What are you willing to lose?

December 18, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.
(Mark 8:35 (NIV))

It is human nature to not want to lose. This is especially true if losing means that you lose your life! Most of us aren’t even willing to lose if by our losing, everyone else wins. We have to come out on top. We have to prove that we are best at everything! This often means that we think that we are right even when we are eternally wrong!

Take a look at the words in the first part of the passage above. Saving your life implies that you place nothing above yourself. You will go to any extreme to make sure that your physical life is protected even at the expense of others. You are your first and often, your only priority. You possess no love. You possess no joy. You often possess no peace, patience, or kindness. Little about your life is good. Since you place yourself first, you possess little or no faith. You treat others as lower than yourself, so you lack gentleness and self-control. Does this sound like a life that you would want to live? Does this sound like a life that you would want?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Does the second half of the passage start to sound better and make more sense?

We can’t live a life that is Christ centered if we strive to save our earthly life. We are called to be witnesses. We can’t witness to others if all we think about is ourselves. We can’t be willing to go because we would be outside of our comfort zone.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
(Mark 16:15 (NIV))

I know that I am forever thankful that Jesus was willing to lose His earthly life for the sake of others. What if He had balked at the idea of dying for our sins? What if he had decided to not leave the Father to come to earth? What if Jesus had decided that it was simply not worth leaving the glory of heaven to come into this world? The majesty of the story as told in Luke 2 would never have happened. The tearing of the veil of the Temple would never have taken place. Faith, hope and love would only be a dream of something that could happen. Grace and mercy would simply be nonexistent. John 3:16 would not be true.

All of this was made possible because Jesus was willing to lose His life for others. Most of us aren’t even willing to lose our place in line! It takes a sacrifice to place others first.

What are you willing to lose?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing and eager to go?

August 16, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
(Isaiah 6:8 (NIV))

Do you have that willingness to do whatever God requires?

Many people just sit back and take the attitude that God will send someone else. What if that someone else that God is calling is actually you? Would you respond in the way that Isaiah did? Would you arise to the occasion and take on the task that God has for you or would you shrink from the face of the unknown because it is more than you could possibly do on your own? When we are presented with the unknown, many people would rather just sit in their current situation instead of facing the possibility of something uncertain. This “comfort zone” has been the undoing of many people. Remember these words.

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
(Matthew 19:26 (NIV))

It is not the possibility of losing when God is in control, but it is the fear of the unknown, the fear of moving out of your comfort zone.

What is your point of fear? Is it the unknown, or is it the idea of leaving your comfort zone? How can you answer God’s call if you won’t even get off of the couch?

Are you willing and eager to go?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you been made a part of the family?

April 3, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.
(Hebrews 2:11 (NIV))

Did you fully grasp the meaning behind these words in this passage?

It is commonly stated that those who believe in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior are part of the family of God, but has this concept truly taken hold of your life? It is human nature to say things so much that we soon begin to miss the true meaning of the words and the concepts because we begin to take things for granted. Sadly, it is human nature to become so familiar with something, that the excitement starts to fade!

For those of you who are married, I wish to present an example of what I am talking about. When you first said the words “I love you” to your spouse, there was a very strong emotion that was tied to those words. As the years progressed, you may say the same words, but there is a familiarity that is there. The meaning behind the words has slightly shifted in the relationship. The relationship is strong, but the words no longer convey the same strong emotion. Does your heart still race at the sound of their voice? Do you long for the times that you will be together? Or, do you simply sit on the couch and quietly enjoy each other’s company? Are you comfortable in your relationship? Are you confident of your standing in that relationship?

When you fist accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, how was your excitement level? How is it now? Are you still overwhelmed to be called a child of God, or have you grown so accustom to that concept that you don’t get excited about it anymore? Do you fidget and stammer for words when you pray or is there a comfort zone that has developed, just like there is a comfort zone in a healthy earthly family? Do you feel that you can know the Lord so well that He does truly feel like a brother?

Have you been made a part of the family?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t be ashamed to praise His name!

February 5, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I will praise you, LORD, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples.
(Psalms 108:3 (NIV))

Do you and I have the faith to praise the Lord among the nations?

Think about that for a moment. Are we willing to step outside of our comfort zones and risk the ridicule of people that we don’t know if we take a stand for God? Are we willing to look foolish in the eyes of the world and speak out in praise of the God of creation? Are we willing to tell the world, or even only the people that we know, the great things that the Lord has done?

Think about those questions and then answer a few simple questions about whether you praise the Lord when gathered with other believers.

Do you lift you hands in praise or do you sit there with arms folded? Do you lift your eyes to the Lord or do you look around the room trying to see who is doing what? Do you lift you voice in song or do you refuse to utter a single sound? Do you feel the power of the Holy Spirit or do you feel the call of you watch?

