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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Have we sunk to the point where this is all true?

April 26, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Stop listening to instruction, my son,
and you will stray from the words of knowledge.
A corrupt witness mocks at justice,
and the mouth of the wicked gulps down evil.
Penalties are prepared for mockers,
and beatings for the backs of fools.
Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler;
whoever is led astray by them is not wise.
A king’s wrath is like the roar of a lion;
he who angers him forfeits his life.
It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife,
but every fool is quick to quarrel.
(Proverbs 19:27 – 20:3 (NIV))

I want you to do something. I want you to read this passage again and stop to think about the society and the world in which we live. Is it just me, or do you see all of these traits running rampant in the world today?

We no longer listen to instruction. Knowledge has become whatever we want it to be whether it is true or not. Corruption mocks the very fabric of our society and wickedness abounds. Foolishness has become the normal way of thinking and acting. Anger and wrath have taken he place of love and patience. Speaking of love, the true meaning of love, God’s love, has become lost in the chaos of the world. It has come to mean that because God loves us we can do whatever we want. Is there honor in the things that we see in the news? One group of lives is more important than another group of lives.

And now the biggest and most foolish thing in the world is that if you believe in God, Jesus and the Word of God, then you are a bigot and close minded.

I know that Jesus told us that we would face these troubles, but I still find it disheartening, not for myself, but for those who don’t realize the proverbial error of their ways.

It is my prayer that everyone learn how to listen to Godly instruction and seek after the true knowledge that only comes from God.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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That way, the only way, is Jesus!

March 22, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Her leaders judge for a bribe,
her priests teach for a price,
and her prophets tell fortunes for money.
Yet they lean upon the LORD and say,
“Is not the LORD among us?
No disaster will come upon us.”
(Micah 3:11 (NIV))

It is such a sad state of affairs for humanity that we never seem to learn. This was written to the house of Jacob many, many years ago, yet it seems like it was just written about our society, our nation and our world as it exists today.

Are we that stupid that we do the exact same things that our ancestors did and expect to get different results? That is what many people refer to as the definition of insanity. Perhaps we are insane. Perhaps we never learn.

How do we break this vicious cycle of sin and arrogance?

Humanity keeps falling for the same lies. They may look a little different, but that is just the packaging. Deep down, they are the same things that out ancestors fell for.

Why don’t we recognize the truth when it is right in front of us? Why do we prefer the lies and the resulting problems over the truth and the grace?

Sometimes I wonder what God thinks of His creation? Does He sit in heaven and shake His head because of our stupidity? Does He sigh from a heavy heart because of our failures? Has He ever looked upon us as a lost cause?

Thankfully, He sees potential in His creation. Thankfully, He loves His creation.

“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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

Even when we don’t learn, even when we fail miserably, God still loves us. We are not bound to our failures. We are not bound to our sins. Grace has been offered even though we could never earn it. That is the story of Easter. In our sin, we could never escape the vicious cycle. Jesus came to offer redemption, to offer a way to grace. It is a helping hand extended from heaven to lift us out of our sins. All that we have to do is accept. There was a cost to be paid for this gift of a helping hand. We don’t have to pay it. It is a gift of love freely given to by the one who came to help to the ones who He came to help.

No matter what the world may look like, no matter what failures we repeat, we have a way to break free of the laws of sin and death.

That way, the only way, is Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are your strongest desires? Be honest with yourself!

March 11, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you.
(James 4:7-8 (NLT))

This passage is so simple, yet it is so profound. The truths that are presented are things that we must learn to take to heart. We must learn to make them our own.

Have you ever stopped to think about how to be humble before God?

Do you actually have to think about it, or is it within your nature to be humble before the one who created you and everyone and everything else?

Imagine for a moment that you get to meet your favorite celebrity. How would you act in their presence? It is human nature to be humble in the presence of someone that we have respect for. We stammer and stutter and don’t know what to say or do. How can we act like this in the presence of someone who is still only human and not act humble in front of our God?

Resistance is futile, or at least that is what the devil wants us to believe. Humility goes a long way in helping to resist. When you are humble before God, you are able to learn from God. Your attitude toward things that are from the enemy changes. You desire to stay away. You desire to resist.

In the process of being humble before God and resisting the devil, you will naturally draw closer to God.

What are your strongest desires? Be honest with yourself!

Do you wish to present yourself in humility before God? Do you want to resist the devil? Do you want to draw closer to God?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you pay attention to the lessons God is teaching you?

July 22, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
(Matthew 24:32-35 (NIV))

Too many of us do not recognize the symbolism referenced in this passage because too much of our society does not understand the growth and harvest cycle anymore. We are so used to going to the grocery store and getting what we want. We complain when we can’t get something because it is not in season. We miss out on the way that God intended for us to get our food and the knowledge that everything has signs that tell us when something is about to be ready.

Be honest with yourself.

How many of you could actually plant a garden and know what to do to take care of it? Would you be able to know when the various plants would be ready to harvest? I know that I am probably going to extremes, but I am trying to show that we have lost touch with much of what God has given to us. We no longer look at things and know what will happen next. We expect everything to be the same all of the time.

We have lost the ability to learn the lesson that we are told in Matthew. All of our conveniences have made us think that we are in control. We think that we, as humanity, can manage anything and make it better.

Have you ever heard it said that our education system teaches us more and more about less and less. Think about that. People spend a lifetime becoming experts on one topic and in many instances, they know nothing about anything else. We have educated ourselves out of common sense.

God gave us the world. He gave us the seasons. He gave us the ability to know things of the world that He created, yet, in all of our so-called wisdom, we have lost site of the obvious. We no longer can see the lessons that God has placed right before us.

We over analyze everything and most of the time we are wrong. Think about that. We attempt to learn the logical way that the world works. Many reject the way that it has always been done simply because it can no longer be accurate and truly reflect today’s way of thinking.

I don’t know about you, but today’s way of thinking is a scary proposition. Many people believe that they can successfully do what others have tried and failed. They are arrogant enough to think that the reason the other people failed was because it was not them who were doing it.

How many have heard the saying that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?

I honestly think that is exactly what is going on in much of the world. We, as humanity, have gone insane!

We ignore God.

We ignore His lessons.

We ignore His truths.

We ignore His Son, Jesus.

And, . . .

We embrace insanity.

It is my prayer that we learn the lessons that God is trying to teach us before it is too late.

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