It is a bed fit for a king!

December 22, 2022

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
(Luke 2:7 (ESV))

Everyone who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior knows the story of His lowly birth.

To be honest with you, I am still amazed that He stepped out of heaven to become one of us. How many kings would give up their throne? How many kings would exchange places with the least of their kingdom? How many kings would willingly walk among their people as one of them, only to willingly die so that their people might live?

God’s gift of grace is amazing. It is beyond comprehension, yet, it still happened. It all began with a single birth that the world didn’t even notice, and today, over two thousand years since that birth, that single birth has been used to divide time. It has been used to bring grace and salvation. It has also been used to bring division between those who do not believe and those who do.

Never before or since has a single birth been so crucial to all of humanity!

To those who profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, I want to take a moment and wish you a Merry Christmas, for His birth was the beginning of God’s plan to bring about salvation. It is when our Lord stepped out of heaven and went to sleep as a baby in a manger. No bed has ever performed such an important role, for this feeding trough, this manger, became the bed for the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

Have you ever thought of the manger in this manner? Have you ever given thought to how a lowly animal feeding trough became the symbol of the birth of Jesus? The manger now symbolizes new beginnings. It symbolizes grace and mercy. More importantly, it symbolizes God’s love for us.

It is a bed fit for a king!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Don’t you think it’s time to accept this amazing gift of grace?

October 31, 2022

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
(Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV))

Do you like gifts?

I realize that I just asked a rhetorical question. Human nature seeks things that are self gratifying, so I can honestly say that I have never met anyone who hates gifts. In fact, most people love to receive gifts. Since this is part of our nature, why do so many people fail to receive the greatest gift of all?

It simply doesn’t make sense!

Thankfully, there are people who have received this amazing gift of grace and are doing all that they can to share the knowledge of this gift to all who will hear, no matter where it may lead them. As I write this, I am tracking a flight that is going half way around the world so that a group of nine men, including my youngest son, can share the Gospel with an unreached tribe in a mountainous region of a country that I don’t want to currently name. They feel called to go and share the good news in a place that is so far outside of the comfort zones of most people in this country. They are flying for two days, and then hiking for three days just to reach this group of people. They know that this gift is so great that it must be shared!

And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
(Romans 10:15 (NIV))

Do you feel that you are being sent to share this amazing gift of grace?

Let me ask another question. Have you even claimed this gift for yourself?

In most of the westernized world, there are churches everywhere. There are preachers and teachers sharing the good news. You can find Bibles in almost every hotel room and in almost every major retail store. You can turn on the television or go to a video website and watch people sharing the Gospel. You can turn on the radio and hear people proclaiming the good news, yet, so many people still turn a blind eye to the truth that can set them free from the power of sin and death. If you are one of these people, don’t wait until it is too late! If people are willing to go half way around the world for people whom they don’t know, don’t you think that there is something to this good news that you need to look at?

Don’t you think it’s time to accept this amazing gift of grace?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Why do You still love us?

September 23, 2022

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“What is man, that you make so much of him, and that you set your heart on him,”
(Job 7:17 (ESV))

It is often said that the Bible is actually God’s love letter to His creation.

Is that how you see it?

It sounds like Job saw it this way. He knew that the Lord loves those who love Him. He knew that God wants people to come to Him of their own free will. He knew that God desires nothing more than a personal relationship with each and every person who has ever or will ever walk this earth. From this passage, it is clear that Job was amazed that God cared so much for His creation. To be honest with you, God created everything from the planets and the stars to the microscopic single cell animals and plants. In all of this vast creation, man is the greatest love of God’s. Everything that He has done or ever will do is for His creation.

I have often stated that I love to read and compare various translations, for the subtleties truly bring things to life. The Complete Jewish Bible translates this passage in this manner.

“What are mere mortals, that you make so much of them? Why do you keep them on your mind?”
(Job 7:17 (CJB))

We are told that where our treasure is there our heart will be also. We are also told that what we think about is what we treasure. In reading these two translations, we are clearly told that we are in God’s heart and on His mind. We are His treasure!

With all that humanity has done, God still loves us.

With all the rebellion that is in our hearts, God still loves us.

In fact, He loves us so much that He devised a plan to bring us to redemption.

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 they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

All that we have to do is accept this amazing grace for ourselves!

We know that God’s ways are far above our ways, yet, I often wonder what motivates God to do such an amazing thing for us even when we don’t deserve it.

Why do You still love us?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Who do you need to tell about the Son?

August 20, 2021

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
(1 John 5:12 (NIV))

If you ever go shopping, you are familiar with the concept of buying one, getting one free. I have to tell you that no matter what type of deal you may get when you do this, it is nothing compared to the amazing deal that you get for free by accepting God’s Son, Jesus, as your personal Lord and Savior! You get someone who is closer than a brother and you also get eternal life with Jesus in the presence of the Father. This is the ultimate deal considering our sinful nature.

