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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Are you fulfilling your duty?

October 22, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.
(Ecclesiastes 12:13 (NIV))

Everyone has things that they feel they need to do. Some people call them obligations. Some call them responsibilities. Some people call them their duty. Others may say that these things are their priority, while some simply refer to them as the right thing to do. No matter what you may call them, we all have something that we feel we must do.

What are the things in your life that you place as a priority, as your duty?

Is one of your duties to provide for your family? Perhaps you are a business owner and you have employees and customers that are a central part of your daily life. Perhaps you are called to be a first responder and you feel that your duty is to protect and to serve. If that is you, thank you for your selflessness!

No matter what you may feel that your duty or obligation may be, there is one that is far greater and a lot of people fail to ever do anything about it! In fact, Jesus was asked point blank and responded without any hesitation.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.
(Matthew 22:36-38 (NIV))

I can hear it now. Some may say that these two passages contradict each other. One says to fear God and the other says to love God with all your heart. How can fear and love mean the same thing? To be honest with you, that is a concept that may be difficult for people to grasp, but the basic sentiment behind this is that you should desire to do what is right in God’s eyes. Perhaps a better way to refer to this potential contradiction is to look at it in terms of respect. When you respect God for who He is, you both love and fear Him at the same time. The fear comes from the simple fact that we are all sinners who deserve whatever judgment we have earned. The love comes from the fact that even though He is a just and righteous God and we are all guilty of our sins, He has freely offered grace and mercy in place of the judgment.

I find it interesting that the passage in which we are told to fear God is from the Old Testament and it was recorded long before grace was freely given. I love the fact that the passage in which Jesus told us to love God is in the New Testament. Jesus took the liberty to paraphrase the commandments and let it be known that we no longer had to fear God, but through Him, God reached out to us in love. Through God’s act of love for us, we can now approach God in love.

I don’t know about you, but I both fear God and love God. As a part of His creation, it is my duty to the Lord our God as Creator!

Are you fulfilling your duty?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is there anything that God cannot do?

September 6, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?
(Jeremiah 32:27 (NIV))

I have had this verse at my fingertips for a few days. I have been thinking about it. Something in these words has made me stop and reflect on them. Several things have made me pause on this passage.

The biggest question that I have is why do we even need to be reminded of this? Is humanity so completely idiotic that we have forgotten what has been common knowledge since creation? Of course we are! All throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament, as well, humanity has ignored God. We have rebelled against God. We have embraced evil and called it good. We have embraced false gods. We have created our own gods when we couldn’t find one that we liked that someone else had created. We have limited God in so many ways that by the time that Jeremiah walked the earth, God had to speak through Jeremiah to remind creation that only He is Lord. Keep in mind that this was not the first time that God had to remind people exactly who He is. God used Noah to let creation know that He is Lord. God used Moses to let people know that He is Lord.

These are just a few of the instances when God reminded His creation that He is Lord, still, there is something about the words from Jeremiah that stand out!

“Is anything too hard for me?”

Why is humanity so fickle? Why do we place limitations where no limitations can be placed? Why do we try to define God in terms that we can understand? If we can understand everything about whom we worship, then it is not the one true God, but a god of our own creation.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord,
(Isaiah 55:8 (NIV))

Do you try to limit God?

Is there anything that God cannot do?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you allowed the potter to reshape you?

July 10, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
(Jeremiah 18:1-4 (NIV))

We are all flawed in one way or the other. There is a good chance that we are all flawed in more ways than one. Ever since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden, our human nature is a flawed, sinful nature. It is a nature that chooses things it shouldn’t even when we supposedly know better. We are not capable of doing good in the eyes of God, yet He loves us anyway. God has always had a plan to redeem us from our sinful nature. It is a plan that allows Him to remake us from the inside out!

What is the purpose of a pot? The purpose is the same whether the pot is large or small, ornate or plain. A pot is made to be a vessel that will hold something of importance to the owner of the pot. When this passage was written, pots could hold oil, water, wine, wheat, corn or a number of other items that were essential for day to day life.

