Have you put your childhood ways behind you?

February 16, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
(1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV))

Spiritual maturity is a wonderful thing. When you are new in your faith, it is easy to become disoriented and allow the world to knock you off balance. You have a hunger, but you are uncertain about what you are feeling and experiencing. At this early stage of faith, just as in the childhood years, you are limited in your understanding and your ability to fully comprehend all that you experience. You are still being spoon fed. Perhaps I could and should say that you are still in the milk stages of your faith.

Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
(Hebrews 5:13-14 (NIV))

In essence, being a child can mean that you are naive to the ways of the world and the enemy. Spiritual maturity brings an understanding, an ability to discern what is right and wrong in God’s eyes. It means that you are diving deeper into God’s Word and your understanding is getting much deeper. Consider this case in point as an example. When you were a child, could you comprehend and solve complex mathematical problems? Could you develop and communicate complex thoughts in such a manner so that others could understand?

Being a child is supposed to be a simple, joyful time. It is the time to develop trust and belief.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
(Matthew 19:14 (NIV))

Even though we are called to be like little children in our faith, we are also called to a maturity. This is a maturity that prepares us to face the enemy. It is a maturity that firmly grounds us in Jesus.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
(Ephesians 4:14-15 (NIV))

As members of the Body of Christ, we are all called to maturity in Christ. We must long for the substance of solid faith. We must realize that faith is something that we are to desire to grow and mature. We are to change our ways of thinking so that we are in line with what Jesus desires. We are to desire to mature into the likeness of Christ!

Have you put your childhood ways behind you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you find yourself among the scoffers?

January 31, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.
(2 Peter 3:3 (NIV))

Just for the sake of clarity, the word “scoff” means to have contempt, to scorn or to mock. I realize that members of the Body of Christ are to be in the world, but we are not to be of the world. With this in mind, can any of us go through a single day without hearing about or witnessing firsthand the very things that we are told will happen toward God, Jesus and God’s word? Do we, as the Body of Christ, escape the mocking? Do we feel the urge to mock those who mock God or do we feel the need to pray for these individuals?

Think about that last question for a moment from the perspective of the cross.

When Jesus was arrested and scourged, the soldiers mocked Jesus. How did He respond? When He was taken to Pilate, the crowds mocked Him. How did He respond? When He was hung upon the cross, the soldiers, the crowd and one of the thieves mocked Him. How did He respond?

When we are under attack, it is so easy to fall back upon our human nature and lash out at those who are attacking us. Did Jesus do this in any of the previously mentioned situations? If we all agree that Jesus lived a perfect life as an example for how we should live, what do His actions during these situations tell us about our own lives?

What would Jesus do?

This phrase may be greatly over used, but it is valid in this situation. When we are facing hardship, when we are facing mocking, we must remember how we are to act. We are to follow the example that Jesus set before us.

You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.
(Matthew 5:38-40 (NIV))

Don’t allow the world to make you become as they are. Don’t allow the world to make you react, to make you mock and scoff at the things you know to be true. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus so that you don’t find yourself somewhere you don’t want to be.

Do you find yourself among the scoffers?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The prophets foretold of His coming!

December 6, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
(Isaiah 42:6-7 (NIV))

The words written in Isaiah hundreds of years before His birth pretty much summarize God’s plans for Jesus. These and many other words written by the prophets all tell of the coming of Jesus and every prophecy about His first coming was fulfilled at His coming.

I have read various different counts about prophecies that pointed to Jesus, and no matter what count is presented, every single one of them came true during the birth, life, crucifixion or resurrection of Jesus. I realize that there are always skeptics and doubters who will say that the prophecies are vague and can be interpreted in different ways. When I think of this, I remember the fact that you will find what you are looking for. In other words, if your heart is hardened to Jesus, then nothing will sway you. You will find room for argument in any proof that is presented to you. If that is you, it is my prayer that your heart be softened before it is too late!

This time of year is a wondrous time for it is when the Body of Christ celebrates the birth of Jesus. It is the time when we choose to remember God’s plan unfolding through the birth of a little baby. It was not the beginning of the plan. God had it planned long ago. In fact, He even told us how it would happen. He declares His intentions long before they begin to unfold.

Declare what is to be, present it—
let them take counsel together.
Who foretold this long ago,
who declared it from the distant past?
Was it not I, the Lord?
And there is no God apart from me,
a righteous God and a Savior;
there is none but me.
(Isaiah 45:21 (NIV))

God always tells us what He is going to do before He does it. For over two thousand years people have been rejoicing because He sent His Son to this world to fulfill the promises given.

