I am so thankful for grace!

August 15, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.”
(Luke 11:52 (NIV))

I am afraid to say that we still have people alive today who fall into this category. These people take what should be simple, God-given guidelines on how we are to live our lives and turn them into legalistic ritual controlled by man.

God did not intend for us to spend so much time worried about the details that we miss the grace and the joy that He has freely given to us. How can we be joyful in our salvation if we are worried about following legalistic rituals that are human traditions and not required of God? If you remember, the word “sin” is an archery term that means to miss the mark. Legalism holds us to the judgement of missing that mark.

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
(1 Corinthians 15:56 (NIV))

Jesus came into this world so that we would be free from the law of sin and death. He did not mean that we could continue to sin. He gave us freedom to escape the consequences of sin and death. We are to follow the law, but since we are not perfect, we cannot uphold the law in all things. Legalism requires that we be letter perfect in all things and at all times. People who become experts in the law seem to like to point out the flaws of others. They don’t offer guidance and grace, only condemnation. Through the law, there is no victory.

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Corinthians 15:57 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Is the return of Jesus your biggest hope or biggest fear?

May 12, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.
(Revelation 22:12 (NIV))

This either is a blessed hope or a cause of extreme fear. How you look upon it is how you look upon Jesus Christ.

Even though these words speak of His return to bind Satan and judge those left on the earth or who have died without accepting Him, it is still a cause of fear or denial for many. True followers of Jesus will not have to face the judgement that He will dish out. Their judgement has been one of complete pardon by accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. All others who will face the judgement will have no where to turn to escape the consequences of what they have done in their lives, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Knowing that no one has lead a perfect, sinless life, how do you want to be judged? Do you have the hope and assurance of a complete pardon or do you have the fear of damnation?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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There is a final sentence that we all must face!

May 13, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil.
(Ecclesiastes 8:11 (NAS))

There is much more truth to this than most people would like to admit. Even those who fully profess to believe in God and follow His Laws and claim Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior are prone to do things because no one will find out.

Has humanity sunk to the point where we are afraid of nothing because we no longer have to even consider facing punishment for our deeds?

There is a final sentence that we all must face. There is a judgement that no one can escape. We must all stand before God and have our lives examined in detail. God will expose all of our sins and condemn us for our actions. No one is exempt from this judgement. There is a bright ray of hope in all of this. His name is Jesus Christ.

Calling upon the name of Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior pays for the best legal counsel that anyone could ever have. We will still stand accused and rightly so. The only difference is that we will have Jesus Christ as our defense. He will claim us as His own and by His stripes we will be healed of our transgressions.

Those who do not have Jesus at their side will suffer the full consequences of their sins.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you truly thankful?

November 20, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then the Lord said,
“Because this people draw near
with their words
And honor Me with their lip service,
But they remove their hearts far from Me,
And their reverence for Me
Consists of tradition learned by rote,
Therefore behold, I will once
again deal marvelously with
this people, wondrously marvelous;
And the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
And the discernment of their discerning men shall be concealed.”
(Isaiah 29:13-14 (unknown))

Are we guilty of “tradition learned by rote?”

Are our church services merely a series of traditions that we do because they are the way that we learned them? Do we understand the true meaning behind the traditions?

God spoke through Isaiah against meaningless traditions. Judgement was poured out on the descendants of Israel for simply doing “what they have always done.” They had forgotten that these traditions were actually acts of worship. Worship is not the act of doing things because that is the way they have always been done. It is a sincere reverence for God. It is a “thanksgiving” for what God has done for us, and not a series of rituals done in a certain sequence. God wants us to follow the intent of the Law, and not the letter of the Law. Jesus spoke against the Pharisees for following the letter of the Law without following the intent.

Are you bound by tradition learned by rote?

Are you truly thankful?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you guilty of this?

June 4, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?”

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

“I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
(John 4:4-21 (NIV))

I love my Sunday School class!

This morning, I was leading a discussion on a new chapter in the book that we are studying, and, true to form, we got off topic. I must admit that we often get off topic, for we use the topic as a springboard for discussion and questions. The questions often lead to very interesting and deep answers. Today was no different.

