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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I pray that this is what we truly want!

February 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
(Matthew 6:10 (NIV))

Everyone who professes a faith in Jesus knows these words as part of what we refer to as the Lord’s Prayer. Do we truly desire what we lift up with these words? Do we long for the Lord’s kingdom to come into the world, to enter into our lives, or do we want our will, our personal kingdom, to manifest itself in our lives?

Human nature, no matter how hard we try, always tries to put personal interest above all else. We all must face the truth. Each of us have had moments when we are reciting these words only to have our minds diverted by our own desires. Does this mean that we really don’t long for God’s kingdom or does it just show that even in our best moments, we are all creatures caught in the sinful natures that we long to leave behind?

When you experience one of these moments, and we all have them, do you regret the diversion from God’s Will to your will? Do you feel like Paul?

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
(Romans 7:14-15 (NIV))

I hate to say this, but I do this far more than I care to admit. In the time span of the last fifteen minutes, I have been distracted from my task far too many times. My thoughts wander. My attention shifts and my writing gets delayed. Even the disciples, who were asked to wait while Jesus went to pray in Gethsemane, could not avoid the pitfalls of the frailty that is humanity.

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
(Mark 14:38 (NIV))

Just because our human nature and our human frailties divert us should not be our main concern. What we should be concerned about is if we choose to never refocus on Jesus. We can repent and return to seeking God’s Will and His kingdom or we can choose to stay chasing the diversion. When we repent, we show what we truly want.

I pray that this is what we truly want!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you thankful when you go to the Lord in prayer?

November 23, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
(Philippians 4:6 (NIV))

When you go to God in prayer, do you petition Him out of despair or out of joy?

Think about that for a moment. The attitude that you have when you approach God is important. Imagine if you approached a friend for a favor with the following type of attitude. This attitude is self-defeating and humiliating. This attitude is not sure and confident of what you are asking. This attitude is one where you come across as not caring if what you ask gets done. This attitude is one in which what you ask does not come across as a priority. How do you think your friend will respond?

Your friend will pick up on the not so subtle hints that you are dropping. It will come across as if what you ask is of no consequence one way or the other, so if it is of no consequence one way or the other, your friend will take the easy way out. This means that your friend will not respond the way that you want.

I can almost hear your thoughts.

Why would anyone ask for a favor in such a way as to guarantee that it will not be answered?

It doesn’t make sense, but that is exactly how we approach God!

We cautiously and anxiously approach God and when we finally do pray and petition Him for something that He would probably gladly provide, we ask in such a way that it appears that we really don’t want what we ask for. Does it surprise you when God’s answer doesn’t match the request? Does it surprise you to find that you may really not want to be in His presence? If we are truly joyous about our relationship and our salvation, we should be filled with thanksgiving at all times, especially when we approach the Lord and seek to be in His presence. Being in His presence, going to the Lord in prayer, should be the ultimate experience in our relationship with Him. Too many of us treat this as the ultimate punishment.

Are you thankful when you go to the Lord in prayer?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What season and time is it?

September 1, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
(Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV))

What time do you think that it is?

We are told there are many different times that God has planned for.

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3:2-8 (NIV))

I realize that some of these are not very pleasant. I realize that we experience all of them to some extent in our individual lives. Collectively, we seem to experience them as well. With all that is going on in the world right now, it seems as though we experience many of these on a daily basis. I have often wondered if there was any particular reason for the order of these events in these verses. I have also wondered how I am expected to react in each of these pairings of events. Each element in each pairing is the polar opposite from the other element in the pairing. Is God telling us that we will experience every possible situation in our lives and this is how He explained it by giving us many extremes of the same thing?

Life is precious!

Sadly, due to the fall from grace, we will experience life’s extremes. We will see things that will give us unimaginable joy and the very next minute, we will see things that bring us unimaginable pain.

I love the outlook that a friend has about life. He says that “I have never had a bad day. I have had some bad things happen on a good day, but I have never had a bad day!” If you believe that life is precious, then I pray that you see the wisdom in these words the next time that you face some of life’s extremes.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready for God to accomplish the impossible?

August 9, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
(Matthew 19:25 (NIV))

Have you ever been in a situation where you knew that there was nothing that you could do that would make the outcome be any different than a total disaster?

Where you surprised when the outcome was completely different than everyone expected?

All too often, we see things from our limited perspective, our limited understanding and our limited capabilities, and think that there is nothing that can be done. We see things as being impossible because we do not see the complete picture. I want you to think of a mouse in a maze. As you picture that mouse, it scampers all over the place trying to find its way while you have a birds eye view and can see exactly the path that should be taken. From the perspective of the mouse, it is impossible to find the way, but from your perspective, you can see every possible scenario and how to navigate to the destination. Does the mouse pay attention to you? Does it look up to you and try to figure out where it should go based on what you are doing?

I am not comparing anyone to a mouse, but our impossible situations that we experience are often no more than our inability to find our way according to the master plan of the maze that we call life. We see things from our perspective and our perspective is heavily weighted by our fears and our emotions. We experience the world through a limited understanding. We fail to see the possibilities with God because we focus on the impossibilities that we see.

What is it that is holding you back from the possibilities that are of God? Is it fear? Is it pride? Is it a lack of faith and trust? Sometimes we just need to take a leap of faith and let God take over even when we think that what we need to do is possible in our own strengths?

Are you ready for God to accomplish the impossible?

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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In our weariness, we must turn to Jesus!

April 21, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
(Matthew 11:28 (NAS))

There are two types of weariness that we, as humans, experience. We can be weary physically and we can be weary spiritually and emotionally. No matter how strong we may be, our physical bodies can only handle so much before we reach a point where we are too tired, too broken, to do anything else. We need to rest! I am sure that all of us have experienced this in our lives.

What about emotional and spiritual weariness?

I realize that this could be considered two separate instances, but have you ever seen someone who is emotionally drained who is not spiritually drained? Have you ever seen someone who is spiritually exhausted who is not emotionally drained? The two go hand in hand. When we are like this, we also need rest!

What are the things in this life that beat you down, make you tired, and leave you feeling exhausted and drained? Is it finances? Is it addiction? Is it the state of the world? Is it a loved one’s lack of a relationship with Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior?

I know that we all have them, I know that we all need to find a shelter from these things. I know that we need a safe and secure place where we can find rest from the things in this world that make us weary.

We can find physical rest in many different ways and places. Some go to the mountains. Others go to the beach. Some go fishing, while others will simply become a semi-permanent fixture on their couch. In all of creation, there is only one place where we can find rest from the things that weigh heavily on us spiritually and emotionally.

That one place is at the feet of Jesus! That one place is in the presence of the one who has taken all of our burdens upon Himself. Only Jesus can lift the burdens that our sinful nature weighs us down with.

In our weariness, we must turn to Jesus!

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