What have you been set free for?

September 26, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
(Galatians 5:1 (NIV))

How many people do you know that have claimed to have surrendered their lives to Jesus only to return to the sin that they wanted to break free from?

Is it just me, or did everyone take a big pause and let out a big sigh as you took a quick, but serious look at your life?

Since we are human, it wouldn’t surprise me if everyone who claims Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior has moments in their lives where we find ourselves picking up things that we wish we could learn to leave alone.

We have the freedom to do anything that we desire.

We have the freedom to rebel. We have the freedom to be greedy. We have the freedom to lust. We have the freedom to covet, and we also have the freedom to repent of all of these sins and anything else that comes between us and our freedom in Christ! Freedom does not simply mean that we can do whatever we choose. Merriam-Webster has one definition that I love. Freedom means the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action. In other words, we, as the Body of Christ, are not bound by our sinful nature. We do not have to sin. We do not have to live a life engulfed in sin. We do not have to face an eternity that is the dire consequences of sin.

Jesus came to set us free from the power of sin and death!

With our freedom, we can face each day knowing that we have a Savior who has paid the ultimate price for our redemption. With our freedom, we can face each day knowing that we can never repay that debt. With our freedom, we can also face each day with a desire to share this great freedom, this great gift of grace, with all that we see. We can use our freedom to lead others to the same freedom that we profess.

What have you been set free for?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do we still look at things from the same perspective?

September 19, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
(1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV))

Our ability to understand things changes as we mature and grow.

Looking back at your childhood, did you fully understand how things were in the world? Did you know about such things as death and taxes? Did you fully understand the grace and mercy that God showed the world through His Son, Jesus Christ, or did you spend your days thinking about playing and what happens to tadpoles to make them change into frogs?

Just as that tadpole changed, God has planned for us to change and to grow, both physically, mentally, and spiritually. Are you the same as you were when you were six years old? Do you expect to be the same when you are sixty? Do you expect to be the same when you are with Jesus?

Our ability to understand changes just as our bodies change. Perhaps it is this change that makes us more and more grateful for what God has given to us through Jesus! Hopefully, we no longer look at sin through the understanding of a child. Hopefully, we realize the full ramifications of our sin and the eternal consequences that it brings.

Do we still look at things from the same perspective?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What flows from within you?

September 17, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.
(John 7:38 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to look at your reflection in the mirror?

If you are like most people, you do this several times a day. Some are deliberate and some are purely by accident as you pass in front of a mirror or some other object that reflects your appearance. Are you happy with what you see reflected? Are you happy with what you see coming from your physical reflection?

Let’s take this one step further! Have you ever stopped to look at your spiritual reflection?

Sadly, most people don’t really take this serious of a look at themselves. Most people are superficial when it comes to spiritual matters. I hate to say this, but far too many people who own a Bible have not ever read all of it. Most of us tend to get things moving and then wonder why there are problems with our lives. We fail to look to the Creator. We fail to believe what has been recorded. We fail to focus on the things of God’s Word while we focus on the things of this world. This approach is, in essence, similar to buying a car and driving it without looking at the owners manual to see what needs to be done to make sure the car runs the way that it should.

Humanity was designed to be in fellowship with God. We had eternity with God. We had life beyond all understanding, but we broke that fellowship in the Garden of Eden. Jesus renewed that possibility for fellowship. He renewed the ability to spend eternity with God. He renewed the ability to have life beyond all understanding. This gift came with a price that Jesus willingly paid. All we have to do is believe!

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.
(John 3:16-17 (NIV))

Living water renews! Living water restores! There is only one source for such a powerful element and that is belief in Jesus! If you believe, then true belief calls for you to share the source with all who are in need of it. Do you truly believe in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? Is it visible to others?

What flows from within you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How are you recognized?

July 26, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
(Matthew 7:20 (NIV))

Have you ever seen an apple tree bear peaches? Have you ever seen an orange tree bear bananas? In the physical world, if we ever saw anything like this, we would think that we have gone utterly insane. These types of things just don’t happen. We are so used to seeing things a certain way that we know that certain things will never happen. Matthew understood this. He even took this concept one step further and explained that good fruit does not come from plants that we know to be bad. He referenced plants that most people cut down, dig up or burn. How could anything good ever come from something like this?

By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.
(Matthew 7:16-18 (NIV))

The very same concept is also true in the spiritual as well. It seems as if everyone knows one or two people who just can’t seem to do anything good. Their whole demeanor just ruminates with a foreboding sense that is not comfortable to be around. They display everything that is opposite of the fruit that we are told is good.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
(Galatians 5:22-23a (NIV))

Fruit is the means of reproducing in kind the very thing that produced the fruit. It carries the seed that will grow another plant like the one that it came from. When we think of fruit in the physical world, we think of something that is sweet and succulent to eat. Think of this in terms of the fruit of the Spirit. When we partake of the fruit of the Spirit, we soon begin to grow and mature with that very fruit becoming evident in our lives. The more love, joy and peace that you partake of, the more love, joy and peace that you bear.

Take a serious look at your life. Do you produce love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, or do you produce something completely different? How do you think that others see what you produce?

How are you recognized?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is found in your life?

June 1, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.
(Proverbs 13:10 (NIV))

Sometimes, human nature will amaze me, but to be honest with you, most of the time it amuses me!

We all say and do things that get on each other’s nerves. We brag about what we can do, even when there are others around whom we know are much better than we could ever be. We always want to be right. We always want to be number one. We always want others to look to us as an expert in something, if not everything. I often wonder how humanity started to act like a peacock, always ruffling our feathers like we are saying, “Hey! Take a look at me. Don’t you think that I’m something special?”

It all comes down to ego. It all comes down to pride. We would rather create an argument than admit we aren’t right. We would rather live a life that has us and everyone else on edge instead of asking for advice and living in peace. In other words, what amuses me about human nature is that we like to say that we are capable of logical thinking, yet we very seldom ever act like it!

Perhaps this is also related to how humanity sees knowledge and wisdom. We seek after more and more knowledge, which fluffs up our egos, yet, we fail to seek after wisdom. Knowledge is nothing more than a collection of facts and details. Wisdom is an understanding of what is important and why it is important. I have seen people who are filled with knowledge who lack any sense of wisdom and I have seen wise people who could care less about what humanity calls knowledge.

There are all types of things that human nature brings into play in our lives. Some are prideful and self-centered. Some are God centered.

What is found in your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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When you look at things, are they possible or impossible?

February 9, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
(Matthew 19:26 (NIV))

We like to take Matthew 19:26 out of context and apply it to whatever we may be facing that appears to be a no win situation. To be honest with you, nothing is impossible with God, so it is a good application. Still, we tend to overlook the original message.

This particular passage was directed at His disciples and it comes at the end of a discourse with a rich young man.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
(Matthew 19:23-25 (NIV))

In case you didn’t catch the implication, Jesus was saying that salvation was only possible through God. Think about that for a moment. Each of us have something that we cherish. Each of us have something that we long to hold on to, that we don’t want to surrender. For some, it is money. For others, it may be power. For others, it may be any number of things. For this particular young man, it was his wealth. Jesus told him that it was necessary to surrender what he held dear to himself and choose to follow Jesus. I think that the disciples caught on to what Jesus was saying because they asked, “Who then can be saved?” The disciples knew human nature. They knew how difficult it is to surrender what is closest to your heart. They knew that it was and is a matter of priorities. They had made the choice to trade everything for the ultimate treasure.

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
(Matthew 13:44 (NIV))

Jesus let them know that a person cannot change their heart, but God can. God can take a cold and hardened heart and bring it back to life. God can take the “wealth” that a person holds dear and make it all look worthless in comparison to what He has to offer. If you think about this, Jesus also let us know that people are not in the business of saving each other. We don’t have the power or authority, but God does! How do you look at things, from your perspective or from God’s?

When you look at things, are they possible or impossible?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who or what do you have?

March 17, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
(Psalms 73:25 (NIV))

Do the words of the psalmist echo what is in your heart?

Take a serious look at what is being said in these words.

If heaven is the perfect place and the goal that most people have for their eternity, then proclaiming “Whom have I in heaven but you?” is basically proclaiming that heaven is nothing without that individual in it. That individual is the Lord, our God. If the Lord is not there, then it is no longer heaven. The very presence of the Lord makes it perfect. He makes it heaven. He is the Creator. He is perfection. Nothing compares to His greatness!

What is the earth from this point of view?

It is merely a part of His creation.

Is there anything that has been created that is greater than the Creator?

This passage proclaims that there is nothing in the created order that is desired above the Creator. We all have stuff in our lives. Some people have the right perspective and keep God above all others. Some have made a very bad trade and have placed a part of creation, some of their stuff, above the one who created it. They have traded God for the world.

Who or what do you have?

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