I will give you thanks

November 22, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I will give you thanks in the great assembly;
among throngs of people I will praise you.
(Psalms 35:18 (NIV))

Have we, as the Body of Christ, allowed society to keep us quiet because it is not politically correct to proclaim a faith in Jesus? Are we truly the Body of Christ if we submit to this societal pressure?

Thanksgiving is upon us. We must embrace the true reason that we are thankful.

The pilgrims were thankful to have survived the first year in their quest for religious freedom. Society has taken that out of the day and simply replaced it with a “harvest” festival. There is no mention of thanking God for His bountiful mercy and grace. It is only a day to be thankful for the people in our lives, and to some, the things that we have. Don’t get me wrong. It is definitely a good thing to be thankful for the people in our lives, but we must set our priorities. Without God’s grace, we would have nothing. Anything that we might think we have would be gone when we face death.

Think about that.

What are the things that you would miss the most if they were taken away from you?

Would it be your wide screen TV or your new car? Perhaps it is your job or your social position in the community.

Or . . .

Would it be the relationships that you have?

Life is a gift. Grace is a gift. Your family and friends are a gift. These gifts are priceless and can only come from God. All other things are worthless in comparison.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV))

It is a matter of priorities.

When all things are in perspective, our priority is God. When we realize that all good things come from Him, we can’t help but give God the glory. We will be thankful even in the midst of situations that society says we are to keep our faith quiet.

We should not be quiet. We should praise God. We should give thanks even in the midst of throngs of people.

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
(Romans 1:16-17 (NIV))

If we are not ashamed of the gospel, then we must be thankful for it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The road to Emmaus

April 23, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.

He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

“What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”

He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
(Luke 24:13-35 (NIV))

Everyone is familiar with this story of the two men walking with Jesus and not recognizing Him. How true that is in our lives every day. Jesus is with us always. It is only when we invite Him into our hearts that we see that He has been there all of the time. How many times have you longed to be with Jesus only to discover later that He had been with you even in the darkest of times?

The poem about the footprints tells the story of everyone’s life, and not just the author’s. He is with us always. Even when we do not recognize that fact, He is there, and many times it is He who carries us through the toughest parts of our lives.

The next time that you feel that you are alone, closely look at the footprints in your path. You will probably find that they are not yours, for Jesus is carrying you when things are tough.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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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The bread and the wine

November 21, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
(1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (NIV))

Many of us know these verses and the other verses from Matthew, Mark and Luke describing what is called The Last Supper. It is this simple act that we have come to know as Holy Communion.

I wish to propose that, based on what is written, we do not partake often enough, for it says that we should do this in remembrance of Jesus. Should we, as believers, remember Jesus more than once a month, or once every 6 months? It does not say, as the Laws of Moses did, to have celebrations on certain days. Jesus commanded us to remember Him “whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup”, not the first Sunday of every month. We can partake of the simple act of thanksgiving and remembrance whenever we sit down to a meal.

Jesus was, and still is, “… the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”
(John 6:35b)

Perhaps, since Jesus is the bread of life and we are to partake of Holy Communion whenever we eat, does this mean that we are to partake of Jesus all of the time? Consider that without bread, we will physically grow weak and die. Is that also true of the spiritual bread that Jesus gives us?

We can be thankful and acknowledge that Jesus is our Lord and Savior in all that we do.

How often do you give thanks for the “bread” and the “wine”?

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