Are we capable of following instructions?

September 9, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.
(1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 (NIV))

Four simple statements, yet, four very difficult things to truly do!

Human nature is a strange thing. We are rebellious by nature since the fall from grace. We have to do things our way and it is safe to safe that our way is not God’s way. Even after God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, to redeem us through the cross, we still miss the mark. Even after Jesus told us that the Holy Spirit would be sent to us to guide us, we miss the mark, We don’t listen to the Holy Spirit. We quench the power of the Holy Spirit by doing things our way. God sent us prophets to instruct us and to tell us of His plans, but we treat this precious gift with contempt and unbelief. We are told to hold on to what is good, but we trade what God calls good for things that will decay and rust. We are told to reject every kind of evil, but we call evil good and good evil.

Do you ever get tired of being human in the sinful state that we call our lives? Do you long for complete redemption so that we will no longer be subject to the sinful nature? Until we are with Jesus, we will continue to fail miserably. Until Jesus gathers us unto Himself, we will fall short of God’s desires and our own. Until that day, keep your eyes focused on Jesus. Keep your heart focused on what is good and true. Pray for guidance and repent when you fail to follow God’s will and remember the things that we have been told.

Do not quench the Spirit!

Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all.

Hold on to what is good!

Reject every kind of evil!

It is my prayer that we are all up to the tasks before us.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God always keeps His promises!

December 24, 2015

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))

It is important to remember that God foretold that from Abraham’s line would come the promise. God also told that from David would come a king whose reign would never end. With Christmas upon us, we need to remember these promises and remember that Jesus came from these lines. These are only a few of the prophecies that Jesus fulfilled. Lineage is important to God and it is important to remember God’s faithfulness. God always keeps His promises. That is why the lineage of Jesus is so important. It shows us that God does keep His promises to the very smallest detail.

Merry Christmas

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What if you had been the earthly parents of Jesus?

December 21, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

This is a repost, but it is worth sharing again. What if you had been the earthly parents of Jesus?

All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.
(Isaiah 53:6 (NAS))

This time of year is when we think about the birth of Jesus and celebrate what God set in motion in these simple events.

We realize that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Have you ever stopped to consider what that entails or have you thought about it from the view point of Mary, His mother?

Could you honestly feel no emotion if you knew that an infant would suffer and die for something that you had done?

What did Mary feel when she held Jesus for the first time? Did she see what was to come, or did she see only a baby? We may never know the answer to that question in this lifetime. We can know what we would feel if we were placed in that situation where we know that an infant was born to suffer and die for us. Thinking of Jesus as an adult, as the Son of God, makes it easier to comprehend and think about.

Think about Jesus as the infant who was sent by God to suffer and to die for us. Think about being the parents of that infant and having knowledge of the prophecies of what is to come. Jesus was fully God, yet He was fully man. He had earthly parents who loved Him and fully understood what was to happen.

What if you knew?

Could you face that in the life of “your” child?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can you interpret this present time?

September 8, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, `It’s going to rain,’ and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, `It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?
(Luke 12:54-56 (NIV))

Have we become like the people that Jesus was speaking to when He walked the earth? Are we so engrossed in our daily lives that we fail to see the very things that we say we are looking for?

Each one of us is probably guilty of saying things about how bad society has gotten since we were in school or when we were little. We pray for revival but ignore the obvious instructions that God has given us with respect to what is to come. This last century has brought about more rapid, and often drastic, changes than any other period of time in history. In fact, the most rapid changes in social structure have taken place since the Supreme Court banned public prayer in schools in 1963. After this, it became “okay” to kill unborn children in 1973. Since these two events, people have become more and more self-centered, ignoring social and Biblical principles for what they see as the more important things in life – themselves.

There are many prophecies that deal with the end times, all of which describe the social and economic issues that we face today more so than at any other point in history. People have become so self-centered that they refuse to see that what they are doing is not Biblical. This is happening even among the church.

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

“The owner’s servants came to him and said, `Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

” `An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, `Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

” `No,’ he answered, `because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ ”
(Matthew 13:24-30)

It is clear that Jesus knew the way things would be. It is coming close to harvest time. Will you be wheat and gathered to Jesus, or will you be weeds and burned?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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By His stripes we are healed!

