There is no difference for we are all sinners!

September 28, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

Most, if not all who read this can quote this passage, and rightly so. It is a foundational passage that clearly states that everyone needs a savior. It stands on its own with this meaning clearly conveyed and understood, but, have you ever looked at the complete sentence that this passage is taken from?

There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
(Romans 3:22b-24 (NIV))

Does the complete sentence add anything to or detract anything from your understanding of this passage? In all honesty, it still means that we are all sinners in need of a savior, but it goes much deeper in explaining this need and how to overcome this need. When this was written, Gentiles were looked down upon by many Jewish people. They were looked upon as unclean. If you remember the amount of criticism that Paul received simply because he ate with Gentiles, then you will understand the time period. When this sentence starts by saying that there is no difference between Jew and Gentile, it literally broke the traditional way of thinking. It clearly states that the Jew is not better than the Gentile and the Gentile is not better than the Jew. Both are sinners in need of a Savior and that salvation and grace can only be found through Jesus.

This was a radical concept when this was written!

Have we taken this radical idea and whitewashed it? Have we, as the Body of Christ, as Gentiles, forgotten that we were looked down upon as unworthy to receive grace and salvation by the very people that God’s gift of grace and salvation was promised through? Have we become arrogant in our salvation while looking at others as unworthy? Perhaps we need to not just quote the excerpt, but the whole sentence. Perhaps we need to focus on the whole truth and not just what we today call sound bites.

There is no difference for we are all sinners!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do we see each other?

May 28, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
(Galatians 3:28 (NIV))

I long for the day that we truly see each other as Jesus sees us!

I have lived long enough to honestly say that I am tired of people treating each other differently simply because we may not look the same. I want it to end, but since we live in a sinful, fallen world, we are going to continue to see these types of things happen. It breaks my heart just as I am certain that it breaks the very heart of God. What is it about human nature that makes us want to lash out at someone because of our shortcomings, our sins? Ever since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden, humanity has had to struggle with a vast array of sins including ego, pride and selfishness.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
(Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV))

The world is upside down. We are seeing things that our ancestors never saw. We also are doing things that our ancestors would have never dreamed about doing. This goes both ways. Some things are better while some things are worse. We, as the Body of Christ, recognize the intolerance and hatred. We also know that there is truly only one solution to this sinful nature. Unfortunately, not everyone will accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. It is also sad to realize that not everyone who professes a faith in Jesus is mature enough to embrace what the author of Acts recorded for us.

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
(Acts 20:24 (NIV))

We must all come to the realization that each person is a unique creation and is loved by God. We must treat each individual with this in mind. For those individuals whom we see who have accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, we can embrace them as part of the family. For those who haven’t yet accepted Jesus, we can show them the love of Jesus and invite them into the family.

How do we see each other?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ashamed of the power of the Gospel?

May 19, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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))

How strong is your faith?

I realize that this sounds like a strange question to be asking someone who is reading something that is based on scripture. I have found that the simpler the questions are concerning spiritual matters, the more difficult that they seem to be to answer. The simple questions seem to require an in-depth look at yourself and most people are afraid of what they will see within themselves. So, with this stated, I want to ask once again, how strong is your faith? What do you see within yourself?

If you were told to deny Jesus or die, what would you do?

If you were told to bow down and worship a statue, what would you do?

If you were told to lie in order to preserve your life, what would you do?

If you were told to take a mark or lose your head, what would you do?

All of us see things going on in the world and we wonder if we are drawing closer to the time of the end when everything that God calls good is called evil and everything that God calls evil is called good. Do you have the strength of faith to hold fast to the goodness and truth that is the Lord even when all around you is proclaiming evil? Think about that for a moment. Consider how rapidly things have changed. Are you prepared to stand firm?

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
(Ephesians 6:13 (NIV))

Is your armor on?

We have been basically told that we cannot go to church. We have been told that we must wear a mask in public. We have been told that we must maintain social distancing. Now, we are being told that there is a plan to require a traceable vaccine in order to be able to resume “normal” life. I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t sound like the freedom that we have through the Blood of Jesus. In fact, it sounds like it is an attempt to control those who don’t know Jesus. Myself and countless others may be wrong, but do you want to gamble your eternity if what is happening is as it appears? Some may call this conspiracy theory, but for those who know God’s Word, it is all laid out. Study God’s Word. Look around you!

We must choose!

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.
(Joshua 24:15 (NIV))

Now is not the time to be timid!

Now is not the time to be ashamed of the Gospel.

Are you ashamed of the power of the Gospel?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you live by?

March 20, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
(Romans 1:16-17 (NIV))

Are you ashamed to share the gospel?

Think long and hard about that question. Which is more likely to happen – you repeat the joke that you heard the other day or you tell the same person about how Jesus has changed your life? What type of a message are you conveying if the joke is off color and something that should not be repeated? Have you ever stopped to think that perhaps what you don’t do is having more of an impact than what you do?

Place yourself in this scenario. You are the guest of honor and featured speaker at a respected business convention. The place is packed. What will the audience think of you if the first words out of your mouth put down the event and the city because it was out of your way to come to this location? What will be their reaction if you praise the kindness of the host and the beauty of the city?

What if words are not your strong suit?

Preach always. When necessary, use words.
(St. Francis of Assisi)

Perhaps your actions are what people really pay attention to. Do your actions reflect your faith? Do your actions speak louder than your words? What do your actions say? Do your actions speak a different message than the words that you say?

According to Merriam-Webster, righteousness is “acting in accord with divine or moral law : free from guilt or sin.” Righteousness is basically thinking, speaking, acting and living according to what God desires. We are to live by His Word. We are to reflect His Word in all that we do, even when no one is watching, even when it is not politically correct to profess a faith in Jesus.

Faith is the backbone, it is the foundation of a life lived in Christ. It is not something to be turned on and off when it is convenient. It is what we should live by.

What do you live by?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What would Jesus do?

March 27, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
(Romans 15:7 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself one simple but important question?

What if Jesus treated us the way that we treat each other?

If Jesus had decided that He didn’t want to come to earth because we are so different than the angels in heaven that He knew, where would we be? If Jesus had decided that He didn’t want anything to do with us because our life style was different than what God had commanded, where would we be? If Jesus had decided that humanity was not worth coming to earth to save, where would we be?

I could go on and on using every single reason that we offer up as an excuse to treat each other in ways that are less than what God desires, but I think that you can probably get the picture by now. Why do we treat each other, as members of the Body of Christ and potential members of the Body of Christ, with such contempt and callousness that we can’t even be recognized as followers of Jesus.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
(John 13:34-35 (NIV))

These words do not say that we are to love only those who look like us. They do not say that we are to love only those who have the same life style as us. They do not say that we are to love only those whom we deem to be worthy of our love. We are to love one another. There are no words in that statement that can be taken in any way, shape, form or fashion as an authorized limitation to whom we are to love.

What if Jesus had limited His love to only the nation of Israel? If that had been the case, the passages that we all know and love would not read as they do.

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))

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))

If Jesus has accepted everyone through what He came to accomplish at the cross, then why do we have such a difficult time doing the same?

The next time that we have a moment where we want to shun someone, remember four simple words. What would Jesus do?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 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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Jesus is Lord and God raised Him from the dead!

June 6, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
(Romans 10:9-13 (NIV))

What does your heart say about Jesus?

What has your mouth declared about Jesus?

Have you ever wondered why this passage talks about both declaring with your mouth and believing in your heart? It is human nature to give the proverbial lip service to something and not mean it in your heart. It is also possible to think that you believe something in your heart, but not profess it with you mouth. In both instances, this duality of words and heart appear to be caused by fear. We fear to stand out as different from those around us. We fear to truly look inward. We fear to make a commitment. To put it simply, we fear.

When, in the course of human nature, we can make both words and heart coincide, then we are in alignment and in agreement with ourselves. We say and do the very same things with respect to our beliefs. Paul realized that. Paul, with the help of the Holy Spirit, came to the conclusion that when this happens, we are committed and our faith is true.

Do you believe that God raised Jesus from the dead? Have you ever professed with your mouth that Jesus is Lord? These two questions are crucial for each of us to answer with a resounding yes, for without those answers, we know that salvation is not possible. How have you answered these two questions? Time is ticking away. Don’t wait to answer these questions. Eternity depends on your answer.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ashamed of or embarrassed by Jesus?

January 26, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
(Romans 1:16 (NIV))

Have you ever been ashamed of something or someone? Have you ever been ashamed of your own actions and thoughts?

Think about that for a moment in relationship to the meaning of the word ashamed. It means to feel shame, guilt or disgrace. It also means a reluctance or unwillingness to do something because of shame or embarrassment.

Embarrassment!

Are you embarrassed by Jesus? Do you feel that Jesus does not fit in with your friends and that you have to make excuses, or even worse, you have to hide?

Are you embarrassed by the Gospel? Do you love your sin so much that you would choose to stay in your sin because you are embarrassed to admit that you need a Savior?

I have one simple, yet profound question to ask.

Are you willing to pay the price for your sin because you are embarrassed by the one and only way to receive salvation? Are you willing to go to hell because your are embarrassed? This sounds like a severe case of pride and ego. Too many people hate to admit that they are not capable of doing good on their own. They don’t want to publicly admit to anyone that they need Jesus. They would rather wallow in their shame because they are too afraid to face their embarrassment. Instead they hide the light from themselves and others.

Personally, I would rather be like Paul and proudly proclaim that I am not ashamed!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you pray that you will be found faithful?

January 23, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.
(1 Timothy 1:12 (NIV))

How do you react when you are asked to do something?

Typically, human nature can be boiled down to just a few basic types of responses. You get angry and proclaim that you already have too much to do. You run from the question. You say yes with the intent of not fulfilling your word. You say no and feel bad about your answer and do it anyway. You say yes and willingly step up to the task.

How do you typically respond to someone asking you to do something?

How do you respond when you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach and you have a feeling that God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit is calling you to service?

Saul, in his Damascus Road experience and his ultimate conversion to Paul, could possibly have responded with all typical human responses. Fortunately for us, the Gentile believers, Paul ultimately accepted that calling and responded. If Jesus can take someone who was persecuting the Body of Christ and turn him into the person who would be responsible for spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles, then why do we limit what Jesus can do in our lives?

We should proclaim our trust in Jesus. We should acknowledge that Jesus has given us strength to do the things that He has called us to do. We should be faithful in our calling as we serve Him!

Do you thank Jesus for the strength and the faith to be of service to Him?

Do you pray that you will be found faithful?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you have the faith to be justified by Jesus?

June 16, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We who are Jews by birth and not `Gentile sinners’ know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.
(Galatians 2:15-16 (NIV))

. . . by observing the law no one will be justified.

If God calls for us to observe His laws, many people don’t understand why we cannot be justified if we observe His laws. Sadly, humanity is a fallen creation and we are not capable of perfection. God’s laws require perfection. No matter how hard we may try, we will fail miserably. We will miss the mark. We will sin!

It takes a confident person to admit that they are less than perfect. It takes a confident person to admit that they need help. Too many of us are stuck in the mindset that reminds me of my daughter when she was two years old. I am sure you know what I am talking about. I can still hear her saying, “I do it!”

“I do it!”

Except for the grammatical errors, every one of us has been guilty of saying something similar to this. We think that we are capable of much more than we truly are. We don’t like to admit that we lack the ability to do anything.

I know that it is human nature to learn from our mistakes, but do we really learn if we fail to acknowledge that we make mistakes? I often wonder what the scene is in heaven and if God is shaking His head in disbelief as He watches us. I picture the same scene as Jesus points out someone who has accepted Him as their personal Lord and Savior. I can almost hear Jesus saying, “See that one who is acting like a stubborn child. He has placed his faith in me. He is mine! He may fail, but since he has accepted me, he will eventually learn to do the right things.”

Do you have the faith to be justified by Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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