Happy New Year!

December 31, 2010

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))

With the approaching new year, we must be prepared for whatever God sends to us that is new to our way of thinking. Just like the old wineskins that will burst if they attempt to hold new wine, our hearts will not contain what God has in store for us if we do not soften our hearts.

Look forward to the new year with much anticipation of what God can and will do.

Happy New Year!

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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He is, and was and is to come

December 30, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
(Revelation 1:8 (NIV))

Human nature is such a funny thing.

What is your reaction when the grocery store that you normally go to is closed for some reason? Do you complain or do you simply adapt? What do you do when your favorite shirt is no longer suitable for public appearance? Do you throw it away or do you cling to it like a small child clings to a blanket? How do you react when your favorite magazine stops publication because the content is now readily available on the Internet? Speaking of the Internet, how do you react to reading something online versus reading it from a book that you can hold and feel?

Let’s face it, we are all creatures of habit. We have our routines and we all have our favorite things that we think that we could never do without. In all honesty, most people do not like change. Change is something that we fear. It is unknown.

Too many of us do not like anything to ever change, yet we often are guilty of saying that God is not the same as He was in the Old Testament. We have a double standard for what we expect of ourselves and what we think that God is like. We have heard the stories and we have read the passages that tell of God’s laws, yet we find it difficult to comprehend that God could remain the same for all eternity.

Personally, I like knowing that God is constant, that He is, and was and is to come.

If we spend time getting to know God through His Word, then we will know the very heart of God for all time. He doesn’t change. I honestly would not like having to constantly second guess what I was supposed to do because of a constantly changing god. That is not our God. That is not our creator, our Father. God is a God of eternity.

January 1 will soon be here. It is the beginning of a new year. Many people look upon this day as the opportunity to start fresh, to change what they have been doing. For humanity, change for the better is good, especially when that change means that we repent of our sins and turn to God. When we desire to change, isn’t it good to know that the One who welcomes us in our change, never changes. God will welcome us with open arms any day of the year.

Today is that day.

Happy New Year !!!

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you delight in?

December 28, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
(Psalms 37:4 (NIV))

It is said that a desire is something that your heart longs for. To delight is to take great pleasure. With these definitions in mind, the verse could be stated like this:

Take great pleasure in the Lord and He will give you what your heart longs for.

There is a saying that if you draw closer to God, He will draw closer to you. This is true, especially if you allow the Holy Spirit to work within your life. God created us to be in a relationship with Him. Sin severed that relationship and left the proverbial “God-shaped hole” within each of us. We try to fill that hole with anything and everything that will help to ease the pain and the emptiness. Our desires turn to whatever we attempt to use to fill that hole. We find more emptiness, pain and sin. God cannot associate with sin, so He does not fill us. He waits for us to answer when He calls us to him.

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.
(Revelations 3:20 (NIV))

When we delight in the Lord, we fill that hole with the very thing that it was designed to hold. We fill it with God and as a result, our desires soon align themselves with His desires. Our heart begins to long for what God longs for. We find ourselves in agreement with God. When we agree with God, He draws us closer to Him. He grants the desires of our heart, because they are the desires that He has for us. They are not destructive like the desires we have in our sin.

What do you take great pleasure in? Will your desires be given to you?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Return to the joy.

December 27, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
(Psalms 51:12 (NIV))

Do you ever find yourself in need of restoration even though you are assured of your salvation?

It is easy to lose sight of the promises that we have been given, but we must not lose sight of the promise that validates all of the other promises.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
(2 Corinthians 1:20-22 (NIV))

When we are in need of restoration, we must turn to the Father who gave His Son so that we could have salvation. The need for restoration comes when we let the weight of the world and the circumstances that we find ourselves in overpower us and consume us.

What do we lose when we are in need of restoration?

We lose our joy – our joy that comes from knowing that we have been saved by grace! Without that joy, Satan can gain access to us and steer us further away from the joy that is ours.

Joy brings hope and an assurance that we are saved by grace. It also brings us a firm foundation and an assurance of what is to come.

Are you in need of restoration? Return to Jesus. Return to the joy.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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MERRY CHRISTMAS

December 23, 2010

 

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 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Share Jesus this Christmas

December 22, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
(Philippians 4:13 (NKJV))

This is easy to remember at this time of year. It is also easy to remember this at Easter. However, it is also very easy to forget this each and every day that we live if we allow our focus to shift away from Jesus.

At this time of year it is so easy to get wrapped up in the commercialism that society has wrongfully placed upon the celebration of the birth of Jesus. We look at the things of the world and we begin to feel that we are inadequate because we do not have the highest paying job, an executive title, and we cannot purchase the newest, most expensive gadgets. At this time of year, many people will feel that the weight of the world is all on their shoulders.

It is so sad that the time of year when we celebrate the greatest gift of all, too many people feel that they are worthless and lost.

We, as the body of Christ, must not lose sight of why Jesus came to this earth. He did not come to sell the latest and greatest gadget. He did not come to make people feel inadequate. He did not come to condemn.

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.
(Luke 19:10 (NIV))

How would Jesus approach those who have lost focus? How would Jesus approach their problems? We need to reach out to those whom Jesus would reach out to.

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

Share the love of Jesus by showing each and everyone a very Merry Christmas!

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Look for His return

December 21, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
(Luke 21:25-28 (NIV))

Two thousand years ago, how many people recognized the signs that foretold of the birth of Jesus?

There were countless prophecies, yet only Simeon, Anna and the Magi recognized the baby as the King of kings. The rest of the world was too preoccupied with the events of their daily lives and worldly pursuits.

Are we like the world at the birth of Jesus, or can we, the body of Christ, recognize when our Lord and Savior will return?

You may ask, “How can we know, for we have been told that no one knows?”

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
(Matthew 24:36 (NIV))

It is true that we may not know the day or the hour, but, if we are the body, we should be able to sense things.

Think about that for a moment.

Think of your own body. When your head makes a decision to move an arm, does the head surprise the arm, or does the arm respond without any delay? When the head decides that the lungs should take a breathe, do the lungs have to be woken up in order to fulfill their command?

If we are the body of Christ, then we should look to Jesus just as the parts of our bodies look to our heads. It should not be a labored thought process in which we have to decide if we will obey the voice of the Lord. It should be just as it is when our brain tells us to take a breathe. We should instinctively do as the head desires.

I hate to say this, but perhaps we have not kept our parts of His Body in condition to do as He desires. Do we listen to His voice? Do we see the world as He sees it? Do we love as He loves? Do we have compassion as Jesus had compassion? Do we go where He says to go?

Two thousand years ago, Jesus caught the world by surprise with His first coming. Will we be caught by surprise when He returns?

If Jesus truly is our redemption, then we should eagerly lift our heads and look for His return.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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