Do you accept the proof?

February 7, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.
(Acts 17:31 (NIV))

Far too many people simply think of Jesus as the baby in the manger. They see the sweet innocence and gladly embrace a child. Some even fully embrace that He was sent by God.

Some see more than this.

Some see a teacher. Some see a prophet. Some see a martyr. Some see even more than this.

I fully embrace the description that the Bible gives to Jesus. This is a combination of Old Testament prophecy that is mirrored in New Testament fulfillment. I see Jesus as all of these things and more. He was a sweet and innocent babe. He was a teacher. He was a prophet. He was a martyr in that He came to die for our sins. But, there is more.

He is God’s only begotten Son. He is the son of man. He is both fully God and fully human. Jesus came to teach us. He came to show us God’s plan for salvation. He came to die so that plan of salvation could be realized. He died and was buried. On the third day, He arose again to being hope and fulfill the promises that had been made. He ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father, and He will return to judge the world.

There, I said it. Too many people simply do not want to admit that God’s plan also includes a day of judgment. They don’t want to admit that there will be consequences for their actions.

Think about that for a moment, though.

Who would you rather be judged by – a perfect Creator in God, or God who became human so that He could fully understand our temptations? In order for God to set a day of judgment, He had to have appointed someone to act as judge. He had to appoint someone to act as a mediator between Himself and sinful man. He had to come into this world to live as we live and to set an example for each of us. He had to face the same temptations that we face. He had to overcome them and offer Himself as a replacement for our punishment.

Judgment is something that we all dread. It is something that we would rather not think about. It is something that we will face if we do not turn to the One whom God sent.

The first time that Jesus came into this world, He came to offer salvation. He came to show us how to avoid judgment. We can accept this offer or we can face judgment.

Do you accept the proof?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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That is the true meaning of Christmas!

December 25, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 (NIV))

He didn’t have to leave heaven!

He didn’t have to become flesh and live among us!

He didn’t have to go to the cross and die!

He didn’t have to take upon Himself the weight of all of the sin of all mankind!

He didn’t have to do any of the things that He did, but I am eternally thankful that He did.

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))

Christmas is not about family. It is not about Santa. It is not about commercialism. It is not about who can spend the most on presents. It is about the bestowing of the greatest present that could ever be given. It is about the gift of grace that God freely gives and it all started at the manager! It is about the birth of hope that is represented in the birth of our Lord and Savior. It is about the gift of salvation that comes from no other source than Jesus!

No matter what society may say, that is the true meaning of Christmas!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have room for Jesus?

December 22, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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 guest room available for them.
(Luke 2:6-7 (NIV))

I have read this passage countless times and tonight something hit me that has never hit me before!

Do you realize that Jesus first encountered being turned away at His birth. Due to circumstances in his life, the innkeeper didn’t make room for Jesus. He didn’t try to allow Jesus in. He simply turned Him away. If he made excuses like everyone else makes excuses, the innkeeper probably said things like, “If it had been any other night,” or “I couldn’t be bothered. What would everyone else think?”

Have you heard these type of excuses from people who can’t be bothered with Jesus?

Have you ever made any excuses like these?

If you are like me, before I came to my senses and made room for Jesus, I said these and countless more. What is it about human nature that simply wants to ignore, reject or turn away the most precious gift that God could ever give? Why do we feel that our lives are just too complicated and we simply don’t have the room to allow Him in? Why do we feel that the busy lives that we live are too full, yet, we constantly take on more and more?

There is one thing that is missing from the innkeeper’s story. We do not read of him being rejected and condemned for not allowing Jesus in. We do not hear of the innkeeper being cast away by the Lord for not welcoming Him in. Thankfully, no matter how many times that we refuse to make room for Jesus, He still gives us another opportunity to receive His grace and mercy. But there will be a time for all of us when it will be too late!

Just don’t wait until it’s too late.

Do you have room for Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What is it that you seek first?

December 18, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

So do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?’ or `What shall we drink?’ or `What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
(Matthew 6:31-33 (NIV))

What is it that you seek first?

With Christmas almost here, many people turn ino materialistic animals. They think that they have to give the perfect gift. They think that they have to have the latest gadget because it will make their life complete. They think that they have to give more expensive gifts because they are being judged by their gift.

I pray that people will come to the realization that it is not about bigger and better gifts. It is not about finding the perfect clothes to wear. It is not about preparing the perfect meal or making sure that the supply of drinks does not run out. It is simply a matter of priorities.

I pray that people will come to the realization that all that they truly need is found in a manger and at the foot of the cross!

Focus on Jesus and seek His righteousness as your priority. When you find yourself aligning your life along God’s plan and His grace, then everything else will slowly come into focus. What better time to realign your priorities than at the time of year that we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. Birth represents a new beginning. The birth of Jesus gives each of us that opportunity for a new beginning – a beginning without the baggage of the failed priorities of the world.

Again, I ask the simple question. What is it that you seek first?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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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.
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If Jesus can humble Himself, why can’t we?

December 22, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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.
(Luke 2:5-7 (NIV))

If you had been alive when Jesus was born, would you have expected the King of kings to have been born in such lowly conditions? God did. He knew that man and Satan had turned God’s order completely upside down. Man was looking for the Messiah to make a grand entrance in fitting style with all of the kings of the world.

God had other plans. God knew and wanted the world to know that a king should be willing to humble himself for his people. He showed this through the humblest of beginnings and through the life of Jesus. God sent Jesus to be King of kings, yet to be a servant, too.

Do you expect to be served or to serve.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Don’t ever forget the real reason for the season!

December 8, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.
(Psalms 59:16 (NIV))

Do you have a refuge in which to take cover in times of trouble? Do you have a fortress that will protect you when all around you is in chaos?

We are rapidly approaching the day that we celebrate the birth of the one who offers love, protection and salvation. The world tends to think of Jesus as the baby in the manger. Everything must have a start, a beginning. If God sent His Son to live and walk among us, then He had to experience all aspects of this life that we cling to. Jesus had to come into the world as one of us. He had to live as one of us. He had to grow up and experience the things that each of us face in our lives. He had to be able to face temptation and win.

I realize that we think of Christmas as a festive time, and it is, but we must not forget that no matter what the times may bring, we have a fortress to shelter us. We have a refuge to keep us safe. We have an advocate who loves us enough to experience all that we face, even unto death. We have a Savior who has defeated death. We have a champion who sits at the right hand of God the Father and He is interceding for us.

Christmas is not about gifts and family. It is not about good food and fellowship. It is not about parties and presents.

Christmas is about the beginning of grace and the hope that we can all know salvation in our lives. Christmas is about Jesus! Don’t ever forget the real reason for the season!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you take refuge behind a baby in a manger?

December 18, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.
(Psalms 59:16 (NIV))

Do you think of the baby laid in a manger as a fortress?

Be honest with yourself. It is so hard to picture ourselves taking refuge behind a baby. I know that this verse was written to refer to God the Father, but in all honesty, we must picture Jesus in this same role, no matter at what point in His earthly walk.

But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.
(John 10:34 (NIV))

If we, as the Body of Christ, truly believe John 10:34, then we should have no trouble claiming that the baby in the manger is our fortress. He is our rock. He is our salvation.

When you were born and as you grew up, your family probably took pictures of you at the various stages of your life. They did not take a picture of the next door neighbor and claim that it was you. In similar fashion, when Jesus was born into this world, He did not change from someone else into who He was born to be. He was born Lord and Savior. He lived as Lord and Savior. He died to fulfill His mission as Lord and Savior. At no point in His earthly existence was He you or I. He was Jesus!

At Christmas, we think of Jesus as a baby, but we often overlook the fact that Jesus was more than just a baby. God ordained that from birth Jesus would be Lord and Savior. The baby in the manger was our fortress and our refuge just as He is now our fortress and our refuge.

Think about this the next time that you see a manger scene. It is not a bunch of people gathering around a baby, they are gathering around their King, a king who was responsible for their future!

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Through the eyes of a little child!

December 17, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all–he is the greatest.”
(Luke 9:48 (NIV))

I have read this passage many times and tonight it hit me in a way that I had not thought of before. Perhaps it is the time of year with Christmas very close, but something made me look at this in a different light.

I know that many Christians have trouble with the idea of Santa Claus, but if you consider the roots of this “person,” you come away with a different perspective. Nicholas was a 4th century Christian who was known for helping children. He is also known for other things, but his love and help of children has gained him much notoriety. There are various different stories about Nicholas, but the one thing that stands out is how he used his love for Jesus to reach out to the little children.

Perhaps our understanding of Santa Claus could use a true historical perspective based on church history and not on what society has made him. Perhaps our understanding of many things could use a true historical perspective based on church history.

Could you imagine a Christmas not tied up in gifts and decorations, but in the grace and mercy that God gave us through the manger? Could you imagine a Christmas based on the greatest gift of all times instead of the “perfect gift” that will be obsolete in a short time?

Nicholas came to mind because of his ministry to children. Jesus told us that we are to be as little children. We need to look at His love without the sins of the world trying to cling to everything and distort the truth about the greatest gift that humanity could ever be given.

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))

Perhaps we need to look at the gift of Christmas through the eyes of a little child once again!

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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