What are you willing to sacrifice?

November 30, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And King Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty-two thousand head of cattle and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep and goats. So the king and all the people dedicated the temple of God.
(2 Chronicles 7:5 (NIV))

If you are like me, you probably had to read this passage a few times to fully comprehend the size of the sacrifice that Solomon offered when the temple was dedicated. Perhaps the following will help you understand the size.

22,000 cattle at $500 a head equals $11 million in today’s value.

120,000 sheep and goats at $150 a head equals $18 million in today’s value.

In total, Solomon sacrificed approximately $29 million to dedicate God’s temple.

I can hear some people saying that the sacrifice could have been used to feed the hungry or could have been used to provide farm animals to the poor. Solomon, in all of his wisdom, realized that because God had blessed him so greatly, he needed to make sacrifices in proportion to the size of that blessing. Solomon was the wisest and richest man to have ever lived. How would you have expected him to praise the Lord for what He had done?

Think about what you give, what you sacrifice, for God. None of us can claim to be as blessed as Solomon, but do we give back to God with the same spirit and attitude that Solomon had? Do you tithe? Do you give offerings? Do you wish that your ten percent would increase as you see increase, or do you give less as you get more? Sadly, too many people who are blessed try to keep all of the blessings for themselves. Studies have shown that as people earn more money, they give less and less. Instead of giving ten percent, it decreases to less than two percent. Is this a sacrifice? Is this considered robbing God?

I have heard of some people who have increased what they give, what they sacrifice, without increasing what they receive. They are thankful for the blessings and are willing to sacrifice in thanks and praise to God.

What are you willing to sacrifice?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you give thanks where thanks are due?

November 24, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?
(1 Corinthians 10:16 (NIV))

Most of us just finished a meal, a feast, in which we gathered together with family and friends to give thanks for the blessings that we have. It is good to be thankful, especially when you consider that whatever you are thankful for can be gone in an instant. Loved ones can be taken from us. Health can be good one minute and forever a problem the very next. The homes that we have can go up in smoke and the finances that we store away for our future can be worthless the very next day.

No matter the state of the things of this world, there is one thing that we should be eternally thankful for. There is a treasure that lasts forever! That treasure is Jesus.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
(Matthew 6:19-20 (NIV))

We celebrate an earthly thanksgiving with a meal. We also celebrate an eternal thanksgiving by partaking of a holy meal, a holy communion. This participation in the cup and in the bread is a special symbol of our thanksgiving for what we have been given, but we should not limit our thankfulness to the Lord to just this particular moment. Every meal should be a reflection, a moment of thankfulness to God, for what we have been given. Not only every meal, but everything that is good should cause us to give thanks to the true source of all that is good.

Do you give thanks where thanks are due?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is eternity long enough to give our thanks and praise?

November 22, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
(Psalms 100:4 (NIV))

It is that time of year when we, as a nation, have set aside a day to give thanks. When I read the passage above, I realized a few things that jump right out at me. The first thing that I notice is that we, as the Body of Christ, should have a perpetual attitude of thanksgiving for it is tied directly to our desire to be in His presence. It should not be limited to a single day and a single meal.

Thanksgiving should be a believer’s way of life!

We should give thanks for our lives. We should give thanks for the air that we breathe. We should give thanks for our family and friends. We should give thanks for the roof over our heads. We should give thanks for the food that gives us energy. Most importantly, we should give thanks for the gift of grace and mercy that was freely given to us at the cross.

The second thing that I noticed is that when we are thankful, we should praise the Lord.

We should give praise to God for our lives. We should lift up praise to God for the air that we breathe. We should praise God for the blessings of family and friends. We should praise God for the shelter that we have been given. Our praises should be lifted to the Lord for the food that we have been given. Most importantly, we should praise and glorify the Lord for the gift of grace and mercy that was freely given to us at the cross.

Taking a long and serious look at all that we should be thankful for, one day is not enough. One life is not enough!

Is eternity long enough to give our thanks and praise?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will the gates be open for you?

July 31, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the LORD.
(Psalms 118:19 (NIV))

When this was written, grace was only an unfulfilled promise. Even though it was an unfulfilled promise, the psalmist knew that the promise would be fulfilled. He knew beyond doubt that if God had promised that He would provide a way for us to enter into righteousness that it would truly come to pass. He longed for that day.

The writer of this passage never lived to physically see the promise fulfilled, but he held fast to that promise. We have the benefit of being on the other side of that promise. We know that God sent Jesus to fulfill that promise. We have the full account of how He came to earth born of a virgin. We know of the people that he gathered together to teach. We know of the miracles that He performed. We know of the crucifixion and the resurrection. We know of the ascension, and we know of the power behind the spreading of the Gospel.

With all that we know, do we have the faith that the psalmist had? All that he had was a promise and he believed. We have all the accounts of those who knew Jesus and witnessed the events of His life, and some of us still have problems with faith.

Is your faith based on a promise or is your faith based on written accounts? Which takes more faith, to believe a promise or to believe after the fact? Am I the only one who looks at their faith and wonders if my faith would have been strong enough to believe a promise? I like to think that it would have been. Would I have been able to turn my eyes to the Lord and lift up my voice to heaven and proclaim that even though I have not seen, I will believe?

To be honest with you, I am simply thankful for the promises, for I know that they will always be “Yes” through Jesus! Because of Jesus offering us grace and mercy, those who accept that grace and mercy can enter the gates with thanksgiving and praising the Lord!

Will the gates be open for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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His love does endure forever!

January 12, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
(Psalms 107:1 (NIV))

How many people reading this found yourself singing this passage?

Be honest!

I know that I did!

What is it about human nature that makes us want to sing when we are happy? We also have a similar desire to sing when we are sad. There is something about song that seems to lift the human spirit. It elevates us from where we are to a place where we long to be. Song has the ability to not only elevate us to a better place spiritually, it also has an amazing ability to communicate with our God. We can sing with expression that could never be communicated in any other way.

We all have our favorite ways to praise God with song. Not many of us have the ability to make a joyful noise that is pleasing to the human ear, but have you ever noticed that even the worst of us sound so much better when we are surrounded by a large number of other believers. This is just one more example of God’s plan. God did not create us all the same. He created each of us to be unique and when we come together to glorify Him, our uniquenesses blend so well. We are all members of the same body. We are designed to work together in concert with one another.

God knew exactly what He was doing.

A single heartfelt thank you can bring any person to appreciate the gesture. A multitude of heartfelt thank yous are enough to bring heaven to earth. When we lift song and praise to God, He draws us closer to Him.

Lift up a song of praise to our Lord!

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

November 24, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
(1 Chronicles 16:34 (NIV))

I am going to keep this nice and simple and short.

On this national day of Thanksgiving, what are you thankful for? Where is that thanks directed?

Always keep your perspective and your priorities focused on Jesus!

Happy Thanksgiving.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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There is no greater gift!

November 21, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”
(2 Corinthians 9:15 (NIV))

Short, sweet and to the point!

This passage gives us a very concise reason why we should praise God.

Another translation states it as follows.

Thank God for his Son—a gift too wonderful for words!
(2 Corinthians 9:15 (NLT))

Either way you translate the original words, it boils down to a very definable and unwavering declaration.

Thank God for Jesus!

Even if you have nothing else in this world to be thankful for, your salvation was purchased by Jesus when He died on that cross to pay the price for your sins.

Even if you have everything in the world, your salvation was purchased by Jesus when He died on that cross to pay the price for your sins.

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

The amazing gift that Jesus willingly gave is readily available to any and all who will simply receive. No matter your status in the world, no matter your financial resources, no matter how sinful, Jesus paid the price that brings the only way to redemption from our sins.

There is no greater gift!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is Jesus the treasure that you store away in your heart?

May 3, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Does a maiden forget her jewelry,
a bride her wedding ornaments?
Yet my people have forgotten me,
days without number.
(Jeremiah 2:32 (NIV))

These things bring excitement to the owners. They are looked upon as favorite memories and possessions. They hold a central place in the lives of those who possess them.

Think about that for a moment.

If I were to ask you to think of the one thing that made you the happiest in your life, how many of you would think of your spouse? How many would think of your favorite car? How many would think of a job that you have had? Do you place more value on the things from your life or do you place more value on your relationship with Jesus? The people and the things that are in our lives can be a blessing, but are they more important to you than your relationship with Jesus?

If we can remember the people and the things in our lives with such fond memories and emotions, why do we fail to do the same for the one who was willing to die on the cross to save us?

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Luke 12:34 (NIV))

Do we really treasure our relationship with Jesus? Is He your treasure? Is He the priority in your heart? Does the mere thought of what He has done for you bring you to your knees in thanks and praise?

We all will have to answer these questions at some point in our lives. With what is going on in the world, that time may be closer than you think. Personally, the last thing that I want to discover is that I have answered incorrectly.

“Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV))

Is Jesus the treasure that you store away in your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Happy Thanksgiving!

November 26, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
(1 Chronicles 16:34 (NIV))

I pray that you remember who should be the recipient of all of your thanks!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is the portion that you want to give to God?

October 22, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the LORD your God has blessed you.
(Deuteronomy 16:17 (NIV))

I have been deliberately avoiding this particular passage because it constantly convicts me of how inadequate my gifts are in comparison to what God has given for me. I never seem to have enough to give back to God for what I want to give back is far beyond my capabilities. After all, how can you give enough to express your thanks for all that God gave through His Son, Jesus? This gift that God freely gave to each of us is beyond measure. It is priceless. We cannot begin to measure up to the blessing that He has given to each of us!

The closest that I have been able to come is to give all of myself back to God. Perhaps this is in proportion to what God gave for us. God, through Jesus, gave all for us. We, in turn, need to give God all of ourselves for whatever calling He has upon our lives.

Have you pondered the proportion of the gift that you desire to give back to God?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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