Don’t get so busy that you miss out on the joy!

December 20, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
(John 15:9-11 (RSV))

Is your joy full?

With only a few days until Christmas, I would venture to say that many people are stressing because they feel that there is so much to do and so little time to do it. Jesus encountered people like this when He walked the earth.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
(Luke 10:38-40 (NIV))

I think we can all remember how Jesus responded.

“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))

In other words, Jesus told it as plainly as possible. It is more important to spend the time with Him and to not spend it in the preparations. You can be so overwhelmed with the preparations that you miss the greatest gift of all.

You can find yourself missing Jesus in the midst of His presence!

Being in the presence of Jesus is one thing, but to miss out on the relationship that He desires with each of us because you are simply too busy is not what He has in mind.

Don’t get so busy with doing Christmas that you miss out on the true meaning of Christmas!

Be still!

Cease striving!

Stop and sit at the feet of Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are your eyes open to the birth of Jesus?

December 19, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”
(John 9:39 (NIV))

Do you think of judgment when you think of Christmas?

You should!

For it is through the birth of Jesus that we, who are guilty of sin, have the promise of redemption from the judgment that we should face. Christmas is the beginning of the fulfillment of the promise where the death on the cross and the resurrection is the completion of the promise. Without the birth, we would have no hope of redemption. Without the birth, we would have no hope of a life free from the consequences of sin.

We would be judged based on what we truly deserve and not on the grace that God so freely gives to any and all who will simply accept that grace!

Grace required that an atoning sacrifice be made by someone who was without sin. Only God could fulfill that, so Jesus came to earth to live as one of us and to take upon Himself the sins of the world.

Jesus came for judgment!

To those who call Him Lord and Savior, they are judged righteous in the eyes of God. To those who reject Him, they will be judged according to their deeds.

How do you want to be judged?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Give your burdens to Jesus!

December 15, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV))

This world piles burden upon burden on us in our daily lives. Our jobs, our obligations, our financial needs, and sometimes even our families and our church become burdens. We must step back and focus on the words of Jesus.

Rest! Everyone desires it, but in this world, true rest cannot come. Rest only comes when one is at peace. Peace is a concept that the world wants but can not grant. True peace only comes from the source of all creation through His Son Jesus Christ. Trade burdens with Jesus and gain peace and rest.

The burden that Jesus bore has paid in full your burden of sin and death. Whatever you are carrying now, He carried to the cross almost two thousand years ago. Give Him your burdens and He will give you rest.

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