Would you step up to answer the call?

May 25, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 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 12:23-26 (NIV))

This may seem off target for this verse since it speaks of Jesus telling His disciples that His time has come. However, the words that Jesus uses speak to all of us.

The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
(John 12:25 (NIV))

Memorial Day started back in the 1860s as a way to remember those who had given their lives in battle. Originally it was called Decoration Day since the way that people honored the fallen was to decorate their graves. Regardless of what it is called, we owe these men and women a debt of gratitude and honor for their sacrifice. Many people do not agree with war, but the truth is that these people stepped up to take the responsibility of righting something that they did not agree with and they were willing to give their lives for that calling.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

Most of us never knew these people throughout our history, yet we owe them so much. I can honestly say that it is a certainty that not all were believers in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, still, I believe that they carried a spark of the Light that Jesus brought to this world. You cannot be exposed to the Light without having some of it take root.

Jesus laid down His life so that we could have life. These men and women did the same thing in their own ways.

We must never forget to honor those who have gone before us and stood for the truths that we, as the Body of Christ, hold fast to. They answered the call when an answer was needed. Would we be willing to answer a similar call today? Would we rely on the Light of Jesus to guide us in that answer?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How can you make the true Jesus known to others?

September 12, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.
(John 1:16-18 (NIV))

How do you make Jesus known?

Is it in a way that glorifies God and His Son?

For those who claim Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, the way that we behave each and every day is often the only reflection of Jesus that some people will ever see. Do you reflect Jesus in a way that makes Him know for who He truly is and for what He truly offers or do you reflect a Jesus that is limited by human frailties and sin? If we rely on human nature to show Jesus to others, then we do not do a good job of reflecting the light. We cannot make known perfection when we rely on our own imperfection.

How can we truly reflect the light of Jesus without fully embracing that light with a desire to glow brightly?

The next time that you find yourself in a situation where you have two paths to choose from, stop and reflect. Which path would best reflect Jesus to those around you? Which path will make Jesus known?

The nation of Israel has longed for their Messiah for thousands of years. When He came, He did not fit their expectations. He came as innocence. He came as a baby. He came to preach the good news of grace and salvation. Today, many people think of Jesus only from what they have seen portrayed through certain elements of society. They see a Jesus who is hypocritical and is a reflection of the sin that He came to save us from. Their perceptions are all wrong. They have never been shown the true Jesus.

“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))

How can you make the true Jesus known to others?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must not be afraid!

February 21, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
(Matthew 10:27-28 (NIV))

Have we, as today’s church, forgotten the words that Jesus told us? Do we simply wish to hide ourselves away cowering in the darkness because we are afraid to share the light?

If we claim to have the light of Jesus, yet, we do not share that light, do we truly have it? If we know that we are bought by the blood of Jesus, we will proclaim it for all who will hear it. We should not be ashamed of what we have be given. We should not be ashamed that we are wise enough to realize that we need salvation.

Professing a faith in Jesus is not a weakness contrary to what our society may think. Professing a faith in Jesus requires a courage and a strength to step out of the crowd and proclaim that we do not like the way the world is. We are proclaiming that we long for a world that is free from sin. We long for a life that is filled with God’s purpose. In a world that looks down upon anyone who does not think of themselves as the ultimate authority in their own life, we must stand firm in the faith and not be afraid to share the Gospel that we know to be true.

We must not be afraid.

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?
(Romans 8:31 (NIV))

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

February 8, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
(Matthew 24:10-13 (NIV))

I have read this passage many times, and like all of God’s Word, it speaks differently each time. God’s Word is living. You can read something many times and each time, something new comes into view.

This time, what came to light is something that I honestly hope is just a translation issue. However, I honestly do not think that it is.

Did you see the word “most” in this passage?

“the love of MOST will grow cold”

This brings to mind that we, as the Body of Christ, have allowed false teachings in. We have started following human desires within the church instead of following God’s Word and Jesus. It also means that as we get closer to God’s ultimate plan for humanity, more and more will fall away. They will cling to human desires and understanding instead of relying on what we have been told in the Bible. We already see divisions and teachings that are based on social issues instead of Biblical truth.

Most!

That implies more than half of the people who profess a faith in Jesus will fall into wickedness!

As important as social issues appear to be, they are not what Jesus came into this world to address. He told us that we would always have the poor. He told us to stop sinning. He told us to love one another. Jesus did not preach social justice. He even told us that He would be the divisive factor even among families. Social justice does not bring salvation. Only a true profession of faith in Jesus as your Lord and Savior will bring salvation.

Don’t misunderstand my thought process.

The church is to be the light of Jesus in the world, but we are not to let the social issues divide us. Satan uses anything and everything that he can to make a believer turn away from the truth, even something that has a good purpose.

I also want you to think about this passage with respect to another point.

There are those who believe that once you are saved you are always saved. The words of Jesus in Matthew contradict that idea.

We must stand firmly upon God’s Word and not be swayed by the lies of the enemy, no matter how good they may sound.

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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The Light of Jesus!

December 20, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:16 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to think about this verse?

In just a few days, we will be celebrating Christmas, the day that we have set aside to commemorate the day that God sent the Light of the World into the world. From the day of His birth, Jesus did not hide His light. He let it shine so that any and all who would recognize it could find the salvation and grace that they had been seeking.

What is Jesus had hidden His light?

Would we know of His teachings? Would we know of His healings? Would we know of His miracles that defied natural law? Would we know of the crucifixion and the resurrection? Would we know of the fulfillment of God’s promises?

If Jesus had hidden the Light that God had given Him, we would be no better off than before He came to this world.

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))

Did you catch that simple truth?

Jesus let His light shine. We are to do what Jesus did. According to scripture, it is even possible that we may do greater things than He did. It is possible that our light may shine brightly to many people. It is possible that we may reach more people with our light than the number of people that Jesus reached when He walked this earth.

I know that this may sound egotistical, but that is not the intent. Jesus came to this earth some two thousand years ago. How many people could he have actually reached during His time on this earth? Now consider the works of Billy Graham. How many people has he been able to impact for Jesus? I am sure that it is far greater than the number that Jesus reached during His three years of ministry and teaching. In other words, he did greater things than Jesus.

The key to this is simple. We can do great things, and maybe even greater things than Jesus, if we make Jesus our focus. We must not draw attention to ourselves, but we must always point to the one who gives life. We can impact a great number of people for Jesus. We can do this by simply letting our light shine.

Just make sure that the light that shines is the Light of Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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