Profit or loss

April 20, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
(Philippians 3:7-11 (NIV))

Have you ever had a complete about face with respect to something? Was there something that you thought was so important that you knew beyond any doubt that it would always be front and center in your life?

Paul had just these same thoughts.

He valued position. He valued societal standards. He valued what he thought was God’s plan for his life and the importance of the temple. He valued his Judaism.

It only took a moment in time and Paul’s values changed!

Think about that for a moment.

How would you handle striving for something that you thought would make your life complete, only to have an epiphany that made you realize it was all wrong? In Paul’s case, he spent over thirty years devoting himself to being the perfect Jewish man. In his mind, he had become what he felt God wanted him to be only to find out that what he had become was not anywhere near where God was leading him.

Would you react as Paul reacted?

Would you have the strength to admit that you had a change of direction? Would you willingly admit that you had been wrong? Would ego and pride keep you from fully changing course and proceeding with the same energy in a different direction?

Would you simply give up and focus on the wasted time?

Human nature is a funny thing. How many of us would react as Paul reacted? How many of us would accept by faith and then simply live out the rest of our days in the shadows? Still, how many would simply refuse to change course because we have spent too much time going in one direction to stop going in that direction?

I don’t profess to know exactly what Paul felt, but I know that the words he wrote have left an impression on my life.

I consider everything a loss if it does not lead me closer to Jesus!

What do you consider loss?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Salvation or foolishness?

April 19, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
(Galatians 2:19-20 (NIV))

In just a few days, we, as the Body of Christ, will celebrate the anniversary of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave. We need to truly reflect upon the meaning of what happened some two thousand years ago, for it had never happened before that time and it has never happened since. A man was brutally killed and three days later, He was alive again. Not only was He alive, He told us that if we follow Him, we too can have life after death!

Has any other person ever defeated death? Has any other person voluntarily faced the cruelty and torture that Jesus faced when He could have prevented it or even escaped it?

Jesus is unique in all of the history of the world!

He was with God in the beginning. He died on the cross. He arose again on the third day. He lives in the hearts of those who earnestly call upon Him. He sits at the right hand of God, the Father. He is our salvation!

This Easter morning when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, we also need to celebrate our death to sin and our resurrection into grace and mercy paid for by the blood of Jesus.

Easter is perhaps the most important day to our faith. If we accept Jesus and the grace and mercy that He has freely offered to us, then it is a day of glorious salvation and freedom. If we have not accepted Jesus, then it is a day of foolishness.

How will your Easter Sunday be?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The place of the skull

April 18, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).
(John 19:17 (NIV))

I just love the way that God works in symbolism!

As we approach Easter and the resurrection, we must remember that in order for Jesus to be resurrected, He first had to die. He had to go willingly to the place of the Skull to die to himself so that God’s plan could be fulfilled.

Isn’t it interesting how we, before we can embrace the resurrection, must also go to our own place of the skull. We must be willing to die to our reasoning and intellect and follow solely on faith. We must accept something that makes absolutely no worldly sense. We must die to our inability to believe in something without seeing it. We must die to our own place of the skull.

It is amazing how God will work in us and through us once we have willingly laid ourselves at the foot of the cross once we surrender our own place of the skull.

We are now ready to fully embrace the resurrection and the grace and mercy that it brings. This knowledge has not only transformed our minds, it is now ready to transform our lives. It can now travel the longest distance known to humanity – the eighteen inches from our mind to our heart – and truly have an impact on us.

Have you died to your place of the skull?

Have you fully embraced the resurrection?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How much were you forgiven?

April 15, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
(Luke 7:41-43 (NIV))

How big was your debt?

It is human nature to compare your status with that of those around you. Unfortunately, we compare with a jaded point of view. We always think that the other person is more of a sinner than we are, yet, Jesus told us otherwise.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
(Matthew 7:3-5(NIV))

How much do you love Jesus? Is it comparable to what He has forgiven you for? When you consider that

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

we should be overflowing with love as a praise of thanks for what Jesus has done for us. None of us are worthy on our own to be able to approach God for we are all sinners and no sin is less in the eyes of God than another. We are all guilty!

