There is no greater gift!

November 21, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”
(2 Corinthians 9:15 (NIV))

Short, sweet and to the point!

This passage gives us a very concise reason why we should praise God.

Another translation states it as follows.

Thank God for his Son—a gift too wonderful for words!
(2 Corinthians 9:15 (NLT))

Either way you translate the original words, it boils down to a very definable and unwavering declaration.

Thank God for Jesus!

Even if you have nothing else in this world to be thankful for, your salvation was purchased by Jesus when He died on that cross to pay the price for your sins.

Even if you have everything in the world, your salvation was purchased by Jesus when He died on that cross to pay the price for your sins.

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

The amazing gift that Jesus willingly gave is readily available to any and all who will simply receive. No matter your status in the world, no matter your financial resources, no matter how sinful, Jesus paid the price that brings the only way to redemption from our sins.

There is no greater gift!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you allowed yourself to be changed?

August 31, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.
(Romans 1:28 (NIV))

Take a good look at society today and tell me what you see!

Everywhere you turn, everywhere you look, you see things that can only come from a depraved mind. You see more and more of the depravity that you thought you would never see in your lifetime.

Now, I am going to turn this around on each of us and remind each of us about the things that we used to do before we encountered Jesus.

They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
(Romans 1:29-31 (NIV))

Have you ever been greedy? Have you ever been envious? Have you ever been a gossip, or arrogant? Have you ever disobeyed your parents when you were younger? Have you ever done or said anything with a heartless attitude?

What makes us, as the Body of Christ, any different from those who are doing sinful things today? Did we have people sharing Jesus with us when we were unsaved? Did we have people praying us into the Kingdom? Did Jesus ever look at any of us and proclaim that we were too far gone and that He didn’t want to waste His time trying to bring us unto Himself?

I realize that the depravity has gotten much worse in the last years, but I want you to consider that the grace has always been enough to cover a multitude of sins. Prayer can work miracles in the world and in the lives of individuals lost in sin. When we see the depravity, we must remember that they are loved by God. We must remember the old saying, “But for the grace of God, there go I.”

Those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior are only the sinners that have accepted the message of salvation. We are not worthy of deciding who should hear the message and who we should pray to receive salvation.

God can change a mind and He can change a heart!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you been redeemed?

July 26, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. But what does the Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
(Galatians 4:28-31 (NIV))

I have read this passage many times. I have always known that the child born by the power of the Spirit was Isaac and that the son born in the ordinary way was Ishmael. In reading this again, I stopped cold when I saw that the passage was saying that Ishmael was persecuting Isaac. I literally froze when I read the next words – “It is the same now.” Those very words can still be spoken today of these two half-brothers. Isaac’s descendants are the tribes of Israel. Ishmael’s descendants are the Arab people.

Upon further reading, something else struck me about the slave woman’s son never sharing in the inheritance with the free woman’s son. At the time, a slave was property. A slave’s son was also property. How could such a person share in the inheritance with the free son?

The slave’s son was born out if sin, We are all born out of sin and are slaves to sin and death.

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
(Galatians 3:26-29 (NIV))

The current situation in the world is not hopeless. We know who is victorious. We also know that those who are lost in the sin of the slave’s son can be redeemed. We are seeing this all throughout the world where the descendants of Ishmael are accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior. We must pray that the redeeming grace through the Blood of Jesus breaks down the barriers and brings together slave and free, Jew and Greek, male and female.

Have you been redeemed?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Has the seed of salvation been planted?

March 24, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
(John 12:23-26 (NIV))

The day is rapidly approaching when we celebrate the truth that Jesus spoke of. He willingly fell and died so that the seed of salvation could be planted. From that willing sacrifice, millions of people since then have reaped the fruits of that sacrifice as they multiply. Easter is the time that we celebrate that glorious gift of redemption and grace.

However, that seed does not stop there. Jesus planted the seed. Since that day, redemptive grace has sprouted from that seed. When a seed dies, it gives life to grow more seeds. When these seeds mature, they too will die to allow more seeds to grow. This cycle is how one can produce one hundred and one hundred can produce ten thousand. Each seed can bring forth other seeds to continue the work. Jesus planted the seed. Now it is our turn. By accepting the grace and mercy freely given at the cross, we become seeds. We have a small kernel of grace within us. We must allow that grace to produce.

I am not saying that we must physically die in order for that seed to produce. It is possible to die to self, to give up your desires, in order that God’s desires may be fulfilled. Just as Jesus obeyed God in order for His seed to produce, we must also be obedient so that our seed may produce.

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

I believe that we have been given instructions to do as Jesus did and produce many seeds.

Have your seeds been scattered in good soil?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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That way, the only way, is Jesus!

March 22, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Her leaders judge for a bribe,
her priests teach for a price,
and her prophets tell fortunes for money.
Yet they lean upon the LORD and say,
“Is not the LORD among us?
No disaster will come upon us.”
(Micah 3:11 (NIV))

It is such a sad state of affairs for humanity that we never seem to learn. This was written to the house of Jacob many, many years ago, yet it seems like it was just written about our society, our nation and our world as it exists today.

