What do you see?

December 7, 2018

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.
(Luke 2:30-32 (NIV))

When Simeon spoke these words, he was an old man whom God had promised would see his salvation. Can you imagine searching for something all of your life with such earnestness that once you find it, you feel that you have completed your purpose in life? Simeon was overjoyed, just as we should be.

Jesus was only a newborn infant when this occurred. Mary and Joseph had brought him to the temple to consecrate him to God. Simeon had been looking for salvation all of his life. Perhaps that is why he so readily recognized it when it was presented to him. To most people, Jesus was simply a baby just like all of the others. Simeon was able to look beyond the obvious and see the miraculous simply because he had been waiting expectantly for the miraculous.

During this Christmas season, are we able to see the miraculous just as Simeon was able to see when it happened? Can we see God at work even when the world doesn’t see what He is doing?

What do you see?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you accepted the salvation that has been prepared for you?

December 14, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.
(Luke 2:30-32 (NIV))

When Simeon spoke these words, Jesus was only a newborn infant and Mary and Joseph had brought him to the temple to consecrate him to God. Simeon had been looking for salvation all of his life. Perhaps that is why he so readily recognized it when it was presented to him, even though, to most people, Jesus was simply a baby just like all of the others. Simeon was able to look beyond the obvious and see the miraculous.

In just a few days it will be Christmas. On the day that we celebrate what Simeon was able to see, can we see the miraculous in what we have just experienced, or is it just the obvious?

Have you accepted the salvation that has been prepared for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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MERRY CHRISTMAS!

December 23, 2016

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 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you embracing worldly passions or suffering for your faith?

January 24, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
(Titus 2:11-14 (NIV))

Have we forgotten how to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions?

I see so many things going on in this world that makes me wonder if the Body of Christ is having any influence or if the world is influencing us.

Take a serious look at your life. Are there things that have crept in and slowly taken over? Have you lost the self-control that you may have once had? Do you find yourself forgetting godliness and righteousness because you have become too close to the world?

I have a question for your personal reflection.

Have you stopped longing for the return of Jesus?

Perhaps you are someone who does not want Jesus to return for His Bride because you are having too much fun in this world.

Do you truly embrace the grace that has been given to us, or are you still clinging to things of this world? What worldly passion keeps you from the full realization of God’s grace?

We never know when our life will end. We never know at what moment Jesus will return. We should never allow a distraction that is fleeting keep us from eternal salvation. We must truly live our lives each and every moment as if it were to be our last. We must live out our faith as if it is the most important thing in our lives.

I read something today that I want to share with you about faith, focus and worldly passions. It was about placing your faith in the wrong place and how it can lead to worldly passions, even in the Body of Christ. If the only reason that we profess a faith is because we believe that our faith will bring blessings, do we really have faith? God did not promise financial blessings. He did not promise an easy life. We have been told that truly following Jesus would cause tribulation, or stress, within our lives.

Following God has never been easy. Noah could have taken the easy way out. Moses had to flee. Joseph was tossed into a well and then sold into slavery. Jesus went to the cross. Why do we think that we will have financial blessings and an easy life if we turn our back upon worldly passions. We will be attacked by the enemy. We need to prepare for it. Today’s church has forgotten that the church was birthed through suffering, and that if we are true to our calling, we will be in the middle of it at every turn.

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
(1 Peter 4:12-17 (NIV))

Are you eager to do what is good even if you will suffer?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have the faith that Joseph had?

December 11, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
(Matthew 1:20-21 (NIV))

How would you have reacted if you had been Joseph? Would you think about calling off the wedding? Would you feel betrayed? Would you be able to look at Mary without thinking that she had turned you into the laughing stock of all of Nazareth? Would anger and resentment show themselves through your actions?

We may never know exactly what was going through Joseph’s mind, but I think that it is safe to say that he was deep in prayer. If it were I who had to fill his shoes, I would be pacing the floor and expressing myself through thoughts such as, “Why me, Lord?” “What have I done to deserve this ridicule?” I suppose that is the difference between Joseph and myself. It appears that Joseph was more concerned about Mary and how she would be treated. He knew that she would be stoned. He did not want that for her. Even in his uncertainty, Joseph thought of Mary. Would any of us be so noble in our thoughts and actions?

God knew exactly what He was doing when He selected Mary to be the mother of Jesus. He also knew what He was doing when He selected Joseph. Think about that for a moment. In Hebrew society, an unwed mother would be shunned. It took a man who would listen to God and be willing to obey even when it may mean ridicule for him. Raising the Son of God required a husband and a wife, a mother and a father. Joseph was part of God’s plan just as much as Mary was. Joseph’s story is one of obedience and faith. History has relegated him to a lesser role, but I honestly believe that without Joseph and his strong character, things would have been different.

This visit by an angel of the Lord was not the only time that Joseph heard and obeyed. He was told to take the baby and flee to Egypt. He was told when it was safe to return. This first appearance was only the beginning. It was a step of faith that would lead to many more steps. Isn’t that the way that God works. If you are willing to take the first step, He will lead you to places that you would never have imagined.

Are you willing to do like Joseph?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The gift of a Savior

December 28, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” –which means, “God with us.”

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christn was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

” `But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’ ”

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

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.”

So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

“A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.”
(Matthew 1:18 – 2:18 (NIV))

I pray that everyone had a wonderful Christmas. With all that we do as a society at Christmas, we must not forget that the reason we celebrate is the gift of a Savior. We see that gift being honored by the gifts of the Magi. We honor that gift by giving gifts ourselves. We must never lose site of the truth about Christmas. It is not a time of family. It is not a time of good will towards man. If we focus on Jesus, then these things will happen, but if we focus on them and ignore Jesus, the greatest gift of all is rejected.

Was God’s gift to you received with open arms and open heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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