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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Who walks with you in times of trouble?

June 11, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
(Isaiah 43:2 (NIV))

Everyone faces troubles in this world. Too many people have a false impression that because they follow Jesus they should not have any troubles. They get extremely upset when they face things in their lives. They forget what Jesus told us about following Him.

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))

They also forget that Jesus faced many troubles during His time on earth. Just because He was God with us does not mean that the enemy didn’t try to create trouble. Look at the wilderness experience. Look at all of the times that the officials wanted to kill Him. Look at the betrayal, the scourging and the crucifixion. Anyone who truly knows what Jesus experienced while on this earth should clearly understand that Jesus knew trials. He knew temptation. He knew suffering. Why do so many people believe that we won’t face trials in this life?

What was recorded in Isaiah is very important to understand. It lets us know that the Lord is with us. Jesus told us in John that He has overcome the troubles of this world. He has taken the trials and troubles upon Himself so that we don’t have to face them alone.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
(Romans 8:31 (NIV))

I find these passages to be very reassuring. They remind me of the promises that we have been given. These promises let us know that if we have accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we have the Lord with us when we walk through times of trouble.

Who walks with you in times of trouble?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What comes out of your mouth?

June 8, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
(Ephesians 4:29 (NIV))

Our mouths get us into so much trouble!

Sadly, what comes out of our mouths starts somewhere else. Even if we are good at holding our tongue, what does that say about our thoughts and our heart? Our mouth is simply a conduit for what is inside. We either focus on the worldly and sinful nature, or we focus on the traits that are of God.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
(Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV))

What do you strive to have inside of you? Are you filled with the sinful nature of the world, or do you long for the characteristics that we know as the fruit of the Spirit? Do you long for your life, your words and your actions to reflect these traits?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
(Galatians 5:22-26 (NIV))

If unwholesome talk comes out of your mouth, what does that say about what is inside of you?

What comes out of your mouth?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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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Are we capable of such sincere praise?

June 5, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

There is no one holy like the Lord;
there is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.
(1 Samuel 2:2 (NIV))

I wish that we would learn to stand firm in this truth!

Today, we look at the Lord much differently than Hannah did when she spoke these words. Hannah had been fervently praying for a son. After being barren for a long time, the Lord granted her prayer and she gave birth to Samuel. When she presented Samuel to the Lord, she was overjoyed. She gave thanks and praise exactly where it was due!

This brings to mind two distinct questions.

1. Do we fervently pray for what is burdening our hearts?

Most of the time we utter a few words, but do we seriously pray as if our very heart, our very soul, would explode if what we seek is not granted? Do we feel the anguish that comes with what truly burdens our hearts, or do we only think that it is important? Do we quickly move on when what we pray for is not answered in a few days?

2. Do we truly praise the Lord when our prayers are answered?

Do we give thanks and praise for the outcome, or do we quickly forget our requests to the Lord? Do we look at the outcome as if it just happened without intervention from the Lord? Do we turn away from the Lord or do we turn to the Lord and lift up His name in praise?

Has the Lord lifted you up from a very serious situation? Has the Lord provided relief from your burden? Did you praise the Lord for all that He had done? The worse the situations that we find ourselves in, the greater the opportunity to praise the Lord. Perhaps that is why that history supports the notion that the church experiences more growth when it is being persecuted. People have a tendency to draw close to God when they are facing persecution and burdens. With this in mind, have we, the Body of Christ, become too soft and too comfortable in our lives that we fail to feel the need to pray or praise with all of our being?

Are we capable of such sincere praise?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you possess wisdom and understanding?

June 4, 2018

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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))

The world seems to have knowledge and wisdom confused. The world bases its understanding of these concepts all on the limited understanding that humanity has been able to achieve. In the grand scheme of things, humanity still has very limited knowledge of everything that we encounter. Knowledge is growing rapidly, but we still have much to learn. Sadly, the more knowledge that we acquire, or think that we acquire, the less wisdom we show as a result.

If you truly stop to look at the root meanings of the two words, things start to make sense.

Knowledge basically means possessing the facts or details about something or possessing an understanding about how it works.

The next definition is what seems to go away when we start acquiring more facts. Wisdom, at the core of its meaning, implies good sense or common sense.

What is it about humanity that makes us lose good sense when we think we gain a little understanding? A good case in point is the idea that some people have that they can explain away the parting of the Red Sea. They think that they possess enough knowledge to know how it was accomplished, and therefore, it wasn’t an event caused by God. These individuals lack the wisdom to realize that God made everything, so He is going to use what He made to have it do whatever He wants it to do. They also lack wisdom in other areas. What these individuals fail to acknowledge is that this event didn’t happen when someone was sitting on one shore and simply observing the waters. They fail to possess the wisdom to realize that this event took place just at the right time to allow the Israelites to cross on dry ground. Most even fail to have enough wisdom to acknowledge that God even exists!

I have known people who possess knowledge about the world, but have no wisdom or good sense. I have known people who are wise beyond their years, yet they possess no worldly knowledge. The people that truly stand out to me are the ones who possess wisdom because they fear the Lord and they also possess understanding because they have spent the time to get to know the Lord. Is this the type of wisdom and understanding that you seek?

Do you possess wisdom and understanding?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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