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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God’s Word is greater than what society says!

March 16, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
(1 Timothy 1:8-11 (NIV))

Does a righteous person need the law?

If you seek after God’s heart, then His Laws will be part of your life. You will find yourself meditating on His Word and walking in His Word because you have a desire to do what is right in the eyes of God.

Does a sinful person need the law?

Far too many people need laws to tell them what not to do. They need a law telling them not to murder. They need a law telling them not to steal. They need laws telling them what is not good in the eyes of God.

What is the difference between these two groups of people? Why do some people accept God’s plan and His Laws while others rebel against God’s plan and His Laws? We may never know the exact reason, but I know that we can trace the root cause back to the fall from grace.

Did you notice that what was listed in the passage was described as contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel?

Did you notice anything listed that hit too close to home? Are any of these your own little pet sin, a sin that is keeping you from God’s grace because it does not conform to what Jesus taught?

Did you notice anything in this passage that is contrary to what many in the church today believe? The church has allowed the world to change it. We are failing in our mission. We are to be the salt and the light. We are not to allow the world to change God’s Word and the church!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you teach what Jesus commanded or do you teach the world’s agenda?

November 18, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV))

With all of the talk about embracing Islam, we have to remember the words that Jesus spoke. He did not tell us to embrace what is good about what others believe and make it a part of what He has taught us. He told us to baptize them and to teach them to follow Him.

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))

Unless something confirms Jesus as the only begotten Son of God, then it is a false religion no matter how much humanity wants to embrace it.

He did not tell us to be like the Sadducees. They were more concerned with social issues and politics than they were about religion. Too many of our churches today preach social issues and do not focus on the saving grace that is available through Jesus. Jesus did not command us to do this. He commanded us to baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. He also taught us to teach people to obey everything that He taught. Jesus often criticized the Sadducees because they ignored God and focused on social and political issues.

He did not tell us to be like the Pharisees. They were more focused on God’s Word, yet they placed equal authority on human tradition and oral histories. Jesus often found fault with them.

Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”
Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:

“‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules.’”
(Matthew 15:1-9 (NIV))

What have we been told about embracing other gods? What have we been told about intermingling? What have we been told about embracing the world?

and after they have been destroyed before you, be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods, saying, “How do these nations serve their gods? We will do the same.” You must not worship the Lord your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the Lord hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods.
(Deuteronomy 12:29-31 NIV))

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
(Romans 12:1-2 (NIV))

Too many people who call themselves Christians have lost site of what we are called to do. Too many embrace the world and water down what Jesus came into this world to accomplish. Jesus did not die on the cross so that we can embrace other religions and gods!

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
(Matthew 5:13 (NIV))

Jesus calls us to be the salt and light to the world, yet we allow the world to trample all over us! Too many so called members of the Body of Christ are preaching and teaching things that are contrary to what we have been commanded.

Do you teach what Jesus commanded or do you teach the world’s agenda?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What have you read today?

March 17, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He must always keep this copy of the law with him and read it daily as long as he lives.
(Deuteronomy 17:19 (NLT))

We have been told to keep God’s Word in our hearts and in our lives since the beginning of creation. God’s Word has been classified into several different categories, one of which is the Law. The Law tells us how we are to live. We are to read it daily for we live our lives daily. We need the guidance that the Law provides to us.

Some people believe that because Jesus came to die for our sins, we are free from the Law. They believe that the grace and mercy that He brought keeps us from needing to live be the righteous statutes that it conveys. They feel that they can do whatever they want because they are forgiven; that they are covered by the Blood of the Lamb.

Jesus, Himself, put this belief to a very sound resolution.

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
(Matthew 5:17 (NIV))

Just because God’s Word may come from what we call the Old Testament does not mean that it is to be ignored because Jesus saved us from the Law. He did save us from the Law, but He did not save us to blatantly ignore the Law. We are to keep God’s commands because Jesus kept His commands. Jesus fulfilled every single one of them. We, as believers, are destined to be matured into the very image of Jesus. If He fulfilled them, then we should also.