We were created to praise God. We were created to acknowledge the Lord before others.

Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.
(Matthew 10:32 (NIV))

Have you ever heard the saying “dumb as a box of rocks?”

If we don’t have the common sense and intelligence to give praise where praise is due, then we are told exactly what will happen.

I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.
(Luke 19:40 (NIV))

In other words, if we are ashamed to acknowledge the Lord and praise Him, then God will make the rocks cry out in His praise. Can you imagine how you will be received in heaven if God has to make the rocks cry out because you failed to lift Him up in praise among the people? I honestly don’t think that you will hear the following words.

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))

There is one thing that we must faithfully remember.

Don’t be ashamed to praise His name!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you go outside of your comfort zone for God?

August 29, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The next morning Jesus awoke long before daybreak and went out alone into the wilderness to pray.
(Mark 1:35 (NLT))

What do you think of when you think of a wilderness?

Some people think of a wild place such as a jungle. Some think of a barren place such as a desert. Either way, it is often associated as a place that is untouched by human hands. To many, this implies that it is a dangerous place to be, and it can be.

Have you considered that a wilderness can also be a place of peace away from the hectic pace of the world? A wilderness can be a place to encounter God without the distractions of the world weighing you down. I am certain that we all know of someone, if we are not like this, who finds that a walk in the woods or a day in a boat is the most productive prayer time that they can have.

Let’s face it. God doesn’t care where you are when you talk to Him. All that He cares is that you earnestly seek His face. If that means that you need to go out to a place that is not easily accessible to other people, then do it. Look at all of the times that Jesus went into the wilderness. Look at all of the time that David spent in the wilderness tending sheep and then running from Saul. Look at the time spent by John the Baptist in the wilderness. All of these, and may others, spent time alone with God in the wilderness. If you stop to think about it, a wilderness is something outside of your comfort zone. John the Baptist wasn’t raised in the wilderness, yet he was called there. David wasn’t raised in the wilderness, but he spent a period of time in his life getting prepared for what God called him to be. Jesus, as the Son of God, was not used to a wilderness, but He spent countless times in the wilderness so that He could clearly hear God and His call.

They went outside of their comfort zone in order to hear God!

They spent countless days, weeks and months in the wilderness in order to hear God. They were willing to take that step of faith to let God know that they were sincere in their desires. I know that times have changed, but maybe the reason we don’t hear from God is the simple fact that we aren’t willing to go beyond our comfort zone. We aren’t willing to go into an unknown, into a wilderness.

How far are you willing to go to be able to hear God?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How far is your reach?

June 25, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV))

We must have faith. Faith in God is mandatory if we are to receive the kingdom of heaven. We must have hope. Hope for the future that it will be better than the today that Satan has a hold of. These are important for our life as a believer. But, it is important for us to recognize what is being said in the scripture.

We MUST have love. Jesus came in love from God. Jesus reached out in love and compassion to those who needed Him the most. Can we, as believers, do any less than what Jesus did? We cannot turn our backs on people who are seeking God just because they do not fit into our social circles, or because they are from a different country.

We must reach out to them in love! We must reach beyond our comfort zone.

How far is your reach?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Learn the true heart of God and not the “rules” taught by men

November 4, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
” `These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
their teachings are but rules taught by men.’
(Mark 7:6-7 (NIV))

It is my desire to learn the true heart of God and not the “rules” taught by men.

What single thing do you hold on to that is not Biblical, but is actually a man-made rule? Come on and admit that you have them. They are the things that we all hold on to because they are tradition, or because they are part of our comfort zone. Perhaps the biggest one is thinking that other people can’t be true believers because they don’t look and act the same. I hate to say this, but I would bet that every believer struggles with this from time to time. And I think I know where that all started. Could it be that we are so ingrained in our own set of rules made by man, that we forget that they are only rules? We start to judge others by our set of rules that we have applied to ourselves, while we overlook the much bigger and much more important aspect of grace and mercy.

Human nature is a fickle thing. We long to be forgiven, but then we add all types of stipulations that God never would have even begun to think of. It is interesting that God could only come up with Ten Commandments and then salvation through Jesus. We have added so many things to this that we could easily be guilty of worshipping in vain, for we could be following our rules instead of God’s teachings.

We need to focus on what is true and righteous in the eyes of God. We must focus on God. We must focus on His Word and on Jesus, His only begotten Son. We must focus on the Holy Spirit. All other, if it does not point you to God, Jesus His Son, and the Holy Spirit, is a false teaching and must be removed from our lives.

Don’t let man-made rules hinder your relationship with God and your salvation through Jesus, His Son. It’s not worth what you will lose.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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