When you look at things, are they possible or impossible?

February 9, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
(Matthew 19:26 (NIV))

We like to take Matthew 19:26 out of context and apply it to whatever we may be facing that appears to be a no win situation. To be honest with you, nothing is impossible with God, so it is a good application. Still, we tend to overlook the original message.

This particular passage was directed at His disciples and it comes at the end of a discourse with a rich young man.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
(Matthew 19:23-25 (NIV))

In case you didn’t catch the implication, Jesus was saying that salvation was only possible through God. Think about that for a moment. Each of us have something that we cherish. Each of us have something that we long to hold on to, that we don’t want to surrender. For some, it is money. For others, it may be power. For others, it may be any number of things. For this particular young man, it was his wealth. Jesus told him that it was necessary to surrender what he held dear to himself and choose to follow Jesus. I think that the disciples caught on to what Jesus was saying because they asked, “Who then can be saved?” The disciples knew human nature. They knew how difficult it is to surrender what is closest to your heart. They knew that it was and is a matter of priorities. They had made the choice to trade everything for the ultimate treasure.

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
(Matthew 13:44 (NIV))

Jesus let them know that a person cannot change their heart, but God can. God can take a cold and hardened heart and bring it back to life. God can take the “wealth” that a person holds dear and make it all look worthless in comparison to what He has to offer. If you think about this, Jesus also let us know that people are not in the business of saving each other. We don’t have the power or authority, but God does! How do you look at things, from your perspective or from God’s?

When you look at things, are they possible or impossible?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your life built upon the cornerstone?

February 2, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;”
(Psalms 118:22 (NIV))

Have you ever truly stopped to think about the meaning of the word cornerstone? There are a few basic meanings and I honestly believe that they both apply in this passage. One meaning represents a stone that is basically as the word sounds. It is the stone that is used at the corner of a building, but part of that definition also includes the fact that the cornerstone is laid in a formal ceremony. The other definition has the word cornerstone meaning a basic element.

I want you to think about these meanings with respect to Jesus.

When you think of a corner, you get a mental image of a change of direction. John the Baptist called everyone to change direction, only he used the word repent. Jesus offered us a way to repent of our sins by accepting Him as our personal Lord and Savior. God cemented this possibility through a formal event that has captivated millions since the time that it occurred. The trial, crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection were orchestrated like clockwork according to God’s plan, according to a ceremony that we still do not fully understand.

Has Jesus allowed you to change direction?

The basic tenet of Christianity is that Jesus is the not a mere man. He is the Son of God! That concept is the basic element of faith in Jesus. Jesus is the basic element of salvation!

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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

The more that I consider the meanings of the word cornerstone, Jesus fulfills all of them. He is the corner upon which we may change direction. He is the cornerstone that was established through God’s formal plan. Jesus is the basic element, the very foundation upon which our faith is built.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
(John 14:6-7 (NIV))

Is your life built upon the cornerstone?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you have?

January 5, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
(1 John 2:23 (NIV))

What do you do when you hear people say that they don’t need Jesus to be close to God? Do you agree with them or does your heart break over their reluctance to accept the truth?

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

Why do people still reject Jesus? Honestly, I believe that this is the same mentality that makes people reach out and touch the wall when they see a “Wet Paint” sign. They simply cannot accept things at face value. They believe that God would not limit how someone can come to Him. They don’t want to accept the simplicity of God’s plan. You can show them the truth but they refuse to believe. They refuse to accept what is right in front of them. They refuse to recognize the fallacy in their thinking. I started to use the word reasoning instead of the word thinking, but if you truly reason, if you truly apply all aspects of your intellect, then your conclusions would be completely different.

“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.
(Isaiah 1:18 (NKJV))

Perhaps you are on the fence about accepting or denying Jesus.

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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
(Romans 8:1 (NIV))

Accepting Jesus means that there is no condemnation!

What do you have?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you found the rest that you are looking for?

December 29, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
(Matthew 11:28 (NIV))

Does this sound like a new year’s verse?

I honestly don’t know how many times that I have read this passage, but every time I do read it, I can easily identify with being weary and burdened. I think that it is safe to say that this can apply to every person who is alive today for we all feel weary and burdened at some point in our lives.

But, . . .

I want you to step back and read this as a New Year’s resolution that you will keep!

Lord, Jesus, I resolve to turn to you in all of my needs.

Does this sound like a New Year’s resolution that you want to keep? Is it one that you will strive to keep?

It can also be a daily prayer. It can be a reminder of what you need to do when you start to feel the weight of the world come crashing in on you.

Lord, Jesus, it’s me once again. I come to you because you say that your burden is light. My burden is extremely heavy. I cannot carry my burden on my own. I am in need of your peace and rest, so I turn my burden over to You. I don’t want to carry my burdens any longer. Please give me the strength to leave them with you. Give me the strength to trust that you will carry them for me. Amen!

I love God’s Word!

There is so much meaning in the passages. It is time that we, as the Body of Christ, firmly claim the truths that are promised to us. Matthew 11:28 is a short verse, but it contains so much promise. Are you weary and burdened? Do you want to rest in the presence of the Lord? All that we have to do is turn to Jesus!

Have you found the rest that you are looking for?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you accept the hard teachings?

July 25, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
(John 6:60 (NIV))

We don’t have the market cornered today on not being able to accept some of the teachings of Jesus. Many of those who heard the words straight from Jesus had much difficulty with many of the teachings. Why should we think that we would be any different?

In any classroom or subject of study, there will always be certain concepts that are more difficult than others to understand, accept and apply. This is true no matter what the subject, whether it is algebra, philosophy, medicine, or religion. Each subject has concepts that are easily grasped and applied, and at the same time, each subject has concepts that are difficult to grasp and apply. If everything were easily mastered, we would not have the satisfaction of a job well done when we do master a particularly difficult task.

The same is true of the things that Jesus taught us. Some things we can accept and apply almost instantly, while others we would prefer to ignore. We must not ignore the difficult teachings. It is these teachings that help to mature us in our faith. Perhaps it is also a maturation of our intellect as well, for the wisdom that comes from mastery will often lead us to understand and apply even more difficult teachings.

It is human nature to want to shun the difficult. We often take the path of least resistance. What do we get for this lack of effort? We do not get what God wants us to get. The next time that our human nature takes over and we want to ignore the hard teachings, we must remind ourselves of the nature of God’s Word.

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 3:16-17 (NIV))

Are you open to the hard teachings?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you able to say that you know God?

June 9, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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

I read an article today by Don Finto, a man that I have a lot of respect for. He was writing about the word “Selah” and it’s use in Psalms. Something struck me about the words that he wrote about the word that no one can agree on what it actually means. I confirmed that some translations are actually removing this because no one truly knows what it means. This brought this passage to mind.

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))

I realize that the Psalms are not the Law, but it struck me as odd that someone would take it upon themselves to remove something from the Bible just because they don’t know what it means. I know that people may not like the meaning and the message behind many parts of the Bible, but they don’t remove something because of it. I also know that people have a tendency to pick and choose what they believe and what they choose to apply to their lives, but they don’t remove anything. I then realized that there are new translations that have come out that have completely changed any and all references to God and Jesus to a less threatening and more politically correct narrative.

I then realized that people have been removing things from God’s Word for a very long time. It has just become much more prevalent now than ever before.

With the direction of this topic, you may ask why I chose Psalms 46:10 as the verse that it is based on. The reason is simple. Now, more than ever, the Body of Christ must be still and know God. We must seek His truth and not the altered lies that the enemy has created. We must be prepared both in season and out of season to stand firm on God’s truth. In order to do that, we must know what God’s truth is. We must know God’s heart! We must be able to know if something is of God or is from the enemy without any hesitation, for the day is coming when hesitation may mean we fall for the lies of the enemy. We must know God intimately.

Are you able to say that you know God?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we truly with Jesus?

July 29, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.
(Luke 11:23 (NIV))

Do you simply sit in church, listen and then go about your life as if you hadn’t heard anything?

Do people even know that you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?

Are you afraid to share Jesus when you get the opportunity?

Or . . .

Do you listen and seek to apply God’s Word to your daily life?

Do people see Jesus when they look at you?

Do you embrace the opportunity to let people know what God has done in your life through your faith in Jesus?

Think about current events in the world. I am sure that we all can think of at least one thing that is happening that provides an opportunity for you to show that you are either with Jesus or against Him. I want you to keep in mind that whatever it may be, Jesus did not hate the people involved in the sin. He hated the sin and loved the people.

With this in mind, do you find yourself unable to differentiate between the sin and the people. In other words, does accepting the people mean that you accept the sin?

Do you try to appease people by accepting their sins?

If you do accept the sins, then are you truly with Jesus? Do you convey His message of grace and mercy if you don’t call people to repent of their sins? Simply telling someone that Jesus loves them is not enough. You have to tell them why He loves them and what He did for them. You have to tell them that Jesus came to forgive them of their sins. You have to tell them that His forgiveness is freely given to anybody, but they have to repent.

Think about the story of the rich young man who came to Jesus. Jesus told him to give away all that he had and follow Him. In this case, what held the young man back was the love of money. Did Jesus tell the young man that it was ok to love money and that he could follow him anyway?

Think about that for a moment.

What is your pet sin that you don’t want to give up? What is the pet sin of the person who proclaims that they follow Jesus?

I realize that we are all human, and that we will continue to sin. Jesus came to free us of our sins. If we are not willing to leave our sin, are we truly with Jesus?

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