By His stripes we are healed!

April 18, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
(Isaiah 53:5-7 (NIV))

These words do not paint a very pretty picture! The agony of the events of Jesus’ crucifixion are vividly portrayed through these words. They speak of the events in an historical perspective, yet when this was written, the events would not take place for several hundred years! God knew what would happen long before it actually came to pass, and he told Isaiah the events long before they really happened. God IS in control! He was then. He is now, and He will be in the future, as we perceive time.

I don’t know how many actual prophecies that Jesus fulfilled. I do know that the odds against all of them being fulfilled in one person are astronomically impossible, yet, this is exactly what happened. Jesus fulfilled every single prophesy that God had ever given anyone concerning the Messiah about His first coming.

God has given Daniel and John, in Revelation, prophesies concerning Jesus’ second coming. With such astronomical odds against the first event happening, it does not make sense from the world’s point of view that He will return. But, if I were a betting man, I would place my money on God! His record is flawless. His timing is impeccable. His grace is sufficient! His mercy endures forever!

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

December 26, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
(Luke 2:8-14 (NIV))

What an honor it must have been to be the first to hear the good news! The shepherds must have been terrified by the presence of the angels, after all, angels were not, and are still not an every day occurance.

Luckily for us, God’s plan does not discriminate against us for not being there. In fact, it is probably with mixed blessings that we are embraced as part of God’s Kingdom. We do not have the first hand experience of having seen the angels, the star, or Jesus’ life. Sometimes, I wonder if I would have believed if I lived at the time of Jesus!

On the other hand, we have the faith of millions of people who have gone before us. We have the New Testament, the hundreds of years of prophesy study that proves Jesus is King of kings, the Messiah. It may be easier for someone today to come to faith than it was in Jesus’ day. Yet, through all of this “historical proof”, I sometimes feel empty. I think it is the desire of every believer to be able to go back in time and be a witness to the miracles and hear the teachings of Jesus first-hand.

Today, we celebrated the birth of Jesus and look back in awe to the miracles. At the same time, we should look around us in awe of what God is doing today and look to the not-to-distant future and know what God is going to do. Today we celebrate the First Coming. Some tomorrow we will celebrate the Second Coming.

Merry Christmas

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How can you make the true Jesus known to others?

September 12, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.
(John 1:16-18 (NIV))

How do you make Jesus known?

Is it in a way that glorifies God and His Son?

For those who claim Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, the way that we behave each and every day is often the only reflection of Jesus that some people will ever see. Do you reflect Jesus in a way that makes Him know for who He truly is and for what He truly offers or do you reflect a Jesus that is limited by human frailties and sin? If we rely on human nature to show Jesus to others, then we do not do a good job of reflecting the light. We cannot make known perfection when we rely on our own imperfection.

How can we truly reflect the light of Jesus without fully embracing that light with a desire to glow brightly?

The next time that you find yourself in a situation where you have two paths to choose from, stop and reflect. Which path would best reflect Jesus to those around you? Which path will make Jesus known?

The nation of Israel has longed for their Messiah for thousands of years. When He came, He did not fit their expectations. He came as innocence. He came as a baby. He came to preach the good news of grace and salvation. Today, many people think of Jesus only from what they have seen portrayed through certain elements of society. They see a Jesus who is hypocritical and is a reflection of the sin that He came to save us from. Their perceptions are all wrong. They have never been shown the true Jesus.

“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))

How can you make the true Jesus known to others?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is Jesus the desire of your heart?

June 4, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”
(Luke 2:28-32 (NIV))

Simeon waited all of his life to see what God had promised he would see. He had waited a very long time to see his salvation. He was an old man. He was willing to wait for the one thing that he desired above all else. He wanted to see his Savior.

You have heard people say that they could die in peace because they had seen something, or been given something, or had accomplished something that they wanted to happen before they died. What they accomplished was central to their lives. It was who they were. Simeon was a faithful man. Simeon was faithful in his desires. He was so faithful that God promised that Simeon would see what he longed to see before he died. Simeon wanted nothing more than to see God’s anointed one. He saw Jesus! He could die in peace.

Simeon knew who he held even though Jesus was a baby. Simeon had waited for this moment. He prayed for God to send His Messiah. Simeon, through being able to see Jesus, knew that God’s promised plan had become a reality.

How long are you willing to wait for God to fulfill a promise? Do you give up after a few short hours? Perhaps you are able to wait a few days. Maybe you are one who will make it a few months or a few years. Would you have the faith to wait as long as Simeon waited? Would you give up and seek other rewards? Simeon waited because it was the desire of his heart to see the Messiah.

Are you willing to wait to see Jesus? Is He the desire of your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The keys to the kingdom

May 20, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist–he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
(1 John 2:22-23 (NIV))

Who do you say that Jesus is? The answer to that single question carries more hope and faith than just about any other answer to any other question ever conceived. No matter how you answer, you are placing your faith in your understanding of God and His creation. Even if you do not believe that God exists, you are placing all of your faith in your answer. Your very being hinges upon your faith in something.

Faith is such a peculiar character trait.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

There is a void in each of our lives. That void is designed to be filled by God. Since sin came into this world, many things have been used to try and fill that void. Some use power. Some use wealth. Some use lust. Some even try to use God to fill that void. Everyone has faith that what they use will fill the void. Nothing can fill that void while we are still sinners. God cannot associate with sin. He cannot fill us when we are sinners. To this end, those who seek God without seeking salvation cannot find God. Salvation is available only through Jesus.

To those who call upon Jesus as Lord and Savior, we place our faith in the Biblical account of all of creation and God’s plan for redemption. Through this plan, we are given it all. We are given grace and mercy. We are given the atoning blood. We are given the Holy Spirit, and we are given God the Father.

Have you ever longed for a new car? You can test drive what you want. You can look at them at the dealer. You can sit in one, but it does not mean that it is yours. You have to take possession of the car. You have to have the keys! Trying to take possession of a new car without taking possession of the keys will get you nowhere. Take possession of the gift that is Jesus. He is the key to having God.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
(John 14:6-7 (NIV))

Who is the liar? Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. He was crucified, dead and buried. He arose on the third day. Thousands of people saw Him after His resurrection. They saw Him ascend into heaven. Is Jesus the Christ? Is He your Savior? Is He your key to God?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Faith in the midst of rejection

January 15, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. For this is what the Lord has commanded us:
” `I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ”
When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.
(Acts 13:46-48 (NIV))

Have you ever been the “runner up?” Have you ever been given the consolation prize? Maybe you have even been given the prize because the person who had originally won it was not available to claim it. If you stop to think about it, that is exactly why most of the Body of Christ can claim salvation. Each of us are the recipients because the nation of Israel had rejected the very One that they have so long been looking for. They rejected their Messiah because they did not recognize how He was to come into this world.

Because of this rejection, we, the Gentiles, have been given grace and salvation. I often wonder how God’s plan would have unfolded if the Jews had accepted Jesus as their Messiah, especially since Jesus came for all.

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
(Romans 1:16 (NIV))

We can speculate, but all I know is that we have been given grace and mercy through the actions of many Jews to which we, the Gentile believers, must be thankful for. Jesus was a Jewish man. His disciples were all Jewish men. Paul, who preached to the Gentiles, was a Jewish man. The society that rejected Jesus and His teachings was a Jewish society. The handful of Jewish men whom Jesus selected had directions to spread the Gospel. They did this faithfully.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
(Acts 1:8 (NIV))

Through the faith of a few Jewish men, we, the Gentile members of the Body of Christ, have been brought into the kingdom. We must never forget that these men were Jewish, We must never forget that these men, like Jesus, were often rejected by their own. Would we have the faith and the strength to spread a message when our own people rejected it?

We owe much to the faith of these faithful servants.

We owe even more to Jesus for His sacrifice for us.

Pray for the nation of Israel. Pray that they may recognize their Messiah.

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