When you look at things, are they possible or impossible?

February 9, 2018

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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

We like to take Matthew 19:26 out of context and apply it to whatever we may be facing that appears to be a no win situation. To be honest with you, nothing is impossible with God, so it is a good application. Still, we tend to overlook the original message.

This particular passage was directed at His disciples and it comes at the end of a discourse with a rich young man.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
(Matthew 19:23-25 (NIV))

In case you didn’t catch the implication, Jesus was saying that salvation was only possible through God. Think about that for a moment. Each of us have something that we cherish. Each of us have something that we long to hold on to, that we don’t want to surrender. For some, it is money. For others, it may be power. For others, it may be any number of things. For this particular young man, it was his wealth. Jesus told him that it was necessary to surrender what he held dear to himself and choose to follow Jesus. I think that the disciples caught on to what Jesus was saying because they asked, “Who then can be saved?” The disciples knew human nature. They knew how difficult it is to surrender what is closest to your heart. They knew that it was and is a matter of priorities. They had made the choice to trade everything for the ultimate treasure.

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.
(Matthew 13:44 (NIV))

Jesus let them know that a person cannot change their heart, but God can. God can take a cold and hardened heart and bring it back to life. God can take the “wealth” that a person holds dear and make it all look worthless in comparison to what He has to offer. If you think about this, Jesus also let us know that people are not in the business of saving each other. We don’t have the power or authority, but God does! How do you look at things, from your perspective or from God’s?

When you look at things, are they possible or impossible?

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

Advertisements

Do you trust in God’s plans?

January 18, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
(Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV))

Did you have your life planned out?

How did that work out for you?

Almost everyone quotes this passage when they think of the blessings of God in their lives, but almost everyone fails to recognize one key piece of information about this passage. They forget the context in which it was delivered!

This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.
(Jeremiah 29:10 (NIV))

Years prior to these words being recorded, most of the people in Jerusalem were taken into captivity and taken to Babylon. God’s timing was to have the descendants leave Babylon and return to Jerusalem. God spoke these words to the complete group of people who would be fulfilling His will by returning to Jerusalem, by returning to the city that God loves. It was God’s desire to prosper them so that they would not only have a hope and a future, but to be able to give a hope and a future to all of humanity through what would eventually transpire in and around Jerusalem.

I find it saddening that today’s prosperity oriented mindset reads these words and takes what God said to His people in exile and turns it into a promise to make us rich.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

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

God had a plan to give us hope even when we were condemned in our sin and even when we were without hope. If we are all sinners and we deserve death, what type of a future do we have? God realized this and set things in motion to give us hope and a future. God knew that in order to fulfill His promises for this hope and future, He had to move the people back to Jerusalem. He had to set the plans in motion that would bring Jesus into the world. God’s plan was to give everyone a hope of overcoming death and a future in His presence.

Do you trust in God’s plans?

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


What is your reason for living?

January 12, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me.
(Psalms 119:175 (NIV))

People want to live for many different reasons. Some want to see the world. Some want to fall in love and get married. Some want to start a business or write a book. Some want to see their children grow up. Some want to be rich while others want to be famous. Others simply want to leave their mark on the world by making people happy.

How about you?

What makes you want to get up each morning and live the day to the fullest?

What are you focused on that gives you a reason for living?

Have you ever said anything like what the psalmist wrote? Have you ever said that you want to live so that you can praise God?

After reading this passage and thinking about it, why don’t we ever give this as a reason for living? We owe our very existence to God for He created us. We owe our very intellect to God for He created us to have wisdom and free will. We owe so much to God and most of us simply take everything that He has done for us for granted. We look at our lives and we think that what we have is of our own doing.

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))

If we are unclean and the best that we can do is like filthy rags, how can we be responsible for anything good in our lives? When we look in the mirror we should not think that we have it made. We should be thankful that we are capable of claiming Jesus as our Lord and Savior. For everything that God has done for us, including send His only begotten Son, Jesus, to die so that we could live, we should be eternally thankful. We should lift Him up in praise. We should acknowledge that He alone is our reason for living.

What is your reason for living?

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


We were given the better end of this deal!

May 12, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
(2 Corinthians 8:9 (NIV))

No matter how you look at this, it doesn’t make sense from a worldly perspective!

Everyone has heard the term the art of the deal. The concept is to get the upper hand, to get the best out of any situation. Most of the time this is applied to business ventures, but it has ramifications in so many areas. It can even apply to the Body of Christ. Consider the last time that you saw a well known, nationally or internationally recognized preacher speaking at a small country church. It is human nature to not trade down. You don’t see someone trading everything they have and getting little or nothing in return.

