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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What is it that you desire to see happen?

September 5, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
(Matthew 24:32-35 (NIV))

Many people see the things that are happening in the world today, and fail to see things from God’s perspective. Not too many people have fig trees, but you can draw the comparison with all plant life that God has created. When you see flowers begin to bloom, you know that summer is near. When you see an apple tree begin to blossom, you know that summer is near. Why is it that we recognize these signs but far too many of us fail to recognize signs that are of much more importance?

If we were told by our boss that we would get a raise when our performance numbers get better, you can rest assured that we would be paying very close attention to our performance. If, as a child, you were told that you would get money if you bring home straight A’s on your report card, how many would fail to at least try?

If we, as followers of Jesus, long for His return, why do we fail to recognize the signs that indicate His return? If we truly desire for something to be, then we look for signs that indicate it will happen. If we don’t desire for something to happen, we find all kinds of excuses even when presented with undeniable proof. We can either see and recognize the signs or we can ignore the signs.

What is it that you desire to see happen?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you know where your heart is?

July 23, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

When I was growing up, television stations didn’t stay on the air 24 hours a day. In fact, they would shut down right after the late news. They used to run a public service announcement a few hours before they shut off for the night. Typically, this announcement went something like, “It’s 9 PM. Do you know where your children are?” It was a simple reminder to keep what is important to you close so that no harm would befall them. If you truly stop to think about this, it is not a far stretch to adapt this question to apply to our lives in Christ.

Can you imagine if someone were to ask you, “It’s 10:00 AM on Sunday. Do you know where your heart is?” Perhaps it is asked like this. “You are an adult now. Do you know where your heart is?” The implications are the same. Quite often, we fail to recognize exactly what we place as a priority until we are asked pointblank where we are with respect to certain things. Consider the following questions as examples of this human trait.

Where is your marriage?

Where is your relationship with your children?

Where is your relationship with Jesus?

We can be asked questions like these and we typically brush them off because we don’t really want to acknowledge that we may be far less than what we desire in these areas. We may not want to answer them because something else has our attention and our heart.

I honestly believe that it is a good thing to evaluate ourselves to determine exactly what we treasure and then turn to God, repent and ask for the strength to return to what we truly should treasure. With this in mind, I want to ask one simple question and hopefully you have a simple and righteous answer.

Do you know where your heart is?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It is impossible for God to fail!

July 18, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For no word from God will ever fail.
(Luke 1:37 (NIV))

You can look at this passage from several different perspectives.

God’s word is truth.

God never lies!

Anything that God decides to do will come to fruition.

God does not simply attempt to do something. He does it!

God’s word does not return empty.

I could go on an on, but I think that you understand the concept of the power of God’s word as truth.

If we can agree upon this, why do so many people find the following passages so difficult to believe?

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

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))

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. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

Jesus is God’s word made flesh! He was sent to redeem those who believe.

Think about that in context to the passage from Luke.

For no word from God (Jesus is God’s word made flesh) will ever fail. Jesus came into this world to redeem those who simply believe. He is calling people to God through a redeeming grace bought by His blood on Calvary. This act of redemption will not fail. God is calling His children to Himself through Jesus. God is washing away the sins of those He calls through the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus! I love the way that Paul conveyed this truth.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:38-39 (NIV))

It is impossible for God to fail!

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 trust in God’s plans?

January 18, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
(Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV))

Did you have your life planned out?

How did that work out for you?

Almost everyone quotes this passage when they think of the blessings of God in their lives, but almost everyone fails to recognize one key piece of information about this passage. They forget the context in which it was delivered!

This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.
(Jeremiah 29:10 (NIV))

Years prior to these words being recorded, most of the people in Jerusalem were taken into captivity and taken to Babylon. God’s timing was to have the descendants leave Babylon and return to Jerusalem. God spoke these words to the complete group of people who would be fulfilling His will by returning to Jerusalem, by returning to the city that God loves. It was God’s desire to prosper them so that they would not only have a hope and a future, but to be able to give a hope and a future to all of humanity through what would eventually transpire in and around Jerusalem.

I find it saddening that today’s prosperity oriented mindset reads these words and takes what God said to His people in exile and turns it into a promise to make us rich.

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

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

God had a plan to give us hope even when we were condemned in our sin and even when we were without hope. If we are all sinners and we deserve death, what type of a future do we have? God realized this and set things in motion to give us hope and a future. God knew that in order to fulfill His promises for this hope and future, He had to move the people back to Jerusalem. He had to set the plans in motion that would bring Jesus into the world. God’s plan was to give everyone a hope of overcoming death and a future in His presence.

Do you trust in God’s plans?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must humble ourselves and pray!

October 19, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (NIV))

I can’t help but wonder if the things that we are facing as a nation are a direct result of what we have allowed our society to become. When we have record breaking hurricanes, we need to humble ourselves, return to God and pray. When countless numbers of people are fleeing raging fires, we need to humble ourselves, return to God and pray. When we remove prayer from the classroom, but allow things that are detestable, we need to humble ourselves, return to God and pray. When we allow a vocal minority to remove God from our history, we need to humble ourselves, return to God and pray.

Take a good hard look at our society. Things that used to be considered sinful and wicked are now being pushed as the social norm. The things that are good and righteous in the eyes of God are now being ridiculed as evil and narrow-minded. Can we expect to long endure without suffering the consequences of our society’s choices?

We must do what society calls wrong. We must do what God calls righteous. We must return to God and abide by His Word. We must learn to abide in His Word.

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
(Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (NIV))

We have allowed a great social experiment. That experiment was the removal of God and His Commandments. That experiment has failed. We must humble ourselves, return to God and pray. We, as the Body of Christ, must take the lead. We must humble ourselves. We must be willing to pray. We must be anxious to pray. Our nation depends upon it.

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