Are you too proud to accept God’s gifts?

October 12, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, `Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

“When he came to his senses, he said, `How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

“The son said to him, `Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

“But the father said to his servants, `Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
(Luke 15:11-24 (NIV))

Everybody is familiar with the story of the prodigal son. I have heard someone comment on it in such a way as to shed new light on God’s mercy and grace.

God does not wait until we ask for forgiveness to forgive us. We are forgiven even before we ask for it!

We must ask in order to receive it, but He has already decided that He will forgive us. Asking for forgiveness shows a change of heart on our part and this change of heart prepares us to accept the grace that God has already granted us. Without this change of heart, we cannot accept God’s grace. We do not feel that we need it. It is a matter of pride.

Asking for grace shows that we have humbled ourselves. Sadly, far too many people are too proud to ask for anything.

Grace and mercy are free. We pay the personal price by swallowing our pride when we ask for them.

Are you too proud to accept God’s gifts?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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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Are you able to help share?

August 22, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
(Mark 16:15-18 (NIV))

The Great Commission!

These are the last words of our Lord Jesus Christ before He ascended into heaven. They are so important that He saved them for last. It is always the last words or deeds that someone remembers.

How well have we, as believers, followed these important instructions? Have we gone to the ends of the earth? Jesus knew that not everyone who needed to hear the good news would be halfway around the world. He knew that many who would need to hear would be in our own back yards. Do not feel that because you do not go on missions to foreign lands you cannot be a valuable tool for the kingdom.

Jesus never left His geographic area during His three year ministry. He shared the Gospel with people who shared it with people who shared it with people. Wherever we are we must share the good news of Jesus Christ.

We, as the Body of Christ, have an assignment. We are to take the good news and spread it throughout the world. Jesus did not stay a baby. He matured into the fulness that God had planned for Him. We have been given an assignment to share the good news so that the world will come into its fulness.

Are we following Jesus or are we still stuck at the manger?

Are you able to help share?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to tell others about Jesus?

August 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

At the end of seven days the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked man, `You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself.
(Ezekiel 3:16-19 (NIV))

We bear a great responsibility as believers. We have been instructed to

Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.
(Mark 16:15b (NIV))

If we know the truth and do not share it, then we are to be held accountable for the loss of the people we have not told.

Jesus paid a great price in order to save us from our own sin. Should we not be willing to tell others of this great price and how we receive the rewards? This does not seem like such a great thing to ask in return for what we have been given.

God places us in people’s lives in order for us to witness to them. We can either witness for Jesus or we can be a witness of nothing. If we witness for Jesus, it is up to the individual to receive or reject Him. If we do not witness, they may never have the opportunity to hear the Gospel, and then their fate will be our fault.

I have seen some friends do some radical things to their appearance. When asked why they did these radical things, they replied that they are using it to “break the ice” with others in being radical for Jesus. Are you willing to be radical in order to bring someone to Jesus?

Are you willing to tell others about Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you think about?

July 2, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
(Philippians 4:8 (NIV))

There are so many things in this world that can compete for our thoughts.

If you are like me, you have had multiple things come to mind just at the reading of that last sentence. Are you embarrassed by any of them? Would you feel shame if anyone knew some of the thoughts that came to your mind? Would you be willing to share any of these thoughts with family or friends?

Just what did come to mind?

The human condition is so wrapped up in sin that it seems that all we can think about is something of a sinful nature. Even the best things that are of this world are wrapped in sin. All of creation is in a fallen and sinful state. Are you beginning to see a trend in this series of questions? Perhaps we should think of things that are not of this world! Perhaps we should think of things that are beyond our limited human understanding.

We should strive to focus on the things of God!

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
(Isaiah 55:8 (NIV))

God is true! God is noble! God is right! God is pure! God is excellent and praiseworthy!

What do you think about?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you willing to endure for the Gospel?

May 1, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
(2 Timothy 2:10 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to think about the Body of Believers who came before you? Have you ever stopped to think about what they went through in order to let you have the opportunity to hear the Gospel? Today, we are afraid to let it be known that we follow Jesus if the crowd is not the ideal mix of people. We fear being called out and identified as a follower of Jesus. We fear the unknown, the uncertainty, of what this label will mean at work and with our friends

In the grand scheme of things, this is nothing in comparison to what has come before. Recent years have not been such a trying time, but if you look all the way back to the first century church, they faced persecution, rejection and even death for their profession of faith in Jesus. They knew of the power of the cross. They knew of the wages of sin and the death, both physical and spiritual, that comes as a result of sin. They were not so engrossed in their own lives that they failed to recognize the importance of every life that would ever live. They recognized the fact that what God had planned and what Jesus had suffered through was a gift of grace for everyone and not just for themselves. They knew that God wanted them to share this gift of grace with all who would hear no matter what the cost may be to themselves.

Recent years has seen the emergence of the “ME” philosophy. It basically states that “I have mine. You are on your own!” What if previous generations had expressed this sentiment when it came to sharing the Gospel? Let’s bring this a little closer to home with the following. What if the person who is supposed to witness to one of your grandchildren is someone that you are supposed to witness to and lead to Jesus? Are you willing to let your grandchild suffer for all eternity because you didn’t witness to the person who witnesses to them? Are you willing to let someone else’s grandchild suffer because you didn’t witness, because you were afraid to endure something so that others could live?

What are you doing in order to pass on the legacy that was willingly passed to you?

What are you willing to endure for the Gospel?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you still in darkness?

March 29, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
(John 12:46 (NIV))

When you are trapped in the dark, it is impossible to find your way. You can’t tell which way to turn. You can’t locate a way out. Any step that you take will probably end up with you stumbling and falling. Too many attempts on your own will end up with you being hurt and possibly seriously endangering others. The only way that you can find a way out of this darkness is if someone from outside of the darkness is able to shine a light into the darkness so that you can see the exit.

Does this sound familiar?

Sin has each of us trapped in the darkness and far too many of us don’t ever realize it. Every effort that we make to find our way just seems to get us in deeper and deeper. When left to our own attempts, we can never figure out which way to turn. We simply can’t locate a way out of our sin. The more that we try to deal with the darkness of this sinful world, the more that we hurt ourselves and others.

What if someone would shine a light in the darkness of this world so that we could find a way into the light?

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
(John 8:12 (NIV))

Jesus stepped out of heaven and into the darkness of this world to show us the light. He has shown us a way to escape the darkness of sin and death. He has provided a light for us to follow so that we can escape the darkness and live eternally in the light!

But, . . .

It doesn’t stop there.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.
(Matthew 5:14 (NIV))

We are to share the light so that others may find their way out of the darkness.

If you were in a burning building and many lives were at stake, wouldn’t you lead others to safety once someone had shown you the way?

Are you following the light? Are you leading others to the light, or are you still in darkness?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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