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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Would you like to deny death its victory?

November 28, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?
(1 Corinthians 15:55 (NIV))

Have you ever faced something that you knew was an inevitability?

There is an old saying that only two things are certain – death and taxes, and I would probably be able to say that around April of each year they may appear to be the same thing. I think it is human nature to fear anything that requires us to give up something, especially when we know that we will never get it back. In death, we give up our life thinking that we will never get it back. With taxes, we give up our money knowing that it is long gone.

I love the perspective that Jesus gave us about taxes.

“Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription are on it?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
He said to them, “Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
(Luke 20:24-25 (NIV))

Through these words, Jesus let us know that money is a man-made thing and in God’s grand scheme of things, it is not important. Jesus told us to give to man what man has created. In that same logic, we are to give to God what God has created! Am I off base with this concept, for God created life? God did not create death. Death came about as a result of what Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden. From that time to the present, death has become a part of life. Up until the time that God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, to live and to die as an atoning sacrifice, humanity had no hope of anything beyond the grave. Satan appeared to have won, but God had a better plan. God’s plan made it possible to escape the ultimate consequences of a physical death brought about by sin. Through God’s plan of redemption and grace, we can spend eternity in God’s presence in paradise! All that we have to do is profess Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior.

Would you like to deny death its victory?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to forgive?

October 10, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
(Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV))

Most people like to ignore this passage because it is difficult to admit that grace received is based on grace that is given. We like to think that it is okay to withhold forgiveness to those who have wronged us. We like to think that we are above what others are called to do. Let’s be honest! Everyone is self-centered. Everyone is prideful. It is human nature to think that we are better than everyone else, and since we are better, then we don’t have to forgive others.

What if God had that attitude in dealing with us?

It would not be a pretty picture. In fact, if you think about this stipulation that we are forgiven in the same manner that we forgive, you begin to see that God is trying to make us realize that we are all in need of forgiveness. We need to forgive each other for the things that they have done to us. No one is perfect and it is impossible to live life without having someone sin against you. It is also impossible to live life without sinning against someone else. No one is perfect. No one is able to claim righteousness on their own.

Jesus taught on this concept many times.

Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.
(Matthew 18:32-35 (NIV))

Are you beginning to understand God’s heart and forgiveness? What is freely given to others is freely given to us!

Are you willing to forgive?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you live your life?

September 29, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.
(1 Peter 2:16 (NIV))

We have been given a choice as to how we will live. God has given us free will, and we can use that free will to follow Him or to reject Him. Too many people have two sides to them. There is the one side that puts up a good image while in the presence of those that you want to impress, and then there is the side that rebels against all that is good. This reminds me of the warning to the church at Laodicea. They were neither cold nor hot. In essence, they couldn’t decide if they were following Jesus or not.

Just like the church at Laodicea, we all have the choice to follow Jesus or to follow the world. Don’t use the grace that you have been given to convince yourself that you are able to do whatever you want. Jesus came to bring grace and mercy, but that does not mean that you can continue to sin. We are called to repent, to turn from our sin, and to follow Jesus. That means that we must change the way that we live our lives so that they honor God.

How do you live your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Contrary to society, there is a right way to live!

September 15, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.
(1 Thessalonians 4:1 (NIV))

Do you believe that God is just?

Do you believe that He cannot associate with sin?

Do you believe that humanity fell from grace and we are all sinners?

Do you believe that God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to be an atoning sacrifice for our sins?

Do you believe that by accepting the free gift of grace, our sins are forgiven?

Do you believe that since our sins are forgiven that God can now rebuild the association with us?

If you believe all of this, why do you, and I am using the word you collectively, continue to live lives that are not pleasing to God? We all have a tendency to do this. Our current society seems to be pushing the envelope. Society seems to be trying to taunt God by continually crossing the line that God has clearly defined. My prayers go out for those who cross that line, for contrary to what society says, God says that there is a right way to live!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you overcome evil or does it overcome you?

September 5, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
(Romans 12:17-21 (NIV))

How often do we want to take vengeance into our own hands? That is the human thing to do. We must rise above human urges and do what God wishes for us to do. These urges for vengeance and hatred are a direct result of the Fall when Adam and Eve allowed Satan to become ruler of the earth. This attitude is not from God, for God has said that vengeance is His. Jesus even gave us instructions about how to treat those who are evil so that we may let Jesus shine through us.

“You have heard that it was said, `Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

“You have heard that it was said, `Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
(Matthew 5:38-48)

Do you overcome evil or does it overcome you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your faith strong enough to proclaim that to die is gain?

August 18, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
(Philippians 1:21 (NIV))

Are these just words to you or are they a true reflection of your heart and your desires?

I realize that we all love our lives, for they are a precious gift, but how much do you love your life? Do you live your life for Jesus, or do you live your life for yourself? Do you strive to walk in His light in all that you do, or do you seek your own sinful road for your life? Do you long to be with Him, or do you never want to stand before Him? I realize that al of these questions pose scenarios that are extreme opposites, but we need to consider that these are the type of reactions that people have to Jesus. They run the full range of responses. For some people, their responses may change on a daily basis.

The word “gain” means to increase in amount or magnitude. For those who don’t believe in Jesus, they have trouble understanding how dying could be considered gain. They see death as the end of all things. For those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, death is just the beginning of an eternity with God. It brings the promise of redemption from a sentence of spiritual death to an eternity of spiritual life where there is no pain, no tears and no death. It takes faith to believe that this is gain. I would also venture to say that is takes faith to believe that there is nothing. Personally, I know where my faith lies.

Is your faith strong enough to proclaim that to die is gain?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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