Does this sound familiar?

October 24, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
(Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV))

When was the last time that you heard anything like this?

Today’s society is bombarded with words and images that tell us that we deserve better than what we have simply because we have earned it, or because we have succeeded where others have failed. We judge success on how much we have accumulated and not on how much we have given to others.

What would you think of someone who spent their whole adult life roaming from town to town without a true home to call their own? What if this person often slept outside and ate whatever they picked off of trees as they walked from one place to another? What would you think of that person if they chastised the church and its leaders for losing touch with God? Would you think of that person as a part of society that should be locked up, or perhaps killed? What if that person did nothing wrong, but taught people to love God and each other?

Does this sound familiar?

Would you have been one of the people shouting “Crucify Him!” almost two thousand years ago?

The person that did all of these things is Jesus.

We cannot even begin to imagine a life that gives of itself so freely that it thinks nothing of itself, yet, that is exactly what Jesus did when He walked the earth. Jesus was God with us. If God can humble himself and place others first, then how can we elevate ourselves above God by placing ourselves first?

Jesus is our example. Are you living according to the example of a Godly life that we were shown, or are you still an infant in the faith that always wants to be taken care of first?

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

July 31, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.
(Nehemiah 1:4 (NLT))

Nehemiah did something that we seem to ignore today!

It is the first two words of this passage – for days.

We have become such an instant gratification society that if something does not happen immediately, too many of us simply give up.

We mourn. We fast. We pray to God, but when God doesn’t answer on our time table, we assume that the answer is no. Nehemiah knew differently. He knew that God is like the judge in the following parable.

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, `Grant me justice against my adversary.’
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, `Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’ ”
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
(Luke 18:1-8 (NIV))

We must be persistent in our prayers. God answers every prayer, but He takes great joy in granting justice for those who call upon His name.

Do you call out for days or do you utter a few words and give up?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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In the face of unsound doctrine

March 19, 2012

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))

“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.”

Does this sound like the world in which we live? People who are comfortable in their sin, not longing to hear the truth, are seeking justification for their actions in any way that they can. It is human nature to want to be accepted. We all want confirmation that what we do is not wrong. We all want to be around others who will affirm us in our beliefs and support us in our chosen paths, even if that path is wrong.

That brings up another interesting issue. What is morally right and what is wrong? What is truth and what is a lie?

Sadly enough, the answers to these two questions, which go hand in hand with each other, have lost any solid answer in my lifetime. What is right and wrong is now subject to individual interpretation and truth is relevant. Does this fit into the words from 2 Timothy? Does this describe our society and enforce what is spoken of when we are told that people will gather around them teachers saying what their ears want to hear?

Human nature is a funny thing. Why do we seek what is not true? Why do we seek to do what is wrong? What is inside of us that makes us turn away from the truth?

In these days that we find ourselves living in, we, as the Body of Christ, must stay the course. We must stay focused, and according to 2 Timothy, we must keep our head, be willing to endure hardship, and tell people the truth whether they long to hear it.

I know that this may sound like I am telling you to be annoying to those who do not wish to hear, but keep in mind, everything is in God’s time. how many times did you hear someone telling you about Jesus before you finally came to the knowledge of God’s saving grace?

But wait!

And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them.
(Mark 6:11 (NIV))

I know that this may sound like a contradiction, but think about that for a moment from this perspective. The story in Mark is told of what we are to do when we encounter any location where no one will listen. It does not tell us that there is no hope for those people. It tells us that we are to leave. It does not mean that others will not be able to reach them.

Some will plant. Some will water. Some will harvest.

We are to keep our faith. We are to spread the truth. We are to reach as many as we can with the Gospel. We must remain prepared to preach the Word both in season and out of season, when we are welcomed and when we are despised.

Are you prepared to do what you are called to even in the face of unsound doctrine?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you free from the condemnation of sin?

November 18, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
(Romans 8:3-4 (NIV))

Did you catch this in the middle of all that Paul wrote to the Romans?

God condemned sin in us, sinful man, so that we could be made righteous!

Think about that statement. It is a rather unique way to explain what we have been given.

We were condemned because of sin. We were held accountable to the laws that explained what sin is. We were found guilty because sin was free to condemn us.

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

Here is the interesting twist to this that I had never thought of before, and that is if sin could be condemned and its power removed, then all who had been condemned by sin would have nothing to condemn them. Sin, in all of its arrogant, God defying nature had the tables turned upon itself. God condemned sin to an eternity of separation and death.

Think about that in different terms. Suppose that you are being held accountable for something that was done and you are being threatened by someone to expose you. You are being judged and condemned as a result. Now, lets take this one step further and the police arrest the person who was threatening you. This person is jailed. He has been condemned for his actions. He no longer has control over you because of your actions.

You are free!

Jesus came to teach, to die on the cross and to be resurrected. He came to set us free by condemning the power of sin. Sin has no authority over those who call upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. He has set us free and condemned the sin that condemned us. Our accuser has no authority if we accept the atoning blood of Jesus Christ and the grace and mercy that it brings.

Are you free from the condemnation of sin?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Judge or defense attorney?

November 15, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.
(John 12:47-50 (NIV))

Did this passage catch anybody off guard?

Think about that for a moment.

How many people, including believers, have this notion that Jesus is to be our judge? This is easy to come to this false realization if you picture Jesus as He is during the Second Coming. We see Him dishing out justice on the world as He defeats the armies of the world in the Valley of Megiddo. Still, He is not the judge. There is one piece of information that we fail to bring to mind.

Jesus is wielding the Word of God as His sword. It is the Word of God that judges.

Perhaps we should think of Jesus as our defense attorney, and I know that I need one.

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

For those who call upon His name, Jesus is our Lord and savior. He is our defense attorney for when we stand before God to be judged. He knows God’s Laws and our sins, and He will stand in the gap for our benefit. He will claim the true believers as His own.

He will get our sentence pardoned.

Looking back at this passage, would you rather have Jesus as your judge or defense attorney?

I know that I want Him on my side.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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