What do your eyes see – the world or your salvation?

June 10, 2015

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.

With all that is going on in the world, what do you see?

Do you see what the news media wants you to see or do you see things from God’s perspective? Are you aware of all that is going on in the world, most of which simply is ignored because it doesn’t fit into the politically correct agenda? Have you grown tired of all of the so called news and entertainment that appears to be designed to keep you from paying attention?

The Body of Christ has been told that we are aliens in a foreign land. Do you recognize the world in which you live? Does it look anything like what it did when you were a child? Do you long for what Simeon longed for – to be in the presence of your Savior?

The world is capable of enticement. Focus on Jesus! Focus on your salvation!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Celebrate His Resurrection and our salvation!

April 16, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”
(Matthew 20:18-19 (NIV))

In the next few days leading up to Easter, we need to remember what happened in Jesus’ life during these days. He knew what was coming and He went into it willingly. He laid down His life for us. Even though He was, and is, the Son of God, He paid the ultimate price for us willingly. He could have avoided the cross, yet He went through the torture and agony because He loves us.

As Easter Sunday draws closer, remember the agonizing death that Jesus went through so that we could celebrate His Resurrection and our salvation.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your thorn an excuse or is it your foundation of faith?

August 27, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NIV))

Have you ever wondered what it was that Paul had to put up with, just what it was that Satan used to torment him?

I find it very interesting and intriguing that the man whom God chose to spread the Gospel to the gentiles was given an affliction that too many of us would have simply said was too overwhelming. We would have simply given up if we had to face the “thorn in my flesh” that Paul faced.

All too often I find myself making excuses instead of doing what I know I should do. It is so much easier to make excuses than it is to obey. What a shame! I know that I miss out on many blessings and opportunities simply because I find excuses. Don’t get me wrong. There are times when I don’t make excuses, but the times that I do make excuses weigh heavily upon me. I find myself thinking about Paul and ask myself a simple question. What would the world be like today if Paul had allowed his “thorn” to stop him?

By God’s grace, Paul listened to God and we, as Christians, can trace our faith back to Paul’s obedience. God gave Paul the strength to see things through in spite of his thorn. He did not remove the thorn. If a perfect person could spread the Gospel to the gentiles, why would they believe? He would simply be another man who could speak eloquently. God used Paul’s thorn to keep Paul focused on Him, to keep him dependent upon Him.

What is your thorn? Is it an excuse or is it your foundation of faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Faith in the midst of rejection

January 15, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. For this is what the Lord has commanded us:
” `I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ”
When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.
(Acts 13:46-48 (NIV))

Have you ever been the “runner up?” Have you ever been given the consolation prize? Maybe you have even been given the prize because the person who had originally won it was not available to claim it. If you stop to think about it, that is exactly why most of the Body of Christ can claim salvation. Each of us are the recipients because the nation of Israel had rejected the very One that they have so long been looking for. They rejected their Messiah because they did not recognize how He was to come into this world.

Because of this rejection, we, the Gentiles, have been given grace and salvation. I often wonder how God’s plan would have unfolded if the Jews had accepted Jesus as their Messiah, especially since Jesus came for all.

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
(Romans 1:16 (NIV))

We can speculate, but all I know is that we have been given grace and mercy through the actions of many Jews to which we, the Gentile believers, must be thankful for. Jesus was a Jewish man. His disciples were all Jewish men. Paul, who preached to the Gentiles, was a Jewish man. The society that rejected Jesus and His teachings was a Jewish society. The handful of Jewish men whom Jesus selected had directions to spread the Gospel. They did this faithfully.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
(Acts 1:8 (NIV))

Through the faith of a few Jewish men, we, the Gentile members of the Body of Christ, have been brought into the kingdom. We must never forget that these men were Jewish, We must never forget that these men, like Jesus, were often rejected by their own. Would we have the faith and the strength to spread a message when our own people rejected it?

We owe much to the faith of these faithful servants.

We owe even more to Jesus for His sacrifice for us.

Pray for the nation of Israel. Pray that they may recognize their Messiah.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 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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Give praises to the Lord

June 27, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
(2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV))

Have you ever heard of anyone boasting about being weak?

This is not typical human behavior!

People boast about being the best, or being the strongest, but never do you hear of anyone boasting about being weak. Let’s face it, human nature makes us want to look good in the eyes of those around us. We want to show off, and what self-respecting showoff would claim to be weak? It just isn’t heard of.

When we have competitions, we crown the best as the winners. We have games where grown men and women compete to see who is the best. We even give awards to those who win. In all of this, do you ever hear someone say that they are too weak to compete?

I will be honest. There are those who profess that they owe their abilities to God, yet, for the most part, in these competitions, they are the exception.

Why did Paul boast that he is weak?

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.
2 Corinthians 12:7-8 (NIV)

Paul, even though he was chosen by God to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, had a physical affliction. Some have even suggested that he suffered from seizures. Paul, regardless of the physical issues, was used powerfully by God. He did not allow his physical limitations to keep him from fulfilling the call that God placed upon his life. He recognized the limitations and, more importantly, he recognized that God was using him in spite of the limitations.

Paul answered God’s call even in the midst of his own problems!

Would we do that?

How many times have we neglected God’s call upon our lives because we felt limited and incapable? How many times have we failed to realize that we would not be the ones doing that task? How many times have we failed to answer even when we had Paul as our example?

I know that I am guilty of this more times than I care to admit, still it is my desire to answer that call.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
(Isaiah 6:8 (NIV))

Are we willing to respond in this manner? Are we willing to overlook our weaknesses when God calls? Are we willing to step out in faith and acknowledge that it is God’s strength and not our weakness that is in charge?

I have a challenge for you.

God has a calling upon each of us. Step out to meet that calling. When wondrous things happen, boast that it is not you.

Give praises to the Lord.

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