Will you be ready to leave the worldly things behind?

June 19, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
“At midnight the cry rang out: `Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, `Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
” `No,’ they replied, `there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
“Later the others also came. `Sir! Sir!’ they said. `Open the door for us!’
“But he replied, `I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
(Matthew 25:1-13 (NIV))

I read something that someone posted today on this passage that made me take a second, long and hard look at what is being said.

What do you think of when you hear the word “virgin?”

Besides the obvious sexual connotations, it means purity. It refers to those who have decided to do what was righteous and have kept themselves pure. They follow the teachings of the master. They strive to do what is right and have made a decision to avoid what is wrong or sinful.

Still, some are called out as foolish!

Why would someone who strives to do what is righteous be called foolish?

They were not prepared for the bridegroom’s return.

Jesus is the bridegroom!

Are we ready for the bridegroom to return? Will He find us not prepared and, as a result, not ready to enter into His grace?

Have you ever stopped to think about what it means to be prepared for the return of Jesus? According to this passage, we have work to do so that we can be prepared. Perhaps it is similar to the story of Martha and Mary. Mary chose to sit at the feet of Jesus. Martha chose to be distracted by the preparations of daily life. Jesus told Martha that Mary had chosen wisely.

What does that tell us?

Are we distracted by the things of daily life? Are we easily sidetracked from what should be our first love? When the bridegroom comes, will you need to get anything or will you be ready to see Jesus? Will you be ready to leave the worldly things behind?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you notice what comes first?

May 5, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.”
(Joshua 3:5 (NIV))

Take a good look at the order of events in the passage above.

Do you notice what comes first?

Too many people expect God to do amazing things in their lives before they do anything to prepare themselves for it. They want the rewards before the commitment and the sacrifices are made.

God has an order in which He works. He seeks people who have humbled themselves and have prepared themselves for His presence. Take a look at Jabez. He prayed to have his area of influence increased so that more people would know about God. Take a look at Moses. He was raised in Pharaoh’s palaces, yet, he ended up tending sheep in the desert. During this time, he learned about God and was obedient to what his new place in life meant. Take a look at Mary. She was of such a nature that she found favor with God. You don’t find favor with God by going against everything that He instructs. You find favor through an earnest desire to know God personally.

Take a look at today’s society. We have become a society of instant food, instant credit, and instant divorce. If we want something today, we order it today and get it today. There is no personal patience. We expect everything now and our way. We have even extended this to our outlook and understanding of God. Even preachers are preaching this with all of the prosperity sermons that you hear. Don’t get me wrong. God wants to bless us, but the blessing only comes AFTER you have prepared yourself for that blessing.

What order do you expect in your life?

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

December 25, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

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.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
(Luke 2:1-20 (NIV))

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Would you react with humility or pride?

December 16, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me–
holy is his name.
(Luke 1:46-49 (NIV))

We have seen that Mary found favor in the eyes of God (Luke 1:30-33), but here we clearly see that her reaction was not typical of what you would expect from most people. Most people would dance around and shout out for all to hear that they had found favor. They would make it known. They would show anything except a humble spirit if they were told that they had found favor in the eyes of God.

How would you react?

Would you be like the world, or would you humble yourself and praise God for creating you?

Mary did everything exactly one hundred and eighty degrees opposite of what the world says that we should do. She realized that she was nothing without God and gave all praise to Him. She humbled herself to the point were she placed her whole life in His hands, after all, in that day and time, an unmarried, pregnant woman was legally subject to be stoned to death. She did not give any thought to her welfare, but praised God for His greatness.

Can you find the ability to praise God even if you are given circumstances that do not fit into what the world, or you, deem as appropriate? Would you accept God’s call? Would you boast about being called, or would you humble yourself and ask God to guide you? Think about what would have happened if Mary had acted differently.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is there someone in your life who makes you step forward?

October 24, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
“Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
(John 2:1-5 (NIV))

I think that we can all identify with Jesus in this story. Let’s face the facts. We have all had someone in our lives who made us step up to the plate even though we were not ready for it. They believed in us and pushed us to go that extra step when we weren’t ready to take any steps whatsoever.

Jesus had told His mother that His time had not come, meaning that He was not ready to begin what God the Father had sent Him to do. Did she listen? Did she back off of her request? She simply turned to those who were the servants and told them to do whatever He said! If you stop to think about what Mary did, she is probably the only person in history who literally forced God’s hand. She pushed Him into doing something that He was not ready for and as a result, we learn the significance of the person that God places in our lives to get us to move.

Does God have a call on your life? Are you moving, or are you waiting for that one person who will “force your hand” and make you move? God uses these people to bring about things in your life. He uses them to bring you closer to Him and then He uses them to make you spread His Word. Perhaps you will even grow into one of these people yourself.

The key is to not ignore this encouragement because it is often Godly counsel that serves as a confirmation of God’s calling.

You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
(Psalm 73:24 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Lineage

December 18, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:
Abraham was the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
Perez the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
and Jesse the father of King David.

David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,
Solomon the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asa,
Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,
Jehoram the father of Uzziah,
Uzziah the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,
Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amon,
Amon the father of Josiah,
and Josiah the father of Jeconiahn and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
After the exile to Babylon:
Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
Zerubbabel the father of Abiud,
Abiud the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
Azor the father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of Akim,
Akim the father of Eliud,
Eliud the father of Eleazar,
Eleazar the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ.
(Matthew 1:1-17 (NIV))

It is important to remember that God foretold that from Abraham’s line would come the promise. God also told that from David would come a king whose reign would never end. With Christmas upon us, we need to remember these promises and remember that Jesus came from these lines. These are only a few of the prophecies that Jesus fulfilled. Lineage is important to God and it is important to remember God’s faithfulness. God always keeps His promises. That is why the lineage of Jesus is so important. It shows us that God does keep His promises to the very smallest detail.

Merry Christmas

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God does not do things as we expect

December 11, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” –which means, “God with us.”

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
(Matthew 1:18-25 (NIV))

Could you imagine the confusion that Joseph must have felt? He wanted to do what was right according to Jewish society, and at the same time, he wanted to do what was right in the eyes of God. At the beginning, he must have thought that the two desires where one and the same. He thought that he knew what was right in the eyes of God, after all, Israel was God’s chosen people.

I can imagine how Joseph felt when the angel of the Lord appeared to him and told him to do the opposite of what he thought was correct in the eyes of God and society. Confused and, yet, obedient, he obeyed what God had told him to do instead of what society said to do. Because of this obedience, we have been granted two wonderful gifts: 1) the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ, and 2) the knowledge that God does not do things as society expects.

The next time you hear someone say, “That’s not the way we used to do it,” stop and think how Joseph felt and remember that God does not do things as we expect.

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