What is your reason for living?

January 12, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me.
(Psalms 119:175 (NIV))

People want to live for many different reasons. Some want to see the world. Some want to fall in love and get married. Some want to start a business or write a book. Some want to see their children grow up. Some want to be rich while others want to be famous. Others simply want to leave their mark on the world by making people happy.

How about you?

What makes you want to get up each morning and live the day to the fullest?

What are you focused on that gives you a reason for living?

Have you ever said anything like what the psalmist wrote? Have you ever said that you want to live so that you can praise God?

After reading this passage and thinking about it, why don’t we ever give this as a reason for living? We owe our very existence to God for He created us. We owe our very intellect to God for He created us to have wisdom and free will. We owe so much to God and most of us simply take everything that He has done for us for granted. We look at our lives and we think that what we have is of our own doing.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

If we are unclean and the best that we can do is like filthy rags, how can we be responsible for anything good in our lives? When we look in the mirror we should not think that we have it made. We should be thankful that we are capable of claiming Jesus as our Lord and Savior. For everything that God has done for us, including send His only begotten Son, Jesus, to die so that we could live, we should be eternally thankful. We should lift Him up in praise. We should acknowledge that He alone is our reason for living.

What is your reason for living?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have the faith to be justified by Jesus?

June 16, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We who are Jews by birth and not `Gentile sinners’ know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.
(Galatians 2:15-16 (NIV))

. . . by observing the law no one will be justified.

If God calls for us to observe His laws, many people don’t understand why we cannot be justified if we observe His laws. Sadly, humanity is a fallen creation and we are not capable of perfection. God’s laws require perfection. No matter how hard we may try, we will fail miserably. We will miss the mark. We will sin!

It takes a confident person to admit that they are less than perfect. It takes a confident person to admit that they need help. Too many of us are stuck in the mindset that reminds me of my daughter when she was two years old. I am sure you know what I am talking about. I can still hear her saying, “I do it!”

“I do it!”

Except for the grammatical errors, every one of us has been guilty of saying something similar to this. We think that we are capable of much more than we truly are. We don’t like to admit that we lack the ability to do anything.

I know that it is human nature to learn from our mistakes, but do we really learn if we fail to acknowledge that we make mistakes? I often wonder what the scene is in heaven and if God is shaking His head in disbelief as He watches us. I picture the same scene as Jesus points out someone who has accepted Him as their personal Lord and Savior. I can almost hear Jesus saying, “See that one who is acting like a stubborn child. He has placed his faith in me. He is mine! He may fail, but since he has accepted me, he will eventually learn to do the right things.”

Do you have the faith to be justified by Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you caught up in legalism or grace?

May 24, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.
(Luke 11:46 (NIV))

Have you been loaded down with burdens about the laws of God? Has legalism kept you from knowing the true grace and peace that Jesus came to bring?

It is so easy to become caught in the throes of legalism, after all, there is a very valid reason that the law exists. It is when we become so overwhelmed with the letter of the law that we miss the true meaning of the law. When this happens, people spend more time concerned about the small details that they miss the big picture. They miss the very reason that the law was given to begin with.

Are you more concerned with how your church service is performed than with what is communicated through that service? Are you more concerned with what people wear than the fact that they are there?

Don’t load yourself and others down with burdens like these. Look to the One who gave the law and His grace and mercy instead of looking at the law.

The law cannot save. It only accuses and convicts the guilty, and we are all guilty of sin. Only God’s grace and mercy through the blood of Jesus can save.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you seek His righteousness?

May 20, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
(Matthew 6:33 (NIV))

What do you seek first in life?

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
(Matthew 5:6 (NIV))

Based on just these two passages, we have it all backwards! Our society tells us to seek after everything that we want as our primary objective and goal in life. How is that going for our society? How is that going for each of us that have to live in our society?

Do we live in a state of being in which we act in accordance with God’s divine or moral laws? If we do, then we are truly seeking His righteousness and we are answering God’s call to live according to His purpose.

There are numerous passages that talk about righteousness and what it means to be righteous in the eyes of God. All of us who profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior long to be righteous in the eyes of God for we are called to be righteous. We are told to take up our cross and follow Jesus. Jesus showed us what it takes to be righteous. He also showed us a way to be righteous even in our humanity. We can accept the grace and mercy that was freely given on the cross. We can be made righteous by a simple proclamation of faith in Jesus!

When we seek His righteousness, we repent of our sinful ways and walk with Jesus. We will falter along the way, but, if our heart is true, then Jesus will pick us up, dust us off and continue on the journey with us.

Perhaps that is the best way to think of yourself when you seek His righteousness. It is not something that will happen over night. It is a journey. It is a life long commitment to walking with Jesus in all things.

We are called to walk in righteousness!

Does your life show that you have answered the call?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you understand and obey?

March 14, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their minds so they will understand them, and I will write them on their hearts so they will obey them. I will be their God, and they will be my people!
(Hebrews 8:10 (NLT))

I love the way the New Living Translation phrases this passage.

We are used to reading it translated something like the following.

This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
after that time, declares the Lord.
I will put my laws in their minds
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people
(Hebrews 8:10 (NIV)

No matter how we are used to reading it, the meaning should not be lost on the reader. We are to think about God’s laws and reflect on their meaning. We are to strive to understand them with our intellect. We are to reflect upon what God is telling us with each passage that we read and not just simply read the words. There is more meaning in God’s Word than mere words. There is a reason that it is called the Living Word. If we study and reflect upon it, then God will use this reflection and study to teach us more about Himself. He will open up the same passage with more meaning as our maturity in Him increases. As our maturity increases through study, another aspect comes into play.

God’s Word makes the move from our minds to our hearts.

We begin to not only understand, we also begin to obey. We find ourselves longing to do the things that God wants. We find ourselves not only intellectually understanding. We find ourselves transformed by that understanding to the point where we actually apply it to our lives. We obey not out of fear, but out of a desire to seek righteousness.

Do you have a favorite translation that you read and study? For me, my favorite is the New International Version, but I find hidden gems of truth in every translation. Some translations, such as the New Living Translation, add wording that does not go against the intent or change the context, but it expands on the meaning and adds insight. I don’t know how many times that I have read Hebrews 8:10, and I know the intent of the words, but sometimes I need to be hit right between the eyes with what God is saying. I would venture to say that I am not alone in this. Sometimes we all need to be hit over the head with the proverbial 2×4 so that we recognize the truth behind what we profess to believe.

Do you understand and obey?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you been rejuvenated by the water?

February 23, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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.
(John 4:14 (NIV))

It is certain that no matter what you do in this world – eat, drink, sleep, or rest, it will not suffice for more than a few hours. The hot summer sun makes us thirsty. We need food to sustain us physically. We need sleep when we are worn out by the toils of this world.

There is only one sure thing in this world that will sustain us. Jesus Christ is that sustenance. He is the Word of God made flesh. He offers us something that comes from God and does not know the worldly laws that say nothing lasts forever. Jesus offers us grace and mercy and a peace that passes all understanding.

Water is said to be able to rejuvenate someone when they are weak, yet this rejuvenation does not last. The gift that Jesus Christ has brought to us is the Water of Life for salvation which never loses its ability to rejuvenate. Once you drink from this fountain, your eternal life is promised and you will never thirst for salvation again.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 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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