Do you trust the lessons in His Word?

November 5, 2018

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
(Matthew 24:32-35 (NIV))

These words spoken by Jesus hold several truths!

I love the way that we are given near-term and long-term meanings in so many passages of scripture. Isn’t it amazing how words that sound so simple can be so complex in meaning? Imagery is so important in the lessons that Jesus taught. He was able to relay things in ways that those who wanted to know could understand both then and now. Through this imagery, we believe that we understand what Jesus was speaking to us and the meaning that it has for us today.

Now that we are living in the days that Jesus spoke of, many people are becoming very interested in the statement about this generation, for we are seeing things unfold that no other generation has ever seen. Even so, we must rest assured that no matter what happens, God is always there and His truth will always be there. All that we have to do is seek!

God is in control!

He knows what the future holds for He holds the future!

It is our duty, as believers, to be the light to those who do not know Jesus. We must show them the way to their future through Christ. By doing this, no matter what happens, we can help people recognize that the season of His return is upon us.

Do you trust the lessons in His Word?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 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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Christmas is only the beginning of God’s promise!

December 22, 2015

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))

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.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you listen to advice?

May 20, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.
(Proverbs 19:20 (NIV))

Do you listen to advice or do you try to do things on your own?

There is an old saying that says that two heads are better than one. In essence, advice is a wise thing to receive. It often gets you to stop and think things through. It often gets you to look at things from a different perspective. It gets you to slow down before you act without thinking.

Of course, not all advice is good. We must learn to balance where the advice comes from with the credibility of the one giving the advice. In other words, don’t be foolish and accept marriage advice from someone who has never been married. Definitely don’t accept advice about spiritual issues from someone who thinks that each of us is a god. Weigh the credibility and discern which advice to listen to.

Perhaps wisdom comes from being able to discern the fact that you need advice and the ability to discern that not all advice is good. Only one source of advice is completely correct all of the time. That is the source that you should trust implicitly for all of your instruction. Turn to the one who made everything. Turn to the one who wrote the instruction manual. Turn to God and His Word for all of your advice and instruction. Rely on Godly counsel also, but test their counsel to make sure it follows God’s Word.

Wisdom comes slowly. It comes from knowing that you do not know everything. It comes from knowing that other people do not know everything. It comes from realizing that God, who created everything, is the only true source of instruction. It comes from realizing that God is God and we are in need of Him. Rely on God’s Word and wisdom will follow.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you put forth the effort?

November 18, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Be still, and know that I am God;
(Psalms 46:10a (NIV))

What are the things in life that you feel that you know so well that you can correct someone if they say something wrong? What did it take for you to come to this knowledge of this subject? Did it just come to you naturally? Were you born with the understanding that you possess? Did you wake up one morning to find that you had become the recognized expert in that topic?

If you are like me, none of these things have happened to you. You may possess a God given talent or understanding , but you still do not possess a complete knowledge of the subject. Where God has planted the seed of talent or understanding, you must work to expand that knowledge. If you love mathematics, you cannot become a college calculus teacher without expending the effort to further your knowledge and understanding. If you love football and can quote stats of each team and player, what drove that knowledge? Even if you have a so-called photographic memory, it requires an effort to place things in your memory. It requires an effort – a decision to pursue the very thing that you love.

Do you love God? Do you put forth the effort to get to know Him and come to a fuller understanding of Him?

Think about those questions in relation to the concepts previously introduced.

Have you put forth the effort, have you made a conscious decision to pursue God and to know Him and His Word? The sad thing about this is that you do not need to pursue Him, for He is pursuing you. He is always there waiting for you to turn to Him. He is waiting for you to ask if you can sit at His feet and get to know Him.

I still love the New American Standard Bible translation of this passage:

Cease striving, and know that I am God:
(Psalms 46:10a (NASB))

All of our lives we strive to possess something. We even feel that we need to strive to possess God. To some extent, we do, but not in the same way that we strive for other things in our lives. When we seek God, He gives us rest. When we strive for things of this world, we have no rest. When we cease striving, we find God in all of His glory because we find the time to simply sit in His presence. The work that we are called to do in order to know God is to stop and listen. The definition of work is an activity in which one exerts strength or faculties. Too many of us make knowing God a major work task. It is much easier than we make it. All we need to do is to “Be still” or “Cease striving” and allow God to open our hearts and our minds.

Do you need to cease striving in the worldly sense so that you may know that He is God?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to listen to God?

January 24, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue,
to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.
(Isaiah 50:4 (NIV))

What can sustain the weary?

Think about that question.

What makes you weary? Is it the world? Is it your job? Is it relationships that you wish were different? Is it the state of the world with all of the trials and tribulations that we must face? What sustains you in the midst of these trials and tribulations? What sustains you when you feel that you cannot go on?

Isaiah was given words to say to people who were weary. God gave him words of hope to speak to the people of Israel. Many of the prophesies regarding the coming of Jesus were spoken through Isaiah. What made Isaiah different from all of the people around him? Why was he able to hear God when the others did not? Perhaps we are given a clue as to Isaiah’s abilities in the remaining lines of the passage. God awoke Isaiah every morning and taught him. God spoke to Isaiah because Isaiah was willing to listen. What made Isaiah willing to listen?

What makes you willing to listen to someone? I believe that there are two primary reasons someone willingly listens to someone else. They love the person speaking, or they are interested in the topic. In Isaiah, I believe that we have found both. He loved the Lord and, because of this love, he also was very interested in what God had to say. He listened because he longed for God’s truth. This, alone, is enough to sustain the weary. Simply listening to God and taking his Word to heart is sufficient to sustain even the most weary of individuals.

Are you weary? Do you listen to God? Do you embrace every word that He has given us?

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
(Matthew 11:28 (NIV))

Have you found rest?

Are you willing to listen to God?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Guidance and maturity

October 15, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is happy.
(Proverbs 29:18 (NLT))

Accepting guidance is a sign of maturity, after all, guidance was established for a reason. Most of the time the reason is for the safety and welfare of yourself and others. Other times guidance is used to assist you in learning something more quickly than you could on your own. When we accept guidance, we admit that we are in need of instruction in that particular area. We become willing to submit our intellect and ego to the authority of another.

Divine guidance is the same. We must be willing to submit to the Word of God and take it to heart. We must reflect upon the words of truth that God has placed in our hearts, meditating upon them as we go about our daily lives. We must partake of the the very substance of their fiber. We must eat of the Word of God and taste the sweetness of it (Ezekial 3:3). We must take God’s Word into our bodies and make it become an integral part of us.

When we accept God’s guidance, through His Word, we allow Him to come in and instruct us in His ways.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
(Isaiah 55:8(NIV))

There is an old saying that ignorance is bliss. If we are ignorant of God’s Word, what do we honestly have? We do not know God. We will not know the peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7) if we do not know God. Does ignorance sound like it is blissful? If we do not have peace, how can we honestly be happy?

Have you accepted God’s guidance in your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Bad words

September 19, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
(James 3:9-12 (NIV))

It is sad that the words written in James are all too true.

How many times have you left a wonderful worship service only to have someone cut you off in traffic and you find yourself saying things that you know you shouldn’t?

Be honest with yourself.

How can we, as the Body of Christ, do such things? How can we expect the world to see a difference in our lives when this is the rotten fruit that our mouths produce? How can we praise God, yet curse a part of His creation?

I can hear some of the grumbling now.

You are probably thinking that God did not intend for people to behave like those who get you upset. Did God intend for you to curse someone else? How is this showing the love of Jesus?

Did Jesus ever get angry? What angered Jesus?

You may be thinking about the money changers in the temple.

Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, ” `My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a `den of robbers.’ ”
(Matthew 21:12 (NIV))

Jesus did not get angry at people for their sins against each or against God’s laws. He got angry over the fact that people took God for granted, or they did not respect God. Think of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Why did Jesus get angry with them?

In every situation in which Jesus did show anger, it is not recorded that He cursed them or blasphemed. Why do we do any different?

Think about that old question, “Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?”

With some of the things that we all let slip, do we feel worthy of praising God with the same mouth?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Pray that we know what to watch for

August 23, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Unless the LORD builds the house,
its builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchmen stand guard in vain.
(Psalms 127:1 (NIV))

Every night that I sit down to write, I pray for guidance as to what God wants me to convey. I have a database of scripture verses that I have selected and tonight, I closed my eyes and “randomly” stopped on this verse. I do not think that this is an accident or a coincidence, for right before this happened, I was reading about the two conventions coming up for the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates. These two parties will officially select the individuals who will be in contention for the White House.

God is up to something in this world. He is up to something big!

Israel is surrounded by people who want to destroy her. Iran is threatening just that. Israel is preparing it’s citizens for 30 days of shortages and is giving out gas masks. They are also preparing their citizens for massive amounts of missile strikes in retaliation IF they decide to be preemptive with Iran. Russia is standing firm in their lack of support for Israel and support for Iran.

Does this sound familiar?

There are countless things that I see that trouble me with respect to how our world is heading. At the same time, these things intrigue me for they offer glimpses into the things that the prophets have written about. Could these things that are unfolding be the very things that we have read about?

We, as the Body of Christ, must stand firm in our faith. We must pray for God’s guidance and seek to follow His will for our lives, our families, our neighborhoods, our country and the world.

You are probably asking how this ties in with Psalm 127:1 and the current state of things.

We have been given God’s plans for His creation. It will be His plans that prevail. We may not like the state of things or the things that must happen, but they all part of God’s plans.

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”
Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”
(Matthew 16:21-23 (NIV))

Jesus rebuked Peter for wanting his agenda and not God’s. We see things from a different perspective and even though we see things that go against what we have been taught to believe in, God has an eternal plan.

Think about that for a moment from Peter’s persepctive.

If you had been in Peter’s shoes, how would you react if Jesus told you the details about the painful death that He would face? Would you have stood as Peter did and try to physically protect Jesus? I honestly think that we would not, nor do we, understand exactly what God is unfolding. We see glimpses and we wonder if this is what we have been told to watch for.

Pray for God’s guidance and follow Him.

Pray for God’s Will and wait for miraculous things to happen.

Pray for wisdom to discern the worldly from the Godly.

Pray that the Lord watches over us as we stand in watch.

Pray that we know what to watch for.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The image of God

August 16, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The Lord is righteous in everything he does; he is filled with kindness. The Lord is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him sincerely. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cries for help and rescues them.
(Psalms 145:17-20 (NLT))

What is your image of God? Be honest.

Is it of a Santa Claus type figure who gives you what you want if you are good? Perhaps it is of a life guard type of figure – someone who rescues you when you get in trouble. Maybe you think of God as a kindly old man who is nice to everyone and allows anything because He is too timid to take a stand. Perhaps the one that I find so amusing is the idea that He is so busy that He doesn’t have time for us and that He doesn’t care what we do. Still another image of God that some people have is of a Grandfather Time type of figure who is more concerned with keeping things on schedule than with enjoying the Creation that is at His feet right now.

There are many images of God. Some are true, for all we have to do is look at the many names that God has – deliverer, provider, healer. I could go on and on, but, these images are images from His Word, not from someone’s false understanding.

The psalmist knew God’s character. He knew of God’s righteousness. He knew of God’s mercy, for he had called upon Him sincerely. God did hear his cries and He rescued him.

What is your image of God? Is it taken from God’s Word or is it a false image taken from your imagination and desires?

The true image that God portrays can do all things. What can your image of God do?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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