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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Biblical responsibility

October 3, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

At the end of seven days the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked man, `You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die forn his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself.
(Ezekiel 3:16-19 (NIV))

When God spoke to Ezekiel and told him to warn Israel of their wrongdoing, God made it clear that if He sends someone to deliver His Word, that person carries the weight of those people as his responsibility. That is also true for today.

When God sent Ezekiel, Ezekiel did not have the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to deliver. He had the teachings of the Law to deliver. God sent Ezekiel to deliver prophetic words that would greatly impact their lives.

Today, we have words that will impact lives even more than in Ezekiel’s time. We can speak in general terms, not as prophets, but as people empowered by the Holy Spirit to warn people of their impending danger if they do not accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Where we differ from Ezekiel is that we have a direct route to God that we can offer to anyone who is willing to receive it.

If God places us in situations that He desires for us to warn and to witness, we need to respond. If we do, then the decision and the consequences are the responsibility of the person we witnessed to. If we do not tell them, then the responsibility is ours to bear.

If we have truly accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, then we need to heed what God asks of us to do. It has a far greater impact than we realize.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What has God done for you?

July 17, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
(Psalms 136:1 (NIV))

When was the last time that you truly read and comprehended these words?

God is so good that His love truly does endure forever. David realized this when he wrote these words. David did not stop with these words only. He wrote and wrote about the good things that God has done and with each one, he emphasized that God’s love never ends.

Perhaps we should take a minute to read and reflect on what David wrote.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.
to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.
who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.
who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.
who made the great lights–
His love endures forever.
the sun to govern the day,
His love endures forever.
the moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures forever.
to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt
His love endures forever.
and brought Israel out from among them
His love endures forever.
with a mighty hand and outstretched arm;
His love endures forever.
to him who divided the Red Sea asunder
His love endures forever.
and brought Israel through the midst of it,
His love endures forever.
but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea;
His love endures forever.
to him who led his people through the desert,
His love endures forever.
who struck down great kings,
His love endures forever.
and killed mighty kings–
His love endures forever.
Sihon king of the Amorites
His love endures forever.
and Og king of Bashan–
His love endures forever.
and gave their land as an inheritance,
His love endures forever.
an inheritance to his servant Israel;
His love endures forever.
to the One who remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.
and freed us from our enemies,
His love endures forever.
and who gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever
(Psalms 136: 1-26 (NIV))

We would be hard pressed to list that many things in our lives that we are willing to give God the credit and the glory for. David did it. He gave God the glory for all things. Perhaps this is why he was called a man after God’s own heart.

There are things in my life that I pray would change, yet perhaps I should be thankful for them and wait on God to lead me through them instead.

What can you list that God has done for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 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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Am I where Jesus is?

February 1, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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 12:26 (NIV))

Do you follow Jesus?

Perhaps I should ask that in a different way.

Is Jesus your Lord and Savior? Do you serve Him as your Lord?

Where is Jesus in your life? Have you followed Him there, or have you gone your own separate way?

So many questions, yet they all have a very relevant impact on the relationship that each of us have with Jesus. The answers to these questions are the measure of how we see Jesus. The answers tell more about us than we probably care to admit.

Now come some even more telling questions based on “where I am, my servant also will be.”

If Jesus is working in your life to lead you to help the poor, and you fight this leading, are you His servant?

If Jesus is wanting you to witness to the lost, and you don’t leave your comfort zone in front of the TV, are you His servant?

If Jesus is calling you to be a friend to the new people in your neighborhood, and you refuse because they are different than you, are you His servant?

Far too many of us look upon Jesus only as our Savior. We embrace the grace and the mercy and ignore the aspects that we don’t like, such as Lord and servant. It is impossible to have one without the other. Jesus is Savior because He is Lord. His authority as Lord is the authority that was able to grant the grace and mercy.

Think about this and then ask yourself one simple question.

Am I where Jesus is?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What should we do?

January 20, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.
(Mark 6:12-13 (NIV))

This sounds pretty amazing especially when you consider that the miracles that were being done were not done by Jesus!

He had given them instructions to go out and take nothing with them. They were to take nothing; no money, no food, no extra clothes. They were simply to put into practice what Jesus had been teaching them.

Can you imagine the anxiety that the disciples must have felt when Jesus told them this? They probably felt panic and fear, as well as an instant knotting of the stomach. What would you have felt if Jesus had told you to do this? What would be your response? What would be the first words out of your mouth back to Jesus? Would you try to get out of doing what He asked? Would you fake the excitement and then go and do nothing? Would you have the faith to embrace the instructions and do what He asked?

Two thousand years ago, people probably had trouble following what Jesus asked, even though He was walking the earth with them. They had not yet seen the most astonishing aspect of the life of Jesus. They had not seen Him in His resurrected glory, yet, they still obeyed and were able to perform great things in the name of Jesus.

We have the privilege of knowing that Jesus did get resurrected and that He now sits at the right hand of God the Father. What do we do with that knowledge? Do we embrace it as the disciples did and drive out demons and anoint the sick and heal them?

God’s Word is powerful. We must learn to trust in it the way the disciples did. We must learn to listen and trust in Jesus.

Do you truly have faith in Jesus? What did His disciples do?

What did Jesus do?

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))

What should we do?

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

November 3, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
(Acts 2:42 (NIV))

They devoted themselves!

Do you ever wonder why people say that miracles don’t happen today? Do you wonder why we see a problem and it stays a problem? Do you understand that our current understanding of church and being the Body of Christ is far from what it used to be?

Why do you think that is true?

One simple word.

Devotion.

We, as the modern Body of Christ, look at Jesus as a filler for the parts of our lives that are empty. It is true that He is there to fill the emptiness, but He is so much more. The early church knew that professing a faith in Jesus meant more than simply acknowledging Him as savior. They knew Him as Lord and they devoted themselves to each other and to His teachings.

They devoted themselves in four areas – teachings, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer. It does not say that they devoted themselves to their work. It does not say that they devoted themselves to their families. It does not say that they devoted themselves to their favorite sports team.

Could you image how the Body of Christ would be today if we all gave the same amount of devotion, both public and private, that we give our college football teams? Can you imagine large stadiums of people to pray and to study God’s Word? In some countries it happens. People come from far and wide to hear the Gospel. Ironically, it is usually an American ministry that reaches out to these countries. It is sad that we do not do as the people to whom we send ministers and missionaries.

What is your idea of devotion?

Is it sitting in a church pew for an hour on Sunday? Is it adding a Bible study to your weekly schedule? Is it placing God first in all that you do? Does it mean that you willingly help those in need?

I often think that devotion is directly related to faith.

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.”
(Matthew 13:31-32 (NIV))

If we have the faith and the devotion to see that faith through, then both will grow to enormous proportions. As we devote ourselves to the four areas – teachings, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer – we will see things begin to happen that will strengthen our faith. We will see the results of our devotion. As a result, we will grow our devotion and our faith.

It is amazing what devotion, or dedication, can do, especially when it is focused on Jesus and God’s Word.

I think that we need to take a lesson from the early church and try devoting ourselves to Jesus. You will be amazed at what happens.

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