What is God to you?

December 17, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?
(Psalms 8:3-4 (NIV))

How many times have you read or heard this passage?

If you are like me, you have had numerous encounters with this verse, but have you ever considered that this passage written by David is a perfect lead-in to God’s plan of salvation? David asked and God answered by providing grace and mercy.

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.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

Isn’t that what Christmas is about?

Humanity is a sinful, fallen creation that had no hope of redemption or grace! God had other plans. He had promised that salvation would come through the lineage of David. What we celebrate at Christmas is the fulfillment of this promise. What we celebrate is the fulfillment of hope. What we celebrate is the arrival of grace!

Consider David’s words. He asked God what we are to Him and He showed us!

The problem is that we are too arrogant and prideful to accept what we have been shown. We need to become more like David, who humbled himself enough to ask. Once we humble ourselves, God will show us more than we can imagine. He will give us more than we can comprehend. When we are able to truly humble ourselves, the true meaning of Christmas becomes obvious. We were lost and in need of a Savior. Because of God’s great love for us, He gave us salvation through Jesus.

We know what we are to God. What is God to you?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do we listen to His voice?

December 16, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
(John 10:1-3 (NIV))

Whom do you follow?

Whom do you trust?

All throughout history humanity has been deceived by one lie after another. Why do we look for something and expect it to be as promised when we can’t verify the credibility of the source? There is only one source that is credible. There is only one source that knows us by name. There is only one source that enters through the gate.

Why must people make it so difficult?

Why do people take a look at what Jesus teaches and tell themselves that it cannot be that simple? Why do they think that it will work for everyone else except them? Why do they listen to those who have come into their lives through something other than the “gate?” Why do we, as humanity, prefer to listen to the thief and the robber? Is this the same desire or gullibility that has allowed con men and the proverbial snake oil salesmen?

What is it about human nature that makes us want to look for an alternative when we are told that there is only one way? Why do we want to test the warning signs that boldly proclaim danger, yet ignore the wisdom and direction that leads to life?

With Christmas rapidly approaching, why do so many ignore the gift that God gave to His creation? Why do we look for alternatives to what God has given?

Perhaps it is due to the old saying, “It is too good to be true.”

Think about that. Our society has been telling us for a while that we must beware of things that are too good to be true, because they are not true. I honestly believe that our society has become jaded by this and now, too many apply this to faith in Jesus.

Jesus is not too good to be true! He is the truth.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
(John 14:6-7 (NIV))

Jesus is the shepherd. He enters through the gate. He knows our names. He calls us out.

Do we listen to His voice?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Through the eyes of a little child!

December 15, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all–he is the greatest.”
(Luke 9:48 (NIV))

I have read this passage many times and tonight it hit me in a way that I had not thought of before. Perhaps it is the time of year with Christmas very close, but something made me look at this in a different light.

I know that many Christians have trouble with the idea of Santa Claus, but if you consider the roots of this “person,” you come away with a different perspective. Nicholas was a 4th century Christian who was known for helping children. He is also known for other things, but his love and help of children has gained him much notoriety. There are various different stories about Nicholas, but the one thing that stands out is how he used his love for Jesus to reach out to the little children.

Perhaps our understanding of Santa Claus could use a true historical perspective based on church history and not on what society has made him. Perhaps our understanding of many things could use a true historical perspective based on church history.

Could you imagine a Christmas not tied up in gifts and decorations, but in the grace and mercy that God gave us through the manger? Could you imagine a Christmas based on the greatest gift of all times instead of the “perfect gift” that will be obsolete in a short time?

Nicholas came to mind because of his ministry to children. Jesus told us that we are to be as little children. We need to look at His love without the sins of the world trying to cling to everything and distort the truth about the greatest gift that humanity could ever be given.

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

Perhaps we need to look at the gift of Christmas through the eyes of a little child once again!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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God is still in control!

December 14, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?
(Luke 15:25 (NIV))

I realize that this doesn’t sound like a passage that has anything to do with the Christmas season, but I think that we all need to be reminded of this, especially with the events of this last year. In fact, I honestly believe that it fits in perfectly as a reminder of what God has done for us.

