Share the Gospel in truth and love!

April 13, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

This passage never gets old! I have sent this before, but some things are definitely worth repeating.

If you are like me, this passage brings great peace, hope and joy for it reassures us of our faith and where it is placed.

Yet, at the same time, it turns and brings sorrow in the midst of the joy. It turns our focus from our joy to the condemnation of those who have not believed in Jesus.

Do you know someone who has not accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior? Perhaps they are a loved one or a friend, or perhaps a coworker. Now, ask yourself this simple question.

“How will it feel to never see them for all eternity?”

How will you feel if they are taken from us this very day, and you had not even mentioned Jesus to them? How will you feel if their salvation was your sole reason for living and you had failed? How will you feel if you hear another friend or family member saying, “No one had the nerve to bring up Jesus. Now it is too late.”

John 3:16 is an amazingly reassuring passage when it comes to our own salvation. But we have a tendency to stop there. Once again, we fail to look beyond our own circumstances. We fail to see the opportunities that God has placed right in front of us. Opportunities that could very well mean whether someone will spend eternity with God or eternal separation from God.

We must read beyond our own perspective. We must see the world through God’s eyes and not ours. We must realize that grace is a gift that is free to spread.

I once heard someone say that they were a vessel to catch God’s grace. They then went on to say that they did not wish to be a pot or jar, for these were used for collecting for a later time. They wanted to be a tea pot or a watering pot, for these collect and hold just long enough to pass it on to where it is needed.

Don’t be a jar. Be a tea pot so that the grace and blessings that have been given to you may flow out to all those around you. Make it your goal to share grace with all who will hear so that they will be saved from the condemnation that is to come for those who have not believed in Jesus.

Be a tea pot! Share the Gospel in truth and love!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What if we recognized that God’s world is bigger than just us?

March 17, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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))

Are you glad that you have accepted the offer of grace and salvation as it was given to you?

Are you the world?

In other words, was God’s plan to only save you?

Even if you only looked at those who are alive at this very moment in time, each of us, by ourselves, is miniscule in comparison to all whom God loves. Even so, what God unfolded for the whole world would have been done for only one. In fact, if you truly stop to reflect on His plan of salvation, it was and is unfolding one person at a time. It didn’t stop with you!

With everything that is going on in the world at this moment in time, there are many who need to come to the knowledge of the saving grace that can be theirs if they will only accept what God is freely giving. The next time you see someone ridiculing Jesus, remember Saul and his Damascus Road experience. The next time that you see someone flaunting evil in every action that they take, remember what you were like before accepting Jesus. The next time that you see someone so lost in sin, remember the old saying, “By the grace of God go I!”

As members of the Body of Christ, we are called to action.

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))

What was freely given to you was also freely given to all. The only difference is that some may not have heard. Some may not have accepted, but how can they believe if nobody will tell them? Are you willing to tell them?

No one knows the day nor the hour, but many people are recognizing the season as God’s plans are unfolding. Is there someone that you can tell about the saving grace that can be theirs? What if we each shared this good news with one person each day?

What if we recognized that God’s world is bigger than just us?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you going to say something?

February 23, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved.
(Ezekiel 33:7-9 (NIV))

Everybody reads this passage and looks at it from the perspective of what will happen to them if they don’t sound the warning. In all honesty, I am not going to dispute this. I do want to pose something for your consideration that I hadn’t thought of before. In fact, the concept for this thought came from a recent video posted by a pastor that I follow. It caught me off guard. It put a different perspective on this passage to the point that I no longer only see this as a selfish motive for sounding the warning. I was shown the perspective on this passage from the wicked person’s point of view.

Imagine the one who needs to hear the Gospel is someone whom you love. For the sake of setting the stage for this example, when they die and are facing an eternal separation from God, what will they think of you? What will be going through their mind when they realize that you had the way to salvation and did not share it with them?

“Why didn’t you say something?”

“Didn’t you love me enough to let me know what was coming?”

“Why did you give up on me?”

I want you to close your eyes and imagine your son, your daughter, your spouse, your parents, or your friends saying these things to you. It’s not a very pleasant thought. How would you feel if this were to happen? How would you feel knowing that someone you love is facing an eternity of torment simply because you weren’t sharing the Gospel with them?

If someone matters to you, you don’t simply give up!

With that said, imagine how much more the Lord loves those who are perishing. We, as sinful humanity, love only those around us. We love only those whom we know. Jesus knows each of us and loves each of us. If we are to be His hands and feet in this world, we are to love as He loves. We are to warn them of what is coming. We are to share the good news that allows them to receive salvation!

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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

Are you going to say something?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you gotten lost on a detour?

December 9, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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))

According to the world, there are many different ways to get to heaven.

What do you believe? What do you know to be the truth? Do you believe that they are the same thing?

Each religion in the world professes that they have the only path to get to god. You will notice that I chose to use a little “g,” for the gods that they claim to be able to reach are not the God of the universe. Each religion sets out a path that you must follow to achieve a higher level. Everything that they claim gets you closer to their god is something that you must do, but our God, the God of the universe did something to reach us!

He sent His Word! He sent His only begotten Son.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
(John 1:1-5 (NIV))

Jesus came to shine the light!

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 (NIV))

Jesus came as one of us, a living man of flesh. We can never be good enough. We can never earn our way to God. Because of this, God came to us! Jesus was sent by God, as God made man, to bring us back to Himself.

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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

The world tells us that we have to get better in order to see God. God tells us that He is better than the world. He has reached out to us to share His goodness, righteousness, mercy and grace. Personally, I know that I am not capable of anything on my own. I was drowning in a sea of sin. God reached out and rescued me. I didn’t have to rescue myself. Grace was and forever will be a gift. All that you have to do is accept it. If you are required to do something of your own strength, then you are on the wrong path.

Have you gotten lost on a detour?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you let the world know of your faith?

December 8, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.
(John 3:36 (NIV))

With Christmas rapidly approaching, this passage puts a whole new spin and sad perspective on things for those who refuse to say “Merry Christmas.”

This celebration has been in effect for about two thousand years as a way for humanity to give thanks and to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is true that the early church picked a day that had been a day of celebration for the “barbarian” tribes of Europe, but, even so, the celebration and the season has been Christmas for many more years than can actually be traced historically.

It is the time that we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Is it possible that the simple act of refusing to say “Merry Christmas” is an actual rejection of Jesus as told of in John 3:36?

Think about that.

These people who refuse to say “Merry Christmas” are still very willing to celebrate and some are even willing to be nice to those around them, yet, they reject the very reason that we celebrate.

I find it ironic that the very day that we, as the Body of Christ, celebrate the gift of grace, mercy and life, many people are taking a stand that may result in their loss of eternal life. I often wonder just how Satan managed to plant the seed within people to get them to refuse life.

Believing in the Son is rapidly becoming a dividing line. It appears as if the weeds are rapidly growing.

“The owner’s servants came to him and said, `Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
” `An enemy did this,’ he replied.
     “The servants asked him, `Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
” `No,’ he answered, `because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ “
(Matthew 13:27-30 (NIV))

Be sure to wish someone a Merry Christmas each and every day. If it isn’t Christmas time, tell them of the grace and mercy that Jesus brought to the world. Offer Jesus to everyone.

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))

Do you let the world know of your faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you expect to experience?

October 22, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“When you see `the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong–let the reader understand–then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down or enter the house to take anything out. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that this will not take place in winter, because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now–and never to be equaled again. If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them. At that time if anyone says to you, `Look, here is the Christ!’ or, `Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect–if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.
(Mark 13:14-23 (NIV))

The Disciples expected Jesus to return in Glory during their lifetimes. Each generation since then has expected it in their lifetime.

The words that Jesus spoke of do not paint a pretty picture of His return for those who do not put their faith in Him. Yet, the Rapture is also expected for those who today put their faith in Him. Even so, man cannot understand these things at this point in time. Jesus will return, yet even He did not know when that would be.

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
(Mark 13:32 (NIV))

All we can be certain of is that He will return. First, He will return for His true Church and then He will return in Glory to deal with the rest of the world who have rejected Him.

Nothing speaks of God’s Love and His Wrath more than the return of Jesus. When He returns, will you experience God’s Love or God’s Wrath?

What do you expect to experience?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Does what you ask glorify the Father?

October 9, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
(James 14:13-14 (NIV))

I don’t know just how many times that I have read or heard this passage, but tonight, I saw something that I understood in a new light. As believers, as Christians, we have taken this passage and condensed it to something that only represents the half truth that whatever we ask in the name of Jesus will be done for us. Read the passage again and stop to think about the things that you ask in the name of Jesus. Looking back on your faith walk, do your answers make you feel shameful for the things that you have asked for? What are some of the things that you remember asking? Did you receive an answer that matched your prayer request?

Human nature is selfish and as a result, even people who profess a faith in Jesus still possess this characteristic. Most people ask for things that benefit themselves either directly or indirectly. Even praying for healing of a loved one can be considered selfish if the reason that you pray is because you will miss them. It is a matter of motives. Do the things that you ask bring glory to yourself or to the Father? Do they stroke your ego or do they truly glorify God? Do they fuel a lust for fame and fortune or do they seek to follow God’s own heart?

You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
(James 4:2-3 (NIV))

Do your pleasures glorify God? Do your wrong motives guide you to seek after God’s heart? Each of us ask so much of God and from God, but why do we ask? What are our motives?

Does what you ask glorify the Father?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What are you doing?

October 8, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

I may offend a few people with today’s passage and thoughts. I pray that perhaps I will make you think about this passage and the things that we, as the Body of Christ, should be doing.

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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

Do you believe in Jesus? Do you believe that Jesus is God’s one and only Son? Do you claim the gift of eternal life that this belief entitles you to? Sadly, that is where far too many people stop with their faith. They fail to respond by putting their faith into actions such as sharing the Gospel. We are called to go into all the world and preach the good news, but how many of us actually do anything for the Lord? How many of us read these passages that tell us that we have a responsibility and then simply choose to ignore them. What is recorded in John tells us that Jesus expects those who believe in Him to do what He spent His life doing. What is recorded tells us that He expects even greater things from us.

Are we living up to expectations?

We are not saved by works, but since we have been given the greatest gift that has ever been given, we should desire to share this gift with others. We should desire to do all that we can do to share the good news of Jesus!

What are you doing?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Who are your brother and sister?

September 23, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
(1 John 4:20 (NIV))

I have often wondered how Jesus would answer someone if they had asked Him who is their brother or sister?

Perhaps Jesus would give an answer similar to the one He gave when He was asked what was the greatest commandment.

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
(Mark 12:29-31 (NIV))

Would He have answered with a parable similar to the Good Samaritan as He did when He was asked who is my neighbor? Jesus turned it around on the person who asked by telling the parable and then asked who he thought was a neighbor.

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
(Luke 10:37 (NIV))

Perhaps he would have answered similarly to when He was told His mother and brothers were outside and wanted to speak with Him.

He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
(Matthew 12:48-50 (NIV))

Are we seeing a distinction between a neighbor and a brother? Are we being told to show love and mercy to our neighbors and to love those who do the will of His Father? Is there a difference between showing love and mercy to a neighbor and actually loving someone who is a member of the Body? This is a topic that will require much more than just a few paragraphs to bring to light. Suffice it to say that if someone calls upon Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, they are a brother or a sister to anyone and everyone who also makes that same profession. We are to love them. We are also called to show love and mercy to those who are not part of the Body of Christ. If you stop to think about this last statement, perhaps the very love and mercy that you show will be what the Lord uses to reach their heart!

To play it safe, it sounds like we should show the love of Jesus to everyone. How can we claim to love God and still have hate in our hearts for anyone whom God loves?

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))

Who are your brother and sister?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How can we do any less than love?

September 18, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.
(Luke 6:27-31 (NIV))

At what point do you think that God allows us to stop loving our enemies?

And, yes, this could very easily be a trick question.

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))

With that in mind, every single person is a loved child of God.

Does God stop loving? Does Jesus stop loving?

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV))

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
(1 Peter 4:8 NIV))

Love is a powerful force. It can turn an enemy into a brother. It can turn a foe into a friend. It can restore relationships that seem to be lost. It can bring healing and wholeness.

Do you remember the words that Jesus spoke on the cross?

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
(Luke 23:34 (NIV))

If Jesus can pronounce forgiveness and love after suffering what He suffered on the cross, how can we do any less?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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