What are you willing to sacrifice?

November 30, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And King Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty-two thousand head of cattle and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep and goats. So the king and all the people dedicated the temple of God.
(2 Chronicles 7:5 (NIV))

If you are like me, you probably had to read this passage a few times to fully comprehend the size of the sacrifice that Solomon offered when the temple was dedicated. Perhaps the following will help you understand the size.

22,000 cattle at $500 a head equals $11 million in today’s value.

120,000 sheep and goats at $150 a head equals $18 million in today’s value.

In total, Solomon sacrificed approximately $29 million to dedicate God’s temple.

I can hear some people saying that the sacrifice could have been used to feed the hungry or could have been used to provide farm animals to the poor. Solomon, in all of his wisdom, realized that because God had blessed him so greatly, he needed to make sacrifices in proportion to the size of that blessing. Solomon was the wisest and richest man to have ever lived. How would you have expected him to praise the Lord for what He had done?

Think about what you give, what you sacrifice, for God. None of us can claim to be as blessed as Solomon, but do we give back to God with the same spirit and attitude that Solomon had? Do you tithe? Do you give offerings? Do you wish that your ten percent would increase as you see increase, or do you give less as you get more? Sadly, too many people who are blessed try to keep all of the blessings for themselves. Studies have shown that as people earn more money, they give less and less. Instead of giving ten percent, it decreases to less than two percent. Is this a sacrifice? Is this considered robbing God?

I have heard of some people who have increased what they give, what they sacrifice, without increasing what they receive. They are thankful for the blessings and are willing to sacrifice in thanks and praise to God.

What are you willing to sacrifice?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you able to bring this sacrifice?

November 29, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.
(Psalms 51:17 (NIV))

We all make sacrifices. Some of us sacrifice for our spouses. Some sacrifice for their children. Some people will sacrifice for their jobs and some will make sacrifices for their church, but how hard is it to overcome human nature? It is this human nature that at times makes each of us think that we are the center of the universe.

Does this sound like a broken spirit?

Does this sound like a broken and contrite heart?

The sacrifice that God does not despise is the one in which we come humbly into His presence. It is a sacrifice in which we offer up our humility, our ego and our pride. It is a sacrifice that places our needs and desires much lower than our selfish human nature demands. It is a sacrifice that recognizes that we are not capable of doing anything that will make us righteous in God’s eyes.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

It is a sacrifice that places God first and others as equals with ourselves.

To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.
(Mark 12:33 (NIV))

Our sinful human nature makes it so difficult to sacrifice ourselves in this manner, but it is exactly what we must be able to do.

Are you able to bring this sacrifice?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Would you like to deny death its victory?

November 28, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?
(1 Corinthians 15:55 (NIV))

Have you ever faced something that you knew was an inevitability?

There is an old saying that only two things are certain – death and taxes, and I would probably be able to say that around April of each year they may appear to be the same thing. I think it is human nature to fear anything that requires us to give up something, especially when we know that we will never get it back. In death, we give up our life thinking that we will never get it back. With taxes, we give up our money knowing that it is long gone.

I love the perspective that Jesus gave us about taxes.

“Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription are on it?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
He said to them, “Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
(Luke 20:24-25 (NIV))

Through these words, Jesus let us know that money is a man-made thing and in God’s grand scheme of things, it is not important. Jesus told us to give to man what man has created. In that same logic, we are to give to God what God has created! Am I off base with this concept, for God created life? God did not create death. Death came about as a result of what Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden. From that time to the present, death has become a part of life. Up until the time that God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, to live and to die as an atoning sacrifice, humanity had no hope of anything beyond the grave. Satan appeared to have won, but God had a better plan. God’s plan made it possible to escape the ultimate consequences of a physical death brought about by sin. Through God’s plan of redemption and grace, we can spend eternity in God’s presence in paradise! All that we have to do is profess Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior.

Would you like to deny death its victory?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you accepted God’s compassion for you?

November 27, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.
(Psalms 103:13 (NIV))

How many times, as a child, did you do something terribly wrong? You knew that you were going to be in BIG trouble! You knew that there was going to be punishment for your actions. Many times you did receive punishment for what you had done. Think back and take a look at what you did and what you received in return.

