Do you share the Gospel with the authority of Jesus?

September 10, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
(Matthew 7:28-29 (NIV))

Do you remember your most favorite teacher? What made them your favorite? Was it the fact that they really knew what they were teaching and that they were passionate about what they taught? They taught from authority, for authority means that they know what they are teaching. They were more interested in conveying wisdom and knowledge instead of rules and regulations. They taught with joy and enthusiasm.

Do you remember your least favorite teacher? What made this teacher different from your most favorite teacher? I would safely say that they are the ones who tried to teach rules and regulations instead of wisdom and knowledge. Do you remember the rules and regulations that they tried to teach? Probably not!

Consider that Jesus and the teachers of the law are identical to your most favorite and least favorite teachers. Jesus came to impart wisdom and knowledge with joy and enthusiasm. The teachers of the law taught rigid laws and doctrine. No wonder the crowds were amazed at His teachings. Up until this point in their lives, religious life was a chore dictated by very strict man-made rules and regulations that attempted to define and refine what God had commanded. Jesus came to set the captives free. He taught not of rules, but of grace and mercy.

We need to be careful that we do not teach as the teachers of the law, but, teach as Jesus taught.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV))

Jesus told us to go and teach of Him. How do you teach? Do you try to enforce rules or do you passionately teach of grace and mercy?

It is my desire to be passionate about what I am given to send out. I pray that you will always see the passion within these words. Do you share the Gospel with the authority of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It is time we let the Lord define who He is!

September 3, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”

The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”
(Luke 13:10-16 (NIV))

Do you try to put limits on Jesus? Are you guilty of doing what the synagogue ruler did in this situation?

Instead of praising God for what He has done through Jesus, do you find yourself trying to put your own rules and regulations on what He is doing? Do you find yourself trying to put God into the confines of what you believe He should be instead of letting Him be who He is?

This is human nature. We try to define our limited understanding through things that we do understand. We are all guilty of it.

Consider those who believe in evolution. They cling to something because they want a “scientific” explanation for how life came to be. They cling to what they consider to be logic because they do not want to accept the truth. Their only desire is to be able to clearly define everything based on their own understanding. They want to be able to have things so well classified that they can predict what will happen. They ignore faith for a false knowledge that they have defined. Their definition is not God’s definition. They want definitions that clearly state what can be expected only as long as it meets their version of what can be expected.

What about your definition of God? Would Jesus call you a hypocrite because you fail to see beyond your definition of what can be expected? It is time we let the Lord define who He is!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your worship based on?

June 14, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”
(Isaiah 29:13 (NIV))

Are you the type of person who likes to follow a ritual and a routine? Do you freak out if something disrupts that ritual and routine? Who is it that says that you must follow a set order for anything? Do you even bother to ask why the routine is what it is?

Personally, I am a creature of habit, but I like to have a reason for my habits. I don’t like doing something just because everyone else is doing it. I don’t blindly follow a routine just because it has always been done that way. If you truly stop to think about most rules, regulations and routines, they were all started by people who thought that they had a better way to do things. People who all had a similar approach to how they thought things should be done banded together so that they could all do things the same way. Years passed and the reasons became lost, and today, we blindly follow someone else’s plan for doing any number of things.

Sadly, this even extends to the worship of the Lord. People blindly do things simply because that is how it has always been done. It is tradition.

Did Jesus come to tell us that the traditions of the Jewish people were correct as carried out by the Pharisees and Sadducees, or did He come to show us a better way? The Holy Spirit was sent as a guide, as a teacher and as a companion so that we would not lose site of the fact that human rituals, routines and traditions are not what God ordained. We are to worship Him as the Holy Spirit directs.

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
(John 4:23 (NIV))

What time do you have?

What is your worship based on?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you surrendered authority to whom it belongs?

May 15, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
(Luke 6:5 (NIV))

It is human nature to try and put God in a box. We try to twist words based on our limited understanding. We try to put limitations on God simply because we fail to understand that He has no limitations. We fail to realize that the limitations that have been given to us are the same type of limitations that a parent would put on a child. They are there for our protection, for our education and they are not there for the person who placed the limitations. A good example of this is the bedtime for a small child. That does not mean that the parents go to bed at the same time!

