HAPPY NEW YEAR!

December 30, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8 (NIV))

Nothing is ever the same in this life. It is impossible to ground yourself in anything in this world. Just when you think things are as they should be, something terrible happens and things are a complete mess.

If you base your perspective of life on things worldly, then you are going to be let down many times. If you base your life on things that are of God, with the center of your focus on Jesus Christ, then you will never be let down. With the end of the year rapidly approaching, keep your perspective clearly focused on Jesus, for He never changes.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will you be changed?

December 29, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.
(1 Corinthians 15:51-52a (NIV))

The promise of salvation should be enough to encourage any believer and convert any non-believer, but the promise that is spoken of here is very encouraging. Not only do we have the assurance of salvation from our sins, but we also have the promise of not sleeping (i.e. death), but of being changed in the twinkling of an eye.

This change has caused much theological debate over the years. Some say that it is a physical resurrection, while others say that we are to be given spiritual bodies. One thing is certain. God has promised that we will be changed. Our current bodies are less than perfect and are full of sin. If we are to stand before God as His children, how can we stand there in our sin? We are to be given new life, not only spiritually, but physically. We will only desire to do what is right in the eyes of God, plus we will have heavenly bodies that will never die.

When God told Adam and Eve that they would surely die, the death that He spoke of was two-fold. Death can mean eternal separation from God. It also refers to the physical death. Before Adam and Eve allowed sin into the world, God did not mention that our days were to be numbered. Only since sin has been allowed in, has death actually been a constant subject.

We WILL be changed. Changed into what God had intended us to be all along. The change will come to only those who profess Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.

Will you be changed?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Frantic or eager?

December 28, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.* Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
(Luke 10:41-42 (NIV))

It is so easy to allow the things of this world to overtake us and distract us just as they did with Martha. It is so easy to focus on the busyness of life and completely miss out on the blessings that are right in front of us.

Do you think that Jesus is concerned about the cleanliness of our home, or with the fact that elaborate meals are not prepared? Do you think that Jesus cares more about our frantic effort to put on a good visible facade or that we simply choose to be in His presence?

It is human nature to try to create appearances that are different from reality. We often find ourselves doing just that when we should simply be basking in the moment.

Think about that.

Mary and Martha were sisters. They were in the same house. Jesus was present within their home. Mary recognized that she had a blessing and an opportunity that may never happen again. She chose to sit at the feet of Jesus. Martha was frantically trying to prepare for her guest and did not realize that what she would receive from Him was far greater than what hospitality traditions would provide. Martha followed tradition. Mary followed the Savior. Both loved Jesus. Both knew of His miracles and both probably had an idea of who He truly was, yet Martha chose a path that made her frustrated in the presence of the Lord. She was trying to do things her way, the traditional way.

When we choose to follow Jesus, we must be willing, ready and able to step out in faith even when that step goes against all traditions. We will be called to things that may not make sense to us. We will be called to things that are uncertain in our eyes. We will be called to be still in the Lord’s presence and to take a step of faith.

Be still, and know that I am God;
(Psalm 46:10a (NIV))

If we are like Martha, we will miss what Jesus is calling us to do. We must be like Mary and eagerly sit at the feet of Jesus.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do we listen to His voice?

December 27, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
(John 10:1-3 (NIV))

Whom do you follow?

Whom do you trust?

All throughout history humanity has been deceived by one lie after another. Why do we look for something and expect it to be as promised when we can’t verify the credibility of the source? There is only one source that is credible. There is only one source that knows us by name. There is only one source that enters through the gate.

Why must people make it so difficult?

Why do people take a look at what Jesus teaches and tell themselves that it cannot be that simple? Why do they think that it will work for everyone else except them? Why do they listen to those who have come into their lives through something other than the “gate?” Why do we, as humanity, prefer to listen to the thief and the robber? Is this the same desire or gullibility that has allowed con men and the proverbial snake oil salesmen?

What is it about human nature that makes us want to look for an alternative when we are told that there is only one way? Why do we want to test the warning signs that boldly proclaim danger, yet ignore the wisdom and direction that leads to life?

With Christmas Day a very fresh memory in our minds, why do so many ignore the gift that God gave to His creation? Why do we look for alternatives to what God has given?

Perhaps it is due to the old saying, “It is too good to be true.”

Think about that. Our society has been telling us for a while that we must beware of things that are too good to be true, because they are not true. I honestly believe that our society has become jaded by this and now, too many apply this to faith in Jesus.

Jesus is not too good to be true! He is the truth.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
(John 14:6-7 (NIV))

Jesus is the shepherd. He enters through the gate. He knows our names. He calls us out.

Do we listen to His voice?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Resident or guest?

December 26, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation.
(Hebrews 5:8-9 (NAS))

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him.
(Colossians 2:6(NIV))

The two verses go hand in hand. Jesus learned obedience even though He is the Son of God. He humbled Himself to the point of death for our sake. Because of this, He can offer eternal salvation.

Once we accept this salvation, we must not think that it is a one time relationship with Jesus. We must continually abide in Him and Him in us. We must open ourselves to the Holy Spirit and humbly listen to what the Holy Spirit is teaching us.

Jesus is the salvation. The perfect gift from God the Father. Once we accept that gift, we must open ourselves to what that gift truly means: an ever increasing walk of faith that will “perfect” us, or mature us in our faith walk.

Does Jesus live in you or is He just an occasional guest?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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MERRY CHRISTMAS!

December 23, 2011

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 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you desire?

December 22, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If they obey and serve him,
they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity
and their years in contentment.
(Job 36:11 (NIV))

Obedience!

To those who have not been saved by grace, obedience sounds like mindless adherence to the will of someone else. It sounds like you give up your individuality and free will when you are expected to obey and serve.

If we could make people understand that if God wanted people to be mindless and simply do everything that He commands, then He would not have given us free will. He would have simply made us to be servants. He has the ability to create anything that He desires. He could have simply made us robots. We would respond to His every desire without thinking about what we do. We would simply do it because we would have been created to serve. To those who have not accepted His grace, it appears that this is the biggest oxymoron of all times. They use this argument to bolster their misguided reasoning that since we have free will, we don’t need to obey. They even misuse this and reason that I was created this way, therefore whatever I do is ok.

Have you ever loved someone so much that you found yourself doing things for them that you normally would never do under any circumstances? You find yourself wanting to serve their needs because you care for them. You find yourself wanting to “obey” their desires because it gives you joy to please them.

How do you think it makes God feel when someone obeys Him out of the very same type of heartfelt desire to please? How do you think it rewards the obedient one? There is a joy present in this obedience. It resonates through the very soul of the person who longs to please God. Perhaps that is the best way to differentiate between the two views of obedience. The unsaved world sees obedience as a form of subjugation and dreaded servanthood. Those who know grace through the atoning blood of Jesus know obedience as the greatest joy and peace that can be obtained.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (NIV))

God blesses those who desire to obey out of a desire to please Him. What do you desire?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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