It all started with a birth.

November 30, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.
(Galatians 4:4-5 (NIV))

God is amazing!

Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,
“Cursed are you above all the livestock
and all the wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.
And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
(Genesis 3:13-15 (NIV))

Through the serpent, a woman sinned. Through the obedience of a woman, the serpent is doomed!

The birth of Jesus is the fulfillment of the words recorded in Genesis, for Jesus is the offspring of woman. He crushed the head of the serpent when He defeated sin at the cross.

It all started with the birth that we celebrate at this time of year. Jesus was born under law, a perfect, sinless existence that allowed Him to be the atoning sacrifice to save us from our sins. It started with the birth of a child born in pain to a woman who suffered the consequences of sin.

God is amazing, for He chose to redeem the world from the consequences of sin and the law not through earthly kings or heavenly signs, but through one man born of a woman.

For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man
(Romans 8:3 (NIV))

That is the amazing thing about God’s grace. It all started with a birth. A birth of innocence and power.

Merry Christmas!

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Happy Thanksgiving!

November 25, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
(1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (NIV))

What is your attitude when you partake of communion? Are you thankful for the blessings that you have been freely given through the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross? Do you stop and reflect upon just what that moment in time two thousands years ago means to you at this very moment?

If you stop to think about what we have been given through this event and the symbolic ritual, you would come to the realization that every day should be one of gratitude and thanksgiving. We have been granted the opportunity to escape the consequences of our sinful nature simply by accepting Jesus as sour personal Lord and Savior.

Just as our traditional Thanksgiving meals are designed to fill our stomachs, we should look upon the meal of Christ’s body and blood as one that is designed to fill our spirits. We should be overjoyed with the bounty of grace and mercy that we partake of through the atoning sacrifice that Jesus made for us.

I challenge everyone to stop and reflect upon your life. What are you most thankful for? I earnestly pray that your priorities place God’s grace and mercy where it should be. When you sit down with family and friends this Thanksgiving, stop to think about what Jesus went through so that you can be shown grace and mercy.

Lift your thanks up to the Lord this Thanksgiving and every single day.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What are you truly thankful for?

November 24, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
(Colossians 3:15-17 (NIV))

And be thankful !

I honestly believe that our society has forgotten how to be thankful.

We have replaced the welfare of others with the welfare system. We have replaced love your neighbor with not knowing our neighbors. We have removed the Bible from being the foundation of our society. We have become an arrogant society that cares little for anything except ourselves.

Where did we go wrong?

It may be hard to pinpoint the exact time. Perhaps it was when we removed prayer from our schools. Perhaps it was when we decided that it was ok to kill unborn children in the name of convenience. Perhaps it was so many points along the way that we have forgotten how each one transpired.

Fortunately, we can repent. We can turn our hearts toward God and accept the grace freely offered through His Son, Jesus. We can seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and we can pray.

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV))

Be thankful that we have a loving God who is willing to allow us to repent. Be thankful that there is nowhere that we can go that God is not there to hear our prayers. Be thankful that He sent His Son, Jesus, to offer us grace and mercy. Be thankful for the country in which we live. Be thankful for family and friends.

This Thanksgiving, I pray that we can all offer more than the customary lip service and earnestly and sincerely confess our thankfulness. I pray that our nation will turn toward God and return to the foundations of our society. I pray that we will all be thankful for the opportunity to turn our hearts toward God and I pray that we will follow through with that desire.

This Thanksgiving, what are you truly thankful for? Is it a selfish reason or is it a righteous reason?

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Where do you place your hope and your trust?

November 23, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.
(Psalms 119:114 (NIV))

If you were given a choice between trusting in something that would eventually fail or trusting in something that has never failed to be correct, where would you place your hope and trust?

It seems to me that the answer would be obvious, yet each of us are guilty of placing our hope in things that will rust and decay. We would rather trust in things that we can see and feel, even though we know they will soon lose their value and their appeal. We, as humans, are more prone to be focused on the physical nature of our existence simply because we can touch it, we can hold it, and we can briefly possess it.

God’s Word is something that we cannot touch. We cannot hold it like material possessions. We can not possess it.

