Does the world know that you are His disciple?

May 21, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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

Sometimes it seems like all that the world recognizes in people who profess a faith in Jesus is the less than loving way that we treat each other at times!

I am going to use a cliché because it seems to say best what we need to be thinking and doing.

What would Jesus do?

We know without a doubt that Jesus would not let the pettiness that leads to family squabbles become foremost in our minds. Why do we do that if Jesus wouldn’t? We know that Jesus even embraced Judas out of love and he betrayed Him unto death. Why do we treat each other as if they have done worse to us than what Judas did to Jesus? Think about that the next time that someone does something that makes you mad. Chances are that they aren’t even aware that they made you mad.

Think about your family. Has anyone ever made you angry? Do you still love them? Do they still love you? Sadly, sometimes families, since we are a fallen and sinful humanity, will say and do things that will leave a bad taste in your mouth. We all say and do things that we wish we could take back. Families are no different. The members of the Body of Christ are a part of a bigger family. By grace, we have been made children and heirs of God, but in our sinful nature, we will stumble. No one is perfect. We will hurt each other at times. Repentance is a big part of the love that we must show. Forgiveness is also a big part of the love that we must show. We must remember that each of us have been offered grace and what we have been offered, we must also offer.

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

If Jesus offered grace and showed love to all who would accept, can we do any less? Will we be held accountable for our actions if we don’t? What will the world see in us if we don’t?

Does the world know that you are His disciple?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What would it be like to have walked with Jesus?

October 16, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.” But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it.
(Mark 9:30-32 (NIV))

I often wonder what it would be like to have walked with Jesus. I know that grace and mercy are freely given through His sacrifice, but what is it about Him that drew people to Him to begin with? Was it His knowledge? Was it His love? Was it His demeanor or was it His ability to enthrall large crowds with His public oration? It is something that I think most people have had in their minds at one time or another.

Consider the words from Mark. Jesus spoke in such a way that those who chose to follow Him did not understand. To me, this is an unusual occurrence, for human nature gravitates to what it knows. If someone doesn’t understand something, they have a tendency to stay away from these things and stay with what they know. Human nature does not place you in situations that make you feel inferior. You stay with what you know and understand. Yet, on many occasions, these men did not understand what Jesus taught. Still, they stayed with Him. They clung to every word that He taught just as a young child will cling to its father. They may not understand what is being said, but they recognize the voice and the comfort that it brings.

I can only imagine the commanding persona that Jesus had. What type of personality would the Son of God possess? Did He laugh? Did He cry? Did He play jokes on people? Did His disciples play jokes on Him? Jesus was fully human. I can imagine that He did the things that we do, only without allowing sin to take control.

Jesus was also fully God. He did things that people could not understand.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

We have already thought about the characteristics that drew people to Jesus, but what would draw Jesus to humanity and ultimately to the cross? We say that love drove Him to the cross. I am sure that it did, but, can we even begin to understand this great of a love?

What did He see in you and love so much that made Him willing to suffer and die?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How are we to go into the world?

June 24, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”
“Nothing,” they answered.
He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: `And he was numbered with the transgressors’ ; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”
The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”
“That is enough,” he replied.
(Luke 22:35-38 (NIV))

What do you see in these passages above?

There is so much involved in these few words that I wonder if most people understand what is going on and what Jesus is telling His disciples.

Jesus had sent His disciples out without any money, possessions or anything to use for self defense. I believe that He had them go this way to help build their faith. It was a lesson in trusting God and in building their trust in Him.

The next part makes me wonder.

Jesus, immediately after asking about that first time, instructs the very same disciples to go prepared into the world. He even instructs them to take weapons for self defense. Is Jesus telling the disciples that He is not able to protect them at all times? I honestly believe that what Jesus was doing was trying to teach the disciples to use common sense. It is a fallen world, and you don’t venture out into the world without knowing what you may face and without at least preparing for some possibilities of what you may encounter. Jesus never told the disciples that they would have it easy. In fact, they had seen the instances where the crowd wanted to kill Him. Jesus did not tell the disciples to go unprepared!

I realize that there is much more that Jesus was saying in these passages, but for the sake of length, I will stop at this point.

We, as the Body of Christ, must realize that the world is fallen. We must realize that even Jesus told His disciples to be prepared.

I can hear you thinking!

Many are thinking that Jesus preached peace. Why did Jesus heal the man’s ear when it was cut off with the sword? Why did Jesus not resist when He was put on trial and placed on the cross?

Jesus was called as the Lamb of God. He was to go quietly to the slaughter. It was all part of God’s plan. This is the Jesus that most people know. What they fail to realize is that He will return as a mighty warrior, a mighty king, who will deal with sinful humanity. In the interim, we are to go into the world. We are to walk where sinners walk. We are to use common sense. We are to use Godly wisdom. We are to use the power of God!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your understanding of God’s truth?

