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 able to love in this manner?

October 30, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
(Ephesians 4:2 (NIV))

Excuse the language, but have you ever simply wanted to say, “You idiot!” when dealing with certain people?

Be honest with yourself. You probably had someone pop into your mind when you read that question. Honestly, there are just some people that rub us the wrong way even if we try to not let them bother us. But, do they actually make you lose control or is it entirely up to you how you react?

It is said that love is a choice. We can choose to love even when the person is less than lovable. We can choose to be humble and gentle in our responses even when we are intentionally being provoked. We can choose to be patient even in situations where our patience is being put to the ultimate test. We can choose to bear with one another in love because there will be times when we are less than lovable and we will want someone to love us! If you actually stop to think about human reactions, they can all come down to a simple matter of ego and pride. In essence, our reactions are nothing more than our inner attitudes toward others. We think that we know more, or are better qualified to undertake a task. As already stated, love is a choice. It is only one of many, but it is the correct choice.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,
(Philippians 2:3 (NIV))

How do you value others?

Are you able to humble yourself even in the midst of people who are able to press all of your buttons?

Are you able to love in this manner?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Honor!

May 28, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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 12:25-26 (NIV))

Think back on the history of this country.

Have we ever had a time when a king or a dictator forced anyone to fight and die?

Have we ever had a time when we turned tail and ran from the responsibilities that we have been given?

We owe our country to our faith in God and to the brave men and women who were willing to sacrifice everything for the principles that our country is founded upon.

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

Think about that verse.

Our nation was founded by people who were seeking something. Some came seeking adventure. Some came seeking opportunity. But, many were seeking freedom to worship God as they saw fit. It was this freedom that became an integral part of our nation’s mindset. We were founded by people who saw something that they didn’t agree with and were willing to do something about it.

Some spoke out about the things that they saw. Others rallied people behind them. Many gave their lives to battle the very things that they saw as oppressive. We have never been a country to shy away from doing what is right. We have been driven by a desire to see God’s love, grace and mercy prevail. It is true that some people may not have known Jesus as their Lord and Savior, yet they had an inner feeling about right and wrong. It was part of our culture and our society. They answered the call many times even before they knew there was a call.

They gave it all. They were willing to lay down their lives so that others could know the freedoms that God had granted us. They followed the example of Jesus when He went to the cross. It was something that would end in their death, yet they faced it with dignity and pride. They did not run from their responsibility.

They faced the enemy with honor. They did not shy away from the task at hand because it would mean their death. They were living out the words of Jesus.

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))

They gave their lives in much the same way that Jesus gave His. They knew that without their sacrifice, countless lives would be lost.

Memorial Day is upon us. It is a day that we are supposed to remember the sacrifices. It is a day to say thank you. It is a day to ask ourselves if we are capable of stepping up and defending what we hold to be true. There may come a day when we will be called upon to proclaim our faith and suffer the consequences. It is my prayer that we may all love God more than we love our own lives.

Honor and praise to God and to those who answer His call.

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you planted seeds that will provide an increase?

March 20, 2018

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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
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We should never stop praising our God who loves us!

February 28, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come.”
(Revelation 4:8 (NIV))

Have you ever read this passage and thought that it was easy for these creatures to praise God because that is what they were created to do?

Have you ever come to the realization that we, as humanity, were created to lift up praise to God? We were created to walk with God and to be in fellowship with Him, but that all came to a drastic change when Adam and Eve fell from grace in the Garden of Eden. Because we had sinned, God in all of His holiness, His righteousness, could no longer walk with us and be in fellowship with us. Perfection cannot be in the presence of sin!

I can only imagine how Adam and Eve must have felt after having that intimate relationship with God only to lose it because of a lie.

Thankfully, God had a plan of restoration, of redemption, that would allow us to trade our sinful nature for His righteousness.

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
(John 3:14-17 (NIV))

In other words, God reached down from heaven with a way to redeem us and bring us back to a loving relationship with Himself. All that we have to do is choose to accept that redemption. We have a choice because God made a choice to send His Son to redeem us to Himself! If that is not worthy of our praise, then I don’t know what is!

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,” should be forever upon our hearts and our lips.

We should never stop praising our God who loves us!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you confident of your rescue?

January 30, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
(2 Timothy 4:18 (NIV))

When Paul wrote these words to Timothy, he had already been through many trials for his work in spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles. Even in the midst of the troubles that he faced, he was confident that he was in good hands. In all of his travels, Paul faced being run out of town. He had been thrown in jail. He had been beaten and stoned. He had been shipwrecked. He faced starvation and would eventually be thrown in a Roman prison. It was from this prison that Paul reached out to Timothy. His words speak of the faith that was used to reach the Gentiles with the Gospel.

I want you to put yourself into Paul’s situation as he sat in the Roman prison.

How would you feel, how would your attitude hold up if you spent what many believe to have been two years locked away in a dungeon? It is believed that where Paul was kept was simply a cold, dark room under the main building. The only access into this room was to be lowered by rope through a hole. Even the Roman guards had to enter and exit in this manner. Would you be able to express the faith that Paul displayed? Would you be able to hold onto the promise that the Lord would rescue you from every evil attack?

Far too many people hold fast to the promise that these words contain, yet when they are faced with any hardship, they quickly lose all faith.

Would we be reading the letters that Paul wrote if he had decided to throw a pity party for himself? What if the letters that he wrote had been self reflections and full of “Why did this happen to me?” Paul was confident in his faith. Paul was an excellent example of faith under pressure. He knew that no matter what the enemy may send his way, the Lord would rescue him and bring him into his heavenly kingdom.

Perhaps you are going through trials in your life. Is you faith strong enough to face what Paul faced?

Are you confident of your rescue?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you truly triumphant?

September 25, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
(Revelation 12:11 (NIV))

Do you have what it will take to triumph over the enemy?

Are you willing to do what it takes to find eternal life?

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.
(Matthew 16:25 (NIV))

If you truly stop to think about those two questions, there really isn’t any difference in what it takes to triumph over the enemy and what it takes to find eternal life. Both require placing your faith and trust in the blood of the Lamb. They require trusting Jesus completely with all aspects of your life, no matter what the world may do to you.

Do you trust Jesus completely?

Is your faith strong enough to lay down your life if necessary?

Jesus did it for you! Jesus did it for me!

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

Jesus calls you and I friends. He laid down His life for us in faith that we would be able to accept His gift of grace and mercy. Have we taken this gift to heart and can we truly claim that we triumph over the enemy by His blood? Do we love this life or do we long to be with Him?

Are you truly triumphant?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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