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.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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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Are you now living your confession?

March 26, 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))

Too many people fail to remember the first five words of this passage and simply believe that Jesus will forgive us of anything that we do. They do recognize His willingness to forgive, but they overlook one requirement – our willingness to confess. Too many people want the benefits without any of the responsibility. They want salvation and they want to keep on sinning! I would venture to say that they ignore the story about the woman caught in adultery. Do you remember what Jesus told her?

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))

Jesus will not condemn us. We condemn ourselves by our sinful actions. We stay in our condemnation when we choose to stay in our sin. Jesus calls us to leave our life of sin. He calls us to turn away from our sin. He calls us to repent. He calls us to a saving knowledge of grace that is only available through His fulfillment of His Father’s love.

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))

Once again we read that Jesus does not condemn. It is sin that condemns us. Jesus paid the price for our sin, so now we can rejoice in the results of our confession!

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
(Romans 8:1 (NIV))

No one knows at what moment their life will end. There is not a moment to waste. Jesus does not play favorites. If you earnestly and sincerely turn to Him and repent, you will not face condemnation for your sins. It is so simple to ask to receive this wonderful, eternal gift! 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.

Are you now living your confession?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 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.
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Have you accepted this glorious gift?

July 1, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
(Romans 8:1 (NIV))

Before Jesus came to this world to live and teach, and then to die for our sins, everyone lived under condemnation. No one was worthy to approach the Throne of God as righteous and blameless.

No one in all of history could have earned salvation on their own!

God knew that this was an impossibility due to the sinful nature of man ever since Satan was allowed dominion over this world. Still, God had a plan for a redemptive gift.

“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 he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

God gave us the ultimate gift! The gift is freedom from condemnation through Jesus Christ. All of our sins are forgiven once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

Have you accepted this glorious gift?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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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.
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Does the Lord have all your heart, soul and strength?

June 17, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
(Deuteronomy 6:5 (NIV))

Do you love the Lord?

Let me ask this in a different way. What are you willing to give up for the Lord? Status? Career? House? Cars? Family? Friends?

Did you cringe at any of these things? Did you find yourself thinking something like, “As long as I don’t have to give up _______!”

What if God called you to sacrifice the thing that you loved most in order to follow Him? Would you respond like Abraham did with Isaac or would you respond like the rich young ruler?

Many people associate the words from Deuteronomy 6:5 with how Jesus responded in the following passage from Matthew.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
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 22:36-40 (NIV))

If you truly love the Lord, you realize that everyone is made in the image of God. The way that we treat each other is indicative of how we treat the Lord and ourselves. Unfortunately, society’s definition of love means that we embrace their sins. Is this true love? Would you validate your sinful behavior to the point where you are killing yourself with alcohol or drugs and still claim to love yourself? How can we embrace the sins of others when we know that the same sin in our lives leads to death?

We must love as Jesus loved!

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.
(John 3:16-17 (NIV))

Perhaps we should look at this concept through these words. Love the Lord your God as He first loved us – with all of His heart, with all of His soul and with all of His strength. He had the love and commitment to sacrifice His Son to save us! Doesn’t this merit the gratitude and unfailing love of thankfulness?

Does the Lord have all your heart, soul and strength?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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In all things we must seek God!

June 1, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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))

Isn’t it sad that something so simple and profound as this truth has been twisted into what has literally become the motto of way too many people. I am talking about the perversion of this passage into the saying “Do unto others first.”

What have we become as a society when God’s Word is changed to reflect the exact opposite of what He intended?

It is no wonder that we have increased crime. It is no wonder we have increased divorce rates. It is no wonder we have sex in public schools. It is no wonder we have allowed God to be removed from all aspects of our public life. He has been made fun of and ridiculed using twisted words that mock His truth. We have literally chased Him away.

We, as a society, need to seek after God and earnestly seek His forgiveness. Perhaps, then we can truly turn this country back to the strength it once knew when its citizens were not ashamed to humble themselves and pray.

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 Corinthians 7:14 (NIV))

I honestly believe that we need to turn to God in prayer and ask for His guidance in all that we do, personally and as a nation. If we, as citizens of this country, would spend half the time in prayer that we spend complaining, we could see the fulfillment of this passage. We must seek God in prayer and earnestly repent of our sins. We must turn to Him in all things and not just the things that we are willing to give to Him.

In all things we must seek God!

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