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
(Deuteronomy 11:18 (NIV))

We can simply strive to live by what it reveals. We can reflect upon this truth it holds. We can place our trust and our hope in the promises that it holds. These promises are vague by our physical and materialistic standards, but hey hold so much more value than anything that we desire.

God’s Word has never failed. God’s Word is eternal.

Where do you place your hope and your trust?

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Just how far will you go?

November 20, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
(Psalms 103:11-12 (NIV))

Just how far is the east from the west?

Think about that for a moment. If you had the possibility of traveling in one direction forever and someone else could travel in the opposite direction forever, then you would begin to comprehend just how far the two can be from each other. In theory, no matter how far you go in one direction, you can still go even further. Now, combine the two directions and that concept and you begin to understand how far God has removed our transgressions away from us. Even if you take into consideration that we live on a globe, we still are faced with the unquestionable truth that you can never stop going east and you can never stop going west. It is a journey without end.

A journey without end!

Think back on your life. What is the one thing above all things that you have done that you wish you could undo, that you could forget ever happened? Now, imagine that God has separated you and that transgression, that sin, so far apart and never again to meet. It all came about through God’s plan for grace and mercy through His Son, Jesus. God, through your simple profession of faith, has completely removed not only that biggest sin, but all of your sins. It is now our prayer, each of us who have called upon the name of Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, to never turn back from our journey in the opposite direction from our sin.

The next time that Satan reminds you of your past and the sins that you have committed, remember just how far the east truly is from the west. Don’t let your past keep you from the righteousness that God is calling you toward. Simply stretch out your arms in opposite directions and point.

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How do you see grace?

November 19, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

Though grace is shown to the wicked,
they do not learn righteousness;
even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil
and regard not the majesty of the LORD.
(Isaiah 26:10 (NIV))

Have you ever heard someone say that God has it out for them? Perhaps you have heard someone say something similar to “Why should I trust God? What has He done for me?”

It is a shame that so many people don’t think that God has ever done anything for them.

What are your thoughts on this matter? Do you think that God has done anything for you? Do you think that God is out to get you?

You would be surprised at how many people who profess a faith in Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior feel that they still are on God’s bad side. They feel that their sins are just too bad to be forgiven. They cling to a faith in Jesus, but in the back of their mind they wonder if it is true. They do not realize that God’s grace is complete. They fall just short of those who fail to recognize God’s grace at all.

Which is worse – those who have doubts or those who fail to see God’s grace and accept God’s grace at all? How far does God’s grace extend? He shows it even to the wicked, but does God give grace even when it is rejected? Unfortunately, too many people believe just that. Even sadder is the fact that too many people go out of their way to do exactly opposite of what God commands. In essence, they thumb their noses at God. Just like Satan, they think that they are better equipped at being God.

If someone goes out of their way to do things that upset you, do you extend grace if they seem to like causing you headaches? How do you think that God feels towards those who constantly reject Him and continually do evil?

It is a matter of attitude. Acceptance and forgiveness or rejection and consequences. How do you see God’s grace?

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What will you gain when you die?

November 18, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

To me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
(Philippians 1:21 (NIV))

Carefully reread these words. Do they have a sound that is contrary to what we, as a society, tend to think about this world, life and “religion?”

Most people think of Jesus as a safety net for when we die, not as a way in which we can live in freedom.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10:10(NIV))

We are told that Jesus gives us life to the full, yet, we ignore Him until we face dying. Isn’t it just like human nature to have our priorities turned around. We look to the promise of life when we are dying and look to sin and death when we are alive. For those who understand the truth behind these words, life is better with Jesus. There is hope. There is peace and there is grace.

Without Jesus, death is to be feared. We end up eternally separated from God and eternally cast away with Satan. With Jesus, death is not to be feared, for we will see the reward for our faith. We will walk with Jesus in the Kingdom of Heaven where we will be eternally at peace and in God’s presence. When we look at it like this, death for a believer is gain. It is not to be feared. It is a reward for our faith and our priorities in this life. We have all heard that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. If we are present with the Lord at our death, then we have “gained” eternal life through grace and mercy. This is truly gain.

What will you gain when you die?

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What do you do when you look into a mirror?

