How well are you learning what the Lord is teaching?

August 3, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.
(Titus 2:2 (NIV))

There is an old saying that with age comes wisdom.

I suppose that all depends on your definition of wisdom!

Far too many people falsely think that knowledge is wisdom, but they fail to recognize the fact that what you may know can lead to bad results. Wisdom is so much more than knowing facts, especially when you consider that facts can be twisted to make you come to wrong conclusions. Wisdom takes the facts and allows you to discern truth. It is the application of good judgment to the facts. It is possible to be filled with knowledge yet still be unwise. It is also possible to be older and unwise. Sometimes even the wisest among us will still have things that they need to learn so that they can be better at discerning the truth.

I love the fact that this passage starts with “Teach the older men.” Instantly it implies that each of us still have much to learn with respect to our faith walk no matter what our age may be. It also implies that not a single one of us is completely mature. Each of us may need to realize that we may not be as mature in our faith as we think.

We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.
(Hebrews 5:11-13 (NIV))

We have so much to learn in our faith journey with Jesus. Not a one of us is perfect. We all have lessons that we are learning and many that we still need to learn.

How well are you learning what the Lord is teaching?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you ask of God?

June 28, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
(James 1:5 (NIV))

Too many people take this passage and paraphrase it to read something like, “ask God and it will be given to you.” They literally make it sound like God is in the business of being a genie who simply grants wishes. Upon a closer read of this passage, it becomes clear that God is generous with giving wisdom if you ask for it. We must, however, understand what wisdom is.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.
(Psalms 111:10 (NIV))

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
(Proverbs 9:10 (NIV))

If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, do you truly desire to be given wisdom?

Most people associate the word fear with a strong emotion caused by an awareness of danger. Do you look upon the Lord as a source of danger? There is another definition that should be applied to the word fear when it is used in conjunction with fearing God. This definition means a profound reverence or sense of awe. Some ever say that it can simply mean a healthy and sincere respect.

Think about the definition of fear with respect to God. I already asked if you look upon the Lord as a source of danger. I want you to ask yourself, and give yourself an honest answer. Do you hold God in reverence? Are you in awe of His majesty and power? Do you respect the Lord enough to desire to not betray Him or to sin against Him? If you are able to truthfully answer these questions in a way that places the Lord God above all else, then you are on your way to possessing the greatest wisdom that you can ever possess. The next time that you begin to feel like God is a genie, remember that what He wants to give you is Godly wisdom.

What do you ask of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you learning?

May 18, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.
(2 Timothy 3:7 (NIV))

I find it interesting that almost every aspect of our society is so overwhelmed with learning more and more. On the surface, this sound very good. For the most part it is. The problem comes when we focus so much on what is learned and forget about truth, when we focus more on man-made credentials instead of the wisdom that God bestows.

I even see this in many churches.

How many of you have heard someone say something like, “They can’t do that. they don’t have a degree.” Think about that for a moment in relation to the movement of the Holy Spirit. If God has given someone a gift and the Holy Spirit enables that gift, who are we to stop it just because the person doesn’t have a degree in the area? I don’t know about you, but this sounds very similar to being a Pharisee. Did they accept John the Baptist? Didn’t they try to stop Jesus? Speaking of Jesus, what man-made credentials did He possess? Think about that in relationship to the church that He calls His own. Think about that in relationship to the men whom He drew close to Himself to be His disciples. They did not possess man-made credentials, yet He used them to spread the Gospel and to reach the world.

There is often a big difference between learning and wisdom, or in reference to this passage, learning and knowledge of the truth. It seems to me that the more we focus on learning, the less wisdom and knowledge of the truth that we possess.

Think about this in relation to your studies. What are you learning?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t be foolish!

October 5, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.
(Proverbs 17:28 (NIV))

With all that is going on in this country and the world right now, it seems that everyone has an opinion. The sad thing about that is that far too many people feel that they need to voice their opinions even if they know absolutely nothing about the topic. Everyone thinks that they are right and those who possess an opinion contrary to theirs is the enemy. Sadly, the number of people who remove all doubt about being a fool is skyrocketing rapidly.

Not many are keeping silent. Not many are holding their tongues.

We have all been guilty of saying things that we wish we had never said, but it appears that remorse is no longer an emotion that is capable of being felt by many. Instead of being able to accept differing opinions and the truth, far too many people rebel. They get angry. They mock the ones who bring the truth.

Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults; whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse.
(Proverbs 9:7 (NIV))

Unfortunately, we see this increasing with every passing day. We also find it hard to truly distinguish what is the truth in the moment. I honestly believe that this is a direct result of the concept put forward in recent years which states that truth is relative. This concept is built upon the false idea that what is true for me is not the same thing that is true for someone else. I believe that those who are so vehemently vocal and angry have been taught that there is no absolute truth and that their version is just as viable as someone else’s version of truth. In particular, they oppose God’s truth, or the idea that God even exists, because they feel that His truth is not their truth.

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.
(Psalm 14:1 (NIV))

It is clear how God defines a fool.

Don’t be foolish!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Stay true to God’s Word. Don’t get polluted by the world!

July 6, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
(James 1:27 (NIV))

Too many people look at this as an either or situation where they look after orphans and widows or they try to keep themselves from being polluted by the world.

We are called to do both!

We are to reach out to those in need and give them help. There are many passages that can be used to temper this so that it is not a lifelong help. We are to assist those in need. For those who believe Jesus called us to minister to the poor, He did. We are not called to provide for their every need for the rest of their lives.

For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
(2 Thessalonians 3:10 (NIV))

You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.
(John 12:8 (NIV))

When we begin to feel that we have to take care of someone who is capable of taking care of themselves, are we truly doing as Jesus commanded? Jesus knew that people will always have physical needs, but He did not come to provide physical comfort. He came to bring salvation. He came to bring mercy and grace. He came to bring forgiveness of sins. Jesus did not die on the cross to bring three meals a day and an air conditioned house for everyone. Those things are fleeting. He came to offer eternity with the Father and not perpetual creature comforts in this life.

The other part of this passage is a command to not get polluted by the world. In other words, don’t adopt the ways of the world. Don’t give in to the temptations that are going on all around you. Stand firm in your faith. Don’t confuse the miracles and good works that Jesus did with His primary mission. Don’t buy into the world’s definition of “Jesus is love.” The polluted concept of Jesus is that since He loves everyone, then anything that they do is acceptable. Temper your view of the world with a very healthy dose of prayer and study of God’s Word.

Stay true to God’s Word. Don’t get polluted by the world!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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I pray that no one rages against wise judgment!

January 13, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire;
He rages against all wise judgment.
(Proverbs 18:1 (NKJV))

Wisdom is often in the eyes of the person seeking it. If a person denies the wisdom of God, he will turn from God and seek after what he desires. Eventually, a person who seeks his own desires will seek out others who have the same desires. This is out of a need to validate these desires, for inwardly, they know that these desires are wrong. They seek out others with these desires to try and prove to themselves that they are not wrong.

Proverbs speaks of isolating yourself from others. What is implied is that the other people are Godly people who wish to do the will of God and seek after God in all things. This is the wisdom that is raged against. This is the wisdom that is looked upon as foolishness, and the foolishness that they desire is looked upon as wisdom.

The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
there is no one who does good.
(Psalms 14:1(NIV))

If, in isolation, we seek after our own desires, then it is wise to seek after fellowship with people who are believers and wish to obey God’s Word. This is so that we do not turn towards our own desires and turn from the true wisdom that only comes from God.

It is human nature to seek after what we long for in our hearts. We must fill our hearts with the things that God would have us long for.

What is in your heart that you desire?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Just what is the source of your wisdom?

April 28, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For the LORD gives wisdom,
and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
(Proverbs 2:6 (NIV))

What better source of wisdom than the Creator of all things! His wisdom is true wisdom.

Isn’t it interesting that our frail human minds think that wisdom is now all rooted in attaining technological advances and knowledge of things that soon become outdated. We frantically attempt to gain new wisdom to replace that which has become outdated. This sounds very much like the times written of by Daniel.

“At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people–everyone whose name is found written in the book–will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.”
(Daniel 12:1-4 (NIV))

We seek after all the wrong wisdom and we call it good. At the same time, those who earnestly seek after God are called narrow-minded and bad. It is true that we must live in this world, but we do not have to live by the standards that it tries to set for us. We can choose the true wisdom, knowledge and understanding that comes only through God.

Where does your wisdom lie?

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