Have you allowed yourself to be cleansed?

July 3, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
(Psalms 51:1-2 (NIV))

Everyone desires mercy, but not everyone wants to be cleansed of the reason that they desire mercy!

Think about that in relationship to your own life. We all have something that we know that we shouldn’t do, but we do it anyway. We ask for forgiveness when someone brings it up, but do we truly desire to have this characteristic removed from our lives? Do we truly desire to be cleansed of what we continually ask for mercy for?

For some people, these traits are simply things that annoy those we love. We do them over and over again until someone says something and then we apologize by uttering a “Forgive me! I’m sorry!” For others, these traits are something much worse. They are so ingrained into our sinful nature that we do things that we know aren’t right by any stretch of the imagination. We know that our sins are forgiven and that we have been washed clean by the Blood of the Lamb, but we fail to do the one thing that will give us true freedom. We fail to do the one thing that the Lord desires for us to do.

We fail to surrender!

We fail to let go of our sins. We cling tightly to them even though we claim that we have left them at the foot of the cross. It’s just like old things that we have collected. We know that we should get rid of them, so we pack them up and take them away to be discarded. Far too many of us change our minds along the way. Why do we bring them back into our lives once we have gone through the motions? I often think that we are afraid of what our lives would be without these things. The fear of change keeps us from breaking free. Are we afraid of truly leaving our sins at the foot of the cross? Do we truly repent if we pick them back up? Jesus understood that we may desire to do what is right, but we face obstacles within ourselves. Jesus understands the human condition! He has walked where we walk.

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
(Matthew 26:41 (NIV))

If you read Psalm 51 as a response to the words recorded in Matthew, they can and should be taken as a prayer that every believer presents to God when they are confronted with the sinful nature of the flesh. We should all desire to be cleansed. In order to be cleansed, we have to submit. We have to seek it. We have to allow God to cleanse us.

Have you allowed yourself to be cleansed?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is winning this conflict in your life?

June 25, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
(Galatians 5:17 (NIV))

What is your definition of freedom?

If you accept society’s understanding of that word, freedom means the ability to choose to do whatever you may wish to do and to say whatever you may wish to say. This is the freedom that focuses on the flesh and leads someone to choose sin.

Is this the way that someone who has been set free from bondage defines freedom?

This freedom implies no more chains. It implies that there will be no more consequences of the bondage. It implies an overwhelming joy that comes only when such a heavy burden has been removed. This is the type of freedom that comes when you focus on things of the Spirit. This is the freedom that allows someone to overcome the consequences of sin.

To far too many people, they see no difference in these definitions of freedom, but there is a significant and costly difference!

They are at opposite ends of the spectrum. There is no way that you can have both. When we choose the flesh, we deny the Spirit. When we choose the Spirit, we deny the flesh. Our life, and our eternity, are determined by which we choose and, consequently, which we deny. I have seen this illustrated as each person having two distinct paths that they can follow, or two distinct creatures within them – one good and one evil. The one that wins the conflict is the one that is fed.

What is winning this conflict in your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What does your face show?

June 14, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.
(Proverbs 15:13 (NIV))

Why do so many people who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior walk around with such doom and gloom on their faces?

It just doesn’t make sense!

We have been given the greatest gift that could ever be given. We have been given salvation and grace when we deserve death due to our sinful nature. Our death sentence has been commuted. We are free from the bondage of sin and death, yet so many who profess a faith in Jesus don’t seem happy and joyful at all.

Are you happy?

Do you wake up every day and give thanks to the Lord for what He has done for you? Do you give thanks to the Lord because you woke up? Do you find joy in God’s Word and in His promises? Are you thankful for the sun on your face and the wind in your hair? Are you joyful at the site of family and friends, and are you truly joyful to gather with the Body of Christ to worship and praise the Lord? In other words, do you have joy deep within your heart because you are His?

What does your face show?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you want a clean heart or a pure heart?

