Glorious riches!

September 30, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. .
(Colossians 1:27 (NIV))

Glorious riches!

People have sought after riches all throughout history. They have all sought after treasures of untold wealth.

Gold.

Jewels.

Oil.

Big houses and expensive possessions.

Ironically, many of these people have missed the greatest and most glorious treasure that could ever be found. It is a treasure that is freely given but cannot be taken. It is a treasure of infinite worth, yet no amount of money can purchase it. It is readily given to the poorest of the poor if they will but ask, yet the richest man in the world cannot buy it. He can ask to receive it and it will be freely given.

The glorious riches is truly a mystery. It has baffled the most educated of men, yet it makes perfect sense to a little child. People have spent a lifetime studying to try and make sense of it, yet for all of their study, it is still a simple and honest plea that brings the bounty to any and all.

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))

Jesus is the one who leads us to the glorious treasure, a gift of grace, mercy and salvation. The treasure that we find through His glory is the key to our very existence, both here in this world and for eternity.

What could be of greater value?

What could be more glorious than knowing that you have been given the glorious riches of a life in Jesus and a life everlasting?

No gold could ever compare. No jewels could ever compare. All riches of this world will fade. The glorious riches that we are given through Jesus will be with us always.

Faith is a mystery, yet we have hope. We have Jesus and we have a hope of glory.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Which way do you want to reason?

September 29, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
(Isaiah 1:18 (NIV))

According to human reasoning, this does not make sense. It is physically impossible for something to be red and then to be made perfectly white. The very nature of the material will not allow it. At best, the red would simply become faded, but it would never become perfectly white. In fact, the red, just like the sin that it represents, would stain anything cleaner and lighter than itself.

Fortunately, God works beyond the physical realm and is capable of far greater things than we can imagine.

As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:9 (NIV))

Our ability to reason is limited in understanding and scope. God’s ability to reason is infinite. His is the ultimate reasoning, for with a single thought, anything can be done.

When faced with the red stains of our sins, isn’t it nice to know that we have a fresh perspective on their impact upon our lives. We have the atoning blood of Jesus that will wash them away. In the natural world, the red of sin plus the red of blood does not make white. Thankfully, the atoning blood of Jesus is so much more than natural blood. By God’s way of reasoning, the red of Jesus’ blood washes away the red stain of sin.

Which way do you want to reason – man’s or God’s?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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All authority

September 28, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
(Matthew 28:18 (NIV))

What a strong and powerful statement! Think of the implications of such a statement.

Jesus had just been crucified. He had just been raised from the dead. He had appeared to many people since His resurrection. Think about the impact that this statement had on those who actually heard Him say it. Everything that they had ever feared about life and death had simply been erased. No one in history had ever died and came back to life. No one had ever been so brutally beaten and then mercilessly killed only to be found walking among the living three days later.

I can only imagine how His disciples felt when He showed Himself to be among the living. Not only did they see Him die, they knew how He died. Now, He was standing right in front of them saying that He had all authority in heaven and on earth. And the good news was, and still is, that it is true. The man who spent three years teaching them had proven that everything He had ever said was true. They became transformed by what they witnessed. They transformed the world by what they witnessed.

Think about that. What other group of people have ever transformed the world? Jesus started with twelve people. These people saw what happened. They knew it to be true. They knew that Jesus had been given all authority in heaven and on earth. They were willing to die for what they knew. If Jesus had not been given this authority, would those who followed Him be willing to die? We know what happened to His disciples during the crucifixion. They all scattered. A few days later they were all willing to die to spread the good news. They recognized holy authority. They recognized His authority within their lives. They willingly gave all that they were because of that authority. They gave not out of fear, but out of love.

Who has authority over your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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To serve or to be served?

September 27, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave– just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
(Matthew 20:24-28 (NIV))

Once again, Jesus broke the mold. He went against what human nature tells us is the way to think. He spoke against the biggest part of a person, their ego. It is our ego that makes us want to be the master, for we think that we are better than anybody else and that we deserve to be served. Human nature tells us that the great people of this world are those who are served.

