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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Sounds like a reason to worship!

April 25, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Clap your hands, all you nations;
shout to God with cries of joy.
(Psalms 47:1 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but it sounds like the author of this passage knew how to praise and worship! It sounds like he also knew how to lead others in worship as well. If someone born long before our salvation came to earth can praise God in this manner, should we not do the same, if not more?

Think about that for a moment. This was written when all that humanity had was a promise of salvation. Now we have seen the promise fulfilled from the virgin birth, the miracles, and to the crucifixion, resurrection and the ascension. We have the great and valuable perspective of looking at all of this after it happened. We claim that we firmly believe that Jesus is the Son of Man and the only begotten Son of God the Father, yet we fail to praise and worship in a manner that conveys that we are the recipients of the greatest gift ever to have been given. All too often we sit for an hour a week among other people who simply sit as well. Where is the praise for what we have been given? Where is the worship of the one who gave it?

Are you thankful for what has been freely given? Are you filled with joy because you have accepted this priceless gift?

I realize that God has created each of us to be unique, but I honestly don’t think that God created any of us to not praise Him and to not worship Him? If we profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we should be leaping with joy for we no longer have to face eternity away from God.

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

Sounds like a reason to worship!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you received adoption to sonship?

December 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.
(Galatians 4:4-5 (NIV))

Do you like to live under laws?

Think about that in relationship to what a law actually does. A law, any law, God’s Law, basically says what you cannot do. It also sets out the punishment for disobedience, for missing the mark, for sinning.

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))

Even if it is worded in a positive tone, the end result still limits you in some aspects. Human nature has always been rebellious when told what we can or cannot do. Think about that in relationship to the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve only had one rule, one law, that they had to obey. They could not eat of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We all know how that turned out! We have been paying the price for breaking God’s law ever since.

Since we have proven ourselves to be rebellious, God had to give us more laws. After all, we have proven that we can’t be trusted to do the right thing. God created these laws after one or more of our ancestors did something wrong in His eyes. He gave us commandments that tell us how we are to respect Him by not having other gods, by not making images, by not misusing the name of the Lord, and by setting aside one day to rest and be in His presence. He also gave us commandments that tell us how to deal with each other. We are to honor our father and mother. We aren’t supposed to murder. We are to abstain from having sex with someone who is not our spouse. We are told not to steal, and we are told not to lie. We are also told not to long for or lust after something someone else has.

I realize that these laws are intended to be good, for they define sin, but have you ever stopped to consider what heaven is like? It is a place where God’s perfect presence exists. Sin is not present! If sin is not present, there is no need for a law that defines sin. There is no need for punishment to be defined. We will be filled with an amazing peace and an amazing freedom from sin and law! All of this is a gift of grace!

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

We will be called sons and daughters of the most high God! We will be co-heirs with Christ!

Have you received adoption to sonship?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where does your sorrow lead you?

June 19, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
(2 Corinthians 7:10 (NIV))

Have you ever felt remorse or sorrow over something that you have done? Think about this in terms of sin. Have you ever done something that you knew was a sin and felt sorry that you did it?

Did it stop you from doing something similar again?

If you stop to truly think about this, you have to ask yourself a simple question about the source of your sorrow. Did the sorrow come from the fact that someone caught you in your sin or did the sorrow come from within yourself because you knew that something just wasn’t right? If you were sorry because you got caught, the sorrow was probably because you got caught and not because you truly regretted your actions.

In other words, you were sorry that you got caught!

In situations like this, it is human nature to resolve to be better at not getting caught! This simply leads to more sin.

For the wages of sin is death
(Romans 6:23a (NIV))

This is the worldly sorrow that rebels against God. Godly sorrow results in a humble heart and an earnest desire to turn from your sin.

There are two paths where our sorrow can lead us. One is repentance and the other is sin and death.

Where does your sorrow lead you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you willing to endure for the Gospel?

May 1, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
(2 Timothy 2:10 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to think about the Body of Believers who came before you? Have you ever stopped to think about what they went through in order to let you have the opportunity to hear the Gospel? Today, we are afraid to let it be known that we follow Jesus if the crowd is not the ideal mix of people. We fear being called out and identified as a follower of Jesus. We fear the unknown, the uncertainty, of what this label will mean at work and with our friends

In the grand scheme of things, this is nothing in comparison to what has come before. Recent years have not been such a trying time, but if you look all the way back to the first century church, they faced persecution, rejection and even death for their profession of faith in Jesus. They knew of the power of the cross. They knew of the wages of sin and the death, both physical and spiritual, that comes as a result of sin. They were not so engrossed in their own lives that they failed to recognize the importance of every life that would ever live. They recognized the fact that what God had planned and what Jesus had suffered through was a gift of grace for everyone and not just for themselves. They knew that God wanted them to share this gift of grace with all who would hear no matter what the cost may be to themselves.

Recent years has seen the emergence of the “ME” philosophy. It basically states that “I have mine. You are on your own!” What if previous generations had expressed this sentiment when it came to sharing the Gospel? Let’s bring this a little closer to home with the following. What if the person who is supposed to witness to one of your grandchildren is someone that you are supposed to witness to and lead to Jesus? Are you willing to let your grandchild suffer for all eternity because you didn’t witness to the person who witnesses to them? Are you willing to let someone else’s grandchild suffer because you didn’t witness, because you were afraid to endure something so that others could live?

What are you doing in order to pass on the legacy that was willingly passed to you?

What are you willing to endure for the Gospel?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Which law do you want to live under?

April 16, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
(Romans 8:1-2 (NIV))

In our lives, we all have to answer to many different types of laws.

There are physical laws such as the law of gravity. I have yet to meet anyone who has tested these laws and lived. It is true that we have learned to bend these laws and apply them to our daily lives, but there is no way that you can ever truly know with complete certainty that when you bend these laws that your efforts will succeed. Referring back to the law of gravity, it is possible to jump out of an aircraft and rely on a parachute to open and allow you to ride the air currents to slow you down. This only works as long as the parachute does what it was designed to do. If it does not, then you suffer the consequences!

There are man made laws that quite often are based on what is hopefully a common sense application of physical laws, moral laws and spiritual laws. Murder is a prime example. With man made laws, they are open to creation and interpretation of those who are in authority. Human authority can change!

There are moral laws, which are quite often derived from spiritual laws. Once again, murder is a good example. Almost everyone knows that it is wrong to kill someone, yet, there are many times when people ignore or bend this law to suit their needs.

Most of us are able to claim that we have lived a “good” life and that we have not tempted physical laws. We try to avoid breaking man made laws, especially the ones that we consider to be a moral or spiritual no-no. However, there are other things that we need to consider with spiritual laws. We all miss the mark. We all sin.

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

In other words, we have all broken God’s laws. Because of what we have done, we are all condemned to death, but God has placed another law into play that we can rightfully use to claim freedom. Through the law of the Spirit who gives life, we can claim forgiveness. We can throw ourselves on the mercy of God and claim the blood of Jesus Christ. We can acknowledge that Jesus is our personal Lord and Savior.

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

We have two choices as to what law applies to our lives. We can live under the law of sin and death, or we can find grace by living under the law of the Spirit who gives life.

Which law do you want to live under?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Society teaches us something much different!

April 6, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
(Hebrews 13:5 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to think that when we love money we are simply substituting one treasure for another? To be honest with you, we are actually trading down. There is nothing more valuable, nothing more worth having than the assurance that we have been given grace and salvation. That is the ultimate treasure, but far too many people simply ignore that treasure for a treasure that can be stolen.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV))

Why do we want to make such a ridiculous trade?

Why do we trade eternity for something shiny in the moment? Why do we long for things that will fade and rust?

As long as I can remember, we have been taught to toot our own horn, to follow our own will, and to go for the gusto so that we can enjoy the moment and reap all of the pleasures that it has to offer.

But see, there is joy and revelry, slaughtering of cattle and killing of sheep, eating of meat and drinking of wine! “Let us eat and drink,” you say, “for tomorrow we die!”
(Isaiah 22:13 (NIV))

Too many people follow the sentiment in this passage without realizing that it has consequences.

The Lord Almighty has revealed this in my hearing: “Till your dying day this sin will not be atoned for,” says the Lord, the Lord Almighty.
(Isaiah 22:14 (NIV))

Society has deteriorated to the point where no one truly thinks of the consequences of their actions. Being self-centered is the normal state anymore. When you are self-centered, all that you can think of is worldly increase. We are told, and we soon begin to believe, that we deserve all that we can get. If we aren’t careful, we will get what we deserve.

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

We must ignore what society is preaching and teaching and repent. We must turn to Jesus and love the Lord. We must love the Lord with all of our heart, our soul and our mind! We must ignore what society is doing, for society teaches us something much different!

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