Are you able to share the Gospel with shrewdness and innocence?

October 29, 2019

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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))

Have you truly stopped to think about this passage?

Each of us understand the concept of being sheep among wolves. If we follow the instructions that Jesus left for all believers, then we are in a constant state of perpetual danger. Just as a sheep may be devoured by the wolves, we, too, may be devoured by the enemy if we are not careful. The passage doesn’t say to stay away from danger! In fact, the passage clearly states that Jesus sent the disciples out, and just like the disciples, He is sending us as well.

Jesus did give us instructions. We are to be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

It sounds fairly simple, but have you ever thought about what it takes to be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves?

I realize that everyone typically thinks of snakes in a deceitful way, but Jesus was telling us to use some of the characteristics of snakes when we are sharing the Gospel. What do you think of first when you think of a snake? Do you think of the possibility that a snake could be under foot at any moment? With this in mind, do you constantly look for snakes? Is that being shrewd on the part of the snake? Perhaps we should look at this from a different vantage point. Does a snake show itself openly or does it hide until the opportune time arises. If we are to be as shrewd as snakes, we should be among the danger, but not exposed to it. We should watch and wait. Just as a snake may not show itself to everyone, we may not be called to show ourselves to everyone at one moment. We should size up whom we should approach and then make our move to share the Gospel. We are to use wisdom and discernment!

Look at this concept from the missions of Paul. When he entered a town, many times he would find someone who was prominent in the town and present the Gospel to them. If he was able to convert them, it became easier to convert others. Paul was shrewd in his evangelism. He understood human nature. He knew that if he could convert a person with contacts, then others would follow. In today’s society, the concept is that we are teaching the teachers. Even in this shrewdness of plan, Paul never failed to walk innocently amongst those with whom he shared the gospel. He did not do anything to betray the trust of those with whom he shared. He did not have ulterior motives. He did not seek any of the trappings of the physical world.

Are you able to share the Gospel with shrewdness and innocence?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is it that you will receive?

November 15, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
(1 Peter 1:8-9 (NIV))

When I read this passage, the word “faith” and how the book of Hebrews defines it come to mind.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

If you stop to think about it, loving someone whom you have never seen and having the faith to believe with confidence that this person can bring salvation are probably the two most difficult things to do. Both require a wisdom and a faith beyond what is humanly possible, especially if you look at these aspects from a so-called mature perspective.

Take a look back at your life.

Was there ever a time when you could display such characteristics in your life? Was there ever a time when you could be so innocent that it was actually possible for you to love without seeing and believe without seeing? I think I now have a better understanding of why Jesus told his disciples the following.

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
(Matthew 18:2-5 (NIV))

The world and all of the sinful natures that we experience take a toll on our innocence. It takes a toll on our ability to love and believe. It takes a toll on our ability to recognize grace and to receive salvation. Don’t allow the world to take away your ability to love. Don’t allow the world to take away your ability to believe. Don’t allow the world to take away the joy of your salvation.

What is it that you will receive?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How are you responding to the world?

May 4, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
(Romans 12:12 (NIV))

With what is happening in the world today, it is so difficult to be joyful. I find myself losing my patience with the people who have no idea of the sinful lives that they are leading. Hopefully, I am becoming more faithful in my prayers.

Life today and the world today have become so far removed from what I remember as a child. Everything seems to be in chaos. Gone are the days when you could trust people enough to leave your doors unlocked. Gone are the days when you could trust that if your children went riding their bikes and you had no idea where they were, you could trust that they would come home.

We have lost our innocence! It seems like society is running full-speed ahead into anything and everything that is evil. The world has rapidly declined into an abyss that seems to be getting deeper and darker. With that in mind, what are we, as the Body of Christ, supposed to do? When God’s truth is no longer considered to be truth, what are we supposed to do?

Stand firm!

Stand firm in what you know to be true. Stand firm in the joy and hope. Stand firm in patience no matter what may come. Most of all, stand firm in your faithfulness and prayers!

We know that this world is not our home. We know that good will be called evil and evil will be called good. We know that we will be mocked and ridiculed for our faith. We also know that Jesus will return. No matter what may come, we must remain joyful in our hope. We must remain patient no matter what the world sends our way. As we are told, we must pray without ceasing. We must never lose our faith!

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God’s gift to us is amazing . . . grace!

December 9, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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))

Have you ever thought about this passage as a Christmas passage?

We have been given the ultimate gift through God’s love for us. When a gift is given, someone has to pay the price. It is free to the recipient, but the one who gives the gift takes it upon themselves to pay the full cost no matter what that cost may be.

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

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

When was the last time that you took it upon yourself to give good gifts to several people? I am sure that it cost you a considerable amount, yet, you willingly paid the price so that you could freely give the gifts that you gave. Jesus willingly paid the cost needed to give grace and mercy to every person who has ever lived. That cost was more than we could bear just for our own sins, yet Jesus took all the sin of the world upon Himself for our sakes.

In this time of year that we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we must never lose sight of the reason that Jesus was born. It is at this time of year that we see the innocence of a baby, but we must not forget about the power and authority of Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Merry Christmas!

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

February 8, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–
(John 1:12 (NIV))

Have you been given the right to become children of God?

It is an offer that is open to anyone and everyone, but it is not an offer that all will accept.

I know that it is sad, isn’t it?

All that anyone has to do is receive Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior and believe that Jesus is the Son of God. I know that it sounds simple, yet, far too many people choose to make it complicated. They look at this whole thing with human eyes and a physical perspective. They fail to receive and fail to believe because it doesn’t make sense from a worldly point of view.

They fail to look beyond the world!

It takes the ability to see the universe with something other than your eyes. It takes the ability to let yourself go and rely on something, on someone, more than you can see and understand. It takes faith!

Think about faith.

Our society relies on the media to entertain us, to inform us, and far too often, to educate us. We see media magic and we are no longer willing, we are no longer able, to believe that things can be more awesome than the tricks we see on television or at the movies. We fail to realize that no matter what we may see, it is only a trick. it is not real. Perhaps this a one of the ways that the enemy gets us to believe the lies he tells. We see things and we no longer are awed by the things that God has done. We no longer have the faith to believe because we think that we understand how the awe and wonder is created. We don’t receive and we don’t believe because we can choose to see things that make it hard to believe.

Think back on your childhood.

Wasn’t it a time of innocence? Wasn’t it a time when faith played a bigger part of your life?

We can all be given the right to be children of God. All it takes is a simple act of belief.

Have you believed?

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

May 30, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.
(Matthew 19:14 (NIV))

Innocence and innocence betrayed! We were once little children in the eyes of God, innocent and very willing and eager to climb onto the lap of “Abba, Father.” Our innocence also lead to our fall from this peaceful existence into a life of sin and death. Our innocence was used against us by Satan in order to get back at God. Satan wanted to be God, and in his attempt at getting his desires, he was cast down from heaven. In his anger, he deceived humanity in our created innocence and now we are no longer innocent in the eyes of God. We are no longer those children who could sit on the lap of our “Abba, Father.”

Reading the words written in Matthew 19:14, I can’t help but wonder if Jesus was trying to tell us to come back to God as we were before the fall from grace, innocent and naive about the deceiving nature of sin. Deceit and distrust are a learned characteristic, as are honesty, truth and righteousness. We can be taught either characteristic, but, it is an attitude that actually makes us turn towards one direction or another. Little children are trusting by nature and have not learned to be wary of anything. When it comes to God, we need to trust wholeheartedly as a little child. When it comes to Satan, we must be wary of all things and have the wisdom of his ways so that we can avoid him.

Which attitude do you wish to have? Do you desire to have the innocence that God desires for you, or do you desire the wisdom of sin that Satan uses to trap? It is your choice!

Innocence or sin?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Even in the face of wickedness

August 2, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Though grace is shown to the wicked,
they do not learn righteousness;
even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil
and regard not the majesty of the LORD.
(Isaiah 26:10 (NIV))

Do you ever wonder why some people just seem to scoff at anything that is mentioned in the Bible?

Lately, there seems to be an outright hatred of anything that has Biblical roots. These people claim to seek tolerance and acceptance, yet, they are the first to be unaccepting of anything or anyone that clings to their faith.

I have seen comments from people wishing that those who profess a faith in Jesus would all die. I have seen comments where they vulgarly rant about what they would like to do to Christians. I have seen things that I thought that I would never see. I call it pure evil when people wish to do vile things to others and show no remorse for their thoughts and actions.

This sadly reminds me of the story of Lot.

The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”
“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”
But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom–both young and old–surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”
(Genesis 19:1-5 (NIV))

Innocence is lost.

That was Satan’s plan all along. Humanity was to lose the innocence and the joy that was theirs. He deceived Adam and Eve in the Garden, and he has slowly worked his way into every aspect of society. We are to the point where faith is ridiculed. There is anger and evil.

“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.
“It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.
(Luke 17:26-29 (NIV))

Noah and his family lived righteous lives in the midst of evil. Lot and his family lived righteous lives in the midst of evil. No matter what may come, we, as the Body of Christ, must not allow the evils of the world to sway us from our faith. We must not allow our imparted righteousness to be taken from us by giving in to the evils of this world.

John Newton was correct. Grace is amazing. It can overcome evil.

We must pray for guidance. We must pray for wisdom. We must pray for the Holy Spirit to give us the words and to guide our actions in hope that those who are lost may be shown the same grace and mercy that we have been shown.

Even in the face of wickedness, we must be the light of Jesus to the world.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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