Are we thoroughly equipped to be God’s servants?

June 23, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV))

Most believers are familiar with this passage, but most read it as I have presented it here. We have a tendency to take it as a stand-alone passage and forget the context that it was originally written. It is true that as a stand-alone passage, it does speak truth, for anything from God’s Word is God-breathed and useful in all righteousness, but there is more to this passage than this. These words about all scripture close 2 Timothy 3 after it is opened with these words about the last days.

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
(2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV))

We, as the Body of Christ, have taken these two passages and have made them unrelated. We look at the warning about the last days but fail to realize that the closing words from 2 Timothy 3 are instructions for us when we see the things of the last days unfolding right before our eyes. The words written by Paul to Timothy are instructions to continue in the faith. We are to stand firm in the face of adversity. We are to stand firm when we see people are becoming lovers of themselves. We are to stand firm in our faith when we see the world turning into lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. We are to stand firm by firmly rooting ourselves in the scriptures, and not just our favorite passages.

In order to recognize the truth, we must be firmly rooted in God’s truth. There are gems of godly wisdom and truth in every passage. Some truths are only recognizable when you understand the complete truth, for God’s Word is not just a collection of individual, unrelated nuggets. God’s Word is life!

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
(Genesis 1:1 (NIV))

From the first words in Genesis 1 to the last words in Revelation 22, there is an unfolding of God’s truth and in order to understand it, we must read and study it all.

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.
(Revelation 22:20-21 (NIV))

It is said that all of scripture after the fall from grace details God’s plan to bring salvation and to restore His creation. How well do you know the story? How well do you know what the outcomes are for those involved in this story?

Are we thoroughly equipped to be God’s servants?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Would you step up to answer the call?

May 25, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
(John 12:23-26 (NIV))

This may seem off target for this verse since it speaks of Jesus telling His disciples that His time has come. However, the words that Jesus uses speak to all of us.

The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
(John 12:25 (NIV))

Memorial Day started back in the 1860s as a way to remember those who had given their lives in battle. Originally it was called Decoration Day since the way that people honored the fallen was to decorate their graves. Regardless of what it is called, we owe these men and women a debt of gratitude and honor for their sacrifice. Many people do not agree with war, but the truth is that these people stepped up to take the responsibility of righting something that they did not agree with and they were willing to give their lives for that calling.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

Most of us never knew these people throughout our history, yet we owe them so much. I can honestly say that it is a certainty that not all were believers in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, still, I believe that they carried a spark of the Light that Jesus brought to this world. You cannot be exposed to the Light without having some of it take root.

Jesus laid down His life so that we could have life. These men and women did the same thing in their own ways.

We must never forget to honor those who have gone before us and stood for the truths that we, as the Body of Christ, hold fast to. They answered the call when an answer was needed. Would we be willing to answer a similar call today? Would we rely on the Light of Jesus to guide us in that answer?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Look at the gift that Jesus gave us!

December 16, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
(Luke 16:13 (NIV))

Who or what do you serve?

It is the time of year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Lord and Savior, yet, society has turned this celebration into a monetary event. The celebration of the gift of salvation and grace has been over-run by commercialism and the need to spend. Don’t get me wrong. Gift giving is good, for we give gifts to celebrate the greatest gift that we could ever be given. It is when we lose sight of what is truly being celebrated that we start to become enslaved to the monetary side of the celebration.

It is not the monetary cost of the gift that is important. Look at the gift that Jesus gave us. It’s monetary cost was nothing, yet, it was done out of love for God’s creation. Its true cost to Jesus was something that could not be measured in gold. It cost Him His physical life, yet, He gave freely of something that had not monetary value, yet was more costly than anything this world can throw at us. He did not serve money. He served God!

Remember this simple, yet profound truth at this time of the year. Money is not your lord and master. It cannot save you. It cannot bring true happiness. It cannot bring eternal life.

What is your perspective?

What do you value?

Who do you serve?

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.
(Joshua 24:15 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you truly thankful to be called a son or daughter of God?

