Have you turned God’s Word into something less?

November 7, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“You shall have no other gods before me.

“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

“You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

“You shall not murder.

“You shall not commit adultery.

“You shall not steal.

“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
(Exodus 20:3-17 (NIV))

Controversy surrounds these simple, yet profound statements in today’s society. All of the Judeo-Christian ethic lies on this foundation which states that there is only one God, life is sacred and to respect others. Many people do not wish to acknowledge these truths as truths, or, even worse, that they even exist at all. They have tried to turn them into the 10 suggestions. Let’s take a look at the wording and how it’s meaning would change if they were not stated as they are.

You shall not murder.

Simple enough! But what would be the ramifications if it were worded differently? Try to remove the “negative” aspect of the Commandment. It might read something like this: Respect all human life.

It doesn’t carry the same impact as “You shall not murder.” Try to restate the others in a positive aspect and see what the meanings sound like when you are through. They do not carry the same message. They become what society has tried to turn them into, the 10 suggestions and not the 10 Commandments.

We, as believers, have a responsibility to uphold these basic premises of faith and life. Truth is not relevant. Truth is always the truth, no matter when and where it may apply.

Have you turned God’s Word into something less?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to tell others about Jesus?

August 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

At the end of seven days the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked man, `You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself.
(Ezekiel 3:16-19 (NIV))

We bear a great responsibility as believers. We have been instructed to

Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.
(Mark 16:15b (NIV))

If we know the truth and do not share it, then we are to be held accountable for the loss of the people we have not told.

Jesus paid a great price in order to save us from our own sin. Should we not be willing to tell others of this great price and how we receive the rewards? This does not seem like such a great thing to ask in return for what we have been given.

God places us in people’s lives in order for us to witness to them. We can either witness for Jesus or we can be a witness of nothing. If we witness for Jesus, it is up to the individual to receive or reject Him. If we do not witness, they may never have the opportunity to hear the Gospel, and then their fate will be our fault.

I have seen some friends do some radical things to their appearance. When asked why they did these radical things, they replied that they are using it to “break the ice” with others in being radical for Jesus. Are you willing to be radical in order to bring someone to Jesus?

Are you willing to tell others about Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the truth shining in you?

April 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
(1 John 2:3-4 (NAS))

Many people falsely believe that once they accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, they are forgiven for anything that they may have done or will do.

This is partially true. Accepting and acknowledging Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is only the beginning. Grace and mercy are yours for the asking, but, once that is granted, a true desire to keep His commandments should fill you to the point that trying to do anything less is not even an option that you could consider.

Going around with the false belief that you can do anything and that God will forgive you is dangerous to yourself and to those whom you encounter. God has given us a great gift through His Son, Jesus Christ. This gift is not to be taken lightly. Acceptance of this gift exacts a responsibility and a toll on those who accept it. The responsibility is to change from your previous ways and to fully embrace everything that Jesus taught us to be. We are to be a light to the world. What kind of light would we be if we “shined” dimly or not at all?

Our actions will shine for Jesus if we keep His commandments, otherwise we do not shine at all.

Is the truth shining in you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you keep within your sight?

August 23, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion;
(Proverbs 3:21 (NIV))

Is it just me, or has the world lost wisdom, understanding, sound judgment and discretion?

I realize that these things still exist, but it appears that they exist in far less abundance than they used to when I was younger. If you don’t believe me, all that you have to do is look at the warnings that manufacturers are putting on products as a result of people not using common sense. Everyone knows that coffee is hot, so why do we have to have cups emblazoned with “CAUTION! Contents are hot” in large type? Perhaps this example is a good thing to consider when you look at the other three characteristics. Understanding that coffee is hot leads to wisdom so that you are careful. You use sound judgment so that you don’t do something that will result in you spilling the hot coffee. You use discretion as to when and how you open or drink so you don’t hurt yourself.

Is it my imagination, or do all of these characteristics actually imply, actually require personal responsibility?

Now that I have come to this understanding, I believe that I now know why there is a decreasing amount of Godly wisdom, understanding, sound judgment and discretion. There is a dwindling number of people who are willing to accept personal responsibility for any of their actions, so why should spiritual characteristics and actions be any different?

Accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is a choice!

Following Jesus is a choice!

Accepting and understanding the truth in God’s Word is a choice!

We will keep things in our sight that we choose to keep in our sight.

What do you keep within your sight?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you let yourself be sharpened?

May 11, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

As iron sharpens iron,
so one person sharpens another.
(Proverbs 27:17 (NIV))

Do you like to be held accountable?

Do you like to have your feet held to the fire?

Each and every one of us have a set of expectations placed on us by our families, our friends and our employers. Have you ever stopped to think about the expectations that the Body of Christ has for you? Have you ever stopped to think about your responsibility to other members of the Body of Christ?

As members of the Body of Christ, we are to hold each other accountable. We are also called to support each other in times of need. We are called to keep each other accountable not only to each other, but also to God the Father, the Holy Spirit and Jesus the Son. We do this by getting involved in the lives of each other. We can’t simply just gather together for an hour on Sunday and possibly think that this is all we need.

We are called to be community. We are called to be the Body of Christ!

Does a body only exist together for a short time and then go separate ways? Does a hand get up and leave the body? Each member is there to provide support and to be supported.

We get our strength from each other. As one member grows, all members grow. As one member is sharpened, all members are sharpened. All of this occurs because we learn from each other. We mature in our faith when in community.

We are told to fellowship with other believers. We are told that fellowship is part of the Gospel.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
(1 John 1:7 (NIV))

Do you let yourself be sharpened?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you capable of feeding those in need?

July 29, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He replied, “You give them something to eat.”
(Luke 9:13a (NIV))

I realize that Jesus was telling the disciples to have faith and give the people what they needed, which in this case was food. However, I just recently came to realize that there is so much more to this passage.

The first thing that came to mind is how do you reconcile what Jesus commanded with the following passage?

For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”
(2 Thessalonians 3:10 (NIV))

Like so many other things that pertain to humanity, it is a matter of the heart. What is written of in 2 Thessalonians is a matter of laziness. They are not willing to do what is needed to meet the basic needs of life for themselves. It is a lie that is perpetrated on those whom they know. It is a desire to get everyone else to take responsibility for them.

Jesus was referring to something completely different when he instructed His disciples to give the crowd something to eat. Jesus knew that the people who had come to hear Him speak were seeking something and were willing to sacrifice for it. They were not expecting to freeload and have everything taken care of for them. They had taken upon themselves the responsibility to seek and go after what was beneficial to them. They were seeking something that fed their spirits. They were seeking something that went above and beyond the physical needs that they had. They were working for what they sought after. Because of this, Jesus had compassion on the crowd just as He has had compassion on all of the others who earnestly sought Him.

Seeking Jesus is not easy. It is work. We are taught a lesson through the disciples and the crowd on that day. Jesus will provide for those who truly seek Him. He fed the crowd after He fed them spiritually. If you stop to think about what He told His disciples, He was also telling them to not only take care of the physical needs, but to soon be prepared to take care of feeding the spiritual needs. They stepped up and delivered.

Are you capable of feeding those in need?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you being responsible in telling about Jesus?

May 25, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
(Luke 10:16 (NIV))

I know that I have read this passage before, but it struck me differently when I read it tonight!

Do you realize what this means? I am not saying this to pat ourselves on the back. I am saying this to let the Body of Christ know of the power that we have when we speak the name of Jesus in truth. If we truly know Jesus, and we truly know God’s Word, and we tell others of the power and the truth of God’s word and His Word made flesh, then we truly are representing Jesus to those who hear.

If they accept what we say and, as a result, they accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, then they have also accepted God’s redeeming love for them. They have accepted the place that has been prepared for them in God’s eternal kingdom.

If they reject what we have to say about Jesus in truth, it is the same as if they were rejecting Jesus face to face. According to the passage, they are rejecting God!

I realize that this can weigh heavily on each of us. How do you feel knowing that the people that you tell about Jesus have rejected God? It makes me feel sad for those who do reject Jesus and God. Still, we must tell all whom we see.

When I say to a wicked man, `You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself.
(Ezekiel 3:18-19 (NIV))

It is our responsibility to tell the world, to share the good news of Jesus Christ!

Are you being responsible in your assignment?

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