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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How do you consider yourself?

August 21, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
(Philippians 2:5-7 (NIV))

Do you ever feel that you are special, that you are of greater value than other people? Do you feel this way about other members of the Body of Christ? Do you find yourself thinking that because someone is not on a certain church committee that you are of more importance than they are? Do you find yourself thinking that because you give more that you are more important than anyone else?

What does that say about your understanding of the Gospel? What does that say about you?

It is human nature to brag and to gloat, but that is not a Christlike nature. We are to overcome the world and do as Jesus taught us. If anyone has a right to brag and to gloat and to be prideful, it would be Jesus. Did he brag about being the Son of God? Did He gloat about being the Word made flesh? Did He ever respond with an attitude of arrogance and pride by claiming to be the Son of God? Jesus, who had every right if anyone ever had a right, was humble and willingly took on the nature of a servant. Why do we, the creation, feel that we have to elevate ourselves and try to make ourselves something that we are not, something that we could never be? Why do we feel that we have to feel superior to everyone else when we are far from righteous.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

Most days I hate being human!

I know that I need to explain this statement. I will start by saying that I love life for it is a wonderful gift. I love family, friends and people in general. It is the fallen, sinful nature of being human that I hate. I see things in the world that I know break God’s heart. I see things in my life that I know break God’s heart.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
(Romans 7:15 (NIV))

When we see ourselves as more important than someone else, do you think that it breaks God’s heart?

How do you consider yourself?

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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Is the cross the power of God or is it foolishness?

April 18, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
(1 Corinthians 1:18 (NIV))

Do you consider yourself to be a fool?

I realize that is a loaded question, for I have never met anyone who considered themselves to be a fool. I don’t like to judge, but I have met some people who have left me wondering about their status. To be honest with you, I would probably bet that there are some people who question my status.

Still, I find it is much better to have people think that you are foolish than to have God think that you are foolish. God’s definition of being a fool is completely different from man’s.

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.
(Psalm 14:1 (NIV))

It only stands to reason that anything that comes from God would be considered foolish by man. The ultimate foolishness in the eyes of man is the message of redemption through Jesus and the cross. A fool says that there is no God. A fool thinks that they are good and do not need anyone to save them. Since they think that there is no God and that they are good, the idea that God sent His Son to die for them makes no sense to them at all. To these people, that is the ultimate foolishness and they think that anyone who believes otherwise is a fool.

To quote a very old saying, that is the pot calling the kettle black.

The fool thinks that their foolishness is wisdom and that the true wisdom of God is foolishness.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you praise God in the middle of your storms?

March 21, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed. I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. I spread out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land.
(Psalms 143:4-6 (NIV))

Life can and will be pretty disheartening at times. We all face things in this life that are far from perfect. These are things that make us dismayed and heavy hearted. These things weigh heavily upon our spirits. Sometimes, they are so overwhelming that we simply want to curl up and remove ourselves from the weight of the world as it comes pressing in on us.

What do you do in times like this?

Some people will actually curl up. Some will try to escape by isolating themselves. Some will even go so far as to pack up and leave whatever is overwhelming them. Some will turn to family and friends for help, and others will turn to God.

I find it interesting that all those who turn to God actually gain strength and maturity from their situations. Everyone else turns inward and sees no hope while those who turn to God see things from His perspective. They look at all that He has done throughout all of creation and all of history and realize that He is more than sufficient to handle whatever they are going through.

They praise Him in the middle of their storms!

Do you praise God in the middle of your storms?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do we have trouble forgetting what is behind us?

November 16, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV))

With all of the writings that are attributed to Paul, there is a major theme running through them that would make many of today’s mental health professionals say that Paul suffered from low self esteem.

We, as the Body of Christ, know better!

Paul, after his Damascus Road experience, simply knew his place and his relationship with His God in Jesus Christ. Paul knew that he fell drastically short of what God calls us to be. He knew that he was lost in sin and, on his own, could do absolutely nothing about it. He knew with certainty that Jesus was the Messiah. He knew, through his Damascus Road experience, that the one whom he had persecuted was the only way to the Father. He also knew that he needed to press on toward becoming the person that Jesus was calling him to be.

He would forever be on a journey toward that calling.

Barring the occasional yearning for regained youth, do you ever look back at the person you used to be and long to be that person once again? Paul did not long to be the person he used to be. He had been lost in sin and was guilty of persecution of Jesus and His followers. He longed to forget that version of himself and longed to be the person that Jesus was maturing him to be. He did not want to look back because he did not like what he saw.

Do you like what you see when you look at your former self?

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