When God sets boundaries and establishes rules, He is fulfilling His role as God the Father. He is guiding us. He is keeping us from harm. In much the same way as a parent telling a child that he or she cannot have ice cream because it is bedtime, God established things that we must live by. One of those is the command to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. We are to rest. We are to be reverent in our attitudes. We are to spend time in God’s presence. We are to slow down.

Be still, and know that I am God…
(Psalms 46:10a (NIV))

When we spend time in God’s presence, we begin to realize that we do have a tendency to place God in a box. If you want a modern day translation of the words that Jesus spoke in Luke 6:5, perhaps something like this makes sense, although it may sound condescending. “I created the world and I created the Sabbath. I can do what I deem as appropriate because I made the rules for you and not for myself!”

We have a big problem with realizing that God makes the rules and not us!

We need to surrender Lordship of our lives!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Whose rules do you follow? Man’s or God’s.

August 11, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

” `These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
their teachings are but rules taught by men.’ ”
(Matthew 15:8-9 (NIV))

It is so easy to get side tracked by rules that men make. We like to come up with a vast multitude of rules for everything that we do. Sometimes these rules are good. Can you image any football or basketball game without rules? It would be utter chaos.

Man has even tried to create rules for how we can approach God. These rules have become rituals that often get repeated without end and eventually lose the meaning and the reason why they were created to begin with. When this happens, following the rules often becomes more important than the reason the rules were implemented. Following the rules becomes legalism and we soon miss out on the freedom originally intended.

We can be thankful that God has only given us ten basic rules to live by. These rules are the foundation for our society and our faith. However, we have had some problems keeping these rules. God gave us some additional rules to live by. These additional rules, if followed, allow God to overlook our shortcomings on the other rules.

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
(Acts 2:38 (NIV))

Whose rules do you follow? Man’s or God’s.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you do what it says?

July 3, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
(James 1:22 (NIV))

Have you ever heard someone say that there are hard sayings in the Bible? At first read, this doesn’t sound like it is one of them, but take a very close look at the last four words of this passage.

“Do what it says.”

It doesn’t say to try to do what it says. It doesn’t tell us to do what it says when it is convenient. It doesn’t tell us to do what it says when it benefits us. It simply tells us to do what it says.

If you are like every other human being alive today, you probably don’t like to follow directions very well, especially when those directions come from someone that you think doesn’t know you and how you like to do things. How many have ever had a job where they handed you an employee manual? You were expected to perform according to that manual. You were required to read it and abide by what was contained within its pages.

How many of you truly know God’s manual that He has given to us? Do we spend enough time within God’s Word so that we know it? How can we do what it says if we don’t know what it says? Most of us are well versed in the basics, but, we need to get beyond the basic training that we have received. We are soldiers who are called to a higher understanding. We are, according to Paul, like athletes who are called to train for the competition.

No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs–he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules.
(2 Timothy 2:4-5 (NIV))

That training requires us to know the rules thoroughly. What are the rules that we are to live by? What are the rules that should govern our lives?

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.
(James 1:23-25 (NIV))

According to James, we should know God’s Word like we know our own faces. We should reflect God’s Word. What do you reflect?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is right in your eyes?

January 20, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

All a man’s ways seem right to him,
but the LORD weighs the heart.
To do what is right and just
is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.
(Proverbs 21:2-3 (NIV))

People justify to themselves what they are doing. When they do what is wrong in God’s eyes, they often seek out others to justify their actions. It is for this reason that homosexuals tend to seek out other homosexuals, thieves seek out other thieves, and new age spiritualists seek out other new agers.

What is the drive within people that makes them want someone to say that what they are doing is okay? Could it be the fact that God has placed in us a need to be loved and accepted by Him, and that when we stray from His truths, we try to fill this void with mis-aligned love and acceptance from other sources?

Pride also plays a part in this. We do not easily admit wrong doing. We think that we know what is best for us, and then we try to prove it through other actions. The creation is not wiser than the Creator. We do not fully understand ourselves, let alone God. When we say that we are right, we lie to ourselves because we do not have a full picture of all things involved.

God gave us rules, laws, and principles to live by. When we live by these principles and do what is acceptable to God, then all things go as they should. Sacrifices are made as means of atonement to “fix” something that we have done wrong. They are a way to say that we have strayed and we recognize this and are taking actions to repent. Sacrifices are not intended as constant mid-course corrections in the path of life. It is far better to live as God would have us to live and have fewer “sacrifices” that we have to make in order to atone for our mistakes.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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