How far is your reach?

June 25, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV))

We must have faith. Faith in God is mandatory if we are to receive the kingdom of heaven. We must have hope. Hope for the future that it will be better than the today that Satan has a hold of. These are important for our life as a believer. But, it is important for us to recognize what is being said in the scripture.

We MUST have love. Jesus came in love from God. Jesus reached out in love and compassion to those who needed Him the most. Can we, as believers, do any less than what Jesus did? We cannot turn our backs on people who are seeking God just because they do not fit into our social circles, or because they are from a different country.

We must reach out to them in love! We must reach beyond our comfort zone.

How far is your reach?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery

Advertisements

Will you be ready to leave the worldly things behind?

June 19, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
“At midnight the cry rang out: `Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, `Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
” `No,’ they replied, `there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
“Later the others also came. `Sir! Sir!’ they said. `Open the door for us!’
“But he replied, `I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
(Matthew 25:1-13 (NIV))

I read something that someone posted today on this passage that made me take a second, long and hard look at what is being said.

What do you think of when you hear the word “virgin?”

Besides the obvious sexual connotations, it means purity. It refers to those who have decided to do what was righteous and have kept themselves pure. They follow the teachings of the master. They strive to do what is right and have made a decision to avoid what is wrong or sinful.

Still, some are called out as foolish!

Why would someone who strives to do what is righteous be called foolish?

They were not prepared for the bridegroom’s return.

Jesus is the bridegroom!

Are we ready for the bridegroom to return? Will He find us not prepared and, as a result, not ready to enter into His grace?

Have you ever stopped to think about what it means to be prepared for the return of Jesus? According to this passage, we have work to do so that we can be prepared. Perhaps it is similar to the story of Martha and Mary. Mary chose to sit at the feet of Jesus. Martha chose to be distracted by the preparations of daily life. Jesus told Martha that Mary had chosen wisely.

What does that tell us?

Are we distracted by the things of daily life? Are we easily sidetracked from what should be our first love? When the bridegroom comes, will you need to get anything or will you be ready to see Jesus? Will you be ready to leave the worldly things behind?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Can you realize your full potential on your own?

June 25, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 5:17-20 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to reflect on the meaning of the word “fulfill.” There are several meanings and all of them shed a slightly different, yet profound meaning on these words that Jesus spoke.

According to Merriam-Webster.com, one meaning is to make full. If you consider the promises that God has given to us through the Law, those promises have been made full in what Jesus has done. Before Jesus, no one could live up to the ideals set forth through God’s Laws. The fulness of God’s Laws were salvation. We could not bring fulness on our own.

Another meaning is “to put into effect.” Still another is “to meet the requirements of.” There are more, but I think that my favorite definition is “to convert into reality; to develop the full potentialities of.” Before Jesus, the reality was that no one could fulfill the Law. Since Jesus, the reality is that no one else has fulfilled the Law. What are the full potentialities of fulfilling God’s Law? Think about that. We know what the outcome is when we fall short of God’s Law. Falling short of God’s Law is sin. The consequences of sin is death.

Through Jesus, we have realized the full potential of God’s Law. We have seen what it is to be perfect in God’s eyes. We have seen God set that example through Jesus. Jesus fulfilled the Law perfectly. We don’t need to fulfill it. This does not mean that we can do whatever we want. It means that we will not be condemned when we try in all sincerity and fall short. We will be condemned if we reject grace.

We can accept His fulfillment and His Lordship and, by grace, we can be granted our salvation – our fulfillment of God’s Laws through Jesus. We have a choice to make. We can accept this grace or we can live and be judged according to the Law – the very Law that ONLY Jesus was able to fulfill.

Can you realize your full potential on your own?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


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
Subscribe to daily email delivery


We cannot pick and choose parts of God’s Word!

April 5, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV))

I am going to touch on a subject that probably may step on some toes, but based on the above passage, it must be addressed.

I am speaking of the idea that we no longer have to read or abide by the Old Testament since Jesus came to free us from the law of sin and death. Jesus spoke directly to this false idea.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
(Mark 5:17-20 (NIV))

We must remember that the only Word that the people had at this time was what we refer to as the Old Testament. Jesus was speaking clearly and telling us that we are to fulfill the commands given in these teachings. He did not change any of these teachings. He came to fulfill them and to offer grace and mercy for when we “missed the mark,” or sinned in God’s eyes. Jesus did not come to tell us that what was taught before no longer applied. On the contrary, Jesus tells us that it is very important and that we are to build our lives upon it.

We cannot pick and choose what part of God’s Word we want to follow. We are to follow it all. We should long to follow it for it pleases God and it makes our lives much better.

The next time that you hear someone saying that we no longer live under the Law, remind them that Jesus lived under the Law. We are still to live according to God’s Law. The only difference is that we have Jesus sitting at the right hand of God the Father intervening for us when we cannot keep the Law, after all, Exodus 20:1-17 still applies. At no time did Jesus tell us to place another god before God. He did not tell us that it was all right to murder. He never told us that it was all right to steal. Why do we think that He told us to ignore the rest of God’s Word in the Old Testament?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Jesus came to finish God’s plan of salvation.

March 27, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
(John 19:30 (NIV))

Why did Jesus go to the cross?

What did He have to finish?

According to many people alive today, Jesus was concerned about social issues and equality. His own words let us know that this was not the reason for His crucifixion.

You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me
(John 12:8 (NIV))

Did Jesus come to preach acceptance of alternate lifestyles and diversity as some people now claim?

“Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV))

Don’t get me wrong. Jesus is concerned about social issues. He cares for the poor. He cares for the outcast. He cares for those on the edge of society. He does not care for them as the world cares. He cares for their repentance and salvation.

We all know John 3:16 by heart. What the world, and often members of the Body of Christ, forget is that this is not the complete passage. There is more to embrace.

“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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

Jesus is the Light of the World. He walked among us to bring light, to teach God’s desires and to offer salvation through repentance. He came to seek and to save the lost! He did not accept the sin of the lost.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:9-11 (NIV))

Jesus did not come to condemn. He came to bring salvation. He had to offer an atoning sacrifice that would cover all of our sins. He had to go to the cross. He had to finish the plan for repayment of our debt in sin.

Jesus did not come to condemn. Sadly, too many people are teaching that he came to ignore our sins and as long as we call upon His name we will be saved. Jesus did not tell the woman to call on him the next time she was caught in sin. He told her to leave her life of sin. If we continue to live in our sin, we are not truly living in the Light. We are still lost in our own evils and lost in the darkness.

Jesus came to finish God’s plan of salvation. God’s plan of salvation did not keep us in our sin. It cleansed us of our sin. All we have to do is repent and accept.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Man’s wisdom or God’s wisdom?

November 26, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 5:3 (NIV))

Do you ever feel like you have the world under your control and everything is going your way?

I didn’t think so!

If you are like everyone else, then you feel the trials and tribulations that this world puts upon each of us. It can weigh us down. It can make us forget that we are God’s children.

At the same time, it can actually lead us closer to God. It is during these times when we tend to turn to God. Perhaps it is during these times when our God shaped holes start to ache for fulfillment, and of course, there is only one source of fulfillment. We realize that we are not the masters of our own lives and that we must turn to the one who is. We turn to God.

In the eyes of the world, this signifies a poor spirit, for we admit that we cannot make it on our own. We need someone bigger than ourselves. According to human society, there is no one bigger than ourselves. Society wants us to think that we are the masters of our own destiny. Society wants us to be proud, perhaps even arrogant. When we are proud and arrogant, we will not turn to God. The kingdom that the proud and arrogant seek is the here and now.

If society says that turning to God is a sign of a poor spirit, then I am glad to claim that banner. However, it takes a strength to turn to God when all around you tempts you to turn away. It is a strength that the world doesn’t understand. It is a strength of free will. We choose to not exalt ourselves and turn to the one who deserves all of the praise. We freely choose what God desires for us instead of what the world desires for us.

Man’s wisdom is contradictory to God’s wisdom. With that in mind, which would you rather be, proud of spirit or poor of spirit? You answer will determine your eternity.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


%d bloggers like this: