Can the world tell that you are a disciple of Jesus?

December 12, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
(Galatians 3:26-28 (NIV))

This merits repeating!

This may sound like a silly question, but what is it that we celebrate at Christmas?

Is it the denominational differences that we, humanity, have placed as barriers between ourselves? Is it how we profess our faith? Is it how we sing praises? Is it the color of the skin of the congregation?

Or is it the birth of Jesus?

I often wonder what Jesus would say of He were to come to earth and give us a report card update on how we are doing? Would he commend us or condemn us?

Personally, I believe that we would most likely get a mixed review. One in which we would receive severe judgment for the way that we have allowed the Gospel to be removed from society. I believe that we would be held accountable for the way that we still segregate the Body of Christ I believe that we would also be held accountable for not doing enough to share the Gospel, for it is a gift to everyone, and not just those who look, act and think like us.

It is for Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female.

In other words, it is for those who may not be like you. It is also for those who may be just like you. Think about that last statement. I know that if I found someone “just like me,” I would pray for them continuously, for I know the sins that they would be fighting.

We, as the Body of Christ, come from many different backgrounds. We must prevent these differences from separating us from the rest of the Body of Christ, and from Jesus. We come from many different traditions. Traditions are a funny thing. A tradition is simply a routine way of doing something. They are man-made and must not get in our way of rejoicing with each other about the birth of Jesus.

I once heard someone tell a story about a young bride who, after getting married, wanted to cook a pot roast for her husband. She bought the needed pot and the roast. She then called her mother to get instructions. After listening to her mother, she asked a very serious question. “Why did you always cut off the end of the roast? I want to do it exactly like you.” Her mother’s response was that she cut the roast because her pot was too small. It appears that not all traditions are ones that we need to continue.

Since we are all one in Christ Jesus, what “traditions” do we allow to keep us separated? If we are all sons of God through faith in Christ, why do we often treat our brothers and sisters like we do? I can hear some of you thinking that this is what brothers and sisters do. I honestly hope that the Body of Christ does not act like natural brothers and sisters. We should show the world a different side.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
(John 13:34-35 (NIV))

Can the world tell that you are a disciple of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you sharing forgiveness with others?

December 8, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
(John 20:23 (NIV))

These words were spoken by Jesus to His disciples after His resurrection. They had just received the Holy Spirit and were being sent out into the world to spread the Gospel. We are called to do the very same thing!

But, . . .

Did you realize that this power was given to the disciples? Did you realize that as believers in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, we are supposed to have this very same power. To clarify, we can’t simply walk down the road telling people that their sins are forgiven. They have to take action toward wanting to be forgiven. What we do have is the power to tell people about the redeeming grace that is freely given to all who believe. When they repent and profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, we have the authority and power to confirm that their decision has indeed resulted in the forgiveness of their sins!

In all of the Old Testament, not a single person had the power and authority to forgive sins. In fact, if these words were spoken, people where accused of blasphemy. Even when Jesus walked the earth, He was accused accordingly.

“Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
(Mark 2:7 (NIV))

Think about that.

Who can forgive sins but God alone?

There is so much truth in these words, but the truth was spoken out of misunderstanding, out of arrogance and ignorance. To be honest with you, if I had lived at that time and raised in that tradition, I would probably think the very same thing. They never imagined that the man who was saying your sins are forgiven was truly God among us. Little did they know that a birth about thirty years earlier saw the Lord step into His creation to offer forgiveness of sins. That birth forever changed human history, in fact, it is said that it divided history. As we look forward to Christmas, we must remember that it is not about some jolly fat man bringing presents. It is not about family and friends. It is about the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Only through that birth and His obedience to the cross, we have forgiveness. The best thing about that forgiveness is the gift that keeps on giving. Once you accept it, you can offer it to others and the value never decreases.

Are you sharing forgiveness with others?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

October 12, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.”
(Revelation 14:11 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but this does not sound very pleasant. It is not something that I would desire, nor can I even imagine anyone wanting this for themselves, their friends or their family. Still, because people reject Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, they will suffer this fate. The sad thing is that no one has to suffer the eternal consequences of their sins.

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))

If you have been following these devotionals for very long, you have probably noticed a shift from living according to God’s Word to a more urgent nature. There is something unsettling in my spirit and the events of the world support what I, and many others, are sensing. I have numerous trustworthy sources that I read and watch every day. What I am seeing is not being reported, and it is amazing. If I did not know Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior, I would be completely and utterly scared of what I see. It is my desire to “fly under the radar” so that my posts are not blocked on social media. For this reason, I will not provide sources for these comments, but rest assured that the comments are legitimate. With this in mind, I want to present some of the things that I have recently read or heard.

  • The culling of humanity is about to accelerate taking many children and young adults, as the doctors, politicians and preachers remain silent.
  • History began with humans inventing gods and will end when humans become gods.
  • The resurrection of Jesus is fake news.
  • Humans are now hackable animals no longer subject to the intelligent design of some fictional god above the clouds but our intelligent design.
  • The idea of humans having free will is over. Today, we have the technology to hack human beings on a massive scale.
  • You will own nothing and be happy.

Do you believe the Bible? Do you believe in the prophecies that foretold of Jesus’ first appearance on this earth? If you say that you believe the Bible, then you have to believe the prophecies that it contains. It is said that somewhere between 20-30% is prophecy. God’s track record is perfect when you look at what has been fulfilled so far. Why do we even venture to think that what has not been fulfilled will be any different?

God created us to have free will. Once we take the mark, based on the comments above, our free will is gone forever! There is no turning back. If the few comments that I have included do not unsettle your spirit, then perhaps you need to take a long, hard look at your priorities. You should also take a long, hard look at the 20-30% of the Bible that you have ignored before it is too late. Just for reference, just in case you did not know, digital tracking technology is already in place! If you don’t believe me, take a look at the face recognition on your phone. Do you honestly believe your face scan stays on your phone? Do a search for something and then log into one of your social media accounts. I am positive you will immediately see ads for what you just searched for. If this can be done, what will this technology be used for in the hands of the antichrist?

Keep your eyes open to the world. We are told to watch and recognize the signs.

There is even one more important thing that we are told to do.

Keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you accepted the love that He has shown for you?

October 3, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
(1 John 4:10 (NIV))

I have been battling diabetes for far too many years to even count. Every once in a while my blood sugar drops dangerously low. Most of these instances seem to happen at night. So far, I have always woken up and been able to take measures to raise my blood sugar. It happened again and I am writing this at 2:30 in the morning as I wait for the side effects of a very low blood sugar to go away. As I often do when this happens, I start to pray. Tonight, I remember saying something to the effect that Lord, I wish that you would find another way to wake me up, but I do enjoy our time together, so it is okay!

I reached over and grabbed my iPad and opened up one of my Bible apps. I instinctively went to the verse of the day and clicked to read the full chapter.

This passage stood out!

It gave me peace and assurance that even if I didn’t wake up, everything would be okay.

I am His and He is mine!

My sins are forgiven and I am at peace! I rest confidently in the knowledge that the one who created the universe knows my name. I rest confidently knowing that I am loved, that my sins are forgiven, and that one day I will see Him face to face!

All of this because I chose to accept His love, mercy and grace that is freely given through His atoning sacrifice that was done once for all. All that you have to do is accept before it is too late!

Have you accepted the love that He has shown for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you living the life of a healed sinner?

April 12, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
(1 Peter 2:24 (ESV))

I don’t know about you, but this trade is very one-sided. And, no, I am not complaining, for I know what I deserve and I know what this trade has given me!

What about you?

Do you truly realize what has been given to you in this trade?

Do you truly realize the totality of the burden that has been lifted from you in this trade?

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 free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (ESV))

Based on these two passages, each of us are guilty of such serious transgressions that we have been sentenced to death without any hope of redemption or pardon through anything that we could ever do.

But, God . . .

Thankfully, He had other plans!

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
(John 3:16-18 (ESV))

As believers in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we must never forget what our Lord has done for us. We must always keep our eyes and our hearts focused on Jesus, for without the grace and mercy freely give at the cross, we would still be completely helpless, hopeless and lost.

Are you living the life of a healed sinner?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Is this how you see His love?

February 16, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
(1 John 4:10 (NIV))

What good does it do to love someone if that love is not returned?

If you have trouble with this question, then all that you need to do is remember back to middle school and high school. I am sure that every single person has had such a thing happen to them during this tumultuous time in your life. We have all experienced what we thought was love only to be ignored by the one whom we expressed feelings for.

Is God like that?

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 reached out to us first! He showed His love for us and gave us something amazing if we would only repent and love Him in return. Everything that we have is because God loves us enough to not leave us where we are. We were sinners in need of a Savior, so He sent His Son. There is no record of anyone ever being able to go to God and make a deal with Him. There is a record of God coming to us and making a deal with us. God’s deal bring salvation. God’s deal bring life and love. God’s deal is readily available to anyone who will accept. Accepting God’s deal means accepting His love. It means accepting His grace and mercy. It means accepting His plan of salvation for you.

It is as easy as ABC.

A is for admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior.

B is for believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead.

C is for call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.

Our love for God could never do what His love for us has first done. Out of love, He reached down to lift us up. Out of love, He calls us His children. Out of love, He gives us something that we cannot get for ourselves.

Is this how you see His love?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you still dead in your transgressions and sins?

