Are you still dead in your transgressions and sins?

December 1, 2021

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,
(Ephesians 2:1 (NIV))

I realize that this is not an easy way to start off, even if the statement is entirely true. Sometimes the truth hurts.

But, . . .

There is one key word in this passage that makes it oh so much more palatable. It makes it so much easier to claim this passage as your own. One little four letter word has changed the context and the perspective on your transgressions and sins.

“WERE”

Just for clarification, it could easily be replace with “ARE” and you will find yourself helpless, hopeless and lost. For anyone who has accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you can rest assured that you are no longer dead in your transgressions and sins. You are no longer helpless, hopeless and lost. You have been redeemed. All of that is in your past! They are as far as the east is from the west. Your sins have been washed white as snow!

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
(Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV))

With Christmas coming up very soon, we must choose to remember the reason for the season. We must choose to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus. He came as a baby, but that was only the beginning. Perhaps I should say that it was the beginning of the end. Jesus came to put an end to sin. He came to put an end to death. He came to put an end to our separation from God the Father. He came to put an end to sacrifices by becoming the one perfect sacrifice, and by doing this, He gave us the ability to proclaim that we “WERE” dead in our transgressions and sins.

Are you still dead in your transgressions and sins?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Do you rejoice that the Word became flesh?

November 30, 2021

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 (NIV))

What do you think of when you read this passage?

Without a point of reference, without a back-story that defines why glory, grace and truth were needed, this passage, even though it tells of His glory, doesn’t tell the whole story. It doesn’t tell why we need grace and truth.

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
(John 1:17 (NIV))

What do you think of when you think of the law? Do you think of man-made laws that recently seem to change with no rhyme or reason, or do you think of God’s law that is never changing? Do you think of the failure of Adam and Eve to keep God’s commands thus allowing sin into the world? Do you think of a righteous God who can not associate with sin? Do you think of a loving God who wants to restore us to a relationship with Himself?

Through Moses, God told us how He expected us to live. Through Moses, we have been shown how we are to love God, how we are to treat each other, and how we are to respect each other. Any deviation from God’s perfect plan is sin.

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

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

God took a look at the world and had a plan to redeem us. He knew that there was not a single person who could fulfill the letter of the Law perfectly, so He decided to take matters into His own hands and become a man so that He could live a perfect, sinless life for us. Through this perfect life, we are no longer under the law of sin and death. We are under the redemptive power of grace and truth through the atoning blood of Jesus! Is this what you think of when you read John 1:14? Do these two sentences cause you to reflect on your sinful nature and your inability to do anything about it? Do they give you reason to rejoice because you have accepted what God did for you when you couldn’t do anything for yourself?

Do you rejoice that the Word became flesh?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Do you truly understand the depths of God’s love?

November 29, 2021

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
(John 1:1 (NIV))

Is this concept so simple that we try to make it complicated? Is it so complicated that we try to make it simple, or is it truly clear and understandable?

I have read this passage many times and I have come to the conclusion that is is only truly understood once you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. Up until that time, it seems paradoxical in nature. Up until that time, the very message that is conveyed within these words simply falls on deaf ears. We have no point of reference to allow us to understand.

We cannot comprehend the truth that nothing existed except His Word, and that through His Word, everything came to be. We simply cannot comprehend the truth that through words alone God spoke everything into existence. We cannot understand that there is this type of power in God’s Word. We cannot fathom the possibilities that this is true simply because we fail to see the power of words in our lives. Think about that. When was the last time dreams were shattered by someone’s words? When was the last time that your life was completely changed by someone’s words? If our words can alter lives, why do we fail to recognize that God’s Word has the power to create lives and to create everything?

To get back to my statement that these words truly become understood only after accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you have to understand just who Jesus is!

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 (NIV))

In other words, Jesus is God’s Word made flesh! To simplify this, let’s use some mathematical symbolism. Jesus = the Word.

Only when you realize that you can do simple substitution because of this fact do you truly come to the following realization.

In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God.

This should put a completely new understanding on a passage that we all know.

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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

I pray that this gives you something to think about as we enter into this Christmas season.

Do you truly understand the depths of God’s love?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Are you shining His light for the world to see?

November 18, 2021

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
(Psalms 119:105 (NIV))

God’s Word is Truth. Truth is spiritual light. Are we shining the light that God has given us so that others may see their path clearly?

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:14 (NIV))

Take it one day at a time. Take it one hour at a time. Take it one second at a time. We cannot plan how to shine God’s light, we can only be a willing vessel when the opportunity arises. Do you have a second to spare?

Take each second as it comes and shine forth the light that God has placed within you, the Light of Jesus Christ.

Think of all the people who you meet every day who need God’s Light.

