Freedom does not mean that we are to continue to sin!

September 13, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.
(1 Peter 2:16 (NIV))

Godly freedom is not how the world thinks of freedom. Too many people in this world think that true freedom is the ability to do whatever you want, whenever you want. There are consequences!

Imagine that you have done something that ends up with you being put in prison. You have committed an act that was contrary to the laws of the land. For several years you sit in your prison suffering the consequences of your actions. As fortune would have it, someone comes along and pardons you for your actions. You are released. You have been set free from the consequences of your actions.

What do you do?

Do you return to the very same behavior that put you in prison to begin with? Do you do this knowing that the outcome will be the reinstatement of your prison sentence, or do you make a commitment to follow a new path that leads to a much better place?

I’m sure that you understand that each of us are guilty! Each of us are bound by the sinful nature that we are born with and the sinful actions that we continually do.

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

By all legal accounts, we face an eternity separated from God in a place that is far worse than any earthly prison.

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 have been pardoned! We have been shown grace and mercy. We simply must make a choice to follow Jesus and repent of our sin just as Jesus told the woman caught in adultery.

Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:11b (NIV))

We have been set free from the consequences of sin, but we must make a choice to leave our life of sin. We cannot willfully continue in our sin or we will not like the eternal consequences.

Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:22-23 (NIV))

Freedom does not mean that we are to continue to sin!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you sure you know what is best for you?

August 5, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: ‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.’
(Isaiah 48:17 (NIV))

Do you honestly allow God to direct where you should go?

If you are like everyone else, chances are very good that you have probably gotten yourself into situations that have been less than ideal in your eyes. You tried to follow your own direction. How do you think these situations looked to those around you? How do you think they looked to God?

What have you got to lose? If you follow God’s direction, you will not find yourself in situations that will embarrass you because of stupid decisions. You won’t find yourself having to figure out which lies to tell so that you won’t get caught in the first set of lies you told.

Far too many people believe that the Bible is not relevant in today’s society. If you believe that truth is relative, then this is probably you. If you believe that there is no such thing as sin, then this is probably you. If you think that there is no one greater than you, then this is probably you. For the rest of us who know that truth is the same no matter what the circumstance, we know better. For those of us who know that sin is rampant in this world, we know better. For those of us who can’t imagine anyone being worse than we are, we know better.

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
      and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
  we all shrivel up like a leaf,
      and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

Filthy rags!

Can a filthy rag direct how to clean itself? Can a filthy rag lift itself out of the filth? Only God can cleanse us. Only God can direct us in the way that we should go. Reflect upon where you are going and repent. Allow God to direct your paths and He will draw you closer to Him.

Are you sure you know what is best for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Does this passage scare you?

July 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
(Ephesians 5:5 (NIV))

Did you catch yourself reading this and doing a quick, personal inventory to make sure that you didn’t fall into one or more of these categories?

Did you answer honestly? Did you like your self evaluation?

It is human nature to think that things are either better or worse than they truly are. Did you read this passage and brush it off with the thought that you have it made? Perhaps you read this passage and each word that you read had you squirming because you think you haven’t done well enough! In all honesty, if you profess a faith in Jesus and strive to be an obedient disciple, then you probably had some fleeting thoughts that you have disappointed Jesus in some manner! If you are like everyone else who professes a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then it is safe to say that not a single day goes by where you don’t do something less than perfect.

Fortunately, our perfection is not what is required, especially when you consider what we are capable of!

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

It is not our perfection. It is not our righteousness that gives us grace. It is a gift and all that we have to do is accept it!

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))

If you have truly accepted this gift and have made Jesus your personal Lord and Savior, then you have been washed by the blood of the Lamb. You have been redeemed. You are being transformed and matured into the image of Christ. No matter what you may have been, you are a new creation in Christ. You may have been immoral, but you are being changed. You may have been impure, but you are being changed. You may have been greedy, but you are being changed. No matter what you may have been, grace has been given and you are being changed!

If you truly have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then all of your sins have been forgiven. Don’t let the enemy tell you otherwise. Don’t let the enemy scare you with the thought that you aren’t redeemed.

Does this passage scare you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t let the things of this world distract you from Jesus!

October 11, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, `I am he,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
(Mark 13:5-8 (NIV))

I know that things will get much worse than they are, but I honestly have to stop and make myself realize that what we are seeing could be just the beginning of the birth pains. We see the wars going on in Syria and in the lands surrounding Israel. We see other things, such as the terrorism, going on all around the world. I have seen reports that the main stream media has not and probably will not cover. I have seen reports that the Russian government is telling its citizens to prepare for nuclear war with the US.

I want to remind you that when this was written, a nation was considered a people group. Think about the stressed relations between different people groups in this country. I have also heard reports that this is happening in other parts of the world and it is not simply an isolated occurrence here.

