Are you still doing nothing?

February 22, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
(John 15:5 (NIV))

Our society has always applauded the self-made man. You know the type. This person bucks the role models and goes for the prize based on their own designs, their own desires. The old Frank Sinatra song “My Way” talks about such a person, such a life. Is that really what we are called to do if we profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior?

I realize that when Jesus walked the earth, He bucked the trends because the trends in this sinful, fallen world are not how God intended. If you look deeper, what He was doing was not trying to change Himself. He was trying to change the world and turn people back to the way that the Lord had originally intended for us to live and for us to be in fellowship with Him. In essence, Jesus was calling for people to prune themselves from the sinful things of the world and graft themselves into Him so that they could find righteousness!

The things of this world are fleeting. The things of this world are sinful. If we follow the world, if we stay connected to the world, we can do nothing of consequence.

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
      and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
      and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

If we remain in Jesus and Jesus in us, then we overcome the world and fully rely on Him as we do the things that He has called us to do. This leaves only one thing left to ask.

Are you still doing nothing?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t get the roles reversed!

November 5, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
(John 15:5 (NIV))

I do not wish to come across as someone who only sees the bad in this world, but at this moment in time, evil seems to be increasing. As followers of Jesus, we must be prepared to stand firm in our faith. We must be ready to share our faith even when it is not physically safe to do so. We must do what we, as the Body of Christ, have been called to do.

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))

We have been called to go!

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
(2 Timothy 4:2 (NIV))

But, we are not called to go on our own strength. The words of Jesus as recorded by John share with us some very enlightening concepts. If you look at these words from the perspective of an agricultural society, they become clearer as to their meaning. The vine is the source of nutrients and strength for the branches. The vine provides all that the branches need to grow, mature, and, yes, to bear fruit. There is strength in the vine. There is sustenance in the vine. You cannot remove the branches from the vine and expect the branches to survive. You cannot expect the branches to grow, mature and bear fruit if the branches are cut off from the vine.

Sadly, we have a tendency to believe that we only need to connect with the vine for a few minutes on Sunday!

Too many of us even go so far as to believe that our connection is so that we can simply “check in” with the Lord and recharge, and then go about our own business. Dare I say that we may even feel that we are the vine. That is not how this relationship with the Lord is supposed to work. He is our source of strength. He is our source of truth. He is our source of light, and we must stay connected to Him so that His strength, His truth and His light flow into us continually. They do not flow in the other direction!

It is always important to remember that He is the Creator and we are the creation, and with the way that things are happening in this world, we need to draw closer to Him. We must remember that He is the vine and we are the branches. He is the potter and we are the clay!

Don’t get the roles reversed!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you capable of doing?

January 10, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
(John 15:5 (NIV))

It is human nature to think that we are invincible, that we are capable of doing anything and everything that we put our minds to. Is that really true?

I have read this passage many times, but today something caught my attention that has not come to my attention before. We read this passage and think that it means that without the Lord we cannot achieve anything. I realize that what I am about to say may have you questioning my thought process, but bear with me for a moment. If you read this passage again, pay very close attention to the part about bearing much fruit. Dare I say that this fruit is actually the fruit of the Spirit?

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

Without the Lord and the fruit that we bear because of Him, we are left with our sin. We are left as the filthy rags that we are without Jesus!

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
(Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV))

I realize that we are to commit everything that we do unto the Lord, but I also think we need to understand what Jesus is speaking of in this passage. The things that we do in this world, unless they bring someone to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, are of no eternal value. Our circle of influence is perhaps two generations if we are so blessed. Even so, that circle is very limited if you look at the world. What is important are things that leave an impact on someone else’s life for all eternity. We can be a bad influence and not share Jesus, or we can live our lives sharing Jesus with all whom we encounter. Leading someone to Jesus requires something of us. We simply cannot lead someone to Jesus if we do not remain in Him and He in us. Our fruit is a direct reflection of our relationship with Jesus. Sharing the Gospel is our single most important responsibility.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
(Mark 16:15 (NIV))

Can you see anyone doing this if they do not remain in Jesus and He in them? No one is capable of fulfilling this without Jesus!

What are you capable of doing?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you see being produced in your life?

May 30, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
(John 15:5 (NIV))

Sadly, too many people have twisted this concept around to mean that if you believe in Jesus, then you are surely to be blessed with worldly treasures and positions. This concept has slowly invaded our churches as many people flock to those who claim the fruit is of this world. The last time I read anything about fruit, it had nothing to do with riches or worldly attributes. If you stop to think about physical fruit, you think of a food group that doctors always tell us to eat more of. Fruit is healthy. Fruit builds you up. It helps to make you stronger, just as the fruit you will bear if you remain in Jesus!

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

Do you see anything in this passage that says that we will bear fortune or fame? Do you see anything in this passage that says that we will be promised worldly riches? God does not measure things as the world measures them. In fact, with recent history in mind, if the world claims that something is good, run as far and as fast as you can away from it, for it will be opposed to the true goodness that comes only from God. What the world claims as good is not healthy. It does not build you up. It only serves to destroy.

When you look at your life, what do you see? Perhaps I should ask this another way. When others look at your life, what do they see? Do they see love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control or do they see things of the world?

What do you see being produced in your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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