Have we become modern Pharisees?

August 20, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
(1 Timothy 1:15-17 (NIV))

Paul was probably the worst person in the eyes of the church before his Damascus Road experience. Even afterwards, many believers did not trust him or want to associate with him.

Does this sound familiar? How many of us today do not want to accept people whom we consider to be worse than ourselves? We claim to want sinners to turn from their sin and to turn to God, yet, if they try to do it in our “church,” we feel uneasy and do not want them to be a part of us. This is not Godly.

We never know what God has in mind for those whom He has called out of their sin through Jesus Christ. God may have a plan for those whom we do not want, and through our un-acceptance of these people, we are actually standing in God’s way. When we stand before God, do we want to have to answer the question asking us why we did not accept someone whom God has called? I know that I don’t.

People need to realize that all of us are sinners, and in the eyes of God, no sin is greater than another, for all sin leads to death. It is our human nature that has labeled some sins more sinful than others. If we fall into this way of thinking, then we have become modern Pharisees in the eyes of God.

Before you dismiss this, remember how Jesus treated the Pharisees of His day!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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His compassions never fail!

August 19, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
(Lamentations 3:22-25 (NIV))

Seventy times seven! That is the number of times that God says we must forgive others when they sin against us. When that was written, that was considered a large number and was intended probably to mean that we are to forgive unlimited times.

If we, who are not perfect, are to forgive unlimited times, how much more can God forgive if His compassions never fail? If we place our trust in God, He will forgive those who earnestly seek after His Will.

Look at two different scenarios. If you had a son who constantly disobeyed and did not wish to take Godly counsel, you would want to change his attitude, but would not help him until he did. If you had a son who wished to do what is Godly and right, but constantly fell short, you would assist him in his struggles. It is his desire to do what is right, but he needs guidance. One son you would stop helping until he changed his heart, the other son you would continually help because his heart is right.

God is the same way. If you earnestly seek after God, then He will assist you immeasurably to achieve His Will for your life.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How would your church respond?

August 18, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, `I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
(Revelation 3:14-22 (NIV))

How would your church respond to this?

Since it is not all rosy, would there be a knee-jerk reaction to reject it or ignore it?

That is the problem with many churches today. It is all about public image and not necessarily about responding to God’s call or correction. Can you imagine the reaction if someone said that they would spit your church out? Think about that. When you spit something out of your mouth it is because it leaves a very bad taste. It makes you sick.

What would that say about the church this was told to? Would you listen and try to repent, or would it be brushed under the rug so no one would know?

I know that everyone, including churches, has dirty laundry that they don’t want aired. What if the dirty laundry that you are hiding or ignoring is something that would make Jesus spit you out of His mouth? What if it was keeping you from God’s full grace?

It is impossible to grow and mature in Christ when you ignore what you don’t like or what you feel is negative. Jesus did not spend His time on earth complimenting people and sugar-coating what needed to happen. Why do we think that the church must do what Jesus didn’t do?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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So be on your guard!

August 15, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“When you see `the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong–let the reader understand–then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down or enter the house to take anything out. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that this will not take place in winter, because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now–and never to be equaled again. If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them. At that time if anyone says to you, `Look, here is the Christ!’ or, `Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect–if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.
(Mark 13:14-23 (NIV))

Do you know what to look for? Do you know the signs?

I don’t profess to know, for no one knows the day or the hour, but many people strongly believe that the season is very ripe for God’s plans to unfold.

I know that we all have limited life experiences and that there are not too many people left who can remember the events of World War II. I do know that what we are facing today seems to be just as ominous, if not more so, than the things that have been faced by previous generations. Never before in the history of the world has there been a group of people who are willing to kill the whole world because they do not believe as they do. To be honest with you, the reports of children being beheaded are horrendous. Who would be so evil that they would do such a thing?

We are told to be on the lookout for the abomination that causes desolation. We are told to flea when we see this. Do you know what to look for?

Sadly, I have read reports, and you should pray for discernment about these and anything that you hear, that state that Israel is being cut off. No mail service or bank transfers from many countries, including the US, and weapons shipments to Israel are being cut off as well.

The evilness in the world is trying to isolate Israel. It is also trying to turn believers in Jesus into a thing of the past. Whole cities are being told to convert to Islam, leave or die.

There are things going on in this world that without a faith in Jesus, I would be terrified and rightly so, but I know who wins! I know that Jesus will return. I know that what we face here on this earth will probably get a lot worse before the church is removed. I also know that it will literally be hell on earth after the church is removed.

I know that many people do not like to think about end-time prophesies because they either don’t understand them or they are scared of the events. I have a question for you. Do you live in a home with smoke detectors? You take the precautions necessary to avoid a scary situation in your home. You should be willing to take the precautions necessary to avoid a scary situation in your life.

We live in a time when things are unfolding rapidly, so be on your guard!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who will represent you?

August 14, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He who overcomes shall thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels.
(Revelation 3:5 (NAS))

The end of the Time of the Gentiles is getting closer every day. We do not know the exact day or hour, but, simply by the fact that as each day passes, logically we are getting closer to the day.

Jesus told us through John that we are to hold steadfast in our faith so that we may overcome the world and the ruler of this world. We are not to be deceived or waiver from our faith. Keep your eyes upon Jesus and follow His teachings, allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you. Test everything against God’s Word to verify its origin.

God’s Word is unwavering. It is always the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow. Jesus tells us that for those who can overcome the world and its deceptions by focusing on Him, they will be represented before God by Jesus Himself. What better witness can someone have? God, the Son interceding for us before God the Father! Satan doesn’t stand a chance!

Who will represent you when you stand before God the Father?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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I will place my trust in the Father and in His Son!

August 13, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.
(Revelation 21:7 (NIV))

WIth what is going on in the world today, it is evident that faith is a source of many things. All religions have the need to be in their god’s will, yet, all too many of these faiths have a god that demands death for those who do not believe as they do.

God created a beautiful place when He placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The faiths that many other religions demand call for war which results in destruction and death. The God of the Bible, which is the only book to accurately predict events before they have happened, is a Creator and not a destroyer. The one problem that I have with other religions is that they believe in a god who would have them destroy everything.

Revelation speaks of many hardships and tribulations that are to come as a result of humanity’s sin. I can’t help but speculate that the one true God is using the sin of the world to bring about His WIll through Jesus Christ. Why would a god create something and then desire for it to be destroyed by his creation? That is a premise about many other faiths that I find hard to accept. God has created and has sent us a Savior in Jesus Christ. A Savior who tells us that their is a way to escape the death and destruction that sin has brought.

No one knows what the future holds, but I do know that I will place my faith in the God of Israel and in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Listen to God’s explanation!

August 12, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.
(Luke 19:10 (NIV))

What was and is the sole purpose of God sending Jesus to this world?

Did He come to bring social justice and bring financial equality?

You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.
(John 12:18 (NIV))

Did Jesus come so that people could continue to live the lifestyles that they wanted to live?

“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:11 (NIV))

Jesus came to seek and save the lost!

All that we have to do is believe.

“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 he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

Contrary to the popular theology of today, Jesus came to call us to repentance and to a restored relationship with God the Father. Jesus did not come into the world to tell us that it is okay to continue living in our sins. He called us to grace and mercy.

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

What is sin? God’s definition of sin is not what the world says it is. The world says that if it feels good, do it. The world says that we can claim that we were born that way. The world says that truth is relative and that what one person considers a sin, another person does not.

Sin is defined by God.

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

Salvation is defined by God as explained in John 3:16-21.

Society has tried to redefine the reason that Jesus came to this world. Don’t listen to society’s explanation.

Listen to God’s explanation!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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