I raised the question about how does society’s view and the Biblical view on Hell compare. After much discussion, someone asked a question about certain denominations claiming that those who are divorced and remarried would be going to hell. It was also asked if it is Biblical to withhold communion to these individuals.

This passage came to mind a few minutes later once the class was over.

How many husbands had the Samaritan woman had? Was she married to the man that she was living with at the time of this encounter with Jesus?

Did Jesus refrain from offering her salvation – living water – even though she was a Samaritan and a sinner in the eyes of the community?

We, as the Body of Christ, cannot place restrictions upon those who would come when Jesus did not put any restrictions on those who came to Him. We are not able to judge whether someone is worthy, for our judgment is human judgment. Only God can judge. Only Jesus can offer grace. Grace is freely given to any who would simply accept.

We, as the church, cannot put restrictions and limitations on what God has freely offered.

I can hear the thoughts that some may be thinking – that these people are sinners. I have some news for you. We all are sinners.

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

How can one sinner tell another sinner that they are not worthy to receive what God has freely given?

I pray that I am not guilty of this!

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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One thing!

November 14, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
(Luke 18:22 (NIV))

Jesus spoke these words to a person identified as a ruler, a man of great wealth. He had started the conversation with Jesus.

A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
(Luke 18:18 (NIV))

Jesus replied.

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good–except God alone. You know the commandments: `Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’ ”
(Luke 19-20 (NIV))

The ruler replied that he had done this since he was a boy.

I can only imagine the man’s reaction when Jesus informed him that he still lacked one thing. I can feel his heart sink when Jesus tells him to sell all that he has and give to the poor.

This man was rich. He tried to do what was required of him, yet through the words that Jesus spoke to him, he realized that he loved money. He realized that he had a big decision to make. It is the same decision that people have wrestled with ever since. He appears to have not been willing to give up his one thing – his wealth – in order to achieve eternal life.

What if you and I were able to go up to Jesus and ask him the very same question? Would we receive the first answer that Jesus gave the wealthy ruler? I am certain that this would not change, for the foundation has been built and it cannot be shaken.

I suppose that the question of eternal value is whether we would be told that we still lack one thing!

If you have ever seen the movie “City Slickers,” the old cowhand that was played by Jack Palance would always tell the men on the drive that in order to make it tot he end, they had to have one thing. All throughout the movie, this left everybody wondering, until Jack’s character dies and he before he dies, he informs everyone that the one thing is different for each person.

With that in mind, the one thing that each of us may have is completely different from the one thing that someone else may have. To some, it is money. To others, it is fame. To others, is is fleshly pleasures. To others, it is something not so obvious. To some, it is pride.

No matter what our one thing may be, if we do not allow it to be dealt with and put in its place, that one thing can keep us from inheriting eternal life. I can hear the thoughts beginning to take shape now. You are probably asking, “What about grace?”

Grace does come into play, but if your surrender to Jesus was not an authentic surrender, then your heart will have its own priorities. If you truly desire to stop,l but are unable to in the flesh, God will see your heart Think about that for a moment. Jesus did not tell the woman caught in adultery to go and continue. He told her to repent – to turn away from her sin – and sin no more. We must be willing to turn away from our sin.

Each of us are human. I am sure that each of us have one thing that we have to constantly remind ourselves to get behind us.

Don’t be like the wealthy ruler and allow your one thing to keep you from God’s grace and mercy.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you go to worship?

October 10, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!”
(John 2:16 (NIV))

Are we guilty of something similar?

How often have we turned His house into something other than a place of worship?

We turn it into a social meeting place. We turn it into a place to gossip. We even turn it into a place to over eat. Don’t get me wrong. God’s house is a place to gather with other believers, but we must not lose site of the reason why we gather.

Jesus was not condemning the sacrifices and the use of His Father’s house. He was condemning the way that people had twisted the intent and had used it for their personal gain.

If Jesus were to examine your heart when you are in the Father’s house, what would He find? Would He find anything different when you are about your daily life?

It is important to keep our desires and frailties out of God’s house. We do not go to socialize or profit. We go to worship with others who also go to worship.

Do you go to worship?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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