How would your church respond?

August 18, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, `I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
(Revelation 3:14-22 (NIV))

How would your church respond to this?

Since it is not all rosy, would there be a knee-jerk reaction to reject it or ignore it?

That is the problem with many churches today. It is all about public image and not necessarily about responding to God’s call or correction. Can you imagine the reaction if someone said that they would spit your church out? Think about that. When you spit something out of your mouth it is because it leaves a very bad taste. It makes you sick.

What would that say about the church this was told to? Would you listen and try to repent, or would it be brushed under the rug so no one would know?

I know that everyone, including churches, has dirty laundry that they don’t want aired. What if the dirty laundry that you are hiding or ignoring is something that would make Jesus spit you out of His mouth? What if it was keeping you from God’s full grace?

It is impossible to grow and mature in Christ when you ignore what you don’t like or what you feel is negative. Jesus did not spend His time on earth complimenting people and sugar-coating what needed to happen. Why do we think that the church must do what Jesus didn’t do?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who will represent you?

August 14, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He who overcomes shall thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels.
(Revelation 3:5 (NAS))

The end of the Time of the Gentiles is getting closer every day. We do not know the exact day or hour, but, simply by the fact that as each day passes, logically we are getting closer to the day.

Jesus told us through John that we are to hold steadfast in our faith so that we may overcome the world and the ruler of this world. We are not to be deceived or waiver from our faith. Keep your eyes upon Jesus and follow His teachings, allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you. Test everything against God’s Word to verify its origin.

God’s Word is unwavering. It is always the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow. Jesus tells us that for those who can overcome the world and its deceptions by focusing on Him, they will be represented before God by Jesus Himself. What better witness can someone have? God, the Son interceding for us before God the Father! Satan doesn’t stand a chance!

Who will represent you when you stand before God the Father?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you in need of pruning?

February 22, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
(John 15:1-2 (NIV))

Think about this passage. There are two things that caught my attention. Both of which, we, as the Body of Christ, must recognize.

He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit

If you have fruit bearing trees, and an old limb just does not produce fruit, what do you do with it?

Think about that in relation to your life and your faith. Are you bearing fruit? I know that this makes me take a good, hard look at my life and how I appear to God. Am I that old limb that is in need of removing? Am I simply there without any benefit to those who look to me for how I can bring Jesus into their lives?

I pray that I bear fruit!

The second point directly relates to our ability to bear fruit.

while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

Every single one of us has things in our lives that detract from our ability to bear fruit. Just as a healthy tree may develop some problems and have to be trimmed back, our problems may also have to be trimmed back. Once we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we will not be perfect. Once we start to bear fruit, we will still have problems that must be corrected so that our fruit will multiply. The Body of Christ must be willing to accept this pruning for it is a much needed step in the maturation of our faith.

Think about these two very distinct aspects of how a gardener cares for the vine. One is a total removal because it does not bring life. The other is a loving correction so that our lives and our fruit may be more abundant.

I know that correction can be painful and unpleasant, but given the two options, it is obvious that it is better to undergo the correction than to undergo the removal. Would you want to be cast away from Jesus? Would you be willing to allow for the removal of unfruitful elements from you life?

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

Would you be willing to allow God to prune away areas of your life so that your fruit may blossom and grow?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus is calling us to serve with Him

January 17, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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 12:26 (NIV))

Do you serve the Lord?

I know that we would all like to think that we do, but are we willing to go where Jesus went? Are we willing to take up our cross and follow Him? Are we willing to go that extra mile when we know that we should?

Are we willing to be where He is?

When Jesus walked the earth, He ate with sinners. He forgave the adulteress. He healed the sick. He raised the dead.

I know that many of you are thinking that we are not capable of these things, and maybe we aren’t, but have we tried?

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))

If we are told that we will do these same things, why do we doubt? Why do we fail to go where Jesus went? Are we so wrapped up in our own lives that we fail to be a faithful servant? Are we not willing to step outside of our comfort zone and meet Jesus in the midst of the spiritual warfare?

Have we become spectators instead of spiritual warriors?

Have we compromised our faith and our servanthood?

Did Jesus ever compromise what He taught? Did He stop the stoning of the adulteress only to tell her that it was ok for her to keep doing what she was doing?

No!

Jesus did not compromise!

He always instructed those that would listen to give up their sin.

There are many things in this world that were once considered sin that are now considered ok. If Jesus came into this world today, would he tell these people that their sin is now ok? Should we offer teachings that Jesus would not offer?

The one difference that I see in Jesus is love. Every person that came to Him was treated with love. He did not ridicule them. He did not provoke them. He did not tell them to go to hell as I have seen some so-called Christians do recently. Jesus had compassion. He had love. Is it possible that these are the places where Jesus is calling us to serve with Him?

Can we put ourselves aside and meet Jesus where He is?

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

December 14, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
(Matthew 10:32-33 (NKJV))

Have you ever been in a situation in which you honestly hoped that the subject of Jesus did not come up? I don’t know if that is the same as actually denying Jesus before men, but it is too close for comfort.

This is a tough saying to deal with, for everyone probably has times when they at least thought about it. Only when your faith has matured do you face the question with a more stable attitude. Even so, everyone likes to think that they would not deny Jesus before men, that they would die rather than deny Him. I pray that this is true, yet no one really can say for certain until they are actually in that situation.

Faith is a strong thing if it is firmly rooted in God’s Word. Self preservation is also a strong thing, and unless faith is stronger, self preservation will win. How can you strengthen faith? Faith is very much like a muscle in that if you do not use it, it atrophies. If you practice acts of faith, your faith will increase.

Do not let your faith “muscle” atrophy from lack of use. If it does, the results may be denial. You will deny God and He will deny you.

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