Don’t allow your faith and your love to grow cold!

May 1, 2020

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,
(Matthew 24:12 (NIV))

Are you old enough to remember when you could disagree with someone and still call them a friend?

In all honesty, I could probably stop there and most of you would stop and reflect on how society and we, as individuals, have changed. There used to be a time when the disagreements weren’t over good being called evil and evil being called good. Most of us could agree on basic principles and we could have a rational, sane conversation over the differences that we did not agree on. Now, our differences are growing ever farther apart from each each and the chasm is growing deeper. Biblical principles are frowned upon by some and others take this to an extreme by saying that Biblical principles are hate speech.

I saw something today that made me stop and reflect on the concept that was being presented. With the shelter in place, social distancing and the concept that we must wear a mask in public, people appear to be isolating themselves from each other. Random instances where you accidentally bump into someone at the store are now being treated as threats to the individuals involved. Instead of a gracious smile and an “Excuse me,” people are becoming hostile to each other in these situations. Are we becoming so consumed by our own selfish attitudes and self-preservation, that we fail to recognize the humanity of others. We have been pushed farther apart in basic social values and now we are being urged to stay away from each other and hide behind a mask. Are we getting to a point where we will forget to love our neighbors? Will we become so engrossed with selfishness that we will no longer take the time to show a kindness to others?

If we profess a faith in Jesus, we are called to love our neighbor.

Don’t allow your faith and your love to grow cold!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Are you sharing the true Jesus with others?

January 27, 2020

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
(Luke 19:10 (NIV))

What have you been taught about Jesus? In particular, what have you been taught about the reason that He came into this world?

Did He come to be a social justice warrior? Did He come to advocate for the poor? Did He come to spread peace and love, or did He come to call a lost and sinful humanity to repentance?

I realize that Jesus did many things when He walked this earth, and many of those things can be classified as falling into these categories that I listed, but they were all ways to reach the lost. Did Jesus teach on being just and fair in our dealings with each other? I can point out many situations where He did just that. He pointed out our sinful nature in these matters and asked us to seek God and follow His commands. Not following God’s commands is a sin. Jesus was telling us to repent and follow Him. Did Jesus teach on helping the poor? If you look back at Old Testament laws, that was already in place. A landowner was not supposed to harvest all the way to the corners of his fields. This was to be left for the poor. In other words, love your neighbor as yourself. Not doing so is a sin. Jesus was calling us to repent of our sin. When asked what the greatest commandments are, He responded that you are to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. The example that He gave involved a Samaritan man. In the culture of the day, Jewish people hated the Samaritans. In other words, Jesus was telling us to repent of our sin of hatred.

What is your definition of being lost? According to God, being lost is being a sinner.

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

And being a sinner has drastic consequences!

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

Jesus walked among us telling us to live according to what God had planned. He called us to repent of our shortcomings, our sins, and to turn to God in all things. He used every situation that He was in as a teachable moment to drive this home. Repent in your dealings with others. Repent of your treatment of the poor. It is possible to do these things yet still miss out on the only reason that Jesus came. All of these can be labeled as works of the flesh if we do not have a repentant heart and a desire to follow Jesus in all that we do. A repentant heart is a result of the most important aspect of why Jesus came. Jesus calls us to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself. When we do this, our desires change. Our actions are no longer selfish in nature. We see ourselves and others as God sees them.

We are called to also seek and save the lost by sharing Jesus with them.

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 28:19-20 (NIV))

Sadly, I believe that we, as the church, have missed the mark. We share Jesus only when we are comfortable, and we don’t emphasize where Jesus tells us to teach people to obey everything that He has commanded. We sugar coat it, and as a result, we see people developing incorrect images of Jesus. I know that this hasn’t been a saying in several years, but we must pay attention to “What Would Jesus Do?” According to the words recorded in Luke, Jesus clearly said that He came to seek and save the lost!

Are you sharing the true Jesus with others?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Just what is your definition of everyone?

March 7, 2018

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
(Acts 2:21 (NIV))

Have you ever truly stopped to contemplate the meaning of this passage?

To fully comprehend the meaning of this passage, you have to accept the definition of the word “everyone.” You also have to accept the fact that there were no modifying words applied to the word “whoever.” It did not say whoever is like me, or whoever is from your social status. It simply says whoever!

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

God does not place limitations on the words “everyone” and “whoever,” so why do we? Why do we think that “everyone” who is like us or “whoever” is like us are the only ones that can be shown the grace of God? If you stop to think about this silly concept, then I can safely say that most of us would not be eligible to call upon the name of the Lord, for we don’t match the ethnic or social status of Jesus when He walked this earth. We also don’t match the ethnic or social status of Paul, who is credited with spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles. In case that you forgot, Paul had been a Jew among Jews and basically anyone who was not a Jew, the Gentiles, were looked down upon by the upper echelon of Jewish society.

In other words, we don’t have any right to attach disclaimers and exemptions to the definition of the word everyone! It means every person without exception!

Just what is your definition of everyone?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Do you gather in His name?

May 1, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.
(Matthew 18:20 (NIV))

Have you ever truly encountered Jesus?

Based on this passage, it is clear when Jesus will grace us with His presence.

