Fair and equal compensation

April 30, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

“About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, `You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went.
“He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, `Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’

” `Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.
“He said to them, `You also go and work in my vineyard.’

“When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, `Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

“The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. `These men who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, `and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’

“But he answered one of them, `Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
(Matthew 20:1-16 (NIV))

What do you think of when reading the above scripture? Do you think of honesty and “fairness,” or do you think of generosity and grace? From the workers who were first hired, it does not seem that they were treated fairly by the landowner. They worked much longer than those who came later, but were paid the same for what they had done.

Think of it from a kingdom standpoint. These workers who were hired early in the day are those people who have believed from an early age. The workers who were hired mid-day are those people who have believed from a later point in their lives. The workers who were hired at the eleventh hour are those people who came to be believers late in life. Now take a look at the wages that they were paid. A denarius represents eternal life with God. How can that be divided for the different groups of people? No matter when the decision was made, the results are the same!

Isn’t it good to know that God freely gives His grace to all who ask for it with no stipulations or punishments for when they asked!

There are other interpretations of the above passage. But, based on God’s grace and mercy, reflection must be made regarding our attitude towards others when they accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Do we rejoice or are we angry because they will receive the same blessings and rewards as those of “us” who have accepted Jesus much earlier in life?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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O LORD, open my eyes so I may see

April 27, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked.

“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
(2 Kings 6:15-17 (NIV))

“O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.”

Is this your prayer?

I know that Elisha was praying it for his servant when his servant thought all was hopeless. Elisha knew that the Lord was with him. It took a prayer from Elisha asking God to open the eyes of his servant before his servant saw what he saw.

Can you imagine how the servant felt?

How would you feel?

Would our hearts contain the overwhelming awe and wonder of such a sight?

We pray for God to open our eyes and to open our hearts, but are we ready to see what God is truly doing? Are we willing to relinquish what we think we know and allow God to truly guide us? With what is going on in this world, I pray that my eyes would be opened so that I can see. I pray that for you as well. I pray that all will come to a saving grace through Jesus before it is too late.

I want you to think about something, if you will.

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
(Philippians 2:10 (NIV))

Would you rather have God open your eyes now so that you can see and understand, or would you rather see the hills full of horses and chariots of fire when you are being surrounded by them? The servant saw the vast army of the Lord when he was under their protection. However, put yourself in the shoes of the ones that they were protecting them from. How would you rather see God’s army?

O LORD, open my eyes so I may see.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Would you be of the world, or would you be of God?

April 26, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
(1 John 3:1 (NIV))

The world will not recognize us, for it did not recognize Jesus when He came.

In much the same way a mother recognizes her young, the world recognizes those who belong to it. Does a mother cow accept a puppy? Does a kitten find a home with a dog? The same is true of those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. They will not be accepted by the world! They may face rejection and tribulation for they have, in essence, turned their backs on the ways of the world and have focused on the ways of God.

Take a serious look at where you would be accepted. Do you find yourself still partaking of the world in such a way that it is impossible for anyone to know that you are a child of God? The old saying “You are what you eat” is true in the spiritual world as well. If you “eat” of the world, then the world is a part of you and you cannot leave it behind. If you “eat” of the things of God, then righteousness is a part of you, and the world is only something that you are passing through.

It has been said that it takes a thief to know a thief. If that implies that only those with similar thoughts can be recognized and accepted, then where would you be recognized and accepted? Would you be of the world, or would you be of God?

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

April 25, 2012

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.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever.
(Psalms 23:4-6 (NIV))

How many times have we heard or quoted parts of this passage? Isn’t it wonderful to be able to know and to trust in God and His strength and His mercy.

Unfortunately, many non-believers read this and take it to mean that we will not have any troubles in this life. They see that believers do have troubles, and do not fully understand how God works. They do not understand that we, as believers, still are faced with troubles, but we have a mighty warrior who is on our side, and that by placing our faith in Him, we will always have goodness and mercy even when faced with these troubles. It is how we reflect this goodness and mercy during these troubles that will bring people to Jesus.

Are you a mirror that reflects goodness and mercy, or are you a blackhole that absorbs all light, and does not allow any to pass?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Which type of fear do you have?

April 24, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The LORD is exalted, for he dwells on high;
he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness.
He will be the sure foundation for your times,
a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge;
the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure.
(Isaiah 33:5-6 (NIV))

Sometimes, fear is a good thing. It keeps us from jumping off of tall buildings. It keeps us from jumping in front of moving cars. It keeps us honest with God.

Or, it should.

A healthy fear out of respect should accompany your faith in God. You would not expect your children to respect you if they did not fear the punishment of a just and loving parent when they do something wrong. It is the same with God. God wants us to love Him, yet, we should fear the parental discipline if we fall outside of His Will. His Will is perfect. We are not perfect, although we can grow towards that image if we allow Jesus to enter our hearts and the Holy Spirit to fill us. True, we will not attain that image in this world, but through Jesus Christ we can mature into it.

If we trust in God, who is our firm foundation, we have nothing to fear from this world. If we do not have Jesus, then the fear of respect should turn to fear of His presence, for if you do not have Jesus, then you truly need to fear God and His Judgement.

Which type of fear do you have? Out of respect or out of an unrealized dread because you do not know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.

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

April 23, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.

He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

“What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”

He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
(Luke 24:13-35 (NIV))

Everyone is familiar with this story of the two men walking with Jesus and not recognizing Him. How true that is in our lives every day. Jesus is with us always. It is only when we invite Him into our hearts that we see that He has been there all of the time. How many times have you longed to be with Jesus only to discover later that He had been with you even in the darkest of times?

The poem about the footprints tells the story of everyone’s life, and not just the author’s. He is with us always. Even when we do not recognize that fact, He is there, and many times it is He who carries us through the toughest parts of our lives.

The next time that you feel that you are alone, closely look at the footprints in your path. You will probably find that they are not yours, for Jesus is carrying you when things are tough.

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

April 20, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He appointed judges in the land, in each of the fortified cities of Judah. He told them, “Consider carefully what you do, because you are not judging for man but for the LORD, who is with you whenever you give a verdict. Now let the fear of the LORD be upon you. Judge carefully, for with the LORD our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery.”
(2 Chronicles 19:5-7 (NIV))

How many in today’s society still believe in this concept?

I am a student of prophesy. I have also become a student of human nature as a result of my interest in what God is doing. Sadly, over the last few years I have witnessed what appears to be a sharp decline in human judgment in general and in fearful judgment in particular. We have become a society of Pharisees who are more concerned with the letter of the law than the intent of the law. We judge each other vehemently. We have trials and convict someone in our own minds solely based on partial information or false information.

We are no longer careful in our thoughts and actions.

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

Are we, as the Body of Christ, guilty of this?

I have seen some comments lately that make me wonder. These comments, many of which are easy to see how they could be made, are not reflective of what we are called to by Jesus. They are attacks of a personal nature and not directed at the sin. We cannot be witnesses of grace and mercy if we are attacking the very people who need it.

We must be careful to guard against thoughts and actions that are not what Jesus calls us to. We must be willing to look at ourselves with honesty and ask God to show us what we need to surrender so that we will be righteous in His eyes. If we do not surrender to Jesus as Lord, then we will be part of the group of people that Jesus told us about.

“Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 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 perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV))

“I never knew you.”

Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
(John 10:25-27 (NIV))

Follow Jesus!

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