Do you recognize the authority of Jesus?

October 10, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
(Matthew 28:18 (NIV))

We, as the Body of Christ, should be bold in our faith after reading these words!

We should cling to the truth that our Lord and Savior has absolute and final authority over all of creation. We should never let the threats of the enemy and the world make us lose sight of this fantastic truth. When the world mocks us for proclaiming the name of Jesus, we should stand firm in the power of these words from Matthew.

There is more to the authority that Jesus has. He has allowed us, the Body of Christ, to utilize that authority. Jesus left us with instructions. He left us with a “Therefore.”

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 28:19-20 (NIV))

Have you ever thought about the meaning of the word therefore? According to Merriam-Webster, the word therefore means for that reason.

Think about the words from Matthew 28 in this context.

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. FOR THAT REASON go and make disciples of all nations.

In essence, since Jesus has been given all authority, He wants us to tell everyone that He has that authority. He wants everyone to know and understand that this authority permits Him to offer salvation, grace and mercy to any who recognize and accept that authority.

To borrow a line from a famous movie from several years ago, “There’s a new sheriff in town” and His name is Jesus. He has the authority to forgive and forget. He has the authority to bind or release. He has the authority to pardon us from our sins or condemn us for our sins.

I have just one more question and it is an important one.

Do you recognize the authority of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are the things of God clear to you?

August 9, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.
(Philippians 3:15 (NIV))

I know that this passage was written by Paul to explain that what we hold important in our physical lives has all been turned upside down by Jesus. This comes right after Paul told the church at Philippi about his former standing as a Jewish citizen where he was considered a member of the elite. It comes right after Paul telling them that his old priorities no longer mattered and his new top priority is knowing Jesus.

Are you willing to profess such a bold statement? Are you willing to give up everything that you used to hold dear and follow Jesus?

The passage above reflects Paul’s decision and his desire for believers to mature in their faith and seek Jesus as their new and only priority. However, I find it interesting that these very words also serve to instruct people to seek not their interpretation of God, but the truth as it is written in His Word. It is human nature to read something and take it completely out of context to the point where we see what we want to see. Paul, in his wisdom, told us that if we don’t understand something the way that God wants it to be understood, keep studying. Keep praying. Keep seeking God and He will open our eyes to the true meaning of what He is saying.

We don’t want our spin on God’s Word. We don’t want society’s spin on God’s Word. We want to know God’s Word through His heart and His mind.

Are you willing to allow God to make things clear to you?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you thankful for what has been given for you?

May 30, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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

It is that time of year when we remember those men and women who have given their lives for our country. I can’t attest to the relationships that each of these people had with Jesus, but I know one thing is certain. They valued the principles that placed the lives and well being of others above their own needs. Thankfully, I still see this in many people today.

There is a quote that I feel summarizes this willing sacrifice quite well.

“Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you; Jesus Christ and the American G. I. One died for your soul; the other for your freedom.”
Author: Unknown

Today, like every other day of the year, I am truly thankful for each type of sacrifice that has been made. I am prayerfully thankful for the grace and mercy that was freely given through the atoning blood of Jesus on the cross. For this I am eternally grateful. I am also thankfully for the men and women who have answered the call to defend the freedoms that we, as American citizens, have. It is through their sacrifice that we have the great opportunity to choose to worship Jesus as well as when, where and how. Sadly, there are people who reject both sacrifices. It is with humble heart that I present this request to the Body of Christ. The times are urgent. The need is great. We must be bold and do what we are called to do to spread the Gospel. We must be willing to lay down our lives so that others may know the freedoms that we know.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the Holy Spirit still active in the church?

May 16, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
(Acts 2:1-4 (NIV))

Do you believe that this actually happened?

We, as the Body of Christ, for the most part believe what is written about past events, yet, how many of us believe that this could happen today? We rationalize and say that what was done was to get the attention of the people so that God’s Word could be spread. Do you believe that God’s Word has been spread to the point where He no longer needs to get the attention of people?

Think about that. Is the generation alive today the generation that was alive at the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on that particular Pentecost? God needs to get the attention of a completely new generation, so why do many believers feel that this outpouring of the Holy Spirit is no longer needed? Why would God not show His power to every generation? Why would God grow silent and expect us to do what He is doing?

To me, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit serves multiple purposes, but two stand out to me at this moment in time. The first purpose is to show His power to a fallen world. I honestly do not think that the people who witnessed the first outpouring left Jerusalem and never spoke of what they saw to their friends. They talked to anyone and to everyone telling them what had happened! The second purpose that I see in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is the empowerment of the church. We need to be bold in sharing what we know to be truth. We are to be bold so that we can answer the questions of those who see and do not understand. We are to be bold when we approach the throne of God! God doesn’t want us to be timid in our faith. He doesn’t want us to be lukewarm in our faith. He wants us to be bold and to share His Word.

Do you feel that God is still working in the world? If you do not, why would God turn His back on the generations since the first outpouring? Why would God abandon the very people whom Jesus came to save? Why would God not equip His church to do His Will?

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8 (NIV))

Jesus said that He would send the Holy Spirit as a helper. Personally, I think we still need all the help we can get!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you bold with the power and authority?

January 21, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them: “Take nothing for the journey–no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them.” So they set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere.
(Luke 9:1-6 (NIV))

He gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases!

He sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick!

Do you see anything in these words that says the disciples of Jesus are to be timid and roll over and play dead?

Too many people believe that professing a faith in Jesus means that we are to be quiet and love everyone as if in a 60s peace movement. This is not what Jesus told us to do!

We are to be bold!

We are to be witnesses for Jesus. We are to do the things that Jesus told us to do. He did not tell us to accept whatever sin someone is committing as something that is ok. He did not tell us to give in to the ways of the world. He did not tell us to tell people about Him only if it does not offend them.

We are to be bold!

Can you be bold enough to walk in the power and authority that Jesus says that we have?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you ever betrayed someone?

July 28, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.”
They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely not I, Lord?”
(Matthew 26:20-22 (NIV))

Have you ever betrayed someone? What did it feel like?

As I read these words, I wonder what these men felt when Jesus said that one of them would betray him. I honestly believe that each and every single person in that room questioned themselves at this time. They were only human, and who among us has never had a negative thought about something that you profess an allegiance to. I can picture these men and what they were thinking. Each was probably saying to themselves, “Please, don’t let it be me. I don’t think I could do that, but I have never been put to the test before. Could I pass that test or will I fail and betray His love? Please, don’t let it be me!”

That is so very hard to know.

Now, think about how each of them felt when they knew that it was not them. They breathed a big sigh of relief. Even in this hour when all of God’s plans to save humanity hung in the balance, they still could only think about themselves.

Something changed in these men. Something changed these men. They went from being afraid of what would happen to them to bold proclaimers of the truth. They experienced the next three days. They saw Jesus crucified. They saw Jesus buried. They saw the greatest miracle of all time. They saw Jesus resurrected from the grave.

“Perhaps the transformation of the disciples of Jesus is the greatest evidence of all for the resurrection.”
(John R. W. Stott)

These men were transformed from insecure, self-centered people to boldly proclaim that Jesus is the Son of God.

God took simple men who all felt the pains of potential betrayal and gave them a hope and a faith that made them turn the world upside down.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What has happened to our priorities?

January 22, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.
(Acts 4:29-30 (NIV))

Do we speak God’s Word with great boldness, or have we become complacent in our faith?

The book of Acts tells us of the great things that the early church did. They did them because they had the faith to be bold. They knew with certainty that what they believed was true. They were not ashamed to boldly profess their faith. They were not too timid to stand firm on the promises that they had been given. They were not too engrossed in the trivial issues that surround us in our daily lives.

Sure, they worked to provide for themselves, but they did not become workaholics and so focused on achievement that they ignored what they knew to be true.

Why do we, in our so-called advanced society, lose focus of the very things that the early church boldly embraced? We no longer are bold in our faith. We are bolder about our support for our favorite sports team than we are about the grace and mercy that is freely given through the Blood of Christ. We can spend hours talking to each other about the game we saw yesterday, but we are not willing to even talk about Jesus at all.

What has happened to our priorities?

Are we the church? Are we the Body of Christ? A body is in motion and doing all that it can to make sure that it not only survives, but thrives. Is the Body of Christ in motion? Is the Body of Christ just surviving or is it thriving?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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