Do you acknowledge such great love?

May 27, 2019

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

It is that time of year when we remember those men and women who have given their lives for our country. I can’t attest to the relationships that each of these people had with Jesus, but I know one thing is certain. They valued the principles that placed the lives and well being of others above their own needs. Thankfully, I still see this in many people today.

There is a quote that I feel summarizes this willing sacrifice quite well.

“Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you; Jesus Christ and the American G. I. One died for your soul; the other for your freedom.”
Author: Unknown

Today, like every other day of the year, I am truly thankful for each type of sacrifice that has been made. I am prayerfully thankful for the grace and mercy that was freely given through the atoning blood of Jesus on the cross. For this I am eternally grateful. I am also thankfully for the men and women who have answered the call to defend the freedoms that we, as American citizens, have. It is through their sacrifice that we have the great opportunity to choose to worship Jesus as well as when, where and how. Sadly, there are people who reject both sacrifices. It is with humble heart that I present this request to the Body of Christ. The times are urgent. The need is great. We must be bold and do what we are called to do to spread the Gospel. We must be willing to lay down our lives so that others may know the freedoms that we know.

Do you acknowledge such great love?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Have you planted seeds that will provide an increase?

March 20, 2018

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
(John 12:23-26 (NIV))

The day is rapidly approaching when we celebrate the truth that Jesus spoke of. He willingly fell and died so that the seed of salvation could be planted. From that willing sacrifice, millions of people since then have reaped the fruits of that sacrifice as they multiply. Easter is the time that we celebrate that glorious gift of redemption and grace.

However, that seed does not stop there. Jesus planted the seed. Since that day, redemptive grace has sprouted from that seed. When a seed dies, it gives life to grow more seeds. When these seeds mature, they too will die to allow more seeds to grow. This cycle is how one can produce one hundred and one hundred can produce ten thousand. Each seed can bring forth other seeds to continue the work. Jesus planted the seed. Now it is our turn. By accepting the grace and mercy freely given at the cross, we become seeds. We have a small kernel of grace within us. We must allow that grace to produce.

I am not saying that we must physically die in order for that seed to produce. It is possible to die to self, to give up your desires, in order that God’s desires may be fulfilled. Just as Jesus obeyed God in order for His seed to produce, we must also be obedient so that our seed may produce.

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))

I believe that we have been given instructions to do as Jesus did and produce many seeds.

Have your seeds been scattered in good soil?

Have you planted seeds that will provide an increase?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


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
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


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
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Has the seed of salvation been planted?

March 24, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
(John 12:23-26 (NIV))

The day is rapidly approaching when we celebrate the truth that Jesus spoke of. He willingly fell and died so that the seed of salvation could be planted. From that willing sacrifice, millions of people since then have reaped the fruits of that sacrifice as they multiply. Easter is the time that we celebrate that glorious gift of redemption and grace.

However, that seed does not stop there. Jesus planted the seed. Since that day, redemptive grace has sprouted from that seed. When a seed dies, it gives life to grow more seeds. When these seeds mature, they too will die to allow more seeds to grow. This cycle is how one can produce one hundred and one hundred can produce ten thousand. Each seed can bring forth other seeds to continue the work. Jesus planted the seed. Now it is our turn. By accepting the grace and mercy freely given at the cross, we become seeds. We have a small kernel of grace within us. We must allow that grace to produce.

I am not saying that we must physically die in order for that seed to produce. It is possible to die to self, to give up your desires, in order that God’s desires may be fulfilled. Just as Jesus obeyed God in order for His seed to produce, we must also be obedient so that our seed may produce.

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))

I believe that we have been given instructions to do as Jesus did and produce many seeds.

Have your seeds been scattered in good soil?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


To whom should our thanks be directed?

November 23, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

To You I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
And call upon the name of the LORD.
(Psalms 116:17 (NAS))

Do you look at our Thanksgiving holiday as a sacrifice to the Lord?

Far too many people look at Thanksgiving as a day to overeat and watch football. They don’t look at Thanksgiving as an act to be performed unti the Lord.

Are you truly thankful for what God has given to you, or do you take it for granted?

Are you more concerned with thanking the cooks than you are for thanking God for providing the blessings that sit before you?

Are you more thankful for the physical possessions that you have than you are for the gift of grace that was freely given to you?

Just what are your priorities? What are you thankful for? Are you more thankful for the things that will rust and decay than you are for grace that never goes away?

I pray that each of us truly recognize where our thanks should be directed.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


What if Jesus decided that He was not fully committed?

May 29, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.
(Hebrews 13:4 (NIV))

Today’s society seems to have forgotten this. Everywhere you look, you see the results of marriages that have seen the effects of unfaithfulness. According to the politically correct way of thinking, many people are saying that it just isn’t working, or they no longer want to be with their spouse, regardless of the consequences on anyone but themselves. Is this just another result of the “me first” mentality that has permeated our society lately? What has happened to the concept of for better or for worse?

