What is it that you seek first?

December 18, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

So do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?’ or `What shall we drink?’ or `What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
(Matthew 6:31-33 (NIV))

What is it that you seek first?

With Christmas almost here, many people turn ino materialistic animals. They think that they have to give the perfect gift. They think that they have to have the latest gadget because it will make their life complete. They think that they have to give more expensive gifts because they are being judged by their gift.

I pray that people will come to the realization that it is not about bigger and better gifts. It is not about finding the perfect clothes to wear. It is not about preparing the perfect meal or making sure that the supply of drinks does not run out. It is simply a matter of priorities.

I pray that people will come to the realization that all that they truly need is found in a manger and at the foot of the cross!

Focus on Jesus and seek His righteousness as your priority. When you find yourself aligning your life along God’s plan and His grace, then everything else will slowly come into focus. What better time to realign your priorities than at the time of year that we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. Birth represents a new beginning. The birth of Jesus gives each of us that opportunity for a new beginning – a beginning without the baggage of the failed priorities of the world.

Again, I ask the simple question. What is it that you seek first?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you accepted your inherited righteousness?

December 15, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
(Romans 5:18-19 (NIV))

Don’t you hate when people say that one person cant make a difference?

History has countless examples of how one individual was able to turn the tide and make things different as a result of their actions. It is not impossible for one individual to make a difference.

Dare I say that the best examples of this are the two individuals referenced in this passage from Romans. Through the sin that Adam committed as the very first man to have ever lived, all of humanity was destined to live out lives cast away from God the Father. Billions of people have felt the consequences of the disobedience of one man. Billions were born into sin because of one man! These billions of people inherited a sinful nature as a result of the sin that Adam committed. I would venture to say that deep down, none of these people truly wanted this nature, but they had no choice in the matter.

As time unfolded, God saw fit to send at His perfect time, another individual man. God sent one singular person who would obey God and provide something that no other man had been able to provide or will ever be able to provide. God sent His only Son, Jesus, to save humanity from the consequences of what one man had done. Just as all of humanity inherited sin from Adam, we have the ability to inherit righteousness through Jesus. Adam’s actions made us all sinners. God sent Jesus to give each of us a choice. We can deny Jesus and choose to stay in the sin that we inherited from Adam, or we can accept Jesus and inherit His righteousness and a restored relationship with God.

It is you choice! All that you have to do is accept.

Have you accepted your inherited righteousness?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you accepted the salvation that has been prepared for you?

December 14, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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 2:30-32 (NIV))

When Simeon spoke these words, Jesus was only a newborn infant and Mary and Joseph had brought him to the temple to consecrate him to God. Simeon had been looking for salvation all of his life. Perhaps that is why he so readily recognized it when it was presented to him, even though, to most people, Jesus was simply a baby just like all of the others. Simeon was able to look beyond the obvious and see the miraculous.

In just a few days it will be Christmas. On the day that we celebrate what Simeon was able to see, can we see the miraculous in what we have just experienced, or is it just the obvious?

Have you accepted the salvation that has been prepared for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you desire to have a clean heart?

December 13, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (NIV))

Do you realize that the birth of Jesus took this passage, this prayer, and made it possible to have a clean heart in the eyes of God?

Think about that with respect to David’s desires when he wrote these words. David was described as a man after God’s own heart, yet he was not able to be made clean in the eyes of God. David’s salvation had not come into this world when these words were written. It may have been David’s desire, but because of humanity’s sinful nature, he, like all of us, was unclean in the eyes of God. Nothing that he could do could change that.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

Thankfully, God had other plans!

God made it possible for David’s desires, and ours, to become reality. Through the birth, life, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, we have the ability to be washed clean.

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
(Psalms 51:7 (NIV))

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))

God’s love for us provided the plan. Jesus’ obedience provided the way. The Holy Spirit’s prompting us provides the question. It is our desire that provides the answer. With this in mind, do you desire to have a clean heart? Do you desire to be made clean in the eyes of God? Jesus is the way!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus brought us peace, comfort and rest!

December 12, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
(John 16:33 (NIV))

Do you ever find yourself thinking that you are a magnet for trouble?

Do you seem to take one step forward and two steps back even though you try to do everything that you know Jesus would want you to do?

Do you despair over your troubles?

You are not alone!

Life is a gift. God created us to spend our days in His presence in paradise. The way that it was supposed to be was stolen from us by the father of lies when he deceived Adam and Eve in the Garden. Ever since that day, all of humanity has faced troubles in this world. In just a few days we will celebrate the birth of God’s only begotten Son, Jesus. Ever since the fall from grace, God had planned to restore us to Himself. Some believe that He told Adam and Eve His plan for redemption. Whether God told Adam and Eve how long humanity would suffer with troubles, I do know that God has been unfolding His plan of redemption ever since the fall from grace.

It has been pointed out that the meanings of the names of the lineage from Adam to Noah define God’s plan.

Adam – Man
Seth – Appointed
Enosh – Mortal
Kenan – Sorrow
Mahalalel – The blessed God
Jared – Shall come down
Enoch – Teaching
Methuselah – His death shall bring
Lamech – Despairing
Noah – Comfort and rest

Loosely translated, it reads as follows.

Man is appointed mortality and sorrow. The blessed God shall come down and teach us. His death shall bring the despairing comfort and rest.

I don’t know about you, but this gives me comfort. It reassures me of the promises that God has given to us. It makes me understand the depth of God’s love for us.

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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

In just a few days we will be celebrating the birth of Jesus. We will be celebrating the events foretold in the names of Mahalalel, Jared and Enoch. “The blessed God shall come down and teach us.” We celebrate and give God praise for what He has done. We celebrate and give God praise for the rest of the story as it unfolds from Methuselah, Lamech and Noah. “His death shall bring the despairing comfort and rest!”

Christmas is so much more than just the birth of a baby!

Jesus brought us peace, comfort and rest!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you show unwavering and unswerving faith!

December 11, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
(Hebrews 10:23 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to think about human nature and how easy it becomes during the Christmas season to profess a faith in Jesus? Even people who normally don’t even think about Jesus the rest of the year will stop and look at a nativity scene or watch movies based on the birth of Jesus. They will pause and some will even be thankful, but what do they do the rest of the year?

Are they consistent in their actions?

Are they consistent in the hope that they profess during Christmas?

Some refer to people who are not consistent in their attention to Jesus as C&E Christians. This name comes from the fact that the only time they show up at church or pay any attention to Jesus is at Christmas and Easter. The rest of the year, they live in the world fully immersed in their sin without any remorse. Is this what Paul calls us to do in this world? Is this a good example of holding unswervingly to the hope that God gave us and that we profess?

We are called to a life of consistency with respect to our faith. We are to focus on Jesus and follow His call. We are to not swerve to the left or to the right when the world temps us. We are to keep our eyes on Jesus for He is the author and perfecter of our faith. We are to look to Jesus every day of the year and not just at certain times of the year. We are to look to Jesus every day of our life and not just the times that are convenient for us to do so.

We are to live our lives in daily relationship with Jesus.

This is how we are to hold unswervingly to the hope we profess.

We are to live out unwavering and unswerving faith!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you know the one true Savior?

December 8, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior.
(Isaiah 43:11 (NIV))

We are rapidly approaching Christmas day. It is the time of year that we have set aside to remember a few basic principles and to praise God for His grace and mercy. We celebrate the birth of a baby, but Jesus was no ordinary baby.

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 all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
(John 1:1-5 (NIV))

We celebrate God’s love, even when we were still sinners.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

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

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

We celebrate the fact that God’s love was so great that He took action.

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))

We celebrate that God’s simple plan of redemption was made personal.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
(John 11:25-26 (NIV))

We celebrate because our God, our Father and our Lord is alive and seeks a relationship with each one of us.

Do you know the one true Savior?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you pray for the peace of Jerusalem?

December 7, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.”
(Psalms 122:6-7 (NIV))

Do you consider Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel?

I realize that in today’s world, that is a loaded question, but we need to look at this from a much different perspective than what the world says. We need to look at it from God’s point of view!

If the place where the Lord your God chooses to put his Name is too far away from you, you may slaughter animals from the herds and flocks the Lord has given you, as I have commanded you, and in your own towns you may eat as much of them as you want.
(Deuteronomy 12:21 (NIV))

I will give one tribe to his son so that David my servant may always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem, the city where I chose to put my Name.
(1 Kings 11:36 (NIV))

David was God’s servant. He was also king of Israel. Israel is the nation of God’s chosen people. They were chosen to bring God’s truth to the world. David’s throne was in Jerusalem. Jerusalem in God’s Holy City. Arial photos and maps show that Jerusalem is in a natural formation that literally looks like the Hebrew letter “shin.” It is not the intent of this short writing to fully explain the meanings of the Hebraic letters. There are many people who have gone into great detail on how this letter represents God’s name. With that in mind, if God has placed His Name on Jerusalem who are we to argue with God?

Sadly, there are those who do not see it this way, who do not choose to believe the Biblical and historical records. There are also those who, fearing reprisal, will avoid the question. With recent announcements and events in the world, I choose to side with God. I choose to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

Do you pray for the peace of Jerusalem?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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The prophets foretold of His coming!

December 6, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
(Isaiah 42:6-7 (NIV))

The words written in Isaiah hundreds of years before His birth pretty much summarize God’s plans for Jesus. These and many other words written by the prophets all tell of the coming of Jesus and every prophecy about His first coming was fulfilled at His coming.

I have read various different counts about prophecies that pointed to Jesus, and no matter what count is presented, every single one of them came true during the birth, life, crucifixion or resurrection of Jesus. I realize that there are always skeptics and doubters who will say that the prophecies are vague and can be interpreted in different ways. When I think of this, I remember the fact that you will find what you are looking for. In other words, if your heart is hardened to Jesus, then nothing will sway you. You will find room for argument in any proof that is presented to you. If that is you, it is my prayer that your heart be softened before it is too late!

This time of year is a wondrous time for it is when the Body of Christ celebrates the birth of Jesus. It is the time when we choose to remember God’s plan unfolding through the birth of a little baby. It was not the beginning of the plan. God had it planned long ago. In fact, He even told us how it would happen. He declares His intentions long before they begin to unfold.

Declare what is to be, present it—
let them take counsel together.
Who foretold this long ago,
who declared it from the distant past?
Was it not I, the Lord?
And there is no God apart from me,
a righteous God and a Savior;
there is none but me.
(Isaiah 45:21 (NIV))

God always tells us what He is going to do before He does it. For over two thousand years people have been rejoicing because He sent His Son to this world to fulfill the promises given.

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))

How do we know that Jesus is His one and only Son?

The prophets foretold of His coming!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you long for a pure heart?

December 5, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (NIV))

What is a pure heart?

Do you think that it has anything to do with the following?

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
(Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV))

Perhaps I should ask if you think that it has anything to do with the lack of those characteristics and the presence of the following characteristics.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Perhaps the best way to describe a pure heart is in a similar manner that God used to describe David.

After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’
(Acts 13:22 (NIV))

In essence, a pure heart despises the worldly, sinful nature and seeks the things of God. A pure heart longs to have the same desires that God has in His heart. Is this something that you truly desire? Think about that the next time someone cuts you off in traffic, or the next time that someone takes the credit for something that you have done.

Do you long for a pure heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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