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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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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What is your definition of faith?

March 9, 2016

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))

What is your definition of faith?

Do you require physical proof before you will “accept something on faith.” That is a contradiction of terms, for faith requires a sound belief in things that you cannot see.

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

I find it interesting that as science makes progress in the understanding of our physical world, they have discovered that the atom is not the smallest particle. It is not the protons, neutrons and electrons. There is a scientific theory that states that all of these particles are actually made up of smaller particles called gluons. Do you know what the scientists have speculated that these particles are made of? They theorize that these gluons are actually made up of energy. In other words, they are made out of nothing physical. They are made out of nothing that is visible.

What did Paul know two thousand years ago that our scientists are only beginning to realize is true? Paul knew that the universe was created out of nothing, and the scientists of today are actually starting to say the same thing. The only difference is that today we have super computers to test this theory. We have electron microscopes that can give us hints of what is actually present in the very building blocks of the atoms. We have equipment that allows us to test and verify everything before we draw any conclusions. We can claim with a 99.99% certainty that what is seen is what is the truth.

Two thousand years ago, Paul made the same conclusions.

What did Paul have? He did not have any of the super computers or other test equipment to study his surroundings. He did not spend years formulating mathematical equations to predict the physical world. He had only one thing!

Paul had faith, and by his faith, he was able to know two thousand years ago what our scientists are just beginning to realize. If Paul was so accurate about this, I am going to step out in faith and say that he was right about the message of grace and mercy afforded to us through our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Is your faith based on what is seen or do you stand firm in the hope of what we cannot see?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have a daily time to spend with God?

February 12, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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

As I sit here exhausted, I realize just how easy it is to become so engrossed in the things of the world that we call our lives. It is so easy to let God slip to a second, third or even a fourth priority. The sad part about this when it happens is that we don’t realize that it is happening until it has already happened.

We need to establish something that becomes a constant in our lives. Something that we do on a daily basis that forces us to be still in the presence of God. This must be something that we do no matter whether we want to or not, no matter whether we feel that we can take a day off because no one will notice.

If you are reading this, then you are a part of my daily routine. I know that to many people the word routine signifies that you do something over and over again and get stuck in a rut. When you are studying and sharing God’s Word, you may be in a routine, but it is never a rut.

God’s Word is alive!

God shares His heart through His Word.

The trick is to be open and to not take things out of context. You must dive deep and explore the mysteries that God has in store for you. The Bible is called the Living Word for a reason. No matter where you are in your walk with God, there is something for you to learn. What I find so intriguing is that you can learn something from one passage and as you mature, you can learn something different from the same passage. This knowledge does not replace what you have learned before. It expands, it builds upon the previous knowledge to give you a deeper understanding.

I have been writing and sharing these devotionals since 1998. It is my routine. It is not my rut. I learn so much as I explore God’s Word and share it with you. It is my daily time to be still in the presence of God.

It is my prayer that each of you develop a routine in which you set aside time each day to spend in God’s presence.

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