November 17, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
(Psalms 139:13-14 (NIV))

Blessed is the person who knows the power and majesty of his or her Creator, for they know that they are no accident. They know that, contrary to what society would have you believe, they are not evolved from apes, but are created to be in the image of God.

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
(Genesis 1:27 (NIV))

Have you ever truly studied the human body?

It is no chance accident. We were fearfully and wonderfully made. The intricacies and complexities of life, especially the human body, are so interwoven that it is obvious that there was a design. It is obvious that there was a Creator. When was the last time that you saw anything, if left to its own random chance, grow into something more than it already is? Think about that. Everything deteriorates. There is nothing that does not deteriorate. The basic principle of evolution is that things randomly improve and adapt. If left to the natural order of this sinful world, everything gets dirty, gets old, falls apart and eventually rots. Where is the improvement there?

We are made up of millions of cells. The basic building blocks of each cell are so intricate that the possibilities of them coming together and then aligning in the required order are so staggering that for all practical purposes they would not come into existence in that combination. They had to be designed!

The next time that you look into a mirror, stop and think of the words from Psalms 139:13-14. We must never forget that our existence is no accident. We were created by a loving God and Father. Every single time we look into the mirror we must praise God for what He has done.

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How are you at saying “No?”

November 16, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,
(Titus 2:11-12 (NIV))

How many of us are capable of saying “No” to the ungodliness and worldly passions that constantly bombard us from all sides? How can we live according to God’s Word when all around us is sin and chaos?

We would all like to think that we say “No” to everything ungodly that comes our way, but we are only human. We all need to turn certain areas of our lives over to God and not take them back. Not a single one of us is perfect in our walk, in our faith. We all fail, sometimes miserably. Even when we strive to live upright and godly lives, we don’t always do as we should.

It is by God’s grace that we are not held accountable.

I can imagine that many of you read that and stopped dead in your tracks wondering why I would say that. Let me explain.

Once we have accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we are given grace. All of our previous sins are forgiven. Our slate has been wiped clean. Once we receive grace, we do not become perfect creatures instantly. We still have our old habits and our old sins that the Holy Spirit helps us to overcome. We have made a choice to live godly lives, yet, we will stumble. We will fail to listen and we will do things that will break the very heart of God. What makes the difference at this point is the fact that we have made a commitment to Jesus. If we strive to follow Jesus, then our sins will be forgiven.

It is said that Christians are not perfect, just forgiven. There is so much truth in this. I know that I am far from perfect. I know that I have done many things just in this time period that we call today. Still, I know that I am forgiven. I rest assured on the promises that God has given through His Son, Jesus.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

God’s grace, once granted, will continue as long as we strive to do what is righteous in His eyes.

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
(Matthew 18:21-22 (NIV))

We are to strive to be like Jesus. We are to strive to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions. We are to strive to be self-controlled. Sometimes we will fail.

Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:10-11 (NIV))

God never fails. When we fail to say “No,” simply turn to God and repent. He will be there with open arms.

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Who do you recognize as the final authority?

November 13, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
(Revelation 22:13 (NIV))

Think about this passage and these words.

What do they mean to you?

Have you ever heard anyone say something similar to these words? If you have, they were probably trying to convey to those around them that they were the ultimate authority with respect to whatever the topic was. In the last century, we even had a President who uttered words with a similar intent when he said, “The buck stops here.” In other words, there is no option of passing the decision up the proverbial ladder to someone who has more authority.

God is the ultimate authority!

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
(Genesis 1:1 (NIV))

God has a plan. He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus to fulfill that plan.

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.
(Revelation 22:20-21 (NIV))

Nothing can change that plan. God is in control and nothing that we can do will change that plan. It may change where we will end up, but it will not change the outcome. God is the ultimate authority and Satan will be defeated.

When the words, “The buck stops here” were spoken, it meant that the final decision had been made and nothing could alter that decision. Consider once again the words. We can either accept God’s plan and His grace or we can reject His plan and His grace. If we accept it, He has already told us what will transpire.

Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.
(Revelation 22:12 (NIV))

Personally, I don’t want to be given what is to be given to those who reject His grace.

What will God in all of His authority give to you?

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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