Do you press on?

April 9, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.
For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
They have no struggles;
their bodies are healthy and strong.
They are free from the burdens common to man;
they are not plagued by human ills.
(Psalms 73:2-5 (NIV))

Isn’t it easy to be fooled by what we see that the world has to offer?

Sometimes it seems that the world has the better things, but we must remember that what the world has to offer is only temporary. These things can be destroyed by moth and rust.

When we are confronted with the temptations of the world, we must remember that we have a firm foundation, a solid hope that is not of this world. What we desire is not of this world. Our treasure is the very heart and Word of God. Through the Word made flesh, we have a treasure that moth and rust cannot destroy. We have a treasure that is eternal. We must simply keep our focus on Jesus when the world tries to distract us.

There will be many distractions that the world will send your way during your life. Like Paul wrote:

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 3:14(NIV))

Do you press on, or are you distracted by the worldly temptations?

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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Requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone

November 19, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone– for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men–the testimony given in its proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle–I am telling the truth, I am not lying–and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles.
(1 Timothy 2:1-7 (NIV))

Paul received a great mission from Jesus, and he undertook that mission with humility and an earnestness that have lead to us, the Gentiles, being grafted into the vine of Israel. We are not the vine, nor the root. We are there through grace and mercy. We do not have a right to condemn or judge others, for we were not condemned or judged when we deserved it.

We must pray for those in authority that they will do the will of God and come to a realization and acceptance of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Peace is a wonderful thing. All of us want peace in our lives. This peace can only come through a knowledge of Jesus Christ and the grace and mercy that He has given us. Grace is not cheap, but it is free to all who would ask for it. Pray, like Paul did, that all those whom you have contact with will see that you are also a herald and an apostle, and that you speak the truth of the Word of God through Jesus Christ.

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

August 29, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
(Revelation 2:7 (NIV))

Are we listening?

Do we, as the Body of Christ, truly listen to the Spirit? Are we aware of what is going on in the world around us and how it relates to God’s timeline? Do we see things that make our spirits groan because they go against everything that we know to be true according to the Word of God?

Or do we simply ignore the world and the Holy Spirit? Do we live in our own little bubble oblivious to everything else?

Are you more worried about the score of the football game or are you worried about those who are still in need of God’s grace and mercy?

Do you watch the news and think to yourself that these sheeple had it coming to them or do you see lost souls in need of a savior?

Do you feel an inner tugging and an inner cry for God to restore His order?

Do you see the world and pray for the lost?

Do you see humanity and cry out to God to touch the hearts of people?

Contrary to what many believe, the church is not a social justice organization. Don’t misunderstand what I am saying. The church, the body of true believers, is to reach out to the sinners. We are to be the light on the hill that shines the way to Jesus. The church has one mission – to share the grace and mercy that God has given us through Jesus. If any of our undertakings as the Body of Christ do not have this as priority one, then the priority is wrong. We can minister to the homeless. We can minister to the widows and orphans. We can minister to the homosexuals as we are called to do, but the minute our ministry loses Jesus as the focus, it is not a ministry of salvation. It is a ministry of social justice.

Do you hear the Holy Spirit? Do you follow the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit will never lead you to anyone else than Jesus. The Holy Spirit will never lead you to condemn people. The Holy Spirit will lead you only in the paths that follow God’s Word. The Holy Spirit is that still, small voice. He is not the loud anger the dwells within us at the sight of injustice.

The Holy Spirit is trying to reach the churches.

Are we listening?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you thought to be discerning?

June 21, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.
(Proverbs 17:28 (NIV))

It seems that all too often I am found out for my true identity. I have an alter-ego and it is not one that I am proud of. All too often my tongue gives me away for who I do not want to be. I am sure that I am not alone in this. Since we are all human, I think that it is safe to say that all of us have been guilty of this more often than we care to admit.

Why does the tongue rule our lives so much? How can an organ that spends most of its time out of sight of ourselves and others cause so much damage when it does show up?

