Is your obedience measured with Mary and Joseph?

December 15, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.
(Luke 1:26-28 (NIV))

We all know the story. We know of the faithfulness of Mary. We know of the uncertainty that Joseph experienced. We know of the visit of the angel with Mary. We know what assurance was given to Joseph to trust that what Mary was saying was true.

Now, put yourself in the place of Joseph or Mary. How would you react? What if the birth of the Savior relied on your obedience to what seemed to go against societal norms? Would you fully trust in God or would you do as Joseph originally intended and seek a quiet way to separate yourself from the situation?

Perhaps you are more inclined to ask if you would even be considered to fill the role of God’s servant. We like to think that we would step up and do what God want of us, but are we doing it in our lives today? Based on the lives we live today, would God even consider calling you and I for a task so important as the one that He set aside for Joseph and Mary? Are we willing to step up to the plate in the little things? If we are, then it is more likely that God will call you, for He sees the very heart.

With Christmas only a few days away, think about the faith and trust that Joseph and Mary possessed. They are perfect examples of the fact that God works His will through those who are obedient to His calling.

Are you obedient to God’s calling?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Join in the chorus proclaiming Jesus!

December 14, 2016

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))

Just in case you have been overcome with the hecticness of the world and you have forgotten just who Jesus is, read the words recorded in John. Let them sink in. Let them permeate your life and let them rekindle the fire in your heart!

With all that the world throws at us, it is so easy to become side tracked. We all have such hectic lives with work related deadlines, family schedules that seem to never end, and many lost opportunities to fulfill Psalms 46:10.

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

The enemy knows all too well that if he can simply keep people way too busy that they will lose sight of the real reason for the season. I can almost see the legions of fallen angels gathered around and coming up with the plan to get people to replace Merry Christmas with happy holidays. After reading the words recorded in John, we should have a bold confidence in proclaiming the name of Jesus and in proclaiming Merry Christmas!

Will you join the members of the Body of Christ in boldly proclaiming the mightiest and merriest of Christmases?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you fully embrace all of the gifts of Christmas?

December 13, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
(Galatians 4:7 (NIV))

Christmas is first and foremost a celebration of the birth of Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, but if you actually stop to think about it, Christmas means so much more!

Because of Christmas, we are no longer lost to our sin. We are no longer without hope of redemption. We are no longer without faith in the promises of God being fulfilled. We are no longer slaves to the power of sin and death. We can be redeemed by the sacrifices that Jesus would later make for us.

We are no longer cast away, but are welcome into the very presence of God the Father because Jesus has paid the price for our salvation. We have been promised that faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior makes us heirs to the kingdom. If we are heirs to the kingdom, then we are part of the family, for only family is eligible to be heirs.

I want you to slow down and think about all of this when you are caught up in the middle of the hecticness that we have made Christmas. I honestly think that we need to follow a different passage at this time of year so that we don’t lose sight of what we celebrate.

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

We must make ourselves stop and reflect on exactly what it is we celebrate. It is a gift beyond measure.

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))

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you practice your faith?

December 12, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
(James 1:2-4 (NIV))

Imagine an athlete who did not practice his sport. Imagine a musician who did not practice their instrument. They would not be able to perform what they profess to be able to do.

Now, imagine a Christian who did not practice their faith! Faith requires patience, perseverance, and, yes, trials. It is through these adversities that our faith is strengthened, our righteousness made complete in the eyes of God. We may profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, yet, when trials come, do we abandon the faith or do we hold stronger to it?

Think of the trials as practice in the same way the musician practices to become better. Think of trials in the same way as physical conditioning of the athlete so that they may endure long periods of physical activity. No one who claims to be well versed in any area is that way without a devotion to that activity. The same is true of faith.

It requires a spiritual conditioning in order to be strengthened and utilized the way God intended. Therefore

” Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
(James 1:2-4(NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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God’s gift to us is amazing . . . grace!

December 9, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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))

Have you ever thought about this passage as a Christmas passage?

We have been given the ultimate gift through God’s love for us. When a gift is given, someone has to pay the price. It is free to the recipient, but the one who gives the gift takes it upon themselves to pay the full cost no matter what that cost may be.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

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

When was the last time that you took it upon yourself to give good gifts to several people? I am sure that it cost you a considerable amount, yet, you willingly paid the price so that you could freely give the gifts that you gave. Jesus willingly paid the cost needed to give grace and mercy to every person who has ever lived. That cost was more than we could bear just for our own sins, yet Jesus took all the sin of the world upon Himself for our sakes.

In this time of year that we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we must never lose sight of the reason that Jesus was born. It is at this time of year that we see the innocence of a baby, but we must not forget about the power and authority of Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Merry Christmas!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Jesus is the only reason for the season!

December 8, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.
(Acts 4:12 (NIV))

I just love the way that God works!

When you think of someone coming to your rescue, you don’t think of a newborn baby. When you think of someone with authority to pardon, you don’t think of a newborn baby.

Jesus was not what the world was expecting. He is still not what the world is expecting. In fact, many people think that believing in Jesus is foolishness.

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
(1 Corinthians 1:18 (NIV))

During this time of year, we see many things in society. We see many people who are so afraid of what they consider foolishness that they can’t even speak two simple words. They refuse to say Merry Christmas. They prefer to say happy holidays. What is it within themselves that makes them tremble at these words? Don’t they realize that Jesus is the only reason for the season?

I am eternally grateful for the gift that we celebrate at Christmas, for salvation is found only through the one whom we celebrate. Even though I am grateful, I am saddened by those who shun the gift of grace and mercy. I am saddened by those who can’t and won’t say Merry Christmas.

Jesus is the only reason for the season!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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I pray that you encounter the riches of God’s grace!

December 7, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
(Ephesians 1:7 (NIV))

The riches of God’s grace!

Grace came into the world one night long ago in the little town of Bethlehem. Grace escaped wrath at the hand of Herod. Grace returned unassuming and grew wise, finding favor in the eyes of God and man. Grace performed miracles. Grace offered salvation. Grace died on the cross to redeem us from the consequences of our sins. Grace rose again and now sits at the right hand of God the Father.

Grace has a name. Grace comes only through Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God!

We are just a few days away from the day we celebrate as the birth of Jesus. This is the day that we celebrate as the beginning of hope. It is hope in the life that brought grace and mercy. It is the celebration of the moment that God stepped out of time to redeem us to Himself.

Even though it is widely agreed that Jesus was born in the springtime, the day that we celebrate is symbolic. It marks in our hearts the culmination of waiting for our Lord and Savior. It sets a point in our lives that we can look to and proclaim that our salvation is here!

Contrary to what the world may say, Christmas is not about the presents and the decorations. It is about the birth of a baby who was and is like no other baby ever born. It is about the birth of the one who came to set us free. It is about the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus.

What is Christmas to you?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Is this the meaning of Christmas to you?

December 6, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.
(John 10:14-15 (NIV))

Does this passage make sense to you with respect to the upcoming celebration of the birth of Jesus?

Think about the words that are recorded by John. Think about the amazing fact that Jesus knows who belongs to Him and they know it as well. Think about the amazing gift that was freely given to all who will simply accept. It was freely given through the laying down of His life.

We take it for granted that Jesus knows us, but have you ever stopped to think about how we have gotten to know Him? In all of the infinite wisdom that is our Lord, it was decided that the best way for people to actually get to know Him was for Him to become one of us. This removed any misgivings. This removed any false concepts and false teachings. This allowed for the creation to live with and get to know the Lord. Instead of books dictated to humanity, the Gospel accounts are recorded by people who knew Jesus when He walked among us. They were written by people just like you and I. They had doubts. They had fears. They had heartache and troubles, yet, they chose to record something out of the ordinary. They chose to record their first hand encounters with the Lord of all creation.

Pretty amazing!

I have one more thing that I want to point out, and it is contained in the words “and I lay down my life for the sheep.”

What is your definition of life? Does your definition include death? Think about that for a moment. In order for Jesus to lay down His life for us, He had to have a life like ours. The eternal nature had to be put on hold so that He could have a physical nature and ultimately suffer a physical death. Have you ever stopped to think about the process of going from eternal Lord to a mortal infant? Have you ever stopped to wonder just what the baby Jesus possessed as far as infinite wisdom?

Jesus came into this world to lay down His life as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. As I stated previously, He had to have a physical life that He could willingly give up. Could you imagine being in the splendor of heaven one moment and then the next you are being placed in a manger? You go from King of all kings to a helpless baby!

That is the message of Christmas! That is the redeeming love of God.

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))

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Our God is mighty!

December 5, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
The LORD has made his salvation known
and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
(Psalms 98:1-2 (NIV))

What is it that you choose to celebrate during December?

Do you celebrate family? Do you celebrate peace on earth? Perhaps you may be receiving this because someone wants you to read something to try to convince you to celebrate something at all!

First and foremost, we must always remember that the reason for the season is Jesus. For several hundred years, tradition has made it known that this is the time of the year to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. We call it Christmas, but the roots of the name are much more meaningful than today’s society can even imagine. The word “merry” in Old English means “mighty.” The word Christmas is a shortened version of two words “Christ Mass” in which the birth of Jesus was officially celebrated by the church. People would wish each other a blessing so that they would have a MIGHTY (Merry) Christ’s Mass (Christmas). They wanted each believer to fully realize the gift of grace and mercy that was theirs because God sent His Son Jesus into this world.

God has made His salvation known!

He has revealed his righteousness to the nations!

That salvation and that righteousness is one and the same!

It is through Jesus!

I pray that you will truly have a Mighty Christ’s Mass this Christmas!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you fight the good fight?

December 2, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time–God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.
(1 Timothy 6:11-16 (NIV))

When Paul wrote these words to Timothy, he wrote encouragement to a young friend and brother in Christ. He knew that Timothy would face, and probably already was facing, struggles from those whom he was ministering to.

The worldly system is a big stumbling block for many. Greed, lust, envy, anger, and temptation are difficult to see beyond at certain times. Paul wrote to Timothy, expressing Godly principles on how to stay focused on the paths of righteousness and on Jesus Christ. Through all things, stay focused on Jesus Christ and God the Father, for there is none who is worthy of praise, honor and glory above them. No other can offer salvation, mercy and grace wrapped in the present of eternal life with them. Do not let the world detour your faith.

As Paul so aptly states it, “Fight the good fight of the faith!”

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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