What if Jesus decided that He did not want to stay around and fulfill the promise of salvation for you because He needed “space”? He made a committment to be our atoning sacrifice that would give us grace and mercy. He had the most to lose of anyone who has ever lived, yet, Jesus did not stop while He was on the cross and say that he didn’t want to be in this relationship anymore. He stuck with it and did what was best for everyone. It eventually was even best for Him. Perhaps we should focus more on Jesus and each other as a society and not on “me.”

Who do you focus on?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Would you step up to answer the call?

May 25, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
(John 12:23-26 (NIV))

This may seem off target for this verse since it speaks of Jesus telling His disciples that His time has come. However, the words that Jesus uses speak to all of us.

The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
(John 12:25 (NIV))

Memorial Day started back in the 1860s as a way to remember those who had given their lives in battle. Originally it was called Decoration Day since the way that people honored the fallen was to decorate their graves. Regardless of what it is called, we owe these men and women a debt of gratitude and honor for their sacrifice. Many people do not agree with war, but the truth is that these people stepped up to take the responsibility of righting something that they did not agree with and they were willing to give their lives for that calling.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

Most of us never knew these people throughout our history, yet we owe them so much. I can honestly say that it is a certainty that not all were believers in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, still, I believe that they carried a spark of the Light that Jesus brought to this world. You cannot be exposed to the Light without having some of it take root.

Jesus laid down His life so that we could have life. These men and women did the same thing in their own ways.

We must never forget to honor those who have gone before us and stood for the truths that we, as the Body of Christ, hold fast to. They answered the call when an answer was needed. Would we be willing to answer a similar call today? Would we rely on the Light of Jesus to guide us in that answer?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


God is definitely doing something!

December 19, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

I just read something that sent shivers all over my body. I am not sure just how to tell you about what I just read. It is not a bad thing, but rather a very good thing.

According to Revelation, we know that the temple will be rebuilt and that it will be ready and functioning during the end times. I have found an organization that is preparing for the temple to be rebuilt. I have also read that the perfect and spotless red heifer needed for sacrifice has been found. Tonight, I read that the pure oil used in the temple has been made for the first time in 2000 years. This oil is used to light the Temple Menorah. In addition to this, it is reported that there will be a processional of priests who will present the oil and then dedicate a new stone alter. It is my understanding that all of the Temple instruments have been made and are ready. Now, they are going to dedicate the stone alter just three days before the day that we celebrate the birth of Jesus.

God is definitely doing something!

The Body of Christ needs to be alert and be true to our first love! We need to focus on Jesus! We need to share the Light of Jesus with a dark and dying world before it is too late.

We are seeing things come to pass that I am just now beginning to fully grasp what they could mean. These things all point to one conclusion – that the life that we know will probably be turned upside down very soon. With all that is going on in the world and the plans for the alter stone, I believe that God will work His Will in such a way that those who are not prepared will be wondering what happened.

I do not believe in scaring people and trying to set dates. What I do believe in is Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. No matter what the future may hold, cling to Jesus. Cling to the promises that have been fulfilled through His first coming. Cling to the promises yet to be fulfilled in His Second Coming.

This Christmas, I pray that you embrace the power of the promises fulfilled in Jesus. It is not about the presents. It is not about the songs. It is not about family time. It is about celebrating the birth of our Savior and His power over sin and death!

When was the last time that you had shivers after seeing what God is unfolding in the world?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Our society has perverted God’s concept of love!

September 30, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this” ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.
(Mark 12:29-31 (NLT))

I believe that our society has perverted this concept!

We are to love our neighbor as ourselves. Do you love yourself in the manner that lets you justify all types of sin within your life?

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

Do you love yourself differently than you love your neighbor? Would you allow yourself to be put into situations that would result in your death? Most of us would not. We have a self-preservation instinct that kicks into gear. Most of us would run to rescue our neighbor from a calamity, but we fail to run to their rescue when it is sin that is sentencing them to death.

Why?

Unfortunately, it is very simple.

Society has perverted the meaning of the word love to imply that love means acceptance of the person. Since it implies acceptance, then it is society’s conclusion that love means that you accept the sins of the person.

People claim that Jesus is love and that God is love, and they are correct. Unfortunately, they are applying society’s current definition of love to the one who is love. God’s love is forgiving. God’s love is unconditional. God’s love means dying for those He loves. God’s love is not accepting of our favorite sins. We cannot keep them simply because they are part of us and if God loves us, then He will accept us as we are.

What a crock!

If God could accept us in our sin, why were Adam and Eve kicked out of the Garden of Eden? If God could accept us in our sin, why did He mix up our languages and scatter us at the Tower of Babel? If God could accept us in our sin, then why did He have to send Jesus to walk among us?

God cannot associate with sin.

God is perfection. Sin is corruption. God is love. Sin is death. The two cannot meet.

Society has embraced the lie of the enemy. Love is not acceptance. Love is caring for the well being of another to the point of sacrifice. A sacrifice designed to reveal true love to those in need of love and redemption.

God’s love is not accepting of sin. It is accepting of the sinner if we will only turn away from our sin. God’s love looks at eternity. Sin looks at the moment. Please don’t allow the moment to be a false love that leads to an eternity away from God.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


%d bloggers like this: