Are we seeing a lack of Godly training in the world?

August 6, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
(Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV))

It seems like anyone and everyone can quote this passage, even if they don’t know any other passages. Sadly, we appear to be seeing the truth behind these words unfolding right before us.

Just what is training?

In essence, the concept of training implies the teaching of discipline and the importance of following that discipline. Instilling self-discipline into the life of someone starts early in childhood. For example, I am sure that most of you were told at some point early in your life that you were old enough that your wants won’t hurt you. In other words, you had been taught that just because you want something doesn’t mean that it will happen no matter how big of a temper tantrum you may throw. Usually, this statement resulted in the application of a different passage.

He who spares his rod hates his son,
But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.
(Proverbs 13:24 (NKJV))

Am I the only one who sees a direct correlation between training and discipline?

It appears that we are seeing what happens when children who are not disciplined grow up and still act like spoiled brats. Parents who raised their children to think that they can do no wrong have committed a great disservice to their children, to society and to the Lord! Perhaps Proverbs 22:6 could be paraphrased in this manner.

Discipline a child when he does wrong and when he grows up, he will have learned how to behave.

Sadly, no matter what translation you may quote or how you choose to paraphrase this passage, the results of not applying this Godly principle are a lack of discipline and a total lack of respect for anything that is contrary to someone’s feelings. Discipline teaches that feelings can be manipulated. Truth is always the truth. Discipline teaches to seek the truth beyond the feelings.

Are we seeing a lack of Godly training in the world?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where do your actions lead you?

November 19, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,
but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked.
Hatred stirs up dissension,
but love covers over all wrongs.
Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning,
but a rod is for the back of him who lacks judgment.
Wise men store up knowledge,
but the mouth of a fool invites ruin.
The wealth of the rich is their fortified city,
but poverty is the ruin of the poor.
The wages of the righteous bring them life,
but the income of the wicked brings them punishment.
He who heeds discipline shows the way to life,
but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.
(Proverbs 10:11-17 (NIV))

Too bad that nonbelievers do not take these words to heart! Nothing could be plainer than the truth these words speak of.

Today, too many people go about doing whatever “feels good” to them without any thought to the consequences of their actions. If you have ever studied Physics, there is a physical law that states for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. If these people would only realize that what is true in the physical world is also true in the spiritual world. Every time that they do a wicked act or do something that lacks spiritual judgment, then they are storing up equal and opposite actions that will be brought upon themselves. They store up rotten fruits as their reward for their actions. Believers store up abundant fruit that does not rot.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Where do your actions lead you?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Think about who you pray for!

September 17, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints. I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.
(Philemon 1:4-7 (NIV))

Paul wrote many letters of encouragement to believers throughout his traveling. Some of the letters even had to take on a tone of discipline in order to get people back on the right track. Most of the letters were letters of teaching and encouragement.

The words that Paul wrote in this letter are excellent commendations for a person who truly sought to know God and to do His Will. Still, do you notice that even though Paul commended him for his faith and his works, there is one thing that he did – Paul prayed for this person. Even though he was doing what God wanted him to do and was faithful in his helping others, Paul knew that even the most faithful need prayer to under gird them and protect them from the attacks of the enemy.

Who do you pray for? Is it only the people that you know are in need of something? What about the people who are pillars of faith in your community? Shouldn’t we do as Paul and pray for them? Satan does not leave believers alone. We have seen all too often that even the people whom we see as faithful can falter.

When we pray we must not forget the faithful who are diligent in doing the Will of God. We must pray that they do not face the attacks of the enemy and that they will not give in to temptation, for nothing pleases Satan more than knowing that someone who has been bought by the blood of Jesus Christ has fallen.

With this in mind, wouldn’t you want someone praying for you so that you don’t fall into temptation?

Think about who you pray for!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you willing to have your heart tested by the Lord?

August 20, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart.
(Proverbs 17:3 (NIV))

Is it just me, or does this passage make you realize that the things that we all go through in our lives can have a positive outcome or they can have a negative outcome? It is a matter of perspective and attitude. We can look at situations in our lives and wallow in self pity, or we can see the situations as a matter of a learning experience. In fact, everything that we face in this life can be seen as a learning experience.

A wise son accepts his father’s discipline, But a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.
(Proverbs 13:1 (NIV))

Consider the crucible and the furnace. They are necessary tools and steps to bring out the best in the precious metals. If you are familiar with refining metals, then you will understand the possibilities. Impure metals are heated to their melting point. Some of the impurities will burn away due to the high heat. Others will float in the molten metal for the metal worker to somehow separate. Then the molten metal is cooled, and, if necessary, the process is repeated until the metal has had the impurities removed. Now, imagine your life. Each of us has things in our life that are less than desirable in the eyes of the Lord. He refines us. He disciplines us in order to bring out the best in us. After all, aren’t we more important to the Lord than precious metals are to us? He is going to use the tools that He has to refine us, to test the very nature of our heart.

The Lord desires for us to have a pure heart. He calls each of us to Himself, and if we answer that call, He will mature us. He will purify us. He will give us opportunities to draw closer to Himself. The closer we draw to Him, the more we know Him and seek after His heart. When we seek after His heart, our hearts become refined. He desires to purify our hearts. The things that we go through in life will either draw us closer to Him and his righteousness and purity, or they will drive us to the evil desires of our hearts. Personally, I desire nothing more than to draw closer to the Lord. If that means that I must face the refiners fire, I am willing. Are you?

Are you willing to have your heart tested by the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you earnestly seek Godly discipline?

July 25, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.
(Revelation 3:19 (NIV))

We are told that we will pass through the refiners fire to burn away all of the dross from our lives. Godly discipline is a preparation for that refinement. Without discipline, we do not know what we are doing wrong or what we are doing right.

Consider driving a car. You do not get into a car and press on the accelerator and expect to get to your destination without making constant adjustments in your direction with the steering wheel. The steering wheel is similar to Godly discipline. If you are focused on your goal and God is in control of your life, then He will steer you to where He wants you to go. You may hit the occasional pothole and stray close to the white line, or, sometimes, you may even cross the line or run off of the road. Even when this happens, God is directing you to where He is calling you to go just as a good driver does not allow the car to control where he goes. He controls the car. The driver knows where he is going to take the car and how he is going to get there. The car doesn’t have a clue as to what lies ahead.

Does that sound familiar? We are the cars. God is the driver. He knows where we are going and He will make disciplinary corrections in our course to arrive at the destination. The only difference is that we have a choice in whether we allow God to direct and discipline our lives. We make that decision when we ask Jesus to be our personal Lord and Savior. When we do this, we relinquish control of our lives to God.

Let’s take the car analogy one step further. The word “repent” means a turning away or a change of course. If we repent, then we are allowing God to discipline us and prepare us for what He desires for us.

Do you earnestly seek Godly discipline in your life, or do you wander aimlessly through this world?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What kind of harvest is being produced in you?

May 7, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
(Hebrews 12:11 (NIV))

Discipline is a tough thing to undergo. I don’t know anyone who is willing to admit that they actually like being disciplined. It is human nature to do what we want to do regardless of the consequences. Without discipline, we resort to our fleshly sinful nature.

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))

Just for the sake of example, is there anyone in your life who exhibits any of these characteristics without any signs of remorse or regret? Are they easy to be around? Are their actions pleasant? Are they always causing trouble? The old saying that you reap what you sow is definitely true. Anyone who sows any of the characteristics of the acts of the flesh will produce a harvest equal to the sinful nature that they exhibit.

What do you consider to be characteristics of righteousness?

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.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Based on these two sets of characteristics, the ones that come naturally lead to sin. The ones that lead to righteousness require discipline, both self discipline and correction from God. Do you find yourself under discipline?

What kind of harvest is being produced in you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Jesus is knocking! Will you answer?

February 27, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
(Revelation 3:20 (NIV))

There is so much to say about this passage. Where do I begin?

I think the point about this passage that struck me this time as I read it was the fact that it is recorded in the book of Revelation. You may think, “What is so special about this fact?” If you stop to think about it, you may come to the same realization that I have. Revelation is the book that depicts the events during the seven year period before Jesus steps foot on the Mount of Olives and splits it in two. It is the book that tells of all of the things that will happen in the world for those who have rejected Jesus. In particular, this passage is taken from the section where Jesus addresses the church in Laodicea right after He calls them out for being lukewarm. In fact, the verse right before this passage really stands out to me, for Jesus makes a very interesting statement.

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.
(Revelation 3:19 (NIV))

Did you pick up on the fact that even though Jesus called the church in Laodicea lukewarm, He turned right around and basically said that He still loves them! He told them to repent.

I want you to think about that very fast turn of events. Jesus spoke words of rebuke, chastising them for what they have allowed themselves to become. As always, Jesus didn’t speak these words to condemn, but to rebuke, to challenge them to change. He closed this challenge with something that most people overlook when they think of the lukewarm church.

He told them that He loved them!

He called them to repentance!

He told them that it was not too late!

He basically told them that He was there and all that they had to do was answer His calling, His knocking upon their hearts!

Jesus is knocking! Will you answer?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do we love God’s gifts more than we love God?

January 11, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, `I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
(Revelation 3:14-22 (NIV))

I know that I have spent a lot of time on this particular passage. I also know that it is something that we need to pay attention to, especially since many people believe that we are in the modern day version of this particular church.

I know that I have stressed that this church was known for bowing to the will of the people. I saw something today that puts an interesting, and very pertinent twist to this thought. I was reminded that the people of Laodicea were very wealthy. The city was at a very important spot for the trade routes and even the Christians were very affluent. They lacked for nothing except, possibly, fresh water.

Think about the concept of lacking nothing. Perhaps it should better be explained as not having a need for anything because they could do it themselves. Are we truly any different today in our thinking and in our capabilities? Have we gotten to the point where we love the blessings more than we love God? Could it be that we feel that we are self reliant, and as a result, we don’t need God?

Think about these questions and then think about the time directly after 9/11. People felt helpless, so they turned to God. It is human nature for us to feel complacent when everything is okay, and it is human nature for us to feel over confident when we think that we are in control. When this illusion is broken, we see a greater reliance upon God. Is our society today reliant upon God or are we cocky and arrogant. Do we think that we can take care of it ourselves?

Laodicea did many things wrong. It is my prayer that we, in our so-called modern lifestyle, do not repeat history and fall into the same traps as this church did. Repent and follow Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have are foundations been shaken too much?

January 27, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

My son, keep your father’s commands
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
Bind them upon your heart forever;
fasten them around your neck.
When you walk, they will guide you;
when you sleep, they will watch over you;
when you awake, they will speak to you.
For these commands are a lamp,
this teaching is a light,
and the corrections of discipline
are the way to life,
(Proverbs 6:20-23 (NIV))

Our society has forsaken these words. We have allowed the un-righteous to inflict their ungodliness on all who inhabit the land. No longer do sons keep their father’s commands, or their heavenly Father’s commands. They do as they wish whenever and wherever they please.

A society cannot survive by forsaking its very foundations. This country, and most of the free world, was built on Judeo-Christian ethics. The current interpretation of separation of church and state has almost severed this tie with our heritage. The founding fathers of this country did not intend for God to be removed from government. They whole-heartedly intended for God to be at the center of everything. Their only intention with separation of church and state was to eliminate the requirement of belonging to a “state church”. They intended for everyone to be able to worship as the Holy Spirit lead them, not as the government lead them.

We must return to our heritage and reclaim the rightful leadership of God in our lives, both personal and public. The discipline of faith will then heal the hearts so that they will turn towards God.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you claim to be a child of God?

October 29, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.
(Deuteronomy 8:5 (NIV))

How many parents do you know who will not discipline and correct their children when they do something that is wrong? Most parents have an innate sense of responsibility to raise their children to obey what is considered to be the laws and the socially acceptable practices of the society.

Do you claim to be a child of God?

If you do, are you willing to admit that God will discipline you when the need arises? Just as an earthly parent will do what is right in disciplining a child, then, doesn’t it stand to reason that God, who is the Creator and Father of all, would also correct us out of love?

An earthly father will not discipline out of hatred. He disciplines out of love, knowing that the short period of discipline will result in a lesson learned that will prevent a longer period of suffering or even death. God is the same way. He disciplines those who call Him Father, for He desires to have each of us mature to be Christlike in our life.

Think back on the last time that you felt that you were being disciplined. After passing through that period in your life, do you have the same outlook as when the discipline started? Did the discipline save you from making a much bigger mistake or “sin?”

As the Body of Christ, we should welcome Godly discipline, for it is through this discipline that we are able to mature.

Is God truly your Father, or do you look upon Him simply as a source of magic and a place to turn when in trouble?

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