Are you sharing the true Jesus with others?

January 27, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
(Luke 19:10 (NIV))

What have you been taught about Jesus? In particular, what have you been taught about the reason that He came into this world?

Did He come to be a social justice warrior? Did He come to advocate for the poor? Did He come to spread peace and love, or did He come to call a lost and sinful humanity to repentance?

I realize that Jesus did many things when He walked this earth, and many of those things can be classified as falling into these categories that I listed, but they were all ways to reach the lost. Did Jesus teach on being just and fair in our dealings with each other? I can point out many situations where He did just that. He pointed out our sinful nature in these matters and asked us to seek God and follow His commands. Not following God’s commands is a sin. Jesus was telling us to repent and follow Him. Did Jesus teach on helping the poor? If you look back at Old Testament laws, that was already in place. A landowner was not supposed to harvest all the way to the corners of his fields. This was to be left for the poor. In other words, love your neighbor as yourself. Not doing so is a sin. Jesus was calling us to repent of our sin. When asked what the greatest commandments are, He responded that you are to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. The example that He gave involved a Samaritan man. In the culture of the day, Jewish people hated the Samaritans. In other words, Jesus was telling us to repent of our sin of hatred.

What is your definition of being lost? According to God, being lost is being a sinner.

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

And being a sinner has drastic consequences!

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

Jesus walked among us telling us to live according to what God had planned. He called us to repent of our shortcomings, our sins, and to turn to God in all things. He used every situation that He was in as a teachable moment to drive this home. Repent in your dealings with others. Repent of your treatment of the poor. It is possible to do these things yet still miss out on the only reason that Jesus came. All of these can be labeled as works of the flesh if we do not have a repentant heart and a desire to follow Jesus in all that we do. A repentant heart is a result of the most important aspect of why Jesus came. Jesus calls us to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself. When we do this, our desires change. Our actions are no longer selfish in nature. We see ourselves and others as God sees them.

We are called to also seek and save the lost by sharing Jesus with them.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV))

Sadly, I believe that we, as the church, have missed the mark. We share Jesus only when we are comfortable, and we don’t emphasize where Jesus tells us to teach people to obey everything that He has commanded. We sugar coat it, and as a result, we see people developing incorrect images of Jesus. I know that this hasn’t been a saying in several years, but we must pay attention to “What Would Jesus Do?” According to the words recorded in Luke, Jesus clearly said that He came to seek and save the lost!

Are you sharing the true Jesus with others?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you diligently keeping watch?

January 22, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’
(Mark 13:37 (NIV))

Are you diligently watching and waiting for the Lord’s return?

These words from Mark are recorded as the last words in a brief story about a man leaving his servants in charge while he is gone. In this example, the man did not tell his servants when he would return. He simply told them to watch and be prepared.

Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping.
(Mark 13:33-36 (NIV))

If Jesus were to return for His church today, how would He find you? Would He catch you off guard or would you recognize that He is coming and would you be prepared to meet Him? Sadly, too many people who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior simply go about their daily lives with no thought to the question of “What if Jesus returned today?” It is the farthest thing from their minds, yet it should be the most important thing on their mind at all times.

Think about that in terms of a job. You are employed to do a certain task and when the boss is there, you perform the task as expected. But, when the boss is away for a day or two, do you perform your duties as you would if your boss were there?

Absence makes us lose sight of the importance of what we have been assigned to do! I’ll let you in on a little secret, though, with respect to the Lord. Unlike your boss, Jesus still knows your every thought and action. He knows who is diligently watching and waiting for Him.

We are to watch and wait for the Lord to return. Are you diligently keeping watch?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must not conform to this world!

May 17, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
(2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV))

Whether you think that we are in the last days or not, this is Godly advise to heed. If you stop to think about this, there are many old and wise sayings that come to mind that all say basically the same thing.

Don’t be guilty by association!

If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

Birds of a feather flock together.

I could probably list quite a few more, but I hope that you get the idea. Human nature is good at falsely thinking that we are capable of associating with others without having their sinful natures impact us. We, as the Body of Christ, are called to be set apart from the rest of the world. We are called to a higher standard. We are called to be guided by the Holy Spirit. The characteristics that the Holy Spirit calls us to follow are contradictory to what the world desires and what we are warned to avoid.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Sadly, too many people falsely believe that they can associate with the world and still be a follower of Christ.

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
(Matthew 6:24 (NIV))

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
(1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NIV))

We must turn from those in this world who will lead us astray. We must turn to the Lord. We must not conform to this world!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is sharing the good news of Jesus your priority?

November 16, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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))

What is your biggest priority in your life?

Some people might answer that their biggest priority is family. To be honest with you, that is a good priority to have. but is it the biggest priority?

Some people might answer that their biggest priority is to leave their mark in the world. Do you think that whatever mark they may try to leave will even be remembered one hundred years from now?

