Who are we to love?

February 25, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;
(Philippians 1:9-10 (NIV))

What is the one thing that we are told to do until Jesus returns?

Carefully reread Philippiams 1:9-10. We are told to have real knowledge and all discernment, but these are not the one thing that we are told to do. They are the way we are to do the one thing!

We are to love!

Who are we to love?

“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))

We are to love each other so that others will know that we are disciples of Jesus. Who are we to love and how are we to love?

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. `Look after him,’ he said, `and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
(Luke 10:30-36 (NIV))

Based on this passage, who do you think that we should love?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery

Advertisements

What is your example?

June 5, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.

Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.

In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.

A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well. Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.
(1 Timothy 3:1-12 (NIV))

Jesus loves the sinner and hates the sin. However, the Bible clearly states that those in positions of authority should be “models.” Are the priests to model sin? If they renounce the sin, it is one thing, but to continue to embrace the sin is another. Do you agree that priests should model righteousness?

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
(1 Peter 2:9 (NIV))

Forget about the ordained clergy for a minute. We, as the Body of Christ, are all priests. We are the royal priesthood. We have been given instructions. If we are the royal priesthood, then we, as the Body of Christ, must model righteousness and not sin.

Homosexuality is a sin. Lust is a sin. Coveting is a sin. Greed is a sin. Knowing that something is a sin, yet making a conscious decision to continue down that path is one biblical definition of wickedness.

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
(1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NIV))

However, this is not from our own hand.

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:21-23 (NIV))

This does not mean that it is ok to continue to sin. Grace is not a free pass to do whatever we want.

As we grow in our faith, we are “perfected” in the image of Jesus. Jesus was sin free. He was not a sinner.

If you remember the adulterous woman who was going to be stoned, think about what Jesus told her:

But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

“No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:1-11 (NIV))

LEAVE YOUR LIFE OF SIN!

The church cannot have leaders who refuse to follow the teachings of Jesus. We, as the Body of Christ, are the leaders. We should set an example for the world to follow.

What is your example?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


I have accepted my position

February 13, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant–not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
(2 Corinthians 3:6 (NIV))

It has been said that the Old Testament and The Law are there to show us what we are supposed to do and how difficult it is to do it. If this is true, then the New Testament is there to show us that we have another way. The Law is there as the letter that we must follow perfectly and never falter or waiver from its course. The Spirit is given to us by the grace and mercy shown at the cross. The Spirit gives us redemption and salvation. It gives us freedom from the Law. This freedom does not mean that we are able to ignore the Law and do whatever we want. It means that we are given grace for we are not capable of being perfect even when we desire it with all of our hearts. It allows us to be human. It allows us to make mistakes and then learn from our mistakes.

The twist to all of this is that through the Spirit, we are all ministers one to another. In the Old Testament and under the Law, ministers had to be set apart from the rest of society. They had to be ceremonially pure. They had to be followers of the letter of the Law. If they did not follow the letter of the Law, they faced the possibility of death in the presence of God.

Today, we have grace and mercy as our mantle. We have salvation through the blood of Jesus. We have the Spirit. Through the Spirit, we are given life in the presence of God, were, before the Spirit, we only faced death. Speaking for myself, I do not long to follow the letter of the Law, for it is inflexible and unforgiving. I want forgiveness and mercy, for I know that I am not perfect and cannot ever achieve perfection on my own.

I need grace!

I need to help others find that grace!

I, in all of my human shortcomings, am a minister of that grace. I have accepted my position.

Have you accepted yours?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Are you an avid fisher of men?

January 26, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”
(Mark 1:17 (NIV))

We could have never fully understood these simple words that Jesus spoke if God had not sent Jesus to this earth to walk among us as one of us. God knew that humanity needed to be taught face to face and that the only way that this could be accomplished was for Him to send His only Son to be our teacher.

How can anybody be a fisher of men? Fishing requires the use of nets and hooks and results in the death of the fish.

