Preach always. When necessary, use words.

October 23, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
(1 John 3:18 (NIV))

It is so easy to hear only part of what is said and as a result, the whole meaning is completely different from what is intended. Even words of friendship, fellowship and love can be misunderstood if we do not have a direct insight into the mind of the person who is speaking.

Why are our words so easily misunderstood?

Perhaps it is because we are sinful by nature and we seek self gratification even when we don’t realize it. I have heard it stated that when two people are in a conversation, the person who is supposedly listening is actually formulating what he or she will say next. This is done in order to ensure that we will get our point across. We are simply guilty of not truly listening to each other and as a result, we hear only a partial transcript. We miss many points that are relevant to the discussion.

How is it different when we love with actions and in truth?

Simply put, we are willing to place our desires as secondary to what is needed by the other person. It is a true form of agape love. When you love with actions and in truth, you are willing to step beyond your self-gratification and simply do something for someone else. You are willing to die to your desires so that others may see love just as Jesus died on the cross so that we could see love.

How do we love with actions and in truth?

It is a matter of attitude. We simply chose to do things for others because Jesus did such a great thing for us, and for all. If Jesus had come to simply preach and teach, it would have not had the same impact or the same results. In order for His ministry to succeed, it required an act of love and not just words. Salvation was not purchased through His teachings. It was purchased through His blood and the cross. Perhaps this is why the following words have had such an impact since they were first recorded.

Preach always. When necessary, use words.
(St. Francis of Assisi)

How are you preaching?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you understand what Jesus is telling us?

January 8, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
(John 18:36 (NIV))

Hindsight provides fantastic understanding. We can look back upon the words that Jesus has spoken and clearly see what He meant when He spoke them. We see through and understand through the veil of historical perspective that was not available at the time. The people that Jesus spoke to did not have this luxury. They understood things in the “here and now” concept as do most people to this day.

This basic human characteristic relies only on what can be seen, touched, heard or felt at that particular moment. It does not grasp the concept that there is more than meets the eye. We are bound to the physical realm, perhaps by the fall from grace, perhaps by our separation from God. Whatever has caused our bondage to the physical realm, we are obligated to live in it. Perhaps it is this physical realm that limits our spiritual understanding, after all, if it is spiritual, it rarely manifests itself in the physical world.

With this thought process, dare I suggest that we take a look at our true natures. How would we have understood these words if we did not have the advantage of historical perspective? I think that many of us, if not all of us, would have misunderstood them just as the people did when Jesus originally spoke them. With all of our technology, with all of our history, with all of our “understanding,” we are no different than the people who heard these words directly from Jesus. To me, this is a clear indication that humanity is still in need of a Savior. We have not gotten any wiser, just better educated.

What is your understanding of what Jesus is still telling us?

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