Are we thoroughly equipped to be God’s servants?

June 23, 2020

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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 servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV))

Most believers are familiar with this passage, but most read it as I have presented it here. We have a tendency to take it as a stand-alone passage and forget the context that it was originally written. It is true that as a stand-alone passage, it does speak truth, for anything from God’s Word is God-breathed and useful in all righteousness, but there is more to this passage than this. These words about all scripture close 2 Timothy 3 after it is opened with these words about the last days.

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
(2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV))

We, as the Body of Christ, have taken these two passages and have made them unrelated. We look at the warning about the last days but fail to realize that the closing words from 2 Timothy 3 are instructions for us when we see the things of the last days unfolding right before our eyes. The words written by Paul to Timothy are instructions to continue in the faith. We are to stand firm in the face of adversity. We are to stand firm when we see people are becoming lovers of themselves. We are to stand firm in our faith when we see the world turning into lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. We are to stand firm by firmly rooting ourselves in the scriptures, and not just our favorite passages.

In order to recognize the truth, we must be firmly rooted in God’s truth. There are gems of godly wisdom and truth in every passage. Some truths are only recognizable when you understand the complete truth, for God’s Word is not just a collection of individual, unrelated nuggets. God’s Word is life!

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
(Genesis 1:1 (NIV))

From the first words in Genesis 1 to the last words in Revelation 22, there is an unfolding of God’s truth and in order to understand it, we must read and study it all.

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.
(Revelation 22:20-21 (NIV))

It is said that all of scripture after the fall from grace details God’s plan to bring salvation and to restore His creation. How well do you know the story? How well do you know what the outcomes are for those involved in this story?

Are we thoroughly equipped to be God’s servants?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t fall for ungodly deception!

June 12, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you.
(Mark 13:5 (NIV))

Jesus knew that strange times would come and that people would potentially be deceived by what would be happening. He told His disciples point blank to be on their guard so that they, and we, would not be deceived when situations arise. We must stand firm in our faith and be firmly rooted in God’s Word so that we can recognize false teachings when they are presented to us. It is my prayer that we will be so firmly grounded in God’s Word that we will instantly know the enemy’s attempts to deceive us when we see them. You have to realize that the enemy knows God’s Word and can twist it in ways that are designed to confuse those who are not totally immersed in God’s truth. Consider that the serpent tricked Adam and Eve by twisting the truth in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve walked with God. They knew Him in a way that we can’t possibly know God today. Still, they fell for the deception that the serpent used, and humanity has been paying the price ever since that day!

The enemy uses things out of context, or just a partial quote of scripture. He will twist just enough of God’s Word so that it still sounds right, but with the subtle change, it is now a lie. Consider what happens if he leaves out the last instructions from Jesus to the woman caught in adultery.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:9-11 (NIV))

If you twist this passage by removing “Go now and leave your life of sin,” it takes on a whole new meaning. It takes on a meaning completely opposite of what Jesus truly said and meant. Without those eight words, it sounds as if Jesus is telling the woman that whatever she does is okay, when what He is really saying is that she must repent and change her ways. The whole passage, when twisted like this, is now able to be a lie from the mouth of the enemy.

We must not take things at face value. We must know God’s Word. We must search God’s Word for verification and not for our sinful gratification. We must be Bereans!

Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
(Acts 17:11 (NIV))

When someone is not educated in certain aspects of life, it is easy for them to be deceived in those areas. With everything that is going on in the world, be very careful with respect to what you embrace as truth. When you are firmly grounded in God’s Word, the Holy Spirit will be in communication with your spirit. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you through the subtle lies of the enemy.

Don’t fall for ungodly deception!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you still seek the truth?

February 10, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
(Romans 1:25 (NIV))

Do you believe that you know the truth?

If you have accepted society’s claim that truth is relative, then you absolutely do not know the truth! Truth is absolute. Truth is eternal. Truth is found in no other place than in God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

Truth is not found in man’s feeble attempts to create their own truth. Truth is not found in Satan’s attempts to trick humanity into following him. Truth is not born of a lie that is repeated so many times that people begin to believe it. Truth is not worshiping the creation.

Truth is only from the Lord!

He never changes! He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Truth is found in only one place.

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 all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
(John 1:1-5 (NIV))

There is a line from a movie that gets repeated quite often. “You want the truth! You can’t handle the truth!” Don’t fall for the idea presented in this line. Never stop seeking the truth. The truth is out there. Truth has a name, and that name is Jesus Christ!

Do you still seek the truth?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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There is no other like our God!

December 5, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
(Colossians 2:3 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but I don’t know of anyone, no matter how smart they think that they are, who can claim to possess all wisdom and knowledge. In order for someone to know everything, they would have had to be in existence from the very beginning of time. They would also have to be able to see everything, both the physical as well as the spiritual. Humanity just doesn’t have that capacity.

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
(1 Corinthians 13:12 (NIV))

Only the Lord possesses all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Only the Lord has been since the beginning. Only the Lord is able to see and to know everything in both the physical and the spiritual.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
      neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
      so are my ways higher than your ways
      and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

Why do we, as fallen humanity, seek advise and counsel from others who are no better off than we are? Why do we turn to other people who are limited in wisdom and understanding in order to seek out wisdom and understanding? We must turn only to the Lord!

There is none who can compare with the Lord! There is none who can provide wisdom, truth and knowledge. Only God is good! He is the Creator of all things. He knows our innermost thoughts and desires. He has numbered the hair on our heads. He created all things because He loves us!

Where do you turn for wisdom and knowledge? Why not go to the one true source? There is no other like our God!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the truth in you?

November 12, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
(1 John 1:8 (NIV))

There is a line that too many people cross when they consider the human traits of confidence and ego. I definitely see this spectrum playing out in us with respect to this passage. If we are not careful, we can easily go from being confident in our salvation through Jesus to being unwisely egocentric and thinking that we do not sin because of our salvation.

Perhaps I need to rephrase this. Do you believe that because you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you are not capable of committing another sin? Perhaps you believe that because you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior anything that you do is now okay in the eyes of God! This type of attitude is not God centered. In fact, it is very self-centered. We have been told what this type of attitude will bring us.

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV))

This sounds too much like boasting which is truly nothing more than our ego saying look at me! Boasting makes us the center of attention. Is this what the Body of Christ is called to do? Are we to make ourselves what salvation is all about? On the contrary! Everything that we do is to lead people to Jesus. How can we lead people to Jesus when we are telling them to look at us? Paul had the right attitude!

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
(Galatians 6:14 (NIV))

Our boasting should always point to Jesus. Our boasting should lead to the truth of the One who can lead us to the Father.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

Is the truth in you?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What type of appetite do you have?

October 7, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.
(Proverbs 15:14 (NIV))

Do you feel that you are good at discerning the truth, especially God’s truth?

One good way to truly know the correct answer to this question is to look at what your heart seeks. This can be easily determined by your answers to a few more questions.

What do you spend your money on?

What fills your free time?

Do you spend time daily in God’s word?

What do you and your friends do when you are together?

Do you have to change how you act when around people whom you know who are believers in Jesus?

Do you find any excuse that you can to avoid going to church?

Do you feel empty and unfulfilled when you don’t spend time with the Body of Christ?

I could probably keep going, but your answers to these questions will give you a good and truthful understanding of what you truly seek to fill your life with. Just as each of us have specific foods that we like, we also have specific things that we long to put into our lives. Some have an appetite for destruction. Some have an appetite for lust. For some people, it is greed, while for others it is drunkenness and debauchery. Human nature longs for things that always seem to lead to sin and destruction. We must overcome our sinful human nature and seek after God’s truth, wisdom and knowledge. We must cultivate an appetite for righteousness!

What type of appetite do you have?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Will you be able to withstand the deception?

September 24, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

At that time if anyone says to you, `Look, here is the Christ!’ or, `Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect–if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.
(Mark 13:21-23 (NIV))

How well do you know Jesus? How well do you know God’s Word?

Do you know them well enough to be able to discern the difference between the truth and a lie?

All too often, the enemy will shroud his lies in bits and pieces of the truth. He will use just enough of the truth to make his lies sound plausible. He will count on people not knowing God’s Word well enough to tell the difference between the truth and his lies. He will use just enough to entrap people.

Entrapment!

Do you honestly think that Satan cares how he tricks people into missing out on God’s grace and mercy? He only cares that he does trick people. It does not matter to him that he deceives people. It does not matter to him that he misuses God’s Word to deceive. He has only one goal and that is keeping as many people as possible from the redeeming grace offered through Jesus. Satan thinks that if he can’t be worshipped, then he will take that from God.

In the high-speed, fast-paced world that we now find ourselves in, we must know what we believe in. We must know what we have faith in.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
(Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV))

Are you fully armed with the knowledge and truth that is God’s Word? Will you be able to withstand the deception?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you look forward to God’s promises?

December 19, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.
(Psalms 57:9-11 (NIV))

I realize that I have posted this before, but truth is something that needs to be repeated!

The Psalmist spoke truth and wisdom when these words where written. What was true then is still very true today.

In this Christmas season, we are constantly reminded of how great God’s love for us is. Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ is a constant reminder of God’s love. God is faithful in keeping His Word. All throughout the Old Testament, God promised to send a Savior to reconcile man with Himself. In this season, we are witness to the promise kept. It is a yearly celebration of that promise. At the same time, we must keep our eyes focused on the other promises of God, especially the one that says that Jesus will come again.

In this holy season of new birth, we must not forget that Jesus grew up and died on the cross, was resurrected and will come again.

Christmas is only the beginning of God’s promise and not the culmination.

Do you look forward to God’s promises?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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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.
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There is always more to God’s story!

September 14, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
(Jonah 2:10 (NIV))

Do you think that you know the story of Jonah?

I thought that I did, and much to my surprise, there was more that I didn’t know than I did know.

We all know that God told Jonah to go to Ninevah and tell the people to repent. We know that Jonah ran from what God asked him to do because he did not want the people of Ninevah to repent. We know that Jonah boarded a boat and ended up in the belly of a great fish. This is where the passage picks up in the story. What we aren’t told in scripture is that the god and goddess that were worshipped in Ninevah were Dagon and Nanshe.

I hope that you pick up on God’s sense of humor when I tell you that the two gods that were worshipped in Ninevah were fish gods!

Imagine the reaction of the people when they witness something that looks like the gods that they worship vomiting out someone who is preaching for them to repent and to turn to the one true God. It would get my attention! No wonder there was mass repentance in the city of Ninevah!

I find it interesting that God will use the false beliefs of people to get their attention and to get them to repent. I was very intrigued when I discovered the additional details about Ninevah. God’s Word is full of hints at His majesty and how He works. I wonder how much more that we truly do not know. I would love to know the rest of all of God’s stories.

There is always more to God’s story!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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