Have you been called?

June 6, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28 (NIV))

Our lives are not meant to be easy. When we face something out of the ordinary, our first reaction is to think of ourselves and what it will mean to our way of life. They should have the exact opposite effect. We should rejoice in the knowledge that Jesus is with us through these times.

Everyone goes through things in their lives. We, as believers, are no different. We, as the Body of Christ, have been told that we will face things in our lives.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
(John 16:33 (NIV))

The world has been turned over to sin, yet, if we place our faith in Jesus, we will see our lives brought to perfection. We will see our faith brought to maturity. We will see our salvation brought to completion! I don’t know about you, but these sound like good things that God is working in our lives.

Have you been called?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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I don’t ever want to be like this again!

May 25, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.
(Titus 3:3 (NIV))

Do you ever look back at your life before you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior?

No matter how “good” you may have been, it was a far cry from what we have been called to as followers of Jesus. In this current state of our faith, we are by no means mature and perfect. We still have human nature to contend with. We still have times when we fall and find ourselves having moments that remind us of this passage. No matter how close we try to follow Jesus, on our own we are still unclean.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

Thankfully, we have been saved by grace. We have been saved from ourselves. We have been saved from our sinful nature by the only one who is perfect.

I know that I am far from perfect. I know that I have a long way to go. I know that I am being matured in the image of Christ. I also know that what I was is someone that I don’t ever want to be like again!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you effective and productive?

March 15, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(2 Peter 1:5-8 (NIV))

Are you increasing? Are you growing? Are you maturing in your faith?

Looking back on my own faith journey, I can unequivocally say that I have grown, that I have matured in my faith over the course of my lifetime. I can also attest to the concept that we will never reach complete maturity while we are on this earth. I learn so much each and every day. I can read the very same passage that I read yesterday and discover new insight in the very same words. Nothing has changed in the words. The only thing that has changed is my comprehension of God’s ability to open up His Word into a whole new revelation.

Think about that in relationship to your faith and maturity. Think about your understanding in relationship to God’s unlimited understanding!

“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))

Doesn’t it make sense that we, in our limited understanding, would need to increase in our ability to understand? Doesn’t it make sense that we increase in our ability to understand by increasing our faith? After professing our faith, we increase our faith by striving to increase our righteousness, our goodness, in the eyes of God. We accomplish this by seeking His knowledge and by learning righteous self-control. We learn to persevere even in the face of adversity as we strive to mature into the likeness of Christ, who embodied true love in order to offer salvation.

None of us are there, yet, but we, as members of the Body of Christ, must strive to be effective and productive in our knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Are you effective and productive?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you put your childhood ways behind you?

February 16, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
(1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV))

Spiritual maturity is a wonderful thing. When you are new in your faith, it is easy to become disoriented and allow the world to knock you off balance. You have a hunger, but you are uncertain about what you are feeling and experiencing. At this early stage of faith, just as in the childhood years, you are limited in your understanding and your ability to fully comprehend all that you experience. You are still being spoon fed. Perhaps I could and should say that you are still in the milk stages of your faith.

Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
(Hebrews 5:13-14 (NIV))

In essence, being a child can mean that you are naive to the ways of the world and the enemy. Spiritual maturity brings an understanding, an ability to discern what is right and wrong in God’s eyes. It means that you are diving deeper into God’s Word and your understanding is getting much deeper. Consider this case in point as an example. When you were a child, could you comprehend and solve complex mathematical problems? Could you develop and communicate complex thoughts in such a manner so that others could understand?

Being a child is supposed to be a simple, joyful time. It is the time to develop trust and belief.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
(Matthew 19:14 (NIV))

Even though we are called to be like little children in our faith, we are also called to a maturity. This is a maturity that prepares us to face the enemy. It is a maturity that firmly grounds us in Jesus.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
(Ephesians 4:14-15 (NIV))

As members of the Body of Christ, we are all called to maturity in Christ. We must long for the substance of solid faith. We must realize that faith is something that we are to desire to grow and mature. We are to change our ways of thinking so that we are in line with what Jesus desires. We are to desire to mature into the likeness of Christ!

