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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How are you at keeping the law?

January 26, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
(Galatians 5:14 (NIV))

How many people do you know who say that they love God, but their words and deeds give away that they do not love people? They do not love those they encounter. They may even go out of their way to avoid certain individuals or certain groups of people. I am sure that we are all familiar with the following story that Jesus told to a so called expert in the law.

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
(Luke 10:29-37 (NIV))

Have we heeded the lesson and truly learned to love our neighbor?

Has society told us to distrust and hate those who are different from us?

Does this sound like an attack from the enemy? Satan knows that if he can get us to hate each other, then we will have lost sight of what God truly desires for those who call Him Lord. We will fail at keeping the most important command in His law.

How are you at keeping the law?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you need to give up?

November 12, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come! If your hand or your foot causes you to sin cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.
(Matthew 18:7-9 (NIV))

This is far different from the “If it feels good, do it” mentality that is so prevalent in the world today. The sad thing about this mentality is that it doesn’t recognize, or even care, that it is pushing sin as the preferred choice.

Do we, as the Body of Christ, admit that sin has crept into our lives or do we sit back and look at everyone else as the sinful ones? Have we become overwhelmed by the world that we fail to recognize what is sin and what is not? Are we able to not only recognize sin when it enters into our lives, but are we able to take the drastic actions that are needed to remove the sin from our lives?

I can still hear the old saying, “If everybody else jumped off a cliff, would you do it, too?”

Why are we, as humanity, so blinded to the sinful nature of our actions, even when we long to be righteous in the eyes of God? Why do we justify ourselves by saying that at least we are not as bad as someone else?

In the eyes of God, sin is sin. It doesn’t matter what it is.

Thankfully, God has provided a way for us to redeem ourselves. He knows that we can’t do it on our own. That way is through the atoning blood of His Son, Jesus. Sadly, too many people look upon this as a free ride to do whatever they want. It does not work that way!

We are to take drastic action!

We are to repent. We are to change our lives. We are to follow Jesus. We are to turn away from our sin. We are to leave our sin behind us. For some, that may mean ending friendships. For others, that may mean changing jobs, and still, for others, that may mean so much more.

We are to give up the things of this world when we follow Jesus.

What do you need to give up?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?

February 12, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
(Galatians 6:7 (NKJV))

It is not possible to deceive God. Many people think that they can do things that are not in God’s Will, and they have convinced themselves that they are allowed to do them because of their particular situation.

God does not bend His Will or Laws because of someone’s feeble attempt to justify their actions. They will still be held accountable. No one is above the law, and no one is above God’s Law. You may think that you can get away with something, but God sees all and knows all.

We are all sinners and are all sentenced to eternal separation from God. Yet, God has given us a way to be redeemed so that we may spend eternity with Him. Not one person in all of human history has ever been perfect in the sight of God. This perfection is what God seeks and requires. Since no one was capable of this perfection, God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to come to this world and pay the price for our redemption.

There is only one way to escape what we deserve. There is only one way to spend eternity with God. There is only one name on which we can call that has the authority to save us from our sin. Jesus is that name. Without Jesus, we will inevitably face the “reward” for what we have sown. With Jesus, we have someone who can stand in the gap and help us to be “perfect” through His perfection.

Have you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is right in your eyes?

January 20, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

All a man’s ways seem right to him,
but the LORD weighs the heart.
To do what is right and just
is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.
(Proverbs 21:2-3 (NIV))

People justify to themselves what they are doing. When they do what is wrong in God’s eyes, they often seek out others to justify their actions. It is for this reason that homosexuals tend to seek out other homosexuals, thieves seek out other thieves, and new age spiritualists seek out other new agers.

What is the drive within people that makes them want someone to say that what they are doing is okay? Could it be the fact that God has placed in us a need to be loved and accepted by Him, and that when we stray from His truths, we try to fill this void with mis-aligned love and acceptance from other sources?

Pride also plays a part in this. We do not easily admit wrong doing. We think that we know what is best for us, and then we try to prove it through other actions. The creation is not wiser than the Creator. We do not fully understand ourselves, let alone God. When we say that we are right, we lie to ourselves because we do not have a full picture of all things involved.

God gave us rules, laws, and principles to live by. When we live by these principles and do what is acceptable to God, then all things go as they should. Sacrifices are made as means of atonement to “fix” something that we have done wrong. They are a way to say that we have strayed and we recognize this and are taking actions to repent. Sacrifices are not intended as constant mid-course corrections in the path of life. It is far better to live as God would have us to live and have fewer “sacrifices” that we have to make in order to atone for our mistakes.

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