There is no difference for we are all sinners!

September 28, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

Most, if not all who read this can quote this passage, and rightly so. It is a foundational passage that clearly states that everyone needs a savior. It stands on its own with this meaning clearly conveyed and understood, but, have you ever looked at the complete sentence that this passage is taken from?

There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
(Romans 3:22b-24 (NIV))

Does the complete sentence add anything to or detract anything from your understanding of this passage? In all honesty, it still means that we are all sinners in need of a savior, but it goes much deeper in explaining this need and how to overcome this need. When this was written, Gentiles were looked down upon by many Jewish people. They were looked upon as unclean. If you remember the amount of criticism that Paul received simply because he ate with Gentiles, then you will understand the time period. When this sentence starts by saying that there is no difference between Jew and Gentile, it literally broke the traditional way of thinking. It clearly states that the Jew is not better than the Gentile and the Gentile is not better than the Jew. Both are sinners in need of a Savior and that salvation and grace can only be found through Jesus.

This was a radical concept when this was written!

Have we taken this radical idea and whitewashed it? Have we, as the Body of Christ, as Gentiles, forgotten that we were looked down upon as unworthy to receive grace and salvation by the very people that God’s gift of grace and salvation was promised through? Have we become arrogant in our salvation while looking at others as unworthy? Perhaps we need to not just quote the excerpt, but the whole sentence. Perhaps we need to focus on the whole truth and not just what we today call sound bites.

There is no difference for we are all sinners!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you truly confessed the name of Jesus?

September 24, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”
(2 Timothy 2:19 (NIV))

There is a lot said in this passage. In all honesty, if I offered up my thoughts on all of the concepts presented, it would be a very long read. The concept behind these devotionals is a quick read to get people thinking and reading more for themselves. I could go into details and tie together different scriptures to explain God’s solid foundation, standing firm, being sealed, and the Lord knowing those who are His. Today, when reading this passage, the last part tugged at my spirit. This is something that every believer struggles with during their lives, whether it be within themselves, or whether it is within someone that they know and love.

Once we profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we are to turn away from wickedness. We are to repent and follow Jesus in all things. That means that we are to do our best to stop sinning. Let’s face the facts. Most of us do not have any trouble with the things that we think of as the big sins. We don’t murder. We don’t take the Lord’s name in vain. Then there are what many people consider the lesser sins. We don’t steal, well at least, not the big stuff. Is that how we justify this in our minds as a lesser sin? I could go on, but we all have sins that we should turn away from.

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

Do you think that God sees the occasional sin caused by sinful human nature differently from the sins committed as a result of planned and premeditated wickedness? Perhaps I should rephrase that. All sin is reprehensible in the eyes of God. None of us are perfect. There is a difference between sinful actions that we accidentally commit simply because we are human and the sinful actions that we commit because we plan to commit them. As a believer, we are called to turn away from premeditated wickedness and sin. We are called to reject this sin and repent of this sin. If we confess that Jesus is Lord and still make plans to sin, then He isn’t our Lord. If we walk away from the premeditated wickedness and sin, and strive to follow Jesus as our Lord, we will falter along the way. We are only human. When we falter, we must turn to Jesus and repent.

If you look at the story of the woman caught in adultery, we read what Jesus instructed her to do with respect to her sin.

Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:10-11 (NIV))

Had her sin been planned? Had her sin been one of choice? It was a lifestyle that was sinful. Jesus instructed her to leave her life of sin. That is the first step. Each of us must make a conscious decision to walk away from wickedness into the arms of Jesus. Once we make that decision, that confession of faith, we have taken that first step.

Have you truly confessed the name of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is there such a place?

September 14, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
(Psalms 139:7 (NIV))

Based on this passage, how do you react to people who tell believers to take our God and leave? How do you react to people who say that He only belongs in church?

Sadly, they have no understanding of just who God is and exactly how everything came into being. They fail to acknowledge Him and they also fail to understand that they cannot go anywhere in all of creation where His Spirit will not be. They fail to realize that He knows every single time that they reject Him!

This simple truth, as painful as it may be for those who choose to reject the Lord, is also a welcome truth for the time when they do have a change of heart. Because He is everywhere, all that anyone needs to do is simply say, “Lord, I am a sinner in need of a Savior!” Because of what Jesus did on the cross, we no longer have to go to a temple, the Temple, to sacrifice for forgiveness of our sins. We can repent and turn to the Lord anywhere we may find ourselves. It is a process as simple as A, B, C.

A. Admit that you are a sinner.
B. Believe in your heart that Jesus died for your sins, was buried and that God raised Him from the dead.
C. Call upon the name of the Lord by confessing that Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords.

If what David wrote were not true, how could any of us be saved? How could we be heard? How could the stirrings in our hearts and the thoughts of our minds be known? How could we be saved by simply following these steps to salvation if the Spirit of God was not everywhere?

Too many people try to place God in a box based on their own understanding. They try to limit where God can go!

Is there such a place?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We need to live each day two ways!

September 7, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
(Acts 1:11 (NIV))

Have we forgotten this promise?

Too many people who profess a faith in Jesus look to Him as their Savior when they die and face eternity. This is a true depiction, but there is more. We are told that He will return at some point in history and those who are looking for Him will see Him return in the same way that He left.

Have you accepted this aspect of Jesus?

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV))

In other words, we can’t pick and choose what we believe and ignore the rest. We must accept the fact that He will return one day and it may be before we die!

Why do so many people who profess a faith in Jesus live as if He is not going to return? Why do so many ignore the promise that He will be seen again on this side of heaven? We, as the Body of Christ, seem to have the eternal aspects of our relationship with Jesus well in hand, after all, Jesus saves us from the one thing that we all fear. He offers eternal salvation which overcomes the fear of the unknown, the fear of death. But what about the authority of Jesus in this world and His return to defeat the enemy and establish that authority? Why do we ignore, why do we forget about that aspect of Jesus?

Do you look for His return? Do you long for Jesus to return for His church? Do you look up and pray to see His glory and majesty?

I am thankful that we have the assurance of our eternal salvation for when we face death, but I am also extremely thankful for the promise that Jesus will return. We live each day of our lives thankful for the one, but I offer that it is time that we learn to live in anticipation of the other. We must not surrender the one in order to accept the other.

We need to live each day two ways!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you put on your armor?

September 4, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
(Romans 13:12 (NIV))

I’m feeling weary tonight!

I’m sure that you have felt this way at some point in this last year. There is more worldly uncertainty and pressure than any of us have ever experienced before. I don’t need to tell you that we are living in and through very unusual times. We are seeing good being called evil and evil being called good. We are seeing lawlessness. We are seeing saber rattling and wars. We are seeing peace treaties that are foretold in prophecy. We are seeing what the world labels as racial tensions. We are told that nation will rise against nation. The original Greek could actually be translated as ethnicity groups.

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.
(Matthew 24:7 (NIV))

And the one thing that is on everyone’s mind, whether you believe that it is a true risk or greatly exaggerated, is COVID-19. I’ve even read that the suicide rate is up for a group of people that should know where to turn for their strength. Perhaps you have seen this as well. The reports are saying that pastors are committing suicide at an alarmingly high rate. Why has faith disappeared? Why are people who should be encouraging the Body of Christ to look up now doing such a thing as what is being reported? The Body of Christ should recognize the signs and dress for battle for our Savior will soon be here!

When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.
(Luke 21:28 (NIV))

With everything that is going on in the world, who can you turn to in order to get an unbiased and honest perspective on events? We are to look up! We are to keep our eyes focused on Jesus. We are to prepare for what is coming. We are to arm ourselves with His Word, for when we know God’s Word, we don’t lose site of the promises that God is unfolding before us.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
(Ephesians 6:10-17 (NIV))

Have you put on your armor?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you a member of God’s household?

August 31, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household,
(Ephesians 2:19 (NIV))

Think about this passage for a moment.

When darkness falls and the doors to the home are locked, who remains inside the home when the homeowner turns out the lights? Who relies on the head of the household to provide security and rest?

I don’t know about you, but I have never seen someone who had the lives of family and friends under the safety of their roof leave doors unlocked so that the enemy could attack. By professing a faith in Jesus, we have been welcomed into the household of God. We have been given not only grace and mercy. We have been given a home that is far more secure than anything we can ever imagine. This world is not our home! We must never forget that we are only passing through on our way to a place that the Lord has prepared for us. We are to be citizens of heaven and we are to be called children of God. Human nature is sinful, but most of us love and provide for our children. How much more will the Lord do for us?

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
(Matthew 7:11 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to truly think about what actually happens when we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior? I realize that there is so much more, but the symbolism of these are represented very eloquently in Ephesians 2:19.

We trade being foreigners and strangers with God to being His children.

We trade being children of sin to being foreigners and strangers to the sinful world.

With all that is happening in this world, we must remember to not be a stranger to God. Are you a member of God’s household?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you still weary and faint?

August 28, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.
(Jeremiah 31:25 (NIV))

Is the world beating you down to the point that you are just drained, weary and faint?

I realize that this question is probably too close to the truth for many of us today. I fully understand just how someone could feel this way. It seems as if each day brings something new and different to the forefront for us to be concerned about. These words were written long before Jesus came into the world. These words were written long before the nation of Israel was scattered. They were written long before Israel was brought back into their land. This whole passage in Jeremiah describes the promises that the Lord has made. It also describes promises fulfilled, for we see these things right before our eyes as God unfolds them for Israel.

Do you think that what is happening in the world has caught God off guard? Do you think that He had no idea what this year would bring? If you answered “Yes” to these questions, you need to take another look at your definition of God. If you answered “Yes” to these questions, you need to stop worshipping the little god that you have put in a box and start worshipping the true God who is Creator and Lord of all.

I realize that the promise God made was to Israel, but if we place our faith and trust in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, then that promise is also for us. In fact, every promise that God has ever made is extended to those who believe in Jesus.

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 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV))

If the Lord has said that He will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint, then we should claim this promise as our own. We should proclaim it to the world so that others may know that they, too, can be refreshed and satisfied simply by professing a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

Are you still weary and faint?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you love this world?

August 26, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.
(1 John 2:15 (NIV))

The way that things are at this moment in time, I am pretty sure that most people will easily be able to say that they do not love the world.

What was your outlook last year? Did you love the world then? If everything suddenly became exactly as you long for, what would your outlook be? Would you love the world then?

Even in the very best of times, we still live in a sinful, fallen world. No matter what you may like in this world, it will fade, rust or die. Even the very best of friends will betray you. Thankfully, we are promised an eternal home that is so much better. It is so far beyond our ability to understand how good it will be. What we have in this world is as we are, filthy rags. We can trade our filthy rags for God’s perfection. We should desire to cast off the rags and leave them behind, for what we will receive is eternal grace, beauty, and peace in God’s presence.

Think about that for a moment.

We will no longer be confronted with wars, hatred, sin, riots, hunger, sickness and death. I realize that in the midst of all of this, we do have fleeting glimpses of beauty, love and peace, but they soon vanish. Why do we claim to love a place that seems to cause so much pain, when we can claim an eternal home free from all pain and suffering? All that we have to do is look beyond this world and acknowledge Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. He alone can change our eternity. He alone can fulfill the promises. The things of this world are fleeting. Don’t cling to what will fade!

Do you love this world?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is Jesus your Lord and your Savior?

August 20, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
(Romans 10:9 (NIV))

Can you count to two?

If these were the rules for a contest, reading the requirements for participating would be over very quickly. Still, so many people have trouble with this. Do you?

God wanted to, and perhaps He even felt that He needed to make this as simple as possible since we are only human. After all, we only had one instruction in the Garden of Eden. We were not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and we blew that.

I realize that I am being a little condescending, but in all reality, it is a simple process to gain God’s grace and mercy. We must start with an acknowledgment that we are sinners in need of a Savior. Once we come to that realization, then the rest is simple.

Declare with your mouth.

Believe in your heart.

Do your heart and your mouth make this declaration?

Is Jesus your Lord and your Savior?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you gaining perseverance?

August 18, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
(James 1:2-3 (NIV))

This has been the year for trials!

How is your faith holding out? Are you worried or are you at peace?

It seems as if every day we are told of something new to be concerned about. In fact, if it weren’t so unusual and unpredictable, I would find it rather amusing. I’m sure that everyone has seen the memes on facebook that joke about what is going on. People are laughing at the current state of things because if they don’t laugh, they could possibly cry. I’m sure you’ve seen things that you agree with, such as a rating for 2020 at only 1 star and a “Do not recommend” comment. Or perhaps you have seen things where people are asking if we skipped the murder hornets. Have you seen the one where they claim that 2020 is the new curse word?

It seems as if every time we turn around there is something new. Have you been able to stand firm in your faith during all of the events of this year? What does your faith tell you about the near future? Do you feel the Holy Spirit telling you anything about what we are going through?

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.
(2 Timothy 3:1 (NIV))

Are you prepared for whatever may come? Are you able to stand firm? Are you able to face tomorrow knowing that your faith in Jesus as the Lord and Savior is what will see you through? I’m sure that you have heard the expression thick skinned. We, as the Body of Christ, must be thick skinned when it comes to the sinful, fallen world around us. We must realize that this is not our home. We are only here for a little while and then we will be with the Lord. We must never take our eyes off of Jesus. We must not allow the attacks, trials and testings from the enemy make us swerve to the right or to the left. We must persevere!

Are you gaining perseverance?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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