Do you have the faith to be justified by Jesus?

June 16, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We who are Jews by birth and not `Gentile sinners’ know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.
(Galatians 2:15-16 (NIV))

. . . by observing the law no one will be justified.

If God calls for us to observe His laws, many people don’t understand why we cannot be justified if we observe His laws. Sadly, humanity is a fallen creation and we are not capable of perfection. God’s laws require perfection. No matter how hard we may try, we will fail miserably. We will miss the mark. We will sin!

It takes a confident person to admit that they are less than perfect. It takes a confident person to admit that they need help. Too many of us are stuck in the mindset that reminds me of my daughter when she was two years old. I am sure you know what I am talking about. I can still hear her saying, “I do it!”

“I do it!”

Except for the grammatical errors, every one of us has been guilty of saying something similar to this. We think that we are capable of much more than we truly are. We don’t like to admit that we lack the ability to do anything.

I know that it is human nature to learn from our mistakes, but do we really learn if we fail to acknowledge that we make mistakes? I often wonder what the scene is in heaven and if God is shaking His head in disbelief as He watches us. I picture the same scene as Jesus points out someone who has accepted Him as their personal Lord and Savior. I can almost hear Jesus saying, “See that one who is acting like a stubborn child. He has placed his faith in me. He is mine! He may fail, but since he has accepted me, he will eventually learn to do the right things.”

Do you have the faith to be justified by Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


What happens when you turn a deaf ear to God?

November 20, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law,
even his prayers are detestable.
(Proverbs 28:9 (NIV))

I came across this verse last night and it struck me in a way that it hasn’t before. Some translations use the word instruction in place of the word law. Either way, it hit me in a way that made me stop. I was reading something that most people don’t even know exists. They feel that God is love and no matter what we do, God will still answer our prayers.

Is this why our nation is in the state that it is in today?

Is this why our world is in the state that it is in today?

Too many people ignore the truth that is God’s Word and they do exactly what they want. All too often, this is is complete contradiction to God’s law and God’s Word.

Think about the following scenario for a moment.

What happens when you are in a relationship and the other person starts to do things that put the relationship in complete chaos. Eventually, they stop trying to do anything that is beneficial to the relationship. Would you trust them? Would you respond favorably to them when they return to you and ask for something. Would you want to see an about face before you would give them what they want?

If we can find it detestable when we are wronged, why can’t God do the same? All that we have to do is earnestly repent and seek His face. I hope that you realize that we can’t do this on our terms. It is on God’s terms. We cannot reject God’s laws and expect to be treated like someone who has embraced God’s laws.

I know that even those who embrace God’s laws can do it for the wrong reason, but have you ever seen someone reject God’s laws and still be in the right?

If we turn a deaf ear to God, will He respond?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Against such things there is no law!

October 27, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Against such things there is no law!

Why are there laws to begin with?

Basically, the laws are there to tell us the things that we should not do. Sometimes, laws are disguised in such a way that it appears that they tell us what we must do, but in essence, even these laws tell us what we cannot do. Consider a speed limit sign. When the speed is posted as 55 MPH, does that mean that you can go 75 MPH? In essence, the law tells us what we can’t do by posting what we are supposed to do.

What about God’s laws? What about the Ten Commandments? These laws are there to tell us to stay away from sin and things that are contrary to God’s Will. We are told directly not to do certain things. We are told not to steal. We are told not to lie. We are told not to covet. All of these are characteristics and actions that lead us away from God and into a sinful nature.

Re-read Galatians 5:22-23. Have you ever heard of anyone being told not to have love? What about joy and peace? Have you ever been told not to be patient and kind? I seriously doubt that you have ever been told not to be good. I could take each one of these fruits of the Spirit and address each one, but I believe that you understand where I am going with this. We do not have to be told not to possess these traits because they are what God created us to possess. He did not create us to steal. He did not create us to lie. He did not create us to covet. He created us to love, have joy, be kind and gentle and to have faith in Him.

Against such things there is no law!

Are your actions governed by law or by love?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Are you firmly rooted in Jesus’ fulfillment of prophecy?

October 26, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 5:17-19 (NIV))

Far too many believers have the false belief that the Old Testament has nothing to do with them. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Jesus, himself, stated that He came to fulfill not to abolish.

We have a long heritage that we have been grafted into. Jesus is the fulfillment of all prophecy in the Old Testament. Without the Old Testament, we would not have a Biblically or spiritually sound basis for our faith. It is the Old Testament that tells the story of this foundation.

Are you firmly rooted in Jesus’ fulfillment of prophecy?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Who do you see when you look up?

July 7, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters–one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
(Matthew 17:1-8 (NIV))

When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus!

Think about that statement.

Peter, James and John were Jewish. The core of the Jewish faith hinges upon what God did through Moses and Elijah. Peter, James and John were probably awe struck. The men whom God used to lay the foundations of what they had been taught all of their lives were standing supernaturally right in front of them. They wanted to commemorate this moment. They wanted to be able to have a place where they could relive this very moment.

Isn’t it interesting how these three men had spent several years with Jesus and this is the moment that probably made them truly aware of who He was and who He is. I love the symbolism of their faith traditions being overshadowed by Jesus. When they looked up, all that they saw was Jesus. Moses and Elijah were no where to be seen. Traditions can not save you.

Moses can’t offer salvation. Elijah can’t offer salvation. They brought God’s Law and His prophetic Word, but they can not bring salvation. That is available through only one source.

Jesus!

Moses and Elijah were only human. Jesus has a much higher authority as the Son of God. Only Jesus can save.

When you seek grace, mercy and salvation, whom do you see?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Are you answering the call to repent?

