Are you thoroughly equipped for every good work?

April 19, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16 (NIV))

Is there a particular passage that you find difficult to believe? Perhaps there is a whole book that you find difficult to believe or you simply don’t understand? Perhaps you have a difficult time with the idea that God would spend time walking among His creation as a man. I fully understand that there are difficult passages and difficult concepts with God’s Word, but that does not mean that they are not true. It does not mean that we cannot learn from them.

When you were in high school, is there one particular class that you had trouble understanding? Perhaps Algebra gave you problems. Perhaps History bored you to death. Maybe Physics had you so overwhelmed that it didn’t sink in. Think about these classes. Just because you may not have understood them does not mean that they are not valid and true. I will easily bet that the laws of Physics still apply even though you may not have understood them. Even though you may not fully understand something, does not mean that it does not apply to your life.

Carefully consider the questions that were posed about God’s Word and apply the same eye-opening knowledge that was realized about knowledge oft he physical world. If we follow that same line of logic, then God’s Word still applies whether we fully understand it. We have even been told that we will not fully understand God and His ways.

As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:9 (NIV))

Think about this concept the next time that you find something within God’s Word that is difficult to understand. When this happens, think about that one class that you had that didn’t make sense. Think about your understanding of that subject today. Chances are that you will have a better comprehension of the principles that were being taught. Now, think of how your understanding of God’s Word will change with time. He will open up His Word and reveal it to you in His time.

Pray for insight and understanding and He will give it to you.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We can choose who we deny

April 18, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
(Mark 8:34b (NIV))

How many times have you heard this passage quoted? It is a common passage to be used when we think of the sufferings that we are told we will encounter in this world if we choose to follow Jesus.

I have a problem with teachings that are financial blessings based. It is true that God desires to bless us, but, we must not forget the opposite side of this, for we are told that we will have to take up our cross and follow Him. Bearing a cross is not a teaching of no problems and of rosy futures. We still have to face the truth that the enemy has dominion over this earth. When we make it known that we have placed our faith in Jesus, we become fair game for the attacks of the enemy.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

Jesus knew that we would face troubles in this life. He did not promise that the troubles would go away. He did promise that He has overcome the world. This passage does not say that He has overcome the troubles and has made them stop. It states that He has overcome the troubles and will provide a way for us to walk through them.

We can either deny ourselves or we can deny Jesus!

If we deny ourselves, it may be possible that we would have an easier time in life. We don’t know what will happen in this life. We do know that if we deny ourselves in this life, eternity will be a blessing.

If we deny Jesus, I know that we will have a much harder eternity.

We can choose who we deny. Who will you deny?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What burdens do you carry?

April 17, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
(Matthew 11:28 (NLT))

What burdens do you carry?

Everybody has burdens that they must carry, for life is not burden free. Each of us face our own combination of things that Satan uses to weight us down and to keep us from God. These may be financial issues, health issues, personal issues, family issues, or a myriad number of other things. Regardless of what they may be, we all face times when we must carry a burden or two. Unfortunately, it is human nature to think that we are alone in what we face. Because of this, our burdens soon become more than we can bear.

Do your burdens leave you weary? Are your burdens too much for you to bear?

We, as believers, know that there is a hope for us. We do not have to carry our burdens alone. We have the hope that is Jesus. Jesus came to give us grace. He came to give us mercy. He came to give us hope. We do not have to face the burdens of this world alone. We have someone who is closer than a brother to help us through our times of trouble and burden. We have Jesus. All we have to do is allow Him to be our personal Lord and Savior. In exchange, He will give us rest from our burdens?

Do you allow Jesus to give you rest?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What does your mind treasure?

April 16, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
(Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (NIV))

If you constantly talk about something, what will you constantly think about?

If you constantly think about something, how will your actions be effected?

I don’t know about you, but I believe that God had a purpose to this verse. He created us. He knows that we are wired to act out what we think about. If we think about money, we become greedy. If we think about power, we become obsessed with it. If we think about righteousness, then our actions will start to become righteous.

In helping my children study, I have a saying that they are probably tired of hearing. I tell them that they must repeat what they are trying to learn until it becomes ingrained within their minds and they can answer without thinking. It becomes a part of them. This is what God is telling us to do. We are to reflect upon His commandments until we know them so well that we do them out of knowledge and love.

What is the one thing that you know so well that you can quote details to anybody who asks, and possibly to those who don’t even ask? How did you get to be so knowledgeable about that subject? What if you applied the same earnestness toward God’s commandments? What would the outcome be? What would your life be like? What would other people say about you? What would God say about you?

What is constantly on your mind? What does your mind treasure? Is it God’s commandments?

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

Think about them?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Love and purity

April 13, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.
(1 Timothy 5:1-2 (NIV))

Purity!

If we could only fulfill this simple command!

All too often we treat each other in ways that are less than desirable. We treat older men as if they are senile and foolish. We treat younger men as if they are not worth anything. We treat older women as if they didn’t matter. We treat younger women as objects. All of this is because of the way that society has taught us to look at people. Whether we like to admit it, we stereotype people.

What if Jesus had stereotyped people? What if He claimed that He did not need to go to the cross because no one was intelligent enough to make the connection between the prophecies and His life? What if Jesus had been stereotypical when it came to Saul? He could have easily looked at Saul and made the claim that Saul was a typical holier-than-thou person and would never change.

To put it simply, we need to treat each other with the respect, kindness and love that we would expect in return. There is a saying that Jesus loves each of us too much to leave us as we are. With this in mind, we need to respect the work in progress that God is doing within each other. You may be surprised at the calling that God is placing on that young man with the funny looking hair. You may be amazed at the spiritual warfare that nice older lady has been involved in. You may be caught off guard by the witness a young lady has on those around her, and you may be completely startled to learn that the older man who drives slowly is driving that way so that he may pray for those whom he passes.

Learn to look at people with the eyes of Jesus. Look at others as God is maturing them – with the love and purity that He has placed in their hearts and in yours.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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No matter what society says

April 12, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers–and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
(1 Timothy 1:8-11 (NIV))

The law that is spoken of is the Ten Commandments. It is correct that the law is not for the righteous, for the righteous do what God wishes them to do. It is for those who do not follow God’s Will that the law exists. It is intended to show those people that certain things are not acceptable.

In today’s society, the courts have removed God’s Laws from schools, from public buildings and some are trying to remove them from any aspect of our society. What does that say about society?

If a society removes the principles upon which it is built, can a society survive in this world, let alone in the eyes of God? Those who remove the laws are those who are guilty of the very crimes that the law speaks against. It is a shame that we have let criminals dictate how we can behave instead of allowing God to dictate how we can behave.

No matter what society says, we, as believers, must follow what God says.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your heart free?

April 11, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
(Psalms 23:3b (NIV))

Is this your proclamation?

Do you allow God to guide you and to set your feet upon the path that He desires for you to walk?

If you are like everyone else, human nature takes over. Pride gets in the way and, just like in the Garden of Eden, we fall prey to a nature that we were not created to possess. We fall into sin!

Will you keep to the old path
that evil men have trod?
(Job 22:15 (NIV))

We are not called to walk the path of sin. We are called to salvation and grace through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. He has given us a path that we may walk. He has given us a path that we don’t walk in our own strength. Jesus sets us upon that path. God sends His Holy Spirit to walk it with us, guiding us every step of the way if we will only listen.

You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
(Psalms 16:11 (NIV))

God loves us and desires to save us and to guide us. He has set the path before us. Satan sets diversions along the path. In order to follow God’s path, we must know God’s heart. We must know God’s Word. God’s Word provides the instructions for staying on the right path. When we know the instructions by heart, we can also proclaim what is proclaimed by the Psalmist.

I run in the path of your commands,
for you have set my heart free.
(Psalms 119:32 (NIV))

Is your heart free?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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