Are we good ambassadors?

January 9, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
(2 Corinthians 5:20 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to think about this passage from the perspective of the definition of the word ambassador?

The word ambassador means a diplomatic agent of the highest rank, an authorized representative or messenger.

Does this sound anything like the role that you have been filling while you live your life? Does this sound anything like the witness that you have had for Jesus on a daily basis?

A diplomatic agent of the highest rank stands firm and resolute for the interests of those who sent him. They constantly present the case of the one whom they represent. They are sent with authority and under authority. What they say and do is supposed to be the very words and desires of those who gave them that authority. They do not falter or fail in delivering the message that they were sent to convey!

Sadly, if you are anything like me, I have failed miserably at my assigned tasks. I can imagine a performance evaluation of my lackluster representation of Jesus. Do I do all that I should be doing to point people to the grace and mercy that is freely given through the atoning blood of Jesus? Do I do all that I should to tell people that they can be forgiven of their sins? Do I step outside of my comfort zone and share the good news?

We have been sent out as ambassadors.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
(Mark 16:15 (NIV))

Are we good ambassadors?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How brightly does your light shine?

June 19, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:16 (NIV))

We are told just a few passages earlier of our impact on the world.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.
(Matthew 5:14 (NIV))

Each member of the Body of Christ is to have an impact in this world. We are to share the truth and the light of the Gospel with a dark and dying world. No single individual can do it all. We are to each do our part. If we could physically see the light that we shine into the darkness, how bright would your light be? Are we truly doing what we are called to do?

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
(Mark 16:15-18 (NIV))

It is a wonderful thing to profess a faith in Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, for that is what is required to be saved. Once saved, we have a responsibility to share that saving grace with anyone and everyone whom we meet. We must allow the light that we have received to shine into the lives of those around us, for it is said that we may be the only Jesus that some people will ever see.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Stand firm on the Word of God

May 23, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
(2 Timothy 4:2-5 (NIV))

People not putting up with sound doctrine. People doing things after their own desires. People listening only to what they want to hear. People turning away from truth.

Does this sound anything like what we are seeing in our society today?

As I think about the state of the world, I can’t help but stop and say a prayer for the people who are caught up in the lies of the enemy. They have been blinded to the truth by the enemy to the point where they now hate the truth. They have refused to believe the truth, so it is only logical that they would believe the lie.

and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
(2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 (NIV))

What is it about human nature that makes some people refuse to accept the truth? There are some people who would argue with you if you tell them that the sky is blue. That is simply a combative spirit, but what about the people who will yell obscenities at you for telling them that God loves them?

It is so easy to become overwhelmed with all that is going on in the world.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
(John 16:33 (NIV))

Don’t allow the world to keep you from doing what you know to be right in the eyes of God. Preach the Word. Endure hardship and do the work that God has called you to do! Stand firm!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you practice what you preach?

March 10, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.”
(Matthew 23:1-3 (NIV))

I’m sure that you have heard the old saying, “Do as I say, not as I do!”

Have you ever been guilty of saying it?

Did you grimace after reading that question? I know that I did.

It is human nature to tell people that they should do one thing when you are doing the exact opposite of what you say they should do. Jesus knew that people in authority do this. He knew that all people do it. We like to think that what applies to everyone else doesn’t apply to us. If you stop to think about it, we see a lot of this in our political system. Laws are made that apply to everyone except themselves.

We are all called to obey God’s Word. We are all called to repentance. We are all called to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves. We are called to accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. These are all things that each of us are called to practice. We are also called to preach these truths to those who don’t know them. Our actions are supposed to match our words.

Do you practice what you preach?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who do you speak to please?

March 7, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.
(1 Thessalonians 2:4 (NIV))

Paul wasn’t afraid to say what he knew to be true. I often wonder what he would think of our politically correct society? Perhaps I should take that one painful step further and ask the question that too many of us are thinking. How do you think Paul would react when confronted with our politically correct churches?

