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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Does your intelligence get in the way of wisdom?

October 25, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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

I honestly believe that a growing percentage of the world does not fear the Lord. How else do you explain the foolishness that is going on everywhere that you turn? Contrary to what the world may think, it is not wisdom. It is complete and utter garbage and the sad thing is that many people are believing the lies. The only ones that they are fooling are themselves.

I am asking this and I don’t want to offend anyone in the process, but what makes people think that what has been considered wise and true for the last several thousand years is now completely wrong? Do you think that because we have become technologically advanced we are wiser than those who came before us? Technology does not equal wisdom. Technology equals knowledge. It is possible to have all of the knowledge in the world and still not be wise. Wisdom is not knowing how to do something. Wisdom is understanding the reasons for doing something or following certain teachings and then doing it the way that wisdom dictates. I have seen some very intelligent people who did not have the wisdom to punch their way out of a wet paper bag. They could tell you about the physical properties of the bag and the tensile strength of the material in both the dry and wet states, but did not have the common sense or wisdom to know what to do.

Sadly, our world has confused knowledge and wisdom. In the process, many have rejected the Lord because anyone who believes is looked down upon as not intelligent.

I have something for you to consider. Do you think that Solomon could engineer an automobile? could he have written a software program? Could he have created a marketing campaign to sell the latest and greatest gadget? I believe that it is safe to say that he could not do any of these things, yet Solomon was the wisest man to ever live.

Our society has confused knowledge with wisdom and in the process, we have gained ways to increase our intelligence at the great cost of losing our wisdom.

Don’t allow your intelligence to keep you from the greatest wisdom that there is!

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

September 28, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
(James 4:17 (NKJV))

Everyone sins! There is no mistaking that one simple truth. However, if you do not know that what you are doing is wrong, then your accountability is not the same as someone who does know that it is wrong. This fact has even been applied even in our justice system. Consider someone who does not have their full mental capacity. If they do something wrong, they are “allowed” a less severe punishment due to their inability to understand and comprehend their actions. There is still a punishment for their actions, yet, it is not as severe as it would be for someone who fully comprehends the consequences.

Knowledge of sin is a knowledge that, unfortunately, we must all have since we are the descendants of a sinful nature. There is no escaping this nature. We can try to do what is good and righteous in the eyes of God, but we will fail. It is a wise person who realizes this and asks for forgiveness. Perhaps that is the test of ultimate knowledge. When we realize that we are not capable of goodness on our own, and that we need forgiveness for the things that we do wrong even when we know they are wrong.

This is why God sent us His Son, Jesus. Jesus is our atoning sacrifice for all of the things that we do wrong. By earnestly calling upon Jesus as our salvation, we have come to the realization of the ultimate knowledge – the knowledge that we are sinners in need of a Savior.

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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Can you fully accept His assurance?

March 19, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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

No one wants to admit that they do not know everything, and in some cases, anything. It is hard for people to accept instruction.

Perhaps, it is for this reason that many people never accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. They are not willing to admit that they are not perfect and need help. An ego is a terrible thing when it keeps you from God. An ego is not from God. Take a look at Jesus. He had more right than anybody in history to boast and be full of pride and arrogance, yet, he was exactly opposite of what the world would have expected. Even though he was the Son of God, He always accepted and followed the instructions from God the Father even to His death upon the cross. You may say that He knew that death would not be permanent and that He did it because He was assured of what would happen. This is true. Now, take a look at your life and what Jesus has promised you. Did He not say that if you believe in Him then death would not be a permanent situation for you?

You have the same assurance that He had, yet, do you live as He did?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Does this sound familiar to you?

February 3, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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 them.

They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.
(2 Timothy 3:1-6 (NIV))

Does this sound familiar to you?

Take a look at society today, and then compare what we are going through with what was written by Paul. The “good life” has turned us into the “me” society where most people are only concerned about themselves. We, as a society, are definitely boastful, lovers of self and money, abusive to everyone, ungrateful, and everything else that is wrong in the eyes of God. Take a look at road rage. That is a good example of the manifestation of this attitude.

Consider the acquisition of knowledge. We have become a knowledge driven society. This knowledge is based on things that are fleeting and have a value only because we are looking for a “richer” life. We can make a car that protects people during an accident. We can send people into space to study the effects of weightlessness on seeds. We can produce a round, flat disk that is capable of entertaining us, yet, we seem to have lost the ability to truly grasp what type of knowledge is important.

Another piece of knowledge for you – it has been determined that the human body was designed to react at speeds much slower than our cars travel. Perhaps this is part of what God means when He told us to

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

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you call man’s wisdom?

December 2, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made them all look foolish and has shown their wisdom to be useless nonsense.
(1 Corinthians 1:20 (NLT))

Useless nonsense!

Does this sound like anything you have seen or heard lately?

I honestly think that humanity has gotten lost in the vicious cycle of intellect. If you think about our college systems and the degrees that you can receive – Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate – it has been said that you learn more and more about less and less. You start off with a fairly broad study, then with the next degree, you narrow the focus. You finally narrow the focus so much that you learn as much as you can about such a narrow topic that you know almost nothing about anything else. Ironically, it seems that our society then looks to these people who have focused on such a narrow aspect of knowledge as the wiz-kids of all knowledge. We then have people who are so totally inept at anything that resembles an overall big picture giving our society directions on everything.

I realize that there are always exceptions to this rule, but it seems like our society has become so fixated on this type of knowledge that we tend to ignore what is truly important. It is this type of knowledge that has caused people to believe that humanity is capable of doing anything, It is this type of knowledge that makes people think that we are our own moral compass. It is this type of knowledge that tells us that a person’s usefulness is gone when they are 75 years old.

“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))

What happens to people when we focus so much on what we can comprehend? We use logic to make ourselves believe that there is no higher authority than us. We use this false logic to make all kinds of bad decisions and we call it wisdom.

God calls it useless nonsense!

What good does it do if we can circle the world with technology and we ignore the Creator of the world? What good does it do if we can build huge cities but lose the compassion to reach the people who live there? What good does it do if we can have hundreds of “friends” and never know them or share the Gospel with them?

What do you call man’s wisdom?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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