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.




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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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I long to become a dedicated servant!

September 21, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation– if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
(Colossians 1:21-23 (NIV))

What do you serve?

Think about that for a moment.

Basically, a servant is a person who is in service to another.

If you have ever served in the military, your “service” was a given fact. If you have ever worked for a living, your service to your job was a given fact. Once you come under the authority of someone, your service is expected, whether that authority is to a military leader or an employer, you are in service to them.

Are you a servant to the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

Have you come under the authority of Jesus and the grace and mercy that goes with that?

Do you accept Jesus as your Savior?

Here comes the question that too many people either trip up on or choose to ignore completely. Is Jesus your Lord? Does Jesus have authority, control and power over you? Is He your master? Is He your Lord?

If Jesus is your Lord, then by simple deduction from the definitions of Lord and servant, we should be serving Jesus in all capacities. We should proclaim, just as Paul did, that we have become a servant of the Gospel.

Or, do you have the mindset that God is to serve us? Do you expect God to give you everything that you want when you want it? Perhaps you have mistaken God for the genii in the tale of Aladdin. God is not here to grant you wishes, not even just three. He is God the Father, Creator of all things.

He gave us life.

We sinned and fell into the punishment of death.

He sent His Son, Jesus, to redeem us from death for Himself.

He has given us everything. He has rescued us from eternal death.

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.
(Joshua:15 (NIV))

In many cultures, there is an old tradition that if somebody saves your life, your are in service to them until the debt has been paid. God, through His Son, Jesus, saved our lives. What are we doing to repay that debt. What are we doing to be of service to the very Gospel that saved us?

I long to become a dedicated servant!

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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He is with you through your troubles

September 20, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?’ or `What shall we drink?’ or `What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
(Matthew 6:28-34 (NIV))

Lately, if you are like me, that last statement is definitely true – “Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

How many of you had a day that you wish you could forget? I want to let you in on a little secret. Tomorrow will have its share of troubles, too. They don’t ever really go away, but with the promises that God has made, we will see them through if we place our faith and trust in those promises.

Think about Jesus when He walked this earth. Many of His days had troubles. The crowds wanted to throw Him off a cliff. The chief priests wanted to keep Him quiet and later they wanted to kill Him. He was beaten, scourged and crucified. He died. In my opinion, these are all major troubles, yet, He overcame His troubles so that He could be there for us so that we can overcome ours. In fact, He overcame the biggest trouble that anybody could ever have. He overcame death by arising on the third day.

If we place our faith in Jesus, then we will overcome all of our troubles as well. Jesus did not promise to remove our troubles.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

He is with us as we go through our troubles. He is guiding us and teaching us. Through our troubles, we are being made more perfect, more mature. If you are like me, sometimes you may wish that we could mature a little slower, but by keeping your faith firmly rooted in Jesus, you will endure.

Keep in mind how God defines Himself.

“I am the LORD; that is my name!
I will not give my glory to another
or my praise to idols.
(Isaiah 42:8 (NIV))

You have probably heard that God is not called “I was” because He is alive today. He is not called “I will be,” for He is now and forever. He is firmly rooted in your today. He will be there even when you do not feel that He is. He is “I am” and He is with you through your troubles.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you ready to remodel?

September 19, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Unless the LORD builds the house,
its builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchmen stand guard in vain.
(Psalms 127:1 (NIV))

When did the government take prayer out of public schools?

When did abortion become legal?

When did the rights of the criminal become more important than the common good of society?

When did we start allowing the vocal minority to remove God from our society?

When did it become socially unacceptable to mention Jesus in the military, in government and in everyday life?

The LORD may have built this house, but we have allowed it to be remodeled in a way that has excluded God. It is time to remodel it again and rebuild it with God’s help.

I often wonder what the founding fathers would say about what has happened. History books are being rewritten. Men and women who were once revered as godly and righteous are now simply mentioned as owning slaves. I don’t condone slavery, but to relegate all of the great achievements to a lost bit of information simply because they happened to own slaves. No one is perfect, yet these very same people followed God’s leading and established the tenants that would later bring freedom to all.

We need to allow God to not only rebuild, but to also watch over this country and this world. In order for that to happen, we must turn to Him. He will not do it if we do not ask.

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV))

People wonder why we have such troubles and such insecurity. We have been given the answer. I pray that we, as the body of Christ, will rise to the occasion and allow God to rebuild us and to watch over us once again.

Are you ready to remodel?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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