Do you await your hope?

October 17, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
(Romans 8:22-25 (NIV))

When Paul wrote these words to the Romans, a few people still had memories of Jesus as He walked the earth. They longed for the kingdom that Jesus taught would come. Some people, such as Paul, did not walk with Jesus when He walked the earth. They came to believe after Jesus was crucified, resurrected and ascended into heaven. They clung to the very promises that Jesus proclaimed even when He was on the cross. They longed for the righteousness of God’s Kingdom to come into existence and transform the world into the vision of heaven that Jesus spoke of. Their hearts ached and their spirits groaned in desperate desire for this to happen. They hated the world as it had become.

Today, almost two thousand years since these words were written, the world is vastly different than it was then. Much has transpired resulting in far more troubling scenarios such as weapons of mass destruction, abortion on demand, terrorism, euthanasia, plagues, and an ever increasing frequency of natural disasters. As believers, we “know” that our hope is coming soon. We may not see this hope in the physical sense, but having hope requires a faith in things unseen.

If we only hoped for things that we could see, what would we be able to hope for, for the things that we see on a daily basis are firmly rooted in sin. I don’t know about you, but I long to place my hope in something far greater than what I can see, for what I see causes distress and my spirit to groan.

It is true that we are closer to seeing our hope than any other point in history. Each second brings us closer to the glorious return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus. This is my hope! This is my prayer! Each day I await for the fulfillment of my hope. I pray that I am able to await patiently.

Does your spirit groan at the things of this world? Do you await your hope?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you proclaiming the blessed name of Jesus?

April 15, 2019

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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))

I have read this passage many times, and I am fully aware of the events that led up to this as well as the events that follow. We, as the Body of Christ, have the good fortune to be able to see these events in hindsight with a very good understanding of what was happening, but something caught my attention today that made me stop and think!

Let me explain.

We all know that Jesus split time. All that you have to do is take a look at our calendar to understand this concept.

B.C. and A.D. refer only to Jesus!

Before Jesus came into the world, we also had no opportunity for grace. We had no opportunity to be cleansed of our sins. During this time, those in the know were looking for a Savior to redeem us to God. They were looking for the Blessed One who would come in the name of the Lord! They were looking for the one whom the prophets foretold. Since Jesus has come into the world, lived, was crucified, dead and buried, and was resurrected on the third day, we have the glorious ability to call Jesus the Blessed One because He came in the name of the Lord. We have the ability to praise His name because He fulfilled everything that the prophets had foretold!

He now sits at the right hand of God, the Father, interceding for those who proclaim Him as their personal Lord and Savior!

The events that we refer to as Palm Sunday that are recorded in Matthew 21 show us the pivotal moment in which humanity crossed from looking for the one who would come in the name of the Lord to proclaiming the one who has come in the name of the Lord. Those who went before Him in the procession were announcing His coming just as the prophets had announced it. Those who followed after Him in the procession were proclaiming that He is here! That is a job that the Body of Christ should have been doing ever since this event. We should be shouting, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” We should be shouting, “Hosanna in the highest!” Jesus is Lord!

Are you proclaiming the blessed name of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you talk to God?

November 19, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
(John 11:41-42 (NIV))

Jesus knew, and still knows, human nature extremely well. When He resurrected Lazarus, He petitioned God verbally with prayer so that those around would hear Him and believe. He did not need to do this. God would have heard Him even if He had not spoken a single word. He would have heard His heart, His Spirit, and His anguish. Yet, Jesus spoke out loud so that those around Him would hear and believe. Everyone knows the outcome of this event.

When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
(John 11:43-44)

When we pray, is it necessary for us to speak out loud? Jesus taught the following:

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
(Matthew 6:5-6)

Prayer is an important part of life. It is a conversation with your Creator, your Father. When you talk to your earthly father, do you do it loudly in a public place, or do you find a private place where you can speak quietly and freely with each other?

How do you think that God wishes for you to talk with Him? How do you talk to God?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you thankful that Jesus faced this hour?