Do you encounter Jesus in your church? Do you encounter Jesus in your home? Do you encounter Jesus with your friends? Are these gatherings truly in His name or are they just a social event? What is the main purpose of these gatherings? Is there bickering and gossip? When you friends gather, do you talk about Jesus or do you talk about something else, such as work or sports?

Think about your answers for they will be very revealing about when and how often you actually do encounter Jesus.

My mind is racing all over the place with thoughts about missed opportunities to be with Jesus. If He is our Lord and Savior, we should gather with others who have been redeemed and praise His name even if it is with just one other person. He will inhabit the hearts of the faithful!

Do you want to bring about revival?

Do you want to see God move in your city?

Do you want to see lives changed?

Gather in His name!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Do we have something to learn from the early church?

July 27, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
(Acts 2:42-47 (NIV))

This sounds very wonderful!

What do you think was the main reason why people were being saved?

Was it the short and concise worship service with everything spelled out in the bulletin?

Was it the music? Was it the lack of music? Was it the programs? Was it a new church building? Was it the food pantry? Was it the clothes closet?

Or was it simply the power of God as it was shown in true fellowship with the Body of Christ?

What are the basic fundamental aspects of life that we all share as human beings?

As someone pointed out this morning, we are created to be a part of a community. We long to be with others. We either find fellowship with those who are a part of the Body of Christ, or we find fellowship with those who are not. In short, the fellowships that we have will either lift us up and hold us to a higher standard or they will drag us down into the sin that we don’t want.

One of the basic aspects of life is that we all must eat. Eating is very much a social activity, especially when you gather with people who share your common interests. Breaking bread brings a bond. We simply don’t just sit there and stuff our faces in silence. We socialize. We laugh. We cry. We share ideas. We share thoughts, dreams and aspirations. We share parts of ourselves that may never see the light of day in any other way. We build friendships over meals.

It is said that it is easier to get people to come to your house for a meal than it is to get them to go to church. Think about that the next time someone hems and haws about accepting your invitation to go to church.

The early church did not have buildings. They met in people’s homes. They became friends. They built trust. They built relationships and they built the church through these aspects of life. They did not build the church through big buildings or great music.

Do we, the modern church, have something to learn from the early church?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Do you teach what Jesus commanded or do you teach the world’s agenda?

November 18, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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))

With all of the talk about embracing Islam, we have to remember the words that Jesus spoke. He did not tell us to embrace what is good about what others believe and make it a part of what He has taught us. He told us to baptize them and to teach them to follow Him.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

Unless something confirms Jesus as the only begotten Son of God, then it is a false religion no matter how much humanity wants to embrace it.

He did not tell us to be like the Sadducees. They were more concerned with social issues and politics than they were about religion. Too many of our churches today preach social issues and do not focus on the saving grace that is available through Jesus. Jesus did not command us to do this. He commanded us to baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. He also taught us to teach people to obey everything that He taught. Jesus often criticized the Sadducees because they ignored God and focused on social and political issues.

He did not tell us to be like the Pharisees. They were more focused on God’s Word, yet they placed equal authority on human tradition and oral histories. Jesus often found fault with them.

Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”
Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:

“‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules.’”
(Matthew 15:1-9 (NIV))

What have we been told about embracing other gods? What have we been told about intermingling? What have we been told about embracing the world?

and after they have been destroyed before you, be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods, saying, “How do these nations serve their gods? We will do the same.” You must not worship the Lord your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the Lord hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods.
(Deuteronomy 12:29-31 NIV))

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
(Romans 12:1-2 (NIV))

Too many people who call themselves Christians have lost site of what we are called to do. Too many embrace the world and water down what Jesus came into this world to accomplish. Jesus did not die on the cross so that we can embrace other religions and gods!

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
(Matthew 5:13 (NIV))

Jesus calls us to be the salt and light to the world, yet we allow the world to trample all over us! Too many so called members of the Body of Christ are preaching and teaching things that are contrary to what we have been commanded.

Do you teach what Jesus commanded or do you teach the world’s agenda?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Have you accepted the sacrifice that Jesus made for you?

August 22, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

We have all had them.

We all need them.

We aren’t meant to live our lives in a vacuum. We need each other. It is in our nature to be social. We seek the company of others, yet, just how far will most of us take the friendship? How many of us would lay down our life for our friends?

We all want to believe that we would, yet self-preservation is a strong instinct.

I want you to be honest with yourself and think about this question.

Would you do something knowing that when you started it, you would lay down your life so that others would live? I can think of a few groups of people who face the possibility at times, but even these brave men and women do not go into a situation planning to lay down their life.

Jesus came to this earth to do just that!

Everything that He did during His time on earth pointed to the cross and His crucifixion. He knew what He was going to face when He came? He knew that He faced a painful end to the physical body that He came to us in.

He knew all of the details and yet he chose to lay down His life so that we may live!

I know that the Romans had become experts at creating pain during a crucifixion. I don’t think that we can even imagine just how excruciating the experience was. We see movies, yet even the most realistic portrayal probably only hints at what it was really like.

Would you willingly go to the cross?

Would you willingly bear the pain?

Would you, or perhaps I should say could you, follow through with such a premeditated task?

Think about the sacrifice that Jesus made so that you and I can know grace and mercy.

Have you accepted the sacrifice that Jesus made for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


%d bloggers like this: