What do you treasure?

December 22, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
(Luke 2:19 (NIV))

When you are the mother of Jesus, what else would you treasure?

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

For the rest of us who did not experience the angel announcing that she had found favor in the eyes of God and that she was chosen to be the mother of His Son, we have to work to make sure that we treasure Jesus. With that said, have you ever truly given any thought to all that Mary experienced? The next questions can even be answered by the men reading this. Have you ever tried to imagine the wide range of emotions that Mary felt from conception to birth? How would you react if you were told that you had found favor in the eyes of God? How would you react if you were the only one in all of history to be told that?

Did those last questions leave you speechless?

We are only to worship the Lord, but can you even begin to comprehend, to imagine, the faith that Mary possessed? God used such an obedient faith to bring forth His Son into the world. Even though she found favor, Mary was not the Savior. She was only the vessel. The child that she bore was and is the Savior of all mankind.

In today’s world, we must never forget to always look to Jesus and not to the one who brings the Good News. We must remember that Jesus is the message and anyone who spreads the Gospel is only the messenger. We must make sure that we only treasure Jesus!

What do you treasure?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you excited about the coming of Jesus?

December 16, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
(Luke 1:41 (NIV))

Am I the only person who took this to mean that the power and authority of Jesus was so strong that even as an unborn child, He radiated this power and authority through Mary?

Think about that for a moment.

No matter how you try to explain it, it all comes down to the simple fact that Jesus manifested Himself even from the womb. Those who longed for His presence felt the power and the authority that was His and is His alone. An unborn child leaped for joy at the presence of his Creator. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. They glorified the Lord by their actions. This was not the beginning of such awe and wonder, for the conception was the beginning of the miracles. This was special in that it was still based on the promise being fulfilled by the birth of Jesus, and it was special because it was the first incident that involved more than Mary. At His birth we see such things as the star, the Magii, and the shepherds, but the first time that the power and authority of Jesus manifested itself to others was before His birth.

People had been looking for His promised coming for a long time. Today, we look back through history and read about these events, but we must never lose sight of the awesome power and authority that actually transpired. We must never lose sight of the fact that what we celebrate as the birth of Jesus is only the beginning of God’s plan of redemption. We are given a little glimpse of the power and authority through this passage. If you look at the life of Jesus, His power and authority increases with each step that is recorded. Look at the miracles. Look at the raising of Lazarus from the dead. Look at the crucifixion. Lift up praises for the resurrection and read in awe as the disciples see Jesus ascend into heaven!

If you love all of this, just wait for His return!

Are you excited about the coming of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you possess such a faith?

December 15, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
(Luke 1:38 (NIV))

We look back on these events and we seem to take things for granted because that is what we know. We know that Mary responded out of faith, and we also know that Joseph eventually understood, but have you ever truly tried to put yourself in their proverbial shoes?

Mary was a teenager!

How many teenage girls do you know who would have the faith to accept what God had planned for her? To be honest with you, how many adults would have the faith to accept what God had planned for her? Mary is an example of grace under pressure. She knew that a pregnancy such as this could result in her being ostracized or even stoned, yet she willingly accepted what God had planned. Mary is an example of a faith that does not shrink back in the face of adversity. Not only did she accept what God had planned for her, she knew that if what she had been told were to come to fruition that the Lord would protect her from any and all harm. She took a step of faith and not only accepted God’s plan, she wholeheartedly embraced it. She could have simply muttered, “Okay,” but instead we are given a strong declaration of faith and of purpose.

Mary humbled herself to the point of acceptance and obedience. Why do we have so much trouble acknowledging the Lord’s plans for our lives and stepping into those plans with such grace and faith?

God chose the faith of a teenager to bring about His plans.

Do you possess such a faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you glad that God changes hearts?

December 6, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.
(Matthew 1:24 (NIV))

How many times have you gone to bed thinking that you needed to do one thing and woke up thinking something completely different?

Joseph had just such an event happen.

This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
(Matthew 1:18-19 (NIV))

Joseph wanted to do what was right according to God’s law so when he discovered that Mary was pregnant, even though he didn’t want to cause her harm, he felt that he couldn’t marry her.

But, God…

This was a huge “But, God…” moment. Not only would it change Joseph’s life, it would change the world and all of eternity!

Have you ever had a “But, God…” moment in your life? They are the moments where something so different than expected happens and it always glorifies the Lord. They are the moments that you look back on and recognize that God has His hand in the circumstances. They are the moments that you look back on and recognize as a pivotal, if not the pivotal moment in your life where following you decision, your path, would have resulted in disaster. That is when God stepped in and completely changed the course of your life to His glory!

Back to Joseph and his “But, God…” moment. This moment was not only pivotal in his life, but it was also pivotal in every life that has ever lived. Joseph had to be in the picture. It was through his lineage that God would fulfill His promise to Abraham and His promise to David. Joseph’s “But, God…” moment allowed him to step fully into God’s promises.

Are you glad that God changes hearts?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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This is the one test that you need to pass!

June 14, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you — unless, of course, you fail the test?
(2 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV))

This is one of those verses that most people wish that they could ignore!

No one likes to fail a test. Think about the implications of this concept of failing this test. This is not the only place where we hear that it is possible to fail in your faith. We are told that it is possible to do things in the name of Jesus, but not have a relationship with Jesus, to not have Jesus in your heart.

Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:22-23 (NIV))

This goes hand in hand with the truth that you cannot earn salvation.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
(Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV))

We must also come to the realization that there is a difference between doing work for the Lord and truly knowing the Lord. I can demonstrate this concept with a simple question about the people with whom you work. You may spend eight hours a day with them, but do you know their inner most secrets and desires? Do you know the pains that they feel and what causes them pain and what causes them joy? Doing work around the Lord does not draw you close to the Lord in exactly the same way as working with someone does not bring you close to them. That requires effort and intimacy that cannot be had when you are constantly doing.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
(Luke 10:38-42 (NIV))

We must choose Jesus in all things in order to grow in intimacy with Jesus. The closer you draw to the Lord, the stronger your faith becomes. As your faith grows, your belief grows as well. When you believe and truly know the Lord, you desire to do things that will draw others to Him. These are the works that matter, for they are done out of a love of Jesus and not out of an effort to impress Jesus. It is a matter of perspective and priorities.

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
(John 14:12-13 (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. 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))

God does truly love the world! Have you allowed that love to permeate your life so that your life reflects the love of the Lord and not you?

This is the one test that you need to pass!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What do you see?

December 7, 2018

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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.
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Joy to the world! Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2017

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 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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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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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.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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