Are the things of God clear to you?

August 9, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.
(Philippians 3:15 (NIV))

I know that this passage was written by Paul to explain that what we hold important in our physical lives has all been turned upside down by Jesus. This comes right after Paul told the church at Philippi about his former standing as a Jewish citizen where he was considered a member of the elite. It comes right after Paul telling them that his old priorities no longer mattered and his new top priority is knowing Jesus.

Are you willing to profess such a bold statement? Are you willing to give up everything that you used to hold dear and follow Jesus?

The passage above reflects Paul’s decision and his desire for believers to mature in their faith and seek Jesus as their new and only priority. However, I find it interesting that these very words also serve to instruct people to seek not their interpretation of God, but the truth as it is written in His Word. It is human nature to read something and take it completely out of context to the point where we see what we want to see. Paul, in his wisdom, told us that if we don’t understand something the way that God wants it to be understood, keep studying. Keep praying. Keep seeking God and He will open our eyes to the true meaning of what He is saying.

We don’t want our spin on God’s Word. We don’t want society’s spin on God’s Word. We want to know God’s Word through His heart and His mind.

Are you willing to allow God to make things clear to you?

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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When you focus on the signs, you miss Jesus!

March 23, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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.
(Acts 2:19-20 (NIV))

Many people, including myself, believe that we are seeing things that indicate that the time of the Gentiles is coming to an end. This indicates that we are close to seeing the end times that are so frequently written of in God’s Word. These end times will usher in the worst times that this world has ever seen. It will also eventually lead to Jesus returning in the clouds and splitting the Mount of Olives.

On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.
(Zechariah 14:4 (NIV))

I often see things in the news or read things that make me wonder what this means and what sign it points to. It is human nature to try to figure things out. As we are told, we are to know the signs off the times. Some people make a study of these signs a full time endeavor. It is fascinating to try to understand how God is working.

I want to stop and ask a question.

Have you ever loved something so much that you studied it, practiced it, or played it so much that you soon lost sight of your first love? In other words, you became so engrossed in the details that you lost sight of the reason you loved it to begin with.

Don’t let your study of the signs make you lose sight of Jesus. After all, He is the reason the signs will be and are happening.

There is an old saying that you can’t see the forest for the trees. Step back and see Jesus in the details. Step back and see Jesus in the moment.

I know that the signs that are still unfolding will come to pass. How do I know this?

We are about to celebrate the greatest sign of all this Sunday. Without the resurrection of Easter, we would have no hope that the signs of His Second Coming would ever come true!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready and waiting?

February 1, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
(Luke 12:35-40 (NIV))

Are you ready?

Do you grow tired of waiting?

Two simple questions, yet, they seem to summarize a person’s walk with Jesus.

What does it take to be ready for Jesus? Perhaps it is a good idea to read the letters to the seven churches in Revelation. Jesus told them specifically what they were doing right and what they were doing wrong. Most of the praise was focused on the steadfastness of the churches that held to the teachings of Jesus. They held true to the Word and did not compromise. They did not pollute their lives with the evils of the day. They stayed true to the Word. Sadly, there were churches that received instructions to repent. These churches were not holding fast to the truth within God’s Word. They allowed society to influence them. They adapted their beliefs to those of the societies in which they lived. They added to or took away from the truth of God’s Word as it benefited them in the society in which they lived. They changed God’s Word to benefit themselves. In other words, they compromised!

Which way is the way that God desires? It is clear that He desires for us to hold fast to His Word. We are not to compromise what is truth in order to thrive or even survive in this world. With this truth in mind, are you ready?

With what is going on in this world, do you grow tired of waiting?

Think about that for a moment. I long to see Jesus come for His church, His bride, yet, I know that the timing is not up to me. There are times when I would love to escape the things of this world, but I realize that escape is not what I am called to do. I am to persevere. I am to press on toward the prize, and while I press on, I am to share the Gospel with any and all who will hear. It is true that I grow weary at times, but it is at those times that test my faith, my perseverance. Do I honestly believe in Jesus or do I simply give lip service that will change at the first sign of things not going as I expect them to go?

I have a mission. I have a task just as everyone who has professed a faith in Jesus has a task. We are to spread the Gospel. We are to persevere till His return. Do we give up on our task? Do we grow tired of waiting even though we are told that no man knows the hour or the day?

When you find yourself where you doubt your readiness, look up! When you find yourself where you doubt your ability to persevere, look up! If we keep our eyes focused on Jesus, He will make sure that we are ready and He will give us the strength and patience to persevere!

Are you ready and waiting?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you practice what it tells you?

January 7, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
(James 1:22 (NIV))

How many times have you heard someone say that they read the Bible? Do there actions prove it? Do their lives reflect it? Do their business dealings indicate that they have heard the Word and have taken it to heart?

All too often we hear of people reading the Bible all of the time, but they do not practice what it tells them. They fail to recognize the fact that they are to reflect and to change according to what God tells them through His Word. When you read or hear the Word of God, do not simply let it bounce around without having any impact. Let the truth sink in and if it hurts a little, then you have actually experienced what was intended. The Word of God is living and is meant to direct and guide us in our daily lives. If this means that there is some self examination because of what was read or heard, then it is working.

Let God, through the Holy Spirit, guide you in all things through what God has told us in His Word.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God’s Word truly is sweet to the taste!

January 5, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
(Psalms 119:103 (NIV))

Have you ever noticed how a new bride seems to hang on every word that her husband says? Have you noticed that a loving husband will listen intently to every word his new bride speaks? Unfortunately, this comes to an end. The newness wears off and every day life settles in. Soon, neither party truly hears what the other is saying.

Unfortunately, our relationship with God also starts to take on these characteristics of every day routine. One day we forget to pray and soon we are not reading His Word at all.

We must treat God and His Word just as we did when we first discovered it. We read His Word and eagerly took its wisdom to heart. It truly was sweet to the taste. We must return to that time. We must look upon God’s Word as we did when we were starving for His Truth. We must eagerly taste of His Word.

Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
(Psalms 34:8 (NIV))

God and His Word are good. They are sweet morsels in a world of bitterness. We must be willing, or perhaps I should say that we must be longing to overcome the bitterness through the sweet morsels that God has so graciously given to us.

Is God’s Word still as sweet to you today as it was when your faith was new?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What happens when you turn a deaf ear to God?

November 20, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law,
even his prayers are detestable.
(Proverbs 28:9 (NIV))

I came across this verse last night and it struck me in a way that it hasn’t before. Some translations use the word instruction in place of the word law. Either way, it hit me in a way that made me stop. I was reading something that most people don’t even know exists. They feel that God is love and no matter what we do, God will still answer our prayers.

Is this why our nation is in the state that it is in today?

Is this why our world is in the state that it is in today?

Too many people ignore the truth that is God’s Word and they do exactly what they want. All too often, this is is complete contradiction to God’s law and God’s Word.

Think about the following scenario for a moment.

What happens when you are in a relationship and the other person starts to do things that put the relationship in complete chaos. Eventually, they stop trying to do anything that is beneficial to the relationship. Would you trust them? Would you respond favorably to them when they return to you and ask for something. Would you want to see an about face before you would give them what they want?

If we can find it detestable when we are wronged, why can’t God do the same? All that we have to do is earnestly repent and seek His face. I hope that you realize that we can’t do this on our terms. It is on God’s terms. We cannot reject God’s laws and expect to be treated like someone who has embraced God’s laws.

I know that even those who embrace God’s laws can do it for the wrong reason, but have you ever seen someone reject God’s laws and still be in the right?

If we turn a deaf ear to God, will He respond?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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