What are you willing to give up to be reconciled?

June 26, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation– if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
(Colossians 1:21-23 (NIV))

It had to be a powerful gospel in Paul’s life. He started off persecuting the church. Yet, something happened in his life that made him give up all that he had earned for himself in the physical world.

Who in their right mind would give up worldly position and wealth for something the world considered of no importance?

Paul saw the power of the Gospel firsthand and was empowered by the Holy Spirit to spread that Gospel. He knew that Jesus is the Messiah and that He is the only way to enter heaven. Paul gave up worldly position for something that he knew was of far greater value than anything the world had to offer.

What are you willing to give up to be reconciled?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you guilty of this?

June 4, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?”

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

“I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
(John 4:4-21 (NIV))

I love my Sunday School class!

This morning, I was leading a discussion on a new chapter in the book that we are studying, and, true to form, we got off topic. I must admit that we often get off topic, for we use the topic as a springboard for discussion and questions. The questions often lead to very interesting and deep answers. Today was no different.

I raised the question about how does society’s view and the Biblical view on Hell compare. After much discussion, someone asked a question about certain denominations claiming that those who are divorced and remarried would be going to hell. It was also asked if it is Biblical to withhold communion to these individuals.

This passage came to mind a few minutes later once the class was over.

How many husbands had the Samaritan woman had? Was she married to the man that she was living with at the time of this encounter with Jesus?

Did Jesus refrain from offering her salvation – living water – even though she was a Samaritan and a sinner in the eyes of the community?

We, as the Body of Christ, cannot place restrictions upon those who would come when Jesus did not put any restrictions on those who came to Him. We are not able to judge whether someone is worthy, for our judgment is human judgment. Only God can judge. Only Jesus can offer grace. Grace is freely given to any who would simply accept.

We, as the church, cannot put restrictions and limitations on what God has freely offered.

I can hear the thoughts that some may be thinking – that these people are sinners. I have some news for you. We all are sinners.

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

How can one sinner tell another sinner that they are not worthy to receive what God has freely given?

I pray that I am not guilty of this!

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is there ever a time?

February 29, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
(James 5:13-16 (NIV))

Did you catch the same thing that I caught from reading this passage?

Did you even catch what I am referring to?

The one thing that stands out in this passage is that we are given instructions to turn to God in trouble, in praise, in sickness, in happiness, in faith and in our sin. In other words, we should turn to God in all that we do and in all situations that we face.

Do we do that?

Come on, be honest.

If you are like me, I would like to think that I do, but I find myself falling short of my self image far too often.

We all get wrapped up in our own little worlds that we create for ourselves and we forget that our little worlds are still a part of God’s creation. We focus so much on us and ours, that we forget about Him and His – His world, His Son, His plan of salvation, and His desire to be in a relationship with us.

Relationship!

If you stop to think about the times that we are to turn to God, they are the basic principles that apply to our relationships with our spouse, our family and our friends. We turn to them in these times. Why do we find it so difficult to turn to the One who created us?

Have you ever stopped to wonder why the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective? Did you stop to realize that this statement comes after the instructions on when we are to turn to God? If we turn to God based on those instructions, we will walk so closely with Him that our hearts will want His will. Our prayers will be powerful and effective.

When should we turn to God?

Perhaps the better question to ask is this. Is there ever a time that we should not turn to God?

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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Do we listen to His voice?

December 27, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
(John 10:1-3 (NIV))

Whom do you follow?

Whom do you trust?

All throughout history humanity has been deceived by one lie after another. Why do we look for something and expect it to be as promised when we can’t verify the credibility of the source? There is only one source that is credible. There is only one source that knows us by name. There is only one source that enters through the gate.

Why must people make it so difficult?

Why do people take a look at what Jesus teaches and tell themselves that it cannot be that simple? Why do they think that it will work for everyone else except them? Why do they listen to those who have come into their lives through something other than the “gate?” Why do we, as humanity, prefer to listen to the thief and the robber? Is this the same desire or gullibility that has allowed con men and the proverbial snake oil salesmen?