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))

How do we know that Jesus is His one and only Son?

The prophets foretold of His coming!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have we been praying?

December 1, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV))

There have been many people who have quoted this passage recently in hopes of encouraging the Body of Christ to pray for our country and our world. With this in mind, I have a question.

Have we been praying?

Have we been sincere and earnest in our pleas to God? Do we truly long for righteousness or have we started to accept what the world is selling? Do we treasure God’s Word or do we treasure the world?

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

Where is your heart?

Do you see the things in this world and long for righteousness? Do you ache in your heart when you see what society has become and is becoming, or do you find yourself thinking that what is going on looks like it would be fun to participate in? It’s time to examine our hearts and truly determine what it is that we treasure.

With this in mind, I think that it is time to ask the question one more time.

Have we been praying?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you give thanks where thanks are due?

November 24, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?
(1 Corinthians 10:16 (NIV))

Most of us just finished a meal, a feast, in which we gathered together with family and friends to give thanks for the blessings that we have. It is good to be thankful, especially when you consider that whatever you are thankful for can be gone in an instant. Loved ones can be taken from us. Health can be good one minute and forever a problem the very next. The homes that we have can go up in smoke and the finances that we store away for our future can be worthless the very next day.

No matter the state of the things of this world, there is one thing that we should be eternally thankful for. There is a treasure that lasts forever! That treasure is Jesus.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
(Matthew 6:19-20 (NIV))

We celebrate an earthly thanksgiving with a meal. We also celebrate an eternal thanksgiving by partaking of a holy meal, a holy communion. This participation in the cup and in the bread is a special symbol of our thanksgiving for what we have been given, but we should not limit our thankfulness to the Lord to just this particular moment. Every meal should be a reflection, a moment of thankfulness to God, for what we have been given. Not only every meal, but everything that is good should cause us to give thanks to the true source of all that is good.

Do you give thanks where thanks are due?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is eternity long enough to give our thanks and praise?

November 22, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
(Psalms 100:4 (NIV))

It is that time of year when we, as a nation, have set aside a day to give thanks. When I read the passage above, I realized a few things that jump right out at me. The first thing that I notice is that we, as the Body of Christ, should have a perpetual attitude of thanksgiving for it is tied directly to our desire to be in His presence. It should not be limited to a single day and a single meal.

Thanksgiving should be a believer’s way of life!

We should give thanks for our lives. We should give thanks for the air that we breathe. We should give thanks for our family and friends. We should give thanks for the roof over our heads. We should give thanks for the food that gives us energy. Most importantly, we should give thanks for the gift of grace and mercy that was freely given to us at the cross.

The second thing that I noticed is that when we are thankful, we should praise the Lord.

We should give praise to God for our lives. We should lift up praise to God for the air that we breathe. We should praise God for the blessings of family and friends. We should praise God for the shelter that we have been given. Our praises should be lifted to the Lord for the food that we have been given. Most importantly, we should praise and glorify the Lord for the gift of grace and mercy that was freely given to us at the cross.

Taking a long and serious look at all that we should be thankful for, one day is not enough. One life is not enough!

Is eternity long enough to give our thanks and praise?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you excited about the mystery?

November 21, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—
(1 Corinthians 15:51 (NIV))

Do you like a good mystery story?

A good mystery keeps you in suspense. It keeps you alert and on your toes. You think that you can anticipate the outcome, and to an extent you can. However, the meaning of the word “mystery” holds some further insights into what was being spoken of. The word “mystery” can refer to something that is not understood or beyond understanding. It can also imply something profound, inexplicable or secretive. From the usage in this passage, I believe that we can safely say that it is referring to a profound event that is beyond our understanding. For almost two thousand years people have speculated on what this passage means. For almost two thousand years people have been longing for the mystery to unfold.

Personally, I look forward to each day in hope that I will be honored with a glimpse of that mystery as God unfolds it before us. I know that one day the mystery will be unveiled to the Body of Christ in totality. Until that day, we must keep our focus on Jesus and go where He leads. If you truly stopped to think about your walk of faith since accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, it has been a mystery and will continue to be a mystery. Looking back, did you have any idea as to where He would lead you? Do you have any idea where He is leading you? The only thing that we, as members of the Body of Christ, can be sure of is that He is drawing us closer to Himself. We will face mysteries during our walk on this earth, and we will face the ultimate mystery when we will all be changed.

Are you excited about the mystery?

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