I pray that this is what we truly want!

February 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
(Matthew 6:10 (NIV))

Everyone who professes a faith in Jesus knows these words as part of what we refer to as the Lord’s Prayer. Do we truly desire what we lift up with these words? Do we long for the Lord’s kingdom to come into the world, to enter into our lives, or do we want our will, our personal kingdom, to manifest itself in our lives?

Human nature, no matter how hard we try, always tries to put personal interest above all else. We all must face the truth. Each of us have had moments when we are reciting these words only to have our minds diverted by our own desires. Does this mean that we really don’t long for God’s kingdom or does it just show that even in our best moments, we are all creatures caught in the sinful natures that we long to leave behind?

When you experience one of these moments, and we all have them, do you regret the diversion from God’s Will to your will? Do you feel like Paul?

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
(Romans 7:14-15 (NIV))

I hate to say this, but I do this far more than I care to admit. In the time span of the last fifteen minutes, I have been distracted from my task far too many times. My thoughts wander. My attention shifts and my writing gets delayed. Even the disciples, who were asked to wait while Jesus went to pray in Gethsemane, could not avoid the pitfalls of the frailty that is humanity.

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
(Mark 14:38 (NIV))

Just because our human nature and our human frailties divert us should not be our main concern. What we should be concerned about is if we choose to never refocus on Jesus. We can repent and return to seeking God’s Will and His kingdom or we can choose to stay chasing the diversion. When we repent, we show what we truly want.

I pray that this is what we truly want!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Whose son or daughter are you?

May 25, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
(Galatians 4:28-31 (NIV))

Unlike our biological families, we have a choice to make!

We can choose to be a child of slavery to sin or we can choose to be a child born of the Spirit. It has been, and will forever be, our choice. But, it was a choice that we could not fulfill on our own merit if we chose to be a child born of the Spirit.

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))

Did you pick up on the very simple adoption policy that God put in place so that we could abandon our sinful childhood and be welcomed into a childhood of freedom? All that we have to do is believe that Jesus is God’s one and only Son and accept the grace that is freely given through the ransom, through the adoption fee that Jesus paid to make each of us a part of the free woman’s family. We are no longer a part of the slave woman’s family.

I must do the responsible thing and remind everyone that becoming a child of grace does not mean that you will never face persecution from the enemy and those bound by slavery to sin. We have elected to leave our natural, sinful nature and those who are still bound to sin do not like that we have become children of God. They will do anything and everything to trip us up, to deceive us into turning away from God.

Once again, when this happens, we have a choice!

Each and every day we must consciously make that choice.

Whose son or daughter are you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you fully embrace all of the gifts of Christmas?

December 13, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
(Galatians 4:7 (NIV))

Christmas is first and foremost a celebration of the birth of Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, but if you actually stop to think about it, Christmas means so much more!

Because of Christmas, we are no longer lost to our sin. We are no longer without hope of redemption. We are no longer without faith in the promises of God being fulfilled. We are no longer slaves to the power of sin and death. We can be redeemed by the sacrifices that Jesus would later make for us.

We are no longer cast away, but are welcome into the very presence of God the Father because Jesus has paid the price for our salvation. We have been promised that faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior makes us heirs to the kingdom. If we are heirs to the kingdom, then we are part of the family, for only family is eligible to be heirs.

I want you to slow down and think about all of this when you are caught up in the middle of the hecticness that we have made Christmas. I honestly think that we need to follow a different passage at this time of year so that we don’t lose sight of what we celebrate.

Be still, and know that I am God
(Psalms 46:10a (NIV))

We must make ourselves stop and reflect on exactly what it is we celebrate. It is a gift beyond measure.

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))

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you been redeemed?

July 26, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. But what does the Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
(Galatians 4:28-31 (NIV))

I have read this passage many times. I have always known that the child born by the power of the Spirit was Isaac and that the son born in the ordinary way was Ishmael. In reading this again, I stopped cold when I saw that the passage was saying that Ishmael was persecuting Isaac. I literally froze when I read the next words – “It is the same now.” Those very words can still be spoken today of these two half-brothers. Isaac’s descendants are the tribes of Israel. Ishmael’s descendants are the Arab people.

