Are you capable of feeding those in need?

July 29, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He replied, “You give them something to eat.”
(Luke 9:13a (NIV))

I realize that Jesus was telling the disciples to have faith and give the people what they needed, which in this case was food. However, I just recently came to realize that there is so much more to this passage.

The first thing that came to mind is how do you reconcile what Jesus commanded with the following passage?

For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”
(2 Thessalonians 3:10 (NIV))

Like so many other things that pertain to humanity, it is a matter of the heart. What is written of in 2 Thessalonians is a matter of laziness. They are not willing to do what is needed to meet the basic needs of life for themselves. It is a lie that is perpetrated on those whom they know. It is a desire to get everyone else to take responsibility for them.

Jesus was referring to something completely different when he instructed His disciples to give the crowd something to eat. Jesus knew that the people who had come to hear Him speak were seeking something and were willing to sacrifice for it. They were not expecting to freeload and have everything taken care of for them. They had taken upon themselves the responsibility to seek and go after what was beneficial to them. They were seeking something that fed their spirits. They were seeking something that went above and beyond the physical needs that they had. They were working for what they sought after. Because of this, Jesus had compassion on the crowd just as He has had compassion on all of the others who earnestly sought Him.

Seeking Jesus is not easy. It is work. We are taught a lesson through the disciples and the crowd on that day. Jesus will provide for those who truly seek Him. He fed the crowd after He fed them spiritually. If you stop to think about what He told His disciples, He was also telling them to not only take care of the physical needs, but to soon be prepared to take care of feeding the spiritual needs. They stepped up and delivered.

Are you capable of feeding those in need?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Avoid the darkness and seek the Light!

July 28, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.
(Luke 12:3 (NIV))

It is so much better to simply tell the truth and be honest in your relationships, for we have been given insight as to what will happen if we fail to be honest. Things always come back to haunt us.

Sadly, I sit here contemplating the current state of affairs in this country with respect to politics. Unfortunately, what is happening in the political arena is also playing out in many aspects of our society. People are saying things and doing things that they never want to see the light of day. They want to keep them buried in the dark recesses of society where they can be ignored in hopes that the intentions play out as desired.

Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!
(John 8:43-45 (NIV))

We have been warned about the lies of the enemy. Why do so many people still fall for the lies and feel that they need to spread them?

We, as the Body of Christ, must fall to our knees and pray that we can be given discernment. We must be able to tell the difference between the lies of the enemy and the truth as it comes from God. We must study God’s Word. We must feast on His Word.

Jesus answered, “It is written: `Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”
(Matthew 4:4 (NIV))

If it comes from the mouth of God, then it is truth. God cannot lie. His Word is truth. He is truth. I will probably make some people mad with this next statement, but it is not intended as a political attack. If God’s Word is truth, perhaps that explains why some politicians refuse to acknowledge God’s Word.

Pray that we recognize the darkness and seek the light!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Understanding is the key to everything!

July 27, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown; when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word which is sown in them. And these in like manner are the ones sown upon rocky ground, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are the ones sown among thorns; they are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world, and the delight in riches, and the desire for other things, enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. But those that were sown upon the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.
(Mark 4:13-20 (RSV))

Understanding is the key to everything!

Perhaps it is even the equivalent of where the seed falls.

Our understanding of God’s Word is crucial to how we react to it, how it impacts our lives, and more importantly, how we use it to impact the lives of those around us.

If our hearts are fertile soil for the seed of God’s Word, then our lives will bear fruit and we will be a part of the harvest. If our hearts are like rocky ground, we will listen to God’s Word, but fall away when things get rough. We will not be able to rely on our deep roots of faith, for these roots will have been shut out by the rocks in our lives.

We need to be able to bear fruit. In order to do so, we must have understanding. This understanding is not as the world calls understanding. The world sees understanding as education and acceptance of alternate “truths.”

Godly understanding is based on faith.

It requires faith to allow the seed of God’s Word to take root in our lives. It requires faith to allow it to mature and grow. It takes faith to allow it to bear fruit.

Faith is understanding. Understanding is faith.

Place your faith in Jesus as God’s Word made flesh.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you been redeemed?

July 26, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. But what does the Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
(Galatians 4:28-31 (NIV))

I have read this passage many times. I have always known that the child born by the power of the Spirit was Isaac and that the son born in the ordinary way was Ishmael. In reading this again, I stopped cold when I saw that the passage was saying that Ishmael was persecuting Isaac. I literally froze when I read the next words – “It is the same now.” Those very words can still be spoken today of these two half-brothers. Isaac’s descendants are the tribes of Israel. Ishmael’s descendants are the Arab people.

Upon further reading, something else struck me about the slave woman’s son never sharing in the inheritance with the free woman’s son. At the time, a slave was property. A slave’s son was also property. How could such a person share in the inheritance with the free son?

The slave’s son was born out if sin, We are all born out of sin and are slaves to sin and death.

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
(Galatians 3:26-29 (NIV))

The current situation in the world is not hopeless. We know who is victorious. We also know that those who are lost in the sin of the slave’s son can be redeemed. We are seeing this all throughout the world where the descendants of Ishmael are accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior. We must pray that the redeeming grace through the Blood of Jesus breaks down the barriers and brings together slave and free, Jew and Greek, male and female.

Have you been redeemed?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you accept the hard teachings?

July 25, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
(John 6:60 (NIV))

We don’t have the market cornered today on not being able to accept some of the teachings of Jesus. Many of those who heard the words straight from Jesus had much difficulty with many of the teachings. Why should we think that we would be any different?

In any classroom or subject of study, there will always be certain concepts that are more difficult than others to understand, accept and apply. This is true no matter what the subject, whether it is algebra, philosophy, medicine, or religion. Each subject has concepts that are easily grasped and applied, and at the same time, each subject has concepts that are difficult to grasp and apply. If everything were easily mastered, we would not have the satisfaction of a job well done when we do master a particularly difficult task.

The same is true of the things that Jesus taught us. Some things we can accept and apply almost instantly, while others we would prefer to ignore. We must not ignore the difficult teachings. It is these teachings that help to mature us in our faith. Perhaps it is also a maturation of our intellect as well, for the wisdom that comes from mastery will often lead us to understand and apply even more difficult teachings.

It is human nature to want to shun the difficult. We often take the path of least resistance. What do we get for this lack of effort? We do not get what God wants us to get. The next time that our human nature takes over and we want to ignore the hard teachings, we must remind ourselves of the nature of God’s Word.

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 3:16-17 (NIV))

Are you open to the hard teachings?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God should be our treasure!

July 22, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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

What do you spend the majority of your time thinking about? What consumes your heart? Do you think about wealth, power or physical pleasures? Do you spend more time thinking about your hobbies than you do about your eternal existence? What do you treasure?

That is not an easy set of questions to answer. We have become so used to the lies that we tell others that we start to believe them ourselves. We do not see the truth when it is right before our eyes. We do not see that, contrary to Exodus 20:3, we have made many gods for ourselves.

God should be our treasure. He is our firm foundation that cannot be shaken. He is the treasure that moth and rust cannot destroy. If we place as our treasure things that can be destroyed, then our heart can also be destroyed. Perhaps this is why the enemy uses treasures. He knows that they will turn our hearts from God.

Where is your heart?

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