Do you follow the good shepherd?

February 16, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
(John 10:1-5 (NIV))

Sadly, in today’s society, it has come to the point where more and more people do not recognize the shepherd.

Do you recognize the shepherd?

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
(John 10:11 (NIV))

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me– just as the Father knows me and I know the Father–and I lay down my life for the sheep.
(John 10:14-15 (NIV))

Too many people are turning to whatever they think will make them feel good, whatever will satisfy the emptiness that they feel. All too often, what they turn to is just that – it is something that they turn to and in the process, they turn away from Jesus. Sadly enough, far too many never knew Jesus to begin with.

How many different lies about Jesus have you heard recently? I am sure that it is far too many to count, yet, these lies are what people believe. The lies have come from the thief. They are a very focused effort to steal and keep as many people from receiving salvation as possible. In my opinion, it was a very well orchestrated plan that relied heavily on removing prayer from public schools. It doesn’t end there.

We have seen circumstances that have allowed the thief to enter in and falsely lead people into things that are not of God. They have listened to false shepherds. They have listened to the thief. Pray that they quickly learn to recognize the true shepherd’s voice.

Do you follow the good shepherd?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God’s Word is the only judge!

January 27, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.
(John 12:47-50 (NIV))

Did this passage catch anybody off guard?

Think about that for a moment.

How many people, including believers, have this notion that Jesus is to be our judge? This is easy to come to this false realization if you picture Jesus as He is during the Second Coming. We see Him dishing out justice on the world as He defeats the armies of the world in the Valley of Megiddo. Still, He is not the judge. There is one piece of information that we fail to bring to mind.

Jesus is wielding the Word of God as His sword. It is the Word of God that judges.

Perhaps we should think of Jesus as our defense attorney, and I know that I need one.

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

For those who call upon His name, Jesus is our Lord and savior. He is our defense attorney for when we stand before God to be judged. He knows God’s Laws and our sins, and He will stand in the gap for our benefit. He will claim the true believers as His own.

He will get our sentence pardoned.

Looking back at this passage, would you rather have Jesus as your judge or defense attorney?

I know that I want Him on my side.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who or what do you flatter?

January 26, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
(Ephesians 5:1-2 (NIV))

It is human nature for children to imitate their parents. That is how they learn what they are to do and the difference between right and wrong. How can we, as children of God, do any different than we did when we were little?

Jesus is our big brother and God is our Father. They are the role models that we should be looking to in all aspects of our lives. How many times have you heard a child say that they wanted to be just like their father or mother when they grow up? How many times have you heard of a younger sibling wanting to be like the older sibling?

I am guilty of wanting to be like my big brother, Jesus. We should all strive to be like Jesus in everything that we do. God sent His only Son to show us how we are to live. In Jesus’ own words, He called those who do the will of The Father His brothers and Sisters. We should actively seek to earn this title by imitating God and Jesus in all that we do.

Remember, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Who or what do you flatter?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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
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Do you have what the Father is offering?

June 13, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

`My son,’ the father said, `you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.
(Luke 15:31 (NIV))

We know these words from the story of the prodigal son, but do we truly take them to heart?

Do you proclaim a faith in Jesus? Is it your heart’s desire to be with the Father? Can you be described in a manner similar to David in that you seek to know God’s own heart?

Do you have everything that the Father has?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
(Galatians 5:22-24 (NIV))

The things of the Father are not of this world. The things of this world will rot and rust. The things that the Father has to give are worth far more than anything in this world.

Can the world offer unconditional love?

Can the world offer true peace and joy?

Can the world offer patience and kindness?

What about goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control?

The world can never offer anything close to these. Anything that the world has to offer are simply cheap imitations of the real things. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at the world’s definition of love, or better yet, Google it. I am afraid to think of what it will return if you turn off your search filters.

Do you have what the Father is offering?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you alert and ready?

June 6, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But keep on the alert at all times, praying in order that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.
(Luke 21:36 (NIV))

These words cause many to dismiss the promise that Jesus will return. If they don’t completely dismiss the promise, then they have an attitude that it is slow in coming.

The reason people have this attitude is the fact that believers have been looking for Jesus’ return for two thousand years and have not seen any indication that it will happen soon.

These words should be used as encouragement, for even when the world thinks that nothing is happening, we have been instructed to be on the alert and pray at all times.

There is one thing that Jesus tried to teach us when He walked the earth, and that is that we are to constantly pray to God the Father. We grow closer to God through this prayer, and through this closeness to God, we will better understand the timing that God is using.

I do not profess to know when Jesus will return, for it is said that no one knows the hour or the day. I do know that God will let the faithful know through their prayers and through signs that He will send. Even with these signs, if we do not pray and stay on the alert, it will be easy to miss the signs, or to not understand them.

Jesus could return tomorrow or one thousand years from now. The one thing that we, as faithful believers, must do is to be alert and continually pray for God’s Will to be done.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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He knows my name!

June 5, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me– just as the Father knows me and I know the Father–and I lay down my life for the sheep.
(John 10:14-15 (NIV))

What do you think of when you think of a shepherd?

Do you have visions of a poorly educated person who is rough and not pleasant to be around? Do you think of someone who cares little about their life and is relegated to tending to the smelly sheep?

Sadly, our mental image of a shepherd is something that is not one hundred percent accurate. In this profession, just like in every profession, there are those who are excellent and then there are those who are not so great. When you think of a good shepherd, that narrows the range. A good shepherd cares about the flock. He knows each one individually and He knows how each one will act. He is capable of calling each one by name.

Jesus is that good shepherd!

He knows my name!

What I find even more astounding is that He knows the name of every single person throughout history who has called upon Him as their personal Lord and Savior.

I don’t know about you, but I have problems calling my children by the right name sometimes.

Jesus will never call us by the wrong name. He knows us intimately and He loves each of us intimately.

Does Jesus know your name?

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