How are you known?

November 13, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
(John 13:35 (NIV))

After reading this passage, I have a very difficult question for you to consider!

Is there someone in the church that you do not love?

I started to ask this question using the following words. Is there someone in your church that you do not love? I quickly realized one thing that was drastically wrong with that wording, for it is not your church. It is not my church. It is THE church. It is the Body of Christ! It is not your body. It is not my body! We cannot claim ownership.

What we can claim, by the grace and mercy shown on the cross, is membership in the body!

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
(Romans 12″3-8 (NIV))

Do you hate your physical body?

We may have parts of our physical bodies that grow weak with age, but do we hate these parts? If we have a knee that can no longer support the weight that it once could, we do not inflict damage and hurt upon that knee. Do we hate the knee and reject it because it is not capable of doing what it once could? On the contrary, we bandage the knee. We treat the knee with care and sympathy. We do not inflict more pain and anguish upon it.

Why do we even think about doing this with other members of the Body of Christ? We should love each other just as Jesus has loved us! Do you wish to be known as the member of the Body who hates the knee?

How are you known?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you truly desire to follow Jesus?

August 15, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
(Luke 9:23 (NIV))

Do you claim to follow Jesus? Do you consider yourself to be His disciple?

If you answered “Yes” to these two questions, then I have some more questions to ask. Do you still do the same things that you did before professing Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Do you still indulge in your personal favorite sins or have you given those up as a result of your relationship with Jesus? Do you still have the same friends as before you accepted Jesus? Has your vocabulary changed and you thought process changed or do you still spout off foul language? Have you lost friends because you no longer desire to associate with your old ways?

Following Jesus is not an easy thing to do, especially when you start realizing all of the things that you no longer desire to do. I want to stress one important aspect of following Jesus, and that is that too many people think being a follower of Jesus is about all the things that you can’t do. It is not about what you can’t do. It is about a change of heart and the realization that you no longer want to do these things. Jesus isn’t stopping anyone from sinning. He is simply pointing to a life where you lose your desire to sin. He is pointing to grace and mercy. He is pointing to redemption. He is pointing to a life that doesn’t end in death.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

Following Jesus is not easy, but when you consider the consequences of the alternative, it is the only choice I would ever make.

Do you truly desire to follow Jesus?

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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Will you see the glory of God?

April 20, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
(John 11:40 (NIV))

Will you see the glory of God?

I know that many profess a belief in God and in Jesus, but, how deep is your belief? Do you believe that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God? Do you believe that through Him, all of your sins can be washed white as snow? Do you believe that grace and mercy are yours through the blood that He shed on the cross? Now, let’s take that one step further. Do you have the faith that will allow mountains to be moved?

There is a difference between believing and putting your belief into action. It is one thing to believe that Jesus is who He says He is. Even the demons know that Jesus is the Son of God.

Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Christ.
(Luke 4:41 (NIV))

How do you see the glory of God? Belief is mixed with faith. This faith knows that God will work no matter what. This faith earnestly seeks the glory of God. It recognizes the miraculous in the events that make up our lives. This faith knows that God is in control. This faith manifests itself by allowing your eyes to be open to what God is doing. It allows you to be a part of God’s plans. It allows you to not only claim your salvation, but to share it with others.

God’s glory is boundless. Belief allows faith to flourish. Faith allows us to expect God’s glory in the unexpected. Faith allows us to be ready for whatever God calls us to. God’s glory may be missed if all that you give Him is an hour on Sunday morning. Give Him your all and expect to see your belief confirmed.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the cross the power of God or is it foolishness?

April 18, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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))

Do you consider yourself to be a fool?

I realize that is a loaded question, for I have never met anyone who considered themselves to be a fool. I don’t like to judge, but I have met some people who have left me wondering about their status. To be honest with you, I would probably bet that there are some people who question my status.

Still, I find it is much better to have people think that you are foolish than to have God think that you are foolish. God’s definition of being a fool is completely different from man’s.

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 only stands to reason that anything that comes from God would be considered foolish by man. The ultimate foolishness in the eyes of man is the message of redemption through Jesus and the cross. A fool says that there is no God. A fool thinks that they are good and do not need anyone to save them. Since they think that there is no God and that they are good, the idea that God sent His Son to die for them makes no sense to them at all. To these people, that is the ultimate foolishness and they think that anyone who believes otherwise is a fool.

To quote a very old saying, that is the pot calling the kettle black.

The fool thinks that their foolishness is wisdom and that the true wisdom of God is foolishness.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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By His blood He paid the price!

April 14, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,
(Revelation 1:5 (NIV))

By His blood!

We take so much for granted. We, as the Body of Christ, have a habit of glossing over exactly what Jesus did for us when He died on the cross. We trivialize the price that He paid for us. It was not a pretty picture!

Have we become so accustom to the story of the crucifixion and resurrection that we take it for granted? Do we even begin to realize the excruciating pain that Jesus endured so that we, in all of our sinful nature, could know grace and mercy?

Think about the worst physical pain that you have ever experienced. What was it? How does that compare to being flogged and having the flesh torn off of your back? How does that compare to having nails driven through your hands and feet? How does that compare to having to decide whether the pain of not being able to breathe is greater than the pain it takes to lift yourself up to take a breath? When was the last time that you bled so profusely that almost all of your blood left your body?

Jesus endured all of this and much more than our humanity can imagine. Jesus endured all of this because He loves us. Jesus did all of this because it was God’s plan to offer Himself as a living sacrifice to atone for our sins. Jesus did all of this just as John 3:16 says.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

What Jesus endured on the cross was endured willingly. What Jesus offers through the cross is offered freely.

By His blood He paid the price and by His blood we are saved!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you surrendered in your mind?

April 11, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).
(John 19:17 (NIV))

I just love the way that God works in symbolism!

As we approach Easter and the resurrection, we must remember that in order for Jesus to be resurrected, He first had to die. He had to go willingly to the place of the Skull to die to himself so that God’s plan could be fulfilled.

Isn’t it interesting how we, before we can embrace the resurrection, must also go to our own place of the skull. We must be willing to die to our reasoning and intellect and follow solely on faith. We must accept something that makes absolutely no worldly sense. We must die to our inability to believe in something without seeing it. We must die to our own place of the skull.

It is amazing how God will work in us and through us once we have willingly laid ourselves at the foot of the cross once we surrender our own place of the skull.

We are now ready to fully embrace the resurrection and the grace and mercy that it brings. This knowledge has not only transformed our minds, it is now ready to transform our lives. It can now travel the longest distance known to humanity – the eighteen inches from our mind to our heart – and truly have an impact on us.

Have you died to your place of the skull?

Have you fully embraced the resurrection?

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