Do we have something to learn from the early church?

July 27, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
(Acts 2:42-47 (NIV))

This sounds very wonderful!

What do you think was the main reason why people were being saved?

Was it the short and concise worship service with everything spelled out in the bulletin?

Was it the music? Was it the lack of music? Was it the programs? Was it a new church building? Was it the food pantry? Was it the clothes closet?

Or was it simply the power of God as it was shown in true fellowship with the Body of Christ?

What are the basic fundamental aspects of life that we all share as human beings?

As someone pointed out this morning, we are created to be a part of a community. We long to be with others. We either find fellowship with those who are a part of the Body of Christ, or we find fellowship with those who are not. In short, the fellowships that we have will either lift us up and hold us to a higher standard or they will drag us down into the sin that we don’t want.

One of the basic aspects of life is that we all must eat. Eating is very much a social activity, especially when you gather with people who share your common interests. Breaking bread brings a bond. We simply don’t just sit there and stuff our faces in silence. We socialize. We laugh. We cry. We share ideas. We share thoughts, dreams and aspirations. We share parts of ourselves that may never see the light of day in any other way. We build friendships over meals.

It is said that it is easier to get people to come to your house for a meal than it is to get them to go to church. Think about that the next time someone hems and haws about accepting your invitation to go to church.

The early church did not have buildings. They met in people’s homes. They became friends. They built trust. They built relationships and they built the church through these aspects of life. They did not build the church through big buildings or great music.

Do we, the modern church, have something to learn from the early church?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must listen and respond!

July 22, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving!
(Exodus 14:15 (NLT))

I often wonder if God is saying that to me. How many times has God laid out plans for me and I fail to see them? How many times do I simply sit and wait for God to do something for me when all along He has created a path for me that I fail to see?

I am sure that the times that He has done this is far greater than I want to admit. Let’s face the truth, we are all probably in this predicament more than we care to admit it. If we were capable of discerning God’s call upon our lives every single second of our lives, then we would not find ourselves in the situations that often arise.

Does this lack of action have anything to do with out lack of faith?

We long to hear God tell us what to do. We long to have Him intervene in our lives and provide us direction. We long to be able to discern His still, small voice, yet, we often ignore it when He does speak to us. We are like so many people from the Bible who looked for large, miraculous signs and wonders to provide assurance and to guide them. We need to not look toward these examples, but look to Elijah. He understood how God speaks to us.

The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
(1 Kings 19:11-12 (NIV))

If we are to do what God is calling us to do, then we must learn to recognize His voice and hear when He speaks.

Be still, and know that I am God
(Psalms 46:10a (NIV))

We must listen and respond!

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where is the philosopher of this age?

April 12, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.
(1 Corinthians 1:20-25 (NIV))

I find it sadly interesting that we are seeing this passage come to reflect our world more and more. The wise man, the scholar and the philosopher all look upon the things of God as foolishness. In all reality, humanity has come to the point where we feel that we can do it all. We can solve all of the world’s problems if we just get the smartest people to work on them.

Think about that for a moment.

I have heard it said that our university system allows a person to learn more and more about less and less. In other words, someone can focus so much on the smallest details and know everything about these small details, that they don’t see the big picture. We may be gaining knowledge, but we are not gaining wisdom. I am sure that we can all think of someone who is a specialist in a certain field and can tell you minute details about things, but can they carry on an intelligent conversation about anything else?

We think that understanding the smallest details will make us wise. We can look at the stars and understand that they are thousands of light years away, but do we stop and recognize the majesty and the awe that has been spread out before us?

God has given us a tremendous gift with the physical world. He has also given us a priceless gift of salvation through His Son, Jesus. Knowledge is looking at these gifts and trying to dissect them. Wisdom is knowing that dissecting them will make you miss the gifts themselves.

We need to understand. We need to seek wisdom. We need to seek knowledge. There used to be a time when an education was intended to make you well-rounded in many areas. Now, people tend to look upon it as a way to become a know-it-all about something very small.

How does God fit into this picture?

In today’s society, we are so focused on other things that we miss the gifts that He has given to us. It has come to the point that we are being taught “knowledge” that has nothing to do with wisdom.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Great adversity brings great triumph

October 26, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these miraculous signs of mine among them that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the LORD.”
(Exodus 10:1-2 (NIV))

Would you have remembered the way God saved the Israelites from captivity in Egypt if Pharaoh had let them go the first time Moses approach him? Would God’s miracles have been able to have been manifested for all of history to read about?

It is highly likely that if Pharaoh had given in the first time Moses came to him asking for the freedom of the Israelites, we would not remember the greatness of God, for He would not have needed to perform the miracles that He did.

Great adversity brings great triumph.

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
(1 John 4:4(NIV))

God is greater than he who is in the world. If Satan can raise his ugly, sinful head, then God will bring about redemption in a mightier way than Satan rebelled. This is always true. When was the last time that you thought you had a winless situation only to find that God delivered you through the situation? You and everyone around experienced the awesome power of God.

Now, consider how much Satan rebelled against God and how the world followed him.

It took a mighty act from God to put Satan in his place!

What was that mighty act? Can you pinpoint the one ultimate act of God that has sealed the fate of Satan?

God hardened the hearts of the people two thousand years ago so that He could be glorified through the death and resurrection of Jesus, His only Son!

Today, we know the outcome. We are only waiting for the fulfillment of God’s plan.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you look for and what do you seek?

October 31, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation.
(Mark 8:13 (RSV))

Do you seek signs from God?

In the days of Jesus, people wanted miraculous signs. They wanted something so grand that they would have no doubt about the origination of the sign. To be honest with you, I would not mind seeing such a sign myself !

The words of Jesus ring in my ears when I think that a sign would be great. They remind me that Jesus came not to bring people into salvation because it was an obvious choice from the physical perspective, but because they had the faith to believe. It is easy to believe when you see miraculous signs. Where is the faith in this? Faith requires much more. It requires believing in what you cannot see.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

If Jesus had given that generation miraculous signs, how long would they have believed? It may have lasted a few days, or even months, but, just like the Israelites in the desert, they would have begun to grumble and their faith would have faltered.

God wants us to have faith in Him.

Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.
(Zechariah 4:6b (NIV))

God wants us to know Him on a personal level, not on a level of might and power. The generation that Jesus spoke to was looking for the might and power when He was offering them the Lamb and the Spirit. They missed the greatest gift of all time simply because they had preconceived ideas of what to look for.

What do you look for in Jesus? What do you seek from Jesus?

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