anything less is not even an option that you could consider.

Going around with the false belief that you can do anything and that God will forgive you is dangerous to yourself and to those whom you encounter. God has given us a great gift through His Son, Jesus Christ. This gift is not to be taken lightly. Acceptance of this gift exacts a responsibility and a toll on those who accept it. The responsibility is to change from your previous ways and to fully embrace everything that Jesus taught us to be. We are to be a light to the world. What kind of light would we be if we “shined” dimly or not at all?

Our actions will shine for Jesus if we keep His commandments, otherwise we do not shine at all.

Is the truth shining in you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you praise God even in the midst of trouble?

April 12, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The wicked are waiting to destroy me, but I will ponder your statutes.
(Psalms 119:95 (NIV))

Do you ever feel like the enemy is out to get you?

If you are like most people, including myself, it often seems that the world is out to steal our joy. With that said, Jesus told us that this would happen. He let it be known that life would not be easy. He told us that we would have trouble.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

Sometimes it feels like the wicked are waiting to destroy.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10!0 (NIV))

Just as Jesus told us that we would face troubles in this world, He also told us that by placing our faith in Him, He will be with us. He will overcome the evils of this world. Placing our faith in Jesus and calling upon Him as our Lord and Savior does not mean that we will have an easy life, but it does mean that He will be with us every step of the way.

There is an old saying that there are only two things for certain in this life – death and taxes. Jesus told us to render unto Caesar what is his. That is a worldly debt. Jesus has overcome death. He has overcome the wages of sin. Before Jesus, life meant sin and sin meant death, both physically and spiritually. He has overcome the spiritual debt that we could never pay on our own. Since our debt of spiritual death has been paid, what do we have to fear? Because we do not have to fear spiritual death, we should lift praise unto God even when the enemy is trying to destroy us. We should praise God in the good, for He has blessed us, and in the bad, for He will provide.

Do you praise God even in the midst of trouble?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you thankful to be called a Christian?

April 10, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
(1 Peter 4:16 (NIV))

Have you ever faced anything simply because you are a believer in Jesus?

Perhaps I should ask if you have ever been in a situation where you would have suffered if it was known that you were a Christian? Think about that for a moment as you answer the following. Did you withhold the fact that you were a Christian or did you deny that you were a Christian? There is a difference! Regardless of how you handled yourself in that situation, do you regret not standing up and identifying as a follower of Jesus? Do you feel that you have abandoned Jesus through your actions and words?

Consider Peter.

He denied Jesus three times during the events between Jesus being arrested and being taken to Pilate. All of us can put ourselves into the events and justify the actions that Peter took that night. In all honesty, it is not told in detail how Peter truly felt. We can only imagine what Peter was facing within himself as these events transpired and afterward. What we do know is that after the resurrection, Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him. Peter was able to put his shame behind him and accept the grace that Jesus was extending to him.

Think about that!

Peter denied Jesus three times. He had seen Jesus beaten so badly that He was not recognizable. Peter had seen Jesus crucified, dead and buried. The guilt of his denial of Jesus must have been unbearable. Even after Jesus arose, what was Peter thinking? Was he thinking that Jesus would never forgive him for what he had done? Was Peter thinking that he had committed something so bad that he would be condemned to suffer for all eternity?

Grace is amazing!

What Peter did discover is that Jesus forgave him. Three times he was asked if He loved Jesus and three times he responded that he did. I can almost imagine that with each response Peter gave Jesus, the burden of guilt was being lifted until it was completely gone!

That is what Jesus does! He lifts the burden of guilt and replaces that burden with a joy that comes from knowing that all of your sins are forgiven! There is nothing greater to give thanks for.

Are you thankful to be called a Christian?

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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