What have you read today?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you been released?

January 10, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do you not know, brothers–for I am speaking to men who know the law–that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives? For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man.

So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.
(Romans 7:1-6 (NIV))

Isn’t it wonderful to be released from the bondage of sin and death?

Laws are necessary in our society. But, at the same time, laws can be condemning and confining. There are human laws that restrict what we can do. These laws try to dictate what we should and should not do. Human laws are different from the Law that God gave. Human wisdom pails in comparison and human laws pail in comparison. Yet, human laws are an extension of the Law that God gave to us. God gave us 10 Commandments. All throughout history, humanity has failed to keep 10 laws. Society has taken what God gave us and has given us countless “laws” to define what God gave us. It is hard to keep 10, let alone the thousands that have been ordained by man.

Through the blood of Jesus, we are free from the Law. This does not mean that we can go and sin by breaking every commandment. It means that we are forgiven and we are free to live life as God intended for us to live it without the consequences of sin.

In other words, we can “go and sin no more” with the knowledge that we belong to Jesus Christ.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can you realize your full potential on your own?

June 25, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 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. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 5:17-20 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to reflect on the meaning of the word “fulfill.” There are several meanings and all of them shed a slightly different, yet profound meaning on these words that Jesus spoke.

According to Merriam-Webster.com, one meaning is to make full. If you consider the promises that God has given to us through the Law, those promises have been made full in what Jesus has done. Before Jesus, no one could live up to the ideals set forth through God’s Laws. The fulness of God’s Laws were salvation. We could not bring fulness on our own.

Another meaning is “to put into effect.” Still another is “to meet the requirements of.” There are more, but I think that my favorite definition is “to convert into reality; to develop the full potentialities of.” Before Jesus, the reality was that no one could fulfill the Law. Since Jesus, the reality is that no one else has fulfilled the Law. What are the full potentialities of fulfilling God’s Law? Think about that. We know what the outcome is when we fall short of God’s Law. Falling short of God’s Law is sin. The consequences of sin is death.

Through Jesus, we have realized the full potential of God’s Law. We have seen what it is to be perfect in God’s eyes. We have seen God set that example through Jesus. Jesus fulfilled the Law perfectly. We don’t need to fulfill it. This does not mean that we can do whatever we want. It means that we will not be condemned when we try in all sincerity and fall short. We will be condemned if we reject grace.

We can accept His fulfillment and His Lordship and, by grace, we can be granted our salvation – our fulfillment of God’s Laws through Jesus. We have a choice to make. We can accept this grace or we can live and be judged according to the Law – the very Law that ONLY Jesus was able to fulfill.

Can you realize your full potential on your own?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We cannot pick and choose parts of God’s Word!

April 5, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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))

I am going to touch on a subject that probably may step on some toes, but based on the above passage, it must be addressed.

I am speaking of the idea that we no longer have to read or abide by the Old Testament since Jesus came to free us from the law of sin and death. Jesus spoke directly to this false idea.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 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. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
(Mark 5:17-20 (NIV))

We must remember that the only Word that the people had at this time was what we refer to as the Old Testament. Jesus was speaking clearly and telling us that we are to fulfill the commands given in these teachings. He did not change any of these teachings. He came to fulfill them and to offer grace and mercy for when we “missed the mark,” or sinned in God’s eyes. Jesus did not come to tell us that what was taught before no longer applied. On the contrary, Jesus tells us that it is very important and that we are to build our lives upon it.

We cannot pick and choose what part of God’s Word we want to follow. We are to follow it all. We should long to follow it for it pleases God and it makes our lives much better.

The next time that you hear someone saying that we no longer live under the Law, remind them that Jesus lived under the Law. We are still to live according to God’s Law. The only difference is that we have Jesus sitting at the right hand of God the Father intervening for us when we cannot keep the Law, after all, Exodus 20:1-17 still applies. At no time did Jesus tell us to place another god before God. He did not tell us that it was all right to murder. He never told us that it was all right to steal. Why do we think that He told us to ignore the rest of God’s Word in the Old Testament?

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