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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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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Is there freedom in your life?

April 30, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
(2 Corinthians 3:17 (NIV))

What do you think of when you think of God? Are you prone to apply human understanding and limit God as a result? Do you have a mental image of how you think God looks? Does your mental image apply human characteristics to God?

God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.
(John 4:24 (NIV))

No one knows what the Father looks like. His glory cannot be comprehended by human minds. All throughout human history, people have made a vain attempt at creating a likeness of God or what people have called gods. We are told not to worship idols. Nothing that we can imagine comes close to the majesty that is our Lord! He has no physical limitations. He has no spiritual limitations except that He cannot associate with sin.

We think that we have a good idea of what Jesus looked like. Even so, nobody is completely certain. God sent Jesus into this world at a time when people and events were not recorded for all to see. I would probably venture to say that it was never God’s intention to have a perfect likeness of Jesus be a part of His legacy. I can already imagine the human ego being exactly what it is if we knew that Jesus had a certain look or a certain ethnicity. We do know that He was Jewish, but we don’t know how dark His skin was. We don’t know what color eyes He had. All that we do know and all that we need to know is recorded in the Gospels. God wanted us to believe in Jesus on faith and not because we saw a video of Him performing any of His miracles.

Did God exist before creation?

Did Jesus exist before He came to earth?

Does God exist now?

Does Jesus exist now?

In case you are wondering where I am going with this, the answer is simple. God is Spirit – always has been and always will be.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
(John 1:1 (NIV))

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 (NIV))

He stepped out of eternity and took on human form in order to bring us freedom! This does not mean that we are to worship the form. We are to worship the Lord in all of His majesty and not in the limitations of the form that He took. When you see the cross, what do you see? Do you see a man who was nailed to it or do you see the Spirit of God come to earth to set us free?

Is there freedom in your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who do you say that God is?

April 11, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
(Revelation 1:8 (NIV))

To paraphrase this passage, God is the beginning and the end. He is all things in between. He has always been. He is now, and He will always be. He is the Creator of all things. He holds all power and authority. His power and authority were in the beginning and they will be in the end. He is unchanging and no one can come close to His power and authority!

Humanity has spent thousands of years trying to define just who they think that God is. Along the way, various different groups of people have created false gods. Most of these are simply attempts at putting a limited understanding of creation onto a persona that they could understand and define. People have even gone so far as to create idols that they assign godlike attributes to.

I want you to stop and ask yourself a question.

Who do you say that God is?

Are you able to comprehend the God of the Bible or do you try to make up your own definition, your own mental image, of what you believe God to be?

We know that God is called “Father.” Is your understanding of a loving father swayed by an earthly father who was less than loving?

We know that God is called “Creator.” Do you struggle with the concept that God has the power and that everything was simply spoken into existence?

We know that God is called “Healer.” Are you so blinded to the fact that humanity allowed sin and death into the world that you can’t understand why God allows things to happen to those you love?

We know that God created us in His image. Do you struggle with the idea that He loves you so much that He took the time to create you? We know that He created us to be in fellowship, in relationship, with Him. Do you understand the concept of sin and the consequences of sin and how that relationship was broken in the Garden of Eden? Do you struggle with the idea that God did not want to spend eternity without us, so He devised a plan to redeem us so that He could call us His own? I could go on and on, but we are simply not capable of fully grasping all that God is.

Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?
(Job 11:7 (NIV))

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
(Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV))

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
(Isaiah 40:28 (NIV))

All of His wisdom and righteousness we cannot even begin to understand, but there is one thing that we can understand if we will simply humble ourselves.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

I feel that I need to ask this one question once again. It is my prayer that you dwell on this question and pray to come to a true understanding.

Who do you say that God is?

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

February 20, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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

I find it ironic that the world loves people who are confident and assured, but the world hates people who profess a faith in Jesus!

I know that I have referenced this old song before, but the world loves the “I did it my way” type of mentality. In fact, if you look at the current societal philosophy that states tolerance and acceptance of every way of life, then you quickly see that whatever an individual chooses to do is supposed to be acceptable and God’s Word is not tolerated. The world applauds confidence and assurance when it is placed within yourself and abhors it when it is placed in a higher authority. I don’t know how much more we can slide down the slippery slope, but I feel that society is becoming more and more rebellious. Society is increasingly looking inward to find what is right instead of looking upward to find what is right.

How many people do you think have ever lived since creation? In all of human history, what has been the results of those individuals who were narcissistic enough to have the confidence and assurance that they knew better than everyone else on how to rule? From the very beginning of time, people have placed confidence and assurance in themselves for various reasons. From the very beginning of time, we have these very same individuals either killing or being killed because of their misplaced confidence in themselves.

We don’t even deserve to be able to have confidence in ourselves!

A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart.
(Proverbs 21:2 (NIV))

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

How can we, as a fallen sinful creation, have confidence in ourselves when all that we have ever done has earned us death?

There is only one thing that we can be confident of!

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

I am confident in the hope that we have in Jesus! I am assured that my Lord and Savior lives!

Are you confident and assured?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you allowed God to make you pure?

January 17, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“Come now, let us reason together,”
says the LORD.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.
(Isaiah 1:18 (NIV))

There is something about snow that reminds us of purity. Looking out over the surrounding area after a snowfall, you become amazed at the freshness and the newness of everything. The virgin snow is pure and without blemish, just as humanity was in the beginning. Then, we start to see footprints and the effects of the sun and we see little patches of brown starting to show through.

It only takes a little blemish to start the process of degeneration. Soon, everything is muddy and brown and how we long for the purity of the way it used to be. This is the same in our lives. We cannot do anything about the snow, but we can do something about our lives.

After many years of living in this sinful world, our countenance is very muddy, but God has promised us that we will be made white as snow. He has sent us a Savior in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son. Through God’s grace and mercy, He is willing to exchange our muddy, sinful nature for a pure, snowy countenance in which all things have been forgiven. All it takes is a simple, heartfelt longing and an acceptance of this God given grace and mercy.

The purity of the snow is only temporary. God gives a purity that lasts an eternity.

Have you allowed God to make you pure?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready for the Lord to do a new thing?

December 31, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

This is what the LORD says–
he who made a way through the sea,
a path through the mighty waters,
who drew out the chariots and horses,
the army and reinforcements together,
and they lay there, never to rise again,
extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.
(Isaiah 43:16-19 (NIV))

January 1st !!!

A new year. A new beginning. If you are like me, you probably have plans to do things a little different in the new year. You have new hobbies. New family members. Perhaps you may even have a new job.

What makes the new year so different from the old year? Just because the calendar tells us it is the beginning of a new year is no reason to do anything different. Those changes can come at any time of your life, any day of the year. If you have wandered away from God, make a u-turn and come back to the embraces of a loving Father. He is still there. He is still the same.

Isaiah wrote of God doing a new thing. God has made a way in the desert. He has made streams in the wastelands. He sent Jesus into this world to give each of us a way to receive salvation. God became a man. That definitely was a new thing from our perspective. Now, we can come to God through Jesus.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8 (NIV))

If God came to this earth as Jesus, and Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, what does that mean to you? Will God continue to do new things? Personally, I don’t think that God is in the traditions business. All throughout the Bible, the people of tradition were the very people who tried to stifle what God was doing. God is in the business of drawing people to Him. Expect something new and wonderful. Open yourself up to that possibility and I believe that God will pour out countless blessings to those who earnestly seek Him and the new things that He does. It is important to not be fooled by the enemy. God will never contradict His Word. Study God. Study His Word so that you will know and be able to discern God’s still, small voice.

Happy New Year !

May it bring you abundant blessings from God so that you may be a blessing to others.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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