There is something that I want you to consider with respect to kingdom against kingdom. For the longest time, this has been thought to mean actual governmental structures such as the United States and Russia. What if this actually means something more? I can think of two very distinct kingdoms right now that are definitely at odds with each other. One is the Kingdom of God or as some may refer to it, the Kingdom of Heaven. Then we have the kingdom of the prince of the air and this world. These two kingdoms have always been at war with each other since Satan rebelled against God. The attacks from the kingdom of the prince of this world are rapidly escalating to the point where God will soon say enough is enough.

The things that are going on in this world are enough to make anyone cringe out of fear. Sadly for the lost world, things will be getting worse. No matter what may happen, don’t lose faith. Don’t lose hope. We have a tendency to think that this presidential election can change things. I honestly pray that it does, but more importantly, I pray for God’s Will to unfold and not mine.

If the current state of the world makes you fearful, remember that we are not to place our hope in the things of this world. We are to place our faith and our hope solely on Jesus!

Look up!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you allowed yourself to be changed?

August 31, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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

Take a good look at society today and tell me what you see!

Everywhere you turn, everywhere you look, you see things that can only come from a depraved mind. You see more and more of the depravity that you thought you would never see in your lifetime.

Now, I am going to turn this around on each of us and remind each of us about the things that we used to do before we encountered Jesus.

They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
(Romans 1:29-31 (NIV))

Have you ever been greedy? Have you ever been envious? Have you ever been a gossip, or arrogant? Have you ever disobeyed your parents when you were younger? Have you ever done or said anything with a heartless attitude?

What makes us, as the Body of Christ, any different from those who are doing sinful things today? Did we have people sharing Jesus with us when we were unsaved? Did we have people praying us into the Kingdom? Did Jesus ever look at any of us and proclaim that we were too far gone and that He didn’t want to waste His time trying to bring us unto Himself?

I realize that the depravity has gotten much worse in the last years, but I want you to consider that the grace has always been enough to cover a multitude of sins. Prayer can work miracles in the world and in the lives of individuals lost in sin. When we see the depravity, we must remember that they are loved by God. We must remember the old saying, “But for the grace of God, there go I.”

Those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior are only the sinners that have accepted the message of salvation. We are not worthy of deciding who should hear the message and who we should pray to receive salvation.

God can change a mind and He can change a heart!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How will you respond?

November 30, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
(Psalms 23:4 (NIV))

Do you fear the events of the world? Do you feel like the world is always under the shadow of death? Do you feel like you are always under the shadow of death?

I wholeheartedly agree that things in this world are under the shadow of death. The world has long been turned over to sin and it just keeps getting worse. I know that we, as the Body of Christ, think that what we are experiencing is far worse than what has happened in the past, but be honest with yourself. Have you been threatened with death because of your faith in Jesus? Have you been socially outcast because of your faith in Jesus? The Body of Christ in this country has not seen the tribulation and the troubles that early church members experienced. We are not seeing the executions that other parts of the world are seeing. We think that we have it bad, but I want to point out the fact that we have lived under a blessing in this country. We have been free to express our faith in Jesus without any repercussions. However, that time appears to be changing. Anyone who expresses a faith in Jesus is ostracized. We are told to be more tolerant. The next step may be an extreme step in the wrong direction.

If that happens, members of the Body of Christ in this country may experience many of the things that believers in other parts of the world are experiencing. If this happens, I want you to stop and think about these questions.

How will I respond if I truly do walk through the valley of the shadow of death?

Will my faith be strong or will I cave in to the ways of the world?

When the time comes, I pray that you remember the rest of this passage and do not fear any evil because God is with you. Do not be discouraged for God will comfort you!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus is forever my hope and my strength!

November 25, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.
(1 Peter 3:14 (NIV))

With the events that are going on in the world, and the so called experts saying that we are on the verge of World War III, are you prepared to do what is right in the eyes of God?

I don’t want to come across as an alarmist, but as the Body of Christ, we should be aware of the things that are going on in this world and their relationship to God’s Word. I know that I have been saying that things are getting worse in the world for quite some time. I believe that now more than ever. I also believe that things will get far worse than they are. Still, I do not fear what the world has to throw at me. My strength is in Jesus! My hope is in Jesus! I pray that I have the physical strength and the strength of character to always proclaim that Jesus is Lord!

I know that no one wants to suffer, but we must remember the words that Jesus spoke.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

Jesus also told us that we should expect to encounter the same treatment as He was given, both good and bad.

Remember the words I spoke to you: `No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.
(John 5:20 (NIV))

We have so much to pray for with the current state of the world, but we also have so much to be thankful for as well. God will not forsake those who love Him. When things get bad, look to the heavens and call upon the name of the Lord.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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