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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What is in your cup?

February 17, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
(Mark 14:35-36 (NIV))

How many times have you faced something that you knew you had to complete, yet, you did not want to face it? Perhaps this is the humanity coming out in the divinity that is Jesus.

What distinguishes our desires to abandon what we should do from those that Jesus felt?

Simply put, He realized that He had the responsibility for others beyond himself. His actions would effect untold numbers of people if He did not complete the task that He came to complete. We need to remember that Jesus did have a choice, and because of that choice, we have been given a choice as well. We can choose salvation because of the price that He willingly paid for us.

The next time that you face something that you wish to ignore, remember that others will feel the ramifications of your actions. Will they be good or will they be bad? We may not be able to tell when we are in the middle of our ordeal, but, we must remember that God has a plan for us and we need to be as diligent as possible to follow that plan. We must also remember that we cannot face it on our own. We must rely on the strength that we are given through the blood of Jesus.

Will you give up your cup or will you drink from what God has planned for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are your actions Christ-like, or are they worldly?

September 15, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
Selah
(Psalms 46:1-3 (NIV))

Isn’t it great to trust in the Lord our God? What else can provide what the psalmist wrote about? We, as believers, have a champion in our corner who can defeat whatever we face. His armies are many and His power is mighty, yet, He is merciful and forgiving. God IS in control. We must never forget or doubt this. We have an advantage, after all, we have read the Book. We have the last chapter to confirm who wins. We are on the winning side.

It is our responsibility to “recruit” others for God. We must tell others about our strength and our salvation. They must see Jesus in us in such a way that it is obvious that it is not of our own doing. I don’t know who said it, but this is very appropriate, “In all things, preach the Gospel. If you have to, use words.” Actions do speak louder than words.

What are your actions saying to others? Are they Christ-like, or are they worldly? What are your priorities and your actions going to be today?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Biblical responsibility

October 3, 2012

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 forn 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))

When God spoke to Ezekiel and told him to warn Israel of their wrongdoing, God made it clear that if He sends someone to deliver His Word, that person carries the weight of those people as his responsibility. That is also true for today.

When God sent Ezekiel, Ezekiel did not have the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to deliver. He had the teachings of the Law to deliver. God sent Ezekiel to deliver prophetic words that would greatly impact their lives.

Today, we have words that will impact lives even more than in Ezekiel’s time. We can speak in general terms, not as prophets, but as people empowered by the Holy Spirit to warn people of their impending danger if they do not accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Where we differ from Ezekiel is that we have a direct route to God that we can offer to anyone who is willing to receive it.

If God places us in situations that He desires for us to warn and to witness, we need to respond. If we do, then the decision and the consequences are the responsibility of the person we witnessed to. If we do not tell them, then the responsibility is ours to bear.

If we have truly accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, then we need to heed what God asks of us to do. It has a far greater impact than we realize.

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

July 5, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.
(1 Corinthians 8:9 (NIV))

Once again, the concept of freedom comes center stage.

Paul tells us that we must consider those around us when we choose to exercise our freedoms. This passage was taken from a section where he tells people to be careful about what they eat in front of people. He stated that even though they were free to eat various types of food and food that had been sacrificed to idols, he also said that if it caused someone to stumble in their faith, to not do it.

I often wonder just how far Paul meant for this to go. Should we take this to mean that if someone has a stumbling block when it comes to gossip, that we should watch what we say so that we do not give them anything to gossip about? Does it mean that if someone has a problem with anger that we should be careful to not place them in situations that will cause anger?

And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 18:3-4 (NIV))

But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
(Matthew 18:6 (NIV))

If we are to become like little children, and we are told that if we cause a little one to sin, then I honestly believe that we are held accountable for what we do if it causes someone to stumble. It may not be a “little one,” but he or she is a child of God.

If you think about that for a moment and then think about past events in your church, do you have a person or a family that is no longer there because they got their feelings hurt? Whatever may have made them leave left a big stumbling block in their faith. With this in mind, not every believer is at the same stage in their faith and the freedoms that you take for granted may cause someone to stumble simply because they do not understand.

After all, with freedom comes responsibility – a responsibility to God, to our neighbors, to our families and to ourselves.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Freedom and responsibility

July 4, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.
(1 Peter 2:16-1 (NIV))

July 4th is the day that we as a nation celebrate our freedom, but exactly what does that mean?

Too many people claim that they are free to do whatever they want. People even claim that it is their right to do whatever they want.

Where do we draw the line? When do personal freedoms cross over into the realm of evil and selfish indulgence?

I honestly believe that our founding fathers would be appalled at how we have allowed our society to be twisted into something that is more concerned about protecting the rights of people who wish to live outside of the law that in protecting the public. I honestly believe that they would be appalled at how we have allowed a vocal group of people to rewrite history and vehemently object to any mention of God in government or public life. I honestly believe that they would strongly object to our big government, huge debt, and the courts rewriting laws because they don’t like them.

I know that most of our founding fathers were willing to give all that they had, even their lives, for the common good. They did not see their roles as a full-time career or as a right that they had earned. They saw their roles as an honor and a responsibility that they must bear. They new the difference between servanthood and personal gain.

When do personal freedoms cross into the area of evil?

Personally, I believe that this happens when we lose site of other people. It is true that we are free, but that does not mean that we are free to sin, and that does not mean that we are free to do things that cause harm to others. With freedom comes responsibility. This applies to us as a nation and to the body of Christ. We are free to choose, but we must weigh our choices.

God gave us free will. He also gave us a list of Ten Commandments that are supposed to guide us in our lives. When we turn from these commandments, we turn from God. We may have exercised our freedom, but in the end, our choices that we make in this “freedom” often lead to consequences beyond our comprehension.

Once again, I will state that with freedom cones responsibility – a responsibility to God, to our neighbors, to our families and to ourselves. We must not claim that we have the right, but pray that what we do is right.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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