Step forward into God’s promises!

May 6, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.
(Joshua 1:3 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to think about what would have happened if the Israelites had not stepped forward to receive what had been promised to them?

I want you to truly think this question through and not just the superficial answer you subconsciously gave as you read the question.

Would Israel ever have existed as a nation in the Promised Land? Would Jerusalem exist? Would David ever have been a king? Would Solomon have existed? Would the temple ever have been built? Without David as king, would that lineage even matter? Would Jesus have been born into this world? Would Jesus suffer on the cross, died and buried? Would the resurrection ever have occurred?

If you stop to think about the promise given in Joshua, it is important to remember that this in actually a continuation of the promise given to Abram as it unfolded with God changing his name to Abraham. The promises that God has given to us are more than just for our immediate gratification. In fact, besides the birth of a son, Abraham never saw the fulfillment of these promises.

We have a different perspective than either Abraham or the Israelites under the leadership of Joshua, but we still have yet to see the fulfillment of all of God’s promises. I actually believe that humanity since the fall from grace is too frail to see fully all of the promises especially since God’s promises are tied to his glory. Think about God’s appearance to Moses. We know that God did not show Himself fully to Moses, but we also know that God gave promises to Moses. The promises that we have today are the same promises that God has given before. The only difference is that we have seen some of the promises come to fruition. This should give us faith to know that the rest will eventually come to fruition.

But what happens when we don’t step forward into God’s promises? I know that we all long for good things for ourselves, but if we don’t step forward to claim what God has promised, we are also impacting others who will follow. Just as if the Israelites had not stepped forward, what will happen if we don’t step forward?

Step forward into God’s promises!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you look forward to God’s promises?

December 19, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.
(Psalms 57:9-11 (NIV))

I realize that I have posted this before, but truth is something that needs to be repeated!

The Psalmist spoke truth and wisdom when these words where written. What was true then is still very true today.

In this Christmas season, we are constantly reminded of how great God’s love for us is. Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ is a constant reminder of God’s love. God is faithful in keeping His Word. All throughout the Old Testament, God promised to send a Savior to reconcile man with Himself. In this season, we are witness to the promise kept. It is a yearly celebration of that promise. At the same time, we must keep our eyes focused on the other promises of God, especially the one that says that Jesus will come again.

In this holy season of new birth, we must not forget that Jesus grew up and died on the cross, was resurrected and will come again.

Christmas is only the beginning of God’s promise and not the culmination.

Do you look forward to God’s promises?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you been redeemed?

July 26, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. But what does the Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
(Galatians 4:28-31 (NIV))

I have read this passage many times. I have always known that the child born by the power of the Spirit was Isaac and that the son born in the ordinary way was Ishmael. In reading this again, I stopped cold when I saw that the passage was saying that Ishmael was persecuting Isaac. I literally froze when I read the next words – “It is the same now.” Those very words can still be spoken today of these two half-brothers. Isaac’s descendants are the tribes of Israel. Ishmael’s descendants are the Arab people.

Upon further reading, something else struck me about the slave woman’s son never sharing in the inheritance with the free woman’s son. At the time, a slave was property. A slave’s son was also property. How could such a person share in the inheritance with the free son?

The slave’s son was born out if sin, We are all born out of sin and are slaves to sin and death.

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. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
(Galatians 3:26-29 (NIV))

The current situation in the world is not hopeless. We know who is victorious. We also know that those who are lost in the sin of the slave’s son can be redeemed. We are seeing this all throughout the world where the descendants of Ishmael are accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior. We must pray that the redeeming grace through the Blood of Jesus breaks down the barriers and brings together slave and free, Jew and Greek, male and female.

Have you been redeemed?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The victory is Yours! Come Lord Jesus! Come!

August 27, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

With God we will gain the victory,
and he will trample down our enemies.
(Psalms 60:12 (NIV))

Do you believe this?

I know that with all that is going on in the world, sometimes it may be difficult to believe this. What is fundamentally wrong with this thought process is the simple fact that we don’t rely on what is going on in the world. We, as the Body of Christ, should only rely on God’s promises and not on the fallen nature of the world around us.

I know that this is a hard thing to do especially since humanity has fallen and is sinful by nature. In our sinful nature we rely on what we can see instead of relying on the promises that God has given to us.

Lord, I pray that You will open our spiritual eyes so that we can see Your grace, Your mercy and Your power as it readies to defeat the enemy once and for all. Jesus came to conquer sin and death. When He returns, He will come as a mighty warrior who will defeat the enemy and his followers.

Come Lord Jesus!

Come!

Your bride is growing tired of the conditions that have been unleashed in Your world. We long for Your return and the righteousness that You will bring!

The victory is Yours! Come Lord Jesus! Come!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is it that you pray for?

July 17, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
(Acts 1:7-8 (NIV))

With all that is going on in the world, I know that many people long to know the times and the dates that God is using to unfold His plan. With what happened recently in Charleston and now what has happened in Chattanooga, I know that many people are praying for God’s grace. Many are praying for His mercy.

Are we praying for the right things?

Many of us are praying for peace in our neighborhoods, in our cities, in our nation and in the world, but is peace what we should be praying for?

We are told that certain things must transpire before the return of Jesus. We also know that all of these things are not only not pleasant, but are downright dangerous and evil. Are we seeing these events unfold? Are we praying for peace because we want to get back to the status quo for our lives. Lives that used to be consumed with family, friends, jobs and the future. Should we be praying for peace when we know that God’s plans do not call for peace? Should we possibly be praying for God’s plans to be made manifest among us? Should we be praying that God will use us mightily for His Kingdom?

It is true that we do not know the times or dates, but that does not mean that we simply stick our heads in the sand and ignore what is going on in hopes that it will go away. If all of the things that we see simply went away, would we truly have peace? Would we turn to God during these times? Would we truly have the faith to stand firm in God’s promises?

We must keep our eyes on Jesus! We must keep looking up to the true source of peace. We must earnestly seek God and be willing to discern His true intentions.

What is it that you pray for?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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I pray that you have a “Mighty Christ Mass”

December 17, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus said, “I am with you for only a short time, and then I go to the one who sent me. You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.”
(John 7:33-34 (NIV))

Has Jesus been away too long? Do people find Him when they look for Him? Perhaps I should ask if people even bother to look for Him anymore.

We are in the time of year when we are preparing for the celebration of His birth. The Body of Christ is under continuous assault for saying Merry Christmas. Anybody who clings to traditional Biblical values is ridiculed and condemned. There is a mass movement by a very vocal minority to completely remove Jesus from all aspects of our lives. There is more falsely placed concern for tolerance as long as what you are asked to be tolerant of is against Biblical teachings.

Has the Body of Christ grown soft? Have we forgotten that we have a risen Savior and that we are called to be bold in the face of the enemy? Society has made us think that the meaning of Christianity is timidity. We are falsely told that in order to follow Jesus we are to accept each lifestyle choice that anyone makes.

I think not!

Jesus did not tell the men who caught the woman in adultery that it was okay for her to do what she did. He told them that if they were without sin, they could judge her by casting the first stone. Jesus did not tell the woman to go her way and live her life of sin because it is what she wanted to do. Jesus told the woman to leave her life of sin!

There is a lesson in this parable. We are to not be too quick to judge and condemn, but we are to not allow people to continue in their sin. That is a fine balance. Jesus loves the sinner, yet He cannot condone the sin. He cannot force them to repent. It breaks His heart to see people reject the gift of grace that He came to give.

I know that when Jesus spoke the words of John 7:33-34 He was saying them to His disciples in reference to His crucifixion. I also see a message for us today in these same words. It has become more and more evident in today’s society that we will look for Jesus and see less and less of Him. With this in mind, we need to double down on our resolve to celebrate the birth of Jesus as it truly should be celebrated. Christmas is the time that we celebrate the beginning of the fulfillment of God’s promise to send a Savior.

Just a reminder of the strength behind the celebration. When we say Merry Christmas, we are actually wishing someone to have a “Mighty Christ Mass” so that the power and the presence of Jesus is manifested mightily in our lives.

Merry Christmas!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you think of the current situation in Israel?

July 23, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings.
(Romans 15:27 (NIV))

What do you think of the current situation in Israel?

Do you buy the media’s claims or do you rely on God’s Word for the truth?

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May those who love you be secure
(Psalms 122:6 (NIV))

Jerusalem and Israel are key to what God has planned for this world. They are so important to God’s plan, that He restored Israel to their land after almost two thousand years of exile. They are so important to God’s plan, that He protected them during the wars that they have faced. They are so important to God’s plan, that He is still protecting them and He will miraculously protect them as things unfold.

Do you stand with Israel?

Think about that question. Think about your answer and what it means to your faith.

Do you believe that God chose Israel to be His people? Do you believe that God has blessed the nations through Israel? Do you believe that what Paul wrote of in Romans is true? The Jewish people are the people through whom God gave the world His Only Begotten Son, Jesus, for our redemption.

Why was Israel chosen to be the nation to bring forth our Lord and Savior, Jesus?

Look at the history of the nation of Israel. It can all be directly traced to the faith of one man, Abraham. Because of Abraham’s faith, God put into motion our redemption. He also put into motion the very things that we now see unfolding.

Is the nation of Israel perfect? Just like any nation, it is run by people and people are far from perfect. Israel, however, has one thing going for it that all other nations of the world do not. They have the promises that God has given. They have the written promises of what will happen. These promises seemed worthless until after World War II. Since that time, God’s promises have always been fulfilled.

We, as the Body of Christ, have been blessed through Israel. We must bless Israel as Paul has instructed.

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

December 24, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:
Abraham was the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
Perez the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
and Jesse the father of King David.

David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,
Solomon the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asa,
Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,
Jehoram the father of Uzziah,
Uzziah the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,
Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amon,
Amon the father of Josiah,
and Josiah the father of Jeconiahn and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
After the exile to Babylon:
Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
Zerubbabel the father of Abiud,
Abiud the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
Azor the father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of Akim,
Akim the father of Eliud,
Eliud the father of Eleazar,
Eleazar the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ.
(Matthew 1:1-17 (NIV))

God is extremely good at telling us what He is going to do before He does it. He is also extremely good at providing proof for after the fact.

Abraham was told that through him, the nations would be blessed.

David was told that a descendant from his lineage would rule forever.

There are many more, but when Matthew wrote of the lineage of Jesus, the Jewish people knew of the promises that God had made. They knew what to expect. Matthew simply pointed out what God had done.

I often wonder if we would recognize the things that God has done if we were presented the evidence in a similar manner. Would we recognize Jesus through the fulfillment of the prophecies? Would we recognize Jesus through what God still has promised?

Let’s take this one step further.

Do we recognize what God is putting right in front of us?

Many Jewish people did not recognize the signs, even when they were presented in detail. What signs are we missing today that God longs for us to pay attention to? Are we so intent on focusing on the baby in the manger and the signs that pointed to His coming that we miss the signs that may be telling us to be on the lookout for something that God is still planning? Think about that for a moment. We already know that God tells us what He is going to do in advance of doing it.

God told us that a baby would be born of a virgin.

God told us that He would suffer and die for our sins.

God told us that He would be raised again on the third day.

God told us that He would come again.

We are at the time of year when we celebrate the birth of the baby. I can only imagine the awesome experiences that the shepherds had. I can only imagine the humbleness of the magi. I can only imagine what was going on in the minds of Joseph and Mary. They had been told by God what was to transpire. Still, the evidence before them was probably mind blowing.

There is much evidence to point to Jesus as the Messiah. There is more evidence to come!

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will we get tired of waiting for the Lord?

December 6, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
(Psalms 27:14 (NIV))

We have problems waiting for an answer to a pray if it is not answered immediately. We have problems waiting for special events and special days, such as Christmas. We act as if they will never get here.

Could we have the patience that Job had? Could we have the patience that Noah had when he was told to build the ark? I wonder how many days Noah and his family thought that they would never get through with the construction. Look at Abraham and the patience that he exhibited. How did these people handle the anticipation of the fulfillment of God’s promises?

Think about those who earnestly looked for Jesus to come to this earth. We think that we have problems waiting for Christmas each year, yet these people waited without knowing when God would send the Messiah. We know that the day that we celebrate as the birth of Jesus will come every year, so we only have 365 days to wait until it happens again. Those people who earnestly waited for God and for the Savior to be born did not know when it would happen. Their anticipation was an open-ended anticipation. It required a faith and a hope far greater than we are probably capable of understanding when we live in a society of instant gratification.

Did any of these people simply give up on life and focus on their waiting? Did Job give up and die? Did Noah and his family give up and not build the ark? Did those who looked for the Messiah to come simply stop taking part in every day life?

They pressed on! They moved forward in what they had to do. They did not simply give up all hope and give up on life because they thought that they had waited too long!

Do we truly understand what it means to wait for the Lord?

Are we willing to persevere in our patience as we wait for the Lord?

Do we have the faith and the hope that will sustain us if what we wait for does not happen when we want it to?

Many people believe that we are rapidly approaching the time when we will no longer have to wait for the return of Jesus. We do not know the hour or the day, but we can know the season. Many signs point to this being the season, but what happens if the season takes longer than we hope?

Will we get tired of waiting for the Lord?

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