Some people might answer that their biggest priority is to make lots of money. This, in and of itself, is not bad. What is bad is the love of money. If you want to make lots of money simply because of greed, what does that get you?

No matter what your priorities are in life, if you are a believer in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then everything pales in comparison to placing the Lord first.

You shall have no other gods before me.
(Genesis 20:3 (NIV))

Is there any priority in your life where placing the Lord first would not be a better option? If you place your family as a priority, imagine how much better it would be if you, and your family, placed the Lord first. What if leaving your mark on the world meant that you shared the Gospel with those around you and you lead many to a saving grace in Jesus? You would be remembered for all eternity by those whom you led to Jesus. If you desire to bring in lots of money, what if it was a priority to bring in lots of money to buy Bibles to distribute to those who desperately want God’s Word.

What we place as a priority is only bad if that priority is not Christ centered. Each of us have a different calling. Each of us have a unique way to share the Gospel. Our gifts and our desires should not be our priorities. How we use them to testify to the good news of God’s grace should be the utmost priority.

Is sharing the good news of Jesus your priority?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you give thanks for the “bread” and the “wine”?

November 14, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
(1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (NIV))

Many of us know these verses and the other verses from Matthew, Mark and Luke describing what is called The Last Supper. It is this simple act that we have come to know as Holy Communion.

I wish to propose that, based on what is written, we do not partake often enough, for it says that we should do this in remembrance of Jesus. Should we, as believers, remember Jesus more than once a month, or once every 6 months? It does not say, as the Laws of Moses did, to have celebrations on certain days. Jesus commanded us to remember Him “whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup”, not the first Sunday of every month. We can partake of the simple act of thanksgiving and remembrance whenever we sit down to a meal.

Jesus was, and still is, “. the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”
(John 6:35b (NIV))

Perhaps, since Jesus is the bread of life and we are to partake of Holy Communion whenever we eat, does this mean that we are to partake of Jesus all of the time? Consider that without bread, we will physically grow weak and die. Is that also true of the spiritual bread that Jesus gives us?

We can be thankful and acknowledge that Jesus is our Lord and Savior in all that we do.

How often do you give thanks for the “bread” and the “wine”?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t let sin distract you!

May 5, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them.
(Deuteronomy 28:14 (NIV))

How easily distracted are you?

Have you ever known the task at hand, yet you found yourself doing something else? If you are like me, that happens far more than any of us care to admit. The proper term for it in today’s society is attention deficit disorder, however, I think it is probably related to our fall from grace and the resulting sinful nature that is now ours as a result.

If you remember, the word “sin” is an archery term that means to miss the mark. When we turn aside from anything that God calls us to do, then we have missed the mark. We have sinned. I find it interesting that our society has placed a label on it, created medication for it, and we can have counseling to tell us that it is okay to miss the mark.

It is true that we are only human and our very nature is sinful, but instead of saying that it is okay to miss the mark, shouldn’t we be striving to hit the mark? Why do we accept the concept that it is okay to stop trying to follow God’s designs and seek to follow our own sinful natures?

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 5:23 (NIV))

Thankfully, there is a way to hit the mark, not on our own, but by the grace of God.

“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. 18 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.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

Thankfully, Jesus did not turn to the right or the left. He stayed the course and because He did, we have a Savior who can guide us, who can redeem us when we do stray.

It is my prayer for all of us that we keep our eyes upon Jesus so that we will be able to stay true to the path that we are called to follow.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What would it be like to have walked with Jesus?

October 16, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.” But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it.
(Mark 9:30-32 (NIV))

I often wonder what it would be like to have walked with Jesus. I know that grace and mercy are freely given through His sacrifice, but what is it about Him that drew people to Him to begin with? Was it His knowledge? Was it His love? Was it His demeanor or was it His ability to enthrall large crowds with His public oration? It is something that I think most people have had in their minds at one time or another.

Consider the words from Mark. Jesus spoke in such a way that those who chose to follow Him did not understand. To me, this is an unusual occurrence, for human nature gravitates to what it knows. If someone doesn’t understand something, they have a tendency to stay away from these things and stay with what they know. Human nature does not place you in situations that make you feel inferior. You stay with what you know and understand. Yet, on many occasions, these men did not understand what Jesus taught. Still, they stayed with Him. They clung to every word that He taught just as a young child will cling to its father. They may not understand what is being said, but they recognize the voice and the comfort that it brings.

I can only imagine the commanding persona that Jesus had. What type of personality would the Son of God possess? Did He laugh? Did He cry? Did He play jokes on people? Did His disciples play jokes on Him? Jesus was fully human. I can imagine that He did the things that we do, only without allowing sin to take control.

Jesus was also fully God. He did things that people could not understand.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

We have already thought about the characteristics that drew people to Jesus, but what would draw Jesus to humanity and ultimately to the cross? We say that love drove Him to the cross. I am sure that it did, but, can we even begin to understand this great of a love?

What did He see in you and love so much that made Him willing to suffer and die?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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