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 Jesus do?

March 27, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
(Romans 15:7 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself one simple but important question?

What if Jesus treated us the way that we treat each other?

If Jesus had decided that He didn’t want to come to earth because we are so different than the angels in heaven that He knew, where would we be? If Jesus had decided that He didn’t want anything to do with us because our life style was different than what God had commanded, where would we be? If Jesus had decided that humanity was not worth coming to earth to save, where would we be?

I could go on and on using every single reason that we offer up as an excuse to treat each other in ways that are less than what God desires, but I think that you can probably get the picture by now. Why do we treat each other, as members of the Body of Christ and potential members of the Body of Christ, with such contempt and callousness that we can’t even be recognized as followers of Jesus.

“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))

These words do not say that we are to love only those who look like us. They do not say that we are to love only those who have the same life style as us. They do not say that we are to love only those whom we deem to be worthy of our love. We are to love one another. There are no words in that statement that can be taken in any way, shape, form or fashion as an authorized limitation to whom we are to love.

What if Jesus had limited His love to only the nation of Israel? If that had been the case, the passages that we all know and love would not read as they do.

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
(Romans 1:16 (NIV))

If Jesus has accepted everyone through what He came to accomplish at the cross, then why do we have such a difficult time doing the same?

The next time that we have a moment where we want to shun someone, remember four simple words. What would Jesus do?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you express your love?

September 21, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.
(Isaiah 1:16-17 (NIV))

I want you to think back upon your childhood. Who was it that you looked up to? Who was it that you wanted to grow up to be like?

Chances are that the person you wanted to be like possessed characteristics that could have been reflected in the words of Isaiah. They were an inspiration to be around. It is probably safe to say that most people also enjoyed their company. They stood for what they knew to be right. They lived their lives not for themselves, but for the people that they came into contact with.

Think about those people in your life who have filled this position. What made them do what they did?

Now, take a look at your life. Have you come to embody the characteristics that these other people possessed? Do you strive to fulfill the words of Isaiah 1:16-17. Even though this was hundreds of years before Jesus came, the characteristics are the very ones that Jesus embodied. Hundreds of years before Jesus came to live out these words, God was giving us a glimpse of how He wants us to live. In our society, it is becoming rare for someone to place others first. Placing others first is a sign of love. This love is the highest form of love, for it is an intentional act. It places the welfare of someone else above the welfare of the giver.

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

How do you express your love?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you love as Jesus loved?

August 3, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
(1 John 4:11-12 (NIV))

It is God’s desire that we love one another as Jesus has loved the church. We claim to love God, whom we can not see, yet, many people who claim this do not love the people that they can see. God wants us to love one another.

By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
(John 13:35)

We need to work on our ability to love one another the way that Jesus loves us.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Godly love is tough love calling for repentance!

February 12, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
(1 John 3:11 (NIV))

I honestly believe that our society has twisted what it means to love each other.

Think about that for a moment. We used to correct and discipline each other because we loved each other. We, as a society, did not want to see each other fall into sins that became habits that became lifestyles. We loved each other enough to try and offer guidance and correction so that no one would stumble and fall. We literally took each other on as a responsibility because we understood the concept that it is easier to guide than it is to recover from a fall. We also understood the consequences of sin, both short term and eternal.

Sadly, in today’s society, we are considered hateful if we try to offer guidance. We are only looked upon as loving if we completely accept everything about each other.

If that is how love works, then we need to be honest with ourselves and admit that we hate ourselves. After all, everybody has something in their lives that they hate. By that logic, if we can’t accept everything about ourselves, then we must hate ourselves.

Human nature proves that statement to be incorrect, after all, self-preservation is a very strong human characteristic.

Godly love is not acceptance, but a desire to see what is best for each other.

Is addiction good for anybody?

Is hatred good for anybody?

Is rebellion against God good for anybody?

Is sin ever in anybody’s interests?

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

Is eternal separation from God good for anybody?

It is for this reason that we must tell people about Jesus, and not the watered down Jesus that accepts our sins without asking us to repent. Jesus showed tough love.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
(Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Fear and hatred or compassion and mercy?

June 20, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
(1 John 4:18 (NAS))

It has been said that there is a thin line between fear and hate. If you fear others, then it is because you are close to hating others. This is probably not intentional, but, it is true.

It is through love that hatred is abolished, and through this, fear is abated. You cannot fear someone that you love. They are opposite extremes and diametrically opposed to each other. You either love with no fear, or you fear with hatred as the root.

We are to live with Jesus as the example. Jesus did not know fear or hatred. He had compassion and mercy on all that He encountered. It was their reactions to Him that set the tone of the interactions. No matter what happened, Jesus always responded in love and mercy. If we are to be followers of Jesus, then we, too, should respond to all whom we see with love and mercy. Jesus gave us instructions on what to do.

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

How well have you carried out this new commandment? Can others tell that you are a disciple of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we truly showing the love of God?

July 19, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
(1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NIV))

This is a lesson that is very hard to learn. It is a lesson that I am still learning.

We can know what God’s Word says in all circumstances. We can have the faith to know that Jesus is God’s only begotten Son. We can have the faith to stand firm in the face of sin. We can love those whom we deal with on a daily basis.

And . . .

We can be so weak in our faith that we cross the street to avoid someone in need!

Is this showing the love of God? Why do we often turn our backs on someone in need when God didn’t turn His back on our need? Just because someone doesn’t look like us or have the same background as us is no reason for us to abandon the love that Jesus has taught to us. We are to preach the gospel. We are to share the good news. We are to share out of love. We are to love out of faith.

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
(1 John 4:19-21 (NIV))

We are to share God’s love with all we meet, and not just the ones we already know.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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