Chances are that the punishment was far less serious than the action really deserved. Your earthly father had compassion on you and tempered the punishment with love. Our heavenly Father is far more compassionate than any person can ever be. No matter what you have done in your life, it can all be forgiven through one simple act of faith.

Profess the name of Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and the severe punishment for your sins is wiped away. You may still suffer the immediate consequences of your actions, but the long term consequences of sin are no longer to be applied to you. The wages of sin is death. God, through His compassion, has given us a way to escape what is rightfully ours to face.

Have you accepted God’s compassion for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you give thanks where thanks are due?

November 24, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?
(1 Corinthians 10:16 (NIV))

Most of us just finished a meal, a feast, in which we gathered together with family and friends to give thanks for the blessings that we have. It is good to be thankful, especially when you consider that whatever you are thankful for can be gone in an instant. Loved ones can be taken from us. Health can be good one minute and forever a problem the very next. The homes that we have can go up in smoke and the finances that we store away for our future can be worthless the very next day.

No matter the state of the things of this world, there is one thing that we should be eternally thankful for. There is a treasure that lasts forever! That treasure is Jesus.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
(Matthew 6:19-20 (NIV))

We celebrate an earthly thanksgiving with a meal. We also celebrate an eternal thanksgiving by partaking of a holy meal, a holy communion. This participation in the cup and in the bread is a special symbol of our thanksgiving for what we have been given, but we should not limit our thankfulness to the Lord to just this particular moment. Every meal should be a reflection, a moment of thankfulness to God, for what we have been given. Not only every meal, but everything that is good should cause us to give thanks to the true source of all that is good.

Do you give thanks where thanks are due?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you thankful when you go to the Lord in prayer?

November 23, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
(Philippians 4:6 (NIV))

When you go to God in prayer, do you petition Him out of despair or out of joy?

Think about that for a moment. The attitude that you have when you approach God is important. Imagine if you approached a friend for a favor with the following type of attitude. This attitude is self-defeating and humiliating. This attitude is not sure and confident of what you are asking. This attitude is one where you come across as not caring if what you ask gets done. This attitude is one in which what you ask does not come across as a priority. How do you think your friend will respond?

Your friend will pick up on the not so subtle hints that you are dropping. It will come across as if what you ask is of no consequence one way or the other, so if it is of no consequence one way or the other, your friend will take the easy way out. This means that your friend will not respond the way that you want.

I can almost hear your thoughts.

Why would anyone ask for a favor in such a way as to guarantee that it will not be answered?

It doesn’t make sense, but that is exactly how we approach God!

We cautiously and anxiously approach God and when we finally do pray and petition Him for something that He would probably gladly provide, we ask in such a way that it appears that we really don’t want what we ask for. Does it surprise you when God’s answer doesn’t match the request? Does it surprise you to find that you may really not want to be in His presence? If we are truly joyous about our relationship and our salvation, we should be filled with thanksgiving at all times, especially when we approach the Lord and seek to be in His presence. Being in His presence, going to the Lord in prayer, should be the ultimate experience in our relationship with Him. Too many of us treat this as the ultimate punishment.

Are you thankful when you go to the Lord in prayer?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is eternity long enough to give our thanks and praise?

November 22, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
(Psalms 100:4 (NIV))

It is that time of year when we, as a nation, have set aside a day to give thanks. When I read the passage above, I realized a few things that jump right out at me. The first thing that I notice is that we, as the Body of Christ, should have a perpetual attitude of thanksgiving for it is tied directly to our desire to be in His presence. It should not be limited to a single day and a single meal.

Thanksgiving should be a believer’s way of life!

We should give thanks for our lives. We should give thanks for the air that we breathe. We should give thanks for our family and friends. We should give thanks for the roof over our heads. We should give thanks for the food that gives us energy. Most importantly, we should give thanks for the gift of grace and mercy that was freely given to us at the cross.

The second thing that I noticed is that when we are thankful, we should praise the Lord.

We should give praise to God for our lives. We should lift up praise to God for the air that we breathe. We should praise God for the blessings of family and friends. We should praise God for the shelter that we have been given. Our praises should be lifted to the Lord for the food that we have been given. Most importantly, we should praise and glorify the Lord for the gift of grace and mercy that was freely given to us at the cross.

Taking a long and serious look at all that we should be thankful for, one day is not enough. One life is not enough!

Is eternity long enough to give our thanks and praise?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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