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.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you long for the light?

December 12, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
(Romans 13:12 (NIV))

We have been called out of darkness into His marvelous light!

When Romans was written, Saul had already experienced his meeting with Jesus on the Damascus Road. He was left blinded but he was also left with a new perspective. It was only a few days before his eye sight returned, but he gained so much more than just the return of his physical eyes. He had witnessed the darkness of the world through the eyes of Jesus. He had come away with the realization that he had been a part of that darkness. He had come away from this experience with a new name. He was no longer called Saul. He was to put the past behind him and follow Jesus wherever He would lead. He was to be a witness to the Gentiles of the power of the light. He was to be called Paul! He was called out of the darkness of his former self and called into the marvelous light as a servant of the Lord Jesus!

Think about that. Paul was given the light. He knew that his path was to follow Jesus, yet, he still had to navigate through the darkness of this world. The darkness tried to stop him. Even so, Paul pressed on toward the light. He made it a priority to always pursue the light and to show others how to find it themselves.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV))

Once you have found the light and have accepted His saving grace over your life, your night is nearly over. There will always be things in your life that remind you of the darkness. They will try to drag you back into it, but take heart. You have seen the light! You have encountered Jesus!

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
(John 8:12 (NIV))

Do you long for the light?

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

February 6, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Haven’t you read this passage of Scripture: “ ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;”
(Mark 12:10 (NIV))

Jesus has been talking to the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders when He asked this question. I realize that hindsight is twenty-twenty, but I often wonder just why these people were so blind to who stood before them. In all honesty, I know that it is the very same reason that people fail to recognize Him today. Still, these were the people who were supposed to be educated in the Law and the Prophets. If anyone should have recognized Jesus, they had been trained to. Ironically, the people who had been trained are the very ones who failed to see who was before them.

They rejected the very Messiah whom they had been looking for!

These people had built a religion of laws and had elevated themselves to the positions of authority. They did not realize that the foundation that they had built upon was about to be shattered and a new foundation, with Jesus as the cornerstone, was about to be put in place. They despised Jesus. They rejected Jesus. They schemed to have Him put to death.

Have you ever looked up the definition of the word cornerstone?

One definition means a basic element. In this case, Jesus is the cornerstone of our Christian faith.

Another definition is of a stone forming a part of a corner or angle in a wall. This is often a stone that is put in place in a formal ceremony.

I just love how God puts things together. Jesus is truly our cornerstone. He was rejected by the builders of the religion based on laws. He is the basic element of our faith through grace. He proved His claim through the crucifixion and the resurrection. If you stop to think about the crucifixion, it was a formal ceremony conducted by the Romans, who were the powers of the world at that time. The role of Jesus as the cornerstone was started by God’s plans, but was formally finalized by God through what the powers of the world did at the crucifixion. In an effort to stop Jesus, the world ceremoniously fulfilled the completion!

Is Jesus your cornerstone?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you answered the call to follow Jesus?

September 10, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
(Matthew 9:9 (NIV))

What made Matthew leave behind his very lucrative job as a tax collector and follow Jesus?

Think about that question. Tax collectors had a certain amount that they had to collect for Rome. Anything that they collected above that, they could keep. It is thought that many people got very wealthy by being a tax collector for Rome. With this in mind, Matthew walked away from certain earthly wealth. He saw something of far greater value in what Jesus had to offer. He saw that he, too, could be a part of God’s plans and a part of God’s kingdom. Jesus, in telling Matthew to follow Him, was telling Matthew that God valued him, even when society looked upon him as an outcast. Tax collectors, even though they got very wealthy, were social outcasts. They were Jews in a country that was occupied by the Roman army. The Romans looked upon the Jews as second class citizens and the Jews looked upon the tax collectors as traitors to the nation of Israel. They couldn’t win.

Then Jesus came!

Matthew saw an opportunity to place his past behind him. He saw a voice calling to him in spite of what he had done. Matthew was being asked to forget his past and become someone new. Isn’t that exactly what Jesus offers each of us today? We are no different than Matthew. We have all done things in our lives that have placed us in situations where we feel like we do not belong. Through Jesus, we are offered redemption. We are offered cleansing. We are offered forgiveness. All that we have to do is what Matthew did. We have to get up and follow Jesus.

Jesus is telling each of us to follow Him. Will you do as Matthew and follow Him?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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This doesn’t sound very appealing, does it?

July 17, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
(Romans 7:15 (NIV))

How many people can truly relate to what Paul wrote to the Romans?

Do you ever find yourself doing the very things that you hate while you turn your back on the things that you want to do?

We all have certain pet sins that we just can’t seem to get rid of. We long to turn away from the things that we hate, but our sinful human nature leads us right back to the very things that we despise.

As a dog returns to its vomit,
so a fool repeats his folly
(Proverbs 26:11 (NIV))

This doesn’t sound very appealing, does it?

Why do we do the things that we despise and turn away from what we truly long to do?

No one is perfect. No one can live a life of complete righteousness in the eyes of God. We all will fail more times than any of us care to admit. Why do we do this? How do we overcome our human frailties?

God knew that we would do things like this. God knew that once humanity fell from grace, sin would have a very powerful hold on each and every one of us. Thankfully God knew that we would need a savior to bring us grace and mercy. We, as fallen humanity, cannot do it on our own.

Accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior does not mean that you are automatically made perfect. It simply means that you realize that without Jesus, you are nothing. Without Jesus, you have no hope of salvation.

Have you ever truly stopped and thought about the words that Paul wrote?

If the man who had the Damascus road experience and was called to preach the Gospel to the gentiles faced this dilemma, why do you think that we will not face it? We must not punish ourselves, but, rather we should do as Paul did and focus on Jesus. The more that we focus on Jesus, the less time that our sinful nature can present itself.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you accepted the sacrifice that Jesus made for you?

August 22, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

We have all had them.

We all need them.

We aren’t meant to live our lives in a vacuum. We need each other. It is in our nature to be social. We seek the company of others, yet, just how far will most of us take the friendship? How many of us would lay down our life for our friends?

We all want to believe that we would, yet self-preservation is a strong instinct.

I want you to be honest with yourself and think about this question.

Would you do something knowing that when you started it, you would lay down your life so that others would live? I can think of a few groups of people who face the possibility at times, but even these brave men and women do not go into a situation planning to lay down their life.

Jesus came to this earth to do just that!

Everything that He did during His time on earth pointed to the cross and His crucifixion. He knew what He was going to face when He came? He knew that He faced a painful end to the physical body that He came to us in.

He knew all of the details and yet he chose to lay down His life so that we may live!

I know that the Romans had become experts at creating pain during a crucifixion. I don’t think that we can even imagine just how excruciating the experience was. We see movies, yet even the most realistic portrayal probably only hints at what it was really like.

Would you willingly go to the cross?

Would you willingly bear the pain?

Would you, or perhaps I should say could you, follow through with such a premeditated task?

Think about the sacrifice that Jesus made so that you and I can know grace and mercy.

Have you accepted the sacrifice that Jesus made for you?

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