How are you at keeping the law?

January 26, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
(Galatians 5:14 (NIV))

How many people do you know who say that they love God, but their words and deeds give away that they do not love people? They do not love those they encounter. They may even go out of their way to avoid certain individuals or certain groups of people. I am sure that we are all familiar with the following story that Jesus told to a so called expert in the law.

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
(Luke 10:29-37 (NIV))

Have we heeded the lesson and truly learned to love our neighbor?

Has society told us to distrust and hate those who are different from us?

Does this sound like an attack from the enemy? Satan knows that if he can get us to hate each other, then we will have lost sight of what God truly desires for those who call Him Lord. We will fail at keeping the most important command in His law.

How are you at keeping the law?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you understand the power of authority?

November 6, 2017

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))

Have you given any thought to this passage?

Perhaps we should step back and take a look at the definition of authority. The common traits among the various different dictionaries all point to something similar to the following. Authority is the power to determine or provide legal resolution. In essence, authority is the power to settle issues and disputes or to control, command or determine outcomes.

In other words, Jesus has all power!

He is God’s legal authority over all of creation. It is by His power that we are either able to claim salvation or face condemnation. Jesus has been given the authority, but we have been given the choice. If we choose to accept God’s gift of grace through the atoning blood of Jesus, then Jesus has the authority to forgive our sins. If we reject this gift of grace, He has the authority to deny us just as we denied Him.

Sadly, many people fail to truly realize just how powerful authority truly is. When Jesus walked the earth, He encountered a Roman centurion who asked Jesus to heal his servant. This Roman centurion realized that Jesus had the authority, the power, to perform what was asked without ever going to visit the servant.

The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.
(Matthew 8:8-9 (NIV))

Authority means power! Authority means that the one with the authority can change outcomes! The centurion realize this. The centurion’s faith amazed Jesus and with a few words spoken, Jesus utilized His authority and honored the faith of the centurion by healing his servant.

Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.
(Matthew 8:13 (NIV))

I love the implications of the words that Jesus spoke. “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” When belief in Jesus recognizes the authority of Jesus, the power of Jesus is unleashed.

Do you understand the power of authority?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must humble ourselves and pray!

October 19, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 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 7:13-14 (NIV))

I can’t help but wonder if the things that we are facing as a nation are a direct result of what we have allowed our society to become. When we have record breaking hurricanes, we need to humble ourselves, return to God and pray. When countless numbers of people are fleeing raging fires, we need to humble ourselves, return to God and pray. When we remove prayer from the classroom, but allow things that are detestable, we need to humble ourselves, return to God and pray. When we allow a vocal minority to remove God from our history, we need to humble ourselves, return to God and pray.

Take a good hard look at our society. Things that used to be considered sinful and wicked are now being pushed as the social norm. The things that are good and righteous in the eyes of God are now being ridiculed as evil and narrow-minded. Can we expect to long endure without suffering the consequences of our society’s choices?

We must do what society calls wrong. We must do what God calls righteous. We must return to God and abide by His Word. We must learn to abide in His Word.

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))

We have allowed a great social experiment. That experiment was the removal of God and His Commandments. That experiment has failed. We must humble ourselves, return to God and pray. We, as the Body of Christ, must take the lead. We must humble ourselves. We must be willing to pray. We must be anxious to pray. Our nation depends upon it.

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

September 7, 2017

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. 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))

I am going to tax you a little on this one. Well, maybe a lot. I say this because most people would rather forget sentence structures and types. Do you remember the different types of sentences from your English classes? Do you remember the imperative sentence? In essence, it is a command.

Therefore go!

That sounds pretty straight forward to me. It is definitely a command. Do we, as the Body of Christ, obey that command? Previous generations took this seriously. Many people today take it seriously, but do we truly understand that this is our prime directive as a member of the Body of Christ? When you couple this with the next part of the sentence, we have another distinct command.

Make disciples of all the nations!

Most people have a difficult time making a disciple of their next door neighbor. Have we lost the passion to reach the lost? Have we lost the compassion that we should feel for others when we know that they will spend eternity separated from God? When there is a natural disaster, we go with supplies. We go with a desire to help. Where is that desire when it comes to making disciples?

How would Jesus react to our desire to reach the lost? Would He say “Well done,” or would He say “Therefore go!”

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Stay true to God’s Word. Don’t get polluted by the world!

July 6, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
(James 1:27 (NIV))

Too many people look at this as an either or situation where they look after orphans and widows or they try to keep themselves from being polluted by the world.

We are called to do both!

We are to reach out to those in need and give them help. There are many passages that can be used to temper this so that it is not a lifelong help. We are to assist those in need. For those who believe Jesus called us to minister to the poor, He did. We are not called to provide for their every need for the rest of their lives.

For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
(2 Thessalonians 3:10 (NIV))

You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.
(John 12:8 (NIV))

When we begin to feel that we have to take care of someone who is capable of taking care of themselves, are we truly doing as Jesus commanded? Jesus knew that people will always have physical needs, but He did not come to provide physical comfort. He came to bring salvation. He came to bring mercy and grace. He came to bring forgiveness of sins. Jesus did not die on the cross to bring three meals a day and an air conditioned house for everyone. Those things are fleeting. He came to offer eternity with the Father and not perpetual creature comforts in this life.

The other part of this passage is a command to not get polluted by the world. In other words, don’t adopt the ways of the world. Don’t give in to the temptations that are going on all around you. Stand firm in your faith. Don’t confuse the miracles and good works that Jesus did with His primary mission. Don’t buy into the world’s definition of “Jesus is love.” The polluted concept of Jesus is that since He loves everyone, then anything that they do is acceptable. Temper your view of the world with a very healthy dose of prayer and study of God’s Word.

Stay true to God’s Word. Don’t get polluted by the world!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Could you pass this test of temptation?

May 18, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: `Man does not live on bread alone.’ ”

The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: `Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’ ”

The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written:

” `He will command his angels concerning you
to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ”

Jesus answered, “It says: `Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”

When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.
(Luke 4:1-13 (NIV))

Satan tried everything that he could do to tempt Jesus!

Fortunately, Jesus did not fall prey to any of the temptations.

How did He face these temptations and walk away from them? How can we face them and walk away from them? Jesus was able to rebuke Satan and his temptations by knowing and using the Word of God to provide support during the temptations.

We can do the same!

True, Jesus was the Son of God, yet, He gave us an example that we can use to avoid temptation in our lives. We must rely on God. We must rely on the grace and mercy that God gave us through Jesus. We must turn to Jesus in honesty and sincerity.

Could you pass this test of temptation?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you long for His return?

May 16, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
(1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (NIV))

What is on your mind and in your heart?

Do you love the world so much that you forget about Jesus, or do you long for His return? Do you grow tired of seeing the sin that runs freely everywhere you look, or do you see the things of this world and find yourself wanting to participate? Do you long for righteousness and peace or do you dread hearing anything to do with God and His Word?

It is a matter of your personal priorities!

I recently have seen several people who speak about our desires to see Jesus. Most of them have presented a very interesting point with respect to what the church is calling the rapture. I am not going to get into the pre, mid and post arguments, but rather the honest desires of our hearts. Many of these people are espousing a point of view that states that only those who are earnestly waiting for His return will be raptured. I want you to consider two people from the time when Jesus was born. Simeon was a very devout and righteous man. Anna was an old woman who spent all of her time at the temple. Both Simeon and Anna longed to see the coming of the Messiah. In the midst of a nation who was trying to find the Messiah, these two people apparently lived this desire full time and as a result of their longing, they were allowed to witness what they longed for.

I cannot begin to say that I know how God will work, but I do know that, based on His previous track record, He reveals Himself to those who earnestly and fervently seek Him.

With this in mind, do you need to reevaluate your priorities? Do you need to take a long, hard look at your heart and take a look at the thoughts that fill your mind? If God will rapture only those who earnestly long to see Jesus, where does that leave you?

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