God’s gift to us is amazing . . . grace!

December 9, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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))

Have you ever thought about this passage as a Christmas passage?

We have been given the ultimate gift through God’s love for us. When a gift is given, someone has to pay the price. It is free to the recipient, but the one who gives the gift takes it upon themselves to pay the full cost no matter what that cost may be.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

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

When was the last time that you took it upon yourself to give good gifts to several people? I am sure that it cost you a considerable amount, yet, you willingly paid the price so that you could freely give the gifts that you gave. Jesus willingly paid the cost needed to give grace and mercy to every person who has ever lived. That cost was more than we could bear just for our own sins, yet Jesus took all the sin of the world upon Himself for our sakes.

In this time of year that we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we must never lose sight of the reason that Jesus was born. It is at this time of year that we see the innocence of a baby, but we must not forget about the power and authority of Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Merry Christmas!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How have you responded to God’s gift?

November 25, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death–
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:5-11 (NIV))

It is hard for us to imagine that God could send Jesus who willingly gave up HIs authority while on this earth. He humbled himself to the point of servanthood and, eventually, death. Even in our best moments, we could not be capable of doing this, let alone planning to do it.

It is true, that under certain circumstances, people will rise to the occassion and do something that is selfless. Yet, could you imagine planning to be a servant and knowing that you would die a horrible death because you made the choice to do so? Self centeredness and self-preservation are too strong in us to willingly accept what Jesus accepted on our behalf.

Many people think that Jesus was only a good man, yet, even the best of men could not have done what he did? Only the Son of God could have willingly accepted the burden that he bore, for he knew the rewards that would be gained for all who called upon his name. He went willingly to be our sacrifical lamb so that we would not have to face eternal separation from God.

We have a great gift that has been given to us.

Are you thankful for that gift?

How have you responded to that gift? Are you one who bows your knee and confesses before man, or will you be one who confesses too late?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t let pride force you to accept your wages

May 19, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 12:23 (NIV))

Which would you rather receive – wages for all of your labors or a gift greater than what you could ever work to achieve?

No matter how simple the answer to that question may seem, there will always be those who refuse to accept a gift so great. They say things like “It is too good to be true,” or “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” They may even say things like “I don’t want anything that I can’t earn for myself.” Part of me wants to respect these people for they want to work for what they have. This is an honest character trait that is admirable, however, there needs to be a balance. It is too easy to allow pride to take the place of honest labor.

Pride !

Once again it raises its ugly head. Pride is able to build lots of things, but it can also destroy things of great value. Are you too proud to accept a free gift from the maker of all things? Are you too proud to admit that there is something that you are not capable of achieving on your own? Are you too proud to shout out to God that you are not capable of attaining His ideal for your life? Pride can be that sin that separates us from God. It is that character trait that will convince you that you earn the wages that are due to you and not the grace that is freely given to you.

Don’t allow pride to blind you to the free gift that is yours simply because you haven’t earned it. No one has earned it. No one is capable of earning it. No one can receive wages sufficient enough to pay for it. It is freely given but cannot be purchased.

Open your heart to the gift. Don’t let pride force you to accept your wages.

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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Are you willing to accept it?

October 23, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.
(Luke 5:12-13 (NIV))

Isn’t that just like Jesus? He was willing to do just about anything for His Father’s creation.

We was willing to leave His place in heaven. He was willing to give up His authority. He was willing to become a man. He was willing to live as we live. He was willing to cleanse the leper when touching someone with leprosy meant becoming unclean. He was willing to heal the sick and to raise the dead. He was willing to die on the cross. He was willing to take the weight of all of the sins that had ever happened or would ever happen and bear them so that we would not have to. He was willing to give us His glory in exchange for our sins.

All that we have to do is accept that gift.

We must be willing to extend our faith. We must be willing to admit that we are sinners. We must be willing to admit that we cannot do it on our own. We must be willing to surrender ourselves to Him.

To me, it is a simple decision. We gain everything while He willingly gave up everything.

Jesus is still willing to give you everything that He willingly paid the price for two thousand years ago.

Are you willing to accept it?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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With Jesus, all things are possible

June 11, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.
(Romans 7:21 (NIV))

Paul knew that human nature was to turn to sin even when we don’t want to. Paul, who turned away from everything that he had been raised to follow, knew that sin lurks behind every shadow. Paul, the man whom Jesus sent to share the Gospel with the Gentiles, often found himself in situations that would easily allow sin. He knew very well that the possibility to sin is constantly present. He also knew that he had to stay focused on Jesus in order to avoid falling into the trap of sin.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

It is true that human nature leads us into sin if it is left to its own desires. But, there is a bigger truth that we must all embrace. That truth is that God longs to give us salvation from our sins. He accomplished this through the atoning blood of Jesus, His only begotten Son.

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))

Grace and mercy are a wonderful gift from God, the Father. They cannot be earned. They cannot be purchased. They are freely given to any and all who will simply ask with a desire to turn away from their sin. With salvation comes the Holy Spirit to live within us. The Holy Spirit will guide us and help us to keep evil at bay so that we can focus on Jesus.

Paul was correct in saying that evil is right there with him. However, with the presence of the Holy Spirit and the power of Jesus, we can overcome evil and live in righteousness. We must never let down our guard. We must constantly be ready to overcome the enemy.

With Jesus, all things are possible.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The grace of the cross

April 10, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
(Mark 8:36-37 (NIV))

God places a very great value on each and every person. That value is so great that Jesus told us we have within us something worth far more than the world. There is nothing that is worth us losing that valuable part of ourselves.

Just what is it that we each possess that is of so great a value?

It is the God given soul that has been uniquely created by God for Him to love. It is the part of us that longs for a relationship with God. It is the part of us that is eternal.

When was the last time that you stopped to realize that God gave you something that is totally unique in all of creation? Do you truly realize that this unique part of you was created to be in the presence of God?

We have started to believe the lies and the distractions of the enemy. Satan knows the value of our souls. He knows that God created us to have a special part of ourselves that was designed to be intimate with God. Satan wants to steal this from us. He will throw everything that he can at us in order to keep us from realizing what we have. If he has to, he will trick us into trading our soul for something far lesser in value. This happened in the Garden of Eden and it continues to happen to this very day.

Take heart, for God has offered each of us a way to redeem our souls.

Do you realize the great gift that God gave you when He gave you a soul? Do you realize the second great gift that He gave you in order to redeem your soul?

Have you forfeited your soul or have you redeemed it through the grace of the cross?

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