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.


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.
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Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!

September 6, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest!”
(Matthew 21:9 (NIV))

Have you ever really stopped to think about this passage? To be specific, let’s focus on, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

What does that mean to you?

Be honest with yourself.

Obviously, it refers to Jesus, but what about this passage makes you envision Jesus? What blessings does He have and does He share these blessings?

Jesus was not only blessed, He brought blessings. The Lord God sent Him into this world to fulfill the promises that God had made. God’s promises are not empty. Jesus fulfilled many and will fulfill even more upon His return.

I want you to think about this passage from another perspective. Let me lay the groundwork.

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
(John 14:12-14 (NIV))

Jesus was blessed because He came in the name of the Lord.

Think about that. Is it possible that we, too, “come in the name of the Lord?” We profess a faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior. If our actions truly reflect what God desires of us, and we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, it is not too difficult to consider that we do come in the name of the Lord, just not in the same way that Jesus did.

There is a disclaimer to what I suggest, and that is that when we place anything before God we are no longer following His will. At that point, we are there in our name and not in the name of the Lord.

When was the last time that you totally surrendered to what God was calling you to do? When you walked in His Will, things went great. God opened up opportunities for you to be His witness and, as a result, just like Jabez, you were blesses so that others could be blessed.

What happens when you take your eyes off of Jesus? Do things go anywhere near how you envisioned them going?

I am not saying that we are anywhere near Jesus, but what I am saying is that when we totally surrender to God, and follow His Will, we are blessed so that others will be blessed.

Have you been a blessing to others?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD

May 2, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he chose for his inheritance.
(Psalms 33:12 (NIV))

Contrary to what the media, the courts and our elitist universities say, this country was founded upon a firm belief in God. It is true that the early explorers were looking to get rich, but the people who did settle here came so that they could worship as they were lead, instead of how the government or the church told them to.

I am sure that all throughout our history, many people who were not believers came to this country, however, they all had a solid core of values that they shared.

I find it interesting that many people are trying to interpret our founding documents based upon modern meanings of words, and in that interpretation, they lose the true meaning of what was written. We don’t have to look very far into our past to see how this can happen. There was a time not too long ago when the word “gay” meant happy. Go back and read some of the written word from that time period with today’s meaning of the word and see what you can misunderstand. I seriously doubt that our daily use of the English language has not altered the meaning of many words and phrases since our nation was founded.

I could quote several of the founding fathers. A great majority give credit and praise to God for His sovereign authority and guidance. Many of our historic monuments bear inscriptions, and many of the founding fathers formed the American Bible Society immediately after creating the Declaration of Independence. It is said that 52 of the 55 signers of the Declaration of Independence were orthodox, deeply committed Christians. Many people claim that they could not have been Christians because they never use the word “God.” There are references to the Almighty, and other such names. How many times have you heard believers refer to God in this manner? Have you ever called God by one of these names?

I want you to consider something for a moment. Let’s take a long trip back in time to when the Dead Sea Scrolls were written. Now fast forward to when they first started to interpret them. The scholars may know the language, but do they know the dialect and meanings? Now, take another journey in time with me. Think of when you were a teenager. What was the “cool” saying? Does it mean the same thing today?

People will always twist words to fit into their understanding. Some will even omit things that are contrary to what they want to believe. The following is a quote from John Marshall.

“The American population is entirely Christian, and with us Christianity and Religion are identified. It would be strange indeed, if with such a people, our institutions did not presuppose Christianity, and did not often refer to it, and exhibit relations with it.” John Marshall, in a letter to Jasper Adams, May 9, 1833, JSAC, p. 139. Marshall was Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1801-1835.

Can you imagine a Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme court saying this today?

I honestly believe that this is our problem. We, as a nation, need to repent.

…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you thoroughly equipped for every good work?

April 19, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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 3:16 (NIV))

Is there a particular passage that you find difficult to believe? Perhaps there is a whole book that you find difficult to believe or you simply don’t understand? Perhaps you have a difficult time with the idea that God would spend time walking among His creation as a man. I fully understand that there are difficult passages and difficult concepts with God’s Word, but that does not mean that they are not true. It does not mean that we cannot learn from them.

When you were in high school, is there one particular class that you had trouble understanding? Perhaps Algebra gave you problems. Perhaps History bored you to death. Maybe Physics had you so overwhelmed that it didn’t sink in. Think about these classes. Just because you may not have understood them does not mean that they are not valid and true. I will easily bet that the laws of Physics still apply even though you may not have understood them. Even though you may not fully understand something, does not mean that it does not apply to your life.

Carefully consider the questions that were posed about God’s Word and apply the same eye-opening knowledge that was realized about knowledge oft he physical world. If we follow that same line of logic, then God’s Word still applies whether we fully understand it. We have even been told that we will not fully understand God and His ways.

As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:9 (NIV))

Think about this concept the next time that you find something within God’s Word that is difficult to understand. When this happens, think about that one class that you had that didn’t make sense. Think about your understanding of that subject today. Chances are that you will have a better comprehension of the principles that were being taught. Now, think of how your understanding of God’s Word will change with time. He will open up His Word and reveal it to you in His time.

Pray for insight and understanding and He will give it to you.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How are you spending your morning?

March 29, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
(Matthew 27:31 (NIV))

The events of the long night and morning were over. Jesus had been arrested, beaten, falsely accused and judged, and then sentenced to die a horrible death. The only thing left of God’s plan was the actual crucifixion. Think on those events as you read this, for many will be reading it at the time of day that things actually unfolded.

How are you spending your morning? Is it filled with reverence and thanks for what Jesus endured? As you pour yourself another cup of coffee, does the impact of Jesus’ suffering bring you to tears or do you even think of it at all? As you head to that meeting, do you reflect upon just how things would be if Jesus had not had His meetings with Pontius Pilate? When you feel the burdens of the day come crashing in around you, do you stop to think of the burden that Jesus bore as He carried His cross?

It is so easy to get lost in the trivial details of our own lives. We think that they are so important. We think that if we don’t close that next big sale, the world will fall apart. We think that if our children don’t get into that private school, their lives are over. All that we bear is the burdens and sins from our own lives. Imagine having the weight of the sins of the world hoisted upon you. Imagine the world being so engrossed in the usual activities that your sacrifice becomes trivialized. Imagine taking on the burden anyway because you love the people of the world.

Stop to think just what Jesus went through so that you can have grace and salvation. Retrace His steps as He carries His cross to Calvary. Put yourself in His place as the nails pierced His hands. Imagine how He felt looking down through history as He looked upon you at this very moment in time. He suffered and died for you and I. He did it willingly so that we may have grace and mercy.

Spend the day embracing His sacrifice, feeling His pain and emotions. Look upon your life as He looked upon it. Jesus felt that His sacrifice was worth everything that He endured. He felt that you and I were worth whatever price He had to pay.

Today, stop and thank God for His Son, Jesus, and His willingness to go to the cross for you and I. That day was a day of agony and fear, but through the fear we have a shining ray of hope – the resurrection on Easter morning!

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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In the face of unsound doctrine

March 19, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
(2 Timothy 4:1-5 (NIV))

“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.”

Does this sound like the world in which we live? People who are comfortable in their sin, not longing to hear the truth, are seeking justification for their actions in any way that they can. It is human nature to want to be accepted. We all want confirmation that what we do is not wrong. We all want to be around others who will affirm us in our beliefs and support us in our chosen paths, even if that path is wrong.

That brings up another interesting issue. What is morally right and what is wrong? What is truth and what is a lie?

Sadly enough, the answers to these two questions, which go hand in hand with each other, have lost any solid answer in my lifetime. What is right and wrong is now subject to individual interpretation and truth is relevant. Does this fit into the words from 2 Timothy? Does this describe our society and enforce what is spoken of when we are told that people will gather around them teachers saying what their ears want to hear?

Human nature is a funny thing. Why do we seek what is not true? Why do we seek to do what is wrong? What is inside of us that makes us turn away from the truth?

In these days that we find ourselves living in, we, as the Body of Christ, must stay the course. We must stay focused, and according to 2 Timothy, we must keep our head, be willing to endure hardship, and tell people the truth whether they long to hear it.

I know that this may sound like I am telling you to be annoying to those who do not wish to hear, but keep in mind, everything is in God’s time. how many times did you hear someone telling you about Jesus before you finally came to the knowledge of God’s saving grace?

But wait!

And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them.
(Mark 6:11 (NIV))

I know that this may sound like a contradiction, but think about that for a moment from this perspective. The story in Mark is told of what we are to do when we encounter any location where no one will listen. It does not tell us that there is no hope for those people. It tells us that we are to leave. It does not mean that others will not be able to reach them.

Some will plant. Some will water. Some will harvest.

We are to keep our faith. We are to spread the truth. We are to reach as many as we can with the Gospel. We must remain prepared to preach the Word both in season and out of season, when we are welcomed and when we are despised.

Are you prepared to do what you are called to even in the face of unsound doctrine?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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