Do we love and teach like the early church?

June 12, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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 2:46-47 (NIV))

I have often heard that non-believers are not reached through preaching, but through fellowship.

God came to earth as Jesus to fellowship with His creation face to face. Jesus taught, ate and lived with the people that He was trying to reach. He taught His disciples to reach out to people in the same way. They did not meet with people only on Sunday. They did not meet with people who happened to show up for an hour once a week to hear a message. They spent their time with the people, living, eating, teaching and enjoying each other’s company. They brought people to Jesus through a fundamental principle of friendship and love.

People are hungry for the Truth. They are hungry for the Love of the Father. This love can be shown by people. It is when this love is shown by people, when people can see Jesus in someone, that they are honestly and genuinely drawn to God. Once they are drawn, they need feeding and nurturing. It is this feeding and nurturing that continual fellowship in Jesus satisfies.

Jesus did not condemn when He taught. He came to bring life and more abundantly. Life is a gift from God. It is to be enjoyed. People come to know Jesus through true fellowship with believers.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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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Christmas is the time we remember that God sent us hope!

December 11, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
(Psalms 42:11 (NIV))

Even when it looks like the world is going to win, look again. God is with us.

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?
(Romans 8:31)

If we follow after God’s own heart, then God will not dessert us. He is our hope. Through Him we shall overcome. The world may appear to win as we judge things according to the world, but take heart, God IS in control. Knowing this, we must not stop praising God for what He has done and for what He is going to do.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
(2 Corinthians 1:20)

Do you still have hope?

Christmas is the time we remember that God sent us hope!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you want me to do for you?

May 2, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”
He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”
“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.
Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.
(Luke 18:35-42 (NIV))

“What do you want me to do for you?”

Jesus asked the blind man these very words. Is He asking you these same words today?

Take a look at what the blind man said. He knew exactly what he wanted Jesus to do for him. He had faced the ridicule and difficulties of his blindness every day of his life. He wanted God’s touch on his life. He wanted to be whole. He wanted to be the way that God created man to be.

Why do we not see these type of results?

You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.
(James 4:2 (NIV))

Are we too timid when we approach the throne of God? Do we think that what we ask for is too trivial and unimportant in the eyes of God? Think about the following parable.

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, `Grant me justice against my adversary.’
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, `Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’ ”
(Luke 18:1-5 (NIV))

Everything points to the idea that we are to not fear asking God for what we truly want. I believe that our true desires are there by design. God will grant what He has placed within us.

All we have to do is ask !

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

June 15, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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 2:46-47 (NIV))

Why do you think the early church grew in numbers and in power?

Did they rely on committees to design a program to reach the demographics of their region? Did denominational offices tell them to preach and teach from an approved sermon outline? Did they keep their worship services to one hour so that they could be first in line at the restaurants? Did they have the latest in sound systems and presentation systems so that the congregations could be entertained by the images that accompanied the message?

I feel that it is safe to say that the early church did not have any of these things, yet, the early church grew and embraced people continually as they accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. They relied on the power of God’s grace and mercy through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ to unite them. Once united in Jesus, God was able to freely do His Will among those who believed. Today, unfortunately, we tend to be divided by the petty differences that we see in each other instead of the unifying power that we should see in Jesus. We must focus on what God has done through Jesus instead of what each of us has done without Jesus.

We must unite in the power of Jesus and then we can reach the world as He desires for us to reach it. We must put aside our petty differences and remember that we, together, are the Body of Christ. We need each other. The early church knew this. We must learn this.

Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
(1 Corinthians 12:14-20 (NIV))

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