Have you put your childhood ways behind you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your faith mature enough to place others as a priority?

November 28, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
(Colossians 1:9 (NIV))

Do we, as the modern church, follow this example?

I know that the Body of Christ prays, but what do we honestly pray for?

Have you ever noticed that prayer comes in levels. Someone new in their faith will pray for things that directly effect them. A little maturity shifts the focus and slightly enlarges the circle of inclusion. As maturity increases, prayers are offered up for those who we don’t personally know.

Where are you in the process? How mature is your faith? Do you pray for those whom you do not know? Are you like Paul and willing to pray for those that you hear about even though you may never meet them? Paul was willing to pray for those whom he heard about. He was also willing to go to these very people and give them more than his prayers. He was willing to take his time to go and share the gospel with people whom he had never met.

Are you willing to do what Paul did? Are you willing to go as well as pray?

Is your faith mature enough to place others as a priority?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you understand and obey?

March 14, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their minds so they will understand them, and I will write them on their hearts so they will obey them. I will be their God, and they will be my people!
(Hebrews 8:10 (NLT))

I love the way the New Living Translation phrases this passage.

We are used to reading it translated something like the following.

This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
after that time, declares the Lord.
I will put my laws in their minds
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people
(Hebrews 8:10 (NIV)

No matter how we are used to reading it, the meaning should not be lost on the reader. We are to think about God’s laws and reflect on their meaning. We are to strive to understand them with our intellect. We are to reflect upon what God is telling us with each passage that we read and not just simply read the words. There is more meaning in God’s Word than mere words. There is a reason that it is called the Living Word. If we study and reflect upon it, then God will use this reflection and study to teach us more about Himself. He will open up the same passage with more meaning as our maturity in Him increases. As our maturity increases through study, another aspect comes into play.

God’s Word makes the move from our minds to our hearts.

We begin to not only understand, we also begin to obey. We find ourselves longing to do the things that God wants. We find ourselves not only intellectually understanding. We find ourselves transformed by that understanding to the point where we actually apply it to our lives. We obey not out of fear, but out of a desire to seek righteousness.

Do you have a favorite translation that you read and study? For me, my favorite is the New International Version, but I find hidden gems of truth in every translation. Some translations, such as the New Living Translation, add wording that does not go against the intent or change the context, but it expands on the meaning and adds insight. I don’t know how many times that I have read Hebrews 8:10, and I know the intent of the words, but sometimes I need to be hit right between the eyes with what God is saying. I would venture to say that I am not alone in this. Sometimes we all need to be hit over the head with the proverbial 2×4 so that we recognize the truth behind what we profess to believe.

Do you understand and obey?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Maturity requires deeper understanding

September 9, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
(Hebrews 5:13-14 (NIV))

Satan has tricked our society and our churches into focusing on the “milk” of salvation. We do not spend enough time teaching how to distinguish good from evil. This is evident in our society when the courts can remove a judge for acknowledging where our laws come from and do so in the name of “ethics.” It is evident when an unborn baby can be killed because it is not yet a human life.

I could go on and on with examples. We are too soft and do not call evil what it is. We would rather ignore it in the hope that it will go away. It will not go away. It wants to control. I saw a sign on a church that stated this truth extremely well. “Don’t give Satan a ride. He wants to drive.” Satan wants control. He tries to gain control in any way that he can. Trickery is part of his arsenal. He has tricked us into shying away from the full promise that God has given us through Jesus. Satan knows that people will turn to Jesus. Some will fully understand. They will nourish themselves on the solid food of God’s Word. Others will try it and shy away. Still others will never desire to try the solid food. They are content in the “feel good” aspects of Christianity where they do not have to do anything and they are not held accountable for anything. These people are referred to as luke warm Christians in Revelations. I don’t think that I need to remind anybody about what awaits the luke warm believers.

Solid food is essential for both the physical body as well as spiritual growth. There comes a time when milk is simply not enough to sustain us. This is only natural for any person who is growing and maturing. I have never seen a forty year old who survived solely on milk. I have never seen a mature Christian who only ate of the salvation. Maturity requires deeper understanding. It requires a conscious effort to draw closer to God.

Are you on solid food?

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