Are we that stupid that we do the exact same things that our ancestors did and expect to get different results? That is what many people refer to as the definition of insanity. Perhaps we are insane. Perhaps we never learn.

How do we break this vicious cycle of sin and arrogance?

Humanity keeps falling for the same lies. They may look a little different, but that is just the packaging. Deep down, they are the same things that out ancestors fell for.

Why don’t we recognize the truth when it is right in front of us? Why do we prefer the lies and the resulting problems over the truth and the grace?

Sometimes I wonder what God thinks of His creation? Does He sit in heaven and shake His head because of our stupidity? Does He sigh from a heavy heart because of our failures? Has He ever looked upon us as a lost cause?

Thankfully, He sees potential in His creation. Thankfully, He loves His creation.

“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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

Even when we don’t learn, even when we fail miserably, God still loves us. We are not bound to our failures. We are not bound to our sins. Grace has been offered even though we could never earn it. That is the story of Easter. In our sin, we could never escape the vicious cycle. Jesus came to offer redemption, to offer a way to grace. It is a helping hand extended from heaven to lift us out of our sins. All that we have to do is accept. There was a cost to be paid for this gift of a helping hand. We don’t have to pay it. It is a gift of love freely given to by the one who came to help to the ones who He came to help.

No matter what the world may look like, no matter what failures we repeat, we have a way to break free of the laws of sin and death.

That way, the only way, is Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you living in Godly righteousness?

January 14, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
(Romans 3:21-24 (NIV))

We cannot be saved by law. The law only points out our shortcomings. We cannot be saved by any actions that we may deem worthy of our own salvation. There is only one way for someone to be saved.

Jesus was sent after many years of living under the law. Not a single person was found who was able to live a completely sinless and righteous life according to the law. We needed another way to come to God. He had to come to us so that we could have a way to come to Him. Only God was able to live completely according to the law. The law is perfect. Humanity, in our sinful state since the Garden of Eden, was far from perfect. In order for imperfection to acheive perfection, God had to intervene. Through His intervention, we now have a perfect way to God.

Only through Jesus Christ, His Son, can we approach the throne of God in complete righteousness. Only through the righteousness of Jesus can we be made righteous.

Are you living a failed righteousness through the law, or are you living a mercy based righteouseness through Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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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Don’t ever forget the real reason for the season!

December 8, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.
(Psalms 59:16 (NIV))

Do you have a refuge in which to take cover in times of trouble? Do you have a fortress that will protect you when all around you is in chaos?

We are rapidly approaching the day that we celebrate the birth of the one who offers love, protection and salvation. The world tends to think of Jesus as the baby in the manger. Everything must have a start, a beginning. If God sent His Son to live and walk among us, then He had to experience all aspects of this life that we cling to. Jesus had to come into the world as one of us. He had to live as one of us. He had to grow up and experience the things that each of us face in our lives. He had to be able to face temptation and win.

I realize that we think of Christmas as a festive time, and it is, but we must not forget that no matter what the times may bring, we have a fortress to shelter us. We have a refuge to keep us safe. We have an advocate who loves us enough to experience all that we face, even unto death. We have a Savior who has defeated death. We have a champion who sits at the right hand of God the Father and He is interceding for us.

Christmas is not about gifts and family. It is not about good food and fellowship. It is not about parties and presents.

Christmas is about the beginning of grace and the hope that we can all know salvation in our lives. Christmas is about Jesus! Don’t ever forget the real reason for the season!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What do you need to give up?

November 12, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come! If your hand or your foot causes you to sin cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.
(Matthew 18:7-9 (NIV))

This is far different from the “If it feels good, do it” mentality that is so prevalent in the world today. The sad thing about this mentality is that it doesn’t recognize, or even care, that it is pushing sin as the preferred choice.

Do we, as the Body of Christ, admit that sin has crept into our lives or do we sit back and look at everyone else as the sinful ones? Have we become overwhelmed by the world that we fail to recognize what is sin and what is not? Are we able to not only recognize sin when it enters into our lives, but are we able to take the drastic actions that are needed to remove the sin from our lives?

I can still hear the old saying, “If everybody else jumped off a cliff, would you do it, too?”

Why are we, as humanity, so blinded to the sinful nature of our actions, even when we long to be righteous in the eyes of God? Why do we justify ourselves by saying that at least we are not as bad as someone else?

In the eyes of God, sin is sin. It doesn’t matter what it is.

Thankfully, God has provided a way for us to redeem ourselves. He knows that we can’t do it on our own. That way is through the atoning blood of His Son, Jesus. Sadly, too many people look upon this as a free ride to do whatever they want. It does not work that way!

We are to take drastic action!

We are to repent. We are to change our lives. We are to follow Jesus. We are to turn away from our sin. We are to leave our sin behind us. For some, that may mean ending friendships. For others, that may mean changing jobs, and still, for others, that may mean so much more.

We are to give up the things of this world when we follow Jesus.

What do you need to give up?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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