What will you receive in the new year?

December 31, 2012

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))

Do you ever feel like the old wineskin, all cracked and brittle, unable to adapt and bend?

Life throws us things that we would rather not have happen. If we let them, these things can harden our hearts and turn us into the very thing that we long not to be. We become the angry man or woman that we all have known in our lives. We become the person that no one desires to be around. We become all bitter and brittle in our lives and in our dealings with others.

Our “wine” has turned to vinegar and we did not even realize it !

Just what is that “wine?” It is a life lived in Jesus. It is the blooming of the grace that He has given us. It is the maturation of the fruit of the spirit, and if we are not careful, our “wine” will become tainted and bitter.

Every wine skin grows old. Every wine skin will loose it’s ability to flex and grow. And just as a wine skin must be replaced, we can replace our hearts. We can renew our hearts. God has given us grace. If we grow bitter, we can repent and receive a new wine skin. A wine skin that will be able to hold all of God’s blessings and grace that He can bestow.

God desires to fill each of us with new “wine.” Are you ready to receive it?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery

Advertisements

The gift of a Savior

December 28, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” –which means, “God with us.”

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christn was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

” `But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’ ”

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

“A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.”
(Matthew 1:18 – 2:18 (NIV))

I pray that everyone had a wonderful Christmas. With all that we do as a society at Christmas, we must not forget that the reason we celebrate is the gift of a Savior. We see that gift being honored by the gifts of the Magi. We honor that gift by giving gifts ourselves. We must never lose site of the truth about Christmas. It is not a time of family. It is not a time of good will towards man. If we focus on Jesus, then these things will happen, but if we focus on them and ignore Jesus, the greatest gift of all is rejected.

Was God’s gift to you received with open arms and open heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


An amazing gift to be shared!

December 27, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.

When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord” ), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. 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 2:21-32 (NIV))

Did you breathe a big sigh of relief yesterday? Or maybe yours came this morning because you went out to the after Christmas sales yesterday and you didn’t have time to do anything else. Whatever may have happened, many people look upon the day after Christmas as being the end of the season.

It is only the beginning! Just as Jesus’ birth marked the beginning of our promised hope and salvation, Christmas marks the beginning of our celebration of this gift from God. Simeon knew that Jesus’ birth marked the beginning of salvation, and not the salvation itself. Many things needed to happen before the promise would be fulfilled.

Jesus did not come into the world in a miraculous manner and then spend the next thirty years in quiet solitude preparing for His ministry and crucifixion. We know that He amazed the scholars and priests before His baptism and the temptation in the wilderness.

We do not need to celebrate His birth and the promise that He fulfilled only on the days that we have set aside to remember His birth and His resurrection. We need to look at Christmas as the start of our opportunity to present His light to others as it was presented to us. We have several months until we celebrate His resurrection at Easter. What can we do to show the world the amazing gift that God gave us through Jesus Christ, His only Son? What can we do that will make those around us amazed at the resurrection and the promise fulfilled by it?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Have a very Mighty Christ’s Mass

December 24, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God– children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:1-14 (NIV))

John wrote these words to help people understand who Jesus is. John new full well who Jesus is. The words that he wrote have helped people come to this realization ever since they were written. At this time of the year when we celebrate Jesus’ birth, we all need to be reminded of Jesus’ stature.

Perhaps this is evident in the greeting at this time of year. I have heard that in old English, “merry” actually meant “mighty”. With this in mind, think about having a very mighty Christ’s mass. The following words take on a new meaning when we look at them in this way.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


God is constant

December 21, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
(Revelation 21:6-8 (NIV))

God makes it very clear what He detests, yet people still twist God’s Word to support whatever they wish to do.

God is constant. He has been and always will be. Before anything else existed, He existed. He is the Creator of all things.

How arrogant people are to believe that they can stand in the face of God and “thumb their noses” as if they had created all things. God created order and righteousness, yet man, through sin, corrupted all things. Man, in his limited wisdom, seeks after wicked thoughts and actions that are detestable in the sight of God.

Will humanity, as a whole, ever realize that they are fighting a losing battle? How can the creation overcome the Creator? For those who do not belong to The Lord, we must pray that they see the Truth before God’s Judgement comes.

No one knows the day or the hour, but we can identify the season of this judgement. The season is drawing closer every day. Pray for those whom you love that are not experiencing God’s grace and mercy through the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. The fiery lake of burning sulfur is a terrible mental picture. Just imagine what it would really be like!

I pray that our lives may reflect Jesus to those who do not know Him so that they too can experience grace and mercy.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Do we go out of our way to find Him and to worship Him?

December 20, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
(Matthew 2:1-2 (NIV))

Do we earnestly seek Jesus?

Do we go out of our way to find Him and to worship Him?

Would you be willing to travel to the ends of your known world in hope of finding salvation?

In today’s world, it is not uncommon for people to travel further than the Magi did for something that is of little importance. We have churches in every community, yet, many people will never step inside of one. These same people will drive hours to see a favorite sports team, yet willingly ignore the grace and mercy that is there for the taking. Our society may be more technologically advanced, but are we wiser than our ancestors? Are we wiser than the Magi?

We seek superficial rewards!

What is of importance to you?

Do you feel that what the Magi sought was and still is of importance?

Where does it rank in importance to you?

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?
(Mark 8:36 (NIV))

I honestly believe that our society has turned this upside down. We do not care about our souls. We only care about what the world has to offer. We only partake or participate in something if we are guaranteed a reward or a personal gain.

Too bad that the world does not consider gaining eternal life a big enough reward.

The Magi were considered to be wise men. I honestly believe that our modern interpretation of wisdom is all wrong. Wisdom is not worldly knowledge and power. In the eyes of God, this is foolishness. True wisdom comes from seeking God and recognizing what you seek when it does present itself. The Magi brought expensive gifts. They were kings. They were learned men. In their worldly status, they chose to humble themselves and seek God’s Son.

We should willingly do the same. We should seek Him to whom all praise is due.

It is my prayer that we find our true reward through Jesus this Christmas.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Who holds your future?

December 19, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. This will result in your being witnesses to them. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. By standing firm you will gain life.
(Luke 21:12-19 (NIV))

It doesn’t seem like we are too far away from the time that Jesus is speaking of when He says that all men will hate us because of Him. Think about that for a moment.

How many Christmas Nativity scenes have had to be altered because someone filed a lawsuit? How many court cases have there been because a student or group of students decided to pray in school? How many times have people attempted to remove God and Jesus from the history of this nation? How many times have other religions been tolerated while the name of Jesus is forbidden to be spoken?

Do you see a developing trend? Things have drastically changed since prayer was removed from the schools. Violence has increased. Divorce has increased. Drugs have increased. We have become a society that wants nothing to remind us that what we have become is wrong. The further we turn from God, the further we want to go and the more that we need to return to the One who created us.

People who profess a faith in Jesus are being persecuted and put to death all over the world. Our nation has come to the point where we no longer value the Judeo-Christian ethic. We are rapidly moving toward the time when we go beyond the court cases to remove the words “In God We Trust” from our money to the time when just the mention of Jesus will have people wanting to harm us. We must be prepared. We do not know what the future holds, but we do know who holds the future.

Who holds your future? Where does your future lead?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery