Who is your strength and your shield?

December 21, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy
and I will give thanks to him in song.
(Psalms 28:7 (NIV))

It is December and Christmas is rapidly approaching. It is the time that we think of Jesus coming to earth. It is a time of great joy, for Christmas symbolizes the birth of our hope and the birth of our faith.

It is also the time that people show just how much that they misunderstand just what Christmas means.

They see the baby Jesus and the gifts. They see the love that God has for His creation as it is wrapped in the joy of a new baby. People marvel at this and become filled with visions of heart warming activities surrounded by family and friends. What these people fail to realize is that this heart warming activity is about so much more than decorations, presents, family and friends.

It is about salvation.

It is about grace.

It is about the birth of a hope that cannot be taken from us.

It is about the strength of the one who shields us from the consequences of the sins of this world.

You can look upon Christmas as something nice and sweet and heart warming, which it is, or you can look upon Christmas with power and might, for it holds the strength of God’s promises to His creation. Christmas is powerful. The birth of Jesus made heaven rejoice and Satan cower. Would the birth of any other person have such an impact?

It is time that we show the world the strength of Christmas and the true joy of which we sing.

I have written about this before, but I think it is appropriate once again. The words “Merry Christmas” can be traced back a long way. They can be traced back to a time when “Merry” did not mean joyous and festive. The word “Merry” originally meant mighty. The festive greeting that we know as “Merry Christmas” originally was a greeting in which people wished for each other to have a “Mighty Christ’s Mass.” They were wishing for each other to have a powerful encounter with Jesus.

Strength and power!

May you have a Merry Christmas in every sense of the meaning.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus is the reason for the season!

December 20, 2017

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))

With all of the activities at this time of year that constantly keep us busy, we must not lose sight of the reason that we celebrate, the reason for the season.

Contrary to what many in our society claim, Christmas is not about family togetherness, although it does bring families together. Christmas is not about peace on earth and good will, although it usually promotes these traits. Christmas is not about gift giving, although there is something about it that makes you want to give.

Christmas is first and foremost the celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. The very name says it clearly. The word Christmas is a shortened version of two words “Christ Mass” in which the birth of Jesus was officially celebrated by the church. The word “merry” in Old English means “mighty.” People would wish each other a blessing so that they would have a MIGHTY (Merry) Christ’s Mass (Christmas).

Today, society is more interested in the mighty dollar than in the MIGHTY Savior. We need to remind each other that Christmas is a celebration of our salvation. That salvation comes through only one source – faith in Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. Jesus is why we have Christmas. It is not a time for Happy Holidays. It is literally a time for a Very Merry Christmas in the original meaning of the words.

Jesus is the reason for the season!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you deceiving yourself?

December 19, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
(1 John 1:8 (NIV))

I find it interesting that human nature is so quick to point out the faults in others, yet so slow to recognize the faults in ourselves. It is not uncommon for people to not acknowledge that they are sinners. It is a completely different matter to think that you are without sin even when we are told differently.

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

Deception is just another name for a lie, and we all know who the father of all lies is. Satan would like nothing better to convince us that we are okay just as we are and that we don’t need someone to save us from our sins. I want to present you with a few questions. If the enemy is correct that we don’t need a savior, then why did he spend so much time trying to kill Jesus at his birth? Why did he try to tempt Jesus to give up on His mission? Why did he nail Jesus to the cross?

If you look at yourself and think that you are the exception to Romans 3:23, then you have been deceived, you have believed the biggest lie of all time. If you think that you are without sin, then you are placing yourself equal to Jesus and you are deceiving yourself!

Are you deceiving yourself?

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