Godly parental responsibilities

June 3, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Train a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it.
(Proverbs 22:6 (NIV))

Our church just finished up Vacation Bible School. Attendance was great and they had fun, but more importantly, they learned something. This made me think of our responsibilities as parents. We have been given a huge trust when we are given our children. We must teach them just as Jesus taught. We need to teach the children and sadly, we also must be willing to discipline when needed.

As a parent, this was always my least favorite thing to do.

However, we must instruct them in the ways that they should go. If we withhold discipline, just as if we withhold instruction, we are not being responsible for the lives that God has entrusted to us.

Do not withhold discipline from a child;
if you punish him with the rod, he will not die.
Punish him with the rod
and save his soul from death.
(Proverbs 23:13-14)

Up until recent history, these principles were upheld in all of society. As a result, society held respect for its members. Of course, there are always some who do not learn the lesson, but as a whole, the Biblical principle worked. In today’s society, people are too busy to even spend time with their children, let alone train them or discipline them. Just as God disciplines those He loves and who love Him, we must not think that discipline is mean or detrimental. It is through training and discipline that Godly traits are developed. This is a hard series of sayings from the Bible, but Jesus reinforced them in:

If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
(Matthew 5:29-30)

Discipline is never easy to take. Today, too many people find it difficult to give. Remember that if we do not discipline those we love to guide them and direct them, then God will have the ultimate discipline when they are cast into the lake of fire. It is better to reprimand and discipline for a short time than to have the undisciplined spend eternity apart from God.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you

March 12, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you–guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
(2 Timothy 1:13-14 (NIV))

It is easy to hear something and have it register that it is a good thing to do. It is far more difficult to retain that teaching and to be able to live by it. We must let the Word of God take root in our lives just as Jesus told in the parable of the seed.

Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop–a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear.”
(Matthew 13:3-9(NIV))

Whether we look upon the Word of God as something that we must retain or as a seed that must take root in our lives, it is a living and life changing acquisition. Without the Word of God in our lives, we flounder and fall into sin. With the Word of God, we stop and consider what we are doing. We have a beacon in the darkness that is guiding us and allowing the truth to bloom and grow within us.

Jesus came to teach and to offer salvation. He is the Word made flesh. He is what we should retain. He is the seed that we should allow to take root and to grow. He is our only means of salvation.

Whether you look upon the Word of God as something to retain or as something to let take root and grow, it is something that must be central to your life. It must be nurtured through study, discipline and prayer. These are the elements that allow the Word of God to grow in your life. Are you providing the elements that are needed?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Pass through the fires

January 14, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But now, this is what the LORD says–
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

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 43:1-2 (NIV))

Although these words where spoken to a rebellious Israel after it’s captivity, they still apply to those who have been called today. God used Israel’s captivity to show them that He would discipline His children. He then used these words to show that discipline does not mean separation from Him.

Just as an earthly father must discipline his children, God must sometimes discipline us so that we may learn from our mistakes. But, just as an earthly father still loves his children even through the discipline, God still loves us through our discipline.

How many times have you heard someone say that God forgives us of our sins? Yet, He allows the consequences of our actions to have full impact so that we may learn and grow in our maturity. This maturity is something that God wishes for us to have. It allows us to face anything and fully rely on Him, even when we may pass through the fires of life that try to consume us.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What do you do?

July 23, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.
(Acts 10:34-35 (NIV))

I find it interesting how God will reveal things to you through a passage that you have read many times before. This happened today with this passage.

I have heard and read this passage many times and each time my main focus was on the part of the passage where God does not show favoritism. I hold firmly to that truth. I also hold firmly to the truth that God accepts men from every nation into His Kingdom. This is a common sense extension of the Great Commandment.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
(Mark 16:15-16 (NIV))

I wish that the world would understand the last part of this passage.

“. . . who fear him and do what is right.”

To be honest with you, I believe that many who profess a faith in Jesus need to understand this passage.

I am not able to judge, so I will not even begin to point fingers. I am not qualified. All that I know is what we are told about fearing the Lord.

And he said to man,
`The fear of the Lord–that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.’ ”
(Job 28:28 (NIV))

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
(Proverbs 1:7 (NIV))

We cannot have wisdom without fearing the Lord. I honestly believe that this definition of the word “fear” could be rendered as the word “respect.” Think about that from this perspective. Growing up, I loved my parents, and I still do. However, I also feared them. I did not fear them because of anything that they had done. I feared them because I feared what would happen if I did something wrong. In other words, I feared the just consequences of my own actions as laid out by my parents. I realize that fearing God goes deeper than this example, yet, I feel that the fear of God is based on His righteous actions to discipline my sins.

Sadly enough, our society no longer seems to fear the consequences of any actions.

As a result, the world also seems to ignore the “and do what is right” part of this passage.

Just what is right in the eyes of God?

He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
(Micah 6:8 (NIV))

I could quote many other passages. I know that part of doing what is right also hinges on our faith in Jesus. It also hinges on these words.

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
(Matthew 5:17 (NIV))

Accepting Jesus does not mean that you may continue to sin. We are to do what is right.

What do you do?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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May 16, 2011

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))

Think about this statement.

Have you ever attempted to get in shape physically only to hurt in places that you didn’t even know could hurt? You probably thought seriously about reversing your decision to get in shape, only to later be thankful that you stuck with it.

This was self-discipline. How much more do we detest discipline that is imposed upon us? It is very painful to go through something knowing that you cannot do anything to change it, yet, afterward, it feels good to have survived it and to have “grown” from the experience. Perhaps this is the best example of the old saying “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” When we are in the middle of the discipline, we do not see the rewards or the long term goal. All we see is the immediate pain. We fail to understand the big picture, just as the bigger “forest” cannot be seen because we focus too much on the individual “trees.”

It is a matter of perspective. If we focus on the discipline, then we will become bitter and angry and overly exaggerate the pain. If we focus on the results, then the pain of the discipline takes a lesser position within our current situation, for we focus on the bigger picture.

God desires to mature each of us, and this will mean that each of us will go through some discipline. How we handle this discipline is a matter of focus and perspective. The bigger picture is becoming more like Jesus. The smaller picture is the pain and the discomfort that it causes “me” at this very moment.

What is your perspective?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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