What do you do with your freedom?

July 3, 2018

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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 comes 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.

What do you do with your freedom?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How have you responded to God’s gift?

November 25, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death–
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:5-11 (NIV))

It is hard for us to imagine that God could send Jesus who willingly gave up HIs authority while on this earth. He humbled himself to the point of servanthood and, eventually, death. Even in our best moments, we could not be capable of doing this, let alone planning to do it.

It is true, that under certain circumstances, people will rise to the occassion and do something that is selfless. Yet, could you imagine planning to be a servant and knowing that you would die a horrible death because you made the choice to do so? Self centeredness and self-preservation are too strong in us to willingly accept what Jesus accepted on our behalf.

Many people think that Jesus was only a good man, yet, even the best of men could not have done what he did? Only the Son of God could have willingly accepted the burden that he bore, for he knew the rewards that would be gained for all who called upon his name. He went willingly to be our sacrifical lamb so that we would not have to face eternal separation from God.

We have a great gift that has been given to us.

Are you thankful for that gift?

How have you responded to that gift? Are you one who bows your knee and confesses before man, or will you be one who confesses too late?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus is calling us to serve with Him

January 17, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
(John 12:26 (NIV))

Do you serve the Lord?

I know that we would all like to think that we do, but are we willing to go where Jesus went? Are we willing to take up our cross and follow Him? Are we willing to go that extra mile when we know that we should?

Are we willing to be where He is?

When Jesus walked the earth, He ate with sinners. He forgave the adulteress. He healed the sick. He raised the dead.

I know that many of you are thinking that we are not capable of these things, and maybe we aren’t, but have we tried?

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

If we are told that we will do these same things, why do we doubt? Why do we fail to go where Jesus went? Are we so wrapped up in our own lives that we fail to be a faithful servant? Are we not willing to step outside of our comfort zone and meet Jesus in the midst of the spiritual warfare?

Have we become spectators instead of spiritual warriors?

Have we compromised our faith and our servanthood?

Did Jesus ever compromise what He taught? Did He stop the stoning of the adulteress only to tell her that it was ok for her to keep doing what she was doing?

No!

Jesus did not compromise!

He always instructed those that would listen to give up their sin.

There are many things in this world that were once considered sin that are now considered ok. If Jesus came into this world today, would he tell these people that their sin is now ok? Should we offer teachings that Jesus would not offer?

The one difference that I see in Jesus is love. Every person that came to Him was treated with love. He did not ridicule them. He did not provoke them. He did not tell them to go to hell as I have seen some so-called Christians do recently. Jesus had compassion. He had love. Is it possible that these are the places where Jesus is calling us to serve with Him?

Can we put ourselves aside and meet Jesus where He is?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Am I where Jesus is?

February 1, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
(John 12:26 (NIV))

Do you follow Jesus?

Perhaps I should ask that in a different way.

Is Jesus your Lord and Savior? Do you serve Him as your Lord?

Where is Jesus in your life? Have you followed Him there, or have you gone your own separate way?

So many questions, yet they all have a very relevant impact on the relationship that each of us have with Jesus. The answers to these questions are the measure of how we see Jesus. The answers tell more about us than we probably care to admit.

Now come some even more telling questions based on “where I am, my servant also will be.”

If Jesus is working in your life to lead you to help the poor, and you fight this leading, are you His servant?

If Jesus is wanting you to witness to the lost, and you don’t leave your comfort zone in front of the TV, are you His servant?

If Jesus is calling you to be a friend to the new people in your neighborhood, and you refuse because they are different than you, are you His servant?

Far too many of us look upon Jesus only as our Savior. We embrace the grace and the mercy and ignore the aspects that we don’t like, such as Lord and servant. It is impossible to have one without the other. Jesus is Savior because He is Lord. His authority as Lord is the authority that was able to grant the grace and mercy.

Think about this and then ask yourself one simple question.

Am I where Jesus is?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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And of which I have become a servant

October 4, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation– if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
(Colossians 1:21-23 (NIV))

Think about those last words – “and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.”

What does that mean to you? Just what is your definition of a servant?

Do you have the attitude that is so prevalent in the church these days that basically asks what can Jesus do for me? To me, this is not servanthood. It is a selfish attitude that ignores the very heart of the Gospel. It turns the Gospel upside down. It forgets one simple truth.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

We are not worthy of being selfish. What have we ever done that merits thinking that God would ever do anything for a sinner such as us?

It is true that Jesus came to serve, but His service was to die for our sins. He did not remain a servant. He will return much different that when He left.

On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
(Revelation 19:16 (NIV))

In the order of things that Revelation 19:16 speaks of, who will be worthy of having servants? Who will owe their eternal salvation to whom?

How is your servanthood to the one who bought you with His blood?

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

December 1, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.
(Luke 22:27 (NIV))

Have you ever thought about this passage?

I honestly think that this may be one of the biggest reasons why people refuse to acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Savior. It is human nature to expect someone in authority to be served. You don’t expect someone in authority to be serving.

If you went to a store and had a problem with the service, you would probably ask to see the manager. How would you react if the person you were introduced to was on his or her hands and knees scrubbing the floor? How would you react if their clothes were coveralls instead of professional attire?

Now, carefully consider the idea of following someone who people say is God’s Son and has all authority in heaven and on earth, and then they tell you He came and was poor, beaten, mocked and killed, how would you react?

It goes against everything that conventional wisdom tells us to be true.

Could it be that in order to understand Luke 22:27, you must understand that authority is not what we understand it to be? When we think of authority, we think of the master. We don’t think of the servant. Think about the store manager scenario once again. How do you think that person became the store manager? In many instances, it is by doing what they knew needed to be done, and then being recognized for that knowledge, that initiative. They know every job within their store and are not ashamed to do the dirty work if it will help.

God sent Jesus, His only begotten Son, to do just that. Jesus knew everything that there is to know about this world, so, in a superb plan to make things right, He willingly came to this earth to do the dirty work. He came willingly to do the job that no one else knew how to do. He came to do the job that only He could do, even though He had all authority over all creation. He simply accessed the situation and willingly did as His Father determined. He was not afraid to get His hands dirty, for He loves the business of His Father. He loves us!

Being a servant does not mean that you have a place of no authority. It simply means that you recognize the need to do something and that you are not afraid to do it yourself.

I have heard many people say that a good manager will not ask his employees to do something that he is not willing to do himself. Even though the authority may be there to simply dictate that it be done, sometimes it requires the personal touch by someone who wants to make sure it is done according to higher standards.

What is your perspective on authority?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Wisdom and Servanthood

October 8, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.
(Joshua 24:15 (NIV))

Whom do you serve?

Think about that for a moment.

The reality of that question lies completely in the concept that a servant spends every waking moment catering to the needs and desires of his or her master. To some people, that master is selfish pride. To others, it is ego. To others, it is greed, and still, to others, it is lust. I hate to say this, but to some people, what they commit themselves to is a misguided and false religion. It is a servanthood of inferiority and shame and not a servanthood out of thankfulness, grace and mercy.

Do you cater to any of these false gods? Have they ensnared you and kept you away from the true object of your servanthood?

Anything can become your false god. It is a matter of priorities. That big promotion at work – your favorite sports team – being named as an elder in your church – all of these, and many more can consume you. They can shift your focus so that you serve whatever will further your association with these.

When this happens, there is always someone that gets left out.

When this happens, you loose sight of Jesus. When this happens, you loose sight of God. When this happens, you loose sight of God’s Word. When this happens, you loose sight of you and the plans that God has for you.

You are the one who is left out. There is also another thing that you can be left out of if this happens – grace and mercy. If you do not choose to serve the Lord, you will eventually choose to serve something else. If Jesus is not your Lord and Savior, who or what will fill that role?

Choose wisely whom you serve.

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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