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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What will be your reward?

November 15, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.
(Revelation 22:12 (NIV))

Do you live as if Jesus will return at any moment?

How do you think He would react to the way that you have been living?

Would He commend you or would He condemn you?

We, as the Body of Christ, like to think that we are doing what Jesus has called us to do, but how many times have each of us missed that calling? How many times each day do we fail miserably at living our lives the way that Jesus wants us to live our lives? Even on our best day, we fail!

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

“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))

I know that I am a sinner. I know that God loves me, but I had to be redeemed from my sin. I know that redemption is only available through believing that Jesus is the Son of God and that He came to cleanse me of my sins. I stand firm in the promises that we have been given. I long for the reward that Jesus will give, for I know that it is far more than I deserve. I long to see my Lord and Savior!

Are you ready to receive your reward?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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I am reborn through the power of His birth!

December 11, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, `You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
(John 3:5-8 (NIV))

During this time of year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we have to stop and consider the things that Jesus spoke of in this passage and the true meaning of what He spoke of.

If you stop to think about the birth of Jesus, it is not the typical birth.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
(John 1:1-2 (NIV))

Jesus existed before His physical birth. He has existed since the beginning and will exist for all eternity. Why did He go through the physical birth when He already existed? Why did He come to take a physical, human form? Why did He give up the heavenly to put on the frailty of humanity? Why did He do any of the things that He did?

Love!

“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))

I find it amazing and I am deeply humbled by the fact that Jesus gave up everything so that He could offer us redemptive grace and salvation. He is eternal. We are dust. Yet, He loves us enough to have come to this world and live as one of us. He loves us enough to have suffered and died for the cleansing of all of our sins. He loves us enough to intercede for us with the Father.

I realize that what we know as Christmas is a joyous time for the reason we celebrate is joyous. I also find it to be a time of self reflection. Do I live up to the expectations of Jesus? Do I have the faith to do the things that He has done? I know that I fail daily. I also know that I can repent and rest assured that I am still loved and forgiven. I know this because of the promises that were fulfilled when Jesus was born into the physical world!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Misunderstanding words can have eternal consequences!

April 9, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
(Galatians 5:13 (NIV))

There seems to be a very large misunderstanding of two simple words in this country – of and from.

Society has twisted the concept of freedom of religion to mean freedom from religion. In just the same way, society has also confused the concept of freedom from sin to actually mean freedom of sin or freedom to sin.

All that you have to do is watch or read any news program or publication to see the ramifications of this. You see people shouting separation of church and state while the very people who wrote the Constitution used the rotunda of Congress as a church. The first act of Congress was to establish the American Bible Society. It doesn’t take any stretch of the imagination to realize that society has twisted what the founding fathers meant.

Now, consider what Jesus did.

Jesus came to teach us to repent. To turn away from sin. He offered any and all who would call upon Him as their personal Lord and Savior redemption from the consequences of sin. He did not offer us a way to accept His grace and have the freedom to continue in our sin.

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))

The enemy has twisted the simple concept that God loved the world so much that He sent Jesus to redeem the world into a false teaching that God loves everyone and a loving God would not condemn someone to hell. It is this simple twist that has lead many to believe that anything that you do is ok as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. What they fail to realize is that what they do is hurting themselves. By their actions and the misunderstanding of God’s Word, they are condemning themselves. They are indulging in the sinful nature that condemns.

Don’t be confused and change two simple words. It can have eternal consequences!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t wait too late to seek God!

March 3, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.
(Isaiah 55:6 (NIV))

Don’t wait until it is too late to earnestly seek God. There will come a time that it will be too late and no matter how much you may want to call upon the Lord, He will not be there!

Just when will it be too late to call upon the Lord?

We have been given a mortal lifetime to seek and find God, or should I say, to recognize that God is always there. Once we have passed beyond our physical mortality, it will be too late to call upon God. We must make that decision while we are still alive. Since no one knows when they will face death, it is imperative that we seek God today.

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
(James 4:14 (NIV))

We are not promised tomorrow. We are only promised the moment in which we live. During this very moment, God is near you, for He is always near. He is waiting for us to turn to Him and accept the grace and mercy that He has freely given to all who will simply call upon the name of Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

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))

Are you seeking God? Have you already found Him, or have you put off for tomorrow what must be done today?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God gave us the ultimate gift!

September 17, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
(Romans 8:1 (NIV))

Before Jesus came to this world to live and teach, and then to die for our sins, everyone lived under condemnation. No one was worthy to approach the Throne of God as righteous and blameless.

No one in all of history could have earned salvation on their own!

God knew that this was an impossibility due to the sinful nature of man ever since Satan was allowed dominion over this world. Still, God had a plan for a redemptive gift.

“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)

God gave us the ultimate gift! The gift is freedom from condemnation through Jesus Christ. All of our sins are forgiven once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Hypocrisy or true faith?

September 11, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
(John 10:16 (NIV))

Do you ever feel that you and those who are just like you are the only ones that truly obey God’s Word and earnestly seek after His face? Do you find yourself looking at other “so called believers” and ridiculing their faith simply because they don’t worship exactly like you do?