We have had a year like no other. Who knows what the future holds in store for us until Jesus returns? I don’t want to get into the theology of the Rapture and when it will happen. All I want to do is remind everyone of the promises that have been fulfilled by God when He sent His Son Jesus into the world. That arrival, that promise fulfilled is what we celebrate. It is what we hold fast to. It is a joyous occasion. It is a joyous reminder that if God promises, then He will keep His promises.

Are you worried about the world?

Leave at the feet of Jesus!

Are you worried about your job?

Leave it at the feet of Jesus!

If you are worried about anything, you can leave it at the feet of Jesus!

No matter what we may face, we must remember what God has done for us. We must remember that He is not finished yet. We must remember one very important thing!

God is still in control!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you filled with the joy of the Lord?

December 11, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Blessed are they whose ways are blameless,
    who walk according to the law of the LORD.
Blessed are they who keep his statutes
    and seek him with all their heart.
(Psalms 119:1-2 (NIV))

Christmas is rapidly approaching in a year that has been far from ordinary!

With everything that has been happening in the world, have you been able to stay true to the faith that you profess? Have you been able to stand firm in your walk with the Lord? Have you done things this year that you said that you would never do? Have you been embarrassed by your actions?

This is a time to reflect on our sinful, human nature. This is also a time to reflect on what God has done for us by sending His Son to earth to give us grace. It is also a time to reflect on our attitude towards this gift. Do we truly keep His statutes and seek Him with all our heart? This Christmas morning, I pray that you are truly thankful and joyous, celebrating the true meaning of the day. I pray that you are able to lift your eyes to the heavens and truly be thankful even in the midst of the current state of this world, for this world is not our source of joy!

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.
(1 John 2:15 (NIV))

Do you love the world? Do you find yourself looking to the world for your joy? As we draw near to the end of an unusual and difficult year, it should be obvious that the world is not where we, as believers, should focus. We must remember the true reason for the season and keep that joy. If we hold fast to that joy, we can face anything that the world and the enemy may send our way.

Are you filled with the joy of the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you have the faith to praise God even in hardship?

December 10, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
(Job 1:21 (ESV))

Would you be able to praise the Lord even if you were in a situation similar to that of Job?

Could you find the faith to praise God even in the midst of hardship?

These are good questions for each of us to consider when things are normal. With everything that is going on in the world at this point in history, it is rapidly becoming a topic that we, as the Body of Christ, must take very seriously. Things are unfolding at a rate that only a few short years ago would seem almost impossible. It is important that we remember that this world is fleeting. It is also important to remember that the enemy is the prince of the earth. He longs to be worshipped and to destroy all who worship the true Lord.

I want to pose a scenario for your consideration. You are going on a journey and on this journey you must drive through some unpleasant areas in order to get to your promised destination. Arriving at this destination will result in you receiving an inheritance of untold value. Do you take a look at the unpleasant surroundings and give up on the destination because of your current location, or do you remember the promise and keep going? What happens if you have a flat tire along the way? Do you give up or do you hunker down, change the tire and keep moving? What if it cost you everything that you have in order to reach your destination? Would you give up, or would you go?

I love the way that this concept is presented not once, but twice, within Matthew.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
(Matthew 13:44 (NIV))

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
(Matthew 13:45-46 (NIV))

Job knew this joy. Job knew this truth! Even when he faced hardship, Job knew where his true treasure was to be found.

We will all face hardships during this physical life. We must remember that this life is only a journey. Through Jesus, we have a promised destination that is amazing! We must not lose site of this promise. We must not take our eyes off of the Lord!

“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))

We must praise Him even when we are facing worldly hardships. We must praise Him for overcoming the world.

Do you have the faith to praise God even in hardship?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you gotten lost on a detour?

December 9, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

According to the world, there are many different ways to get to heaven.

What do you believe? What do you know to be the truth? Do you believe that they are the same thing?

Each religion in the world professes that they have the only path to get to god. You will notice that I chose to use a little “g,” for the gods that they claim to be able to reach are not the God of the universe. Each religion sets out a path that you must follow to achieve a higher level. Everything that they claim gets you closer to their god is something that you must do, but our God, the God of the universe did something to reach us!

He sent His Word! He sent His only begotten Son.

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))

Jesus came to shine the light!

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

Jesus came as one of us, a living man of flesh. We can never be good enough. We can never earn our way to God. Because of this, God came to us! Jesus was sent by God, as God made man, to bring us back to Himself.

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))

The world tells us that we have to get better in order to see God. God tells us that He is better than the world. He has reached out to us to share His goodness, righteousness, mercy and grace. Personally, I know that I am not capable of anything on my own. I was drowning in a sea of sin. God reached out and rescued me. I didn’t have to rescue myself. Grace was and forever will be a gift. All that you have to do is accept it. If you are required to do something of your own strength, then you are on the wrong path.

Have you gotten lost on a detour?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you let the world know of your faith?

December 8, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.
(John 3:36 (NIV))

With Christmas rapidly approaching, this passage puts a whole new spin and sad perspective on things for those who refuse to say “Merry Christmas.”

This celebration has been in effect for about two thousand years as a way for humanity to give thanks and to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is true that the early church picked a day that had been a day of celebration for the “barbarian” tribes of Europe, but, even so, the celebration and the season has been Christmas for many more years than can actually be traced historically.

It is the time that we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Is it possible that the simple act of refusing to say “Merry Christmas” is an actual rejection of Jesus as told of in John 3:36?

Think about that.

These people who refuse to say “Merry Christmas” are still very willing to celebrate and some are even willing to be nice to those around them, yet, they reject the very reason that we celebrate.

I find it ironic that the very day that we, as the Body of Christ, celebrate the gift of grace, mercy and life, many people are taking a stand that may result in their loss of eternal life. I often wonder just how Satan managed to plant the seed within people to get them to refuse life.

Believing in the Son is rapidly becoming a dividing line. It appears as if the weeds are rapidly growing.

“The owner’s servants came to him and said, `Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
” `An enemy did this,’ he replied.
     “The servants asked him, `Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
” `No,’ he answered, `because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ “
(Matthew 13:27-30 (NIV))

Be sure to wish someone a Merry Christmas each and every day. If it isn’t Christmas time, tell them of the grace and mercy that Jesus brought to the world. Offer Jesus to everyone.

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))

Do you let the world know of your faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you received and believed?

December 7, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—
(John 1:12 (NIV))

Have you been given this gift?

Perhaps I should ask this in a different manner for this gift is freely given to all, but it takes a willingness to receive the gift. You must ask to receive it in order for the gift to be given. This requires that you humble yourself to the point of recognizing that you are a sinner in need of the gift of a savior. This recognition opens the door to receive so much more than anyone could imagine. It opens the door to receive so much more than anyone could ever do for themselves, for we are all sinners by nature.

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))

The gift is offered to everyone who will accept!

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
(Romans 3:22-24 (NIV))

Nothing in this life is a sure thing. The old saying that we may be hit by a bus is so true. We never know what tomorrow will bring. If tomorrow finds you no longer on this earth, can you say with confidence that you will be with Jesus? Can you say with confidence that you will be recognized as a child of God? It is so simple to ask to receive this wonderful, eternal gift! It is as easy as ABC.

A is for admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior.

B is for believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead.

C is for call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.

God made it so simple to receive and believe! Have you received and believed?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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These truly are reassuring words for tough times!

December 4, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
(Isaiah 43:2 (NIV))

No matter what you may face in this world, you have this promise to hold on to.

God will not forsake us in our times of trouble. It is we who forsake Him. All throughout history, God has been faithful to keep all of His promises. It has always been humanity that breaks their promises to God.

Are you able to stand firm in your faith? Can you say with complete confidence that you will never stray from your faith and that you will never do something that breaks God’s heart? Sadly, human nature doesn’t have a very good track record, but God does! There are those two wonderful words…

But, God!

There was a time when the enemy thought that he had won, but God had another plan.

There was a time when the enemy killed Jesus, who was and is God’s plan, but God turned the tables on the enemy.

I could go on with many more examples. One thing that I do need to point out is the old saying that God is never late. He is also never early. Everything is according to His time. When things appear to be beyond all hope, look up! When things appear to be at the darkest that they can get, look up! We must remember the “but, God” aspect. Things always happen when the time is right so that it is obvious that it is not of our own doing. When we pass the the tough times in this world, when we pass through the waters, we must never lose sight of the hope that we have through Jesus!

We must cling to this passage, for these truly are reassuring words for tough times!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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