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

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

To summarize, we are all sinners and the penalty for our sin is death, but God…

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 they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

This message never gets old, especially if you have the Son and life. It is also a reminder to those who profess a faith in Jesus that this gift is too precious, too great to keep to ourselves. When we read about God loving the world, we must not forget the consequences for those who do not have the Son of God. They do not have life! Is that what we want to have on our conscience? Do we want to forever realize that because we did not share the Son with someone, they are lost for all eternity?

Having the Son and having life is by far the very best deal that anyone can ever make. It is as easy as ABC.

A is for admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior.

B is for believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead.

C is for call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.

Who do you need to share the ABCs with?

Who do you need to tell about the Son?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Do you support those who support Israel and Jerusalem?

October 30, 2020

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing:
(Ezra 1:1 (NIV))

We know that God used Nebuchadnezzar as His servant to bring His judgment upon Jerusalem. Then at the appointed time, after the exiles had repented, He used Cyrus to bring about the return to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Temple. Both men had a part in God’s plans. Even though they did completely opposite things, they both fulfilled God’s plans. They were both servants of the Lord whether they knew it or not. God moves people to fulfill His will for the specific period in history. Nebuchadnezzar brought punishment and Cyrus brought restoration. Cyrus returned Jerusalem to the descendants of Israel. Cyrus also committed to rebuilding the Temple.

Jerusalem is the key!

But you are to seek the place the LORD your God will choose from among all your tribes to put his Name there for his dwelling. To that place you must go;
(Deuteronomy 12:5 (NIV))

That place is Jerusalem!

Cyrus knew this. That is why he listened to the Lord.

“This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:
“‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem, and may their God be with them. And in any locality where survivors may now be living, the people are to provide them with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.'”
(Ezra 1:2-4 (NIV))

Everything hinges on Jerusalem.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May those who love you be secure.
(Psalms 122:6 (NIV))

On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem.
(Zechariah 12:9 (NIV))

If we profess a faith in Jesus, who is the Jewish Messiah, then we should also stand firm in God’s Word when it comes to Jerusalem. The Body of Christ hasn’t replaced Israel. We are grafted into amazing grace. We should not do anything to bring destruction upon the city where God has placed His name! We must support the proclamation that Jerusalem is His city where His Temple shall be.

Do you support those who support Israel and Jerusalem?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Is there a difference between gathering and assembling?

September 1, 2020

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
(Hebrews 10:25 (NIV))

It is amazing how subtle nuances in a translation can make something take on a completely different meaning. Since we have to rely on translations from the original Aramaic and Greek, the understanding of the full meanings of the original language and how it is translated into English can vary slightly. Each translation conveys the meaning, but sometimes the subtleties give a much better understanding of the depth of the original language. This is why I like to cross reference between many different translations to try and fully understand the intentions behind the words. This passage is an excellent example of just this.

What do you think of when you read the phrase “meeting together”? Do you simply think of a gathering of individuals that come together for a short time and then go their separate ways?

Now, let’s take this one step further and reference a different translation.

not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
(Hebrews 10:25 (NKJV))

What do you think of when you read the phrase “assembling of ourselves together”? Does this paint a mental picture of unity and purpose where people come together for a common goal?

I heard something today that brought these two phrases into a much better understanding. I think that this analogy will also paint a very interesting picture for you as well.

The example was of a watch. When you gather the components of a watch into one location, everything is there, yet it has no purpose. They are still just individual parts that do not work together. But, when those parts are assembled in the correct way, the result is a fully functioning time piece. Now, how does this apply to believers who simply gather together versus being assembled into a functioning body of believers? We, as the church, should be more than the sum of our individual parts. We should rely on the Lord to assemble us in such a way that we bring glory to Him by uniting in the task that we have been assigned.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
(Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV))

If all that we do is gather, then we are not fulfilling our calling. We must be willing to assemble!

Is there a difference between gathering and assembling?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Do you like the sound of trumpets?

August 13, 2020

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
(1 Thessalonians 4:16 (NIV))

Do you like the sound of trumpets?

When we think of trumpets, we have a tendency to think of jazz music or big band swing, but do you realize that God has used the sound of a trumpet as a way to announce things of great importance to His people? The sound of a trumpet cuts through any other sound. It rises above the noise of the world and boldly proclaims to listen. It boldly proclaims to pay attention. It boldly announces that something is coming!

In this passage, the sound of the trumpet is announcing that those who have professed a faith in Jesus will arise from the dead. That, in and of itself is amazing, but there is more. There is something even more amazing. There is something that only the all powerful Lord God could make happen!

After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
(1 Thessalonians 4:17 (NIV))

To many people, the sound of a trumpet is shrill and harsh, but it is rapidly becoming the instrument that I long to hear above the din of the world! I long to hear the trumpet call of God, for I believe, . . . No! I know beyond any doubt exactly what that will mean! I know that when I hear the trumpet call of God, these events will rapidly take place and the desire to be with the Lord will instantly come true. Does that explain why I like the sound of trumpets?

What about you?

Do you like the sound of trumpets?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Are we still witnessing or are we simply waiting?

February 3, 2020

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 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 1:7-8 (NIV))

Have we gotten tired of waiting? Have we given up being witnesses because we don’t see any evidence of His return? Do you tell yourself that witnessing is not your gift? Perhaps we have developed an attitude that we have done our part and it’s time for a rest. Have I left your excuse out of my list?

I don’t mean to sound harsh and degrading. I don’t want to sound like I am pointing fingers. I realize that we have all felt like this at some point or another. In fact, I have told myself that personal witnessing is not my gift more times than I care to admit. To be honest with you, I am not good at public speaking. I am not good at one on one, but, if you give me a keyboard and a verse, I believe that I have found my way of witnessing. With this simple truth about myself, I believe that if you look at humanity, you will quickly realize that God created each of us with unique gifts. Because each unsaved sinner is unique, each repentant sinner who has claimed salvation has a unique way of reaching someone else. It is a way that may be designed for reaching only one person. We must remember that each person is loved by God and the one that you are called to share the Gospel with may be the next person to share the Gospel with millions!

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
(Ephesians 4:11-12 (NIV))

Just because our gift is not evangelism doesn’t mean that we can’t use our gifts to witness, to spread the Gospel!

It is true that we don’t know the hour or the date that the Father has set, but we all have an urgent task that we must not neglect. Whether it is by evangelism, writing, hospitality, generosity, music, or art, we all have a gift that we can use to witness to the amazing truth of the Gospel. Just because we don’t know the hour or the date doesn’t mean that we should stop using our gifts to reach the world. We are called to be faithful until He comes.

Are we being faithful with the gifts that He has given to us or have we grown complacent in our witness? Have we started using excuses like those I previously mentioned to convince ourselves that it is okay if we don’t witness? We need to take a serious look at what Jesus has called us to do and whether we are being faithful in that calling.

Are we still witnessing or are we simply waiting?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Isn’t it amazing what repentance can bring?

October 22, 2019

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,
(Acts 3:19 (NIV))

Do you remember when you first repented of your sins and accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?

How did you feel?

It is not uncommon for people to express this feeling as a cleansing sensation.

I like to think of it in the following manner. Before accepting Jesus you are burdened with the weight of the world. You are struggling with the toils of life and long for a glimpse of hope. You are filthy and in need of cleansing. Now, with that in mind, imagine yourself working in the yard on the hottest day of the year. You take a look at the swimming pool and without hesitation, you decide to dive in. Instantly you are refreshed. You come up out of the water cleansed. The dirt is gone. The weight of your toils have been washed away. You feel invigorated. You feel empowered. You feel renewed.

Repentance is similar in nature to this analogy with the swimming pool. No matter what you have done, no matter how filthy you may be, you can turn to the source of the cleansing. You can be refreshed. Better yet, you can choose to walk with Jesus and experience the refreshing on a daily basis. If you find yourself straying and in need of refreshment, simply turn back to Jesus!

Isn’t it amazing what repentance can bring?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Are you on watch for bad fruit?

October 10, 2019

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
(Matthew 7:15-20 (NIV))

Think about this the next time that you hear of something that is just too good to be true, or is just a little off of what God’s Word says that it should be. Most of the time, lies are obvious, but deception is a trick of the enemy. When things sound almost right with respect to God’s word, they are totally wrong.

It should be easy for believers to realize that the “fruit” does not match the source. We should be able to easily distinguish that the things the enemy tells us are too good to be true, especially when they contradict everything that we should know to be true according to God’s Word.

Why do people fall for the deceptions of the enemy?

Are we, as a fallen, sinful race, too far removed from the truth to even recognize it?

The words in Matthew are amazing and sadly amusing if you stop to actually understand what is being said. We have enough common sense to not look for grapes on an apple tree, yet, we easily fall prey to the small lies of the enemy in hopes that the promises are true.

Test everything against God’s Word. If something is supposed to bear goodness, but it lies to do so, does it really follow God’s Word? If you are promised that it is only a small digression and no one will know about it, can it be the correct fit?

We have been told what the things of God will bear.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Think of this passage when validating the truth about something. Does it produce according to the fruit of the Spirit?

Are you on watch for bad fruit?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


%d bloggers like this: