Are you willing to obey?

May 28, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.
(2 Timothy 2:4 (NAS))

As a child, probably everybody sang the song about being in the Lord’s Army. If we are in the active service of Jesus, then we have an obligation to follow the “marching orders” that we are given.

In our nation’s army, a private obeys the orders that he is given by his sergeant or he faces disciplinary action. How can we, as believers in Jesus Christ, not obey the orders that we are given by our commander, after all, Jesus outranks the sergeant that the private obeys!

Yet, many people do not follow the orders or even worse, they ignore them.

We have a mission far more important than that of a soldier in a worldly army! We are to be the light in a dark world and we are to take that light to the world. If the private does not obey the sergeant for an extended period of time, he is subject to court martial. If believers do not listen to God, we are not subject to court martial or any retribution, but God does continue to give us “orders” for the advancement of His Kingdom. It is our choice whether we obey or not!

If we are truly soldiers in God’s Army, then we should be willing to obey.

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

April 20, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He appointed judges in the land, in each of the fortified cities of Judah. He told them, “Consider carefully what you do, because you are not judging for man but for the LORD, who is with you whenever you give a verdict. Now let the fear of the LORD be upon you. Judge carefully, for with the LORD our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery.”
(2 Chronicles 19:5-7 (NIV))

How many in today’s society still believe in this concept?

I am a student of prophesy. I have also become a student of human nature as a result of my interest in what God is doing. Sadly, over the last few years I have witnessed what appears to be a sharp decline in human judgment in general and in fearful judgment in particular. We have become a society of Pharisees who are more concerned with the letter of the law than the intent of the law. We judge each other vehemently. We have trials and convict someone in our own minds solely based on partial information or false information.

We are no longer careful in our thoughts and actions.

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.
(Matthew 15:19 (NIV))

Are we, as the Body of Christ, guilty of this?

I have seen some comments lately that make me wonder. These comments, many of which are easy to see how they could be made, are not reflective of what we are called to by Jesus. They are attacks of a personal nature and not directed at the sin. We cannot be witnesses of grace and mercy if we are attacking the very people who need it.

We must be careful to guard against thoughts and actions that are not what Jesus calls us to. We must be willing to look at ourselves with honesty and ask God to show us what we need to surrender so that we will be righteous in His eyes. If we do not surrender to Jesus as Lord, then we will be part of the group of people that Jesus told us about.

“Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV))

“I never knew you.”

Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
(John 10:25-27 (NIV))

Follow Jesus!

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

February 8, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.
(2 Timothy 4:2 (NIV))

Did you catch the three words in the middle of this passage? Chances are that most people tend to ignore them and focus on the first part where we are told to “Preach the Word,” yet many of us fail at this as well.

What three words do we want to ignore?

Correct, rebuke and encourage.

Why are these three words so hard for us to take to heart? Why do we shudder at the thought of actually doing anything related to these words? Why do we find it so difficult to offer correction when we know what is truth? Are we afraid that they will point out the correction that we need? Why do we hesitate to rebuke when we know the One who has all power and authority? Are we afraid that we might end up rebuking ourselves and be shamed in the process? Why do we find it so difficult to encourage others to walk in faith? Is it because we are secretly struggling with our own walk?

Human nature is a funny thing. We tend to avoid things that will actually give us away or things that we feel uncomfortable doing. How many criminals do you know who will report a crime? How many alcoholics will admit they need help? How many sinners will admit that they need a Savior?

Ah, hah!

I played that card.

Even though we may admit that we are in need of a Savior, do we fully embrace it and fully surrender to it? Do we simply try to do the least that we can do to get by? Plus, we feel that we are no better than others so what gives us the right to correct, rebuke and encourage?

Jesus gives us that right!

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))

Jesus did these very things when He walked the earth. He did them out of love. He did them to show people the way to the Father. He did them so that they would have a full life.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10:10 (NIV))

Are you ready to do what Jesus did? Are you willing to show love? Are you willing to help open the eyes of those who are in darkness? Go forth in love.

Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.
(2 Timothy 4:2 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t be a boastful messenger

January 27, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

It is written in Isaiah the prophet:
“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way” —
“a voice of one calling in the desert,
`Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’ ”
(Mark 1:2-3 (NIV))

What if we were told that God was sending us a messenger today?

Think about that if you will.

John the Baptist came to point the way to Jesus. Those who came to John were ready for what was to come. They were sincere in their repentance and from what we have been told, they were earnestly seeking God. They recognized something in John, something that did not point to himself, but pointed to someone who is to come.

