Celebrate Jesus!

December 23, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
(Luke 2:8-14 (NIV))

What an honor it must have been to be the first to hear the good news! The shepherds must have been terrified by the presence of the angels, after all, angels were not, and are still not an every day occurrence.

Luckily for us, God’s plan does not discriminate against us for not being there. In fact, it is probably with mixed blessings that we are embraced as part of God’s Kingdom. We do not have the first hand experience of having seen the angels, the star, or Jesus’ life. Sometimes, I wonder if I would have believed if I lived at the time of Jesus!

On the other hand, we have the faith of millions of people who have gone before us. We have the New Testament, the hundreds of years of prophesy study that proves Jesus is King of kings, the Messiah. It may be easier for someone today to come to faith than it was in Jesus’ day. Yet, through all of this “historical proof”, I sometimes feel empty. I think it is the desire of every believer to be able to go back in time and be a witness to the miracles and hear the teachings of Jesus firsthand.

We celebrate the birth of Jesus and look back in awe to the miracles. At the same time, we should look around us in awe of what God is doing today and look to the not-to-distant future and know what God is going to do. We celebrate the First Coming. Some tomorrow we will celebrate the Second Coming.

Merry Christmas!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you sanctified? Are you blameless in the eyes of God?

December 14, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.
(1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (NIV))

In a little over a week, we will be celebrating the first coming of Jesus. We will be celebrating the birth of a baby who came to this world to free us from the law of sin and death! It is through the birth and life of Jesus, the crucifixion and resurrection, and the ascension that we have been sanctified.

Sanctify.

This is a word that most people don’t use. In fact, most people probably don’t truly understand the meaning of the word. Sanctify means to make holy. It means to give official acceptance or approval.

Think about that for a moment.

God sent Jesus into the earth in order to make us holy, in order to officially accept us and approve of us. We all understand salvation, but God’s love goes far beyond salvation. It goes far beyond washing away all of our sins. By accepting Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we have been made holy. By accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, we have been given official acceptance by God.

I find it amazing just how much we take for granted. We have lost so much understanding of God’s love simply because we have become ignorant of the meanings of the words that describe God’s love. We over simplify it to say such things as “God is love” and “God will forgive.” It seems that we are still infants when it comes to understanding who God is.

I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.
(1 Corinthians 3:2 (NIV))

We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
(Hebrews 5:11-14 (NIV))

Are you sanctified? Are you blameless in the eyes of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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