What do you do?

July 23, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.
(Acts 10:34-35 (NIV))

I find it interesting how God will reveal things to you through a passage that you have read many times before. This happened today with this passage.

I have heard and read this passage many times and each time my main focus was on the part of the passage where God does not show favoritism. I hold firmly to that truth. I also hold firmly to the truth that God accepts men from every nation into His Kingdom. This is a common sense extension of the Great Commandment.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
(Mark 16:15-16 (NIV))

I wish that the world would understand the last part of this passage.

“. . . who fear him and do what is right.”

To be honest with you, I believe that many who profess a faith in Jesus need to understand this passage.

I am not able to judge, so I will not even begin to point fingers. I am not qualified. All that I know is what we are told about fearing the Lord.

And he said to man,
`The fear of the Lord–that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.’ ”
(Job 28:28 (NIV))

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
(Proverbs 1:7 (NIV))

We cannot have wisdom without fearing the Lord. I honestly believe that this definition of the word “fear” could be rendered as the word “respect.” Think about that from this perspective. Growing up, I loved my parents, and I still do. However, I also feared them. I did not fear them because of anything that they had done. I feared them because I feared what would happen if I did something wrong. In other words, I feared the just consequences of my own actions as laid out by my parents. I realize that fearing God goes deeper than this example, yet, I feel that the fear of God is based on His righteous actions to discipline my sins.

Sadly enough, our society no longer seems to fear the consequences of any actions.

As a result, the world also seems to ignore the “and do what is right” part of this passage.

Just what is right in the eyes of God?

He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
(Micah 6:8 (NIV))

I could quote many other passages. I know that part of doing what is right also hinges on our faith in Jesus. It also hinges on these words.

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
(Matthew 5:17 (NIV))

Accepting Jesus does not mean that you may continue to sin. We are to do what is right.

What do you do?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Weeds are appearing everywhere

May 23, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter.
(Isaiah 5:20 (NIV))

I know that I have been skirting around this passage for a long time with references to what is going on in the world today. I honestly do not see how people have become so polarized. How they have forgotten the basic concepts of society and the basic principles of a life lived in harmony with God’s desires.

I can remember a time when pregnancy outside of marriage was considered wrong. Now it is a choice and often a reality television show. I can remember when abortion was illegal. Now it is a woman’s right. I can remember when victims could defend themselves. Now they are locked up and the criminal has more rights than the victim. I can remember when homosexuality was not talked about. Now it is supposedly a biological issue. I can remember when freedom of religion meant that you could worship in any manner that you wished. Now it means freedom from religion. I remember when the majority of the population went to church. A vocal minority now has us on tiptoes when the 10 Commandments are posted in a public building. I remember when prayer was allowed in school. Now, we can’t mention Jesus, but we can talk about any other religion freely.

There are many other passages that confirm what Isaiah wrote.

But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.
(Romans 2:8 (NIV))

We are in interesting times.

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
“The owner’s servants came to him and said, `Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
” `An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, `Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
” `No,’ he answered, `because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ ”
(Matthew 14:24-30 (NIV))

Weeds are appearing everywhere.

We, as the Body of Christ, must not fall into the traps that the enemy has set. We must know God’s Word. We must know the enemy. We must be able to tell the difference between good and evil.

Do you call evil good and good evil?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you exercise?

May 9, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward in both this life and the next.
(1 Timothy 4:8 (NLT))

Our society places way too much emphasis on the physical appearances of people while the spiritual aspects of their lives is hidden from even themselves.

We are taught from an early age that we need to “put on a good face.” We are told that physical perfection is to be valued. We are constantly bombarded with media propaganda touting the virtues of the latest exercise craze or the latest diet, and, yes, even the latest cosmetic surgery technique. All of these are designed to make us feel good about out outward appearance while ignoring the inner spiritual issues.

We cannot hide behind physical facades forever. No matter what people can do with exercise and medical technologies, all of us will grow old. All of us will eventually die. Contrary to the saying, he who has the most toys does not win. We have not been placed on this earth to behave vainly and in a superficial and shallow manner. We have been lied to by Satan. God desires for us to seek Him and His Word!

We are to exercise our spiritual side, for it is eternal. We have accepted the lies of the enemy as the truth. We have been told to focus on the fleeting while ignoring the aspects of our existence that may last forever. We cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven if we have not prepared for this. How we are to prepare is simple. We must accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, and then focus on following God’s Word. We must spend time within it on each and every day. We must exercise our faith.

What do you exercise?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Fair and equal compensation

April 30, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

“About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, `You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went.
“He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, `Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’

” `Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.
“He said to them, `You also go and work in my vineyard.’

“When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, `Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

“The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. `These men who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, `and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’

“But he answered one of them, `Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
(Matthew 20:1-16 (NIV))

What do you think of when reading the above scripture? Do you think of honesty and “fairness,” or do you think of generosity and grace? From the workers who were first hired, it does not seem that they were treated fairly by the landowner. They worked much longer than those who came later, but were paid the same for what they had done.

Think of it from a kingdom standpoint. These workers who were hired early in the day are those people who have believed from an early age. The workers who were hired mid-day are those people who have believed from a later point in their lives. The workers who were hired at the eleventh hour are those people who came to be believers late in life. Now take a look at the wages that they were paid. A denarius represents eternal life with God. How can that be divided for the different groups of people? No matter when the decision was made, the results are the same!

Isn’t it good to know that God freely gives His grace to all who ask for it with no stipulations or punishments for when they asked!

There are other interpretations of the above passage. But, based on God’s grace and mercy, reflection must be made regarding our attitude towards others when they accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Do we rejoice or are we angry because they will receive the same blessings and rewards as those of “us” who have accepted Jesus much earlier in life?

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