God worked miracles to redeem us to Himself!

December 9, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
(Matthew 2:13 (NIV))

Read this passage again and tell me that you don’t think the intrigue, the mystery, the suspense and the action are far better than any movie script that could ever be written!

Society flocks to movies that have far less viable story lines. Too many people will consistently follow these movies while saying that the Bible isn’t true. In one breath they claim that the events told of in the Bible couldn’t be true and in the very next breath they speak of fictional movie characters and their actions as if they were real. It is often said that the Bible is the greatest story ever told. Think about that for a moment. We have the ultimate good versus the ultimate evil. We have conflict. We have rebellion. We have the greatest falling away that has ever happened, and we have redemption. We also have the promise of the final victory over evil.

And, it’s all true!

What is written in Matthew tells us of the miracles that God performed when He came to this world to become our Savior. Humanity fell from grace and God came to save us.

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))

God worked miracles to redeem us to Himself!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you glad that God changes hearts?

December 6, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.
(Matthew 1:24 (NIV))

How many times have you gone to bed thinking that you needed to do one thing and woke up thinking something completely different?

Joseph had just such an event happen.

This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
(Matthew 1:18-19 (NIV))

Joseph wanted to do what was right according to God’s law so when he discovered that Mary was pregnant, even though he didn’t want to cause her harm, he felt that he couldn’t marry her.

But, God…

This was a huge “But, God…” moment. Not only would it change Joseph’s life, it would change the world and all of eternity!

Have you ever had a “But, God…” moment in your life? They are the moments where something so different than expected happens and it always glorifies the Lord. They are the moments that you look back on and recognize that God has His hand in the circumstances. They are the moments that you look back on and recognize as a pivotal, if not the pivotal moment in your life where following you decision, your path, would have resulted in disaster. That is when God stepped in and completely changed the course of your life to His glory!

Back to Joseph and his “But, God…” moment. This moment was not only pivotal in his life, but it was also pivotal in every life that has ever lived. Joseph had to be in the picture. It was through his lineage that God would fulfill His promise to Abraham and His promise to David. Joseph’s “But, God…” moment allowed him to step fully into God’s promises.

Are you glad that God changes hearts?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We have a Savior and He wins!

June 8, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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.
(Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV))

I am so very weary!

I don’t know just how much more of this world I can stand. Jesus is mocked and chastised while evil is declared truth. Common sense and civility no longer seem to exist.

The whole world simply seems to be upside down and getting worse!

Perhaps I spend too much time watching and reading about events in the world and the current state of what the world says is good. It is heartbreaking to see, but I believe that it is important to know what is going on so that I am at least aware and possibly prepared. We were told to know the seasons. We can’t live our lives in a vacuum where we are completely oblivious to what is going on around us. That is what the enemy wants us to do.

I am weary, or should I say saddened by the current state of the world. I am also very excited, for we have a promise from God. He sent His Son Jesus to be our Savior. Because of this, even when I am weary from what I see in the world, all I have to do is look up to see my Savior.

Don’t forget the promises that God has fulfilled in sending His Son!

I am eternally thankful for Jesus! Even in the midst of troubles, He is in complete control. Everything is unfolding just as the Lord planned. We have nothing to fear even when all seems lost.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

Are you afraid of the events that are happening in the world? Are you weary and burdened by the things that you see unfolding? Are you saddened by the total rebellion against God? Does it break your heart to see evil being called good and good being called evil? There is an old saying that it is darkest just before the dawn. To put this saying into context – when it seems that things can’t get any worse, look up. When you can’t understand why things are happening as they are, look up. When you think that the world can’t do anything else that goes against God’s righteousness, look up. The dawn is coming!

Angels rejoiced when Jesus was born. The enemy rejoiced when Jesus was crucified for he thought that he had won. The disciples rejoiced at the resurrection. Each believer rejoices at the moment of accepting salvation. The enemy is rejoicing once again, but all of the heavenly host and all who call upon the name of Jesus will rejoice at His return.

We have a Savior and He wins!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to pay the full price?