Take a look at the people who have been written up in history as the great ones of their time. Consider the people who have done evil. What attitude did they have? They wanted to be served.

Consider those who have left a positive mark in history. They are the people who have served other people. People like Mother Teresa, Winston Churchill, and many others throughout history. They will be remembered for the selfless acts where they gave freely of themselves for the benefit of others.

Jesus was our role model for this behavior. If we are to imitate Jesus so that the world sees Him through us, are we doing what we should? Are we serving others, or are we expecting to be served?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Power and authority

September 26, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations.
(Revelation 2:26 (NIV))

We should not seek power for the sake of power, however, Jesus has promised us that we would have authority.

Power that comes from the world is self-serving and is self-centered. It feeds a person’s ego and allows Satan to enter with lies about “no one will know, and you deserve it.”

The old saying that absolute power corrupts absolutely is true. No single person in all of history has been able to resist the temptation that comes with absolute authority. Notice that I said no single “person.” Jesus was fully man and fully God. Jesus resisted the temptation, and as a result, if we can follow Him and allow Jesus into our lives as our Lord and Savior, then we, too, can resist temptation. By resisting this temptation in our lives and focusing on Jesus, we are placing all authority for our lives in His hands. By surrendering our authority, we will be given authority through Jesus Christ.

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)

Most people don’t think of authority as one of the things that they will do. However, it is. Jesus was given the authority. His authority He gives to those who allow Him into their lives.

It is promised. If we do the Will of God through the authority given to Jesus, then we will be given authority in a similar manner. This authority is not to be looked upon as the world looks upon authority, for even God given authority still requires a willing submission to the Father who has granted the authority.

Do not boast about authority, but pray for guidance in your authority that God has given you.

The passage speaks about the Millennial Kingdom, but the same principles apply today. Focus on Godly authority to enforce whatever authority you may have, and you will be blessed as well as be a blessing.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Join in the heritage of rejoicing

September 23, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
(Psalms 100:1-5 (NIV))

Take a look around you.

What do you see?

Do you see random chance and “natural selection” where we are simply the product of millions of years of impossible permutations, or do you see order and design?

How can we, as the Body of Christ, see anything but joy in all that God has created. He created everything for us! He created us to be in a relationship with Him. He created us out of love. He gave us authority over His creation because of His love.

Unfortunately, we rebelled against His love. We rejected God and allowed Satan into the world. Still, God loved us to the point where He wanted to redeem us from our sin and from Satan’s grasp. Because of His great love for us, He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die as a sacrifice, one for all, so that we could be saved. We should be singing His praises in all that we do. We should be thankful for His faithfulness.

What did your grandparents have faith in? Was it God’s steadfast love?

What did your great-great grandparents have faith in?

It was probably also God’s steadfast love.

They rejoiced in His grace and mercy. For thousands of years, people have rejoiced in His grace and mercy.

Do you share this heritage of rejoicing with all of those who came before you?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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To what end do you labor?

September 22, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.
(Colossians 1:28-29 (NIV))

I read this, and then I read it again. I read it one more time before it actually hit home.

Paul’s sole task after his Damascus road experience was teaching and admonishing, or urging, people to follow Jesus. Everything else that he did was secondary.

He did not live to work as so many of us do today.

He did not work to live. He had no vineyards to tend, or fields to plow. He had no business to run. He only labored to provide for his needs.

Paul’s mission in life was proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That was his passion. That was what consumed his time.

It is said that if you look at a person’s calendar and checkbook that you can clearly see what that person’s priorities are. I venture to say that Paul spent very little time and money on things that did not forward God’s Kingdom.

I know that not all of us are called to be another Paul, yet, I often wonder if we are falling short on what we are called to be. I enjoy my time within God’s Word. I am happy to see that God is using this to touch people’s lives, yet, I often wonder what I would be like, what we all would be like, if only we could labor as Paul.

What would our lives be like if we could double our labor for the Gospel? What would be the impact on family, friends, coworkers and even strangers? What would that do for the harvest?

He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.
(Luke 10:2 (NIV))

To what end do you labor?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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