Actions are what people will remember

February 28, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men 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. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
(2 Timothy 4:1-5 (NIV))

Society appears to have reached this time when sound doctrine is looked upon as irrelevant. People search out teachers who will tell them that what they do is okay. Everything from pagan worship to love of money to witchcraft and reincarnation. All are false teachings that are not from God.

People, in their innate rebellious nature, have turned from God as Satan did. Each person wishes to be their own “god” and find their own “truth”.

We, as believers, must keep the truth ever present in the eyes, minds and hearts of these people. We must do what we can to show them what they are missing. They are searching for something to fill the emptiness that God intended to be filled with Jesus, the Holy Spirit and Himself. Nothing else will fill this void that they are trying to fill.

Words may not work. Remember to preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words. In other words, actions speak louder than words. When you preach, preach with all of your being – actions are what people will remember.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you fully embraced the new?

February 27, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.
(Hebrews 8:12 (NIV))

Is there someone in your life who constantly reminds you of every single mistake that you have made? Do they bring up these mistakes even though they may have occurred so far in the past that even you had forgotten them? It is sad that there actually are people who will hold everything against you no matter how many times you apologize or how long ago the act may have been.

I can honestly say beyond a shadow of a doubt that God does not do that. He will forgive your sins if you simply accept His plan of redemption and grace. He will not bring them up to you again. He will wipe you record clean and treat you as if you had never sinned. I have heard this called justifying grace – a grace that God gives us “just as if I” had never sinned. He does not justify holding our sins against us. He sent Jesus to die on the cross so that He could justify forgiving us of our sins.

The next time that you encounter that special someone who constantly reminds you of your mistakes, smile, and rest assured that their memory cannot condemn you. Only God can condemn, and He has justified you through your acceptance of the atoning blood of Jesus Christ.

God forgives our wickedness. In order for this forgiveness to be complete, we must forgive ourselves. We cannot hold anything over ourselves if God has forgiven us for it. We must remember our actions, not so that we can condemn ourselves, but, rather so we can remember the sin that we have been saved from.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
(2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV))

God’s saving grace makes us new creations. Have you fully embraced the new even when confronted by the sins of the old?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Salvation is not complicated

February 26, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, `You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
(John 3:5-8 (NIV))

To this day many still do not understand the words that Jesus spoke. It is such a simple concept that many fail to grasp it because of its simplicity. They are looking for a “complicated” way to reach God.

Nothing could be further from the truth. God does not seek anything that we do in order for us to reach Him. He knew then that if it was of our doing, then we would boast and brag about “our” accomplishments. Instead, it is a gift. A free gift just like the wind is free. All we have to do is acknowledge it and accept it. Just like the wind, the Holy Spirit is everywhere doing the will of the Father. All we have to do is acknowledge and accept.

Birth is a passage. Being “reborn” is also a passage: a passage from worldly sin to heavenly righteousness through the gift of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Water baptism is an outward sign of this acceptance. The Holy Spirit comes into you as an inward sign of being reborn.

Think of being “reborn” as booking passage on a ship for the ultimate vacation. A vacation is supposed to be rest and relaxation. Heaven is the ultimate rest and relaxation. Have you booked your passage yet?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who are we to love?

February 25, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;
(Philippians 1:9-10 (NIV))

What is the one thing that we are told to do until Jesus returns?

Carefully reread Philippiams 1:9-10. We are told to have real knowledge and all discernment, but these are not the one thing that we are told to do. They are the way we are to do the one thing!

We are to love!

Who are we to love?

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
(John 13:34-35 (NIV))

We are to love each other so that others will know that we are disciples of Jesus. Who are we to love and how are we to love?

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. `Look after him,’ he said, `and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
(Luke 10:30-36 (NIV))

Based on this passage, who do you think that we should love?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you in need of pruning?

February 22, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
(John 15:1-2 (NIV))

Think about this passage. There are two things that caught my attention. Both of which, we, as the Body of Christ, must recognize.

He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit

If you have fruit bearing trees, and an old limb just does not produce fruit, what do you do with it?

Think about that in relation to your life and your faith. Are you bearing fruit? I know that this makes me take a good, hard look at my life and how I appear to God. Am I that old limb that is in need of removing? Am I simply there without any benefit to those who look to me for how I can bring Jesus into their lives?

I pray that I bear fruit!

The second point directly relates to our ability to bear fruit.

while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

Every single one of us has things in our lives that detract from our ability to bear fruit. Just as a healthy tree may develop some problems and have to be trimmed back, our problems may also have to be trimmed back. Once we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we will not be perfect. Once we start to bear fruit, we will still have problems that must be corrected so that our fruit will multiply. The Body of Christ must be willing to accept this pruning for it is a much needed step in the maturation of our faith.

Think about these two very distinct aspects of how a gardener cares for the vine. One is a total removal because it does not bring life. The other is a loving correction so that our lives and our fruit may be more abundant.

I know that correction can be painful and unpleasant, but given the two options, it is obvious that it is better to undergo the correction than to undergo the removal. Would you want to be cast away from Jesus? Would you be willing to allow for the removal of unfruitful elements from you life?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Would you be willing to allow God to prune away areas of your life so that your fruit may blossom and grow?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must not be afraid!

February 21, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
(Matthew 10:27-28 (NIV))

Have we, as today’s church, forgotten the words that Jesus told us? Do we simply wish to hide ourselves away cowering in the darkness because we are afraid to share the light?

If we claim to have the light of Jesus, yet, we do not share that light, do we truly have it? If we know that we are bought by the blood of Jesus, we will proclaim it for all who will hear it. We should not be ashamed of what we have be given. We should not be ashamed that we are wise enough to realize that we need salvation.

Professing a faith in Jesus is not a weakness contrary to what our society may think. Professing a faith in Jesus requires a courage and a strength to step out of the crowd and proclaim that we do not like the way the world is. We are proclaiming that we long for a world that is free from sin. We long for a life that is filled with God’s purpose. In a world that looks down upon anyone who does not think of themselves as the ultimate authority in their own life, we must stand firm in the faith and not be afraid to share the Gospel that we know to be true.

We must not be afraid.

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?
(Romans 8:31 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Confidence?

February 20, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
(1 John 5:14 (NIV))

For the last several years I have been asking for what I wanted with no results. Don’t get me wrong. What I was asking for was not something bad or totally wrong. I was just being selfish and focused on my desire to be with my family. Every time that I asked something along these lines, it was a resounding “No!” I don’t know if it was my lack of faith in my situation or if it was simply a pity party of one.

Somewhere along the way, I started to transition my requests to make them more in line with God’s Will. Every time that I started to ask for things in that manner, progress was made, but it was often progress of “two steps forward and one step back.” I would start to ask for my personal will and this would slow down God’s Will.

Does this sound familiar?

We all do it. Perhaps we go through periods like this simply to teach us a lesson in what we ask for. Just as a little child will continually ask for that one toy they are fixated upon, we often ask God for the same thing over and over again without relenting. We only see our immediate desires. We do not see that there is so much more to ask for that we can have if we will only change our focus.

Lately, I have been asking God to give me His WIll as my will. Strange things are happening. I don’t know where His Will is leading me, but I am trying to prepare myself to follow.

Instead of asking repeatedly for the things that God does not want us to have, we need to look for the blessings in His possession that He does want us to have. I can guarantee that those blessings from His Will will far outweigh what we ask for from our will.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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