Are we thoroughly equipped to be God’s servants?

June 23, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

Most believers are familiar with this passage, but most read it as I have presented it here. We have a tendency to take it as a stand-alone passage and forget the context that it was originally written. It is true that as a stand-alone passage, it does speak truth, for anything from God’s Word is God-breathed and useful in all righteousness, but there is more to this passage than this. These words about all scripture close 2 Timothy 3 after it is opened with these words about the last days.

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
(2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV))

We, as the Body of Christ, have taken these two passages and have made them unrelated. We look at the warning about the last days but fail to realize that the closing words from 2 Timothy 3 are instructions for us when we see the things of the last days unfolding right before our eyes. The words written by Paul to Timothy are instructions to continue in the faith. We are to stand firm in the face of adversity. We are to stand firm when we see people are becoming lovers of themselves. We are to stand firm in our faith when we see the world turning into lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. We are to stand firm by firmly rooting ourselves in the scriptures, and not just our favorite passages.

In order to recognize the truth, we must be firmly rooted in God’s truth. There are gems of godly wisdom and truth in every passage. Some truths are only recognizable when you understand the complete truth, for God’s Word is not just a collection of individual, unrelated nuggets. God’s Word is life!

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
(Genesis 1:1 (NIV))

From the first words in Genesis 1 to the last words in Revelation 22, there is an unfolding of God’s truth and in order to understand it, we must read and study it all.

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.
(Revelation 22:20-21 (NIV))

It is said that all of scripture after the fall from grace details God’s plan to bring salvation and to restore His creation. How well do you know the story? How well do you know what the outcomes are for those involved in this story?

Are we thoroughly equipped to be God’s servants?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you strive to practice strict self-control?

February 20, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.
(1 Corinthians 9:25 (NLT))

Some translations say that the athletes go into strict training. To me, this translation hits a little closer to home. We may not have any idea of what strict training may be, but we can all understand the idea of strict self-control.

Think about that concept for a moment.

What do you think of when self-control is mentioned?

Is it the will power to not eat the last donut in the box, or is it much more?

Personally, self-control and personal responsibility go hand in hand. Let’s face the truth. Our society no longer believes in personal responsibility. People claim that they were born that way, or they were raised in a bad home, or . . .

I think that you get the picture. Our society, and each of us as a member of the Body of Christ, must be willing to practice self-control. We must be willing to accept the responsibility of our actions. We must strive to live our lives as Jesus taught us.

Using the athlete example, a life in faith is not a sprint that starts and is over quickly. A life in faith is a lifelong journey, a marathon, in which we must be prepared to face any obstacles that the world throws our way. In order to do this, we must practice self-control. We must be willing to accept personal responsibility. If you are willing to accept personal responsibility, then you are capable of learning from your mistakes and focusing once again on the prize that is set before us.

Imagine this scenario.

You are standing in front of Jesus and He is judging your life. You have never accepted His grace and mercy as your own. Every aspect of your life condemns you. Your only response, “It wasn’t my fault. I wasn’t ready!”

I can only imagine the response from Jesus.

Strive for the prize that is won only through Jesus. Don’t allow the things of this world to sway your self-control.

Do you strive to practice strict self-control?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is all of God’s Word important to you?

August 15, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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))

Several years ago someone wrote and published a book by the title of “Life’s Little Instruction Book.” It sold a considerable number of copies. What I wonder is where did they get their instructions from?

This book, of course, was not the definitive answer book to all of life’s questions or problems. There is a book, though, that is!

When Paul wrote these words to Timothy, he stated a truth that many have taken to heart throughout the years. The Scriptures, or what we call the Bible, is God inspired and is there for our use to teach us, correct us and train us in righteousness.

There are two types of people in this world. There are those that accept God’s “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth” and those who reject them. True, there are varying degrees of acceptance, and even different interpretations of the Scriptures, but it still comes down to whether you accept them or not. Another issue that hinges on this acceptance is whether you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. If you do not, then your Scripture stops half way through the lessons.

Do you accept the whole instruction book, or do you pick and choose what you will follow?

Is all of God’s Word important to you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you thoroughly equipped?

May 17, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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

Do you have a favorite scripture passage? This passage is what many people refer to as a life verse and, if you are like me, it comes to mind many times a day. Most people have many different scripture passages that they also cling to for various reasons. These passages are important, but I have a serious question for you.