God designed each of us to hold something essential!

We were designed to hold a part of God in our hearts. That design, and the contents of what we were to hold, made us a creation above all other of God’s creations.

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
(Genesis 1:26 (NIV))

Sadly, in our sinful nature, the vessels that we were made to be have been marred. In order to be able to begin to have a chance to hold anything of value for God, we have to be shaped into something different than our sinful shape. We have to be made right with God and by God. We have to be molded into the image of Jesus. We have to be tested through the fire just as a potter uses a fire to prepare his creation for its intended use. Just as the master’s hands shape the pot, God’s hands shape us. God is the master potter.

Have you allowed the potter to reshape you?

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

March 29, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.
(1 Timothy 2:5-6 (NIV))

Sometimes it is so easy to see the hand of God moving. The last 30 seconds and this verse are a very good example of just that!

I have multiple different sources that I look to in order to find what I will write about. I often will look online at a popular Bible software site, and that is what I chose to do today. This passage was the passage of the day. I did not feel that this passage was what I wanted to write about, so I turned to one of my long lists of notes and randomly stopped on one without looking. I am certain that you can already see what is coming!

It was the very same verse and translation!

All right, God. I get it!

Is there anything about this passage that jumps right out at you? To me, there are several. First and foremost is the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus in which He gave himself as a random for all people. Probably the most intriguing part of this passage is the last sentence.

The proper time!

Just as it appears that it is the proper time for me to talk about this passage, there are also proper times that have happened and will happen according to God’s plan.

Jesus came at the proper time.

He was witnessed about at the proper time.

He will return at the proper time.

Will you be ready when He returns? What if He returns tonight? Will you be ready at the proper time?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It only takes one person who has found favor with God!

February 26, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.
(Genesis 6:5-6 (NIV))

This passage sets the stage for the story of Noah and the ark.

We know that humanity had turned to complete wickedness and that God grieved for the sins of His creation. He grieved so much, that He was ready to destroy the cause of His grief.

So the LORD said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth–men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air–for I am grieved that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
(Genesis 6:7-8 (NIV))

Noah found favor in the eyes of God!

For the sake of one man, God did not destroy all of creation. For the sake of one man, God saved humanity for a future.

How many times have you heard someone say, “I am only one person. What can I do?”

Perhaps you have said it yourself.

How many times has God worked through one person? Every single story that we have from the Old Testament and the New Testament all start with when God calls a single individual to follow Him. It does not take a committee. It does not take a unanimous vote by a church council. It simply takes a single individual who is willing to be still before God and to hear His voice. Noah was not approached by a church building committee. He was approached by God! It only requires a willingness on our part to hear and be receptive to what we hear. Perhaps this is why Noah found favor in the eyes of God. Noah was receptive to God!.

Would you find favor in the eyes of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we proclaiming Jesus to a dying world?

September 23, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

A voice of one calling:
“In the desert prepare
the way for the LORD;
make straight in the wilderness
a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the LORD will be revealed,
and all mankind together will see it.
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
(Isaiah 40:3-5 (NIV))

This prophesy was originally fulfilled by John the Baptist when he was in the wilderness proclaiming that people should repent because the Lord was coming. Shortly after this proclamation, Jesus did come.

He came and taught. He came and healed the sick. He came and raised the dead. He came so that we could have forgiveness of sin. Through the actions of Jesus, the valleys that we were in because of sin have been raised up. The mighty and powerful have been lowered. When we walk with Jesus, even when we face the rough times in our lives, they are smoother because He is with us.

Now it is our turn to proclaim what Jesus has done for us. John proclaimed what He would do before He came. He stepped out in faith based on what would come. We have history to support our faith, yet, how many of us are willing to step out in our faith the way John the Baptist did?

Jesus will return! We should be proclaiming this to all of the world just as John proclaimed it to his world.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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