I hate to say this, but have we become too concerned with pleasing people, with not telling the truth because it would hurt their feelings?

Did Paul ever hold back the truth because it would hurt feelings?

Let’s go one step further. Did Jesus ever hold back the truth because it would hurt feelings? I’ll give you a little hint. Go ask the group of people whom He called a brood of vipers.

Sugar coating the truth does more damage than it does good.

Imagine that you are in a situation where you come across a group of people who are badly injured and dying. You look around and you see that there is a hospital across the street. Do you calmly tell them to be patient and that they will be all right, or do you tell them the truth?

If you want to live, follow me! I will take you to someone who can save you.

Paul knew the urgency of the words that he had been given to preach. He spoke with the desire to help people find salvation no matter what they may think or feel. He knew that his words would make some people angry. He knew that his words would make some people want to imprison him or kill him.

If given a choice between speaking words that please people of that please God, who do you speak to please?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you preserve Godly knowledge?

July 14, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, and from his mouth men should seek instruction–because he is the messenger of the LORD Almighty. But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi,” says the LORD Almighty.
(Malachi 2:7-8 (NIV))

This makes my heart hurt and my spirit groan!

I realize that this is Old Testament, but it brings something to light that has always been a problem. That problem is that some people who claim to be priests, preachers or teachers are not preaching and teaching the truth. As a result, many people have been led astray.

Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
(James 3:1 (NIV))

What is it about human nature that makes us think that we can change God’s Word and have it mean what we want it to mean? Why do some people think that the Bible is no longer relevant in this day and time? Truth is truth no matter when and where it is spoken. Sadly, too many people no longer speak the truth. They preach and teach what man wants to hear and not what God wants us to hear. Too many people preach a feel good theology that cannot save.

What did Jesus preach and teach when He walked among us?

Did He preach social justice? Did He preach good works? Did He preach legalism? Did He preach prosperity?

Jesus did not preach any of these things, so why do so many stray from the true message of the Gospel? He preached the good news of salvation through repentance of sins. He preached that He is the only way to the Father. He taught us that there would be false teachers. His disciples taught that there would be false teachers.

It saddens me to the point where my spirit groans to think that someone could take such a fantastic gift of grace and distort it so that people are caused to stumble. It is a sad reflection on society when so many of those who are supposed to preserve Godly knowledge are the very ones who are perverting it.

We, as the Body of Christ, must study and understand God’s Word. We must hold each other accountable. It is often said that the members of the Body of Christ are to be priests to one another. What does that say to you with respect to preserving Godly knowledge?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Go and tell those who don’t know!

May 19, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

My ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard, rather than where a church has already been started by someone else. I have been following the plan spoken of in Scriptures, where it says, “Those who have never been told about him will see, and those who have never heard of him will understand.”
(Romans 15:20-21 (NLT))

Do Paul’s words sound like the church today?

Most people who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior do not have the boldness to do what Paul is talking about. I hate to say this, but most of us do not have the boldness to even speak the name of Jesus in situations that are less than ideal. By this, I mean in situations where we would face ridicule and rejection because we profess the name of Jesus. I have even seen people who are afraid to profess their faith in Jesus before the members of their own congregations.

That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
(Romans 10:9-10 (NIV))

Faith in Jesus takes a boldness.

Sharing that faith with others takes a boldness.

Do we have the boldness to profess our faith? Do we have the boldness that Paul was writing of? Do we have what it takes to tell others of the grace and mercy that is theirs for the asking?

What if the people who shared Jesus with you had not possessed the boldness?

What if the people who left their homelands to seek a place where they could worship freely had not possessed the boldness? What if Paul did not have the boldness?

There are so many people who have come before us who did have the boldness to speak the name of Jesus and to share His Good News. Do we, as the church, as the keepers of the truth, own the boldness that is required to tell a lost and dying world about the saving grace of Jesus?

Go and tell those who don’t know!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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