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

Advertisements

What traditions do you follow?

November 13, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.
(1 Corinthians 1:22-23 (NIV))

Isn’t it interesting how different groups of people look for different things before they will believe.

Jewish history is full of signs, wonders and miracles, so they expect something from God to be announced in that matter. The Greeks have always been known as the creators of intellectual thought, so therefore, anything must be analyzed and make logical sense.

What other traditions have we inherited that make us look at Jesus in ways that don’t allow us to truly see him as God the Father intended? What has society done to further distract us from seeing Jesus?

Humanity tries to do things the way that we think that they should be, but hasn’t God told us that His ways are not man’s ways. If we try to approach Jesus in any way that man has devised, then we will miss the intentions of God when He sent Jesus to us.

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)

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


Are you truly thankful?

November 20, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then the Lord said,
“Because this people draw near
with their words
And honor Me with their lip service,
But they remove their hearts far from Me,
And their reverence for Me
Consists of tradition learned by rote,
Therefore behold, I will once
again deal marvelously with
this people, wondrously marvelous;
And the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
And the discernment of their discerning men shall be concealed.”
(Isaiah 29:13-14 (unknown))

Are we guilty of “tradition learned by rote?”

Are our church services merely a series of traditions that we do because they are the way that we learned them? Do we understand the true meaning behind the traditions?

God spoke through Isaiah against meaningless traditions. Judgement was poured out on the descendants of Israel for simply doing “what they have always done.” They had forgotten that these traditions were actually acts of worship. Worship is not the act of doing things because that is the way they have always been done. It is a sincere reverence for God. It is a “thanksgiving” for what God has done for us, and not a series of rituals done in a certain sequence. God wants us to follow the intent of the Law, and not the letter of the Law. Jesus spoke against the Pharisees for following the letter of the Law without following the intent.

Are you bound by tradition learned by rote?

Are you truly thankful?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Frantic or eager?

December 28, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.* Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
(Luke 10:41-42 (NIV))

It is so easy to allow the things of this world to overtake us and distract us just as they did with Martha. It is so easy to focus on the busyness of life and completely miss out on the blessings that are right in front of us.

Do you think that Jesus is concerned about the cleanliness of our home, or with the fact that elaborate meals are not prepared? Do you think that Jesus cares more about our frantic effort to put on a good visible facade or that we simply choose to be in His presence?

It is human nature to try to create appearances that are different from reality. We often find ourselves doing just that when we should simply be basking in the moment.

Think about that.

Mary and Martha were sisters. They were in the same house. Jesus was present within their home. Mary recognized that she had a blessing and an opportunity that may never happen again. She chose to sit at the feet of Jesus. Martha was frantically trying to prepare for her guest and did not realize that what she would receive from Him was far greater than what hospitality traditions would provide. Martha followed tradition. Mary followed the Savior. Both loved Jesus. Both knew of His miracles and both probably had an idea of who He truly was, yet Martha chose a path that made her frustrated in the presence of the Lord. She was trying to do things her way, the traditional way.

When we choose to follow Jesus, we must be willing, ready and able to step out in faith even when that step goes against all traditions. We will be called to things that may not make sense to us. We will be called to things that are uncertain in our eyes. We will be called to be still in the Lord’s presence and to take a step of faith.

Be still, and know that I am God;
(Psalm 46:10a (NIV))

If we are like Martha, we will miss what Jesus is calling us to do. We must be like Mary and eagerly sit at the feet of Jesus.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


You are all one in Christ Jesus

December 12, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
(Galatians 3:26-28 (NIV))

This may sound like a silly question, but what is it that we celebrate at Christmas?

Is it the denominational differences that we, humanity, have placed as barriers between ourselves? Is it how we profess our faith? Is it how we sing praises? Is it the color of the skin of the congregation?

Or is it the birth of Jesus?

I often wonder what Jesus would say of He were to come to earth and give us a report card update on how we are doing? Would he commend us or condemn us?

Personally, I believe that we would most likely get a mixed review. One in which we would receive severe judgment for the way that we have allowed the Gospel to be removed from society. I believe that we would be held accountable for the way that we still segregate the Body of Christ I believe that we would also be held accountable for not doing enough to share the Gospel, for it is a gift to everyone, and not just those who look, act and think like us.

It is for Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female.

In other words, it is for those who may not be like you. It is also for those who may be just like you. Think about that last statement. I know that if I found someone “just like me,” I would pray for them continuously, for I know the sins that they would be fighting.

We, as the Body of Christ, come from many different backgrounds. We must prevent these differences from separating us from the rest of the Body of Christ, and from Jesus. We come from many different traditions. Traditions are a funny thing. A tradition is simply a routine way of doing something. They are man-made and must not get in our way of rejoicing with each other about the birth of Jesus.

I once heard someone tell a story about a young bride who, after getting married, wanted to cook a pot roast for her husband. She bought the needed pot and the roast. She then called her mother to get instructions. After listening to her mother, she asked a very serious question. “Why did you always cut off the end of the roast? I want to do it exactly like you.” Her mother’s response was that she cut the roast because her pot was too small. It appears that not all traditions are ones that we need to continue.

Since we are all one in Christ Jesus, what “traditions” do we allow to keep us separated? If we are all sons of God through faith in Christ, why do we often treat our brothers and sisters like we do? I can hear some of you thinking that this is what brothers and sisters do. I honestly hope that the Body of Christ does not act like natural brothers and sisters. We should show the world a different side.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
(John 13:34-35 (NIV))

Can the world tell that you are a disciple of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


The same for all eternity

April 12, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8 (NIV))

Have you ever known anything to be the same day in and day out, year after year? I won’t even go to the forever part of this passage, for we, as finite creatures, do not truly understand forever. Let’s face the truth, we can’t even maintain consistency from one minute to the next.

With that in mind, how do you react to the thought of something or someone never changing?

Do the words consistency and monotony come to mind? Do you even approach the concept of boring? Perhaps you know people who think this way about Jesus.

If these are the mental pictures that you get when you read Hebrews 13:8, you are totally off base.

Consistency does not equate to boring or monotonous. It simply means that nothing will change the person no matter what the situation. Think back on the life of Jesus. I honestly do not think that you can call raising the dead boring. You cannot call feeding the five thousand with a few fish and five loaves boring. What about the money changers in the temple? What about the Passover meal in the upper room? What about all of the people that Jesus healed? Again, I say that consistency does not mean boring.

Jesus was always about His Father’s business. That business was and still is the restoration of humanity to Himself.

We know of the thirty or so years when Jesus walked the earth as a man. We know of His crucifixion and resurrection. We know of His ascension. We know what the Bible tells us about His return. Everything that Jesus has done and will do is for our redemption and grace.

Perhaps a better way to look upon the sameness of Jesus is to look upon it as some would classify as a one track mind. Jesus did not sway from His task. He is still about completing that task. He will not change. Even though the enemy tempted Him, He did not stray.

It is often said that you have to pick what matters to you the most and stick with it. If you let things distract you, then you will lose focus and lose site of what matters to you. This is true about a professional career, or hobbies, or love, or life in general. If you go around constantly changing and redefining your focus, do you truly have a focus? I bet we all know someone who constantly hops around from one interest to another. Do they ever succeed at anything if they hop from one interest to another?

Jesus has a consistent focus. That focus is God. That focus is you and I. That focus is redeeming us for an eternal life spent with God.

Personally, I am overjoyed that Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever. I am comforted in the knowledge that when I mess things up, He will be there with His same focus.

How do you look upon the consistency that Jesus provides?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Happy New Year!

December 31, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
(Matthew 9:16-17 (NIV))

With the approaching new year, we must be prepared for whatever God sends to us that is new to our way of thinking. Just like the old wineskins that will burst if they attempt to hold new wine, our hearts will not contain what God has in store for us if we do not soften our hearts.

Look forward to the new year with much anticipation of what God can and will do.

Happy New Year!

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


%d bloggers like this: