Spiritual Depth Perception

August 14, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
(Romans 12:2 (NIV))

If you focus all of your attention on one thing, all others will be ignored. It is true of the physical as well as the spiritual.

If you concentrate on a show on television, the events around you are ignored. They still happen, but you do not perceive their importance and place in the scheme of things. The same is true of spiritual matters. If you focus, intentionally or unintentionally, on matters of this world, then matters of and from God will be ignored. If you focus on matters of and from God, then the world will be ignored.

Could it be that we also have spiritual vision that works in a similar fashion as our earthly, physical vision?

Depth perception in vision allows us to focus on the details of what we focus our eyes on. All other items within our scope of vision are still there, but they are just shadows of what they truly are. If we change our visual focus to look at these things in detail, then the other items become shadows of their true detail. If we focus on God, then our spiritual depth perception “blurs” the things of this world that could serve to distract us. We know that they are still there, but we are not drawn to them because of the lack of detail and the strong focus of detail that comes from the things of God.

Where is your spiritual vision focused? Has your spiritual depth perception blurred the things of this world or has your physical depth perception blurred the things of God?

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

August 13, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Train a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it.
(Proverbs 22:6 (NIV))

School has started in many places. The sad thing is that far too many people rely on the schools to train their children. Most don’t even know what is being taught in schools anymore?

There is more to training, more to an education, than simply being feed worldly knowledge. Worldly knowledge changes as society changes. History is rewritten and basic principles that once held true are obsolete.

Do we want to rely on someone else to instill within our children the concepts of right and wrong when they are doing wrong themselves? Why do we allow our education system to have control over what is taught without so much as asking what is being taught?

Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
(James 3:1 (NIV))

I know that this passage is referring to teachers of God’s Word, but it does not take any stretch of the imagination to realize that those who are teaching falsehoods will pay a high price for their actions.

And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck.
(Mark 9:42 (NIV))

Do you see the correlation? We must be very careful to teach the children according to God’s Word or we will be held accountable. I pray for teachers in the public school systems. I pray for the students in the public school systems. I pray for all teachers and students in hope that God’s Word will go forth even in the midst of societal pressures.

Also, I pray for the parents that they may have the strength and the courage to teach their children and to stand up for what is righteous and godly in the midst of all the world is becoming.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Encourage each other in the faith!

August 12, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
(1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV))

Encouragement is something that we all need. Faith without fellowship is a faith that will soon wither. We need each other to see us through the difficult times. We need each other to rejoice during the good times. We need each other to pray at all times. We are to encourage each other as we seek our daily paths with God.

Jesus didn’t even set out on His mission and ministry alone. He surrounded Himself with people whom He could teach and with whom He could fellowship. Jesus knew that the path would be rough at times. It is rough even when we walk with Jesus. I hate to think what it would be like without Him. Fortunately, we have His promise that He will be with us always. Even though He is still with us, we need each other. We need each other’s fellowship and encouragement daily, just as we need to spend time with God on a daily basis.

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
(Hebrews 3:13 (NIV))

Isolation leads to temptation. Temptation leads to sin. We are to hold each other accountable. Fellowship and encouragement bridge the gap that isolation starts to build. With this in mind, my prayer for each of us is just what was written to the church at Thessalonica.

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
(2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (NIV))

Encourage each other in the faith!

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready, willing and able to let the living waters flow?

August 9, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
(John 7:37-39 (NIV))

We have the advantage of being on this side of history were we have the benefit of knowing what has happened since the Spirit has been given. The only problem is that far too few people believe in the Spirit and fewer still who have asked the Holy Spirit into their lives.

Asking Jesus into your heart to be your Lord and Savior is only part of God’s plan. Believing in Jesus will earn you salvation. Asking to be filled with the Holy Spirit will get you much more. The Holy Spirit will guide you. He will give you insight and Godly wisdom. He will give you courage to take you faith to the highest level. Through the Holy Spirit, God will bless you so that you can be a blessing to others. You will learn that your blessings are measured in the rewards that you receive by blessing others. The Holy Spirit will teach you how to reach others for Jesus. He will be your constant companion through all aspects of your life.

The Holy Spirit will pour out living water through your life into the lives of those whom you see. You will become a fountain of God’s grace and mercy.

Are you ready, willing and able to let the living waters flow?

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

August 8, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, `Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your `Yes’ be `Yes,’ and your`No,’ `No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
(Matthew 5:33-37 (NIV))

I am not against attorneys and legal agreements, but, what does this say about contracts? If everyone simply followed these truths, would we need to go to such great lengths to protect ourselves and our interests? Think about this. I am sure that many of you remember people who conducted business with a handshake. They made a commitment and they lived up to that commitment. They did not need documents to protect themselves and others. They simply lived by the philosophy that Jesus was teaching.

Take an honest look at society today. How many people do you know who still live by this philosophy? If they make a commitment, they fulfill that commitment. They keep their word. I would venture a guess that these types of individuals are few and far between, especially since the society in which we live now almost dictates to “Get it in writing.”

What have we become?

Honesty and integrity have to be documented, signed and witnessed. And then, if anything arises where there is uncertainty, litigation wrangles over the meanings of the words.

What would you do if God treated us in that manner?

How would you react if upon accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, God says, “Wait a minute. I have some documents for you to sign so that we can make this legal. That way, if you don’t uphold your promises, I can revoke your salvation.”

It sounds strange when you put it in this context. Now, think about the deals and the promises that we make to each other. Do we truly need to show such a level of distrust that we have to swear, or that we have to put it in writing. We need to treat each other in our dealings as God treats us – expect us to do what we say we will do and if we fail, allow redemption, allow a second chance. We are not perfect. We are a fallen race. We sin by nature. But, by God’s grace, we are forgiven. We have been shown mercy. We must extend that mercy to others.

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
(Ephesians 4:1-2 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you love the world?

August 7, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
(1 John 2:15 (NIV))

How can this be? Didn’t God create the world? Are we to not love the things that God has created for us?

That might be the case if we, through Adam and Eve, had not allowed sin and corruption into the world. Since then, all things of this world are no longer of God. He created them, but we corrupted them. We cannot love corruption and love God at the same time, for God is perfect and beyond corruption.

God cannot associate with anything that is less than perfect, for anything less than perfect will be destroyed within His presence. It is for this reason that all through the “Old Testament” days God did not approach His people directly, but was separated from them by the veil of the Temple. It is through the sacrifice that was made on the cross by Jesus Christ, His Son, that we are allowed into His presence. Isn’t it amazing how, when Jesus was crucified, the veil of the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom. That is not something that humanity could do. It had to come from God.

Again, God cannot allow anything that is less than perfect into His presence. Everything in this world is less than perfect. Do we focus on the worldly or do we focus on God. The worldly things are fleeting and last only a few short years during our lives. God is eternal and will be here long after the world has gone away.

If you love the things in this world, where do you think that you will face eternity?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we ready to see God’s signs and wonders?

August 6, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

`In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.

Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.

I will show wonders in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.

The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.

And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
(Acts 2:17-21 (NIV))

What comes to mind when you read this passage?

Do you shrug it off as pure fantasy? Do you think that it has some merit to it, but is a long way away? Do you wonder what we are being told?

What are the wonders in the heavens? What are the signs on the earth below? We have all seen solar eclipses and a red moon, Is there more to this prophecy than what we are familiar with?

Think about that.

God will be trying to get our attention. Some say that he is already trying.

We take so much for granted anymore. We see things on television and we see things in real life that just a few years ago were impossible to create. Will we recognize the wonders and the signs? Will we be too sensory overloaded that we fail to recognize God’s warning?

Nothing that happens in this world any more makes me wonder what is going on. Nothing that I see or hear brings horror to my spirit. Things are unfolding at a rate that only God can comprehend. I see what is happening and I feel sad for those who are caught in the lies. I see what is going on and stop and pray for those who are involved.

I also pray for strength to finish the race.

We don’t know the what, where, and when of God’s timeline, but we do know who wins. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus. Pray for discernment. Pray for wisdom and pray for those who are going in the wrong direction.

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