Do you share the Gospel with the authority of Jesus?

September 10, 2019

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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. Do you share the Gospel with the authority of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you live by?

March 20, 2019

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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 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you look forward to God’s promises?

December 19, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.
(Psalms 57:9-11 (NIV))

I realize that I have posted this before, but truth is something that needs to be repeated!

The Psalmist spoke truth and wisdom when these words where written. What was true then is still very true today.

In this Christmas season, we are constantly reminded of how great God’s love for us is. Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ is a constant reminder of God’s love. God is faithful in keeping His Word. All throughout the Old Testament, God promised to send a Savior to reconcile man with Himself. In this season, we are witness to the promise kept. It is a yearly celebration of that promise. At the same time, we must keep our eyes focused on the other promises of God, especially the one that says that Jesus will come again.

In this holy season of new birth, we must not forget that Jesus grew up and died on the cross, was resurrected and will come again.

Christmas is only the beginning of God’s promise and not the culmination.

Do you look forward to God’s promises?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t be foolish!

October 5, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.
(Proverbs 17:28 (NIV))

With all that is going on in this country and the world right now, it seems that everyone has an opinion. The sad thing about that is that far too many people feel that they need to voice their opinions even if they know absolutely nothing about the topic. Everyone thinks that they are right and those who possess an opinion contrary to theirs is the enemy. Sadly, the number of people who remove all doubt about being a fool is skyrocketing rapidly.

Not many are keeping silent. Not many are holding their tongues.

We have all been guilty of saying things that we wish we had never said, but it appears that remorse is no longer an emotion that is capable of being felt by many. Instead of being able to accept differing opinions and the truth, far too many people rebel. They get angry. They mock the ones who bring the truth.

Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults; whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse.
(Proverbs 9:7 (NIV))

Unfortunately, we see this increasing with every passing day. We also find it hard to truly distinguish what is the truth in the moment. I honestly believe that this is a direct result of the concept put forward in recent years which states that truth is relative. This concept is built upon the false idea that what is true for me is not the same thing that is true for someone else. I believe that those who are so vehemently vocal and angry have been taught that there is no absolute truth and that their version is just as viable as someone else’s version of truth. In particular, they oppose God’s truth, or the idea that God even exists, because they feel that His truth is not their truth.

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.
(Psalm 14:1 (NIV))

It is clear how God defines a fool.

Don’t be foolish!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you embraced the power of the Gospel?

July 18, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.
(1 Thessalonians 1:4-5 (NIV))

For those who don’t believe in the Gospel, we are given a good description of what they think of the message of grace and mercy. To them, it is foolishness.

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
(1 Corinthians 1:18 (NIV))

To those who believe, it is power. It is the power to change lives. It is the power to free us from the laws of sin and death. It is the power of grace and mercy. It is nothing to be ashamed of. It is not foolishness!

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

I love how each of these passages talk about the power of the Gospel. It is more than mere words. It is power! It is not foolishness. It is power! It is nothing to be ashamed of. It is power! No matter what the world may say, the Gospel is power!

Have you embraced the power of the Gospel?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What have you done with the good news?

July 3, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,
(Luke 4:18 (NIV))

Do you like good news?

I have never met anyone who didn’t like good news. I have met some people whose definition of good news was not the same as mine. With that said, what do you consider to be good news? Is your definition that same as what the early church considered good news? I am sure you know this, but perhaps you, like myself, need a refreshing of your memory every now and them. The word Gospel means good news. When you read the Gospel, you are reading the good news of Jesus Christ. In this particular passage, we are reading the Gospel according to Luke. Even though Luke did not walk with Jesus when He was on the earth, Luke made it his mission to compile accurate accounts of the life and teachings of Jesus. Luke didn’t know Jesus, yet he believed the good news when he heard it. He believed that Jesus was and is the Son of God and that He is the Messiah. He believed that Jesus was crucified, dead and buried, and on the third day He arose from the grave. He believed that Jesus ascended into heaven and that He is preparing a place for those who call upon His name as Lord and Savior.

Luke loved the good news so much that he not only believed it, but he recorded it so that it could be shared with others. He took the good news and made it possible for generations of people to know the good news as well.

What have you done with the good news?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you a servant of Christ or a people pleaser?

April 6, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
(Galatians 1:10 (NIV))

On its own, it appears that Paul is asking himself if what he was doing was to please people or to serve Christ?

I realize that he was writing to the church at Galatia and was asking them why they had deserted what he had taught as the true Gospel of Jesus. He wanted to know why they started believing something that apparently had been created to sound pleasing to people. His letter reprimanded the church at Galatia for following a false teaching and was trying to convince them to repent and return to the truth.

In this setting, Paul asks those who have strayed if what he is doing is pleasing to them or pleasing to God?

Think about that for a moment! He was asking them if what he was saying made them feel good or if it made them feel guilty. Was it pleasing to their ears to hear his words or was it pleasing to God to hear Paul say these words in the hope of their repentance?

Human nature and God’s nature are polar opposites. They are as far apart as possible. It is impossible to please both God and man. Paul knew this and in the light of this, he made sure that the church at Galatia knew it as well.

Do you know it?

When God’s Word calls something a sin, do you call it a sin? Do you sugar coat the truth in order to make it more palatable and pleasing to those who hear it?

I want you to think about this next statement with respect to Paul’s letter. When people used to leave a church service years ago, they would feel convicted and possibly guilty with a desire to repent. Is this what happens today? Too many churches are more concerned about making people feel good about themselves and some even about their relationship to Jesus. Don’t get me wrong! We should feel good about our relationship to Jesus, but we are still sinners. We must be given solid food in order to mature. We are not going to grow in Christ if all we ever do is come away with a feeling of being pleased. There is a fine line that we must be careful not to cross.

We must serve Christ in truth and not change His truth to make it pleasing to people.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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