November 26, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.
(Galatians 4:4-5 (NIV))

What rights does a slave or a servant have? What rights does a person who hires himself for a wage have? Now, think about those rights and then think about the rights that the son of the owner has. There is a huge difference in what they are given and what they are allowed to do.

How do you want to be thought of in relationship to God? Do you desire to serve God in all that you do? Do you want to be treated like a servant? Do you long to work for God and do whatever task He assigns to you? Do you want to be treated like a hired hand?

Think about the relationship that God longs to have with us? Did Jesus die on the cross to gain servants? Did He get resurrected to be able to hire more workers? Jesus came into this world and died so that we could become children of God. That means that we, as believers, are sons and daughters of God. We are not to be treated as slaves. We have all the privileges that a son possesses.

How can we not desire to serve God?

Nowhere does it say that we are not to serve God. It simply states that we are sons and daughters of God. A loyal son or daughter will serve the father out of love. A slave serves out of fear. A hired hand serves out of respect. At the end of the day, a slave is sent to his quarters, a hired hand goes home, but a son enters into the house of the father.

Jesus came so that at the end of the age, we may enter into the house of the Father.

Do you truly embrace your rights as a son or a daughter of God? Do you look forward to entering the house of the Father? Are you truly thankful to be called a son or daughter of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How have you responded to God’s gift?

November 25, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death–
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:5-11 (NIV))

It is hard for us to imagine that God could send Jesus who willingly gave up HIs authority while on this earth. He humbled himself to the point of servanthood and, eventually, death. Even in our best moments, we could not be capable of doing this, let alone planning to do it.

It is true, that under certain circumstances, people will rise to the occassion and do something that is selfless. Yet, could you imagine planning to be a servant and knowing that you would die a horrible death because you made the choice to do so? Self centeredness and self-preservation are too strong in us to willingly accept what Jesus accepted on our behalf.

Many people think that Jesus was only a good man, yet, even the best of men could not have done what he did? Only the Son of God could have willingly accepted the burden that he bore, for he knew the rewards that would be gained for all who called upon his name. He went willingly to be our sacrifical lamb so that we would not have to face eternal separation from God.

We have a great gift that has been given to us.

Are you thankful for that gift?

How have you responded to that gift? Are you one who bows your knee and confesses before man, or will you be one who confesses too late?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you see Jesus?

October 28, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!
(Philippians 2:5-8 (NIV))

I think I understand some of the nonbelievers mindset when it comes to Jesus!

Think about human nature and then think about what most people spend a lifetime trying to do. If you came to the conclusion that most people spend a lifetime trying to prove that they are better than everyone else, then I think you may be thinking what I am thinking.

Human nature, in its sinful, fallen state, wants to think that we are better than everyone else. We spend a lifetime trying to elevate ourselves to a place of being worshipped and served. Jesus took the exact opposite approach. He lowered Himself to our level. He left heaven and became a servant. This is a very difficult concept to grasp, especially for those who fail to recognize that being worshipped and served is not what life is about.

We want to have control. We want to be in a position of authority. We want fame. We want people looking to us and worshipping us. In essence, we want to be the god of our little world. We just can’t comprehend the fact that Jesus did not consider equality with God as something to be grasped. He was willing to surrender what each of us have strived for in one way or another.

Jesus came from heaven and lived among us. He did not seek to be worshipped. He came to serve. He did not seek glory. He came in humility. He did not seek power. He deliberately left all power and authority behind. He did not come to be rich. He was born in a stable!

Too many people simply cannot comprehend the idea of deliberately lowering your status to help and serve others. We are always looking for the next pat on the back, the next promotion and the next raise. Where is Jesus in any of these activities?

The attitude of a believer should be exactly opposite of what the world says. Jesus turned the world upside down. Believing requires us to see things as Jesus sees them and not in the way that the world sees them. To many people, this makes absolutely no sense.

Pray for them, for they see Jesus through their senses and the so called logic of this world.

How do you see Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you still a servant to sin?

October 17, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The rich rule over the poor,
and the borrower is servant to the lender.
(Proverbs 22:7 (NIV))

Do you owe anyone anything?

Are they pressing you for payment?