October 13, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the LORD what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”
(1 Chronicles 21:24 (NIV))

Is this your attitude?

King David wanted to create an alter to the Lord at the site of the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. Just a few verses before this, we learn that the angel of the Lord had appeared at this very site and was visible to David, to Araunah and to Araunah’s sons. Araunah did something that I am not sure too many today would do. He offered to give the property to David and to also provide David with all of the animals, the wood and the grain for the offering. In essence, David would not have had to make any personal sacrifice to build the alter on what would become the location of the Temple. By today’s standards, David would have been considered a shrewd businessman if he had agreed to these terms.

David was not there to get all that he could for little or nothing!

He knew the importance of personal sacrifice when worshipping the Lord. He knew that everything that he had been given and had attained belonged to the Lord. He was not about to approach the Lord to make a sacrifice when he wasn’t making a sacrifice at all. He wasn’t going to lie to the Lord and make a sacrifice of someone else’s property. David knew that the sacrifice, the gift to the Lord, had to come from himself.

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
(2 Corinthians 9:6-7 (NIV))

Do you give to the Lord? Do you sacrifice or do you give when someone gives to you or for you?

Do not sacrifice to the Lord your God an ox or a sheep that has any defect or flaw in it, for that would be detestable to him.
(Deuteronomy 17:1 (NIV))

In other words, we are to give our best to the Lord! David understood this. He knew that if it was to be considered his best, then it actually had to come from him. David knew that he had to pay the full cost.

Are you willing to pay the full price?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Celebrate Jesus!

December 23, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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.”
(Luke 2:8-14 (NIV))

What an honor it must have been to be the first to hear the good news! The shepherds must have been terrified by the presence of the angels, after all, angels were not, and are still not an every day occurrence.

Luckily for us, God’s plan does not discriminate against us for not being there. In fact, it is probably with mixed blessings that we are embraced as part of God’s Kingdom. We do not have the first hand experience of having seen the angels, the star, or Jesus’ life. Sometimes, I wonder if I would have believed if I lived at the time of Jesus!

On the other hand, we have the faith of millions of people who have gone before us. We have the New Testament, the hundreds of years of prophesy study that proves Jesus is King of kings, the Messiah. It may be easier for someone today to come to faith than it was in Jesus’ day. Yet, through all of this “historical proof”, I sometimes feel empty. I think it is the desire of every believer to be able to go back in time and be a witness to the miracles and hear the teachings of Jesus firsthand.

We celebrate the birth of Jesus and look back in awe to the miracles. At the same time, we should look around us in awe of what God is doing today and look to the not-to-distant future and know what God is going to do. We celebrate the First Coming. Some tomorrow we will celebrate the Second Coming.

Merry Christmas!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How can we serve Him while we wait?

September 11, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
(John 14:1-3 (NIV))

What imagery do you see when you read this passage? Do you focus on the splendor of the dwelling that you have the hope and the promise of attaining? Perhaps you focus on the shear number of dwellings that must exist. Perhaps you read that Jesus is preparing a place for you and then you realize that the Lord of all is personally taking care of your needs. These are all fantastic visions of what awaits, but I find solace in the last statement.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
(John 14:3 (NIV))

Isn’t that amazing? Jesus, in all of His glory, is not only personally preparing our future dwellings, He will also come back personally and take us to be with Him. He is NOT sending an angel to come and pick us up. He is not using a GPS system or Mapquest to send us directions so that we can find our own way. He is coming personally to take us to be with Him.

Think about that. Jesus – King of kings and Lord of lords – loves us so much that He is coming for us. In fact, all of history is unfolding because He loves us and died on the cross so that we can receive salvation, grace and mercy. God’s Word tells of God’s love through His creation and how we, through Adam and Eve, fell from grace. The Old Testament shows us how we should live, but how we fail because of sin. It also points to a savior who will change all. Then, Jesus comes and shows us how to return to God. We are given a choice. We are given a free gift. Finally, those who trust in Jesus will be welcome home.

Jesus is that gift. Even now, He is still fulfilling these words.

