Have you tried to change Jesus?

January 4, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8 (NIV))

I realize that I say this quite often, but it is true. Human nature is such a funny thing!

We are all guilty of looking at everyone else and seeing the sins in their lives while failing to see the sins in ours. The sad thing is that we tend to gravitate to others who have the same tendencies, the same way of looking at others. In our associations, we then start to take God’s Word and put our own interpretations into what is written. Some of us even go to the extreme and say that the teachings are no longer relevant in today’s society. We pick and choose what we want to believe and what we want to follow.

Shouldn’t God’s Word be the benchmark and we strive to live accordingly?

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
(2 Timothy 3:16 (NIV))

Instead, we twist and distort, we pick and choose, and we ignore completely in the false sense that Jesus couldn’t have meant it the way that it was written. God surely didn’t mean what was written because He is love and if that is true, why would He tell me that my favorite thing to do is a sin?

God’s Word is alive. It is meant to change lives. It is meant to touch the deepest places in our lives and make us look at the darkness within. It is meant to help us turn to the light of Jesus. Humanity failed to realize the truth, so God sent an example. He sent His Son.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 (NIV))

Two thousand years have passed since Jesus walked among us and we still twist His Word. We still ignore His Word. We pick and choose. In essence, we do our best to try and change Jesus to fit our desires even when we are told that He never changes.

Have you tried to change Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are your thoughts?

December 27, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
(Romans 12:3 (NIV))

Sadly, it is human nature to think more highly of ourselves than we should.

Is this something that you are guilty of at times?

Have you ever looked at someone and thought to yourself that you were glad that you didn’t have their particular sin to deal with? Do you realize that this is exactly what Romans warns against? We have a tendency to place ourselves above others. We think that our sins are nothing compared to the sins of others.

God looks at this much differently than we do.

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))

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

We are all guilty of sin. Not a one of us is righteous on our own. All of us have earned something that none of us want to collect.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

As we move from the time that we celebrate as the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, into a new year, all of us need to take the time to reflect on what God has given us. Have we accepted that gift? Have we realized that we are no better than anyone else? Have we learned to control our selfish thoughts? Have we learned to stop thinking of ourselves more highly than we should?

What are your thoughts?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you allowed the Lord to get close to you?

October 31, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
(Psalms 34:18 (NIV))

Think back on the times in your life when you felt closest to the Lord.

What do you remember about the events of your life during these times? Were you going through a particularly rough time in your life? Were you crushed by the weight of the world coming down on you? Did someone or something leave you feeling brokenhearted? Most people reach out to God more during these kind of moments than when things are going good.

It is human nature to think that we have everything under control and think that everything is smooth sailing, and then we get hit with something that makes us realize that we are not in control. This makes perfect sense if you think how a small child will react when confronted with something that is not pleasant. They instinctually want to climb up into the lap of a parent for security. They want to feel the warm and reassuring embrace that lets them know that everything will be okay.

How does a child react when they feel that everything is safe? They slowly climb down and resume their playful activities. At first, they will look to the parent for reassurance. Then, the longer that they feel safe, the less that they look to the parent. They know that the parent still loves them and is there for when they need them, but they begin to think that they are the ones in control of their immediate surroundings.

Does this sound anything like how we treat God?

When we feel brokenhearted and insecure, we want to crawl into the lap of the Lord where we know that we will find comfort. The wonderful thing about this is that God will never turn us away. We are His children. Jesus said something that makes me firmly believe that God loves for us to crawl into His lap.

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
(Matthew 18:2-5 (NIV))

When we sit in the Father’s lap, we draw closer to Him. It is the times that we run off and do our own thing that finds us lost.

Have you allowed the Lord to get close to you?

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

August 30, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
(2 Chronicles 1:20 (NIV))

What is your favorite word in the English language?

It may not be your favorite word, but “Yes” carries so much promise in three letters. It can be the word that is said that means you will spend the rest of your life with that someone special. It can be the word that is heard when you ask if you got the job. It can be the word that is said when a door is opening for you. It can be the word you say in response to God pursuing you. It can be the word you say or have said to you that will change your life and your eternity.

Now, let’s take this one step further.

Do you like promises?

I realize that everyone has had people who have made promises to them that were never kept. That is not the type of promise that I am talking about. I am talking about a promise from a reliable source. I am talking about a promise from someone who you know will keep their word. This type of person will go out of their way to make sure that what they promise comes true. What if the source of the promise has all the resources in all of creation and His reputation for keeping His promises is impeccable?

“So let it be.”

“He is faithful.”

“It is true.”

From doing research on the word “Amen,” I have come to understand that it can mean any or all three of these statements, and so much more! It is used to emphasize and to punctuate the power and the glory and the truth of God. It is a term of praise. It is a term of authority. It is also a term that represents the humility of the person who says it. When we say “Amen,” we are willingly placing ourselves at the feet of God and using the word to indicate that His will be done.

Think about that in context to God’s promises being “Yes” in Christ. What has God promised humanity? What has God promised you? Please understand that I am not talking about our interpretation or our understanding of what we want Him to promise us, but what He actually has promised. Through the two words, “Yes” and “Amen,” we are told that God’s promises will come true and then we are told that God, the One who promises, is faithful and true.

This may sound strange, but sometimes I hate the English language. “Amen” is so much more expressive than we have words to understand. I know one thing, though, and that is I will hold fast to the promises of God!

Yes and Amen!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Whose time are you on?

August 1, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
(2 Peter 3:8 (NIV))

Do you feel like you are a patient person?

I can see the grimaces on the faces at the mere thought of this question.

What is it about human nature that makes us so impatient? We think that we need everything right now and when we can’t have it in that manner, we start to lose control. We simply can’t stand to wait for anything. If you stop to think about it, this is exactly why credit card debt is such a problem. We want something. We think that we deserve it. We think that we are ready to handle it. We don’t think about the consequences of our desires and our actions. We give into our desires and we try to get what we want even if we are not ready for it.

Are we also that way with respect to our faith life?

Do we pray and then give up because God’s answer didn’t come when we wanted it to come? Perhaps we are praying and waiting from a limited perspective. Not only could we be praying for something that we are not ready to receive, but we could also be praying for things that God does not plan to ever happen. If God has blessed each of us with unique gifts, doesn’t it make sense that He would respond to each of us based on the way that He created us? With this in mind, it seems that it is humanity who fails to comprehend God’s timing instead of God not comprehending ours.

Be still, and know that I am God;
(Psalm 46:10a (NIV))

We need to realize that God’s timing is perfect. We just need to adjust our time.

Whose time are you on?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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There is amazing power in God’s Word!

May 29, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
(John 1:1 (NIV))

Do you truly realize just what this passage is saying?

We all know that Jesus is the Word made flesh. From this passage we also know that Jesus existed from the beginning. We know that Jesus was with God from the beginning. We also know, based on logical deduction, that Jesus was and is God!

Still, there is one very important realization that each of us, as the Body of Christ, must fully embrace, and that is that for us to know God we must get to know Jesus. In addition, we come to the realization that in order to know Jesus, we must know the Word! This passage clearly tells us that what we call the Bible is how we get to know God, for it is a direct reflection of God’s character.

Now that we have established some fundamental principles, I want to ask a few questions.

Do you believe that God is all powerful?

Is He able to do things beyond your imagination, or have you put God into a box and limited Him to what you can understand?

Do you believe that the Bible is the Word of God?

Did you have to think about your answers or were you able to quickly affirm that God is all powerful and that the Bible if the Word of God? If you were able to do this, I want you to logically think about what this implies based on what John 1:1 says about the Word was God. This implies that the Bible is all powerful since it is the Word of God and that the Word is God!

Do you realize the amazing power that is God’s Word?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you surrendered authority to whom it belongs?

May 15, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
(Luke 6:5 (NIV))

It is human nature to try and put God in a box. We try to twist words based on our limited understanding. We try to put limitations on God simply because we fail to understand that He has no limitations. We fail to realize that the limitations that have been given to us are the same type of limitations that a parent would put on a child. They are there for our protection, for our education and they are not there for the person who placed the limitations. A good example of this is the bedtime for a small child. That does not mean that the parents go to bed at the same time!

When God sets boundaries and establishes rules, He is fulfilling His role as God the Father. He is guiding us. He is keeping us from harm. In much the same way as a parent telling a child that he or she cannot have ice cream because it is bedtime, God established things that we must live by. One of those is the command to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. We are to rest. We are to be reverent in our attitudes. We are to spend time in God’s presence. We are to slow down.

Be still, and know that I am God…
(Psalms 46:10a (NIV))

When we spend time in God’s presence, we begin to realize that we do have a tendency to place God in a box. If you want a modern day translation of the words that Jesus spoke in Luke 6:5, perhaps something like this makes sense, although it may sound condescending. “I created the world and I created the Sabbath. I can do what I deem as appropriate because I made the rules for you and not for myself!”

We have a big problem with realizing that God makes the rules and not us!

We need to surrender Lordship of our lives!

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