Are your words unclean?

November 5, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
(Ephesians 4:29 (NIV))

What comes out of your mouth?

Perhaps, a different translation says it clearer.

Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
(Ephesians 4:29 (NLT))

We are clearly told that we are to not speak using foul or abusive language. If we can control the tongue, then we are one step closer to controlling the heart. When we control the heart, we are able to follow the teachings of Jesus. We are able to do everything more closely to what Paul told us in Colossians.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men
(Colossians 3:23 (NIV))

If we speak in foul and abusive language, do we truly have Jesus as our Lord and Savior? Do we have the Holy Spirit within us and guiding us? Is this the type of language that God desires for us to use? The foul and abusive words only reflect what is in our hearts.

But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man `unclean.’
(Matthew 15:18 (NIV))

Think about the things that you say. Do they uplift or do they come out as unwholesome talk?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Foolish controversies

June 17, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless
(Titus 3:9 (NIV))

I have read this passage before, but tonight, it came across much differently than it has in the past.

I want everybody to think of these words and read Titus 3:9 once more.

“We can’t do that in this church. We have never done it that way before.”

Legalism, no matter how it is shrouded, is still legalism. We can adhere to the letter of God’s law or strive to fulfill the intent. We can fuss over enforcing man-made traditions in the church or we can embrace love and grace with open arms. We can be so strict about ritual or we can embrace the meaning that caused someone to start the ritual.

What controversies do you face in your walk of faith? Are they worth the time and the headache?

It is said that age brings rigidity and a desire to not change. We have a tendency to like continuity in our lives. If something breaks that continuity, we have a tendency to not accept the change. It is my prayer that each of us embrace whatever God may be sending our way, no matter how it may be coming to us.

I want you to think about something for a moment.

Imagine yourself as a devout Jew of the time that Jesus came to this earth. How many people were not willing to embrace what He came to teach? How many people shouted to stone Jesus, or how many shouted to crucify Him? Sometimes we must simply be open to what God is showing us in and through the change. The Pharisees and Sadducees missed the blessing and the grace because they were not willing to explore the possibility that God was moving amongst them in a way that did not fit their preconceived ideas.

How many of our “foolish controversies” are a result of our preconceived and rigid ways? I pray that we may be softened so that we do not burst when confronted with the “new wine” of Godly change.

Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.
(Matthew 9:17 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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First for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

June 14, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
(Romans 1:16 (NIV))

We need to be thankful that God knew that the Jews would reject Jesus when He came. For it is through this rejection that we, as Gentiles, are given the gift of salvation. We also need to be thankful for the Jews who did believe and followed God’s plan. When their own people rejected Jesus, they did what God commanded and took the Gospel to the world. For the Jews at that time, it was not well accepted to associate with Gentiles, let alone live among them and teach them.

We are the grafted vine of Israel. Because of Israel, we have been allowed to taste of the sweetness of God’s grace. We must pray for the peace of Jerusalem, after all, it is our spiritual birthplace as well as the center of God’s plans for humanity. Israel is still key to what is unfolding in this world.

Do you truly understand the important role that Israel has played and continues to play in God’s plan?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you live by?

April 20, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
(Romans 1:16-17 (NIV))

Are you ashamed to share the gospel?

Think long and hard about that question. Which is more likely to happen – you repeat the joke that you heard the other day or you tell the same person about how Jesus has changed your life? What type of a message are you conveying if the joke is off color and something that should not be repeated? Have you ever stopped to think that perhaps what you don’t do is having more of an impact than what you do?

Place yourself in this scenario. You are the guest of honor and featured speaker at a respected business convention. The place is packed. What will the audience think of you if the first words out of your mouth put down the event and the city because it was out of your way to come to this location? What will be their reaction if you praise the kindness of the host and the beauty of the city?

What if words are not your strong suit?

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

Perhaps your actions are what people really pay attention to. Do your actions reflect your faith? Do your actions speak louder than your words? What do your actions say? Do your actions speak a different message than the words that you say?

According to Merriam-Webster, righteousness is “acting in accord with divine or moral law : free from guilt or sin.” Righteousness is basically thinking, speaking, acting and living according to what God desires. We are to live by His Word. We are to reflect His Word in all that we do, even when no one is watching, even when it is not politically correct to profess a faith in Jesus.

Faith is the backbone, it is the foundation of a life lived in Christ. It is not something to be turned on and off when it is convenient. It is what we should live by.

What do you live by?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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