Are you shining His light for the world to see?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Do you possess what it takes to understand the Scriptures?

November 3, 2021

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.
(Luke 24:45 (NIV))

Have you ever truly thought about this passage and this concept?

Most people believe that they can understand what they read, but most things that people read are written for their level of comprehension. For example, how many people do you know who could read a book on an advanced science and fully understand the concepts being presented? First, you would need to have an interest in the subject. You would also need someone to explain the concepts in order to understand it accurately. Once it is explained, then you have a basis of understanding and can read and understand other similar material.

The same is true of the Scriptures and who better to explain it than the One that everything is written about?

We know the story of the Road to Emmaus, and how Jesus opened their minds to better understand what they had been taught all of their lives. We know how they went to tell the Disciples what had happened, and then we know that Jesus appeared in the midst of those who were gathered. We know that He then explained everything to them.

Jesus opened their minds!

I don’t know about you, but if I had witnessed the crucifixion and then was presented with Jesus alive and well, I would listen very intently to what He had to say. I would cling to His every word in the hope of receiving insight and truth.

Why don’t we do that today?

We have His words. We have the words written about Him that told of Him long before He walked the earth. We have the same human understanding and inquisitive minds as they possessed then, but why do we fail to allow His Word to open our minds and our hearts? Have we become shallow in our pursuit of truth? Have we become shallow in our pursuit of understanding? Have we lost our ability to study and reason? Have we become so distractible that we can’t focus long enough to have our minds opened to the truth?

There is only so much that we can have spoon fed to us. At some point, we need to say that we understand the basics and then continually read and study for ourselves while always keeping a prayerful heart and a mind open to understanding God’s Word. It requires effort. It requires an interest. It requires dedication.

Do you possess what it takes to understand the Scriptures?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Do you have the light that comes from God’s Word?

October 18, 2021

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.
(Psalms 119:130 (NIV))

The Word of God is many things. It brings wisdom, understanding, truth, and light.

Let’s take a look at this in a different context from what we normally think about with respect to God’s Word.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God– children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:1-14 (NIV))

The psalmist hit the nail on the head when he wrote those words. The Word of God does give light. Jesus is the Word made flesh. Jesus is the light of the world. Jesus gives understanding.

Isn’t it amazing how God will pre-tell what He is going to do even through people who do not realize that they are His prophets. I doubt that the psalmist actually knew that these words would literally come true in the form of Jesus, God with us.

I am so very thankful that they did come to pass!

Do you have the light that comes from God’s Word?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


If you don’t turn to Jesus, there is no other option!

September 28, 2021

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
(Hebrews 10:26-27 (NIV))

I recently heard this passage explained in a way that I had never thought of, and it makes perfect sense!

When we read this passage, we come to the conclusion that if we continue to sin after accepting Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we will have no recourse, no way to redeem ourselves. Is that truly what this passage means? If we choose to follow Jesus, we will still sin because we are only human. We will still make mistakes. We will still sin. The key to this is that we have professed a faith in Jesus and we are striving to walk in His ways. We have not only received the knowledge of the truth, but we have accepted it as well. We can repent and return to what is right.

Perhaps the easiest way to explain this is to clarify that there is a difference between receiving the knowledge of the truth and accepting the knowledge of the truth. To use an example, if someone gives you a Bible, you have received the knowledge of the truth, but until you open it and understand that we are all sinners in need of a Savior, you have not personally accepted the life giving message that it contains. If you go so far as to make a proclamation that the message of the cross is foolishness and that it could never be how God plans on offering grace, then you have rejected the knowledge of the truth. God has established one way to receive salvation and if you reject that one way that He created, there is absolutely nothing else that you can do. We can’t tell God that our way is better!

The old covenant required continual sacrifices. We could never be made eternally clean by these sacrifices. The new covenant requires us to accept the perfect sacrifice of Jesus as our single and eternal way to redemption.

If we reject God’s plan of redemption that replaced the continual sacrifices with a single, perfect Lamb, then nothing can ever be used to replace Jesus. Nothing more can ever be used redeem us. Jesus is the only way to the Father!

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

If you don’t turn to Jesus, there is no other option!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


We must share the truth!

August 25, 2021

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness,
(Romans 1:18 (NIV))

Have you ever just stopped and looked around at all that is going on in the world and wondered if all that is unfolding is all part of God’s plan because of the world’s godlessness and wickedness?

To the world, that question seems like the rantings of a lunatic, but for the members of the Body of Christ, that question makes perfect sense. What do you think of that question? Do you think that anyone who professes a belief that God is beginning to exact His wrath on a wicked world is insane, or do you understand God’s plan well enough in relation to what is unfolding to see things from His perspective?

We are told what happens to those who deny anything to do with God.

Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.
(Romans 1:28 (NIV))

Simply stated, this translation implies that they did not wish to hold God in their minds or in their memories so He gave them depravity. Another translation states it this way.

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.
(Romans 1:28 (ESV))

This translation implies that they refused to recognize the authority of God so He lowered the quality of their minds. Perhaps the best translation of this passage that I have read comes from the Complete Jewish Bible.

In other words, since they have not considered God worth knowing, God has given them up to worthless ways of thinking; so that they do improper things.
(Romans 1:28 (CJB))

In other words, they were given a choice and they decided that God was not worth it! This results in worthless ways of thinking and improper actions. Is it just me, or does this sound just like what we are seeing in the world right now? Good is called evil and evil is called good. Sin is called a lifestyle and Biblical values are called bigoted and hateful. Anything and everything is accepted as long as it is not the truth.

When I see things like this in the world, I feel a wide range of emotions. I feel sadness. I feel pity. I feel anger. I feel helpless, hopeless and lost because these people don’t even recognize that they are making an eternal mistake.

Do you consider God worth knowing?

Do you recognize the authority of God?

Do you keep God in your memory and on your mind?

The time is short. From what I have seen, there is an increasing intensity and a rapidly increasing convergence of things happening in this world. Pray for your families. Pray for your city. Pray for you region, your country and the world. Pray that the hearts and minds of those who deny God will be softened and changed before it is too late! There has never been a more urgent time to share the Gospel!

We must share the truth!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Are you able to pray to love like this?

July 29, 2021

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV))

Have you ever been at a loss for words?

I, like many of you, have read this passage countless times, but tonight, the simple yet magnificent beauty of this type of love left me without words. I had to read it many times and pray for insight. As humans, we like to think that we are capable of love, but when compared to this standard, we fall very short of the ideal that God has defined for us. Sadly, I didn’t even make it past the third word. How far did you make it before you started feeling something tugging at your spirit?

This passage defines for us the ideal love that God desires for us to possess, but it also acts as a measuring rod that we should use as a basis for our desires and our prayers to possess a love like the love of the Lord!

Have you heard of the concept of praying the scriptures? Basically you take a passage and you pray for that passage to be made manifest in your life. You stand firm in the truth and the power of scripture.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV))

I can’t think of a better passage to pray in order to be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Lord, I long to love as You love. Make me patient. Make me kind. I don’t want to be envious or boastful. Correct me when I am arrogant or rude. Lord, help me to put others first and myself last. Give me Your joy and Your peace so that I am not irritable or resentful. Lord, give me a heart that breaks when I see wrongdoing. Let me delight in Your truth and in those who know Your truth. Lord, give me the ability to bear all things for the truth of Your love. Instill in me a belief that all things work for Your good. Lord, give me the ability to hope when it appears that all hope is gone, and grant me the endurance to see Your love made manifest in all the earth!

For the second time tonight, I am at a loss for words because of the sheer power of such a prayer.

Are you able to love like this?

Are you able to pray to love like this?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Are you sure you only want to hear pleasant things?

July 20, 2021

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

They say to the seers,
       “See no more visions!”
and to the prophets,
       “Give us no more visions of what is right!
Tell us pleasant things,
       prophesy illusions.
(Isaiah 30:10 (NIV))

Do you want to hear fairy tales, bedtime stories and other pleasant things, or do you want to hear the truth? Do you want to hear that the sinful things you do are okay, or do you want to hear the truth and repent of your sins? Do you want to be happy in your sin and lost for all eternity, or do you want to hear the truth that will lead you to an eternity with God?

Sadly, human nature seems to like pleasant things even if they are wrong. This seems to be getting more and more prevalent in the world today. Are we seeing what Paul wrote to Timothy coming to fruition?

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
(2 Timothy 4:3 (NIV))

Even Jesus experienced this with those who followed Him when He walked the earth. When He started teaching something that was difficult to hear, many would simply go home. At one point, He asked His disciples if they wanted to leave. I know that He already knew the answer to this question. He simply wanted them to search themselves and answer.

From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
(John 6:66-68 (NIV))

How do you respond when you read or hear passages that state things that you don’t like? Do you get offended and go home, or do you dig in and look at yourself in relation to that passage so that you can learn and mature in your faith? Do you only read the pleasant parts of the Bible or do you read and study all of it?

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV))

I know that those who profess a faith in Jesus cling to the solid promise of salvation that is only available through Him. I know that we like to make wide-sweeping statements such as I know who wins in the end, but have you ever stopped to consider that the Bible is a story of the battle between God and Satan, between good and evil, and as such, there will be things that we do not like. In order to be fully equipped with the full armor of God, we must hear the truth. We need to know how to wage warfare against the enemy.

Are you sure you only want to hear pleasant things?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


%d bloggers like this: