Do you rejoice that the Word became flesh?

November 30, 2021

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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))

What do you think of when you read this passage?

Without a point of reference, without a back-story that defines why glory, grace and truth were needed, this passage, even though it tells of His glory, doesn’t tell the whole story. It doesn’t tell why we need grace and truth.

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
(John 1:17 (NIV))

What do you think of when you think of the law? Do you think of man-made laws that recently seem to change with no rhyme or reason, or do you think of God’s law that is never changing? Do you think of the failure of Adam and Eve to keep God’s commands thus allowing sin into the world? Do you think of a righteous God who can not associate with sin? Do you think of a loving God who wants to restore us to a relationship with Himself?

Through Moses, God told us how He expected us to live. Through Moses, we have been shown how we are to love God, how we are to treat each other, and how we are to respect each other. Any deviation from God’s perfect plan is sin.

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

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

God took a look at the world and had a plan to redeem us. He knew that there was not a single person who could fulfill the letter of the Law perfectly, so He decided to take matters into His own hands and become a man so that He could live a perfect, sinless life for us. Through this perfect life, we are no longer under the law of sin and death. We are under the redemptive power of grace and truth through the atoning blood of Jesus! Is this what you think of when you read John 1:14? Do these two sentences cause you to reflect on your sinful nature and your inability to do anything about it? Do they give you reason to rejoice because you have accepted what God did for you when you couldn’t do anything for yourself?

Do you rejoice that the Word became flesh?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you truly understand the depths of God’s love?

November 29, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

Is this concept so simple that we try to make it complicated? Is it so complicated that we try to make it simple, or is it truly clear and understandable?

I have read this passage many times and I have come to the conclusion that is is only truly understood once you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. Up until that time, it seems paradoxical in nature. Up until that time, the very message that is conveyed within these words simply falls on deaf ears. We have no point of reference to allow us to understand.

We cannot comprehend the truth that nothing existed except His Word, and that through His Word, everything came to be. We simply cannot comprehend the truth that through words alone God spoke everything into existence. We cannot understand that there is this type of power in God’s Word. We cannot fathom the possibilities that this is true simply because we fail to see the power of words in our lives. Think about that. When was the last time dreams were shattered by someone’s words? When was the last time that your life was completely changed by someone’s words? If our words can alter lives, why do we fail to recognize that God’s Word has the power to create lives and to create everything?

To get back to my statement that these words truly become understood only after accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you have to understand just who Jesus is!

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))

In other words, Jesus is God’s Word made flesh! To simplify this, let’s use some mathematical symbolism. Jesus = the Word.

Only when you realize that you can do simple substitution because of this fact do you truly come to the following realization.

In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God.

This should put a completely new understanding on a passage that we all know.

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))

I pray that this gives you something to think about as we enter into this Christmas season.

Do you truly understand the depths of God’s love?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you shining His light for the world to see?

November 18, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
(Psalms 119:105 (NIV))

God’s Word is Truth. Truth is spiritual light. Are we shining the light that God has given us so that others may see their path clearly?

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:14 (NIV))

Take it one day at a time. Take it one hour at a time. Take it one second at a time. We cannot plan how to shine God’s light, we can only be a willing vessel when the opportunity arises. Do you have a second to spare?

Take each second as it comes and shine forth the light that God has placed within you, the Light of Jesus Christ.

Think of all the people who you meet every day who need God’s Light.

Are you shining His light for the world to see?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How are you at waiting?

October 12, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
     and in his word I put my hope.
(Psalms 130:5 (NIV))

Do you have patience?

Let me rephrase that last statement.

Have you grown tired of waiting for the Lord?

That sounds awfully harsh, but if you stop to think about it, we are all guilty of that very thing. We have grown to expect instantaneous rewards and solutions to our problems. We have become expectant of the fast food type of response from anyone and everyone in our lives.

Think back on the stories from the Bible. Did any of them have an instantaneous answer from God? Did Abraham become the father of many nations overnight? Did David become the king of Israel when God selected him from among his brothers? Did Noah go out and buy a boat the day that he heard God tell him it was going to rain? Did Moses lead the Israelites our of Egypt the day he returned from the desert? We all know these answers, yet we have grown to expect much more than these fathers of our faith ever would have imagined. We must take a lesson from these very people and take these words to heart.

Be still, and know that I am God
(Psalms 46:10a (NIV))

To know God is to trust in Him. To know God is to place all of your hope in Him. We must be willing to go the distance with God and not grow tired of waiting for Him. I know that we are only human and at times, we will grow weary in our patience. The key is to realize that He is maturing us and those around us so that we may know His fullness. We must realize that we are not waiting for Him. On the contrary, He is waiting for us!

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

I am so very thankful that God has waited for me!

How are you at waiting?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How sharp do you want to be?

September 22, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

As iron sharpens iron,
     so one person sharpens another.
(Proverbs 27:17 (NIV))

There is an old saying that you are what you eat. I can hear your thoughts now as you ask what does this have to do with this passage. To put it concisely, who you associate with is who is being used as the sharpening tool for your life.

Who are the people that you surround yourself with?

Are they sharpening and maturing your faith or are they making you dull and immature? Are you sharpening others?

I realize that not everyone in our lives will profess a faith in Jesus. There will be family who are not believers. There will be people whom you work with who will not be believers. There will definitely be people you encounter in the public spaces of this world who are not believers. The key to these interactions is that we must realize that sometimes we are being sharpened and at other times we are being used by God to sharpen others. We must pray for discernment so that we can identify which is which. Perhaps the easiest way to address this issue is to pray that we can be consistent in our thoughts, words and actions no matter who we are around. We must pray for the strength to keep our eyes on Jesus no matter where we are and who we are with!

Can you make that claim?

We may never know how our words and actions will impact others. We may be the only one in someone’s life who attempts to show them Jesus by the simple things that we say and do. We may add a little sharpness into a dull life and that glimpse of sharpness may be just the thing that makes someone want more. We should also strive to sharpen each other so that our faith, our knowledge and our understanding is continually being honed.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
(Romans 10:17 (NKJV))

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
(Hebrews 4:12 (NIV))

To clarify, it is our use of God’s Word that sharpens us. It is our desire to learn and mature and discuss our thoughts with those who also desire to learn and mature in and through God’s word.

How sharp do you want to be?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What does your diet consist of?

July 13, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
(Matthew 4:4 (NIV))

Besides being necessary to live, eating has become something that has made our society what it is today. It has sparked the creation of cookbooks, diets, cooking utensils, spices, and mood enhancers to create just the special occasion. We have television shows focused on food. We spend so much time thinking about food that we have become obsessed. We have taken that obsession to the smallest detail, and even to the point where we want to flavor enhance water. We have restaurants where you can sit down for long periods of time and slowly enjoy the cuisine. We have restaurants where you are in and out in fifteen minutes or less. We even have the ability to drive through some restaurants and pick up food to go.

We spend so much money, time and effort on the food that feeds us physically, yet we barely spend any time on what feeds us spiritually. Even though most people who profess a faith in Jesus own a Bible, there are many people who never open its pages to feed their spirit. They never venture into the very heart of God. They never feed upon the sweet morsels of truth that the Lord gives us.

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
     blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
(Psalm 34:8 (NIV))

Have you truly tasted of the goodness of the Lord? Have you opened the cover and turned the pages to see His grace and mercy being offered time and time again to a people who ebb and flow with each passing generation? I need to say this. If you don’t spend time in God’s Word and feed upon the sweet spiritual nourishment, it is like someone who goes to a restaurant and only looks at the menu. You only get a glimpse of what is offered. You miss out on the very thing that you claim to want.

It is said that tasting and eating are the most personal of the senses. All other senses allow you to experience what is around you. Eating makes that experience an integral part of you. You are putting something external and foreign into your body. The same can be said of what you feed on spiritually. You are feeding a hunger that can only be satisfied by the Lord. Sadly, too many people try to feed this spiritual hunger with anything and everything that they can think of while completely ignoring the true source that satisfies.

What does your diet consist of?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you gotten lost on a detour?

December 9, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

According to the world, there are many different ways to get to heaven.

What do you believe? What do you know to be the truth? Do you believe that they are the same thing?

Each religion in the world professes that they have the only path to get to god. You will notice that I chose to use a little “g,” for the gods that they claim to be able to reach are not the God of the universe. Each religion sets out a path that you must follow to achieve a higher level. Everything that they claim gets you closer to their god is something that you must do, but our God, the God of the universe did something to reach us!

He sent His Word! He sent His only begotten Son.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
(John 1:1-5 (NIV))

Jesus came to shine the light!

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))

Jesus came as one of us, a living man of flesh. We can never be good enough. We can never earn our way to God. Because of this, God came to us! Jesus was sent by God, as God made man, to bring us back to Himself.