We can not and do not want to utilize these implements to the same end results. We are to be a different type of fisherman. We are to cast the net of the Gospel so that it entices people with the truth and not ensnare them with deception. Look at what you do when you fish. You “bait” the hook with something that is appealing so that the fish will desire to take it. Little known to the fish is the fact that danger lurks just beneath the surface of that appealing bait. When we follow Jesus and become fishers of men, we have nothing to hide. All of the truth is just that – TRUTH. There is no falseness and there is no hidden danger. Perhaps this is why the world is slow to accept Jesus as the only way to eternal salvation. The world still sees the danger associated with the appealing bait and is reluctant to accept Jesus because of what they are afraid is hidden below the surface.

If the world is reluctant to take the “bait” of the Gospel, then we must be the light of Jesus to the world in their reluctancy. We must be ready, willing and able to show that there is no hidden danger and that Jesus truly is the Son of God. We must cast our nets so that people see Jesus in our “casting” and not the danger of the hooks that Satan uses in his deception.

Are you an avid fisher of men?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


The Light of Jesus!

December 20, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:16 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to think about this verse?

In just a few days, we will be celebrating Christmas, the day that we have set aside to commemorate the day that God sent the Light of the World into the world. From the day of His birth, Jesus did not hide His light. He let it shine so that any and all who would recognize it could find the salvation and grace that they had been seeking.

What is Jesus had hidden His light?

Would we know of His teachings? Would we know of His healings? Would we know of His miracles that defied natural law? Would we know of the crucifixion and the resurrection? Would we know of the fulfillment of God’s promises?

If Jesus had hidden the Light that God had given Him, we would be no better off than before He came to this world.

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))

Did you catch that simple truth?

Jesus let His light shine. We are to do what Jesus did. According to scripture, it is even possible that we may do greater things than He did. It is possible that our light may shine brightly to many people. It is possible that we may reach more people with our light than the number of people that Jesus reached when He walked this earth.

I know that this may sound egotistical, but that is not the intent. Jesus came to this earth some two thousand years ago. How many people could he have actually reached during His time on this earth? Now consider the works of Billy Graham. How many people has he been able to impact for Jesus? I am sure that it is far greater than the number that Jesus reached during His three years of ministry and teaching. In other words, he did greater things than Jesus.

The key to this is simple. We can do great things, and maybe even greater things than Jesus, if we make Jesus our focus. We must not draw attention to ourselves, but we must always point to the one who gives life. We can impact a great number of people for Jesus. We can do this by simply letting our light shine.

Just make sure that the light that shines is the Light of Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


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
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Help us, for Your names sake

September 2, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Help us, O God our Savior,
for the glory of your name;
deliver us and forgive our sins
for your name’s sake.
(Psalms 79:9 (NIV))

It is time for the church to arise to the occasion and earnestly seek after God. We must be ready to act as a willing and able instrument for God’s plans.

I am more appalled every day at what our society allows. I am more appalled every day at what governments are allowing to be removed. I am more appalled every day at what is called evil and what is called good.

If I, a mere speck in the greatness of God’s creation can find things so detestable, how do you think God feels about what this world has become.

I know that each generation has their moral and spiritual battles to fight, but gone are the days when the moral compass pointed to Jesus. That makes me groan deep within my spirit. The anguish that I feel is terrifying, yet I know that God is in control.

His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
(Luke 3:17 (NIV))

I recently heard of plans to do in this country what has happened in Egypt recently with their government, and not because of tyranny or oppression. What I have heard of is based on the idea that these people are demanding more handouts from the government, as if the government had an endless supply of money, food and luxuries to distribute to those who simply want them. We have gone from a country that was built on the principle of hard work, dedication and faith to one of entitlement and laziness.

I am sure that God is in control and that all of this is a part of His plan to bring about the return of Jesus. However, we as the church cannot simply sit by and allow sin to overcome us while we are waiting.

God is a God pf power and strength. When Jesus walked this earth, He did not turn a blind eye to sin. He also told us to do as He did.

We have His power and strength when we pray, when we speak, and when we act. It is time that the church do just that.

Lord, forgive us our sins for your name’s sake.

We do not want the world to think that we serve a weak God. He is the God of creation. Jesus is Lord of lords and King of kings. We need to start acting like it.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


%d bloggers like this: