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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Do you have the resolve to not defile yourself?

October 11, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.
(Daniel 1:8 (NIV))

It was only food, but Daniel stood his ground. He knew that what he was being given to eat was not what he was supposed to put into his body. He could have very easily told himself that he had no choice and that it was the only thing that he had to eat. He could easily have justified doing what he was told to do.

How many times have you found yourself in a situation in which you thought you did not have any other option but to do what was right in front of you? We justify it by telling ourselves things like “just this once won’t hurt,” or “nobody will know.” What if Daniel had followed this philosophy? Would God have honored him with the strength and insight that He gave him? Daniel chose to stand his ground with respect to his faith. He did not waiver when things did not allow him to be obedient. He found ways to obey what God asked. This even carried through to later in his life when it was a royal decree to only pray to the king. Did Daniel waiver in his faith then? He did what he knew to be right with the food and he did what he knew to be right with prayer. If we give in to our circumstances, will we be faithful? Will we be held righteous in the eyes of God if we falter during these moments.

Through the atoning blood of Jesus, God will forgive us, however, will He use us? He longs for us to be faithful in our hearts and in our actions. If we justify our choices and give in to things that we shouldn’t, will God be able to trust us in fulfilling what He has called us to for His Kingdom?

What are the things that you know you shouldn’t do? How do you justify them to yourself? How do you try to justify them to God?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who are we to judge?

February 14, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
(Luke 6:37 (NIV))

It is so hard not to judge. When you get the urge to judge, step back and take a look at the situation from a different perspective. Ask yourself the following questions.

Do you know the details about the person’s life?

Do you know the state of the relationships that person is involved in?

Do you know the medical issues that the person is dealing with?

Do you know whether that person is facing a life changing situation?

These are just some of the things that can make an individual do things that will make someone want to judge them. Any of these issues as well as countless others could easily sway your appearance to others. Would you want them to judge you because you are angry that someone you love has hurt you deeply? Would you want someone to judge you because you don’t act the way they do simply because you have a medical condition that has involuntary movements, sounds or the inability to focus or multitask?

Each of us faces situations in our lives that are known only to us and to God. If we are forgiven through the atoning blood of Jesus, how can others judge us? In turn, how can we judge others for their sins, especially when the sins that we claim forgiveness of are no better than their sins in the eyes of God.

If you start to feel self-righteous, remember the prostitute that Jesus met.

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:3-11 (NIV))

Jesus spoke words to live by: “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Are any of us in a position to judge? Are we without sin? Why do each of us want to pick up our stones so quickly?

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