The Master builder

November 12, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
(John 14:1-3 (NIV))

What imagery do you see when you read this passage? Do you focus on the splendor of the dwelling that you have the hope and the promise of attaining? Perhaps you focus on the shear number of dwellings that must exist. Perhaps you read that Jesus is preparing a place for you and then you realize that the Lord of all is personally taking care of your needs. These are all fantastic visions of what awaits, but I find solace in the last statement.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
(John 14:3 (NIV))

Isn’t that amazing? Jesus, in all of His glory, is not only personally preparing our future dwellings, He will also come back personally and take us to be with Him. He is NOT sending an angel to come and pick us up. He is not using a GPS system or Mapquest to send us directions so that we can find our own way. He is coming personally to take us to be with Him.

Think about that. Jesus – King of kings and Lord of lords – loves us so much that He is coming for us. In fact, all of history is unfolding because He loves us and died on the cross so that we can receive salvation, grace and mercy. God’s Word tells of God’s love through His creation and how we, through Adam and Eve, fell from grace. The Old Testament shows us how we should live, but how we fail because of sin. It also points to a savior who will change all. Then, Jesus comes and shows us how to return to God. We are given a choice. We are given a free gift. Finally, those who trust in Jesus will be welcome home.

Jesus is that gift. Even now, He is still fulfilling these words.

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
(Mark 10:45 (NIV))

Jesus is preparing a place for us. Even in His Lordship, He is still serving us. How can we serve Him?

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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You are invited!

November 11, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.
(Revelation 22:17 (NIV))

Think back upon the last invitation that you received. Maybe it was an engraved, formal invitation to a wedding. Perhaps it was an email telling you of an event, the time and place. Perhaps it was a televised invitation to a concert. Better yet, was it a simple exchange between friends where one friend willingly opened his heart and home to you as a simple act of fellowship and love?

Now, imagine the best invitation that you have ever received is nothing more than filthy rags. That is exactly what it is in comparison to the invitation that all of us are given. All other invitations are to events that are fleeting in nature and are soon forgotten. The invitation that we are given by the Spirit is one to an eternal celebration of grace and mercy!

“Come!”

There is no other invitation needed. There is no other explanation needed. God, in all of His infinite wisdom and glory is freely offering us grace and mercy through the redeeming blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. All we have to do is accept the invitation.

Are you thirsty?

Do you long to have the water of life?

What are you waiting for? Grace and mercy are yours through this glorious invitation.

“Come!”

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Promises kept!

November 10, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.
(Revelation 21:4 (NKJV))

If God only chose one promise to keep and this was it, we would have an extremely good reason for calling upon His name. Yet, we know that God keeps all of His promises and that this is only a small portion of what He has in store for those who call upon His name through the grace and mercy offered through Jesus Christ.

Can you imagine what it will be like when this is fulfilled?

Does anyone ever have a single day in which something or someone does not cause them sorrow? Life in this sinful world is not capable of providing a single day like what is described in this verse, yet, those who truly call upon Jesus Christ as their Lord and Master will face an eternity of such bliss.

There is an old saying that nothing is certain in this life but death and taxes. Jesus has provided a way to defeat death, and through the promise of this verse, all matters that are taxing to the human spirit will no longer cause us pain. To claim this, and all of God’s promises, for yourself, all that you have to do is accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, and allow the Holy Spirit to work within your life.

You cannot do it on your own, but you can accept the gift of grace and mercy that God freely gives through His Son, Jesus.

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you taken action to use your gift?

November 9, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
(Ephesians 4:11-13 (NIV))

This past few days, God taught me a lesson about the gifts that He has given each of us. He used my sixteen year old son to emphasize something that many of us have a tendency to overlook.

As I may have stated in previous devotionals, my son plays alto and tenor saxophone in his high school band. I feel that he has a gift for music. Fortunately, he is in a school that has a band director who firmly believes in using what you have been given. He pushes the kids in a way that has brought discipline, maturity and confidence in their playing abilities. The band and the band director have taken the natural callings that the students have and have worked hard since summer. It shows. They earned the right to attend the national high school band competition recently held in Annapolis, Maryland. This right was granted to them by winning first place in the regional competition held just two weeks prior.

What made this band different was not their gifts, although it was a foundation. What made this band different was the fact that they acted upon those gifts and firmly believed that they could do it. God gave them each the ability to play. It was their decision and their action that turned that gift, that calling, into more than just a typical high school band.

How does that relate to some being apostles, some being prophets, some evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers?

God has also called each of us with spiritual gifts as well as physical gifts. He may not have called us to play music, but he has called us to other endeavors, endeavors that also need our decision and our action to turn that gift into all that God has called it to be. We may realize that we have a calling, but if we never act on that calling, is it truly what god desires? What if it is your calling to be an evangelist and bring countless numbers to salvation through Jesus? What will happen if you never take action on that calling.

We have to respond. We have to be willing to step out in faith just as my son’s high school band stepped out in faith when they believed that they could do more than simply playing at football games.

What is God calling you to do? If someone knocks on your door to tell you that you have won a fantastic prize, what happens if you do not answer the door? What will happen to your gift, your calling, if you never respond to God and step out in faith?

Being called is wonderful, yet, it is only the first step in the process. If you want to see what God will do if you answer your call, then step out in faith and allow God to mold you into the apostle, the prophet, the evangelist, the pastor or teacher that he knows that you can be.

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your most prized possession?

November 4, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?
(Luke 9:25 (NIV))

What is your most prized possession?

Is it a car? Perhaps it is a fancy home. Perhaps it is your bank account. Think about that possession. Are you willing to give up everything that you have in order to hold on to it? Are you willing to give up everything that you are in order to hold on to it?

Are you willing to give up yourself?

God created us to be eternal beings. What we try to hold onto in this world can cause us to lose that designed nature of our existence. We will not be redeemed from our sins. We will not spend eternity with God. We will lose the very things that are the most important to all of us, whether we know it or not.

There is only one thing that is worth possessing, for in possessing it, you gain eternity.

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
(Matthew 13:44-46 (NIV))

To possess the kingdom of heaven, you must simply ask Jesus into your life as Lord and Savior. Once you have allowed Him into your heart, the kingdom of heaven is close.

Think about this during your day. Will your prized possession cost you everything or will it gain you everything?

What is your most prized possession?

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Which golden rule do you live by?

November 3, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
(Matthew 7:12 (NIV))

Practically everyone knows the first part of this passage as “The Golden Rule.” Still others have their own golden rule that says “He who has the gold makes the rules.”

Personally, I hate the second saying even though it is meant as a joke. Even so, too many people seem to believe that money buys power. The Bible tells us that money, if not prioritized appropriately, causes many problems.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
(1 Timothy 6:10(NIV))

Money will cause many people to forget what was spoken of in Matthew 7:12. It causes people to treat others as if they did not matter. It causes people to mistreat others just so they can get more money or hold onto their money a little longer.

The love of money is the root of many evils. Money is fleeting. It can be destroyed. It can be lost in an instant. The evil that we do to gain money, or any other worldly possession or power, has eternal ramifications. It scars those whom the evil is done against, and more importantly, it causes even faithful believers to sin and turn from God’s Will.

We are to treat each other as we would want to be treated. Even if it were not a Biblical principle, it should be common courtesy to treat others as we would want to be treated. When we lose sight of this simple Biblical truth, we sin. We sin against other people. We sin against God. Perhaps we should even come to the realization that we may cause the one we have mistreated to sin out of anger.

How do you treat others? Do you see them as eternal, or do you see them as something to run over to achieve your goals?

Which “golden rule” do you believe in?

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you trust God and His plans?

November 2, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
(Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV))

We argue over the beginning. We reinterpret many things from the middle. We don’t agree on where we are today, and we pray for the future in hopes that it will turn out the way that we want it to. In all of this, we, as a society seem to have lost track of who created the beginning, who controls the middle, and who holds the future. Society thinks that we can ignore God and do better than He has planned from the beginning.

I honestly do not know anyone who does not marvel at a beautiful sunset, or the majesty of the numerous mountain ranges, or the wonder of all of the various forms of life that this world contains. We all earnestly seek to live forever, yet, too many of us miss out on how that can come about.

What has become of humanity? I can only speak from a perspective of almost fifty years, yet, it honestly seems that things are deteriorating. With this in mind, how can evolution be true? I have never seen anything that continually gets progressively better with time. Everything eventually begins to deteriorate just before it comes to a point where it will die. Sin has been turned loose upon this world and sin destroys. It does not make things evolve into something better.

There are those who study the truth about the beginning. There are those who study the truth about times that have past. There are those who study the events of today with an eye toward the truth, and then there are those who study the end as God has foretold it. It is such a shame that too many people have chosen to ignore the book that allows these studies. They ignore it because of various reasons, but I believe they all come down to one simple reason. It is the very same reason that brought about the fall of Satan. It is pride.

Pride keeps us from acknowledging God. It keeps us from recognizing that God is in control. Pride makes us think that we can alter what God has set in motion. Pride makes us say that there is no God. To those of us who earnestly try to acknowledge God and to fathom what He is doing, we may not be able to know from beginning to end, but we can know who holds the beginning to the end. Faith allows us to understand even when we truly are not capable of understanding. Faith gives us a peace even when God’s plans don’t make sense. Faith gives us a promise that eternity is true.

Do you fully comprehend God’s plans? Rest assured that only God knows it all. We will not be held accountable for not knowing His plan and the timing with which it will be carried out. What we will be held accountable for is a simple choice and how we live each day after making that choice.

Have you truly accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior?

Do you live you life as you have answered that question?

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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