Upon further reading, something else struck me about the slave woman’s son never sharing in the inheritance with the free woman’s son. At the time, a slave was property. A slave’s son was also property. How could such a person share in the inheritance with the free son?

The slave’s son was born out if sin, We are all born out of sin and are slaves to sin and death.

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. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
(Galatians 3:26-29 (NIV))

The current situation in the world is not hopeless. We know who is victorious. We also know that those who are lost in the sin of the slave’s son can be redeemed. We are seeing this all throughout the world where the descendants of Ishmael are accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior. We must pray that the redeeming grace through the Blood of Jesus breaks down the barriers and brings together slave and free, Jew and Greek, male and female.

Have you been redeemed?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you accepted that you are an heir?

May 26, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
(Galatians 4:3-7 (NIV))

Do you believe that you are an heir?

An heir is entitled to all that is owned by the father. An heir is treated with respect and dignity. An heir is not cast out nor is he sold into slavery, or to put it in today’s societal terms, he is not fired.

Being an heir brings certain privileges and responsibilities.

We are welcome in the father’s presence. We are also responsible for looking after the father’s business. This sounds just like the privileges and responsibilities we have through our relationship as a son to God. We are allowed in the Father’s presence and we should be about the Father’s business. When we are about the Father’s business, we are telling others about the grace and mercy that is freely given to everyone through the atoning blood of Jesus. In essence, we are helping other people realize that they are also heirs. Unlike an earthly father who has numerous heirs, when God’s heirs are given of His kingdom, they do not receive less because there are more heirs. God’s abundance is unlimited. He gives freely to all who call upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

When I think of God’s heirs, I think of the great multitude too numerous to count!

Even in the midst of this great multitude, God knows each of us better than we know ourselves. He loves us enough to have sent His Son, Jesus, to die for our sins. He loves us enough to have reached down from heaven and called us to Himself. He loves us enough to have come up with a way to pay our debt born from sin.

If you claim that gift for yourself, then you are an heir!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you realize who you belong to?

March 16, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
(Romans 14:8 (NIV))

Who do you belong to?

Based on Romans 14:8, do you belong to the right master?

No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
(Matthew 6:24 (NIV))

In this world, there are other things besides money that can become your master. No matter what it may be, when something becomes your master, you belong to it. Just as a slave used to call the person who owned him or her their master, the thing that owns you is your master.

Is it your job? Is it your authority? Perhaps it is your money. It might even be something completely different than these things.

If something is your master, you belong to it. It has control over you. You do not have control over yourself. With this in mind, whom or what do you want to belong to? Do you want your greed for money to control your life or do you want a loving Savior to control your life. Your greed will only cause grief.

Have you had your share of grief? Who do you belong to?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we willing to be a servant?

February 26, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You know that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
(Mark 10:42-45 (NLT))

I can see very clearly that this concept has become unknown in our current society. Many of our leaders feel that they are in absolute authority over us, yet they proclaim to be Christians. Based on this passage from Mark, we see that this is clearly not the case. It states that those who wish to be a leader must be a servant. They are not to be elevated above others, but must have a servant’s heart. They must be willing to sacrifice for those whom they are called to lead.

This applies not only in government, but also in our work, and in our local church assemblies. We must not allow ourselves to exercise authority over each other is such a way that we subjugate those around us. The Body of Christ has only one head. The last time that I checked, no one has professed to be Jesus and has come visible in the clouds with an army.

It is our sinful human nature that wants to elevate ourselves to positions of authority. I am sure that everyone has, at one time, had a fantasy of having our every wish and whim fulfilled. For most people, this is just a fleeting idea. However, there are those who cling to this concept even though they may not realize it.

Do you find yourself thinking that you are better than others?

Do you ever find yourself thinking that as long as you get yours, you couldn’t care what happens to others?

Human nature can be harmful. Ego can be harmful. To truly be a leader, you must be willing to serve. You must be willing to put the well being of others before your very own. It is this characteristic that Jesus displayed when He willingly went to the cross.

Would we do the same, or would we say to take someone else in our place? Are we willing to make the sacrifices that truly say that we are a follower of Jesus?

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