Can you claim perfection in the eyes of God?

November 11, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.
(James 3:2 (NIV))

Do you know anyone who thinks that they are capable of doing no wrong?

For those of you who have been married for a long time, I heard those comments that you just made!

Seriously, though, do you know anyone who thinks that they are capable of doing no wrong? Do you know someone who has an ego so big that they think they are perfect? Do you know someone who fits that description and looks back at you when you look in the mirror?

We are all fallen individuals who have surrendered to sin. Sin controls us. We long for pleasure and we long for things that personally benefit us. It is these desires that cause us to do things that we should not do. We fall short of what we are called to be. We miss the mark. We sin!

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

No one is perfect except Jesus. Contrary to what we may think, we sin more than we care to admit. We fall short in all aspects of our lives.

Fortunately, our salvation is not based on our perfection and on our ability to not sin. Our salvation is solely based on our acceptance of a gift of grace as presented through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Only Jesus had no fault. Only Jesus is a perfect man. It is through His atoning sacrifice that those of us who are not perfect can gain salvation.

Jesus never stumbled! Jesus never failed!

Can you truly make this claim?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you lost your focus?

May 28, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
(Colossians 3:12 (NIV))

Have you ever seen the cartoon with the two vultures who are waiting for something to die so that they can eat? The captions go something like this. One vulture says, “Be patient.” The other vulture says, “Patience ! I want to kill something !”

Let’s face it, we have all had times when we just couldn’t wait any longer for what we were hoping would happen. We pace the floor. We become very short tempered and as a result, we are anything but compassionate, kind, humble and gentle.

What does the world think of us at these times? What does the world think when they see us acting exactly opposite of what we say we strive to be?

Everyone has moments of weakness. Everyone has momentary lapses of sanity. Unfortunately, it is these very moments when we are at our lowest that the world chooses to recognize us for our faith. They recognize us out of ridicule. Regardless of the times that we are able to follow Colossians 3:12, the world sees us at the very times that we fail.

We are to strive to be perfect, yet, we know that we can never be. We are sinners, and are not capable of perfection on our own. There is a saying that Christians are not perfect, just forgiven. When we fail at perfection, we must fully embrace God’s grace that allows us to pick ourselves up and keep going. We must also embrace the need to show that grace to those who witnessed our stumble. We must not lash out at them when they ridicule us for not being perfect. We must show Jesus to them. We must be as Jesus was on the cross. He did not lash out. He did not condemn. He did not bring down wrath upon those who witnessed His crucifixion.

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
(Luke 23:34 (NIV))

When the world sees us stumble, remember how Jesus reacted. When you fall, your eyes may be temporarily diverted from your goal, but when you get up and resume your path, you see your way once again. The key is to get back up and to focus once again upon Jesus.

Have you lost your focus?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Our thoughts condemn us

January 29, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not pay attention to every word people say,
or you may hear your servant cursing you–
for you know in your heart
that many times you yourself have cursed others.
(Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 (NIV))

It is human nature to think and say things under your breath. Things that you would not want anyone to even know that you knew. These are the things that are secretly holed away in your heart.

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.
(Matthew 15:19(NIV))

Perhaps it is this characteristic of humanity that lead Jesus to say:

“If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
(John 8:7b(NIV))

Not a single one of us is above reproach. Not a single one of us is capable of leading the perfect life that God wishes for us to live. Our thoughts condemn us. Our thoughts manifest themselves as words and deeds. Our words and deeds condemn us. Only one thing that we can do will remove the condemnation from our lives.

We must accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. We must accept His righteousness in exchange for our condemnation. He willingly takes our sin upon His shoulders and gives us His grace and mercy.

We are not perfect. Even if we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we will stumble. We will curse others in our heart and sometimes, even, under our breath. But, we have a Savior who is living within us, and teaching us that we must follow Him and not give in to that side of our nature.

Do you curse or do you accept righteous instruction?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you walk or do you stumble?

March 21, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Who is wise? He will realize these things.
Who is discerning? He will understand them.
The ways of the LORD are right;
the righteous walk in them,
but the rebellious stumble in them.
(Hosea 14:9 (NIV))

I have one simple question to ask, but your answer may cause some personal reflection and hopefully, it will be honest.

Do you walk or do you stumble?

If you are like me, you probably desire to say that you walk in the ways of the Lord, but, be honest. We all have times that we stumble. We all have times that we fall short of God’s desires and our own. The difference between those who desire to walk and those who stumble is just that – it is their desire. It is their priority.

Let me ask another question for you to consider.

Does a professional basketball player always hit the three pointer? It is their desire, but they often miss the mark. That does not mean that they are intentionally stumbling. It simply means that they are not capable of such a task. Now, does a person who professes a belief in Jesus as their Lord and Savior always do what Jesus would have them do. I know that in my frail humanity, I am not capable of it, yet I still try just as the basketball player still tries to make the three point shot. Sometimes I will fail, but the times that I succeed, I give praise where praise is due.

For those who profess a faith in Jesus, the failed attempts are not the same thing as when a rebellious person stumbles. Perhaps it would be better to put it this way. A rebellious nature is knowing that you aren’t supposed to do something, yet you do it anyway. There is no attempt at having a desire to do what is right. To a rebellious person, placing what is right and true in their path will only make them lash out and bring attention to the fact that they have no desire to follow what is right.

A rebellious person does not desire to walk. They desire to stumble.

With that in mind, let me rephrase my initial question like this.

What do you desire? Do you long to walk in the ways of the Lord, or do you desire to stumble against God in an attempt to avoid Him?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Perspective and attitude

March 1, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,
“The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone,”
and,
“A stone that causes men to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall.”
They stumble because they disobey the message–which is also what they were destined for
(1 Peter 2:7-8 (NIV))

Just what are the uses for a stone?

Think about that question, for just like anything else, the uses are a matter of attitude.

If you are walking and not paying attention to what you are doing, a stone in your path could be very bad. Now, imagine that you are living your life without any thought to your actions. All of a sudden you encounter a stone. This stone is set firmly and will not alter its stance with respect to how you live your life.

What if you are a passenger on a boat that is drifting aimlessly. The boat has no course or sense of direction, no sense of right or wrong. What happens when the boat hits a stone and goes down? Again, the stone will not alter its stance with respect to how you live your life.

Suppose that you desire to build a firm foundation and a firm shelter that will stand up to whatever the world will throw at it. What would you choose as the building material? Once again, the stone will not alter its stance with respect to how you live, but it will offer protection and salvation if you are willing to alter your relationship to it.

You can beat your head against the stone or you can accept the stone and allow it to become your foundation. That foundation is Jesus. That stone is Jesus. You can beat yourself against Him by denying His status as Lord and Savior or you can accept that He is the rock of our salvation and accept God’s offer to stand firmly upon Jesus.

It is a matter of perspective and attitude. You can curse the stone that you stumble upon or you can embrace the stone and cling to it for safety. How do you look upon the stone that is Jesus? You can accept Him or you can curse Him. Either way, He is not changing. It is His desire to change you and your attitude about Him.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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