John was not the message. He was only the messenger.

Jesus was and is the message.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
(John 1:1-9 (NIV))

Do we, as the “modern” church, confuse the messenger with the message? How many times have you heard of people going to a church because they love the pastor? This is not wrong, but what happens when the love of pastor is greater than the love of God and Jesus? How many times have you heard of people leaving the church because of something that someone said?

Each of us is a messenger in our own right. We are all supposed to point to Jesus. What you do and say has an impact on those around you. Professing a faith in Jesus means that we are to surrender to Him and to be His hands and feet in this world. We are to prepare the way for the Lord in the lives of those we meet.

Don’t be a boastful messenger.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we so stuck in our ways?

December 8, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means, “Be opened!”). At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.
(Mark 7:33-35 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to realize that sometimes the things that actually get us to pay attention, to open our eyes and ears, are the very things that may seem absurd to us?

Think about that in relation to this passage.

How many of us would draw back if someone put their fingers in our ears and then spit and touched our tongue? Would we be willing to allow the actions to continue? If you are like me, then the actions would have been observed reluctantly and cautiously, or they would have been stopped.

Why? Simply because it goes against conventional wisdom and ettiqutte. We have “knowledge” of what is supposed to happen and how it is to happen. If something falls outside of this “knowledge,” then we are prone to not accept it.

Now, let’s put a spin on this concept. Let’s test our faith.

What if Jesus asked you to go to the ends of the earth to spread His Gospel? Does this fall within your “knowledge” of what is supposed to happen? Turn the tables on who is asking whom. Picture yourself in a situation in which you could be the recipient of a large amount of money. It is not too difficult to imagine yourself asking God for it to come to be true. You may find yourself making all types of promises to God simply because it is in your interest and your “knowledge” of how things should work.

Are our eyes and ears any more open than the man we are told of in Mark? Are we willing to step outside of our conventional “knowledge” when we are confronted with what God has in store for us? Are we willing to look at things that are absurd in our eyes with the eyes of Jesus? Are we willing to take that proverbial step outside of our comfort zone in order to meet Jesus upon the road that He leads us?

Think about that.

“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))

Are we so stuck in our ways that we miss what God is willing to do, and is doing, in our lives?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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And who is my neighbor?

October 27, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered: ” `Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ ; and, `Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
(Luke 10:25-29 (NIV))

“And who is my neighbor?”

How many times have you asked that very same question simply because you did not want to be put outside of your comfort zone to help someone who was in need? I hate to say this, but I am guilty of this more than I care to admit.

Let’s face the truth. It is human nature to be concerned only with ourselves or those who immediately impact our lives. We become so wrapped up in our own little worlds that we fail to recognize the simple fact that we are only a small part of God’s creation, and, more importantly, we are not the center of that creation.

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))

If God loves each of us that much, then each of us, no matter how many miles may separate us, are neighbors. We must continually strive to remember this the next time that we feel outside of our comfort zone.

What if Jesus decided that He did not want to come to earth as a man because He was going to be outside of His comfort zone?

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

September 26, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations.
(Revelation 2:26 (NIV))

We should not seek power for the sake of power, however, Jesus has promised us that we would have authority.

Power that comes from the world is self-serving and is self-centered. It feeds a person’s ego and allows Satan to enter with lies about “no one will know, and you deserve it.”

The old saying that absolute power corrupts absolutely is true. No single person in all of history has been able to resist the temptation that comes with absolute authority. Notice that I said no single “person.” Jesus was fully man and fully God. Jesus resisted the temptation, and as a result, if we can follow Him and allow Jesus into our lives as our Lord and Savior, then we, too, can resist temptation. By resisting this temptation in our lives and focusing on Jesus, we are placing all authority for our lives in His hands. By surrendering our authority, we will be given authority through Jesus Christ.

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)

Most people don’t think of authority as one of the things that they will do. However, it is. Jesus was given the authority. His authority He gives to those who allow Him into their lives.

It is promised. If we do the Will of God through the authority given to Jesus, then we will be given authority in a similar manner. This authority is not to be looked upon as the world looks upon authority, for even God given authority still requires a willing submission to the Father who has granted the authority.

Do not boast about authority, but pray for guidance in your authority that God has given you.

The passage speaks about the Millennial Kingdom, but the same principles apply today. Focus on Godly authority to enforce whatever authority you may have, and you will be blessed as well as be a blessing.

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