Happy Thanksgiving!

November 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))

This is the true source of thanksgiving.

To be truly thankful, you must acknowledge that you cannot do it on your own. You must acknowledge that whatever you have is not from your own hand. You must realize that what you have been given could just as easily have been given to someone else. It is true that what you have been given is a direct result of a response that you have made, but the blessings are not something that you have created.

Think about that for a moment.

What happens when someone thinks that they are responsible for all that they have? It is probably safe to assume that each of us have known people who felt that what they have was a direct result of their hard work and determination. It is also safe to assume that most, if not all, of these people looked upon what they had as a reward for their hard work. They may even have looked upon it as something that they earned, that they were owed, and as a result, were very stingy with what they have. This type of attitude places themselves as the provider and most of the time they give thanks for the things, and not the true source.

Thanksgiving is not only a holiday that we celebrate, it should be a life long attitude of gratitude for your true source of all things. Can we create life? Can we create the seasons? Can we create the food that we need? Too many people take these things for granted and only focus on the materialistic aspects of life. They miss out on the joy that God has provided to us in a sunset. They miss out on the grace that we have been given through the atoning blood of Jesus. They miss out on all things eternal because they are focused on the treasures of this world.

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))

Are you thankful for things that moth and rust will destroy?

I have a philosophy that I like to remind myself of every once in a while. I look at the things of this world and find myself thinking that it would be nice to have some of these “treasures.” When I find myself in this line of thought, I ask myself one simple question.

In 100 years, will it really matter if I had these things?

What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
(Matthew 16:26 (NIV))

What does matter is setting your priorities according to God’s priorities. What does matter is instilling God’s Word within your family. What does matter is being thankful to God for the blessings that He has given.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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

November 14, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
(Luke 18:22 (NIV))

Jesus spoke these words to a person identified as a ruler, a man of great wealth. He had started the conversation with Jesus.

A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
(Luke 18:18 (NIV))

Jesus replied.

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good–except God alone. You know the commandments: `Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’ ”
(Luke 19-20 (NIV))

The ruler replied that he had done this since he was a boy.

I can only imagine the man’s reaction when Jesus informed him that he still lacked one thing. I can feel his heart sink when Jesus tells him to sell all that he has and give to the poor.

This man was rich. He tried to do what was required of him, yet through the words that Jesus spoke to him, he realized that he loved money. He realized that he had a big decision to make. It is the same decision that people have wrestled with ever since. He appears to have not been willing to give up his one thing – his wealth – in order to achieve eternal life.

What if you and I were able to go up to Jesus and ask him the very same question? Would we receive the first answer that Jesus gave the wealthy ruler? I am certain that this would not change, for the foundation has been built and it cannot be shaken.

I suppose that the question of eternal value is whether we would be told that we still lack one thing!

If you have ever seen the movie “City Slickers,” the old cowhand that was played by Jack Palance would always tell the men on the drive that in order to make it tot he end, they had to have one thing. All throughout the movie, this left everybody wondering, until Jack’s character dies and he before he dies, he informs everyone that the one thing is different for each person.

With that in mind, the one thing that each of us may have is completely different from the one thing that someone else may have. To some, it is money. To others, it is fame. To others, is is fleshly pleasures. To others, it is something not so obvious. To some, it is pride.

No matter what our one thing may be, if we do not allow it to be dealt with and put in its place, that one thing can keep us from inheriting eternal life. I can hear the thoughts beginning to take shape now. You are probably asking, “What about grace?”

Grace does come into play, but if your surrender to Jesus was not an authentic surrender, then your heart will have its own priorities. If you truly desire to stop,l but are unable to in the flesh, God will see your heart Think about that for a moment. Jesus did not tell the woman caught in adultery to go and continue. He told her to repent – to turn away from her sin – and sin no more. We must be willing to turn away from our sin.

Each of us are human. I am sure that each of us have one thing that we have to constantly remind ourselves to get behind us.

Don’t be like the wealthy ruler and allow your one thing to keep you from God’s grace and mercy.

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

October 7, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
(Luke 12:15 (NIV))

Ask any teenager what they want out of life, and it is an extremely good chance that they will say to make a lot of money. The bad thing about this is that this is a learned response. They have learned it from their parents. They have learned it from the media. They have learned it from each other.

Wanting money and possessions is not bad in itself. The continuation of this passage shows that God is not against someone accumulating wealth. What He is against is doing it for the wrong reasons and making decisions without going to Him in prayer to see if it is within His Will. Luke 12:15-21 tells us that the rich man’s sin was planning without going to God, for he planned for something that was not needed.

And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, `What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
“Then he said, `This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ‘
“But God said to him, `You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
“This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”
(Luke 12:16-21(NIV))

Perhaps our society is too focused on the wealth without focusing on the responsibility that goes with it. We have a responsibility to God, to other people and, lastly, to ourselves. When we focus on ourselves first, our desire for wealth becomes greed. When we focus on others first, our desire for wealth becomes a desire to be able to help others. This goes back to our “learned” responses. If we learn to place God and others first, then greed is not a problem. If we learn to place ourselves first, then we become greedy. It is a matter of training.

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
(Proverbs 22:6(NIV))

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

Gold.

Jewels.

Oil.

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.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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