Have you answered the call to follow Jesus?

September 10, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
(Matthew 9:9 (NIV))

What made Matthew leave behind his very lucrative job as a tax collector and follow Jesus?

Think about that question. Tax collectors had a certain amount that they had to collect for Rome. Anything that they collected above that, they could keep. It is thought that many people got very wealthy by being a tax collector for Rome. With this in mind, Matthew walked away from certain earthly wealth. He saw something of far greater value in what Jesus had to offer. He saw that he, too, could be a part of God’s plans and a part of God’s kingdom. Jesus, in telling Matthew to follow Him, was telling Matthew that God valued him, even when society looked upon him as an outcast. Tax collectors, even though they got very wealthy, were social outcasts. They were Jews in a country that was occupied by the Roman army. The Romans looked upon the Jews as second class citizens and the Jews looked upon the tax collectors as traitors to the nation of Israel. They couldn’t win.

Then Jesus came!

Matthew saw an opportunity to place his past behind him. He saw a voice calling to him in spite of what he had done. Matthew was being asked to forget his past and become someone new. Isn’t that exactly what Jesus offers each of us today? We are no different than Matthew. We have all done things in our lives that have placed us in situations where we feel like we do not belong. Through Jesus, we are offered redemption. We are offered cleansing. We are offered forgiveness. All that we have to do is what Matthew did. We have to get up and follow Jesus.

Jesus is telling each of us to follow Him. Will you do as Matthew and follow Him?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you given in to the wolves?

March 31, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.
(Matthew 10:16 (NIV))

Once we become part of the Body of Christ, we , too, have the same directive as that which Jesus spoke in Matthew. We are to be wise to the ways of the world, but we are not to take part in the ways of the world.

We must go out into the world like sheep among wolves.

Think about that statement. When a wolf sees a sheep, it definitely gets the undivided attention of the wolf. The wolf sees something about the sheep that it wants and the sheep walks around knowing that it is in the watchful gaze of the wolf. It becomes a game of survival. The ways of the wolf are cunning and are out to trip up the sheep and devour it. The sheep longs to be at peace with the wolf. This is very similar to the way the enemy treats those who have called upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. We must walk very carefully so that we do not get devoured.

It is a fine line that we walk while we are still in this earth. Knowing the ways of the world does not mean that we need to be tempted to follow them. We must keep our eyes upon Jesus and follow Him each and every day.

Have you given in to the wolves?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your decision obvious?

March 20, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”
But the people said nothing.
(1 Kings 18:21 (NIV))

Elijah built an alter and soaked it with water to the point where it would not burn in order to show the people that the Lord was God.

The priests of Baal pleaded with their “god” for hours and nothing happened. Elijah had patience. He knew what would happen. Elijah had faith. Again, he knew what would happen. He knew that the priests of Baal would fail miserably no matter how much time he gave them. He also knew that the one true God would prevail even against seemingly impossible odds. With this in mind, Elijah called the people to make a decision based on the outcome of the days events before they even happened.

The decision was obvious. After God came down and consumed the wet offering, it was impossible to come to any other conclusion. They chose to worship God.

Have each of us come to that same, logical conclusion? We may not have seen the first hand evidence as presented that day, but we have proof of more evidence than these people ever had. There is enough evidence, if you choose to accept it, that there is a God and that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to atone for our sins. If God can consume with fire a thoroughly soaked alter and sacrifice, He can perform an act of salvation through the death and resurrection of His Son. The only difference is the question. God is asking each of us, “How long will you waver between the two options? If you accept Jesus as my Son, accept salvation. If you do not, accept the consequences.”

What do you accept?

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

January 29, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not pay attention to every word people say,
or you may hear your servant cursing you–
for you know in your heart
that many times you yourself have cursed others.
(Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 (NIV))

It is human nature to think and say things under your breath. Things that you would not want anyone to even know that you knew. These are the things that are secretly holed away in your heart.

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.
(Matthew 15:19(NIV))

Perhaps it is this characteristic of humanity that lead Jesus to say:

“If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
(John 8:7b(NIV))

Not a single one of us is above reproach. Not a single one of us is capable of leading the perfect life that God wishes for us to live. Our thoughts condemn us. Our thoughts manifest themselves as words and deeds. Our words and deeds condemn us. Only one thing that we can do will remove the condemnation from our lives.

We must accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. We must accept His righteousness in exchange for our condemnation. He willingly takes our sin upon His shoulders and gives us His grace and mercy.

We are not perfect. Even if we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we will stumble. We will curse others in our heart and sometimes, even, under our breath. But, we have a Savior who is living within us, and teaching us that we must follow Him and not give in to that side of our nature.

Do you curse or do you accept righteous instruction?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus is calling us to serve with Him

January 17, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
(John 12:26 (NIV))

Do you serve the Lord?

I know that we would all like to think that we do, but are we willing to go where Jesus went? Are we willing to take up our cross and follow Him? Are we willing to go that extra mile when we know that we should?

Are we willing to be where He is?

When Jesus walked the earth, He ate with sinners. He forgave the adulteress. He healed the sick. He raised the dead.

I know that many of you are thinking that we are not capable of these things, and maybe we aren’t, but have we tried?

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

If we are told that we will do these same things, why do we doubt? Why do we fail to go where Jesus went? Are we so wrapped up in our own lives that we fail to be a faithful servant? Are we not willing to step outside of our comfort zone and meet Jesus in the midst of the spiritual warfare?

Have we become spectators instead of spiritual warriors?

Have we compromised our faith and our servanthood?

Did Jesus ever compromise what He taught? Did He stop the stoning of the adulteress only to tell her that it was ok for her to keep doing what she was doing?

No!

Jesus did not compromise!

He always instructed those that would listen to give up their sin.

There are many things in this world that were once considered sin that are now considered ok. If Jesus came into this world today, would he tell these people that their sin is now ok? Should we offer teachings that Jesus would not offer?

The one difference that I see in Jesus is love. Every person that came to Him was treated with love. He did not ridicule them. He did not provoke them. He did not tell them to go to hell as I have seen some so-called Christians do recently. Jesus had compassion. He had love. Is it possible that these are the places where Jesus is calling us to serve with Him?

Can we put ourselves aside and meet Jesus where He is?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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