Hypocrites!

Jesus had to face them in the days that He walked among us. We still have them today.

The human ego is a strange thing. Sometimes it keeps us humble and sometimes it steps way out of line and elevates our sense of self worth. It is ridiculous how we start to think that out of all of the vast nations of people in this world, He would be so selective as to deliberately keep many different groups of people from Him.

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.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

This does not read “For God so loved the Methodists,” or “For God so loved the Baptists.” It reads “For God so loved the world.” The world is a big place.

After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands
(Revelation 7:9 (NIV))

We, as believers are sheep. We hear the masters voice. We are all part of the one flock and Jesus is the shepherd.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Listen to God’s explanation!

August 12, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.
(Luke 19:10 (NIV))

What was and is the sole purpose of God sending Jesus to this world?

Did He come to bring social justice and bring financial equality?

You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.
(John 12:18 (NIV))

Did Jesus come so that people could continue to live the lifestyles that they wanted to live?

“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:11 (NIV))

Jesus came to seek and save the lost!

All that we have to do is believe.

“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))

Contrary to the popular theology of today, Jesus came to call us to repentance and to a restored relationship with God the Father. Jesus did not come into the world to tell us that it is okay to continue living in our sins. He called us to grace and mercy.

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

What is sin? God’s definition of sin is not what the world says it is. The world says that if it feels good, do it. The world says that we can claim that we were born that way. The world says that truth is relative and that what one person considers a sin, another person does not.

Sin is defined by God.

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

Salvation is defined by God as explained in John 3:16-21.

Society has tried to redefine the reason that Jesus came to this world. Don’t listen to society’s explanation.

Listen to God’s explanation!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you understand God?

May 14, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.
(Ecclesiastes 11:5 (NIV))

Does this still apply today?

Science can track the winds and predict where they will strike. Doctors know what happens each week as a baby grows in its mother’s womb. We have become very aware of our surroundings and as a result, we seem to think that God is not so difficult to understand if He exists at all.

Personally, it appears to me that the more we increase our understanding of these things, the more we should be in awe of how they actually work. We should recognize that they are far too complex to be mere accidents. They are designed.

Do we truly know about these things, or are we blinded to the truth by the limited knowledge that we have gained? We feel that we are in control, but nothing could be further from the truth. We only understand a very limited piece of God’s creation. As a result, I feel that even though our knowledge is increasing, we still only possess a fractional amount of knowledge.

Humanity, in our limited knowledge, is no where near understanding God’s creation, or God Himself. Even if we did understand it all, we should stand in awe of the complexity of God’s creation while enjoying the simplicity of a sunrise or the simplicity of a summer day. God, just like His creation, is both complex and simple.

The complexity of God calls us to admire Him and to worship Him for the wonderful things that He has done. The simplicity of God calls us to repentance, for one simple fact matters the most.

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))

Understanding God is complex in the eyes of the world, but through the eyes of faith, it is simple.

I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.
(Luke 18:17 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we guilty of following these ideas?

March 28, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith. Grace be with you all.
(1 Timothy 6:20`-21 (NIV))

Just what are the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge?

Are we guilty of following these ideas?

How can we recognize these ideas that are falsely called knowledge?

I don’t often look at the Amplified Bible, but the added notes and words make a lot of sense.

O Timothy, guard and keep the deposit entrusted [to you]! Turn away from the irreverent babble and godless chatter, with the vain and empty and worldly phrases, and the subtleties and the contradictions in what is falsely called knowledge and spiritual illumination. [For] by making such profession some have erred (missed the mark) as regards the faith. Grace (divine favor and blessing) be with you all! Amen (so be it). (1 Timothy 6:20, 21 AMP)

Do you see the wording used in this version?

Subtleties and contradictions are the key issues. Satan is the father of lies. What better lie to tell than one that sound almost true. A lie that has just enough wrong that it is not blatant. It is not obvious. Soon, everyone thinks the subtle lie is the truth, and then it is time for the enemy to introduce another subtle lie that contradicts God’s word.

If we do not stay in God’s Word, then we will not recognize the subtleties and the contradictions. We will accept the ideas that are falsely called knowledge.

Test everything to make sure that it is one hundred percent accurate with respect to God’s Word. We must realize that if it is one percent wrong, then it is totally wrong. God does not change. He does not place subtleties and contradictions within His Word to try and trick us. If something does not completely go along with God’s Word, then it is not God’s Word.

Take John 3:16 as an example.

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))

It would be so easy to change the meaning of this in numerous ways that would still sound almost right.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever knows his name shall not perish but have eternal life.

Close, but no cigar!

Test everything!

God’s Word does not change. We must know it so that we can be prepared to recognize the false knowledge.

I want you to think about this. Is there something that has crept into the church that is close to be God’s Word, but yet is wrong enough to be false knowledge? Are we strong enough in our understanding of true knowledge to recognize false knowledge? Do we know God’s Word well enough to know when lies are being introduced?

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