Just what is your definition of everyone?

March 7, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
(Acts 2:21 (NIV))

Have you ever truly stopped to contemplate the meaning of this passage?

To fully comprehend the meaning of this passage, you have to accept the definition of the word “everyone.” You also have to accept the fact that there were no modifying words applied to the word “whoever.” It did not say whoever is like me, or whoever is from your social status. It simply says whoever!

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

God does not place limitations on the words “everyone” and “whoever,” so why do we? Why do we think that “everyone” who is like us or “whoever” is like us are the only ones that can be shown the grace of God? If you stop to think about this silly concept, then I can safely say that most of us would not be eligible to call upon the name of the Lord, for we don’t match the ethnic or social status of Jesus when He walked this earth. We also don’t match the ethnic or social status of Paul, who is credited with spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles. In case that you forgot, Paul had been a Jew among Jews and basically anyone who was not a Jew, the Gentiles, were looked down upon by the upper echelon of Jewish society.

In other words, we don’t have any right to attach disclaimers and exemptions to the definition of the word everyone! It means every person without exception!

Just what is your definition of everyone?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God can take our impure motives and turn them to His glory!

February 26, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,
(Philippians 1:18 (NIV))

What does this passage mean to you?

I was given a very interesting point of view of this passage earlier today, and to be completely honest with you, it makes perfect sense!

When this passage was written, Paul was in prison and other people started to preach the Gospel. Some had pure motives while others had selfish motives. Paul recognized the value of both, since spreading the Gospel was his biggest concern. I know that I do this all the time, but let me ask a few questions of you.

Do you think that the people who heard the Gospel from those with false motives knew of those motives, especially if what they preached was true to the Gospel? Let me ask this a slightly different way. If you are channel surfing and come across a television preacher who is preaching the truth, will everyone ignore this preacher simply because they may seek money? Perhaps your church has a guest speaker and they are very eloquent at conveying the truth of the Gospel. Do you stop listening to them because they set up a table to sell the books that they have written?

Let’s be honest with ourselves!

We are all human and we all have motives for doing things that are less than perfect. Does that stop us from doing them? Does that stop us from listening to those who have less than perfect motives? Think about that in relationship to your job. What if you are having a bad day, but you need your paycheck? Do you put on a fake smile and go about your day, or do you storm off? Most people will put on a fake smile. They may have less than a proper motive, but they come across with something that will impact those around them in a positive way.

Think about that in terms of the Gospel!

As long as the truth is being preached, God can and does use that truth to help spread the Gospel. I don’t condone this, but have you ever seen two churches become rivals? They try to do anything and everything to be “better” than their rival. One may take out billboard ads with scripture passages while the other will place ads in local newspapers. One may apply for and receive a license for a radio station, while one may use the internet to broadcast their services. In all of this rivalry, who really wins?

If you say that God wins because the Gospel is being spread, then you are correct.

We are only human and our human motives are less than perfect, but God is perfect. In fact, He is perfection. To use an old saying, “God can take our mess and make a message!” If God can do that, then God can take our impure motives and turn them to His glory!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you confident of your rescue?

January 30, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
(2 Timothy 4:18 (NIV))

When Paul wrote these words to Timothy, he had already been through many trials for his work in spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles. Even in the midst of the troubles that he faced, he was confident that he was in good hands. In all of his travels, Paul faced being run out of town. He had been thrown in jail. He had been beaten and stoned. He had been shipwrecked. He faced starvation and would eventually be thrown in a Roman prison. It was from this prison that Paul reached out to Timothy. His words speak of the faith that was used to reach the Gentiles with the Gospel.

I want you to put yourself into Paul’s situation as he sat in the Roman prison.

How would you feel, how would your attitude hold up if you spent what many believe to have been two years locked away in a dungeon? It is believed that where Paul was kept was simply a cold, dark room under the main building. The only access into this room was to be lowered by rope through a hole. Even the Roman guards had to enter and exit in this manner. Would you be able to express the faith that Paul displayed? Would you be able to hold onto the promise that the Lord would rescue you from every evil attack?

Far too many people hold fast to the promise that these words contain, yet when they are faced with any hardship, they quickly lose all faith.

Would we be reading the letters that Paul wrote if he had decided to throw a pity party for himself? What if the letters that he wrote had been self reflections and full of “Why did this happen to me?” Paul was confident in his faith. Paul was an excellent example of faith under pressure. He knew that no matter what the enemy may send his way, the Lord would rescue him and bring him into his heavenly kingdom.

Perhaps you are going through trials in your life. Is you faith strong enough to face what Paul faced?

Are you confident of your rescue?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to suffer for the sake of the Gospel?

January 23, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.
(2 Corinthians 11:27 (NIV))

Your first reaction to this passage was probably like mine!

This is not something that I would willingly put myself through, nor would I want to find myself unwillingly in this type of situation.

Let’s face it. We have become creatures of habit. Perhaps I should say that we have become creatures of comfort! We have become so used to the air conditioned house with our refrigerators and entertainment devices that we forget what real sacrifice is. We leave our air conditioned homes, get in our air conditioned cars and drive to an air conditioned building to worship. Are we really sacrificing anything to praise God? Are we sacrificing anything to help spread the Gospel?