February 13, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.
(1 John 3:4-6 (NIV))

Ouch!

Do you realize what this means?

Think about your life and the things that you do out of habit. Think about what Paul wrote.

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
(Romans 7:14-20 (NIV))

Are there things that you do not want to do, yet you find yourself still doing them? Do you repent and ask for forgiveness after you do them? Are you sincere in your repentance?

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
(Matthew 26:41 (NIV))

How do we balance a willing spirit with weak flesh? How do we stop the body from causing us to sin when our spirit seeks to be without sin? How do we balance faith in Jesus with what we must endure in the physical world?

How often do you correct your course when you are driving a car? You don’t simply get in the car and sit back and wait to arrive at your destination. You are not a passenger in a taxi cab. You must make continuous adjustments to your course of travel. Following Jesus is the same! We don’t simply decide to follow Jesus and then just sit back and end up at our destination. We must continuously make course adjustments all along the way. These course adjustments are what allows us to grow in our faith. We must desire them. We must recognize the need for them. We must be willing to abandon the things that Jesus is telling us that we must leave behind. We must be willing to turn when Jesus tells us to turn.

We will all sin for we are only human. It is the desire to leave our life of sin and follow Jesus that makes us His disciples. It is our willingness to repent when we fall that shows Jesus our heart. Take a look at the three times that Peter denied Jesus. Jesus knew Peter’s heart and He called Peter to repentance. He is calling each of us to repentance for the times that we sin.

Are you answering the call to repent?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Are you still making sacrifices to try to achieve righteousness?

June 12, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming–not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
(Hebrews 10:1-4 (NIV))

Law is only a reminder of what we should be like. It cannot force us to be that way. It is only a mirror of what we should be, not what we are.

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
(1 Corinthians 13:12(NIV))

Perhaps it is this dark, poor reflection that makes us think we need to make sacrifices in order to be good enough, to be righteous before God. After all, it is human nature to try to achieve things on our own. We try in our abilities to bridge the chasm that separates us from God while we ignore the bridge that He has built for us. The law keeps us from crossing that chasm. Perhaps we should consider this “bridge” that God has provided and the roadsigns that God has placed for us as the good things that are coming and our attempts at reaching Him as the sacrifices we feel we must make.

Without Jesus, we are kept in the dark of the shadows. With Jesus, we are free to walk in the light and to bridge the chasm between us and God.

Are you still making sacrifices to try to achieve righteousness?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


God looks at the heart!

March 25, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.”
(Luke 11:52 (NIV))

What makes a person an expert?

An expert is someone who has skill or knowledge in an area. In other words, they study or practice a subject until they can slice it and dice it in ways that were probably never intended to happen.

Think about this for a moment and then think about what it means to follow the letter of the law.

Following the letter of the law means that you are more concerned with being legalistic and doing what the law says to do to the very last detail. You become more concerned with following the checklist of things that you think the law asks of you to the point that you don’t really understand what the law was created to do.

What do you think of speed limits?

What is the purpose of a speed limit? What is the intent?

First and foremost, the speed laws were intended to provide a level of safety to those who are traveling and to those whom they encounter. As a typical driver, I can honestly say that the last thing on my mind is the intent of these laws when I look in my rearview mirror and see a police car. My first response is one that everyone has. Make sure that I am not doing something wrong because I don’t want a ticket.

What does this have to do with the intent of the speed laws?

Now, think about the spiritual laws that we have been given. Think about the laws that God has given us through His Word. We must be very careful not to end up trying to obey the letter of the law and miss out on the intent of the law.

God gave us life. He gave us His Word and His Laws. He also gave us grace. He knew that we are prone to focus on the wrong things. He knew that what was the most important thing to understand would be relegated to a minor status once we got our hands upon it.

How many times have you seen someone miss out on a blessing because they were focusing on the wrong things. Don’t get bogged down in the details to such a point that you don’t understand the intent.

God intends for us to have abundant life through the grace offered at the cross. Don’t lose sight of the gift because you are trying to understand the details.

God looks at the heart!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


God’s story gives us hope!

February 5, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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

Everyone knows the words written above. They have been used to condemn people for centuries. They have also been used as a springboard for the plan of salvation. These words are the first step someone must take in order to gain salvation. They must realize that they are sinners! Not a single one of us is capable of living a perfect life under the Law!

How many have taken the time to read the complete passage that Paul wrote to the Romans?

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished– he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
(Romans 3:21-26)

Paul used these words as a part of a much more detailed writing in which he told of the grace that was available through Jesus Christ. He only used those words to convince everyone that no one was perfect, yet they had a loving God who sent His only Son to die for their sins as a means of atonement and grace.

The next time that you read or hear those words, remember the rest of the story, for that story gives us hope!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Join in the victory as conquerors

April 24, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin– because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
(Romans 6:5-14 (NIV))

Grace is an amazing thing. All throughout the Old Testament, man lived under Law. The Law convicted man in everything that he did. Man could not live up to the standard of the Law. We had fallen from Grace and sin had entered into our lives, and no matter what we tried, we could not be perfect in God’s eyes.

Grace changed all that! God knew that we would need a Savior – someone who was perfect in His sight to pay the price for our sinful nature. Jesus’ death was that price paid once for all. But, there is more. Jesus’ resurrection was the crowning glory to God’s plan for salvation. God knew that in order for us to be able to live with Him, we must conquer death which was brought about by our sin. Jesus HAD to be resurrected in order for us to fully have salvation.

Sin cannot be present with God. Death was brought about by sin. Death HAD to be conquered once and for all. All we have to do is proclaim our faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and we can join in the victory as conquerors.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


%d bloggers like this: