What do you do with your freedom?

August 2, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
(Galatians 5:13 (NIV))

How do you define freedom?

You may find yourself among the group of people who look at freedom as a political right, as in being free to do whatever you desire. If this is the case, then you may be surprised to find that this definition is not the primary definition in many dictionaries. In many dictionaries, freedom is defined as personal liberty from bondage, slavery or confinement. No matter how you look at freedom, it is generally accepted to mean a state of being free, whether from confinement, bondage or in actions. It is the subtle nuances of the definitions that catch people off guard and have them making choices that are not the true definition of freedom.

In this country, we have many freedoms. We are free to choose how to live our lives. We are free to choose to do things that should probably be left undone. Yet, too many people make these choices simply because they think that they have a right to do so. Let’s put these types of choices in perspective. We have the freedom to go to the top of a tall building to enjoy the view. Some people take that freedom to extreme and jump! When a choice that someone makes under the guise of freedom harms themselves or others, is it really freedom? Would you want to be free in this manner, especially when you consider the consequences of the choices made in this type of freedom?

The freedom that Jesus came to offer is not this type of freedom!

We, as humanity, have been sentenced to a physical world where we simply cannot live without making mistakes. Those mistakes are called sin. No one is perfect.

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

Because of our sin, we have been tried, convicted and condemned.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

The freedom that we have been given through Jesus is a washing clean of our sin and the consequences of that sin. Let’s look at it from a perspective not many of us will ever know, but hopefully one that will help us to understand. Imagine that you are convicted of murder and sentenced to death for your crime. You spend every day knowing that one day you will face the consequences of your actions and there is absolutely nothing that you can do. You desire to escape the consequences, yet you know that you deserve all that is coming.

With this image still fresh in your mind, the best way to describe true freedom is this.

Godly freedom is being given a pardon for the consequences of your actions and you are so thankful that you joyfully refrain from any similar actions. You also joyfully share the story of how you gained your freedom so that others may find theirs. Is this how you see freedom through Jesus?

What do you do with your freedom?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you thankful to praise and serve the Lord?

March 8, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

O Lord, I am your servant; yes, I am your servant, the son of your handmaid, and you have freed me from my bonds! I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord. I will keep my promises to the Lord in the presence of all his people, in the house of the Lord, in the heart of Jerusalem. Praise the Lord!
(Psalms 116:16-19 (NLT))

How do you see yourself in relationship to God?

It is true that we are bought by the blood of Jesus and we have been saved from the laws of sin and death, but we owe God a big debt of gratitude for what He has done for us. We have been rescued from certain eternal death.

In many cultures, if someone rescues you or saves your life, it is said that your life is no longer yours. It is owed to the person who saved you. If we take that same philosophy with the salvation that we have been given, then the life that we live is also not our own. We owe it to God. We owe it not out of an attitude of slavery and bondage, but out of an attitude of hope and gratitude.

We have been given the greatest gift that we could ever conceivably receive. This gift literally saved our lives. As a result of that salvation, we should rejoice in the grace we have been given. We should seek ways to serve the One who saved us. We should be thankful and give Him praise for what He has done. We should desire to please Him in all that we do.

This type of servanthood is one performed out of love and gratitude!

Are you a joyful servant?

Do you seek to praise God for what He has done for you? Do you share that joy with others?

Are you thankful to praise and serve the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must pray for the enemy to be bound!

November 8, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
(1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NIV))

It would be so nice to live in peace with all people!

Unfortunately, human history has a track record of exactly opposite of this desire. Once sin was introduced into the world, we have been at each other’s throats nonstop. Adam turned on Eve and placed the blame solely on her. Eve turned to the serpent and placed the blame on him. Cain turned on Abel and killed him because God accepted Abel’s offering and not his own. Ever since then, all of human history has been the never ending story of one group of people trying to control other groups of people. If you stop to think about this, it is actually the power of the enemy to influence one group of people to do harm to another group of people.

There is something about human nature that longs to be in control, to be in charge, to be able to enforce their will over the will of others. Satan knows this and uses this to his advantage. We have appointed people to be in positions of authority. Some people have gone so far as to kill others to end up in positions of authority. All throughout human history, we have had slavery. The conqueror enslaves the conquered. Sin is rampant!

Sinful human nature all too often prevails. People still become violent if they do not get their way!

With all of this history, Jesus came to break that trend and to offer us a new future. We don’t have to turn to anger and bitterness. We don’t have to control. We don’t have to get angry and wage war. We were not created to live in that manner. We were created to live in a loving fellowship with each other and with the Lord. We can live peaceful and quiet lives!

It starts with proclaiming that Jesus is your personal Lord and Savior. It matures through prayer and study. It continues to mature as we become more and more like Jesus.

Think about that last sentence!

When Jesus was facing crucifixion, what did He do?

He prayed!

He prayed for those who were entrusted to Him. When He was on the cross, He prayed for the Father to forgive those who crucified Him. He realized that the power behind the events of the world were not human, but were actually works of the enemy. When He prayed, and when we pray for those in authority, the enemy is bound! Only when the enemy has been bound can we live in peace!

We must pray for the enemy to be bound!

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 yoked by the burden of slavery to sin?

April 3, 2017

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))

If you are caught in a trap and will surely die, how do you react if someone rescues you?

Do you turn away from the trap and promise to never go back there again, or do you fight the one who rescues you and jump right back into the trap?

Human nature is a funny thing!

When the dangers are physical and immediate, we have a tendency to thank the one who rescues us. We have a tendency to embrace the rescue and turn away from the danger, but we seem to be blinded when the danger is not immediate. The danger may be just as real, but because it is not immediately life threatening, we think that we have time to address the issue before it takes its toll.

We also seem to be blinded when the danger is spiritual.

Many times it is a spiritual danger that temps us into the physical dangers. The enemy knows that if he can trick us into believing that the spiritual side of things are not important at the moment then he can subject us to the physical dangers. He knows all too well that the physical dangers can lead to death. He knows that if we have not accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, then our physical death will also mean our spiritual death.

The enemy knows that sin leads to death!

Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?
(Romans 6:16 (NIV))

Are you yoked by the burden of slavery to sin?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 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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Pray for the children of sin and slavery!

December 30, 2015

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))

We are the children of promise. All who believe in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior hold fast to the promises that He made and fulfilled. Jesus came so that all who believe could be granted salvation. That is a promise for all who are not ashamed to call upon His name.

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
(Romans 1:16 (NIV))

Jesus came as a Jew to the Jews. We who believe in Jesus as Messiah are able to do so because of the Jews. They were chosen as the descendants of Abraham even when Abraham and Sarah tried to make God’s plan come true on their own. As a result, Ishmael was born of the slave girl. According to the customs of man, Ishmael was the first born and everything was rightfully his. God had other plans. Ishmael was not supposed to have happened. Ishmael’s little brother was who God had planned. In the eyes of that society, Ishmael was ridiculed. Satan has used this as a weapon against God’s intended heir ever since. It was used as a weapon when this passage was written. It is being used as a weapon now. Satan is ramping up the attacks.

It is nothing but a family fight manifesting itself in various ways! It is a struggle between the children of the law who are bound to man’s ways and to Satan versus the children of the promise of God. We no longer have to be children bound to the laws of sin. We have been allowed to break the bonds of slavery and claim our place as children of the promise. We, as believers in Jesus, are reborn as children of the free woman. Our sins have been forgiven.

We must pray for the children of sin and slavery. Pray that they will be able to break the bonds that keep them in their slavery. Pray that they will know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

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