Just what is real knowledge?

April 9, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;
(Philippians 1:9-10 (NIV))

Just what is real knowledge?

If you follow the media and the larger universities, many are claiming that what was once called wisdom is no longer true. They claim that we have become educated and the old wisdom and knowledge is no longer relevant. They claim that we, as humans, can apply our knowledge and solve any problem.

Are you laughing as hard as I am at this thought?

Human knowledge has its limitations. It has its errors in judgment and reasoning. It is flawed and no matter how much humanity claims that it can perfect human knowledge, there will always be circumstances that push human ability to understand, reason and to respond.

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 64:16 (NIV))

With this truth before us, there is only one true knowledge. There is only one real knowledge. God is good and that Jesus Christ is His only begotten Son.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
(John 1:1-5 (NIV))

When you gain knowledge, it is said that you are enlightened. Jesus is the light. Knowing Jesus and following Jesus will not result in senseless results of rash decisions based on false knowledge. Jesus will walk with you in all that you do. He will be with you. The knowledge of the Holy Trinity will be with you.

Do you know the real knowledge that God desires for you to know?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you look for and what do you seek?

October 31, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation.
(Mark 8:13 (RSV))

Do you seek signs from God?

In the days of Jesus, people wanted miraculous signs. They wanted something so grand that they would have no doubt about the origination of the sign. To be honest with you, I would not mind seeing such a sign myself !

The words of Jesus ring in my ears when I think that a sign would be great. They remind me that Jesus came not to bring people into salvation because it was an obvious choice from the physical perspective, but because they had the faith to believe. It is easy to believe when you see miraculous signs. Where is the faith in this? Faith requires much more. It requires believing in what you cannot see.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

If Jesus had given that generation miraculous signs, how long would they have believed? It may have lasted a few days, or even months, but, just like the Israelites in the desert, they would have begun to grumble and their faith would have faltered.

God wants us to have faith in Him.

Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.
(Zechariah 4:6b (NIV))

God wants us to know Him on a personal level, not on a level of might and power. The generation that Jesus spoke to was looking for the might and power when He was offering them the Lamb and the Spirit. They missed the greatest gift of all time simply because they had preconceived ideas of what to look for.

What do you look for in Jesus? What do you seek from Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Which way do you want to reason?

September 29, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
(Isaiah 1:18 (NIV))

According to human reasoning, this does not make sense. It is physically impossible for something to be red and then to be made perfectly white. The very nature of the material will not allow it. At best, the red would simply become faded, but it would never become perfectly white. In fact, the red, just like the sin that it represents, would stain anything cleaner and lighter than itself.

Fortunately, God works beyond the physical realm and is capable of far greater things than we can imagine.

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))

Our ability to reason is limited in understanding and scope. God’s ability to reason is infinite. His is the ultimate reasoning, for with a single thought, anything can be done.

When faced with the red stains of our sins, isn’t it nice to know that we have a fresh perspective on their impact upon our lives. We have the atoning blood of Jesus that will wash them away. In the natural world, the red of sin plus the red of blood does not make white. Thankfully, the atoning blood of Jesus is so much more than natural blood. By God’s way of reasoning, the red of Jesus’ blood washes away the red stain of sin.

Which way do you want to reason – man’s or God’s?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have the right to hate?

July 14, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
(Matthew 5:43-45 (NIV))

Did Jesus have the right to hate His enemies?

Let’s face the facts. Judas betrayed Him. The crowds turned against Him. The Roman soldiers beat Him and crucified Him. They nailed Him to a cross. They pierced His side. By all human standards, He had every right to hate His enemies.

What did Jesus do?

He went against every human reaction that you or I would have ever had.

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
(Luke 23:34a (NIV))

Even after suffering all the humiliation of the cross, He still loved those who had nailed Him to that cross. Grace is an amazing thing, for it flies in the face of all conventional wisdom and does exactly opposite of what is expected. Jesus could have hated those who did this. He could have spoken a single word and their very existence would have ceased. Instead, He allowed everything to happen so that everyone could experience grace. Even though people meant to do Him harm, He did not stop loving them. He knew that what He faced would mean the difference for millions of people throughout history. He loved those who hated Him.

The next time that someone tries to harm you, remember grace and ask yourself, “What would Jesus do?”

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Authority and surrender

June 20, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV))

Do you treat Jesus as if He has all authority in heaven and on earth, or do you treat Him as your personal servant – a servant who bows to your authority?

Sadly enough, too many people treat Jesus as their personal servant. They treat Him as if His only reason for existence was to take care of their every whim and desire. They have no understanding of who Jesus truly is and, therefore, they have no desire to do what He asks of us. They simply expect Him to do what they ask of Him. They will not relinquish the authority.

Who has authority in your life?

Do you follow Jesus or do you expect Him to follow you?

Do you tell others about Jesus and what He has done in your life, or do you tell others about “your” accomplishments and never mention Jesus?

Do others see Jesus in you, or do they express astonishment when someone tells them that you are a Christian?

Do you make disciples for Jesus or do you have to be reminded that you are a disciple?

Do you follow His teachings, or do you only acknowledge them for an hour on Sunday?

I know that these are tough questions, but they are questions that we must constantly ask ourselves. It is so easy to begin to believe that we are the ones in charge of our lives.

We have no authority.

Can we, by our own doing, extend the number of our days? Can we create life out of nothing? Can we stop the sun from rising or the winds from blowing?

If we are to truly fulfill the task that Jesus gave us in this passage, we must recognize that He is in authority and not us. He is not ours. We are His. I know that I have failed many times, but it is my desire to place Jesus in authority. I do not want to stand before Him and hear Him say that he does not know me.

Lord, help us to surrender all authority to you.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you believe?

June 9, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.
(2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 (NIV))

This includes you!

I hope and pray that this statement is true and that Jesus finds all who read this and all who will ever read this to be believers.

I know that often these words are only read by believers. However, it is my desire to impact people for Jesus and not only those who already profess a belief in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Step out in faith and pass this on to those whom you know that have not yet made that profession of faith.

What do you believe in?

That is a very loaded question.

Too many people have claimed that belief is a personal matter and have come up with their own personal belief system. Too many don’t believe in anything. Too many simply believe that God is a jolly old man who simply sits around and does nothing. Too many believe that because God created them, He could not possibly punish them for their actions. They erroneously believe that God is only love while ignoring the fact that God is also righteousness and truth.

They don’t believe that God truly means it when He gives us the Ten Commandments. They don’t believe that they are sinners. If they do believe that they are sinners, they don’t believe that their personal sins are bad.

False!

Do you believe in God?

Do you believe the Bible?

Do you believe that you are a good person?

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

Have you ever sinned?

Think about that one for a moment and then answer this question. Have you ever taken something that didn’t belong to you, such as an ink pen? This is stealing. You have sinned and are condemned. You need forgiveness. You need grace.

Jesus is that forgiveness. He is that grace. He is that redeeming Savior. He is Lord.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Do you believe?

I pray that this includes you!

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you believe?

May 5, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.
(Luke 12:4-5 (NIV))

Do you believe Jesus when He tells us of heaven and what the kingdom of heaven is like?

Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God?

Do you believe that Jesus died on the cross to save you from your sins?

Do you believe that you are a sinner?

And, now, do you believe what Jesus tells us about hell? Do you believe that there is a hell?

It is sad, but far too many people draw the line at the concept of hell. They simply cannot believe that such a place exists, however, we have the recorded words of Jesus telling us of just a place.

How can people pick and choose what they believe in and don’t believe in? I bet that these very same people accept every single principle and application of the law of gravity without even thinking twice about it.

What is the difference?

Just because it is not a pleasant thought does not make it go away. If that were the case, we could simply ignore cancer and it wouldn’t be real. We could simply ignore death and go on living forever. We could ignore murder and live in an ideal society.

Just because we choose to ignore something does not make it any less true or real.

Jesus never said that there is no hell. In fact, he said to fear the one who has the power to throw us into hell.

I recently have read about a well known preacher who is now saying that hell does not exist. If hell does not exist, why did Jesus have to come into this world? Why did He have to die to save us from our sins? Why is the eternal plan of God now wrong?

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them–bringing swift destruction on themselves.
(2 Peter 2:1 (NIV))

Test everything against God’s Word. Be careful that you do not fall for lies that do not adhere to what has been written. God’s Word is either completely true or it is completely false. You cannot be in the middle. You cannot be lukewarm.

Personally, I have the faith that it is completely true. If that makes me ignorant in the eyes of the world, then I am proud to be ignorant of the lies of the enemy.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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