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.
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November 28, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.
(Luke 2:30-32 (NIV))

Simeon had waited his whole life to be able to see the birth of the Savior. God had promised him that he would not die before Jesus came. Simeon knew at first glance that the baby he saw was the savior that God had promised. Simeon looked upon the promise and realized that the promise had to follow normal human life – a birth, childhood, teenager, adult. The promise is not instantaneous. It required faith from Simeon. It required a huge faith to believe that God had told him that he would not die before he saw the salvation that he had been yearning for.

Simeon recognized the promise even in infancy. He had faith to know that the promise would grow into the salvation for the whole world.

He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, `Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.
(Luke 17:6 (NIV))

Do we see things the same way that Simeon saw things? Would we recognize the infancy of a promise that God has made? Would we recognize the potential of that promise fulfilled or would we simply miss out on the glory of God because it comes in a small package? Do you remember the mustard seed?

It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.”
(Mark 4:31-32 (NIV))

I have often found that God’s promises are exactly the same. He promises, but He starts small to test our faith. He tests us to see if we are capable of handling the full promise, and to see if we are willing to respond to the promise.

As Christmas draws closer, please do not forget that what we are celebrating is the birth of a child. Jesus was a special child who grew into a special man. He came as the Son of God to teach and to sacrifice Himself for our transgressions. He did not come as a mighty warrior. He came as an innocent child. He came to seek and to save the lost, but first He had to live as one of us.

Simeon recognized that God does not do things as we would do them. He was open to the “smallness,” while knowing that God will move mountains with something small.

Would you, do you recognize God’s salvation as it is presented to you?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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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.
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Authority and Passion

March 1, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
(Matthew 7:28-29 (NIV))

Do you remember your most favorite teacher? What made them your favorite? Was it the fact that they really knew what they were teaching and that they were passionate about what they taught? They taught from authority, for authority means that they know what they are teaching. They were more interested in conveying wisdom and knowledge instead of rules and regulations. They taught with joy and enthusiasm.

Do you remember your least favorite teacher? What made this teacher different from your most favorite teacher? I would safely say that they are the ones who tried to teach rules and regulations instead of wisdom and knowledge. Do you remember the rules and regulations that they tried to teach? Probably not!

Consider that Jesus and the teachers of the law are identical to your most favorite and least favorite teachers. Jesus came to impart wisdom and knowledge with joy and enthusiasm. The teachers of the law taught rigid laws and doctrine. No wonder the crowds were amazed at His teachings. Up until this point in their lives, religious life was a chore dictated by very strict man-made rules and regulations that attempted to define and refine what God had commanded. Jesus came to set the captives free. He taught not of rules, but of grace and mercy.

We need to be careful that we do not teach as the teachers of the law, but, teach as Jesus taught.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:18-20(NIV))

Jesus told us to go and teach of Him. How do you teach? Do you try to enforce rules or do you passionately teach of grace and mercy?

It is my desire to be passionate about what I am given to send out. I pray that you will always see the passion within these words.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Share Jesus this Christmas

December 22, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
(Philippians 4:13 (NKJV))

This is easy to remember at this time of year. It is also easy to remember this at Easter. However, it is also very easy to forget this each and every day that we live if we allow our focus to shift away from Jesus.

At this time of year it is so easy to get wrapped up in the commercialism that society has wrongfully placed upon the celebration of the birth of Jesus. We look at the things of the world and we begin to feel that we are inadequate because we do not have the highest paying job, an executive title, and we cannot purchase the newest, most expensive gadgets. At this time of year, many people will feel that the weight of the world is all on their shoulders.

It is so sad that the time of year when we celebrate the greatest gift of all, too many people feel that they are worthless and lost.

We, as the body of Christ, must not lose sight of why Jesus came to this earth. He did not come to sell the latest and greatest gadget. He did not come to make people feel inadequate. He did not come to condemn.

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.
(Luke 19:10 (NIV))

How would Jesus approach those who have lost focus? How would Jesus approach their problems? We need to reach out to those whom Jesus would reach out to.

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))

Share the love of Jesus by showing each and everyone a very Merry Christmas!

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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November 30, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not covet,’ and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
(Romans 13:9-10 (NIV))

I hate to say this, but there are people who populate the pews of many churches throughout this world who harm other believers on a regular basis. What does that say about the way that we have faithfully taught what Jesus has commanded us to teach? It is easy to blame the people who harm others, but it is not so easy to take upon yourself the responsibility for their actions.

Should we bear the burden of the responsibility of the actions of other members of the Body of Christ?

I think that we are taught that we do!

“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))

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.
(Romans 12:10 (NIV))

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
(Galatians 5:13-15 (NIV))

If members of the Body have not been taught how to stop doing harm, then the Body has not properly fed them the Word of God. They have not been nourished to the point where they know what is Godly and righteous. They have not been allowed to mature in their faith.

Suppose parents have a child and this child starts to eat solid food. As soon as the child starts to eat, the parents do not turn this child loose and tell him to prepare his own meals. The child must be taught what to eat, what is good for them, and what is bad. All of this must happen before the child can be entrusted to prepare his own meals.

Perhaps the church is guilty of being this neglectful parent. We expect people to intuitively know what God wants them to do, what they are to read and study, and how they are supposed to live. We have not taught them how to not be harmful to others. We have not taught them how to love one another.

What have you taught your “children” in the faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Truth of Scripture

November 2, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
(Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (NIV))

I know that it has not been too long ago since this concept was used in this daily devotional. But that is the good thing about God’s Word – it does not get old; it does not become stale; it is always new and fresh!

How true this scripture is! Most of us remember when it was still considered moral and correct to pray in school and to post the 10 Commandments. How far we have sunk since the “highest court in the land” said that these things must be removed. We have a higher authority to answer to. If we cannot pray in schools, then events like those that happened in Littleton, CO will continue to happen, and prayer WILL be heard in schools as a result. The “experts” are now saying that in order to make our schools safer, we must increase security and possibly teach our children how to use guns to defend themselves. What they are proposing is very similar to pouring gasoline onto a fire. It does not help the situation, it makes it more explosive.

I had heard a well known Christian expert (I do not remember who) once say that he was invited to be a part of a board to determine what the problems are with our public schools. He was immediately ridiculed by other board members for being “right wing conservative” Christian. They went on to say that removing the 10 Commandments was the best thing that could have happened in the schools. It allowed for more “modern” thinking. Yet, at the same time, they stated that theft and other crimes were up drastically. This Christian expert proceeded to make a suggestion, “Maybe we should put up a sign in each classroom telling students not to steal.” At first everyone liked the idea until they realized that it was one of the 10 Commandments.

How far have we as a society come when truth is ignored just because people do not wish to face the fact that God is in control. If we do not follow His guidelines for life, then life will become just what we see in our society today. We must pray that our nation and our world turns from this madness.

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14(NIV))

Tuesday, November 2 is election day. Pray that God’s Will be done. Pray for healing. Pray for God’s guidance. Pray that God’s people will humble themselves, pray and seek God’s face in the decisions that they make.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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