What if Paul had the same attitude that many of us have?

What if Paul was not willing to suffer for the Gospel?

How many of us would willingly do something that could land us in prison? How many of us would go head first into a situation knowing that the outcome could mean stoning, prison or death? Paul was willing to do this and so much more! Because of his desire to share the Gospel and his willingness to do whatever it took, we can claim our salvation. Can anyone claim their salvation because of what you are willing to do?

Are you willing to suffer for the sake of the Gospel?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you show unwavering and unswerving faith!

December 11, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
(Hebrews 10:23 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to think about human nature and how easy it becomes during the Christmas season to profess a faith in Jesus? Even people who normally don’t even think about Jesus the rest of the year will stop and look at a nativity scene or watch movies based on the birth of Jesus. They will pause and some will even be thankful, but what do they do the rest of the year?

Are they consistent in their actions?

Are they consistent in the hope that they profess during Christmas?

Some refer to people who are not consistent in their attention to Jesus as C&E Christians. This name comes from the fact that the only time they show up at church or pay any attention to Jesus is at Christmas and Easter. The rest of the year, they live in the world fully immersed in their sin without any remorse. Is this what Paul calls us to do in this world? Is this a good example of holding unswervingly to the hope that God gave us and that we profess?

We are called to a life of consistency with respect to our faith. We are to focus on Jesus and follow His call. We are to not swerve to the left or to the right when the world temps us. We are to keep our eyes on Jesus for He is the author and perfecter of our faith. We are to look to Jesus every day of the year and not just at certain times of the year. We are to look to Jesus every day of our life and not just the times that are convenient for us to do so.

We are to live our lives in daily relationship with Jesus.

This is how we are to hold unswervingly to the hope we profess.

We are to live out unwavering and unswerving faith!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you hate your sinful nature?

November 20, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
(Romans 7:15 (NIV))

Sadly, I know all too well what Paul meant when he wrote these words. I bet we all do!

What is it about human nature that makes us do the things that we do, especially when we know that we shouldn’t do them? Why do we react the way that we do knowing that we will regret it as soon as we do it? Unfortunately, we all probably have our “favorite” things that we hate to do. These are the things that we despise, yet we can’t stop doing them. For some people, it may be anger. For others, it may be lust. For others, it may be greed. What is it about your actions that you hate? What is it about your life that you wish you could change?

I realize that this is of little solace, but we must come to terms with the fact that even Paul faced the undesirable actions in his life. If Paul, who had a life changing, face to face encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, still had things in his life that he hated, we must realize that we will face things in our lives that we hate.

If you stop to think about this from a different perspective, it may shed a new light on this. Before you met Jesus, would you have even stopped to think about the things that you now hate? Would you have even given them a second thought? Would you even have the hatred towards these things in your life? When you consider the things that you now hate, I want you to consider the simple fact that this hatred indicates a new desire to change. It indicates a desire to repent. It indicates a desire to be something different than you were. It indicates a desire to be something different than you are. It indicates a desire to be like Jesus, and out of that desire, you see things in your life that make you realize that Jesus would not do what you do!

With this in mind, I realize that it is okay to hate the things that I do, for I know that I am not perfect and that I will never be able to walk in Godly perfection as long as I am a sinful creation. I can strive to follow Jesus, but I must realize that there will be times that I will fail. When I fail, I pray that I will, like Paul, be able to recognize what made me fail and hate what made me fail.

It is a matter of attitude.

Do you hate your sinful nature?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you trained to be?

November 3, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way.
(2 Corinthians 11:6 (NIV))

Every single one of us is good at something. Every single one of us has a special talent that we have nurtured because we are driven to pursue it in one manner or another. Some of us are driven to excellence in athletic endeavors. Some are driven to excel in music, while others are drawn to drama. Some are good at business, while others are more concerned with hospitality, kindness and caring.

What are you drawn to?

If you are like everyone else, you read, study or practice to get better at what you are drawn to. You become a sponge who is willing to absorb all that you can about your passion, about what drives you, about what you are drawn to. You grow in knowledge and wisdom. You grow in your training, whether it is from someone who is a mentor, or if it is through trial and error all on your own. Some people, like Paul, even have a divine calling. Even with the calling during his Damascus Road experience, Paul had to gain knowledge. He had to study. He had to wait for the Lord to lead him to the right place and time for his study and his passion to come together.

Today, we read the words that Paul recorded in his endeavors of spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles. We read his words of encouragement. We read his words of instruction. We read his words of chastisement when it was due. We know Paul as a great man of God, still, I have often wondered just what Paul was referring to when he said that he was given a thorn in his flesh.

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.
(2 Corinthians 12:7b (NIV))

There has been much speculation about what this could be, but the one thing that is obvious is that Paul did not focus on this thorn in his flesh. Out of all of the writings that we have from Paul, this is the only instance that this thorn in his flesh is mentioned. He used the talent and the passion that he did have to spread the Gospel.

We all have knowledge and a passion for something. We all have that specific thing that we have been trained to be in our lives. It is time to use that training, that one passion, and let it be brought to the forefront in such a way that it leads people to Jesus!

What are you trained to be?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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