Thankfully, Jesus turned that concept on its head. I am thankful that what is foolishness to man is wisdom to those who believe. I am so thankful that Jesus was willing to trade all that He had in order to come to earth as one of us so that He could offer to us what He had left behind.

Humanity definitely was on the winning end of this deal.

Jesus offered us an eternity with God and took our sin upon Himself in order to make that offer. From a worldly perspective, this definitely doesn’t make sense, but from God’s perspective, it was the only way that sinful humanity could be redeemed.

Have you accepted this deal? Have you embraced the riches that are freely given to all who will simply accept?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Where is your security placed?

July 21, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The wealth of the rich is their fortified city, but poverty is the ruin of the poor.
(Proverbs 10:15 (NIV))

Just like anything, it is all a matter of perspective.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
(1 Timothy 6:8 (NIV))

It is easy for the rich to start to believe that their wealth is what gives them security. They then start to find ways to acquire more wealth so that they can be even more secure.

To a poor person, they see that their lack of money as the root of all of their problems, so they start to scheme and devise ways to obtain money. Some even start to plan criminal acts in order to obtain money.

In both cases, security is falsely placed on something that can offer no security for wealth is fleeting.

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))

Faith in God and a firm foundation in the saving grace of Jesus is where security truly lies. These will never fail you. Moth and rust cannot destroy them.

Where is your security placed?

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


How rich is your life?

June 17, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

How happy are those who fear the Lord—all who follow his ways! You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How happy you will be! How rich your life!
(Psalms 128:1-2 (NLT))

Where does your happiness come from?

I can honestly say that I never thought about my happiness coming from fear. I bet you probably didn’t either. If you stop to think about this, it makes perfect sense.

Let’s look at it from a few different perspectives, shall we?

Think about your one worldly fear that bothers you the most. For some, it may be heights. For others, it may be water. You do whatever you have to in order to avoid the thing that you are fearful of. You are happy as long as you avoid what you fear. You respect the thing that brings fear to you and you desire to avoid what brings you fear. You have established ways to avoid this and these ways make you happy.

Now, think about your relationship to your earthly father. I know that not all earthly fathers are good examples of what a father should be. I hope that yours was. You love your father and you know that your father loves you. You still know that if you do something terrible, your father would punish you. Hopefully, you realized this as a fear and lived within godly ways with you family. Your fear of punishment hopefully kept you in a place where you were happy. Hopefully, you were not one who rebelled and lived in anger and rage.

In both of these examples, boundaries were set. If you stayed within the boundaries, you enjoyed the fruit of your labor. You enjoyed the happiness within the safety of those boundaries. You felt the happiness and the richness that life can bring.

Think about your relationship with the Lord. Hopefully you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God loves you. Hopefully, you can say with no hesitation that you love God. His ways are true. His ways are good. His ways are righteous. When you follow His ways, you are inside boundaries that God has defined. These boundaries keep you safe. True happiness and peace can be found inside these boundaries. These boundaries, like the other boundaries that I referred to, are not there to keep you from having fun. They are there to keep you safe. They are there to define the safe areas where you can go. Anything outside of those safe areas can result in consequences that would be extremely bad. Just like a father who would punish you for taking the car when you didn’t have permission to, God will allow the physical consequences of your actions to apply to your lives.

How rich is your life?

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


Do we love God’s gifts more than we love God?

January 11, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, `I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
(Revelation 3:14-22 (NIV))

I know that I have spent a lot of time on this particular passage. I also know that it is something that we need to pay attention to, especially since many people believe that we are in the modern day version of this particular church.

I know that I have stressed that this church was known for bowing to the will of the people. I saw something today that puts an interesting, and very pertinent twist to this thought. I was reminded that the people of Laodicea were very wealthy. The city was at a very important spot for the trade routes and even the Christians were very affluent. They lacked for nothing except, possibly, fresh water.

Think about the concept of lacking nothing. Perhaps it should better be explained as not having a need for anything because they could do it themselves. Are we truly any different today in our thinking and in our capabilities? Have we gotten to the point where we love the blessings more than we love God? Could it be that we feel that we are self reliant, and as a result, we don’t need God?

Think about these questions and then think about the time directly after 9/11. People felt helpless, so they turned to God. It is human nature for us to feel complacent when everything is okay, and it is human nature for us to feel over confident when we think that we are in control. When this illusion is broken, we see a greater reliance upon God. Is our society today reliant upon God or are we cocky and arrogant. Do we think that we can take care of it ourselves?

Laodicea did many things wrong. It is my prayer that we, in our so-called modern lifestyle, do not repeat history and fall into the same traps as this church did. Repent and follow Jesus!

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


%d bloggers like this: