Conform to the image of Jesus!

October 14, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
(1 Peter 1:13-16 (NIV))

For anybody who professes to follow Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, this is excellent advise.

Too many people in the world today have the false impression that whatever we do is ok because God loves us and He wouldn’t condemn us for being who He made us to be. What they fail to take into consideration is that God did not create us in the current state that we find ourselves in. He created us to live in a perfect paradise and have a perfect relationship with Himself. Satan entered the picture and sin separated us completely from God. God did not create us to rebel and have a sinful nature. That was our doing. Ever since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, we have been a fallen race. We have been doing things that God does not want us to do. God’s perfect creation was ruined by our rebellion. God cast Adam and Eve out of the Garden because of that rebellion. What makes you think that God would accept us and our sins since He didn’t accept the original sinners when all that they did was disobey Him? We disobey God every single day of our lives.

Thankfully, God gave us a way to return to Him of our own free will. He knows that we cannot be sin free and righteous all on our own, so He sent His Son, Jesus, to atone for our sinful nature. To receive this gift of grace, all that we have to do is accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior and repent of our sins. God never told us that we could go on sinning! He wants us to conform to the likeness of Jesus. He wants us to be holy. Our holiness is inherited. It comes from accepting grace through Jesus. It comes new every day, for each day we fall short of being holy. Thankfully, we are washed anew every day when we repent and ask Jesus to guide us.

On my own, I am far from holy. With Jesus, God sees me as holy because He sees Jesus in me!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready for the return of Jesus?

May 6, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
(John 14:1-4 (NIV))

This passage presents several questions for those who profess a faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Your answers may surprise you!

First, I need to lay a little ground work. If you are familiar with traditional Jewish weddings, once the bride was betrothed, or engaged, the bridegroom would then go back to his father’s house and start to build or prepare a room for he and his bride. When the room was finished, he would come for his bride. This is reflected in the parable of the lamps and the oil. No one knew the day or the hour the bridegroom would come for his bride. She simply knew that at some point in time, he would return for her.

Does this sound familiar? It sounds identical to the promises that Jesus made to His bride, the body of believers.

Do you trust in God?

Do you trust in Jesus?

Do you firmly believe that Jesus is preparing a place for you?

Do you know beyond doubt that Jesus will return for you?

I want you to think about the following passage and what it has to say in regard to those who are not ready.

“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
“Later the others also came. `Sir! Sir!’ they said. `Open the door for us!’
“But he replied, `I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’
(Matthew 25:10-12 (NIV))

One last and very important question for you!

If you believe and answered “Yes” to the previous questions, and you are not ready, what does that tell you will happen?

Are you ready for the return of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Why do we refuse to see certain things?

April 25, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, `It’s going to rain,’ and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, `It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?
“Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?
(Luke 12:54-57 (NIV))

Why do we refuse to see certain things?

Have you ever been caught completely off guard by an event only to look back upon it with a different perspective? You look back and you see the telltale signs of the impending event that caught you off guard. Let’s face the facts. Human nature is a strange thing. We pay attention to the trivial things in life while we are completely blind sided by the major things.

Take a look at the world in it’s current state. What do we focus on? Is it the price of gasoline and the extra hurt that we feel when we fill up our cars or is it the events of the world where God is unfolding prophecy right before our eyes?

We become so engrossed in our daily lives and what will impact us in the short term, such as the clouds rising in the west, that we fail to see the catastrophic storm that is just beyond the horizon. We fail to judge what we should be paying attention to. We fail to recognize the truth in what we are seeing.

Failing to recognize the truth can be dangerous. We live in a time when people say that truth is relative, but I say that truth is always relevant and unchanging. With the state of the world, we cannot rely upon ourselves to be able to stay true to what is right. We must rely upon God and His Word to guide us. His Word is truth. His Word warns us of these times. We must prepare ourselves for daily life in His Word. We must also prepare ourselves for eternal life in His Word. God gives us insight into what He has planned. We must know God’s timeline of history – the past, the present, and His glorious future.

Can you judge according to God’s Word?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we proclaiming Jesus to a dying world?

September 23, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

A voice of one calling:
“In the desert prepare
the way for the LORD;
make straight in the wilderness
a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the LORD will be revealed,
and all mankind together will see it.
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
(Isaiah 40:3-5 (NIV))

This prophesy was originally fulfilled by John the Baptist when he was in the wilderness proclaiming that people should repent because the Lord was coming. Shortly after this proclamation, Jesus did come.

He came and taught. He came and healed the sick. He came and raised the dead. He came so that we could have forgiveness of sin. Through the actions of Jesus, the valleys that we were in because of sin have been raised up. The mighty and powerful have been lowered. When we walk with Jesus, even when we face the rough times in our lives, they are smoother because He is with us.

Now it is our turn to proclaim what Jesus has done for us. John proclaimed what He would do before He came. He stepped out in faith based on what would come. We have history to support our faith, yet, how many of us are willing to step out in our faith the way John the Baptist did?

Jesus will return! We should be proclaiming this to all of the world just as John proclaimed it to his world.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you whimpering in the dark?

December 3, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:

“A voice of one calling in the desert,
`Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’ ”
(Matthew 3:1-3 (NIV))

We think of John the Baptist as a strange character, after all, he lived in the desert and ate wild locusts and honey. Would any sane person do that?

Perhaps we should consider that John was probably the most sane person, next to Jesus, alive during his time. Sanity means that you are able to distinguish right from wrong and do what is best for yourself and all around you. Even though John’s message went against the thinking and social standards of the day, he did what he knew had to be done. It was a willful decision to obey. God had given him the task of letting people know that the Messiah was coming soon. John fulfilled his task with a dignity and an assurance that he was right.

We have been given a task by Jesus. We are to make disciples for Him. Do we approach our task with the same dignity and assurance that John the Baptist approached his? Are we calling people to repentance and forgiveness through the blood of Jesus with as much energy and assuredness as John called them to repentance almost two thousand years ago? Perhaps we need to reevaluate our focus and become more like John.

Are you a voice calling in the wilderness, or are you whimpering in the dark?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you prepared for Jesus to be revealed?

September 1, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
(1 Peter 1:13 (NIV))

This passage has at least three possible interpretations, all of which are very valid, for, many passages within the Bible have both a near-term and a far-term meaning.

When Jesus is revealed to us on a personal level as our Lord and Savior, we are allowed this revelation because we have had our mind prepared for this impartation of the truth. We have been taken on a personal journey that has allowed us to be shown the truth so that we will recognize and acknowledge it. We have been shown grace and given the means to partake of it.

Jesus will be revealed to the world. As believers, we must keep our focus and constantly stay alert and self-controlled so that we may be ready for Jesus whenever He may manifest Himself, whether it is through others or when He physically returns. Jesus is revealed to the world in every action and word that we, as the Body of Christ, do and say. With this in mind, we must be prepared for action and self-controlled so that the world will see Jesus in our actions.

Finally, Jesus will return and will be revealed to the world. We do not know when, or if we will be around. There is even uncertainty among the Body of Christ whether the church will be in the world when this revelation takes place.

No matter when He is revealed, we must prepare ourselves so that we may prepare the way for His return. We must set our hope fully on the grace that is ours through His atoning sacrifice. We must pave the way for others to accept salvation.

Are you prepared for action? Are you self-controlled? Where is your hope?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you notice what comes first?

May 5, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.”
(Joshua 3:5 (NIV))

Take a good look at the order of events in the passage above.

Do you notice what comes first?

Too many people expect God to do amazing things in their lives before they do anything to prepare themselves for it. They want the rewards before the commitment and the sacrifices are made.

God has an order in which He works. He seeks people who have humbled themselves and have prepared themselves for His presence. Take a look at Jabez. He prayed to have his area of influence increased so that more people would know about God. Take a look at Moses. He was raised in Pharaoh’s palaces, yet, he ended up tending sheep in the desert. During this time, he learned about God and was obedient to what his new place in life meant. Take a look at Mary. She was of such a nature that she found favor with God. You don’t find favor with God by going against everything that He instructs. You find favor through an earnest desire to know God personally.

Take a look at today’s society. We have become a society of instant food, instant credit, and instant divorce. If we want something today, we order it today and get it today. There is no personal patience. We expect everything now and our way. We have even extended this to our outlook and understanding of God. Even preachers are preaching this with all of the prosperity sermons that you hear. Don’t get me wrong. God wants to bless us, but the blessing only comes AFTER you have prepared yourself for that blessing.

What order do you expect in your life?

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