What is it about human nature that makes us want to look for an alternative when we are told that there is only one way? Why do we want to test the warning signs that boldly proclaim danger, yet ignore the wisdom and direction that leads to life?

With Christmas Day a very fresh memory in our minds, why do so many ignore the gift that God gave to His creation? Why do we look for alternatives to what God has given?

Perhaps it is due to the old saying, “It is too good to be true.”

Think about that. Our society has been telling us for a while that we must beware of things that are too good to be true, because they are not true. I honestly believe that our society has become jaded by this and now, too many apply this to faith in Jesus.

Jesus is not too good to be true! He is the truth.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
(John 14:6-7 (NIV))

Jesus is the shepherd. He enters through the gate. He knows our names. He calls us out.

Do we listen to His voice?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you free from the condemnation of sin?

November 18, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
(Romans 8:3-4 (NIV))

Did you catch this in the middle of all that Paul wrote to the Romans?

God condemned sin in us, sinful man, so that we could be made righteous!

Think about that statement. It is a rather unique way to explain what we have been given.

We were condemned because of sin. We were held accountable to the laws that explained what sin is. We were found guilty because sin was free to condemn us.

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

Here is the interesting twist to this that I had never thought of before, and that is if sin could be condemned and its power removed, then all who had been condemned by sin would have nothing to condemn them. Sin, in all of its arrogant, God defying nature had the tables turned upon itself. God condemned sin to an eternity of separation and death.

Think about that in different terms. Suppose that you are being held accountable for something that was done and you are being threatened by someone to expose you. You are being judged and condemned as a result. Now, lets take this one step further and the police arrest the person who was threatening you. This person is jailed. He has been condemned for his actions. He no longer has control over you because of your actions.

You are free!

Jesus came to teach, to die on the cross and to be resurrected. He came to set us free by condemning the power of sin. Sin has no authority over those who call upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. He has set us free and condemned the sin that condemned us. Our accuser has no authority if we accept the atoning blood of Jesus Christ and the grace and mercy that it brings.

Are you free from the condemnation of sin?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How are you convicted?

October 28, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
(Hebrews 4:12 (NIV))

I may be a little slow, but I just realized why many people don’t want to read the Bible.

Conviction!

Far too many people do not want to take a serious look at their lives. They would rather feel comfortable in their sin and try to plead ignorance. God’s Word holds up a measuring stick and it is out of reach by human standards. Instead of facing our shortcomings, we tend to ignore them in hopes that what we don’t know won’t hurt us.

Unfortunately, that is not how anything in this world works.

If you do not know that electricity can kill, do you refrain from suffering the consequences of a run in with a high voltage line?

If you do not know that fire burns, are you able to walk through the flames without needing medical attention?

The same principle applies in the spiritual world as it does in the physical world. Ignorance will not keep the consequences from you. In fact, it is said that we all have a God-shaped hole in our heart that longs to b filled. We are born to have a relationship with God, yet, far too many of us try to ignore that. As a result of this God-shaped hole, it is human nature to know that something doesn’t feel quite right even if we tell ourselves that it is okay.

If you claim that you do not know that something is a sin, does it lessen it any? If you did not know that placing your favorite activity above your family was wrong, would your family understand when you spend all of the monthly food budget on your hobby?

The same is true with God and His Word. If we do mot spend any time in His Word, we will not know God’s calling upon us. We will not understand that our actions have consequences. We will not understand that the reason we have no love in our life is because we have not loved Him.

God’s Word is living and active. It is like that small mustard seed. Once you start, you begin to understand and then you want to understand more. Soon, it begins to change your life.

There are two types of attitude toward conviction in relation to God’s Word. One is fear and condemnation. The other is an embracing love and guidance of our Father. The conviction of fear leads people away, while the conviction of love draws people in. Through love, we desire to change.

How are you convicted?

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