Are there passages of scripture, and perhaps even whole books within the Bible, that you find difficult to understand or that you even completely avoid? How can you put on the full armor of God if you ignore part of His Word? It can be very similar to the concept of being partially dressed for battle.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
(Ephesians 6:13-17 (NIV))

How well equipped would a soldier be if they only picked up a sword? How well equipped would a soldier be if they only grabbed their helmet? Even with today’s military weaponry, a soldier is not fully equipped with just a pistol!

How well equipped are we if we fail to read and follow some of God’s Word? What happens if I only choose to read the following passage?

Be still, and know that I am God,
(Psalms 46:10a (NIV))

I would miss out on so much, including the command to share what I know.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
(Mark 16:15-16 (NIV))

God’s Word is precious. It is of great value. We must equip ourselves by embracing all of it.

Are you thoroughly equipped?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you tried to change Jesus?

January 4, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8 (NIV))

I realize that I say this quite often, but it is true. Human nature is such a funny thing!

We are all guilty of looking at everyone else and seeing the sins in their lives while failing to see the sins in ours. The sad thing is that we tend to gravitate to others who have the same tendencies, the same way of looking at others. In our associations, we then start to take God’s Word and put our own interpretations into what is written. Some of us even go to the extreme and say that the teachings are no longer relevant in today’s society. We pick and choose what we want to believe and what we want to follow.

Shouldn’t God’s Word be the benchmark and we strive to live accordingly?

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
(2 Timothy 3:16 (NIV))

Instead, we twist and distort, we pick and choose, and we ignore completely in the false sense that Jesus couldn’t have meant it the way that it was written. God surely didn’t mean what was written because He is love and if that is true, why would He tell me that my favorite thing to do is a sin?

God’s Word is alive. It is meant to change lives. It is meant to touch the deepest places in our lives and make us look at the darkness within. It is meant to help us turn to the light of Jesus. Humanity failed to realize the truth, so God sent an example. He sent His Son.

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))

Two thousand years have passed since Jesus walked among us and we still twist His Word. We still ignore His Word. We pick and choose. In essence, we do our best to try and change Jesus to fit our desires even when we are told that He never changes.

Have you tried to change Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you trained to be?

November 3, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way.
(2 Corinthians 11:6 (NIV))

Every single one of us is good at something. Every single one of us has a special talent that we have nurtured because we are driven to pursue it in one manner or another. Some of us are driven to excellence in athletic endeavors. Some are driven to excel in music, while others are drawn to drama. Some are good at business, while others are more concerned with hospitality, kindness and caring.

What are you drawn to?

If you are like everyone else, you read, study or practice to get better at what you are drawn to. You become a sponge who is willing to absorb all that you can about your passion, about what drives you, about what you are drawn to. You grow in knowledge and wisdom. You grow in your training, whether it is from someone who is a mentor, or if it is through trial and error all on your own. Some people, like Paul, even have a divine calling. Even with the calling during his Damascus Road experience, Paul had to gain knowledge. He had to study. He had to wait for the Lord to lead him to the right place and time for his study and his passion to come together.

Today, we read the words that Paul recorded in his endeavors of spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles. We read his words of encouragement. We read his words of instruction. We read his words of chastisement when it was due. We know Paul as a great man of God, still, I have often wondered just what Paul was referring to when he said that he was given a thorn in his flesh.

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.
(2 Corinthians 12:7b (NIV))

There has been much speculation about what this could be, but the one thing that is obvious is that Paul did not focus on this thorn in his flesh. Out of all of the writings that we have from Paul, this is the only instance that this thorn in his flesh is mentioned. He used the talent and the passion that he did have to spread the Gospel.

We all have knowledge and a passion for something. We all have that specific thing that we have been trained to be in our lives. It is time to use that training, that one passion, and let it be brought to the forefront in such a way that it leads people to Jesus!

What are you trained to be?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is the Body of Christ declaring to the nations?

June 5, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
(Psalms 96:3 (NIV))

With everything that is going on in the so-called Body of Christ, just what are we declaring to the nations?

One group claims that the Bible is outdated and doesn’t apply to today’s society. Another group claims that certain sins are no longer sin. Another group has rewritten the Bible to call God the same name as the Muslim god and they have referred to Jesus only as a prophet. Another group is now claiming that the Bible has it wrong when everyone calls God Father. They want everyone to refer to God as a she.

And then there is the group that holds fast to the truth that has always been. The Bible is God’s Word dictated to man and recorded for all to use. This group clings to the promises of God and to the truth found in the following passage.

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))

I don’t know about you, but this passage instructs me to believe, and not alter, the passages that call God our Father. I also believe that this passage instructs me to believe if a sin is called an abomination in the eyes of God, then no matter what society may say, it is a sin. I firmly believe that the Bible tells me that God has many names, and I have still to find where it calls Him by the name of the Muslim god. I also firmly believe that because the Bible calls Jesus the Son of God, He is not simply a prophet or a good man.

Are we seeing something unfold before our very eyes just as Jesus told us?

At that time if anyone says to you, `Look, here is the Christ!’ or, `There he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect–if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time.
(Matthew 24:23-25 (NIV))

Man cannot change God and God’s Word. That is a sin. We may not like some things that are in the Bible because they hit a little too close to home, but that does not mean that we can simply ignore them or change them. If God did not condemn sin, then why do people try so hard to say that what they do is okay? Why did Jesus have to die on the cross if God will embrace us as sinners?

Think about that!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you believe that man can change God’s Laws?

May 26, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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))

I keep seeing things reported that some denominations are voting to change Biblical law as they apply it to their teachings. Some denominations are even voting to allow certain sins to not only be allowed, but in some cases they are condoned.

I know that the following passage applies directly to Revelation, but I have a feeling that it also applies to all of God’s Word.

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
(Revelation 22:18-19 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but I plan on holding fast to the unaltered Word of God as it has been preached and taught for thousands of years. Just because it is old, doesn’t mean that it is wrong. Just because we may not like some parts of it, doesn’t mean that God’s truth can be changed.

We already know what God has planned for those who alter the prophecy in Revelation. If you stop to think about Revelation, it is a culmination of the sins of man and God’s final plan being fulfilled. Just what is sin? Sin is anything that misses the mark that God has set before us. If we change God’s Laws, isn’t that more than missing the mark. It is a direct and willful thumbing of our noses at God. It is rebellion against God. It is my understanding that rebellion is much worse than sin. Sin is missing the mark. Rebellion is a deliberate fight against God.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready?

May 13, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
(John 5:39-40 (NIV))

How well do you know God’s Word?

Do you know it well enough to not twist it to your own interpretations?

Do you pick and choose what you want to believe?

Are you hypocritical?

Have you come to the realization that God is not situational? In other words, the way that you act when around one group of people should be the same way that you act when around another group of people. The way that you expect others to act is also the way that you should act.

The time is coming when the Body of Christ will be persecuted. It may be closer than you think. Will you be able to stand firm in your faith? Will you be able to cling to the hope that we have through God’s Word as it was manifested through Jesus?

Can you stand firmly on the truth that we call the Bible even if and when it becomes illegal to possess God’s Word?

Bind them on your fingers;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
(Proverbs 7:3 (NIV))

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
(2 Timothy 3:16 (NIV))

We, as the Body of Christ, must study God’s Word and live by what we study. There is a huge test that is coming from the world.

Are you ready?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What good is the church if we condone sin?

April 22, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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))

I just saw something that made me wonder what is going on with people in this world!

To be more specific, what I saw makes me wonder if some churches even believe in the Gospel anymore.

I am certain that you are aware of the debate about homosexual marriage. Let’s take that one step further and completely stop focusing on sin in church! That is the very report that I just saw. A pastor has decided for himself that the church focuses too much on sin and salvation.

That is the very reason for the church!

The Body of Christ is called to be the church. We are to let people know about sin and God’s plan for salvation through the gift of His Son, Jesus. The job of the church is to preach the good news. How can we tell people that they can be saved from their sin if we don’t tell them about sin?

Jesus did not come to make everybody feel good about themselves. He did not come to bring social justice. He did not come to promise earthly prosperity to those who follow him. Jesus came into this world to live a sinless, perfect life. He came to offer himself up as the sinless, perfect sacrifice to atone for our sins. He died so that He could be resurrected and sit at the right hand of God, the Father.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10:10 (NIV))

We must be aware of the false teachers. We must be aware of the lies from the enemy. We must be aware of the thief that has found his way into the pulpits. We must test everything that we hear against the Word of God. We cannot pick and choose what we believe and what we ignore.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
(Ephesians 6:10-11 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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