Are you thankful to be called a Christian?

April 10, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
(1 Peter 4:16 (NIV))

Have you ever faced anything simply because you are a believer in Jesus?

Perhaps I should ask if you have ever been in a situation where you would have suffered if it was known that you were a Christian? Think about that for a moment as you answer the following. Did you withhold the fact that you were a Christian or did you deny that you were a Christian? There is a difference! Regardless of how you handled yourself in that situation, do you regret not standing up and identifying as a follower of Jesus? Do you feel that you have abandoned Jesus through your actions and words?

Consider Peter.

He denied Jesus three times during the events between Jesus being arrested and being taken to Pilate. All of us can put ourselves into the events and justify the actions that Peter took that night. In all honesty, it is not told in detail how Peter truly felt. We can only imagine what Peter was facing within himself as these events transpired and afterward. What we do know is that after the resurrection, Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him. Peter was able to put his shame behind him and accept the grace that Jesus was extending to him.

Think about that!

Peter denied Jesus three times. He had seen Jesus beaten so badly that He was not recognizable. Peter had seen Jesus crucified, dead and buried. The guilt of his denial of Jesus must have been unbearable. Even after Jesus arose, what was Peter thinking? Was he thinking that Jesus would never forgive him for what he had done? Was Peter thinking that he had committed something so bad that he would be condemned to suffer for all eternity?

Grace is amazing!

What Peter did discover is that Jesus forgave him. Three times he was asked if He loved Jesus and three times he responded that he did. I can almost imagine that with each response Peter gave Jesus, the burden of guilt was being lifted until it was completely gone!

That is what Jesus does! He lifts the burden of guilt and replaces that burden with a joy that comes from knowing that all of your sins are forgiven! There is nothing greater to give thanks for.

Are you thankful to be called a Christian?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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I pray that this is what we truly want!

February 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
(Matthew 6:10 (NIV))

Everyone who professes a faith in Jesus knows these words as part of what we refer to as the Lord’s Prayer. Do we truly desire what we lift up with these words? Do we long for the Lord’s kingdom to come into the world, to enter into our lives, or do we want our will, our personal kingdom, to manifest itself in our lives?

Human nature, no matter how hard we try, always tries to put personal interest above all else. We all must face the truth. Each of us have had moments when we are reciting these words only to have our minds diverted by our own desires. Does this mean that we really don’t long for God’s kingdom or does it just show that even in our best moments, we are all creatures caught in the sinful natures that we long to leave behind?

When you experience one of these moments, and we all have them, do you regret the diversion from God’s Will to your will? Do you feel like Paul?

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
(Romans 7:14-15 (NIV))

I hate to say this, but I do this far more than I care to admit. In the time span of the last fifteen minutes, I have been distracted from my task far too many times. My thoughts wander. My attention shifts and my writing gets delayed. Even the disciples, who were asked to wait while Jesus went to pray in Gethsemane, could not avoid the pitfalls of the frailty that is humanity.

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
(Mark 14:38 (NIV))

Just because our human nature and our human frailties divert us should not be our main concern. What we should be concerned about is if we choose to never refocus on Jesus. We can repent and return to seeking God’s Will and His kingdom or we can choose to stay chasing the diversion. When we repent, we show what we truly want.

I pray that this is what we truly want!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you hate your sinful nature?

November 20, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
(Romans 7:15 (NIV))

Sadly, I know all too well what Paul meant when he wrote these words. I bet we all do!

What is it about human nature that makes us do the things that we do, especially when we know that we shouldn’t do them? Why do we react the way that we do knowing that we will regret it as soon as we do it? Unfortunately, we all probably have our “favorite” things that we hate to do. These are the things that we despise, yet we can’t stop doing them. For some people, it may be anger. For others, it may be lust. For others, it may be greed. What is it about your actions that you hate? What is it about your life that you wish you could change?

I realize that this is of little solace, but we must come to terms with the fact that even Paul faced the undesirable actions in his life. If Paul, who had a life changing, face to face encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, still had things in his life that he hated, we must realize that we will face things in our lives that we hate.

If you stop to think about this from a different perspective, it may shed a new light on this. Before you met Jesus, would you have even stopped to think about the things that you now hate? Would you have even given them a second thought? Would you even have the hatred towards these things in your life? When you consider the things that you now hate, I want you to consider the simple fact that this hatred indicates a new desire to change. It indicates a desire to repent. It indicates a desire to be something different than you were. It indicates a desire to be something different than you are. It indicates a desire to be like Jesus, and out of that desire, you see things in your life that make you realize that Jesus would not do what you do!

With this in mind, I realize that it is okay to hate the things that I do, for I know that I am not perfect and that I will never be able to walk in Godly perfection as long as I am a sinful creation. I can strive to follow Jesus, but I must realize that there will be times that I will fail. When I fail, I pray that I will, like Paul, be able to recognize what made me fail and hate what made me fail.

It is a matter of attitude.

Do you hate your sinful nature?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you recognize within you?

August 7, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
(Psalms 51:3 (NIV))

Do the things that you do make you lie awake at night? Do you regret the things that you do? Do you find yourself doing the things that you don’t want to do and not doing the things that you desire to do?

You are not alone. Sadly, it is part of the human condition. Even Paul, the man who is credited with spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles, faced this in his life.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
(Romans 7:15 (NIV))

The fact that it bothers you is a good sign. The fact that you regret your actions is a good sign. The fact that you are aware of your transgressions is a very telling trait of someone who longs to leave those actions behind and move forward following Jesus. Recognizing that you are a sinner in need of Jesus is critical, however, recognizing that you will still be tempted is also critical to your maturity in faith. We are made righteous in the eyes of God when we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, but our flesh is still sinful. We must learn to overcome the very nature that we were born under. This is a maturation process that takes time.

David recognized his sinful nature. Paul recognized his sinful nature. What do you recognize within you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you clean from the inside or the outside?

January 25, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
(Matthew 23:25-26 (NIV))

Sadly, too many people believe that they must get their lives in order before they come to Jesus or start attending a church. They are focused on the outside. They are focused on the appearances.

They are focused on the symptoms and not the cure!

It is not what is seen on the outside, but what God sees on the inside. Too many focus on the symptoms and overlook the root cause. They overlook the simple fact that they need Jesus!

Don’t focus on the symptoms, which are what is visible. Focus on what is inside. Focus on allowing Jesus to clean your heart!

Woe is an expression of grief, regret or distress. I find it interesting that we are told that those who focus on the outward are subject to woe. We could not have a clearer message that it is not the outward things that are the problem. When you go to a doctor with a health concern, do you want the doctor to give you medicine to mask the symptoms or do you want the doctor to get to the inner root cause of the problem?

Your spiritual life should be the same as your concerns when you have scheduled a doctor’s visit. You must allow the Great Physician to treat the inner sin and then the outer appearance of that sin will disappear.

Do you clean the inside or do you simply mask the outward appearance?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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