June 23, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.
(Mark 16:19-20 (NIV))

Right after Jesus gave us the great commission, He was physically taken up into heaven. Can you imagine the reaction of the people who were fortunate enough to have witnessed this awesome sight? If they were like most people, they were probably left dumbfounded at the sight of this event, for nothing had ever happened like it before this time, and nothing has ever happened like it since then.

Let’s take a look at this from a different aspect. One that almost all of us have heard, but do not truly understand. The aspect that Jesus now sits at the right hand of God, the Father.

From a human point of view, would you expect anything less from someone who was physically taken up into heaven right before your eyes? Even in today’s society in which we see special effects and stunt people performing all kinds of theatrical stunts, no one besides Jesus has ever been physically taken up into heaven right before our eyes. Even those who had never seen death in the Old Testament did not go to heaven in such a manner. This indicated a devine presence.

This served many purposes. The first one was to show that Jesus was truly the Son of God. The second purpose was motiviational in that the disciples, who had been timid and unwilling to follow Jesus to the cross, now preached boldly everywhere they went. They did this with authority that could only come from knowing that what they spoke of is absolutely true.

Do you possess that same knowledge of the truth that empowered the people who witnessed Jesus’ ascension? Does Jesus work through you in the same manner that He worked through these disciples?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you whimpering in the dark?

December 3, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:

“A voice of one calling in the desert,
`Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’ ”
(Matthew 3:1-3 (NIV))

We think of John the Baptist as a strange character, after all, he lived in the desert and ate wild locusts and honey. Would any sane person do that?

Perhaps we should consider that John was probably the most sane person, next to Jesus, alive during his time. Sanity means that you are able to distinguish right from wrong and do what is best for yourself and all around you. Even though John’s message went against the thinking and social standards of the day, he did what he knew had to be done. It was a willful decision to obey. God had given him the task of letting people know that the Messiah was coming soon. John fulfilled his task with a dignity and an assurance that he was right.

We have been given a task by Jesus. We are to make disciples for Him. Do we approach our task with the same dignity and assurance that John the Baptist approached his? Are we calling people to repentance and forgiveness through the blood of Jesus with as much energy and assuredness as John called them to repentance almost two thousand years ago? Perhaps we need to reevaluate our focus and become more like John.

Are you a voice calling in the wilderness, or are you whimpering in the dark?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t forget Jesus!

September 15, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed three or three and a half miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were terrified. But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.
(John 6:16-21 (NIV))

I know that we are all familiar with this story, but there are some things that just need repeating.

Jesus was not with them.

They were caught in a storm.

They saw Jesus and they were not afraid.

They were willing to take Jesus in.

The storm calmed.

They got to where they were going.

How many times do we try to fight the storms of this world without Jesus? How many of these times are the storms caused by our failure to take Jesus with us? Just like the disciples, how many times do we realize that we should have taken Jesus with us to begin with?

We are only human and human pride makes us think that we can do things on our own. It makes us think that we don’t have to involve Jesus in every aspect of our lives.

Think about that human trait and then think about what happens in your life when you don’t involve Jesus. I would venture to say that most of the time things don’t go as you plan.

Why do we, those who proclaim that Jesus is their Lord and Savior, often leave Jesus behind? Why do we think that Jesus could not be interested in the small stuff in our lives? Why do we ignore God’s grace and mercy when it is not on our own terms and timeline?

We must walk with God at all times. We must learn to not leave Jesus behind. We must learn to realize that Jesus is the one who calms the storms. He is the one who safely guides us to where we are being called.

Don’t forget Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who then can be saved?

August 11, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
(Mark 10:24-27 (NIV))

Who then can be saved?

This is a question that humanity has asked for a very long time. Sadly, too many people believe that they are beyond salvation, that their sins are too great for God to forgive them.

Is that you?

Do you feel that your sins are so great that there is no way that they could be forgiven? What have you done that would bring you to this conclusion?

Do you feel that salvation is available to anyone and everyone no matter how many sins and how great they had been? I have often asked one question of people who feel that God’s grace can only extend so far.

What would your reaction be if you get to heaven and you find that Adolph Hitler was there?

In our human understanding, he was responsible for so much death and destruction that his sins must be too great for God to forgive. I don’t try to say that I know that he repented or if he was forgiven, but I do present that scenario for you to think about. How would you react? Would you be outraged that God had forgiven such a person, or would you be filled with joy that such a person had found salvation through Jesus? We are told in Mark 10:27 that things are not impossible with God. It is our human understanding that places the limitations on our salvation.

Who then can be saved?

I believe that God has many things that are beyond our comprehension and we will probably be surprised by His plan. I know that I can only claim to know Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. Anything else, to use a common phrase, is above my pay grade.

Don’t place human limitations on who can be saved. God doesn’t place any limitations on who can call upon the name of Jesus!

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