Are we still witnessing or are we simply waiting?

February 3, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
(Acts 1:7-8 (NIV))

Have we gotten tired of waiting? Have we given up being witnesses because we don’t see any evidence of His return? Do you tell yourself that witnessing is not your gift? Perhaps we have developed an attitude that we have done our part and it’s time for a rest. Have I left your excuse out of my list?

I don’t mean to sound harsh and degrading. I don’t want to sound like I am pointing fingers. I realize that we have all felt like this at some point or another. In fact, I have told myself that personal witnessing is not my gift more times than I care to admit. To be honest with you, I am not good at public speaking. I am not good at one on one, but, if you give me a keyboard and a verse, I believe that I have found my way of witnessing. With this simple truth about myself, I believe that if you look at humanity, you will quickly realize that God created each of us with unique gifts. Because each unsaved sinner is unique, each repentant sinner who has claimed salvation has a unique way of reaching someone else. It is a way that may be designed for reaching only one person. We must remember that each person is loved by God and the one that you are called to share the Gospel with may be the next person to share the Gospel with millions!

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
(Ephesians 4:11-12 (NIV))

Just because our gift is not evangelism doesn’t mean that we can’t use our gifts to witness, to spread the Gospel!

It is true that we don’t know the hour or the date that the Father has set, but we all have an urgent task that we must not neglect. Whether it is by evangelism, writing, hospitality, generosity, music, or art, we all have a gift that we can use to witness to the amazing truth of the Gospel. Just because we don’t know the hour or the date doesn’t mean that we should stop using our gifts to reach the world. We are called to be faithful until He comes.

Are we being faithful with the gifts that He has given to us or have we grown complacent in our witness? Have we started using excuses like those I previously mentioned to convince ourselves that it is okay if we don’t witness? We need to take a serious look at what Jesus has called us to do and whether we are being faithful in that calling.

Are we still witnessing or are we simply waiting?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Whose acceptance is more important to you?

November 22, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“I do not accept praise from men, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?
(John 5:41-44 (NIV))

Ouch! That hurts.

Would Jesus say this to us today? Have we become like the people that He was condemning in this passage?

Many claim to be part of the Body of Christ, but do our actions reflect this? Do we seek acceptance from man more than we seek acceptance from God? Do we look to people who are accepted by man and think that they must be Godly for they have been blessed with fame and fortune? How do we look upon Christian music artists and mega-church pastors? Do we praise them for their fame or do we listen and discern what they are saying with respect to God’s Word?

It doesn’t only apply at the grand scale. It can apply to a local congregation if we seek acceptance from one another instead of from God. Please do not confuse this type of acceptance with what we are called to do as a church. We, as the Body of Christ, are called to accept people as Jesus accepted people. We are not called to place the desire to be accepted by people above accepting Jesus.

After we have done something that the Lord has called us to do, do we seek acceptance from our friends, family and fellow members of the Body of Christ? I honestly believe that the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector has merit in our ways of seeking acceptance.

    To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: `God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
    “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, `God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
    “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
(Luke 18:9-14 (NIV))

When we seek acceptance from anyone else but God, we are trying to exalt ourselves. We are prideful. We want everybody to know who we are and what we have done. Is this how Jesus told us to serve?

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
(Matthew 6:2-4 (NIV))

We can seek the acceptance of man or we can seek the acceptance of Jesus.

Whose acceptance is more important to you?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you planted and prosperous?

July 19, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.
(Psalms 1:3 (NIV))

Prosperity does not always mean money!

If a tree is planted by streams of water and yields its fruit in season, that tree is fruitful. It can be considered prosperous. It does exceedingly well exactly what it was created to do!

Do you judge others by financial prosperity? Do you judge yourself by financial prosperity?

Sadly, we have a tendency to judge prosperity by worldly benchmarks where financial gain is the easiest one to measure. We do this regardless of what calling God has placed on the individuals being measured. Please don’t misunderstand me and think that financial prosperity is not from God. It is very possible to be called by God to something where financial prosperity is needed. It is not exactly easy to have the gift of generosity and not have the means to fulfill that gift.

We must realize that not everyone is gifted the same.

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
(Ephesians 11-13 (NIV))

Each person has been gifted differently in order to equip us for His service. If we are obedient and serve as we are called, we will prosper. We will have an impact utilizing the gifts that we have been given. Just as the tree planted by streams of water yields it fruit, if we are obedient and stay planted in our calling, we will produce a yield. We will prosper in what we have been called to do.

Are you planted and prosperous?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We will be held accountable!

May 27, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:12-13 (NIV))

We just finished a three day weekend in which we were supposed to stop and remember those who have given their lives so that we could have the freedoms that we have. I am extremely thankful to those who have served in the US military and have fought for our freedoms. We, as a nation, owe them more than we can ever begin to repay.

There is another group of people whom we need to be thankful to. A group that we, as the Body of Christ, must remember for their sacrifices that helped to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We must remember the heroes of the faith. Some call them saints. Some call them out as torchbearers. Whatever you may call them, the people who have gone before us and paved the way for our faith must be remembered. They must be thanked, for without them, we would not have been handed the mantle of faith that we possess.

We, as the current standard bearers in the faith, must be vigilant in our faith. We owe it to the next generation to pass the truth of God’s Word to them. We must not alter it to meet society’s expectations. We must not alter it to meet our own desires. We must not change what God is saying.

We will be held accountable!

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
(Ephesians 4:11-13 (NIV))

Our generation are the apostles. We are the prophets. We are the evangelists, pastors and teachers. It is our responsibility to pass this on just as we received it. Society may try to change God’s Word, but we must be steadfast and use God’s Word to change society.

Think about these questions.

Do you want future generations to look upon us as the ones who corrupted God’s Word?

Do you want God to look upon us as the ones who corrupted His Word?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your spiritual aptitude?

August 5, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
(Ephesians 4:11-13 (NIV))

Have you ever taken an aptitude test? You know the tests I am talking about. You answer a bunch of questions by filling in a circle under a number that represents how much the question sound like you. Perhaps you have taken something similar to this that was labeled a personality test. These tests are designed to help you figure out what you are good at and how you see the world. They try to label you with terms that can be used to fit people into the proverbial box. These tests use terms like Type A, Administrator, Caregiver, Visionary, and whatever else you can imagine.

It is interesting that we are told that God gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers. We recognize the fact that each of us is not the same when it comes to spiritual gifts and completely fail to allow that concept to apply to our physical world and the gifts that we have.

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
(Matthew 16:19 (NIV))

Is Jesus telling us that the spiritual world and the physical world are closely connected? Do our spiritual gifts manifest themselves in the physical world? Can someone who does not have the spiritual gift of administration perform an administrative task in the physical world? Can someone who does not have the spiritual gift of discernment operate in the physical world as a counselor? Can someone who has the gift of prophecy do things that are contrary to God’s Word?

I recently took a test to discover my spiritual gifts. The results gave me mixed emotions. I suppose that I knew beforehand what the outcome would be, but it still surprised me to see the results. They confirmed what I had felt, but never really accepted.

God gave us each unique gifts that He desires for us to use in both the spiritual and the physical, for the two are not separate. They are closely tied to one another. What gifts you are given can manifest themselves in both aspects of your life.

Are you gifts united in your life for the glory of Jesus Christ?

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