April 18, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
(Isaiah 53:5-7 (NIV))

These words do not paint a very pretty picture! The agony of the events of Jesus’ crucifixion are vividly portrayed through these words. They speak of the events in an historical perspective, yet when this was written, the events would not take place for several hundred years! God knew what would happen long before it actually came to pass, and he told Isaiah the events long before they really happened. God IS in control! He was then. He is now, and He will be in the future, as we perceive time.

I don’t know how many actual prophecies that Jesus fulfilled. I do know that the odds against all of them being fulfilled in one person are astronomically impossible, yet, this is exactly what happened. Jesus fulfilled every single prophesy that God had ever given anyone concerning the Messiah about His first coming.

God has given Daniel and John, in Revelation, prophesies concerning Jesus’ second coming. With such astronomical odds against the first event happening, it does not make sense from the world’s point of view that He will return. But, if I were a betting man, I would place my money on God! His record is flawless. His timing is impeccable. His grace is sufficient! His mercy endures forever!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you fight the good fight?

May 21, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith.
(1 Timothy 1:18-19 (NIV))

Do you fight the good fight?

Do you hold on to your faith no matter what may come your way?

I realize that this is a difficult task to accomplish, especially when the whole world seems to be filled with such bad news. Economic collapse, pirates with speed boats, terrorists, wars and threats of wars are all part of the enemy’s strategy to make you lose focus – to make you lose sight of the one whom you have placed your faith. It is the desire of the enemy to so distract you that you will run aground in the world of sin. He knows that if you take your eyes off of Jesus, that it will be easy to make you lose your course.

What happens if you are driving and you take your eyes off of the road? Now, apply that very same principle to a life in faith. Faith is a long distance journey. Just like on a long distance road trip, a faith journey can find you in times of less focus and perhaps even exhaustion. A life of faith, just like a road trip, will require times when you allow someone else to drive so that you may rest. Just as you feel that the world is beginning to take its toll, completely turn over control to Jesus. He will guide you through whatever you may be facing. Allow Jesus to refresh you and to strengthen your faith. He will always walk with you, but sometimes He will do more if you simply allow it. He will carry you. He will under gird you and lift you up so that you can face whatever the enemy may send your way.

What does a road trip have to do with a shipwreck? What does a shipwreck have to do with fighting? What does fighting have to do with faith? Perhaps it all comes down to a single, yet profoundly simple truth. Do you have the faith and the confidence to trust Jesus in all things? If you do, then He will walk with you in all that you encounter. He will never leave you. The promise made to Joshua still holds true for each of us today.

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
(Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Know that He is coming like the lightning

October 31, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“So if anyone tells you, `There he is, out in the desert,’ do not go out; or, `Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
(Matthew 24:26-28 (NIV))

Where do you spend your time looking for Jesus?

Think about that question. Do you spend your time looking for Jesus where those who are dying in their sin gather? He will not return there again. He will reach out to those who are still lost in sin, but He will not come again as He did two thousand years ago. Don’t expect Him to be as a man again. He has ascended into heaven and will return in power and glory. He will not return as a teacher and a healer. Do not look for Him as He once was.

Jesus came into this world to teach us how to live. He left us with great examples and written instructions. Jesus came into this world to die for our transgressions. He was nailed to the cross and He poured out His life blood for us. Jesus came to this world to defeat sin and death. He arose from the grave on the third day. He ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father. Why would He come back and do something that has already been accomplished? He asks us ot believe in what He has already accomplished and look for His next task, which is to return to earth in power and authority.

Do not look for Jesus as some would look for Him.

He will return. It will be just as it is foretold. When He returns, it will be like the lightning. He will be visible to all. You will not have to seek Him. He will be magnificently presented as He returns. Just as lightning shines with great light and carries great power, so too will be the return of Jesus.

We must spend our time looking for Jesus through the prophecies in the Old Testament. We must spend our time looking for Jesus through the teachings of the New Testament. We must spend our time looking for Jesus in the prophecies of His return. When we know Jesus in this manner, then we will be able to stand firm in our faith and know that He is coming like the lightning. We will not be fooled.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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