What do we see?

August 14, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:12-13 (NKJV))

Have you ever had the opportunity to look into an old mirror that has faded and cracked? The image that you see is a very poor reflection of reality. If someone could only see life through this poor reflection, they would have a very distorted view of reality. The same is true for what we see of God’s Kingdom.

We can only see “glimpses” of what is to come, and compare these to the promises that God has made about the coming Kingdom. Consider the old story about the three blind men and the elephant. Each of the men touched a different part of the elephant and all three of them came away with a different view of what an elephant really is. We are like the blind men in that story. Each of us receives different glimpses of God’s Kingdom and we miss the big picture.

There will come a day when those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior will enter the Kingdom and will see clearly and understand clearly. That is to be our reward. Jesus gave us a little glimpse of heaven in these words. It is built upon our faith, our hope, and our love. He went one step further and told us that the greatest of the three is love.

God’s Kingdom is built on love!

If God’s Kingdom is built on love, then we should practice this at all times in our daily lives while still on this earth. It is true that our idea of love is only a dim reflection of heavenly love, but it is where we are to start.

What do we see?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you think happened in the beginning?

June 12, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
(Genesis 1:1 (NIV))

Everyone looks at life and the world today with a bias based on what they think happened long ago. Everything hinges on what someone believes when they answer one simple question.

What do you think happened in the beginning?

How they answer will determine so much about what they believe and how they see the world!

Just to clarify, there are many beginnings. What we read about in Genesis is the beginning of this physical existence that we know and understand. God existed before this beginning. Do we know and understand the spiritual realm where God existed before our beginning? Are we even capable of understanding?

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:9 (NIV))

We also know that there is another beginning that God refers to.

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

I find it interesting that those who reject the beginning mentioned in Genesis 1:1 also reject the beginning mentioned in Proverbs 9:10. Sadly, they also reject understanding. They lack the faith to even consider for a fraction of a second that what has been recorded and accepted as truth for thousands of years is actually true. They lack the confidence to trust anything beyond what they can see, touch or feel.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

In essence, understanding the beginning requires faith.

What do you think happened in the beginning?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you keep within your sight?

August 23, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion;
(Proverbs 3:21 (NIV))

Is it just me, or has the world lost wisdom, understanding, sound judgment and discretion?

I realize that these things still exist, but it appears that they exist in far less abundance than they used to when I was younger. If you don’t believe me, all that you have to do is look at the warnings that manufacturers are putting on products as a result of people not using common sense. Everyone knows that coffee is hot, so why do we have to have cups emblazoned with “CAUTION! Contents are hot” in large type? Perhaps this example is a good thing to consider when you look at the other three characteristics. Understanding that coffee is hot leads to wisdom so that you are careful. You use sound judgment so that you don’t do something that will result in you spilling the hot coffee. You use discretion as to when and how you open or drink so you don’t hurt yourself.

Is it my imagination, or do all of these characteristics actually imply, actually require personal responsibility?

Now that I have come to this understanding, I believe that I now know why there is a decreasing amount of Godly wisdom, understanding, sound judgment and discretion. There is a dwindling number of people who are willing to accept personal responsibility for any of their actions, so why should spiritual characteristics and actions be any different?

Accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is a choice!

Following Jesus is a choice!

Accepting and understanding the truth in God’s Word is a choice!

We will keep things in our sight that we choose to keep in our sight.

What do you keep within your sight?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Stay true to God’s Word. Don’t get polluted by the world!

July 6, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
(James 1:27 (NIV))

Too many people look at this as an either or situation where they look after orphans and widows or they try to keep themselves from being polluted by the world.

We are called to do both!

We are to reach out to those in need and give them help. There are many passages that can be used to temper this so that it is not a lifelong help. We are to assist those in need. For those who believe Jesus called us to minister to the poor, He did. We are not called to provide for their every need for the rest of their lives.

For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
(2 Thessalonians 3:10 (NIV))

You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.
(John 12:8 (NIV))

When we begin to feel that we have to take care of someone who is capable of taking care of themselves, are we truly doing as Jesus commanded? Jesus knew that people will always have physical needs, but He did not come to provide physical comfort. He came to bring salvation. He came to bring mercy and grace. He came to bring forgiveness of sins. Jesus did not die on the cross to bring three meals a day and an air conditioned house for everyone. Those things are fleeting. He came to offer eternity with the Father and not perpetual creature comforts in this life.

The other part of this passage is a command to not get polluted by the world. In other words, don’t adopt the ways of the world. Don’t give in to the temptations that are going on all around you. Stand firm in your faith. Don’t confuse the miracles and good works that Jesus did with His primary mission. Don’t buy into the world’s definition of “Jesus is love.” The polluted concept of Jesus is that since He loves everyone, then anything that they do is acceptable. Temper your view of the world with a very healthy dose of prayer and study of God’s Word.

Stay true to God’s Word. Don’t get polluted by the world!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have pure joy in your trials?

June 30, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
(James 1:2-3 (NIV))

Here is another thing that we, as humanity, have problems with. It just doesn’t make sense to us that we should be joyous when we are facing troubles. It is human nature to wallow in self pity when the least little thing doesn’t go our way. We equate joy with happiness and happiness with a life in which everything goes our way. Following that logic, how is it possible that we could experience joy when we should be experience anxiety, anger and frustration?

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))

We have been told by Jesus that following Him would not make the troubles go away. Jesus stressed that we would still have troubles, but that He would be with us to walk through them. We have also been told that we would be persecuted just like He had been persecuted. I know that this sounds strange to the world, but to be tested in our faith and to stand firm is a thing that should bring joy to each and every person who proclaims a faith in Jesus. It is only possible to have joy when we are at peace, even in the midst of trouble. There is only one type of peace that can bring us this joy.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (NIV))

Do you have pure joy in your trials?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have the faith to see what God has done?

April 28, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
(Hebrews 11:3 (NIV))

Have you ever made anything?

Even something as simple as making a sandwich starts with bread. From there you have to ask what was used to make the bread. Taking this one step further, you have to ask where those ingredients came from. If we pick just the wheat as one ingredient, where did it come from? In essence, it came from a plant that grew out of the ground. That plant had actually come from other kernels of wheat. We quickly come to the conclusion and realization that everything comes from something else. Things just don’t materialize out of nothing and become something.

I take that last statement back!

It did happen once and only once!

God spoke everything into existence. If you need to refresh on this, read Genesis 1. I see numerous passages that start with “And God said. . .”

I don’t claim to know that much about atomic structures, but I find it interesting that the smallest particles appear to be made out of an electrical charge. To me, that sounds like there is not a true physical component to this particle. To the human eye, it is nothing. To put it plainly, God created what we see out of nothing!

For those who don’t believe, they ridicule anyone who professes a faith in God. I find it interesting that they will come up with any number of explanations for how things came into existence. Theories such as the big bang and evolution, but there is one thing that all of these theories fail to take into account.

Where did all of the matter come from to begin with?

I have the faith to say that I know!

“And God said. . .”

Copyright 1998 – 2017 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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