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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Are you capable of giving what you long to receive?

June 15, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
(Colossians 3:13 (NIV))

What is it about human nature that makes us reluctant to give away what we have been freely given?

Why do we feel that we must hold on to things that shouldn’t even be a part of our lives?

We all seek grace and mercy, but are we willing to give what we so desperately seek for ourselves?

Through the atoning blood of Jesus, we have been given the gift of forgiveness. This is a gift that, once accepted, wipes clean our sinful past in God’s eyes as if it never happened!

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
(Psalms 103:11-13 (NIV))

All who call upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior have had their transgressions removed as far as the east is from the west. If the Lord can completely forgive us of our sinful nature, we should be able to forgive each other of any grievances, of any transgressions that we have with each other. In fact, we are told that we will be forgiven in the same manner that we forgive others!

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
(Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV))

Are you capable of giving what you long to receive?

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

August 7, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
(Psalms 51:3 (NIV))

Do the things that you do make you lie awake at night? Do you regret the things that you do? Do you find yourself doing the things that you don’t want to do and not doing the things that you desire to do?

You are not alone. Sadly, it is part of the human condition. Even Paul, the man who is credited with spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles, 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.
(Romans 7:15 (NIV))

The fact that it bothers you is a good sign. The fact that you regret your actions is a good sign. The fact that you are aware of your transgressions is a very telling trait of someone who longs to leave those actions behind and move forward following Jesus. Recognizing that you are a sinner in need of Jesus is critical, however, recognizing that you will still be tempted is also critical to your maturity in faith. We are made righteous in the eyes of God when we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, but our flesh is still sinful. We must learn to overcome the very nature that we were born under. This is a maturation process that takes time.

David recognized his sinful nature. Paul recognized his sinful nature. What do you recognize within you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you like a great mystery?

June 23, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.
(1 Corinthians 15:51 (NIV))

Perhaps this is one of those mysteries of the faith that we cannot fully understand until it happens. Whatever does transpire, it is a promise that we have to hold onto even when all around us is chaos and uncertainty.

God loves us. He loves us enough to have sent Jesus to die for our transgressions. If God allowed that to happen because of His love for us, then what else does He have in store for us? The Bible has given us many promises, and it also tells us that they are all “Yes” through Jesus.

We don’t know when the last trumpet will sound, but we do know that if it is written in God’s Word, then it will happen. We do not fully understand at this time, but there will come a time when we will see clearly just what God has for us. Perhaps that is why things like this are referred to as mysteries of the faith. We choose to believe even though we may not understand.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Kingdom against kingdom!

November 17, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
(Matthew 24:7a (NIV))

I know that we are all very familiar with these specific words and with the whole passage of scripture that this is taken from. Last night I had a thought that sent chills through my body.

We all know that when this passage refers to nations, that it means people groups. We are very aware of the fact that people groups are rising up against each other. If you don’t believe this, then all that you have to do is turn on the news, any news, and you will see that almost every headline proclaims this loudly.

I have heard that the kingdoms referred to within this passage are human governments, and this makes sense. We see not only people groups, but governments turning against each other.

But, …

Or perhaps I should say “And, . . . “

We all know that God’s Word has multiple meanings. We, as the Body of Christ, long to see the kingdom of heaven. Many places within the Bible refer to God’s kingdom and the nations of the earth.

The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
(Matthew 13:38-39 (NIV))

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
(Matthew 24:14 (NIV))

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
(John 18:36 (NIV))

We also see that Satan is ascribed a kingdom.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
(Ephesians 2:1-2 (NIV))

It never ceases to amaze me that God will show us something new when His timing is right. I honestly don’t know how many times that I have read the words to Matthew 24. I honestly don’t know how many times that I have quoted these words in reference to what is going on in this world.

I find it amazing that what we read as simple words on a page take on so much more. How many of you have recognized that the kingdom against kingdom can actually mean the kingdom of God against the kingdom of the air? Are we seeing these kingdoms at war with each other? If you are like me, it appears that these two kingdoms are locked in a war that is rapidly coming to a point where only one will survive.

Take heart, for we know that God wins!

The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ,
and he will reign for ever and ever.”
(Revelation 11:15 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Our sin does not affect God’s nature!

July 21, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
(Ephesians 2:13 (NIV))

It was prophesied long before this was written that through Jesus, it would be:

as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
(Psalm 103:12)

It is God’s nature that He cannot associate with sin. Sin will perish before God. Because of this and because of the sin allowed into the world through Adam and Eve, we could never approach God. We literally had to stay as far as the east is from the west from God.

Sin is diametrically opposite of the righteousness that is God just as east is diametrically opposite of west. The two could never meet, except through an act of divine intervention. Because of this intervention, we, who accept the grace and mercy offered through it, are allowed into the presence of God. We have an intercessor who sits at the right hand of God the Father on our behalf.

If you can imagine a straight wire that is not bendable. The two ends could never meet. Now, imagine if you will, a “superman” who is capable of bending the two ends until they touch. This ‘superman” was Jesus and the two ends that He was able to make touch are God’s righteousness and our sin.

Our sin does not affect God’s nature, but His righteousness effects ours.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you long to be righteous in the eyes of God?

September 5, 2014

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
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
(Psalms 51:1-3 (NIV))

David was a man who was not perfect, yet, he desired righteousness in the eyes of God. He failed time after time in his quest to be righteous. He never gave up. There were times when he turned away from God out of lust or power. When he realized his failings, he was not the type of person who would act like it didn’t happen. He truly repented for his inner desire was to be what God wanted him to be.

Isn’t it interesting how God used a man who fervently desired righteousness but could no attain it. Do you know how God answered David’s prayer?

David asked for mercy and God sent mercy through David’s lineage.

David prayed that all of his iniquity be washed away and it is now possible for every single person’s iniquity to be washed away through the atoning blood of Jesus.

David longed for righteousness, but he could not achieve it on his own. God saw David’s heart and blessed the whole world through David’s lineage. God fulfilled David’s prayer for all who would simply ask and receive.

Have you received the answer to David’s prayer?

What prayer do you pray that God can use to reach others?

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