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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Look at the gift that Jesus gave us!

December 16, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
(Luke 16:13 (NIV))

Who or what do you serve?

It is the time of year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Lord and Savior, yet, society has turned this celebration into a monetary event. The celebration of the gift of salvation and grace has been over-run by commercialism and the need to spend. Don’t get me wrong. Gift giving is good, for we give gifts to celebrate the greatest gift that we could ever be given. It is when we lose sight of what is truly being celebrated that we start to become enslaved to the monetary side of the celebration.

It is not the monetary cost of the gift that is important. Look at the gift that Jesus gave us. It’s monetary cost was nothing, yet, it was done out of love for God’s creation. Its true cost to Jesus was something that could not be measured in gold. It cost Him His physical life, yet, He gave freely of something that had not monetary value, yet was more costly than anything this world can throw at us. He did not serve money. He served God!

Remember this simple, yet profound truth at this time of the year. Money is not your lord and master. It cannot save you. It cannot bring true happiness. It cannot bring eternal life.

What is your perspective?

What do you value?

Who do you serve?

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.
(Joshua 24:15 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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An amazing gift to be shared!

December 27, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.

When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord” ), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. 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 2:21-32 (NIV))

Did you breathe a big sigh of relief yesterday? Or maybe yours came this morning because you went out to the after Christmas sales yesterday and you didn’t have time to do anything else. Whatever may have happened, many people look upon the day after Christmas as being the end of the season.

It is only the beginning! Just as Jesus’ birth marked the beginning of our promised hope and salvation, Christmas marks the beginning of our celebration of this gift from God. Simeon knew that Jesus’ birth marked the beginning of salvation, and not the salvation itself. Many things needed to happen before the promise would be fulfilled.

Jesus did not come into the world in a miraculous manner and then spend the next thirty years in quiet solitude preparing for His ministry and crucifixion. We know that He amazed the scholars and priests before His baptism and the temptation in the wilderness.

We do not need to celebrate His birth and the promise that He fulfilled only on the days that we have set aside to remember His birth and His resurrection. We need to look at Christmas as the start of our opportunity to present His light to others as it was presented to us. We have several months until we celebrate His resurrection at Easter. What can we do to show the world the amazing gift that God gave us through Jesus Christ, His only Son? What can we do that will make those around us amazed at the resurrection and the promise fulfilled by it?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Come up here . . .

September 26, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.
In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying:

“Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,
who was, and is, and is to come.”

Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:

“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.”
(Revelation 4:1-11 (NIV))

We are given a very clear picture of what the Throne of God is like and how He is worshipped in heaven. Continual praise and worship by His creation!

We are also given a very clear picture of how quickly we can be in God’s presence. John was told to “Come up here,…” and at once he was transformed and in the presence of God. This is how it will happen when the true church is removed from the earth. We will be called and immediately be in the presence of Jesus for the celebration of the marriage of the Lamb!

Are you ready? Will you be with Jesus worshipping God or will you be sorry that you missed the most important event in history?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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He is alive

April 25, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.

He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”

They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

“What things?” he asked.

“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”

He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.

While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
(Luke 24:13-39 (NIV))

He’s Alive!!!

He’s alive and we are forgiven.

He’s Alive!!!

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Your grief will turn to joy!

March 22, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.
(John 16:20-22 (NIV))

How true this is!

The Body of Christ weeps at the events of this world. We see all types of evil that the world embraces as good and the good that God proclaims, they say is evil.

Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil.
(Romans 14:16 (NIV))

We are to turn away from evil and embrace what is good. We are to long for the good that God desires for His creation. We are to abhor the evil that has been unleashed. Do not embrace what you know to be evil.

It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
(1 Peter 3:17 (NIV))

Wait faithfully for what you know will come to pass, for God keeps all of His promises. We must watch and wait in anticipation just as a mother waits in anticipation of the joy of a new life.

Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, `I am he,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
(Matthew 13:5-8 (NIV))

Are you ready to rejoice after the birth pains have produced their joy?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Spiritual birth

February 23, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. ”
(John 3:3 (NIV))

Perhaps this is the most misunderstood concept for those who have not accepted the grace and mercy that God has freely given to those who accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

Just what does it mean to be born again?

What is your understanding of these two words?

Now, reflect back on what you understood this to mean before you accepted Jesus. Perhaps I should say reflect back on what you misunderstood this to mean, for that is a much better picture of a nonbeliever’s grasp of the concept presented.

The world sees believers use, and often misuse this term to the point where they ridicule the body because we use these words instead of delving into the meaning of them. From a physical, worldly perspective, it is impossible to be born again, for the ravages of time do not allow any of us to turn back the clock. We literally cannot be physically born again! The world sees this as an illogical concept.

That brings us to the vantage point that nonbelievers do not grasp, and that is that there are two separate realms that we are dealing with – the physical and the spiritual. We have all experienced a physical birth and have lived our lives in the physical world. We see. We feel. We exist. We do not truly live life to the fullest because we are missing a major part of our existence – our spiritual side.

By accepting Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we signal to God our Father that we are ready to take the next step and to be birthed into the spiritual world. We only see the physical world. We do not see the spiritual world with our eyes. It requires a faith that the physical world does not require. We must be willing to look beyond our understanding and say to ourselves that there is more to this existence than what meets the eye. Just as a baby exists in its mother’s womb, we exist in the physical world, and just as a baby must take the necessary step to go beyond the world as it knows it, we must be ready to take the step into the spiritual world and what it holds for us. Literally, we must be willing to have our spiritual existence birthed so that we may experience life as God planned it.

We are a multidimensional creature created to have a physical body and a spiritual connection to God. To be born again simply means that we accept that spirituality and the grace and mercy freely given from our spiritual Father.

Are you born again?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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