How do you see others? How do you see yourself?

January 28, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, `Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
(Luke 6:41-42 (NIV))

Isn’t it typical human nature to see the minor faults in others while we overlook the major faults within ourselves?

We simply like to point out the faults in others and exaggerate them so that our own faults are not noticed. We make others look worse than they really are so that we can make ourselves look better in the eyes of others.

How did Jesus handle this?

He simply pointed out the fact that we cannot be in any shape spiritually to “assist” others with their faults if we completely ignore all of ours. Jesus came into the world to teach and be an example of what we should be and how we should act. He never ridiculed or accused people of things. He simply taught by example. His example was flawless. He was perfect. He could point out someone else’s flaws and be justified in doing so publicly, yet, He chose to treat others with love, grace and mercy.

How can we, who are sinful, treat others as if we are sinless when He who was truly sinless treated others as if He were one of them?

How do you see others? How do you see yourself?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Which do you seek, righteousness or worldly gain?

September 28, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice.
(Proverbs 16:8 (NIV))

How many of us, when first reading this passage, try to figure out if there is a happy medium where we are willing to compromise on righteousness in order to increase our gain?

I hope that if you did ask yourself if you could find a happy medium it was a short-lived question and you quickly came to the conclusion to never compromise on righteousness. If you stop to realize what compromising on righteousness entails, it means that you are willing to sin. To be righteous in the eyes of God means that you are free from sin. If you compromise on righteousness, then you are willingly opening the door to your life to allow sin back in.

Is this what you want to do?

Is this what God wants you to do?

Salvation was purchased with a very high price. It took the sacrifice, the crucifixion, of a sinless man in the form of Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, to allow our sins to be forgiven. The cost was too great. What we would lose is too great!

There is nothing in this world that is worth losing what was so highly valued that it took the death of the Son of God to purchase it for us. Still, human nature tries to figure out how to have the proverbial cake and eat it, too. We want the treasures of heaven, but we are too easily enticed by the worldly treasures.

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

Which do you seek, righteousness or worldly gain?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus is the Lamb of God!

April 25, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
(1 Peter 1:18-19 (NIV))

A lamb without blemish or defect!

Do you understand the reason for the quest for perfection?

When a gift was presented to royalty, it was expected to be the best that you could give. When a gift is given to God as an offering, does this not merit even more than an earthly king? I have often wondered if God’s instructions for the original Passover were actually intended to be a gift to God, for these lambs were also to be without blemish. The blood from these animals was to be presented on the door posts of the homes. I realize that this was as a sign, but could it have also been a thank you offering for what God was about to do? Was it a teachable moment? Every person who could claim that they were Jewish knew the importance of the blood. They knew the importance of without blemish or defect. When they were told that Jesus was a lamb without blemish or defect, they knew exactly what it meant. When they were told that they had been redeemed by the blood of the lamb, they knew exactly what it meant.

Jesus became the perfect lamb. He was born of a virgin. He lived a sinless life. He, like a lamb led to the slaughter, was crucified, dead and buried. But, nothing can hold Godly perfection. Through His resurrection we have been made clean.

It took someone who could be without blemish or defect. It took the only Lamb of God!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready to be refined?

March 6, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years.
(Malachi 3:2-4 (NIV))

Do you realize that only things of potentially great value are refined?

You never hear of someone refining dirt. You never hear of someone refining trash. You may recycle trash, but it is never refined. When you refine something, the impurities are removed. The blemishes are polished out and the results are worth so much more than they were before they were refined.

Are you worth refining?

The Lord thinks so!

He knows just what you were made to be and it is His desire to bring that out of each of us. It is His desire to remove the sin from our lives and make us pure and righteous in His eyes. Accepting Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior brings us into His grace and mercy. We are a work in process. Even our best of intentions leave us far short of what the Lord desires. We have the potential to be the sinless creation that we were intended to be. We will be refined!

Refining can have one of two outcomes. If we have accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, the refining leaves us like gold or silver in the eyes of the Lord. All of the sin will be removed. If we deny Jesus, then we will be like the chaff that is gathered together and burned.

No one can escape the day of His coming!

Have you accepted Jesus?

Are you ready to be refined?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you living in Godly righteousness?

January 14, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
(Romans 3:21-24 (NIV))

We cannot be saved by law. The law only points out our shortcomings. We cannot be saved by any actions that we may deem worthy of our own salvation. There is only one way for someone to be saved.

Jesus was sent after many years of living under the law. Not a single person was found who was able to live a completely sinless and righteous life according to the law. We needed another way to come to God. He had to come to us so that we could have a way to come to Him. Only God was able to live completely according to the law. The law is perfect. Humanity, in our sinful state since the Garden of Eden, was far from perfect. In order for imperfection to acheive perfection, God had to intervene. Through His intervention, we now have a perfect way to God.

Only through Jesus Christ, His Son, can we approach the throne of God in complete righteousness. Only through the righteousness of Jesus can we be made righteous.

Are you living a failed righteousness through the law, or are you living a mercy based righteouseness through Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Know Jesus and know peace!

September 18, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
(Romans 12:12 (NIV))

Does this sound like it is easy to do?

Think about this and be honest with yourself.

It is not human nature to be in a state of hope and to be joyful. Most people associate hope with despair. You are in a bad situation and you hope things get better. It is almost a sure thing to say that this is more of a state of melancholy than joy.

It is also not human nature to be patient in affliction. We want an immediate improvement in our affliction. We don’t want to wait, and if we do have to wait, we are anything but patient.

Perhaps the one that we come closest to fulfilling is being faithful in prayer. I know that it is difficult to express sarcasm with the written word, but that is what I was attempting to do. If you stop to think about the previous two situations that I described, we might be faithful in prayer when we are in those situations. At least, we might be for a while. Then, one of two things happens.

1. Our prayers are not answered and we give up.

2. Our prayers are answered and we forget to keep praying to the One who answered our prayers.

Sadly, I just reinforced my previous conclusion that it is difficult to be perfect in these three simple tasks. If we, as humans, cannot get three simple things right in the eyes of God, how can we ever expect to live blameless and sinless lives in the eyes of God?

Let’s face the truth. We cannot be what we are told to be without Jesus. We cannot be joyful where there is no hope. We cannot be patient when we are afflicted. We cannot be faithful in prayer when we have no one who is interceding for us.

I don’t know about you, but I am so very thankful for the promises that are Yes in Jesus!

With Jesus, we have hope and we have joy. With Jesus, because we have hope, even when we are afflicted, we can be patient. With Jesus, when we pray, we know that He is sitting at the right hand of God the Father interceding for us. With Jesus, we can be faithful in our prayers and we can rest assured that they are being heard.

I find it interesting how language works. Things that sound alike can have completely different meanings. I think the following example works well to define how we are able to possess the characteristics as described in Romans 12:12.

No Jesus. No peace.

Know Jesus. Know peace.

Only through knowing Jesus do we have the ability to possess these characteristics. Do you know Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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