December 1, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,
(Ephesians 2:1 (NIV))

I realize that this is not an easy way to start off, even if the statement is entirely true. Sometimes the truth hurts.

But, . . .

There is one key word in this passage that makes it oh so much more palatable. It makes it so much easier to claim this passage as your own. One little four letter word has changed the context and the perspective on your transgressions and sins.

“WERE”

Just for clarification, it could easily be replace with “ARE” and you will find yourself helpless, hopeless and lost. For anyone who has accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you can rest assured that you are no longer dead in your transgressions and sins. You are no longer helpless, hopeless and lost. You have been redeemed. All of that is in your past! They are as far as the east is from the west. Your sins have been washed white as snow!

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
(Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV))

With Christmas coming up very soon, we must choose to remember the reason for the season. We must choose to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus. He came as a baby, but that was only the beginning. Perhaps I should say that it was the beginning of the end. Jesus came to put an end to sin. He came to put an end to death. He came to put an end to our separation from God the Father. He came to put an end to sacrifices by becoming the one perfect sacrifice, and by doing this, He gave us the ability to proclaim that we “WERE” dead in our transgressions and sins.

Are you still dead in your transgressions and sins?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you been washed white as snow?

November 10, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Come now, let us settle the matter,”
     says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
     they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
     they shall be like wool.
(Isaiah 1:18 (NIV))

Have you ever gotten something red on a white article of clothing? Perhaps you have accidentally washed a red article of clothing with something white! What were the results in these situations? Where you ever able to get the red out or was the pristineness of the white ruined?

The purity of white, once tarnished, can never be restored without ruining the white garment in question. It is true that you can bleach the article of clothing back to a close proximity of white, but in most cases, if this is done, the article is never the same pristine white that it once was. Quit often, if the red doesn’t completely ruin the garment, the treatment to remove it does! If it doesn’t, there is always a telltale mark, there is always a guilty stain.

Think about that in context to human nature and our sinful, fallen ways. We are covered in the red of sin and death. There is nothing that we can do to clean ourselves. There will always be a guilty stain. We may be able to hide it at times, but it is always there. It is always a reminder of our shortcomings. It is a reminder of our sin! It is this very stain of sin that Isaiah foretold of being washed as white as snow. It is this very stain of sin that Jesus came to this earth to redeem us from. It is this very stain of sin that will be completely removed from our lives so that the Lord will not see it any more.

Returning a white garment that has been stained red back to its original state requires some very powerful cleansing. Jesus came to this earth to offer us the power and the way to return to our original sin free life. How do you claim that power? It is as easy as ABC!

A is for admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior.

B is for believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead.

C is for call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.

It is time to accept the cleansing power available through Jesus!

Have you been washed white as snow?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Confession is good for the soul!

October 7, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.
(James 5:16a (NIV))

They say that confession is good for the soul. If that is the case, what good have you done for yourself lately?

When we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we admit that we are a sinner in need of a savior. We admit, or should I say that we confess, that we are sinful, but does our confession end there? Do we feel that once we confess our sinful nature that all of our sins are never to surface again? Do we feel that our sins are completely removed from our lives so that we will never sin again?

I pray that this were true, but for those of us who have accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we don’t do it because we are perfect. We do it because we truly understand just how sinful our human nature can be. We realize that we cannot do it on our own. We realize that we need a savior. To use an old saying, the church is not a country club of perfect people. It is a hospital for broken people who realize that they need help.

Have you come to that realization?

It is as easy as ABC.

A is for admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior.

B is for believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead.

C is for call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.

Once you do this, you will need accountability. You will need people whom you can confess to and pray with. It is amazing what this combination can do when done in the spirit of love for each other and for Jesus.

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
(James 5:16b (NIV))

Confession is good for the soul!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What have you confessed?

May 7, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
(1 John 1:9 (NIV))

Forgiveness requires confession. Confession comes when we desire to change from our sinful nature. That desire to change can only happen when you come to the realization that, contrary to what you have thought in the past, you are a sinner.

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

I love the way the sequence of events are presented. It follows the sequence of events of accepting salvation. Before we can confess our sins, we have to come to the realization that we are sinners. We are told of the deception that keeps us from that realization. We are told that thinking we are sinless is a lie.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
(1 John 1:8 (NIV))

There is an old saying that admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. In this case, admitting that you are a sinner is the first step to salvation! It doesn’t stop there. You must come to the realization that you can do nothing to help yourself and that you need a savior. You must believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead. And, you must call upon the name of the Lord Jesus and accept the gift of grace that was freely given through the cross. If we truly desire to receive this amazing gift of grace by our confession of our sins, our confession that Jesus paid the price for our sins, and our confession that Jesus is Lord, He will be faithful to forgive us our sins and bestow upon us His righteousness.

What have you confessed?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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