Are you one in 365?

November 22, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
(Colossians 3:15-17 (NIV))

Thanksgiving is almost upon us. We, as believers, truly have something to be thankful for. But, are we also guilty of setting aside only one day to give thanks. We have the ultimate reason to be thankful 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year for all of our lives. Can we, in all honesty, limit this thankfulness to only one day in 365.

We are told “whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
(Colossians 3:17)

Every day when we get up, when we go to work or school, when we eat, when we share time with family, when we are in church, all should be spent with a reverence and thankfulness that is light to the world.

One day of thanks is good, but it also leaves us empty if that is all that we do. Our gratitude should overflow just as His mercy overflows upon us. We can be thankful one day in 365, or we can be filled with an attitude of thanksgiving each and every day.

Are you one in 365, or are you full?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Come and share your master’s happiness!

November 7, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

His master replied, `Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!
(Matthew 25:21 (NIV))

What has God placed in your life that you have been faithful with?

I pray that you do not have to stop and think about this too long.

God has blessed each of us with many things that we have. Life, health, faith, love, joy, and many more, yet, there are some things that he has given to us to use to His glory. Many of us simply think of these things as the skills that we have been blessed with to be able to work or they are simply our hobby.

A new friend of mine is a mechanic. Even though he gets paid to fix vehicles, he doesn’t hesitate to stop and help somebody when they are broken down on the side of the road.

I know a group of women who knit. They have turned their hobby into a ministry of love by giving their work to the elderly and the sick.

I know people who love to fix things. They have gotten together to form a handyman ministry to assist those who cannot do it for themselves.

I know of accountants who put their skills to use for international ministries.

Paul was a tentmaker. He used this skill to introduce himself into communities and then would tell people about Jesus. Look what God was able to do through Paul.

Perhaps you are gifted in music. Play and sing praises of God’s grace. You will be surprised at how this will touch people’s hearts.

I know that God has blessed each of us with a few talents. Some we use for our work. Others we use as a hobby. Others are simply things that we know how to do and do them without thought. No matter what these gifts may be, each of us has been given a few things that we can use to reach out to others, to minister to them in their need, and to shine the light of Jesus into their lives. We must be faithful in these few things that God has given to us.

I know that I long to be faithful in all that I have been given. I pray that I may stand before God and hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

It is my desire, and I hope that it is your desire as well, to hear the following words.

Come and share your master’s happiness!

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

November 3, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
(Acts 2:42 (NIV))

They devoted themselves!

Do you ever wonder why people say that miracles don’t happen today? Do you wonder why we see a problem and it stays a problem? Do you understand that our current understanding of church and being the Body of Christ is far from what it used to be?

Why do you think that is true?

One simple word.

Devotion.

We, as the modern Body of Christ, look at Jesus as a filler for the parts of our lives that are empty. It is true that He is there to fill the emptiness, but He is so much more. The early church knew that professing a faith in Jesus meant more than simply acknowledging Him as savior. They knew Him as Lord and they devoted themselves to each other and to His teachings.

They devoted themselves in four areas – teachings, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer. It does not say that they devoted themselves to their work. It does not say that they devoted themselves to their families. It does not say that they devoted themselves to their favorite sports team.

Could you image how the Body of Christ would be today if we all gave the same amount of devotion, both public and private, that we give our college football teams? Can you imagine large stadiums of people to pray and to study God’s Word? In some countries it happens. People come from far and wide to hear the Gospel. Ironically, it is usually an American ministry that reaches out to these countries. It is sad that we do not do as the people to whom we send ministers and missionaries.

What is your idea of devotion?

Is it sitting in a church pew for an hour on Sunday? Is it adding a Bible study to your weekly schedule? Is it placing God first in all that you do? Does it mean that you willingly help those in need?

I often think that devotion is directly related to faith.

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.”
(Matthew 13:31-32 (NIV))

If we have the faith and the devotion to see that faith through, then both will grow to enormous proportions. As we devote ourselves to the four areas – teachings, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer – we will see things begin to happen that will strengthen our faith. We will see the results of our devotion. As a result, we will grow our devotion and our faith.

It is amazing what devotion, or dedication, can do, especially when it is focused on Jesus and God’s Word.

I think that we need to take a lesson from the early church and try devoting ourselves to Jesus. You will be amazed at what happens.

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

September 8, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king.
(Daniel 3:17 (NIV))

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego showed magnificent faith in the presence of a danger that not too many of us know today nor will we ever know it. They were told that they would deny God or die. King Nebuchadnezzar was more than determined to carry out that threat.

What would you do if you were in a similar situation? Have you built the foundation of your faith to such a point that it is as strong and unshakable as that of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego? If you were ever placed in a situation where you were told that in order to live, you must deny God, would your faith be strong enough to stand firm and speak words similar to those spoken to King Nebuchadnezzar? Would you willingly give up your physical life for something that you believe in?

We don’t know what life will send our way. We don’t know if we will ever be placed in life and death situations. We don’t know what tomorrow may bring. Let’s face facts, we don’t even know what the next second will bring. We think that we have control of our lives, but that control is superficial and fleeting. In a single moment, we can be confronted with a situation that requires us to make a split second decision. This decision can have eternal consequences.

I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God.
(Luke 12:8-9 (NIV))

Strengthen your faith. Don’t allow Satan to steal your salvation because you are not prepared. Don’t disown God in a time of distress and be disowned forever!

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you flatter God?

September 7, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
(Ephesians 5:1-2 (NIV))

When you were growing up, was there an adult that you wanted to be just like? Perhaps it was a parent, or perhaps a grandparent, or even an aunt or uncle. No matter who it may have been, chances are very good that you did have someone in your life that you tried to model everything after.

I can safely say that you probably imitated what they did down to the smallest of details.

What, in your mind, made that person such an object of your devotion?

There are probably two main reasons. They loved you and they did not hesitate to let you know.

Think about God in that perspective.

He created you. He sent His only begotten Son to die for you. Again, love and a strong way of letting you know.

Do we imitate God in the same way that we imitated that special adult when we were younger? Do we strive to be just like Him? Do we impatiently wait to be in His presence? Do we find joy in His presence? Do we eagerly go with Him wherever He may lead?

Simple questions, yet the answers are not so simple.

What is the difference?

As we became adults, have we “outgrown” the ability to imitate? Have we spent so much time trying to establish our own identity that imitation is the farthest thing from our minds?

We do not lose ourselves in imitation. It is how we learn. We imitate our teachers as they tell us about what we must learn. We imitate our peers in social environments so that we can learn what is appropriate. We imitate our bosses so that we can work more efficiently and get that much wanted raise and promotion.

If we profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, and a faith in God, then we should strive to learn all that we can. The best way is by imitating what Jesus said and did.

There is an old saying that “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

Do you flatter God?

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