Jesus is the reason for the season!

December 20, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.
(Acts 4:12 (NIV))

With all of the activities at this time of year that constantly keep us busy, we must not lose sight of the reason that we celebrate, the reason for the season.

Contrary to what many in our society claim, Christmas is not about family togetherness, although it does bring families together. Christmas is not about peace on earth and good will, although it usually promotes these traits. Christmas is not about gift giving, although there is something about it that makes you want to give.

Christmas is first and foremost the celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. The very name says it clearly. The word Christmas is a shortened version of two words “Christ Mass” in which the birth of Jesus was officially celebrated by the church. The word “merry” in Old English means “mighty.” People would wish each other a blessing so that they would have a MIGHTY (Merry) Christ’s Mass (Christmas).

Today, society is more interested in the mighty dollar than in the MIGHTY Savior. We need to remind each other that Christmas is a celebration of our salvation. That salvation comes through only one source – faith in Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. Jesus is why we have Christmas. It is not a time for Happy Holidays. It is literally a time for a Very Merry Christmas in the original meaning of the words.

Jesus is the reason for the season!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you filled with God’s new wine?

December 28, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
(Matthew 9:16-17 (NIV))

This time of year can be a time of renewal. It can be a time of repentance. It can be so much more than the commercialization of the celebration of the birth of Jesus and the beginning of a new year.

Jesus came to bring new life to those who would call upon His name as Lord and Savior.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10:10 (NIV))

That fullness is celebrated yearly to be thankful for His birth, which brought grace. I am not privy to all of the reasons that December 25th was chosen, but I do like the symbolism that it presents to those who call upon His name. We celebrate the birth of forgiveness, mercy and grace and then we move right in to the celebration of a new year. In essence, we are renewed by grace and then begin a new year on the promises that grace has brought. We shed the old, worn out skins of our lives from that last twelve months and prepare ourselves with newness to face the world and to share His Gospel. Our lives are the wineskins. Sometimes, even the best of us need to have new wine poured into our lives. Sometimes, we need to be remade to accept that new wine.

Are you ready to face the new year?

Are you ready to be filled with the new wine from God?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you fully embrace all of the gifts of Christmas?

December 13, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
(Galatians 4:7 (NIV))

Christmas is first and foremost a celebration of the birth of Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, but if you actually stop to think about it, Christmas means so much more!

Because of Christmas, we are no longer lost to our sin. We are no longer without hope of redemption. We are no longer without faith in the promises of God being fulfilled. We are no longer slaves to the power of sin and death. We can be redeemed by the sacrifices that Jesus would later make for us.

We are no longer cast away, but are welcome into the very presence of God the Father because Jesus has paid the price for our salvation. We have been promised that faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior makes us heirs to the kingdom. If we are heirs to the kingdom, then we are part of the family, for only family is eligible to be heirs.

I want you to slow down and think about all of this when you are caught up in the middle of the hecticness that we have made Christmas. I honestly think that we need to follow a different passage at this time of year so that we don’t lose sight of what we celebrate.

Be still, and know that I am God
(Psalms 46:10a (NIV))

We must make ourselves stop and reflect on exactly what it is we celebrate. It is a gift beyond measure.

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is this the meaning of Christmas to you?

December 6, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.
(John 10:14-15 (NIV))

Does this passage make sense to you with respect to the upcoming celebration of the birth of Jesus?

Think about the words that are recorded by John. Think about the amazing fact that Jesus knows who belongs to Him and they know it as well. Think about the amazing gift that was freely given to all who will simply accept. It was freely given through the laying down of His life.

We take it for granted that Jesus knows us, but have you ever stopped to think about how we have gotten to know Him? In all of the infinite wisdom that is our Lord, it was decided that the best way for people to actually get to know Him was for Him to become one of us. This removed any misgivings. This removed any false concepts and false teachings. This allowed for the creation to live with and get to know the Lord. Instead of books dictated to humanity, the Gospel accounts are recorded by people who knew Jesus when He walked among us. They were written by people just like you and I. They had doubts. They had fears. They had heartache and troubles, yet, they chose to record something out of the ordinary. They chose to record their first hand encounters with the Lord of all creation.

Pretty amazing!

I have one more thing that I want to point out, and it is contained in the words “and I lay down my life for the sheep.”

What is your definition of life? Does your definition include death? Think about that for a moment. In order for Jesus to lay down His life for us, He had to have a life like ours. The eternal nature had to be put on hold so that He could have a physical nature and ultimately suffer a physical death. Have you ever stopped to think about the process of going from eternal Lord to a mortal infant? Have you ever stopped to wonder just what the baby Jesus possessed as far as infinite wisdom?

Jesus came into this world to lay down His life as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. As I stated previously, He had to have a physical life that He could willingly give up. Could you imagine being in the splendor of heaven one moment and then the next you are being placed in a manger? You go from King of all kings to a helpless baby!

That is the message of Christmas! That is the redeeming love of 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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Christmas is only the beginning of God’s promise!

December 22, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.
(Psalms 57:9-11 (NIV))

The Psalmist spoke truth and wisdom when these words where written. What was true then is still very true today.

In this Christmas season, we are constantly reminded of how great God’s love for us is. Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ is a constant reminder of God’s love. God is faithful in keeping His Word. All throughout the Old Testament, God promised to send a Savior to reconcile man with Himself. In this season, we are witness to the promise kept. It is a yearly celebration of that promise. At the same time, we must keep our eyes focused on the other promises of God, especially the one that says that Jesus will come again.

In this holy season of new birth, we must not forget that Jesus grew up and died on the cross, was resurrected and will come again.

Christmas is only the beginning of God’s promise and not the culmination.

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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Look at the gift that Jesus gave us!

December 16, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
(Luke 16:13 (NIV))

Who or what do you serve?

It is the time of year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Lord and Savior, yet, society has turned this celebration into a monetary event. The celebration of the gift of salvation and grace has been over-run by commercialism and the need to spend. Don’t get me wrong. Gift giving is good, for we give gifts to celebrate the greatest gift that we could ever be given. It is when we lose sight of what is truly being celebrated that we start to become enslaved to the monetary side of the celebration.

It is not the monetary cost of the gift that is important. Look at the gift that Jesus gave us. It’s monetary cost was nothing, yet, it was done out of love for God’s creation. Its true cost to Jesus was something that could not be measured in gold. It cost Him His physical life, yet, He gave freely of something that had not monetary value, yet was more costly than anything this world can throw at us. He did not serve money. He served God!

Remember this simple, yet profound truth at this time of the year. Money is not your lord and master. It cannot save you. It cannot bring true happiness. It cannot bring eternal life.

What is your perspective?

What do you value?

Who do you serve?

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.
(Joshua 24:15 (NIV))

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