I know that in today’s society, it is impossible to do anything without owing someone. You need to have a job to earn money to live off of. In order to get to work, you have to have a car. Most people have to borrow money to buy a car. You need someplace to live. you either rent because you are borrowing a place to live, or you pay monthly payments because you borrowed money to buy a home. I could go on and on.

Is this biblical? Are we borrowing against our future and paying it back over time so that we become indebted to those whom we borrowed from?

If we plan our personal budgets, we can make it work, but what happens if we over borrow? Can we go on borrowing and never expect to pay it back?

Think about this from a different perspective.

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

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

If we have all sinned and the wages of sin is death, then all of us, until we accept Jesus, are living on borrowed time!

Think about that. Humanity, in its sinful nature, owes a debt that we could only pay with our lives.

Jesus paid that debt for all who would simply ask for forgiveness of their sins. Jesus is now that one that we are indebted to. We should be proclaiming this wonderful gift of grace every moment of every day. We are no longer bound by our indebtedness to sin and death. Our debt has been paid. Jesus has set us free.

Are you still a servant to sin?

Are you living on borrowed time?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Lord, enlarge my territory so that you may be glorified!

July 12, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.
(1 Chronicles 4:9-10 (NIV))

Oh, that you would bless me!

This is something that we all think, and probably most of us actually pray it as well. Many sermons have been taught on the principle that God wants to bless us. The good thing is that He does want to bless us!

He wants to bless us so that we can be a blessing to others. He does not want to bless those who will hoard his blessings and keep them for themselves. He wishes to bless those who will, in turn, bless others through what He has blessed them with. A pastor once put it in a way that tells it well. He said that he did not want to be a jar for God to pour His blessings into. He wanted to be a teapot or a pitcher that was designed to pour out for others. He wished to received the blessings so that he could pour out the blessings to others.

Perhaps this is why God granted the prayers of Jabez, for he did not simply ask to be blessed. He asked to have his territory enlarged. Jabez honored God by asking for God to be with him. If God is with you, He will use you to spread the news of what He has done. If you are used by God to spread His Gospel, then you will be blessed. Your circle of influence will increase so that God can be glorified.

Look at the men and women of today who glorify God in all that they do. God has increased their circle of influence so that more people can be blessed through them.

Be careful in your heart when asking God to bless you. Do not let human nature take control and simply ask to be a blessing to others so that you will be blessed, after all, God knows what is in your heart.

It is my prayer for all who fervently seek the Lord to have their territory enlarged so that they may be His witness in all that they do. I also seek your prayers for this ministry that God has given to me. I pray that if Daily Living Ministries has touched your life, to please share that with those around you. I seek your prayers to help under gird me and to keep me focused on what God has called me to do. The world offers many distractions. I desire to avoid the distractions. I desire to enlarge my territory. Perhaps I should rephrase that. I desire to enlarge the territory that God has granted me. I do not do it for any personal gain or for any notoriety. That is not the reward that I seek.

Lord, enlarge my territory so that you may be glorified.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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
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O LORD, open my eyes so I may see

April 27, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked.

“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
(2 Kings 6:15-17 (NIV))

“O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.”

Is this your prayer?

I know that Elisha was praying it for his servant when his servant thought all was hopeless. Elisha knew that the Lord was with him. It took a prayer from Elisha asking God to open the eyes of his servant before his servant saw what he saw.

Can you imagine how the servant felt?

How would you feel?

Would our hearts contain the overwhelming awe and wonder of such a sight?

We pray for God to open our eyes and to open our hearts, but are we ready to see what God is truly doing? Are we willing to relinquish what we think we know and allow God to truly guide us? With what is going on in this world, I pray that my eyes would be opened so that I can see. I pray that for you as well. I pray that all will come to a saving grace through Jesus before it is too late.

I want you to think about something, if you will.

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
(Philippians 2:10 (NIV))

Would you rather have God open your eyes now so that you can see and understand, or would you rather see the hills full of horses and chariots of fire when you are being surrounded by them? The servant saw the vast army of the Lord when he was under their protection. However, put yourself in the shoes of the ones that they were protecting them from. How would you rather see God’s army?

O LORD, open my eyes so I may see.

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