Christmas is only the beginning of God’s promise!

December 22, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.
(Psalms 57:9-11 (NIV))

The Psalmist spoke truth and wisdom when these words where written. What was true then is still very true today.

In this Christmas season, we are constantly reminded of how great God’s love for us is. Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ is a constant reminder of God’s love. God is faithful in keeping His Word. All throughout the Old Testament, God promised to send a Savior to reconcile man with Himself. In this season, we are witness to the promise kept. It is a yearly celebration of that promise. At the same time, we must keep our eyes focused on the other promises of God, especially the one that says that Jesus will come again.

In this holy season of new birth, we must not forget that Jesus grew up and died on the cross, was resurrected and will come again.

Christmas is only the beginning of God’s promise and not the culmination.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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
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Do you possess God’s gift of grace and peace?

June 22, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
(Galatians 1:3-5 (NIV))

Grace and peace! What a wonderful concept! I did not fully understand how wonderful until I sat down this morning.

I have the NIV Bible on my computer and I am capable of doing searches for words and phrases. I performed a search for “grace” and “peace” so that they must appear in the same passage together. It returned 18 different verses. What was surprising to me was the fact that all 18 verses are from the New Testament. No where in the Old Testament (at least in the NIV version) are grace and peace mentioned together.

This was a concept that was not known to people before Jesus came to walk on this earth! Yet, after Jesus came to die for our sins, God gave us grace and peace through Him, and people spoke freely of this grace and peace that is from God and Jesus.

When was the last time someone gave you something that you considered precious? Take a look at what that gift was. No matter how fantastic it may be, it cannot compare to the gift that was given to all who would receive it freely – grace and peace. Grace for the forgiveness of sins. Peace for the inner realization that your sin debt will not have to be paid by you!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is God trying to tell us something?

March 18, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Above all, you must understand that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophets themselves or because they wanted to prophesy. It was the Holy Spirit who moved the prophets to speak from God.
(2 Peter 1:20-21 (NLT))

Think about this passage for a moment.

Has it sunk in?

Do you realize that most prophets in what are referred to as the Scriptures are actually Old Testament prophets? If you are familiar with the events around these people, you should realize that their prophetic words usually meant something bad was going to happen.

Does this sound like human nature? Would you stand up in the middle of society today and proclaim something bad was going to happen if it came from your own imagination? Would you proclaim these things with boldness if they did not come from God?

They were sent to warn Israel to repent! They were given a message that they did not want to be given. They were given a message and a task to share that message with a group of people who would not receive it well. They were given a task to bring an unwelcome message to a group of people who would rather ignore the message and harm the messenger.

it is only human nature to want to avoid being the one who brings bad news. If you don’t believe me, take a look at Jonah. He ran from what God called him to do. His task from God was the last thing that Jonah wanted to do.

What about today?

Are there prophets of God who are speaking what people don’t want to hear? Are there people who are called to speak God’s Word and to be God’s voice in the midst of the circumstances that we now find ourselves in? Are there people who are saying things that are getting society up in arms because it goes against what they want to hear?

I honestly believe that God still speaks to His people through His prophets. I also believe that our society has gotten so busy that we don’t take the time to listen as we should. Is God trying to tell us something? Are we so engrossed in our own lives that we fail to hear what God is telling us?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we above reproach in the eyes of God?

March 24, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.
(1 Timothy 3:2-3 (NIV))

What does it mean to be above reproach?

The word reproach means an expression of disapproval or scorn. To be above reproach means that there is nothing that can cause someone to disapprove.

What are some things that we should disapprove of? Perhaps this question should be worded what does God disapprove of? Many people today are shifting what their thinking is on this topic.

Has God changed?

It is us who are changing!

Do we find ourselves trying to justify things in our mind that have been accepted as wrong by the Body of Christ for two thousand years? Do we think that we have a better understanding today because we are more compassionate and better educated than the people who wrote down what they saw God do? Have we allowed two thousand years to make us think that those words that were written in the Old Testament and those spoken by Jesus and recorded in the New Testament are now somehow different from what they meant when they were written?

Who wrote those words?

Who inspired those words to be written?

Did humanity suddenly become God? Since when did we become allowed to change the meaning of words to suit our desires?

I know that this is a touchy subject, but everything that I have read, and I am trying not to be legalistic, points to the simple fact that what we are allowing to be done to God’s Word is wrong. God’s Word is alive. It is intended to change society and not have society change it.

What are we doing?

Are we above reproach in the eyes of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Did Jesus do away with the Old Testament?

January 14, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.

He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

“What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”

He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
(Luke 24:13-27 (NIV))

Do you believe that the Old Testament is valid and still has merit?

Be careful how you answer.

I watched a video today by a Messianic Jewish Rabbi. I have always been of the opinion that what we call the Old Testament is not to be ignored. It is still very much the Word of God. It is the Old Testament that Luke is referring to as the Scriptures. What we know as the New Testament had not been written. Jesus had to convince the two men who He was based on what was written about Him in the Old Testament. It pointed to Jesus as the fulfillment of the prophesies.

Do you have an understanding of ancient Jewish education? Do you think that you could do what was required of young men in this time? They memorized the Scriptures. They knew God’s Word. They could carry on a very intelligent conversation about what they had memorized. Today, we barely can recite John 3:16.

Do you think these two men on the road to Emmaus took the discussion lightly? Were they easily tricked into believing a lie? I honestly think that these two men could easily tell if what they were hearing were not true.

Do you think that because Jesus came, we don’t need to pay attention to the Old Testament?

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.
(Matthew 5:17 (NIV))

Jesus came to fulfill, or complete, what was started long ago. All of what He came to complete were Jewish Scriptures. He did not complete any Christian Scriptures. They did not exist. At no time are we told by Jesus or by His disciples to ignore the Scriptures from the Old Testament. Why do we, as the Body of Christ, think that we can change what has been carefully laid out by God since the beginning?

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 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 3:14-16 (NIV))

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