Is Jesus your true friend?

December 3, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.
(John 15:9-17 (NIV))

Jesus gave these words almost 2000 years ago!

Isn’t it amazing that we have inherited this promise without physically seeing Jesus. The words that Jesus spoke are as true today as they were then. Proverbs 18:24 states

“A man of many companions may come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

How fortunate we are to have this friend!

Jesus is our brother, and yet He is much more. He has shown us the Will of the Father. He has given us the promise of eternal life through His Blood. He has been placed at the right hand of God, the Father to intercede for us.

Jesus is the true friend of all who will accept this friendship. He is not a fake friend. He does not place himself above those whom He came to save. Indeed, Jesus was a living example of His own words,

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

He foretold of the act that would allow for humanity to be given salvation.

Isn’t it wonderful to be counted as a friend of Jesus? Should we do no less than what He commanded? If we are all friends of Jesus, should we not love one another as He loves us?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Have we been found barren?

November 7, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.

When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked.

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, `Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
(Matthew 21:18-22 (NIV))

How did the fig tree wither so quickly?

I realize that for many, what I am going to write may be a stretch, but here goes.

Faith plays a very big role in the world. Faith plays a very big role in the individual lives of believers. It also plays a very big role in the collective lives of believers. With that said, I believe that everyone can agree that faith is important.

I have heard it said that this particular example of the fig tree represents spiritual deadness. What happened to the fig tree when Jesus went looking for the fruit that it should bear and found nothing? What will happen to us if Jesus comes looking for the fruit that we are supposed to bear and finds nothing?

Have we become complacent in our faith? Have we become like the fig tree and found to be barren of fruit?

Think about that with respect to your life. Do you bear fruit that Jesus is seeking?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Can this be used to look at our churches, our neighborhoods and our country? Have we been found barren?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Have you been released?

January 10, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do you not know, brothers–for I am speaking to men who know the law–that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives? For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man.

So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.
(Romans 7:1-6 (NIV))

Isn’t it wonderful to be released from the bondage of sin and death?

Laws are necessary in our society. But, at the same time, laws can be condemning and confining. There are human laws that restrict what we can do. These laws try to dictate what we should and should not do. Human laws are different from the Law that God gave. Human wisdom pails in comparison and human laws pail in comparison. Yet, human laws are an extension of the Law that God gave to us. God gave us 10 Commandments. All throughout history, humanity has failed to keep 10 laws. Society has taken what God gave us and has given us countless “laws” to define what God gave us. It is hard to keep 10, let alone the thousands that have been ordained by man.

Through the blood of Jesus, we are free from the Law. This does not mean that we can go and sin by breaking every commandment. It means that we are forgiven and we are free to live life as God intended for us to live it without the consequences of sin.

In other words, we can “go and sin no more” with the knowledge that we belong to Jesus Christ.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Doubt is a serious crippler of faith!

September 26, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.

When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked.

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, `Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
(Matthew 21:18-22 (NIV))

Doubt is a serious crippler of faith. Jesus knew that what He commanded would be done. Yet, the disciples did not understand. Doubt can steal the blessings that God wishes to give us. Do you believe that God can be trusted? Do you believe that God never changes? Do you believe that Jesus was sent of God? If you answered “Yes” to these questions, then there is no room for doubt. Doubt comes from the enemy to deceive us and confuse us. Hold fast to what you know to be true.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Are you in need of pruning?

February 22, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
(John 15:1-2 (NIV))

Think about this passage. There are two things that caught my attention. Both of which, we, as the Body of Christ, must recognize.

He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit

If you have fruit bearing trees, and an old limb just does not produce fruit, what do you do with it?

Think about that in relation to your life and your faith. Are you bearing fruit? I know that this makes me take a good, hard look at my life and how I appear to God. Am I that old limb that is in need of removing? Am I simply there without any benefit to those who look to me for how I can bring Jesus into their lives?

I pray that I bear fruit!

The second point directly relates to our ability to bear fruit.

while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

Every single one of us has things in our lives that detract from our ability to bear fruit. Just as a healthy tree may develop some problems and have to be trimmed back, our problems may also have to be trimmed back. Once we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we will not be perfect. Once we start to bear fruit, we will still have problems that must be corrected so that our fruit will multiply. The Body of Christ must be willing to accept this pruning for it is a much needed step in the maturation of our faith.

Think about these two very distinct aspects of how a gardener cares for the vine. One is a total removal because it does not bring life. The other is a loving correction so that our lives and our fruit may be more abundant.

I know that correction can be painful and unpleasant, but given the two options, it is obvious that it is better to undergo the correction than to undergo the removal. Would you want to be cast away from Jesus? Would you be willing to allow for the removal of unfruitful elements from you life?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Would you be willing to allow God to prune away areas of your life so that your fruit may blossom and grow?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


%d bloggers like this: