Do you accept the hard teachings?

February 12, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
(John 6:60 (NIV))

Far too many people only consider the easy things that Jesus taught, ignoring the things that they find difficult to understand or to put into practice. If you stop to think about this, everything that Jesus said has been difficult for us to put into practice. Human nature simply wants to do what it wants to do! It is a daily struggle to admit that we are sinners. It is a daily struggle to admit that we are not capable of anything on our own. We don’t like to admit that even on our best day, we are far from perfect.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

John 6:60 catches the disciples asking this question after Jesus tells the crowd something that just didn’t make sense from their perspective. Does it make sense to you?

Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.
(John 6:53-57 (NIV))

Even though we have the benefit of two thousand years and much analysis, far too many people still have problems with this concept.

Think about it from this perspective.

What is the most intimate thing that you can do with something? You make it a part of yourself by either eating or drinking it. When this happens, the items that were consumed get broken down into the basic elements that you need and they become a part of you. There is no way to tell where you end and where these elements begin. I don’t know about you, but this sounds exactly like what Jesus wants for each of us. He wants each of us to consume Him in such a way that the very life that He came to give has become inseparable from the life that He has renewed within us. Just how do you consume Jesus? How do you make His teachings and His life inseparable from your? I love the simple instructions that we were given in Deuteronomy.

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
(Deuteronomy 11:18 (NIV))

Focus on the Lord. Focus on the Word. Focus on the teachings even when they are hard. Accept them. Bind them. Make them integral to who you are!

Do you accept the hard teachings?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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There is no other name by which we can be saved!

February 7, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
(John 6:68 (NIV))

Have you ever heard someone say that they will try something and if it doesn’t work out, that they will try something else?

Perhaps you have said something like this yourself.

I will be honest with you. There are some things where this is a valid approach. In fact, colleges have this concept down with classes like intro to psychology, intro to geology, and all of the other introductory classes. These are designed to give you a little information about the subject to see if you are interested in exploring in greater detail and depth. They are designed to give you a sampling of what that particular field of study has to offer.

If you have ever taken any classes like these, you probably remember the ones that interested you. Did you go on to learn in greater detail and depth? Was it the class, the material or perhaps it was the teacher who got you interested?

All of these classes are a good way to find out what interests you, but at some point you must make a decision and decide to follow a certain path. For Simon Peter, and the rest of the disciples, they had chosen to follow Jesus. They made this choice not because they would make a lot of money if they did, but because of the truths that they had heard. They had committed to the teachings of Jesus because He fulfilled all of the teachings that they had heard before. He fulfilled God’s Word!

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))

They realized, as I pray that you do, that Jesus was much more than just a man. They realized that all of God’s plans for their redemption and salvation was to be found in no other place, in no other man. It is for this reason that Simon Peter said that he had no other place to turn but to Jesus. Have you made that realization?

There is no other name by which we can be saved!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What have you done with the good news?

July 3, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,
(Luke 4:18 (NIV))

Do you like good news?

I have never met anyone who didn’t like good news. I have met some people whose definition of good news was not the same as mine. With that said, what do you consider to be good news? Is your definition that same as what the early church considered good news? I am sure you know this, but perhaps you, like myself, need a refreshing of your memory every now and them. The word Gospel means good news. When you read the Gospel, you are reading the good news of Jesus Christ. In this particular passage, we are reading the Gospel according to Luke. Even though Luke did not walk with Jesus when He was on the earth, Luke made it his mission to compile accurate accounts of the life and teachings of Jesus. Luke didn’t know Jesus, yet he believed the good news when he heard it. He believed that Jesus was and is the Son of God and that He is the Messiah. He believed that Jesus was crucified, dead and buried, and on the third day He arose from the grave. He believed that Jesus ascended into heaven and that He is preparing a place for those who call upon His name as Lord and Savior.

Luke loved the good news so much that he not only believed it, but he recorded it so that it could be shared with others. He took the good news and made it possible for generations of people to know the good news as well.

What have you done with the good news?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you know Jesus?

May 5, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.
(1 John 2:4-6 (NIV))

What constitutes knowing Jesus?

There are many people who know that Jesus was a great teacher, but they do not follow what He taught. There are many people who know that Jesus was a prophet, yet they do not believe in what He foretold. There are those who say they know that Jesus offers salvation, yet they live their lives as if they have rejected this gift. There are many people who say that Jesus is the Son of God, yet they do not give Him the authority in their lives that this acknowledgment means. Then there are those who claim that Jesus is all of these and they model their lives upon the teachings, the prophetic words, the salvation, and the authority that He brought to this earth.

Where do you fall in this mix of possibilities? How do you know Jesus? Perhaps we should ask ourselves this question. How does Jesus know us? Would He see His teachings in our lives? Would He see His prophetic words in our lives? Would He see us in the Lamb’s Book of Life? Would He see us as a humble and willing servant?

Many people “know” Jesus. Is your knowledge of Him honest and sincere? Do you walk as Jesus did?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you accept the hard teachings?

July 25, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
(John 6:60 (NIV))

We don’t have the market cornered today on not being able to accept some of the teachings of Jesus. Many of those who heard the words straight from Jesus had much difficulty with many of the teachings. Why should we think that we would be any different?

In any classroom or subject of study, there will always be certain concepts that are more difficult than others to understand, accept and apply. This is true no matter what the subject, whether it is algebra, philosophy, medicine, or religion. Each subject has concepts that are easily grasped and applied, and at the same time, each subject has concepts that are difficult to grasp and apply. If everything were easily mastered, we would not have the satisfaction of a job well done when we do master a particularly difficult task.

The same is true of the things that Jesus taught us. Some things we can accept and apply almost instantly, while others we would prefer to ignore. We must not ignore the difficult teachings. It is these teachings that help to mature us in our faith. Perhaps it is also a maturation of our intellect as well, for the wisdom that comes from mastery will often lead us to understand and apply even more difficult teachings.

It is human nature to want to shun the difficult. We often take the path of least resistance. What do we get for this lack of effort? We do not get what God wants us to get. The next time that our human nature takes over and we want to ignore the hard teachings, we must remind ourselves of the nature of God’s Word.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV))

Are you open to the hard teachings?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you constant in your faith?

September 3, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.
(Matthew 19:29 (NIV))

There is a lot of talk about family values and the Judeao/ Christian ethic. Family values are fantastic if taken in context of what Jesus said. Jesus knew that there would be conflict within families due to His teachings. We must not waver from what He taught, but we must also realize that we, as believers, may have family who turn their backs on us because they do not understand. We must pray for them and continue to love them, but we must not compromise our faith in order to save family.

We must also remember this when people are speaking of tolerance and change. We must love the sinner but hate the sin. We must stand firm in our faith and not waiver for the sake of people. God will deal with them and touch them by our standing firm, not by our wavering.

Are you firm in your dealings with family and acquaintances when it comes to the teachings of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Learn the true heart of God and not the “rules” taught by men

November 4, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
” `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.’
(Mark 7:6-7 (NIV))

It is my desire to learn the true heart of God and not the “rules” taught by men.

What single thing do you hold on to that is not Biblical, but is actually a man-made rule? Come on and admit that you have them. They are the things that we all hold on to because they are tradition, or because they are part of our comfort zone. Perhaps the biggest one is thinking that other people can’t be true believers because they don’t look and act the same. I hate to say this, but I would bet that every believer struggles with this from time to time. And I think I know where that all started. Could it be that we are so ingrained in our own set of rules made by man, that we forget that they are only rules? We start to judge others by our set of rules that we have applied to ourselves, while we overlook the much bigger and much more important aspect of grace and mercy.

Human nature is a fickle thing. We long to be forgiven, but then we add all types of stipulations that God never would have even begun to think of. It is interesting that God could only come up with Ten Commandments and then salvation through Jesus. We have added so many things to this that we could easily be guilty of worshipping in vain, for we could be following our rules instead of God’s teachings.

We need to focus on what is true and righteous in the eyes of God. We must focus on God. We must focus on His Word and on Jesus, His only begotten Son. We must focus on the Holy Spirit. All other, if it does not point you to God, Jesus His Son, and the Holy Spirit, is a false teaching and must be removed from our lives.

Don’t let man-made rules hinder your relationship with God and your salvation through Jesus, His Son. It’s not worth what you will lose.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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