Stand Firm

December 31, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
(1 Peter 5:8-9 (NIV))

Do you ever feel like you are facing something that no one else has ever faced before?

Isn’t it ironic that even in this feeling, you are not alone. Satan likes to get us off by ourselves, isolated and alone, so that he can deceive us and make us vulnerable to his lies. Satan realized that he cannot win based on the truth, so he tries to divide and conquer through lies and deception. Perhaps the biggest deception is the one that he uses to try to make us feel alone and isolated. He knows that when we feel that way, we are vulnerable to his other lies.

We are not alone. We have countless brothers and sisters in Christ who either are facing similar trials or have faced similar trials. They can pray for you as you can pray for them.

For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.
(Matthew 18:20 (NIV))

Pray that each of you, or should I say, each of us, will have the strength to resist Satan and stand firm in our faith in Jesus.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
(James 4:7 (NIV))

The next time that you feel that you are all alone, don’t lose control. Take stock of your situation and praise and pray. Praise God for who He is. Praise God for sending His Son, Jesus. Pray for those who are suffering, and then pray for your troubles. Focus on God and, in so doing, resist the enemy.

You will never feel alone when you seek after God.

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Shed the old wineskins

December 30, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
(Matthew 9:16-17 (NIV))

How do you plan on going into the new year?

Will you still cling to the old, sinful ways that have shaped your life up to this point? Even if you are a believer in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you probably still carry things inside of you that you just haven’t been able to turn over to God. It may be bitterness toward someone who hurt you long ago. It may be anger at someone who is supposed to be a loved one. It may be pride, or it may be arrogance. No matter what it may be, everyone still carries something that just will not relinquish its hold upon you without the direct intervention of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and God the Father.

Think about that for a moment.

As believers in Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, we long to have our lives filled with what God has in store for us. Have you ever thought about why God has not poured out His blessings on you? It could very well be the thing that you cannot let go of is the one thing that is holding back God’s plans for you. Contrary to how this may sound, I am not professing a prosperity based reason for turning over those areas of your life. I am professing a simple, spiritual truth.

If you are angry because you have no friends, what happens when you walk around in a terrible mood and shun everybody because you have no friends? It is a self-perpetuating cycle. You must break that cycle to allow something new and wonderful to fill your life. God knows that if He fills your cracked and parched life with an overflowing of the water of life, you will not be able to hold it. We must change our cracked and parched lives for what God desires. We must turn to God and allow Him to work in our lives. We cannot turn to God and gain maturity on our own merits. He will grow us in our maturity if we turn to Him.

This coming year, I pray that each of us finds the increase in faith to make our lives like the new wineskins so that we may be able to hold the new wine of the Holy Spirit so that we may share that wine with those whom we meet.

I pray that each of us have a happy and Spirit filled new year – a new year that will be obvious to those whom we meet.

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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This is good news!

December 29, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV))

The world has some nice things to offer. What do you think that these “things” will be like in one hundred years? Will they still be as nice? Will they still be as desirable? Look at what the ravages of time do to everything in this world. Precious metals tarnish. Fine linen becomes moth-eaten. Fancy houses become run-down. Fast cars eventually stop running. Nothing lasts forever.

Well, almost nothing!

There is one treasure that can last forever if you invest in it now. The Kingdom of God is a treasure that could be thought of as a perpetual retirement account, or, as I have heard one pastor say, a re-Fire-ment account. All that you have to do is invest in God and follow His Will for your life, making deposits into your account by spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The retirement plan is out of this world.

Enough about the cliches and other sayings. Basically, the only thing that does last forever is the reward for believing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. That He came to earth to be a sacrifice for our sins so that we could be reconciled to God. This reward is magnified by sharing this good news with those around you, …

“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)

This is good news! Share it with the world and ” store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you seen your salvation?

December 28, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.
(Luke 2:30-32 (NIV))

When Simeon spoke these words, Jesus was only a newborn infant and Mary and Joseph had brought him to the temple to consecrate him to God. Simeon had been looking for salvation all of his life. Perhaps that is why he so readily recognized it when it was presented to him, even though, to most people, Jesus was simply a baby just like all of the others. Simeon was able to look beyond the obvious and see the miraculous.

In these first few days after Christmas, when we celebrated what Simeon was able to see, can we see the miraculous in what we have just experienced, or is it just the obvious?

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Merry Christmas !

December 24, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
(Luke 2:1-20 (NIV))

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Anxiety and peace

December 24, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

Be anxious for nothing
(Philippians 4:6a (unknown))

Today would have been bad in the eyes of many people. It actually started to appear that way to me, but God had other plans.

Perhaps I should back up just a bit and let you know that the day actually started out like any other day that God has blessed me with. It took a very drastic turn after the sun went down, however. My wife and I were out doing last minute errands and had gone to the grocery store and were heading home. All of a sudden the car died and came to a stop in the left turn lane of a fairly busy road. My first reaction was a typical human reaction – “Why me? What else could go wrong?”

I started to have countless thoughts go through my mind about getting the car out of the traffic, getting home, getting the car towed and how we would pay for it during these times when things are tight for everyone.

I was quickly put in my place. God used this episode to remind me that He is in control. He placed a man in our midst for the second time in a year. Both times, he was an answer to a specific need and both times God had him there to help with that very need.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28 (NIV))

It is so easy to allow the world to overwhelm you. Tonight reminded me of this and how God works to overcome what the world will throw at us. It also reminded me that God will not and does not leave us at the mercies of the world. He sent His Son, Jesus to save us from the sins of this world. Do you actually think that God would send His Son to suffer and die, and then not provide for those who call upon His name?

Christmas is almost upon us. It is the time we celebrate the birth of our Savior. It is not the time to be anxious and fearful. Come to think of it, there is never a time to be anxious and fearful if we have called upon Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

Have a very merry and stress free Christmas!

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Praise God !

December 23, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy–
(Jude 1:24 (NIV))

This one statement, from a worldly point of view, is a difficult thing to grasp. The world is treacherous. The enemy is constantly trying to kill or destroy. Who can possibly keep themselves from falling into the traps that the world presents? Who can possibly keep others from falling into those very same traps? Every person who has ever lived has faced the traps that the enemy has set for each of us. No one has ever been exempt from this temptation. All of created humanity has failed.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

There is one who was sent to save us from falling. He is not part of creation. He is the Creator. He came to earth as one of us. He took it upon himself to be what He created. He took it upon himself to save his creation so that we could have a way to keep from falling. He took the sins of the world upon himself so that we could be sin free. Only one has that authority. Only God can possess such power.

At this time of year, we think of Jesus as a little baby in a manger, but we must not lose site of the fact that He was also God. Even as an infant, He possessed authority over all of creation. This Christmas morning, stop and think about your children. Thank God for the grace and mercy that are celebrated through the birth of a child. Stop and think about the gift that child gave you. It is a gift that only God could give.

Praise God !

to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
(Jude 1:25 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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