It is time to celebrate the greatest joy!

December 23, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
(James 1:2-4 (NIV))

With Christmas just a few days away, the Body of Christ is embracing the joy of our Savior’s birth.

Have you ever stopped to think that we cannot truly experience joy if we have never experienced sorrow? Joy is an emotion that comes when we break free from something. We experience joy when we find someone and we know that we will not be alone. We experience joy when we persevere over a trial or tribulation. In essence, joy is the mountain top experience that we eagerly welcome after we have fought our way through the valleys in our lives.

With that concept outlined, think about the joy of Christmas again.

We are joyful because up until the birth of Jesus, humanity was a fallen and lost creation. We had no redeemer. We had no Savior. We, as a whole group, were facing the sorrow of sin and death and we had no way to escape the consequences of our sin.

There is joy in Christmas!

There is joy when we face trials.

There is joy because we have a risen Savior.

In just a few days, we will celebrate the physical birth of our Lord and Savior. I pray that you will embrace the joy of the celebration. I also pray that you will not forget that our joy came at a price that we did not have to pay.

God gave us great joy through the birth of a baby. It is time to praise God for His great gift!

Merry Christmas!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What does Christmas mean to you?

December 9, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
(1 Corinthians 12:27 (NIV))

I was reading through my older devotionals and came across this. I feel that it is worth another look.

Have you ever stopped to think that Christmas is the celebration of your birthday also?

Think about that for a moment.

I am not proclaiming that each of us who call upon Jesus as our Lord and Savior is of equal stature as Jesus. Rather, through the birth of Jesus, God moved to fulfill His plan for our salvation. Through the physical birth of Jesus, our salvation was given life. Through the physical birth of Jesus, our hope was given wings. Without the birth that we celebrate during this time of year, there could never have been a crucifixion, resurrection or ascension. Without these glorious events, the price would never have been paid in order to redeem us from the law of sin and death.

Christmas is, in essence, the beginning of our new life through grace. It is the beginning of the life that paid the price so that you and I can be redeemed.

If you are a believer in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then you have every right to celebrate the birth of the One who freely died so that you could be born again.

Many historians and theologians believe that December 25 is not really the actual date of Jesus’ birth. Many believe that it was actually in April. Still, no matter what the actual day, we celebrate an important birth. It is the most important birth in all of human history. It is the birth of the One who allows the rebirth of all who will simply proclaim Him. It is a new beginning for all. It is the beginning of the removal of all of our sins. All that we have to do is accept.

Christmas is the day that we can point to and claim that God’s redemption has arrived. Perhaps that is why people used to wish everyone a Mighty Christ’s Mass. They realized just what this day means. It is the day that God broke through the barrier of sin and death to reach out to offer each of us salvation, grace and mercy.

What does Christmas mean to you?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you in His light?

October 13, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
(1 John 1:7 (NIV))

There is a song by DC Talk that is based on this verse. The first few lines of the song say:
I want to be in the light as He is in the light
I want to shine like the stars in the heavens
O, Lord, be my light and be my Salvation
All I want is to be in the light*

All I want is to be in the light! That should be the desire of everyone who calls upon the name of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Basking in the light of God’s grace and mercy is the ultimate reward for all of us.

How can we walk in this light without radiating the light to others whom we meet? If we truly desire to be “in the light,” then this light will reflect off of us in much the same way that the moon reflects the light of the sun. The moon has no light of its own, yet it lights the darkness because it reflects the light of the sun.

We should also reflect the light of the Son into the darkness of this world.

* Copyright Forefront Communications

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’

October 7, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back–whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: `Watch!’ ”
(Mark 13:35-37 (NIV))

Who is the owner of your “house?”

If you have proclaimed that Jesus is your Savior, you are on the way to proclaiming that Jesus is the owner. If you have completely surrendered to His authority so that Jesus is Lord and Savior, then He is the owner of your house.

There is a difference!

Jesus wants to not only be our Savior, He longs to be our Lord.

If you stop to think about this and the history of humanity, you will realize that Adam and Eve surrendered the lordship of their lives, and ours, to Satan. It was a choice that they made. To truly trust in Jesus, we must make the same choice, but in reverse. We must surrender the lordship of our lives to the One who was sent to redeem us from the sin that was committed. That is how we make Jesus the owner of our house.

We know that Jesus will return for his own. We know that we are instructed to live our lives as if He would return at any moment. We are to be ready. We are to watch.

How are we to be ready? How are we to watch?

We are to live according to the words that Jesus taught. We are to proclaim Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We are to share the Gospel. We are to live according to God’s Word, and we are to do as Jesus told us. We are to watch!

Are you watching?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God instructs us through the Holy Spirit!

September 16, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
(Titus 2:11-14 (NIV))

Walking with God is more than just having the Creator as our champion. We also have a teacher.

God instructs us, through the Holy Spirit, on how we should act in all situations. We, as students, need to pay more attention to the “teacher” and do as instructed. Even when we have accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit is still a ‘gentleman”. He will not force us to do anything.

We must submit our wills to God’s Will. If we willingly do this, then we will be matured in our faith and prepared for Jesus’ return to gather the church together in the clouds. That is something that I do not want to miss.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you accepted God’s way to grace and mercy?

August 25, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

`The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.’
(Numbers 14:18 (NIV))

We need to be thankful that God is slow to anger. If he were not, there would be many of us, if not all of us, who would not be where we are now. We would not be part of the grace and salvation that God offered through the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. God is abounding in grace and salvation, yet, He is also a just God. If you reject Him, He will punish you by the actions that you have committed. He gives you every opportunity to accept His gift before He acts.

Sadly, far too many are not only rejecting God’s gift, they are blatantly turning against God in all that they do. It seems that if the Bible calls something a sin, then the world embraces it. If the Bible calls something righteous, then the world rejects it.

I know that the Lord is slow to anger, but I often wonder just how much longer He will wait before the things written of begin to unfold. Whether that is tomorrow or a thousand years from now, our frail human existence could end any minute. We must be prepared. We must be ready to meet God on His terms.

God’s terms call for repentance through accepting His Son, Jesus, as your personal Lord and Savior. There is no other way!

Have you fully accepted God’s way to grace and mercy?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you a part of that great multitude?

March 31, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”
(Revelation 7:9-10 (NIV))

A great multitude that no one could count!

Have you ever been part of a large crowd? Have you ever seen photos of a large crowd? Perhaps the ones that come to my mind are of the crowds that gather on the mall between the Capital Building and The Washington Monument. If you have ever been there, you know just how big of an area this is and just how many people it can hold. They even have ways of estimating a count for the number of attendees in that area.

Now, imagine that crowd. Picture in your mind a crowd so great the no one can count or even begin to estimate the numbers.

God is good!

It is by His grace and mercy that this scene can and will unfold.

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

No one can be a part of that crowd based on their own merits. No one can be in the presence of God in their sinful nature, yet, we know that an unimaginable number of people will be in the presence of God. The great multitude is the Body of Christ. The great multitude are the individuals who have called upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. It is these people who have had their sins washed white as snow. It is these very people who will sing praises and give thanks for the gift of salvation that they have received.

Are you a part of that great multitude?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you living according to God’s Word or man’s?

March 6, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

They searched the Scriptures day by day to check up on Paul and Silas, to see if they were really telling the truth.
(Acts 17:11 (NLT))

I am sitting here with mixed emotions. I am amazed at what just transpired in my study and writing and yet, I am saddened by what I was given, for I was given the following question.

Are you living according to God’s Word or man’s?

I then went to my database of scripture verses and this one from Acts came up. The following verse also came up.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV))

Do we spend enough time studying God’s Word so that we can know when something is true? Do we earnestly search the Scriptures or do we simply rely on other people to tell us what God’s Word says?

We are each responsible for our own faith. We are each responsible for our own study. We are each responsible for our own relationship with God and our personal relationship with Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We cannot claim salvation based on what our parents did. We cannot claim salvation based on who our pastor is? We cannot claim salvation based on how much we give.

We can only claim salvation by professing that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. We can only claim salvation when we profess that Jesus Christ is Lord over our lives. We must reject the world that rejected Him!

Jesus is the Word made flesh. In order to fully know Him, we must fully know God’s Word. Can you have a relationship by proxy? Can you claim an intimacy with someone when you only listen to someone talk about them for an hour a week? It takes a commitment. It takes searching and studying the Scriptures. It takes time spent in prayer. It takes time spent reflecting upon God’s Word.

How can we claim to be followers of Jesus when far too many of us don’t even spend the time to get to know Him?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you generous in your faith?

February 24, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The generous prosper and are satisfied; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.
(Proverbs 11:25 (NLT))

Have you ever met someone who just seemed to give even when they did not seem able to?

Did you ever see them run out because of their generosity?

God replenishes those who give freely from the abundance that He has given them. This is a lesson that is difficult to learn and one that I am still in the process of learning.

Let’s face the truth. We live in a physical world that appears to be governed by physical laws. It is difficult to ignore those laws when we are faced with them every day. It requires faith. It requires a faith greater than professing Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior. Don’t get me wrong. Professing that Jesus is your Lord and Savior is a big step of faith, but human nature will not allow us to let go of physical possessions as easily as it allows us to profess a faith in the unseen.

When we give generously, we take that next step of faith. It is a faith that acknowledges that all things are from God and that He will supply all of our needs. It requires us to give up control and that is a difficult thing to do for all of us. We worry about lack. We worry about sufficiency. We worry about everything that we can see.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
(Matthew 6:25-26 (NIV))

Generosity is a sign of surrender to the majesty of God. It is a sign of reliance upon God and not upon yourself.

Are you generous?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God’s Word is the only judge!

January 27, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.
(John 12:47-50 (NIV))

Did this passage catch anybody off guard?

Think about that for a moment.

How many people, including believers, have this notion that Jesus is to be our judge? This is easy to come to this false realization if you picture Jesus as He is during the Second Coming. We see Him dishing out justice on the world as He defeats the armies of the world in the Valley of Megiddo. Still, He is not the judge. There is one piece of information that we fail to bring to mind.

Jesus is wielding the Word of God as His sword. It is the Word of God that judges.

Perhaps we should think of Jesus as our defense attorney, and I know that I need one.

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

For those who call upon His name, Jesus is our Lord and savior. He is our defense attorney for when we stand before God to be judged. He knows God’s Laws and our sins, and He will stand in the gap for our benefit. He will claim the true believers as His own.

He will get our sentence pardoned.

Looking back at this passage, would you rather have Jesus as your judge or defense attorney?

I know that I want Him on my side.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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