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
(Mark 10:45 (NIV))

Jesus is preparing a place for us. Even in His Lordship, He is still serving us. How can we serve Him while we wait?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you spent time with God today?

April 8, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the LORD heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.
Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
Fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
(Psalms 34:4-9 (NIV))

This paints a very beautiful picture in your mind. It makes you envision a very loving Father who is there for His children. All He asks is that you turn towards Him.

You must seek after Him and He will deliver those who earnestly seek. Your reward will be a radiant peace that passes all understanding. He does not discrimate based on wealth, power, position, age, sex, or any other factor that humanity uses. For those who call upon Him in truth, He will send the Holy Spirit to guide, direct, and protect you from things of the enemy. God wants to feed you with the fruits that are from Him.

It has been said that of the human senses, taste is the most intimate for you actually take something into your body to experience it. We are to taste and see that the LORD is good, for He can provide the sweetness of life that we all seek. We must also fear God. This is not a fear that He will destroy us if we do something wrong. It is a fear that is built on love and respect.

When you love and respect someone, you are fearfull of the consequences of your actions. If you love and respect your spouse, you will not seek after another for fear of hurting them and yourself. If you love and respect God, then you will not seek after another god for fear of hurting Him and yourself. People have given the term “the fear of God” a bad meaning. It has been used to strike terror into the hearts of people, and not instill in them a true sense of the nature of God.

God has told us to “be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10a), yet, how many of us have actually take the time to do this. In any relationship, time alone with the other person is critical.

Have you spent time with God today?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Joy to the world! Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2017

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 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Is your obedience measured with Mary and Joseph?

December 15, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.
(Luke 1:26-28 (NIV))

We all know the story. We know of the faithfulness of Mary. We know of the uncertainty that Joseph experienced. We know of the visit of the angel with Mary. We know what assurance was given to Joseph to trust that what Mary was saying was true.

Now, put yourself in the place of Joseph or Mary. How would you react? What if the birth of the Savior relied on your obedience to what seemed to go against societal norms? Would you fully trust in God or would you do as Joseph originally intended and seek a quiet way to separate yourself from the situation?

Perhaps you are more inclined to ask if you would even be considered to fill the role of God’s servant. We like to think that we would step up and do what God want of us, but are we doing it in our lives today? Based on the lives we live today, would God even consider calling you and I for a task so important as the one that He set aside for Joseph and Mary? Are we willing to step up to the plate in the little things? If we are, then it is more likely that God will call you, for He sees the very heart.

With Christmas only a few days away, think about the faith and trust that Joseph and Mary possessed. They are perfect examples of the fact that God works His will through those who are obedient to His calling.

Are you obedient to God’s calling?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you afraid to encounter the risen Jesus?

March 28, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: `He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
(Matthew 28:5-10 (NIV))

Are you afraid to encounter the risen Jesus?

Aside from the obvious fear that someone had stolen the body, or that they were in the presence of someone or something that they did not understand, these women experienced something that I often wonder if I would react in fear if I experienced it. Even though they knew Jesus as a friend when He walked the earth, they encountered the resurrected Jesus face to face!

I want you to think about that concept and how you would react.

What would you do if you encountered the risen Jesus face to face?

What would you do if He suddenly appeared in your living room?

What would you do if He suddenly appeared to you in your back yard?

What would you do if He suddenly appeared to you at work?

We like to think that we would be overjoyed with such a visit, but how many of us would actually be afraid? How many of us would fear that we had done something so bad that Jesus came to tell us that we had messed up? Would we be overjoyed with what Jesus did come to tell us?

I long to see Jesus, but I am like everyone else. How would I honestly react? Would I be fearful? Would I truly understand what would be happening? Would I faint from fear? Would I cry from fear? Would I cry for joy?

Would I . . .

To be honest, I like to think how I would react, but in my frail humanity, would I truly be able to react in that manner?

I just know that no matter how I react, it will not be a reaction of denial. I will not deny my Lord and Savior. It may be a reaction of shame, for I know that I fail Him daily. Even in my failures, I have waited too long to see His face!

He is risen!

Are you ready to see a resurrected Jesus face to face?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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