May 29, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (NIV))

Most of us can quote this passage as it is translated in the American Standard Version, below.

Create in me a clean heart, O God;
And renew a right spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (ASV))

To be honest with you, that translation is so ingrained in my mind, that it is what I see no matter what translation I may be reading. Today, I think I truthfully read the New International Version for the first time. There were subtle nuances that became obvious to me.

Consider the two words that are used to describe the heart. One uses the word “clean,” which implies that all dirt has been removed as in a clean cup. The other uses the word “pure,” which implies a deeper cleanliness or purity. Consider a bar of gold. It can be dirty or it can be clean. Do either of these states cause any difference in the value of the gold. If you consider the purity of the bar of gold, we have a completely different understanding. If the bar of gold was 95% pure, it wouldn’t be worth as much as if it were 100% pure.

With this in mind, do you want a clean heart or a pure heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What will you reap?

May 24, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
(Galatians 6:7-8 (NIV))

Human nature is a very strange thing. We have a tendency, more often than not, to choose the things that are not good for us. I know that this ties back to the fall from grace, but it looks like that we would eventually learn at the personal level. Unfortunately, this happens far less than we care to admit. We go so far as to think that we can fool ourselves. We make the wrong choices and we try to justify the choices that we make. In essence, we choose to sow to please the flesh and try to convince ourselves that we are sowing to please the Spirit. If you don’t believe this, consider the foods that you choose to eat. If you choose to eat things that are high in sugar and fat, then your body will suffer. As a result, you will crave these foods more and your spirit will suffer the consequences. In essence, when you sow to please the flesh, you create addictions. Addictions are contrary to the Spirit. Addictions are exactly what the enemy looks for to distract you.

What do you reap when you have an addiction?

We may try to deceive ourselves, but we cannot deceive God. We may think that we can choose to change and that once or twice will not hurt us. In our fallen state, we believe the lie. We choose to believe the sin over believing the God of creation.

Take a good, long look at your life? What have you chosen to sow? It’s not too late to repent. It’s not too late to reap eternal life!

What will you reap?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What things do you think about?

May 16, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
(Philippians 4:8 (NIV))

What are the things that you do when you think that no one will know?

What are the things that you think about when your mind begins to wander?

It is so easy to keep ourselves focused when we are busy. When we find ourselves slipping into those times when we are by ourselves, we find our thoughts and our actions begin to be less than what we truly should be thinking about. It is at these times that the things that we truly treasure come to the surface. Do you find that these things are true, noble, right and pure? Are they lovely and admirable? Are they excellent and praiseworthy? Do you find that what you think about would be embarrassing if others only knew?

We all know the old saying that you are what you eat. Are you aware that you are what you think about? Basically, whatever you put into your life will be returned out of your life. What do you think people who commit the following acts think about?

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
(Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV))

Let’s take that one step further and consider what you must think about to possess the following characteristics.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Time to truly be honest with yourself.

What things do you think about?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you able to lift these words up as your prayer?

May 10, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Create in me a clean heart, O God; And renew a right spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (ASV))

I bet you are like me and found yourself singing this passage!

It is a passage that we all know. It was turned into a song that we all know. Even if we didn’t know it, it should be the desire of every person who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. It should be the desire of everyone who strives to follow God’s Word and obey His commands.

Is it your desire?

Think about that question. Do you want God to clean your heart or are you happy with the sin that darkens it? Do you want God to give you a right spirit, a spirit that seeks only Him, or are you happy chasing the things of the world?

I realize that there is a lot that could be said, but I have found that often the best results are achieved by what is not said. God will work inside of each of us when we take a passage and reflect on how it applies to our lives. His Word is alive! It gets to the very heart of our being and makes us take a serious look at our lives in relation to what He has intended. With this in mind, nothing could be a more self-searching contemplation and prayer than asking yourself if you desire for God to clean your heart and give you a spirit after His own!

Are you able to lift these words up as your prayer?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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