Are we listening?

August 29, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
(Revelation 2:7 (NIV))

Are we listening?

Do we, as the Body of Christ, truly listen to the Spirit? Are we aware of what is going on in the world around us and how it relates to God’s timeline? Do we see things that make our spirits groan because they go against everything that we know to be true according to the Word of God?

Or do we simply ignore the world and the Holy Spirit? Do we live in our own little bubble oblivious to everything else?

Are you more worried about the score of the football game or are you worried about those who are still in need of God’s grace and mercy?

Do you watch the news and think to yourself that these sheeple had it coming to them or do you see lost souls in need of a savior?

Do you feel an inner tugging and an inner cry for God to restore His order?

Do you see the world and pray for the lost?

Do you see humanity and cry out to God to touch the hearts of people?

Contrary to what many believe, the church is not a social justice organization. Don’t misunderstand what I am saying. The church, the body of true believers, is to reach out to the sinners. We are to be the light on the hill that shines the way to Jesus. The church has one mission – to share the grace and mercy that God has given us through Jesus. If any of our undertakings as the Body of Christ do not have this as priority one, then the priority is wrong. We can minister to the homeless. We can minister to the widows and orphans. We can minister to the homosexuals as we are called to do, but the minute our ministry loses Jesus as the focus, it is not a ministry of salvation. It is a ministry of social justice.

Do you hear the Holy Spirit? Do you follow the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit will never lead you to anyone else than Jesus. The Holy Spirit will never lead you to condemn people. The Holy Spirit will lead you only in the paths that follow God’s Word. The Holy Spirit is that still, small voice. He is not the loud anger the dwells within us at the sight of injustice.

The Holy Spirit is trying to reach the churches.

Are we listening?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you missing what the Holy Spirit has to offer?

July 30, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”
“John’s baptism,” they replied.
Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
(Acts 19:1-6 (NIV))

Are you missing something?

Have you only been baptized into a baptism of repentance, or have you been fully baptized in the name of Jesus Christ? It is possible to repent and still deny that Jesus is Lord. This approach accepts the grace and mercy offered through Jesus, but it denies the authority and power that Jesus rightfully claims as Lord. Without the authority and power, we are useless in our efforts to do anything for Jesus.

The Holy Spirit is part of the complete package.

If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
(Luke 11:13 (NIV))

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
(Acts 2:38 (NIV))

Take a good long look at your life. Are you missing what the Holy Spirit has to offer? Accept Jesus as not only your Savior, but also as your Lord and Master. Ask for the Holy Spirit to come into your life so that you may deal in authority in the aspects of your life that God is calling you to take control. You can’t witness in authority without that authority in your life.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Jesus was willing. Are you?

June 26, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
(Matthew 8:1-4 (NIV))

“I am willing.”

Three little words that changed the course of history! Three little words that allowed each of us to receive grace and mercy.

I can imagine a conversation in heaven a long time ago in which God the Father says something like, “I have a plan to offer grace, mercy and salvation to my creation. It will require a great sacrifice. Are you willing?”

“I am willing.”

It is very easy to comprehend the idea that when Jesus spoke these words to the leper, it was not the first time that He had said them. Perhaps the best part of this is that He says them still. He says them to each of us who willingly come to Him as Lord and Savior. No matter what garbage we bring with us, we can ask Him if He is willing to take it from us and His answer will always be “I am willing.” The only thing that holds us back from hearing these words and receiving His gift of grace and mercy is the simple fact that we do not answer Him. He asks each of us “If you are willing, I can take that from you.” Far too many are not willing. Far too many will never know God’s grace and mercy.

Jesus was willing. Are you?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Faith, servanthood and humility

April 29, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers–not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,

“God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble.”

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
(1 Peter 5:1-9 (NIV))

Words to live by! Words to model our lives after!

We must remember that we are not the ones who have made our salvation possible. All of us who serve God are in the same position: that of humble servants. Not a single one of us was righteous in God’s eyes without the Grace and Mercy bestowed upon us by the gift of Jesus Christ.

Those of us who are infants in the faith must have role models. Those of us who are to be role models do not need to be arrogant in our positions, for the positions were once reversed. The people in positions of role models were, at one time, infants in the faith.

All who are believers must take it upon themselves to strive to be all that Jesus wants us to be in this world:

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:14-16)

Light does not fight with light. Light fights against darkness. Light always wins!

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Easter is the fulfillment of the promise!

April 8, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.

He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

“What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”

He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
(Luke 24:13-35 (NIV))

How quickly do we put the glory of the resurrection behind us? How quickly do we forget what Jesus went through and what it brought us?

It was pointed out to me Sunday morning that even though Easter is a single day, the grace and mercy that it bought us is something to keep in our hearts and minds every day. We should be filled with the excitement and exuberance every day just like the two men who were on the road to Emmaus.

We tend to think that it would be nice if every day were like Christmas. To be honest with you, this is a very nice idea when you consider that people pray for peace on earth and good will towards men. However, this is the birth of the promise.

Easter is the fulfillment of the promise!

We, as the Body of Christ, need to embrace the birth of the promise, because without the birth, it is impossible to have the fulfillment. However, it is the fulfillment of the promise that brings us salvation, grace and mercy.

Think about that.

I am not saying that this is an example of how God works, but consider if someone promises to do something for you, does it carry any strength and merit until it is fulfilled?

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
(2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV))

God fulfills His promises!

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
(Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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