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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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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Hold fast to the faith

July 7, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
(Matthew 5:10-12 (NIV))

Hold fast to what is of God and do not let the world distract you. The rewards of God are far better than anything the world has to offer. If you hold fast to God’s Word, then you will have the world trying to distract you. If they cannot distract you, then they will try to torment and persecute you. Unfortunately, persecution is a sign of righteousness and unswerving faith in God. Satan is trying with all of his arsenal to make you forsake God and accept the world view of things. Do not be dismayed! Hold fast to the faith and remember that the persecution that you are facing is not from God, but from Satan. If Satan is persecuting you, then he is afraid of what God will do through you and he is trying to stop it. Always remember that

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
(1 John 4:4)

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
(2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We will be held accountable!

May 27, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:12-13 (NIV))

We just finished a three day weekend in which we were supposed to stop and remember those who have given their lives so that we could have the freedoms that we have. I am extremely thankful to those who have served in the US military and have fought for our freedoms. We, as a nation, owe them more than we can ever begin to repay.

There is another group of people whom we need to be thankful to. A group that we, as the Body of Christ, must remember for their sacrifices that helped to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We must remember the heroes of the faith. Some call them saints. Some call them out as torchbearers. Whatever you may call them, the people who have gone before us and paved the way for our faith must be remembered. They must be thanked, for without them, we would not have been handed the mantle of faith that we possess.

We, as the current standard bearers in the faith, must be vigilant in our faith. We owe it to the next generation to pass the truth of God’s Word to them. We must not alter it to meet society’s expectations. We must not alter it to meet our own desires. We must not change what God is saying.

We will be held accountable!

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
(Ephesians 4:11-13 (NIV))

Our generation are the apostles. We are the prophets. We are the evangelists, pastors and teachers. It is our responsibility to pass this on just as we received it. Society may try to change God’s Word, but we must be steadfast and use God’s Word to change society.

Think about these questions.

Do you want future generations to look upon us as the ones who corrupted God’s Word?

Do you want God to look upon us as the ones who corrupted His Word?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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
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What is your spiritual aptitude?

August 5, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
(Ephesians 4:11-13 (NIV))

Have you ever taken an aptitude test? You know the tests I am talking about. You answer a bunch of questions by filling in a circle under a number that represents how much the question sound like you. Perhaps you have taken something similar to this that was labeled a personality test. These tests are designed to help you figure out what you are good at and how you see the world. They try to label you with terms that can be used to fit people into the proverbial box. These tests use terms like Type A, Administrator, Caregiver, Visionary, and whatever else you can imagine.

It is interesting that we are told that God gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers. We recognize the fact that each of us is not the same when it comes to spiritual gifts and completely fail to allow that concept to apply to our physical world and the gifts that we have.

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
(Matthew 16:19 (NIV))

Is Jesus telling us that the spiritual world and the physical world are closely connected? Do our spiritual gifts manifest themselves in the physical world? Can someone who does not have the spiritual gift of administration perform an administrative task in the physical world? Can someone who does not have the spiritual gift of discernment operate in the physical world as a counselor? Can someone who has the gift of prophecy do things that are contrary to God’s Word?

I recently took a test to discover my spiritual gifts. The results gave me mixed emotions. I suppose that I knew beforehand what the outcome would be, but it still surprised me to see the results. They confirmed what I had felt, but never really accepted.

God gave us each unique gifts that He desires for us to use in both the spiritual and the physical, for the two are not separate. They are closely tied to one another. What gifts you are given can manifest themselves in both aspects of your life.

Are you gifts united in your life for the glory of Jesus Christ?

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

October 3, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

At the end of seven days the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked man, `You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die forn his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself.
(Ezekiel 3:16-19 (NIV))

When God spoke to Ezekiel and told him to warn Israel of their wrongdoing, God made it clear that if He sends someone to deliver His Word, that person carries the weight of those people as his responsibility. That is also true for today.

When God sent Ezekiel, Ezekiel did not have the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to deliver. He had the teachings of the Law to deliver. God sent Ezekiel to deliver prophetic words that would greatly impact their lives.

Today, we have words that will impact lives even more than in Ezekiel’s time. We can speak in general terms, not as prophets, but as people empowered by the Holy Spirit to warn people of their impending danger if they do not accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Where we differ from Ezekiel is that we have a direct route to God that we can offer to anyone who is willing to receive it.

If God places us in situations that He desires for us to warn and to witness, we need to respond. If we do, then the decision and the consequences are the responsibility of the person we witnessed to. If we do not tell them, then the responsibility is ours to bear.

If we have truly accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, then we need to heed what God asks of us to do. It has a far greater impact than we realize.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t allow the world to change you!

May 10, 2012

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. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 5:17-20 (NIV))

I find it saddening that far too many people say that the Bible is no longer relevant in this modern world. I also find it very comforting that God’s Word is steadfast. It is true no matter what society or nonbelievers may say.

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.
(Matthew 5:18 (NIV))

Did you notice that Jesus referred to the Law. There are many definitions for the word “law,” such as a binding custom or practice; a rule or order that you observe; and the revelation of the Will of God. Today, we have man-made laws that we tend to follow. Why do people willingly obey man-made laws and ignore God’s Law? It has not changed. It will not change. What was once a sin is still a sin, no matter how the media or any other group try to spin it.

At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.
(Matthew 24:10-11 (NIV))

I see many people being deceived. I see things in this world that I could never have imagined just thirty years ago. There are wars and rumors of wars. Our society had become polarized. We can no longer meet on a common ground. We must be careful to not fall for the traps that the enemy has set. We must not allow our focus to shift away from Jesus.

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
(Matthew 24:12-14 (NIV))

Stand firm in your faith. Do not allow the world to convince you that the sin that is being publicized is ok, after all the Bible was written such a very long time ago. Jesus gave us assurance that God’s Word would not change and that His Law would not change.

Don’t allow the world to change you!

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The road to Emmaus

April 23, 2012

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.

As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
(Luke 24:13-35 (NIV))

Everyone is familiar with this story of the two men walking with Jesus and not recognizing Him. How true that is in our lives every day. Jesus is with us always. It is only when we invite Him into our hearts that we see that He has been there all of the time. How many times have you longed to be with Jesus only to discover later that He had been with you even in the darkest of times?

The poem about the footprints tells the story of everyone’s life, and not just the author’s. He is with us always. Even when we do not recognize that fact, He is there, and many times it is He who carries us through the toughest parts of our lives.

The next time that you feel that you are alone, closely look at the footprints in your path. You will probably find that they are not yours, for Jesus is carrying you when things are tough.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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A man planted a vineyard

February 9, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

A man planted a vineyard, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country for a long while. When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, that they should give him some of the fruit of the vineyard; but the tenants beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. And he sent another servant; him also they beat and treated shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. And he sent yet a third; this one they wounded and cast out. Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; it may be they will respect him.’ But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.’ And they cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy those tenants, and give the vineyard to others.
(Luke 20:9-16 (RSV))

God created a beautiful place when He created the earth. Unfortuantely, the tenants that inhabited the land did not listen to Him and soon had turned over control to someone else.

These tenants would not listen to God. They would not listen to Noah. THey would not listen to Moses. They wanted complete control.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, `Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ”
(Matthew 23:37-39 (NIV))

These tenants would not listen to God’s prophets. So, God sent His only Son, Jesus, to redeem the world to Him.

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

The tenants killed God’s Son thinking that they would then inherit the world and all that is in it.

What will God do?

He will come and destroy those tenants, but those who call upon the name of Jesus will not be destroyed. They will be the ones to whom He gives the vineyard.

We must realize that we are the tenants that this parable speaks of and that we must reject the ways of the “vineyard” and turn toward God.

Do we desire to take what is not ours or do we wish to inherit what God desires to give us?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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