March 28, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”
(John 12:23 (NIV))

It is hard to imagine the idea of crucifixion as a means of glorification, but that is exactly what transpired!

Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
(John 12:24 (NIV))

When Jesus went to the cross, He knew exactly what would transpire. He knew that He would die a painful death as an atoning sacrifice for all sin that had ever happened or ever would happen. He knew that Satan would think that he had won. Jesus also knew that the power of sin and death would forever be broken three days later when He would be resurrected. Jesus knew that He was the single seed of hope. In order for hope to mature and grow in this world, He had to make the ultimate sacrifice. Crucifixion is definitely not glorious, but overcoming the power of sin and death and being elevated to the right hand of God the Father is the ultimate glory.

It is a glory that we can share! It is a glory that removes condemnation!

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

It is a glory that intercedes for those who believe!

Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
(Romans 8:34 (NIV))

From a human perspective, it is difficult to be thankful for suffering. No one in their right mind would look on the sufferings of others as a good thing, but in the case of what Jesus did, it is an amazing thing. It is amazing how the sin of one condemned all to death and the sin free sacrifice of one settled the debt for the wages of sin and death. Personally, I hate the fact that my sin is why Jesus suffered and died, yet, at the same time, I am thankful that He faced that hour!

Are you thankful that Jesus faced this hour?

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

September 18, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
(2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 (NIV))

What do you think of when you hear that someone is delusional?

If you are like most people, you think of the proverbial old lady who thinks that you are her child. You think of the type of characters who are, for lack of a better description, space cadets. You think of some of the people who believe that they are someone besides who they truly are.

The one common trait that all of these possess is a strong adherence to something that is totally false. Something inside of them has convinced them that a lie is the truth and they cling to it completely.

Think about being delusional, or possessing a false belief, about your sinful nature. Sadly, too many people believe that they are good. Sadly, too many people possess a false belief about Jesus. These false beliefs are numerous in nature, but some of the most common are that Jesus did not exist, or that He was only a man, or that He was not resurrected. History records that there were numerous witnesses to all of these aspects of Jesus, yet people have a false belief contrary to historical evidence. They are delusional.

I honestly do not know if we are at the point in God’s plan where the powerful delusion has been sent, but I do know that there are numerous people who deny the truth and delight in wickedness. According to God, they are delusional.

Are you delusional?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you have the faith to wait on the Lord?

June 24, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
(Isaiah 40:31 (NIV))

Do you wait on the Lord?

We have been given many promises by the Lord. Many have already come to pass, but there are still those that the Lord is waiting to fulfill. Do you believe that He will fulfill every promise that He has ever made? Do you believe that because of these promises, you have nothing to fear in this world?

If you are like me, there were times in your life that you wondered how you could ever make it through what you were facing. Some of us may be facing those times at this very moment. Has God ever let you down? Can you walk stronger in your faith because of those times?

What do you do when you face those times in your life?

It is human nature to draw closer to something. Many people will turn to alcohol or drugs. Some will turn to rage. Others will turn to depression.

Where do you turn?

God should be our first, last and only place of refuge. He longs for us to turn to Him in everything and not just the bad times.

If we truly know God and we truly know His heart, then we can rejoice in the strength that comes from His love for us. We can rejoice in the strength and the hope that comes from placing our trust in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. Jesus waited in the tomb for three days. He was dead. According to many Biblical scholars, He was collecting those who believed in Him before He came. On the third day, His strength was renewed. He was resurrected from the dead. According to scholars, those whom He collected are now in heaven. If God can renew Jesus from death after three days, what do we have to fear? If He can collect those who longed for His coming, what do we have to fear?

No one knows what tomorrow may bring. For those who place their faith in Jesus, we don’t have to worry about tomorrow for our Lord holds the very future in His hands.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you afraid to encounter the risen Jesus?

March 28, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: `He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
(Matthew 28:5-10 (NIV))

Are you afraid to encounter the risen Jesus?

Aside from the obvious fear that someone had stolen the body, or that they were in the presence of someone or something that they did not understand, these women experienced something that I often wonder if I would react in fear if I experienced it. Even though they knew Jesus as a friend when He walked the earth, they encountered the resurrected Jesus face to face!

I want you to think about that concept and how you would react.

What would you do if you encountered the risen Jesus face to face?

What would you do if He suddenly appeared in your living room?

What would you do if He suddenly appeared to you in your back yard?

What would you do if He suddenly appeared to you at work?

We like to think that we would be overjoyed with such a visit, but how many of us would actually be afraid? How many of us would fear that we had done something so bad that Jesus came to tell us that we had messed up? Would we be overjoyed with what Jesus did come to tell us?

I long to see Jesus, but I am like everyone else. How would I honestly react? Would I be fearful? Would I truly understand what would be happening? Would I faint from fear? Would I cry from fear? Would I cry for joy?

Would I . . .

To be honest, I like to think how I would react, but in my frail humanity, would I truly be able to react in that manner?

I just know that no matter how I react, it will not be a reaction of denial. I will not deny my Lord and Savior. It may be a reaction of shame, for I know that I fail Him daily. Even in my failures, I have waited too long to see His face!

He is risen!

Are you ready to see a resurrected Jesus face to face?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Christmas is only the beginning of God’s promise!

December 22, 2015

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))

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.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Focus on Jesus and not on man-made theology!

October 28, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
(Hebrews 10:19-23 (NIV))

No matter what denomination you may be a member of, the true source of our faith is Jesus and Him crucified and resurrected. All else is trivial, for the differences that we have established in the name of our particular brand of faith in Jesus are all man made attempts at reaching God.

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6(NIV))

We cannot reach God through our own righteousness. God had to reach us and pull us out of our sin. We could not lift ourselves out of it. We are completely helpless without God and His gift of grace and mercy through the blood of Jesus.

Reread Hebrews 10:19-23. There is even an illustration of one of the primary differences that marks our denominations today, the debate over baptism and whether to sprinkle or submerge. This passage clearly states that our hearts have been sprinkled and our bodies washed. Baptism is, first and foremost, an act of total submission to God. We cannot judge others in their outward expression of this submission. Only God can judge, for He sees the heart.

Consider John the Baptist. His methods and outward appearance were contrary to everything the established religion of the day said he should be. Who did God’s Will? John the Baptist or those who condemned him?

How can we, who are not worthy to judge, judge each other in the trivial issues yet ignore the true source of our common faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you ever betrayed someone?

July 28, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.”
They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely not I, Lord?”
(Matthew 26:20-22 (NIV))

Have you ever betrayed someone? What did it feel like?

As I read these words, I wonder what these men felt when Jesus said that one of them would betray him. I honestly believe that each and every single person in that room questioned themselves at this time. They were only human, and who among us has never had a negative thought about something that you profess an allegiance to. I can picture these men and what they were thinking. Each was probably saying to themselves, “Please, don’t let it be me. I don’t think I could do that, but I have never been put to the test before. Could I pass that test or will I fail and betray His love? Please, don’t let it be me!”

That is so very hard to know.

Now, think about how each of them felt when they knew that it was not them. They breathed a big sigh of relief. Even in this hour when all of God’s plans to save humanity hung in the balance, they still could only think about themselves.

Something changed in these men. Something changed these men. They went from being afraid of what would happen to them to bold proclaimers of the truth. They experienced the next three days. They saw Jesus crucified. They saw Jesus buried. They saw the greatest miracle of all time. They saw Jesus resurrected from the grave.

“Perhaps the transformation of the disciples of Jesus is the greatest evidence of all for the resurrection.”
(John R. W. Stott)

These men were transformed from insecure, self-centered people to boldly proclaim that Jesus is the Son of God.

God took simple men who all felt the pains of potential betrayal and gave them a hope and a faith that made them turn the world upside down.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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