Are you ashamed of the Gospel?

September 5, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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 3:19-21 (NIV))

How can we be the light of the world and share the Light of Jesus if we remove God and Jesus from everything in our public life?

Too many have given up talking about Jesus because we do not wish to offend anyone. Are we ashamed of Jesus?

Paul was not ashamed.

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
(Romans 1:16-17 (NIV))

Do we deny Jesus?

They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.
(Titus 1:16 (NIV))

Do we disown Jesus?

“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.
(Matthew 10:32-33 (NIV))

These passages are clear about what happens if we are ashamed, if we deny, or if we disown.

We have allowed God to be removed from public life. We have allowed prayer to be removed from school. We have allowed the removal of any reference to God or to Jesus from many aspects of our life and today, I read, and verified with several news agencies, something that completely broke my heart.

One of our political parties has completely removed any reference to God from their platform.

Are we, as a nation, ashamed of God?

Are we, as a nation, denying Jesus?

Are we, as a nation, disowning Jesus before men?

I can hear the comments already. Some of you are saying that this does not mean that these people are not believers. I do not know the people involved, so I am in no position to speculate. I am also not qualified to judge. What I do know is that which is written in God’s Word.

If we are ashamed of Jesus, or if we deny Jesus, or if we disown Jesus, then Jesus will not claim us as His own.

Sometimes what we omit speaks volumes more than what we say. If you proclaim that Jesus is your Lord and Savior, do not fall into the mindset where you are ashamed of Jesus.

Would you intentionally deny Jesus?

Sometimes, what is not presented is the presentation. If we remove God, how can we call upon His name and how can we claim to be in His will? Our act of omission may cause us to hear these words from Jesus.

Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:23 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Which type of a relationship do you have with God?

March 30, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him.
(Titus 1:16a (NIV))

What do your actions say about you?

Do they deny your claim that you know God or do they uphold your claim?

Let’s take a look at the ways that we claim to know God. Just like our human relationships, we can confuse a casual acquaintance relationship as one where we think we truly know a person. Is this how you know God? Is He a casual acquaintance that you call upon when and only when you need His help? Do you struggle with knowing what is in God’s heart because your relationship with Him is based on this casual arrangement. This type of relationship has no depth. It has no breadth. It has no long lasting qualities because everything is very superficial.

To truly know someone means that they are much more than a casual acquaintance. It means that you know them intimately. This relationship has depth. It has breadth and it has long lasting qualities because you have taken the time to get to know the other person. You know what is on their heart and mind. You know them so well that being able to understand them is no longer casual. You understand them completely. You know what makes them tick. When you know someone this well, your actions will reflect this knowledge. You will not deliberately do anything that will hurt the other person.

Which type of a relationship do you have with God? Is it casual and superficial or is it in-depth and meaningful?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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If given the opportunity

March 28, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”
(Luke 22:34 (NIV))

Most people think of this as an Easter event. True, the original words depict an event that happened some two thousand years ago, yet, we should face the fact that we deny Jesus on a daily basis.

Can you honestly say that you take every opportunity to present Jesus to everyone that you meet? I know that I have trouble doing or saying what should be done when I am offered an opportunity to show the love of Jesus to someone who needs it. This, too, is a form of denial.

Would we be able to accept these words if they were spoken to us, especially when we know that our actions, or lack of action, could actually be considered denial? We all want to think that we will respond just as Jesus wants us to respond. We like to put ourselves in the shoes of Peter. We like to think that we would be able to do better than the “rock” upon which Jesus built His church. If the “rock” did not have the strength and stability to avoid denial, then how can we do any better?

We must consider that Peter was told these words before the betrayal, crucifixion and the resurrection. After the resurrection, Peter was indeed the “rock” that Jesus called him to be. What made the difference? Peter was given a faith that knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that Jesus was who He claimed to be. He had seen it and the events made no sense from a physical perspective. He saw with the eyes of faith. Peter never again denied Jesus.

Perhaps it takes a faith changing event to achieve that in our own lives. Perhaps it takes an inward change. I know that in order to be a “rock,” you must have solid faith and a solid foundation.

If given the opportunity today, would you be guilty of denying Jesus or would you stand firm in your faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Deny yourself?

March 16, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
(Mark 8:34 (NIV))

Have you ever given any thought to what it means to deny yourself?

One of the definitions of denial is to withhold. When you deny yourself, you refrain from satisfying your own desires and needs. In other words, you withhold things from yourself.

I know that this concept goes against human nature, so why are we told to deny ourselves?

Think about this statement from Jesus. He foretold of His actions. He would deny Himself. He would allow things to happen. He would not defend Himself to His accusers. He was about to bear a heavy burden. He was about to carry His own cross and go down a path that is difficult to travel. He was about to go where it is difficult to follow.

What would have happened if Jesus had not denied Himself? What would have happened if He had not carried His cross and traveled the road that He had to travel?

Fortunately, we do not look at this passage with that answer in our set of Biblical knowledge, for Jesus did deny Himself to the point of the cross. He saw that others would benefit from His actions.

For those of you who are Trekkies, you may recall the saying that Spock often used, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one.”

God looked upon humanity and saw a great need. It was a need so great the it was universal. There was not a single person who had ever lived or would ever live who did not have that need.

Jesus denied Himself for us. He did not satisfy his own desires. He satisfied the desires of God the Father.

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

We must refrain from satisfying our own needs and desires when all around us is a sea of humanity that has a need to know of Jesus. The cross that we bear may not be the same as Jesus, but we will face trials for our self denial. The world is fond of telling people that it is ok to do whatever you want, to place yourself first. There are even those who take self denial to the extreme and commit painful acts upon themselves to show that they are denying themselves. Godly self denial is not about these acts.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: ” `Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: `Love your neighbor as yourself.’
(Matthew 22:36-39 (NIV))

Denying yourself without loving God and loving your neighbor is worthless. You must complete the three fold instructions – deny yourself, take up your cross, follow Jesus. It is not possible to do only one.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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