Our debt was huge and our love should be boundless!

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Refuge

April 14, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.

Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
a strong fortress to save me.
(Psalms 31:1-2 (NIV))

This world can be a very vicious place. Often, we need to simply hide from the pressures that this world dishes out. Isn’t it great to know that the God who created the universe is also our place of refuge. We can hide in Him and rest in His presence. We can walk quietly and drink in His majesty. We can, as it states in Ruth 2:12b “May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”

As for me, I long to take refuge with the Lord. There is no one else who can provide the peace that can come from refuge under His wings.

Lord, may we find the refuge that we seek and may we seek the refuge that you offer.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you yeast?

April 13, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
(Matthew 13:33 (NIV))

The effects that can be experienced from allowing God into a little part of your life are exponential in nature. Just like a little yeast in dough, God starts to work within you the minute you allow Him into any part of your life.

When you add yeast to dough, it changes the results from a flat, two dimensional, tasteless creation into a vibrant, life giving object that expands to fill the surroundings that it has been given. It expands its circle of influence.

Allowing God into your life is exactly the same. Without God, we are all flat, two dimensional, tasteless and lifeless. With God, through Jesus, we become full of life. We expand, through the grace and mercy showed to us through Jesus, and soon we fill the surroundings that we have been given. We, just as Jabez, expand our circle of influence for God.

Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
(Psalms 34:8 (NIV))

Is it any wonder that the kingdom of heaven is referred to in this way? It only takes a small amount of yeast to change flat, lifeless bread into warm, outgoing, life sustaining bread.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.
(John 6:35 (NIV))

Jesus was filled with God. If He was the bread of life and we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus, then we are to spread yeast into the lives of others.

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

Are you spreading God’s kingdom?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The same for all eternity

April 12, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8 (NIV))

Have you ever known anything to be the same day in and day out, year after year? I won’t even go to the forever part of this passage, for we, as finite creatures, do not truly understand forever. Let’s face the truth, we can’t even maintain consistency from one minute to the next.

With that in mind, how do you react to the thought of something or someone never changing?

Do the words consistency and monotony come to mind? Do you even approach the concept of boring? Perhaps you know people who think this way about Jesus.

If these are the mental pictures that you get when you read Hebrews 13:8, you are totally off base.

Consistency does not equate to boring or monotonous. It simply means that nothing will change the person no matter what the situation. Think back on the life of Jesus. I honestly do not think that you can call raising the dead boring. You cannot call feeding the five thousand with a few fish and five loaves boring. What about the money changers in the temple? What about the Passover meal in the upper room? What about all of the people that Jesus healed? Again, I say that consistency does not mean boring.

Jesus was always about His Father’s business. That business was and still is the restoration of humanity to Himself.

We know of the thirty or so years when Jesus walked the earth as a man. We know of His crucifixion and resurrection. We know of His ascension. We know what the Bible tells us about His return. Everything that Jesus has done and will do is for our redemption and grace.

Perhaps a better way to look upon the sameness of Jesus is to look upon it as some would classify as a one track mind. Jesus did not sway from His task. He is still about completing that task. He will not change. Even though the enemy tempted Him, He did not stray.

It is often said that you have to pick what matters to you the most and stick with it. If you let things distract you, then you will lose focus and lose site of what matters to you. This is true about a professional career, or hobbies, or love, or life in general. If you go around constantly changing and redefining your focus, do you truly have a focus? I bet we all know someone who constantly hops around from one interest to another. Do they ever succeed at anything if they hop from one interest to another?

Jesus has a consistent focus. That focus is God. That focus is you and I. That focus is redeeming us for an eternal life spent with God.

Personally, I am overjoyed that Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever. I am comforted in the knowledge that when I mess things up, He will be there with His same focus.

How do you look upon the consistency that Jesus provides?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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