Are we good ambassadors?

January 9, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
(2 Corinthians 5:20 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to think about this passage from the perspective of the definition of the word ambassador?

The word ambassador means a diplomatic agent of the highest rank, an authorized representative or messenger.

Does this sound anything like the role that you have been filling while you live your life? Does this sound anything like the witness that you have had for Jesus on a daily basis?

A diplomatic agent of the highest rank stands firm and resolute for the interests of those who sent him. They constantly present the case of the one whom they represent. They are sent with authority and under authority. What they say and do is supposed to be the very words and desires of those who gave them that authority. They do not falter or fail in delivering the message that they were sent to convey!

Sadly, if you are anything like me, I have failed miserably at my assigned tasks. I can imagine a performance evaluation of my lackluster representation of Jesus. Do I do all that I should be doing to point people to the grace and mercy that is freely given through the atoning blood of Jesus? Do I do all that I should to tell people that they can be forgiven of their sins? Do I step outside of my comfort zone and share the good news?

We have been sent out as ambassadors.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
(Mark 16:15 (NIV))

Are we good ambassadors?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your faith strong enough to proclaim that to die is gain?

August 18, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
(Philippians 1:21 (NIV))

Are these just words to you or are they a true reflection of your heart and your desires?

I realize that we all love our lives, for they are a precious gift, but how much do you love your life? Do you live your life for Jesus, or do you live your life for yourself? Do you strive to walk in His light in all that you do, or do you seek your own sinful road for your life? Do you long to be with Him, or do you never want to stand before Him? I realize that al of these questions pose scenarios that are extreme opposites, but we need to consider that these are the type of reactions that people have to Jesus. They run the full range of responses. For some people, their responses may change on a daily basis.

The word “gain” means to increase in amount or magnitude. For those who don’t believe in Jesus, they have trouble understanding how dying could be considered gain. They see death as the end of all things. For those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, death is just the beginning of an eternity with God. It brings the promise of redemption from a sentence of spiritual death to an eternity of spiritual life where there is no pain, no tears and no death. It takes faith to believe that this is gain. I would also venture to say that is takes faith to believe that there is nothing. Personally, I know where my faith lies.

Is your faith strong enough to proclaim that to die is gain?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is God truly the Lord of this nation?

July 5, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance.
(Psalms 33:12 (NIV))

We like to say “God bless America,” but are we worthy of being blessed?

Think about that question in relation to the events that have been transpiring over the last several years. With these events that we see in our society, is God truly the Lord of this nation? Do we honor Him with our actions? Do we honor Him with our words? Do we honor Him with our hearts? Our money says “In God we Trust,” but have we come to trust more in our money and in our government than we trust in the Lord?

What would our founding fathers say about the state of our nation? What does the Lord say about the current state of our nation? Everything has been turned upside down. Evil is called good and good is called evil. Truth is no longer absolute. Society believes that truth is relative. There are certain factions of society that believe in separation of church and state. They believe that this is in the Constitution, when in reality there is no such article or clause that supports this. This is a lie that has been repeated so often that people know believe it to be true.

There are many things that society claims as good that God calls evil, so how can God bless America when we, as a collective society, are doing all in our power to thumb our proverbial noses at God.

The Body of Christ needs to stand firmly on God’s Word. We need to study it. We need to know it. We need to do more than pay lip service to God’s Word. We need to live it! Only when we truly study it, know it, and live it will we truly know God and call Him Lord. When we truly can call God Lord will we be truly blessed.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you been cleansed and renewed?

October 21, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (KJV))

How many times have you heard this passage quoted or read this passage? If you are like me, you are probably well acquainted with the words contained in this short sentence.

Do you take them to heart?

Do you honestly desire to have a clean heart? Do you want God to search you and to cleanse you of anything that is less than righteous in His eyes? Take a look at your life. Take a look at your heart. What do you find yourself doing when you think that no one is looking or when you are by yourself? Do you need a clean heart?

What about your spirit? It is human nature to have a rebellious spirit. You can blame that on the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. Do you truly wish to get rid of the spirit that was in you at birth? Do you wish to rid yourself of the very nature that has condemned you, along with all of humanity, to an eternity away from God? Hopefully, your answer is a resounding yes.

Let’s be honest. We all need a clean heart. We need to rid ourselves of the things in this life that distract us from what God has called us to be. We need to replace our sinful spirit with a right spirit. We need to focus on God and His Word. We can do that by surrendering our lives. We can do that by professing a faith in God’s Word made flesh. We can accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. We can earnestly seek after God’s own heart.

We never know what tomorrow may bring. It may be too late. With the state of the world, we never know what day may be our last, or when Jesus will come to remove those who earnestly seek to follow Him. Shouldn’t we turn Psalms 51:10 into a daily prayer for our own souls?

Do you want a clean heart and a right spirit?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Lift up your praise to the Lord!

August 18, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the LORD
or fully declare his praise?
(Psalms 106:2 (NIV))

If you stop to think about this passage, there are a couple of ways that it can be understood, and perhaps both of them are correct. One implies the awesomeness of God while the other speaks to the fact that we as humanity have limited wisdom and understanding. I just love how God’s Word is capable of conveying so much with just a few words!

Who among God’s creation fully knows every mighty act that God has ever done? How can we even begin to comprehend the very creation of everything when all that God had to do was simply speak it into existence? We are told that words are powerful, that they can build up or that they can destroy. Our understanding of the power of God’s Word is so small in comparison to what it can accomplish! Can you speak anything into existence? All that we can do is make comments about what God has created. We cannot create!

The flip-side to this is that we, as humanity, as the creation, are limited in wisdom. We look at a beautiful day and we see the blue sky. We see the clouds. We see the trees and we see the majesty of what God has created. Even after all of the time that humanity has been on this planet since the Garden of Eden, we are only beginning to understand how God made everything to function. Each individual person is only capable of possessing just a minuscule amount of knowledge and wisdom when compared to all of the knowledge that can be attained?

When I look around, I see countless reasons to praise God for what He has done. They are everywhere, but there is one reason that far outweighs all other reasons.

“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. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men 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 his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

This is one mighty act of the Lord for which I can forever bring praise!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What in your life does not honor God?

August 11, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.
(Numbers 20:12 (NIV))

It only takes one slip; one sin to throw away a whole body of Godly service.

Moses and Aaron had been faithful to God in all aspects of their service to Him, from confronting Pharaoh to leading the people of Israel through the desert, yet, because Moses did one thing that misdirected the glory from God to himself, he had to pay the price. It is true that God forgives us of our sins if we earnestly and sincerely ask through the power of the blood of Jesus, yet, we still must suffer the consequences of our actions. We live in a physical world where for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

We must always watch and guard our thoughts, words and actions, for it only takes a single, little sin to break down our guard and allow a multitude of sin in. That one little sin may be just what keeps us from receiving the rewards that God has for us.

We are only human. We sin every day. Even so, we can live a life after God’s own heart if we choose to focus on the things that are of Him. We must put ego and selfish pride aside and let righteousness indwell us. We must not let one little thing keep us from God. We must keep on our toes and stay alert so that it does not invade our lives.

What is your one little thing?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you able to discern the truth from the lies?

March 7, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
(1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV))

I hear people say all the time that they are still a kid at heart. Think about that in relation to this passage. Do you still feel that you are a kid at heart?

He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 18:2-4 (NIV))

Does this passage from Matthew seem like it contradicts the passage from 1 Corinthians?

On the surface, they seem to be one of the things that too many people reference when they say that the Bible is full of contradictions. Are they really contradictions?

There are many aspects to being a child. Some are playfulness and silliness. How many of you would agree that as you grow older you stopped being as playful and as silly? You started to think differently and to see the world differently. In other words, you put away childish things and started looking at the world as a serious and dangerous place. It is not the world where your childhood imagination conjures up fantasy worlds of toys and unicorns. It is a place where these types of dreams, once looked upon as cute, will get you in trouble and lead to a life of problems.

Another aspect of childhood is innocence and trust. To some people, innocence and trust are just different words for childish silliness. Do you think like that? It is these characteristics that I believe Jesus was speaking of when He said that we need to come to Him like little children. Is this so silly of a notion?

Words have subtle nuances in meaning that are truly only understandable when you take things in complete context. Even today, calling someone childish paints a different image than saying someone is a trusting child. The first in intended as a derogatory cut while the second is a label of endearment. This is just one example of how knowing God’s Word can give you ammunition to explain to someone that the Bible is not full of contradictions. It takes faith and study to be able to truly discern what is truth and what is from the enemy.

Are you able to discern?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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