What do you think of when you think of the kingdom of God?

August 8, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.”
(Mark 4:30-32 (NIV))

What do you think of when you think of the kingdom of God?

Do you think of the pearly gates and the streets paved in gold? I know that we have all read the passages that describe it as such, but have you ever stopped to think about the kingdom of God beyond these stories?

How does faith relate to the kingdom of God?

How does faith work in your life?

It starts small and as you see things that God does, faith grows. Just like the mustard seed, a small amount of faith can blossom into a life of faith that is bigger than we could ever have imagined.

Do you think that God’s kingdom is bigger than we could ever have imagined? Have we put God in a box of our own design and limited understanding of size? There is so much more to God than we can understand in this lifetime.

Picture yourself as the mustard seed. You would feel small and insignificant. You would feel like your were worth nothing. But, . . .

All it takes is for the mustard seed to be planted and nurtured and soon you would feel the majesty of what you have become. You would be able to face anything that your part of the world could send your way. You would no longer be that small, insignificant and weak mustard seed. you would be strong and mature and able to face whatever the world would send your way.

Faith is the same way!

God’s kingdom is the same way!

We think that it is small and insignificant and it grows beyond our feeble attempts at understanding it and is the strongest think in our world. God’s strength is there for us if we simply accept it. God’s grace is there for us if we simply accept it.

God’s kingdom is there whether we accept it or not. We can allow it to be planted into our lives and watch it grow, or we can reject it and it will never take root in our lives.

Do you allow the seed of God’s kingdom to grow, or do you let it die within your life?

It is your choice!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can a blind man lead a blind man?

June 13, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He also told them this parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.
(Luke 6:39-40 (NIV))

How many people today are blind leading the blind or are blind following the blind? People are searching for answers, and are looking in all the wrong places. This is Satan’s great desception. He is keeping people from seeing the truth by placing lies and stumbling blocks in their way.

God placed in us the desire to belong to Him. When people do not know Jesus, they try to satisfy that desire with whatever they can find, or whoever they can find that will verify their sense of being, even if it is a false verification.

Each person has a piece missing from them that only God can fill perfectly. Nothing or no one can fill it like Jesus. We must open the eyes of the blind and lead them to the light and the piece (and peace) that can satisfy that void.

Jesus said that we, as students or desciples, can not be greater than He. We must strive to be fully in God’s will and let the Holy Spirit fill us and train us so that we may be like Jesus. When this happens, we will truly be able to lead the “blind” to Jesus as Jesus, Himself, lead the “blind”. Perhaps, we, too, can open the eyes of the “blind” in a similar fashion to the way Jesus opened blind eyes, both physically and spiritually.

Are you leading, following or are you studying under the Master, or are you blind to what God has called you to?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do not let your plans interfere with what God has in store for you

February 18, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, `What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

“Then he said, `This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ‘

“But God said to him, `You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

“This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest
(Luke 12:16-26 (NIV))

God has spoken similar words to many people throughout the Bible.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:19-21)

If you worry about this life, what will it gain you? If you worry, that means that your heart is focused on things of this world and not of the things of God. God will take care of your needs. He will provide what is needed. Do not focus on the worldly issues that occur all around you, but focus on God and His Will and all will be provided as He desires it to be. There is a saying about the best laid plans of mice and men. Do not let your plans interfere with what God has in store for you.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you balance?

December 4, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, `What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

“Then he said, `This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ‘

“But God said to him, `You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

“This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest
(Luke 12:16-26 (NIV))

How do you balance being a good steward with doing what Jesus calls you to do?

That has always been a tough question for me. I have always wanted to take care of my family and provide for them. I wanted to have that proverbial nest egg for when life throws you that unexpected curve ball.

The rich man didn’t seem to have the answer. He built bigger barns to store what he had produced. We don’t know if this man was generous or if he hoarded what he had. We do know that he did not pray and ask God what he should do. Like the rich man, I have been guilty of doing just that. Like the rich man, we all feel that we can handle our own affairs. We seek comfort and stability in our possessions when Jesus calls us to break down the walls that define our comfort zone.

It is human nature to want to make sure that we are taken care of. We want to feel that we are in control. Perhaps we need to learn a difficult lesson. Life is not about being in control. Life is about deciding who will be in control and placing your faith in that decision. More than this life depends on that decision. If God feeds the ravens, He will take care of us if we place our faith in Him. Perhaps that is where the line is drawn. When God blesses us, we have a tendency to keep it for ourselves. Does God bless us so that we can keep it all to ourselves?

What if we were more like Jabez?

Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.
(1 Chronicles 4:9-10 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Combine it with faith!

September 7, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.
(Hebrews 4:1-2 (NIV))

Combine it with faith!

In other words, hearing and believing are two very different things.

Think back on your life. I am sure that there are many things that you have heard in your life that you did not believe. It would probably be safe to say that the first time that you heard the Gospel, you did not believe it either.

What makes someone accept something and make that leap from hearing to believing?

Some call it a sixth sense. Some call it a feeling. Some simply cannot put a name to it or even describe why they make that leap from hearing to believing.

Why do we have faith?

To many people, they find faith an absurd notion, especially when you consider that it means a firm belief in something for which there is no proof.

I like Paul’s definition.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

What do we receive by faith?

Have you ever wavered in your faith?

Do you think that it is possible to lose your faith?

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop–a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear.”
(Matthew 13:1-9 (NIV))

I find it compelling how many parables are told in which faith is compared to a seed. God is definitely trying to drive home His point that we must nurture our faith. We can hear and a small “seed” of belief is planted. We can allow that seed of faith to grow through our actions or we can allow that seed to die through our actions.

Have you heard?

Do you believe?

Has your belief turned into a strong faith?

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