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. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people 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 their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

The world tells us that we have to get better in order to see God. God tells us that He is better than the world. He has reached out to us to share His goodness, righteousness, mercy and grace. Personally, I know that I am not capable of anything on my own. I was drowning in a sea of sin. God reached out and rescued me. I didn’t have to rescue myself. Grace was and forever will be a gift. All that you have to do is accept it. If you are required to do something of your own strength, then you are on the wrong path.

Have you gotten lost on a detour?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It takes faith to turn to God and that pleases Him!

November 11, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
(Hebrews 11:6 (NIV))

I’ve read this particular passage many times and I thought that I understood it, but recently I had an epiphany. I had a new understanding of this passage and I don’t understand why the obvious had not made itself known to me before. It all starts with a fresh understanding of faith.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

Have you ever seen God? Are you confident that He exists? If you firmly believe that He exists, that is faith. In this physical world, it takes faith to even acknowledge that God exists. If you do not possess faith the size of a mustard seed, then it is impossible for your mind to even conceive of the idea of God. Faith is the key! Without faith, God doesn’t exist in your heart or in your mind. You have made a decision to shun the Creator of all things! That breaks the very heart of God, for He longs to draw each of us closer to Himself. It only takes a little faith to grow the idea that God is real. Once you have the faith to make this proclamation, you have taken the first step in your journey with the Lord. Each step of that journey draws you closer to the Lord and builds a stronger faith. It pleases the Lord when you draw closer to Him. It pleases the Lord as your faith matures.

How do you grow faith?

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
(Romans 10:17 (NKJV))

We must spend time daily in His Word, for His Word is His heart! When we know His Word, we know Him intimately.

Do you possess a faith that seeks intimacy with the Lord?

It takes faith to turn to God and that pleases Him!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you support those who support Israel and Jerusalem?

October 30, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing:
(Ezra 1:1 (NIV))

We know that God used Nebuchadnezzar as His servant to bring His judgment upon Jerusalem. Then at the appointed time, after the exiles had repented, He used Cyrus to bring about the return to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Temple. Both men had a part in God’s plans. Even though they did completely opposite things, they both fulfilled God’s plans. They were both servants of the Lord whether they knew it or not. God moves people to fulfill His will for the specific period in history. Nebuchadnezzar brought punishment and Cyrus brought restoration. Cyrus returned Jerusalem to the descendants of Israel. Cyrus also committed to rebuilding the Temple.

Jerusalem is the key!

But you are to seek the place the LORD your God will choose from among all your tribes to put his Name there for his dwelling. To that place you must go;
(Deuteronomy 12:5 (NIV))

That place is Jerusalem!

Cyrus knew this. That is why he listened to the Lord.

“This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:
“‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem, and may their God be with them. And in any locality where survivors may now be living, the people are to provide them with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.'”
(Ezra 1:2-4 (NIV))

Everything hinges on Jerusalem.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May those who love you be secure.
(Psalms 122:6 (NIV))

On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem.
(Zechariah 12:9 (NIV))

If we profess a faith in Jesus, who is the Jewish Messiah, then we should also stand firm in God’s Word when it comes to Jerusalem. The Body of Christ hasn’t replaced Israel. We are grafted into amazing grace. We should not do anything to bring destruction upon the city where God has placed His name! We must support the proclamation that Jerusalem is His city where His Temple shall be.

Do you support those who support Israel and Jerusalem?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you desire to be thoroughly equipped?

October 27, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV))

Do you like to cherry pick so that you go through and find what you like and leave the rest behind?

This concept works for selecting fruit and vegetables, but it is sadly used in circumstances where it shouldn’t even be considered.

Think about this in relation to your Bible reading and study plan. Do you have a favorite verse? If you are like most people who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, you probably have what most people refer to as a life verse. There is nothing wrong with that. That passage is your personal anchor that firmly grounds you in your relationship with the Lord, but it should not be the complete extent of your knowledge and understanding. It should be the starting point for a continually growing relationship and understanding of Scripture.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
(John 1:1-4 (NIV))

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))

Scripture is God’s Word. Jesus is God’s Word made flesh. If we long for a relationship with the Lord, then we must spend time getting to know Him. That means that we get to know everything that there is to know about the Lord, for He is perfect. If there is something that we desire to avoid then that reflects badly on us. It shows that we desire to settle for less than perfect. It shows that we desire to settle for our sin. It shows that we don’t truly desire the Lord and the spiritual growth that comes from His Word.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
(Hebrews 4:12 (NIV))

Are you willing to allow yourself to be judged, taught, rebuked, corrected and trained in righteousness?

Do you desire to be thoroughly equipped?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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