Reckless words pierce like a sword,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
(Proverbs 12:18 (NIV))

For the lips of an adulteress drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil;
but in the end she is bitter as gall,
sharp as a double-edged sword.
(Proverbs 5:3-4 (NIV))

Perhaps it is simply due to our rebellious nature. God, in all of His glory, speaks and the truth that comes forth cuts through all that it touches.

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
(Hebrews 4:12 (NIV))

We in our sinful, fallen state desire to be in control, to be like God. Our words are pronounced judgments upon those whom they are directed towards. Perhaps our words cut in an effort to elevate ourselves above others. Perhaps they even cut to try to elevate ourselves above God. Either way, we play the part of the fool, for we are no better than the one we confront, and we are definitely no better than God.

Are you thought to be discerning?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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“Surely he was the Son of God!”

March 26, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”
(Matthew 27:50-54 (NIV))

We are all familiar with the crucifixion account. We know that there were earthquakes. We know that the curtain of the temple was torn in two. We know that the centurion came to believe that Jesus was and is the Son of God. There is one thing in the account of the crucifixion that many overlook.

The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
(Matthew 27:52-53 (NIV))

Why do we overlook this? Why do we ignore one of the greatest resurrection accounts of what God has done? I know that our focus is on the death and resurrection of Jesus, but I find it extremely interesting that at the moment of His death, people arose out of their tombs.

Who were these people? Even before Jesus came into the world, people where longing for His coming. They believed even before Jesus physically walked the earth. They were looking at salvation through eyes that longed to see it. We look at salvation through eyes that have read it as it actually happened.

Why did they arise at Jesus’ death? That is an interesting question and I am probably going to open up some debate, but I believe that it is simply a matter of timing. Humanity has been given grace and mercy through the atoning blood of Jesus. Jesus had to die in order for our salvation to be redeemed. Those people who believed in Jesus before He walked the earth had to wait until He had fulfilled the plan of salvation. Once He breathed His last, the debt had been paid.

If we truly perceived the events that happened during the crucifixion, we would undoubtedly come to the same conclusion that the centurion came to. The sky grew dark, the earth shook, the rocks split, the holy people were raised from the dead and the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

I honestly don’t think that any script writer could come up with something as awe inspiring as what actually happened.

There is a saying that truth is stranger than fiction. There is also a famous line from a movie that states, “You can’t handle the truth!” I also find it interesting that people base their perception of the truth upon their limited understanding. They refuse to believe until they see. I have never seen a millions dollars, but I know that it exists. Perhaps that is the limit to the faith of some people. They can believe things that they have never seen only if they are of a physical nature.

I know that people believe when they see miracles. I also know that we are told that we need to have faith without seeing miracles. Still, it is my desire to see people who are not believers come to the same saving knowledge as the centurion.

“Surely he was the Son of God!”

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you

March 12, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you–guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
(2 Timothy 1:13-14 (NIV))

It is easy to hear something and have it register that it is a good thing to do. It is far more difficult to retain that teaching and to be able to live by it. We must let the Word of God take root in our lives just as Jesus told in the parable of the seed.

Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop–a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear.”
(Matthew 13:3-9(NIV))

Whether we look upon the Word of God as something that we must retain or as a seed that must take root in our lives, it is a living and life changing acquisition. Without the Word of God in our lives, we flounder and fall into sin. With the Word of God, we stop and consider what we are doing. We have a beacon in the darkness that is guiding us and allowing the truth to bloom and grow within us.

Jesus came to teach and to offer salvation. He is the Word made flesh. He is what we should retain. He is the seed that we should allow to take root and to grow. He is our only means of salvation.

Whether you look upon the Word of God as something to retain or as something to let take root and grow, it is something that must be central to your life. It must be nurtured through study, discipline and prayer. These are the elements that allow the Word of God to grow in your life. Are you providing the elements that are needed?

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