What are the things that you willfully do?

June 24, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.
(Psalms 19:13 (NIV))

Perhaps we should rephrase this first part to something a little more obvious and upfront.

Keep your servant from deliberate and intentional sins!

In other words, David was asking the Lord to keep him from doing the wrong thing when he knew the right thing to do. Perhaps we should pray what David asked so that we are kept from deliberately planning to sin!

I am going to ask a very blunt question, but I think that you can probably anticipate what it is going to be.

Do you deliberately and intentionally sin? Do you find yourself clinging to an old sinful nature that you simply don’t want to let go of? Do you love the sin more than you love Jesus? Are you willing to give up God’s grace for a momentary sinful pleasure? Please don’t misunderstand me. We are all human and we are all sinners. None of us are perfect. What we desire is often opposite of what we actually do. This is not something new to humanity, but it is something that we must overcome. Even Paul 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. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
(Romans 7:15-20 (NIV))

I realize that this passage does not directly say that Paul deliberately and intentionally sinned, but we have to consider that Paul wrote that he had the desire to do what is good but could not carry it out. We probably also have the desire to do what is good, but what do we do with that desire? Paul knew what to do.

Human nature is sinful no matter how much we want to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord. Thankfully, we have been given grace and mercy through Jesus. When we find ourselves guilty of sin, willfully or otherwise, there are two things that we can willfully do. We can accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, and we can repent of our sin!

What are the things that you willfully do?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Let’s continue to turn to God in righteousness!

January 20, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice;
when the wicked rule, the people groan.
(Proverbs 29:2 (NIV))

Ouch !!!

Have we been rejoicing or groaning?

Think about the implications of that simple question.

Have we lost track of the principles upon which we were founded? Have we grown so accustom to looking out for only ourselves, that we forget that what we do has an affect on others? Have we allowed wickedness to replace righteousness? Do we look upon sin as something that is wrong, or do we look upon sin as an alternative lifestyle? Do we see those around us as individuals whom God created, or do we simply see someone who is an obstacle in our way?

I could go on and on with these types of questions, but I hope you understand my point.

Woe to those who call evil good
    and good evil,
  who put darkness for light
    and light for darkness,
  who put bitter for sweet
    and sweet for bitter.
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
    and clever in their own sight.
Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine
    and champions at mixing drinks,
who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
    but deny justice to the innocent.
(Isaiah 5:20-23 (NIV))

Does any of this sound familiar? It does to me.

Fortunately, God allows us to turn away from our sin and return to Him.

“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))

The heavens may not be shut so that there is no rain, but I think I see the telltale signs of a different type of locust. This locust devours just like the type referred to in this passage, and just like we are told, if we will humbly turn to God in prayer, and turn toward Him, He will heal our land.

I don’t know about you, but I am tired of groaning. Join me in prayer! Let’s continue to turn to God in righteousness!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you believe in this golden rule?

August 23, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
(Matthew 7:12 (NIV))

Practically everyone knows the first part of this passage as “The Golden Rule.” Still others have their own golden rule that says “He who has the gold makes the rules.”

Personally, I hate the second saying even though it is meant as a joke. Even so, too many people seem to believe that money buys power. The Bible tells us that money, if not prioritized appropriately, causes many problems.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
(1 Timothy 6:10 (NIV))

Money will cause many people to forget what was spoken of in Matthew 7:12. It causes people to treat others as if they did not matter. It causes people to mistreat others just so they can get more money or hold onto their money a little longer.

The love of money is the root of many evils. Money is fleeting. It can be destroyed. It can be lost in an instant. The evil that we do to gain money, or any other worldly possession or power, has eternal ramifications. It scars those whom the evil is done against, and more importantly, it causes even faithful believers to sin and turn from God’s Will.

We are to treat each other as we would want to be treated. Even if it were not a Biblical principle, it should be common courtesy to treat others as we would want to be treated. When we lose sight of this simple Biblical truth, we sin. We sin against other people. We sin against God. Perhaps we should even come to the realization that we may cause the one we have mistreated to sin out of anger.

How do you treat others? Do you see them as eternal, or do you see them as something to run over to achieve your goals?

Do you believe in this golden rule?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Since we are made in His image, we should act like it!

February 12, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
(Genesis 1:26-28 (NIV))

From the beginning, God had planned for man to rule over His Creation. He still plans for man to rule. We are to be co-rulers with Jesus.

We are created in God’s image. Just imagine, we are created in the image of God. He did not create us to be like anything else. He created us to be in His image. We were created to be with God. It was the fall from grace that has destroyed that.

Do you think that you aren’t worth saving? Did you really think that God would allow His creation made in His image to remain in sin?

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

God did not desire to leave us in our sin and destruction. He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem us from our sin, so that we may once again be with Him. According to God’s love for us, we are worth salvation. In God’s eyes, we are worth being given grace.

Since we are made in His image, we should act like it!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you believe that you are created in God’s image?

October 23, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
(Genesis 1:26-28 (NIV))

For those people who believe in evolution, I would like to offer the above scripture for their review and consideration.

We, as believers, know this to be true, yet, how can so many people belittle themselves by saying that they evolved from apes. Does God look like an ape?

I DON’T THINK SO!!!

God created us in His image to be like Him. We, through our father Adam and our mother Eve, have let sin into the world. We had a choice. We made the wrong choice. God created us to rule over the world. We surrendered this rulership when we sinned. Yet, we are still created in His image.

He gave us free will. It was our fault. Yet, He also gave us a plan of redemption. If you have friends who believe in evolution, they do not have a proper self esteem or self-worth. They also have a very distorted view of the natural order of things. The very nature of creation, since we let sin in, is to deteriorate, not evolve.

How can they look at the world and see all of the deterioration, yet still say that evolution is true? It goes against everything that is obvious, both from the Bible and from observation.

Satan does not want people to believe that they were created in God’s image. By deceiving people, he has convinced millions that they are no more than a mass of cells with no eternal purpose. Beware the father of all lies.

Do you believe that you are created in God’s image?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you thankful for the peace of Christ?

October 12, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
(Colossians 3:15 (NIV))

Do you feel that you are a member of Christ’s one body?

Think about that concept for a moment and then truthfully answer the following questions.

Have you ever caused unrest or anger among other believers?

Have you ever held a grudge against someone in the Body of Christ for what had taken place in the past?

Have you refused to forgive someone who is a member of the Body of Christ?

I am not sure how you define peace, but if you have answered yes to any of these, it does not sound like the peace of Christ! Too many people define peace as the absence of conflict. If you stop to think about the complete range of emotions and events that just come short of conflict, we have opened ourselves up to a vast array of sinful behavior that is in no way related to the peace of Christ. In fact, we are told exactly how this will be treated.

We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.
(1 John 3:14-15 (NIV))

How do we allow the peace of Christ to rule in our hearts?

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
(Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV))

In essence, we are to love each member of the Body of Christ as if they were us for we are all members of the one body.

Does the peace of Christ rule in your heart?

Are you thankful for the peace of Christ?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What will return upon your head?

August 10, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The day of the LORD is near
for all nations.
As you have done, it will be done to you;
your deeds will return upon your own head.
(Obadiah 1:15 (NIV))

There is an old saying, “What goes around, comes around.” I am sure that we all know exactly what this means. It is common sense to treat each other the way that you would want to be treated. Unfortunately, this is not the way things are done anymore.

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
(Matthew 7:12 (NIV))

This concept applies not only to us as individuals, but it also applies to us as the people groups, or nations, to which we belong.

God has seen all that has been done. God knows the intentions of the hearts of men and the deceptions of the ones who rule over the nations. He knows who truly seek Him and He knows who follow the lies and the deceptions of the enemy. Far too long, the societies and nations of the world have removed God from their policies and practices. They have embraced different things as multiculturalism and now God has sat back and allowed our nations to have exactly what they have asked for. All throughout history, I honestly don’t think that it has ever been this bad.

This does not mean that those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior will be cast aside like the very nations to which they belong. God will provide for His people even in the midst of the day of the Lord.

No matter what may happen in the world, keep your focus on Jesus.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are we willing to be a servant?

February 26, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You know that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
(Mark 10:42-45 (NLT))

I can see very clearly that this concept has become unknown in our current society. Many of our leaders feel that they are in absolute authority over us, yet they proclaim to be Christians. Based on this passage from Mark, we see that this is clearly not the case. It states that those who wish to be a leader must be a servant. They are not to be elevated above others, but must have a servant’s heart. They must be willing to sacrifice for those whom they are called to lead.

This applies not only in government, but also in our work, and in our local church assemblies. We must not allow ourselves to exercise authority over each other is such a way that we subjugate those around us. The Body of Christ has only one head. The last time that I checked, no one has professed to be Jesus and has come visible in the clouds with an army.

It is our sinful human nature that wants to elevate ourselves to positions of authority. I am sure that everyone has, at one time, had a fantasy of having our every wish and whim fulfilled. For most people, this is just a fleeting idea. However, there are those who cling to this concept even though they may not realize it.

Do you find yourself thinking that you are better than others?

Do you ever find yourself thinking that as long as you get yours, you couldn’t care what happens to others?

Human nature can be harmful. Ego can be harmful. To truly be a leader, you must be willing to serve. You must be willing to put the well being of others before your very own. It is this characteristic that Jesus displayed when He willingly went to the cross.

Would we do the same, or would we say to take someone else in our place? Are we willing to make the sacrifices that truly say that we are a follower of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you still a servant to sin?

October 17, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The rich rule over the poor,
and the borrower is servant to the lender.
(Proverbs 22:7 (NIV))

Do you owe anyone anything?

Are they pressing you for payment?

I know that in today’s society, it is impossible to do anything without owing someone. You need to have a job to earn money to live off of. In order to get to work, you have to have a car. Most people have to borrow money to buy a car. You need someplace to live. you either rent because you are borrowing a place to live, or you pay monthly payments because you borrowed money to buy a home. I could go on and on.

Is this biblical? Are we borrowing against our future and paying it back over time so that we become indebted to those whom we borrowed from?

If we plan our personal budgets, we can make it work, but what happens if we over borrow? Can we go on borrowing and never expect to pay it back?

Think about this from a different perspective.

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))

If we have all sinned and the wages of sin is death, then all of us, until we accept Jesus, are living on borrowed time!

Think about that. Humanity, in its sinful nature, owes a debt that we could only pay with our lives.

Jesus paid that debt for all who would simply ask for forgiveness of their sins. Jesus is now that one that we are indebted to. We should be proclaiming this wonderful gift of grace every moment of every day. We are no longer bound by our indebtedness to sin and death. Our debt has been paid. Jesus has set us free.

Are you still a servant to sin?

Are you living on borrowed time?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t allow the world to change you!

May 10, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 5:17-20 (NIV))

I find it saddening that far too many people say that the Bible is no longer relevant in this modern world. I also find it very comforting that God’s Word is steadfast. It is true no matter what society or nonbelievers may say.

I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.
(Matthew 5:18 (NIV))

Did you notice that Jesus referred to the Law. There are many definitions for the word “law,” such as a binding custom or practice; a rule or order that you observe; and the revelation of the Will of God. Today, we have man-made laws that we tend to follow. Why do people willingly obey man-made laws and ignore God’s Law? It has not changed. It will not change. What was once a sin is still a sin, no matter how the media or any other group try to spin it.

At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.
(Matthew 24:10-11 (NIV))

I see many people being deceived. I see things in this world that I could never have imagined just thirty years ago. There are wars and rumors of wars. Our society had become polarized. We can no longer meet on a common ground. We must be careful to not fall for the traps that the enemy has set. We must not allow our focus to shift away from Jesus.

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
(Matthew 24:12-14 (NIV))

Stand firm in your faith. Do not allow the world to convince you that the sin that is being publicized is ok, after all the Bible was written such a very long time ago. Jesus gave us assurance that God’s Word would not change and that His Law would not change.

Don’t allow the world to change you!

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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