Do you long for Godly wisdom?

January 13, 2023


Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools
(Romans 1:22 (NIV))

Do you remember what we are told is God’s definition of a fool?

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))

In essence, it is rejecting God. This can mean that someone never believed. It can also mean that this can come about from those who claim to know Him and then reject or turn away from Him.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
(Romans 1:21-23 (NIV))

We seem to be living in a time when fools are increasing in number. People are looking at the world as if they are in control. People feel as if they have all of the answers and all of the knowledge.

I want to let you in on a little secret. I have all of the answers.

To the world, that last statement may sound arrogant. It may sound just like all of the power hungry people all throughout history, but if you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then you also have all of the answers!

I can proclaim this with complete certainty due to the following facts.

– We are all sinners
– We all are in need of a Savior

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.
(Acts 4:12 (NIV))

I have come to realize that it takes faith to be a fool, to say that there is no God. People who make this profession see themselves as wise, but in all honesty, they are suffering from something that many people confuse for wisdom. They have been educated, they have been given false knowledge that makes them believe that there is no God. Personally, I don’t want the type of faith that it takes to be a fool. I long for Godly wisdom!

Do you long for Godly wisdom?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Who are your companions?

July 21, 2021


Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.
(Proverbs 13:20 (NIV))

There are many different ways to say this. Here are two of the many that I have heard in my life.

“If you lay down with dogs, you get up with fleas” paints a very vivid picture of what can and will happen simply by association.

“Garbage in, garbage out” is another one that comes to mind. This implies that what you put into your life is what you will get out of your life.

The concept is basically the same and has not changed since Solomon wrote his version. It relies on a very sad, but true, characteristic of human nature. We tend to pick up traits and characteristics from those with whom we associate. What is even sadder is that we tend to change our behavior based on who we are around at any given moment. If that is the sad truth of human nature, those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior must hold each other accountable!

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
(Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV))

Not only do we have an assignment to share the Gospel with those who do not believe, we are also called to encourage each other so that we can stand firm in our faith. When we gather together, we share a common belief and a common desire. This strengthens the human weakness that makes us pick up the traits of others. We then can walk out into the sinful, fallen world and hold fast to our faith. This also strengthens us and makes us able to deal with “fools” when we encounter them.

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

What do you consider wisdom?

Based on that answer, who do you consider to be wise?

Hopefully your answers point to Jesus and to those who seek to follow Jesus. If we take on the characteristics of those we are around, choose wisely. Godly wisdom and those who seek it will take you on a walk with the wise. We must learn to stay away from fools!

Who are your companions?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Why are we drawn to return to our sin and slavery?

March 2, 2020


Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
(Galatians 5:1 (NIV))

What is it about human nature that makes us return to something that we know we should leave behind? We have all been guilty of doing this very thing, and probably much more often than we care to admit. Apparently, human nature since the fall from grace has always had us doing what can only be called self destructive behavior. We know that we shouldn’t, but yet we do. This type of behavior has been pointed out many times, but probably the most accurate and disgusting is the following.

As a dog returns to its vomit,
so fools repeat their folly.
(Proverbs 26:11 (NIV))

As I stated previously, we all do it. Even the man who is credited with bringing the Gospel to the Gentiles fought this aspect in his own walk of faith. Paul was a very intelligent person, but yet he didn’t understand the self destructive nature that he fought against.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
(Romans 7:15-20 (NIV))

This struggle that all of us face makes it clear why each of us are called to take up our cross daily. We are to deny that part of our human nature. We are to struggle with this sinful nature each and every time that it raises its ugly head in our lives. We are called to repent. Far too many people believe that this is a one-time occurrence, but it should be a daily attitude and activity. Do I even venture to say that, on some days, we may have to humble ourselves continually before the Lord and repent of our actions and our thoughts?

I know that we are a fallen creation, but I wish I had the magic answer as to why we return to our sin when we don’t want to. I wish I knew how to turn off that part of my life so that I never take my eyes off of Jesus. Just like Paul, I find myself doing the very things that I hate! I don’t know why! I long to do only what is good and righteous, yet on my own, this is not possible. I just know that we must be ready to fall on our knees whenever and wherever we may find yourself returning to our sin.

I want to leave you with one question that I hope you will take to heart.

Why are we drawn to return to our sin and slavery?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have we sunk to the point where this is all true?

April 26, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Stop listening to instruction, my son,
and you will stray from the words of knowledge.
A corrupt witness mocks at justice,
and the mouth of the wicked gulps down evil.
Penalties are prepared for mockers,
and beatings for the backs of fools.
Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler;
whoever is led astray by them is not wise.
A king’s wrath is like the roar of a lion;
he who angers him forfeits his life.
It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife,
but every fool is quick to quarrel.
(Proverbs 19:27 – 20:3 (NIV))

I want you to do something. I want you to read this passage again and stop to think about the society and the world in which we live. Is it just me, or do you see all of these traits running rampant in the world today?

We no longer listen to instruction. Knowledge has become whatever we want it to be whether it is true or not. Corruption mocks the very fabric of our society and wickedness abounds. Foolishness has become the normal way of thinking and acting. Anger and wrath have taken he place of love and patience. Speaking of love, the true meaning of love, God’s love, has become lost in the chaos of the world. It has come to mean that because God loves us we can do whatever we want. Is there honor in the things that we see in the news? One group of lives is more important than another group of lives.

And now the biggest and most foolish thing in the world is that if you believe in God, Jesus and the Word of God, then you are a bigot and close minded.

I know that Jesus told us that we would face these troubles, but I still find it disheartening, not for myself, but for those who don’t realize the proverbial error of their ways.

It is my prayer that everyone learn how to listen to Godly instruction and seek after the true knowledge that only comes from God.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Can your requests be considered a test?

January 27, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus answered, “It says: `Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”
(Luke 4:12 (NIV))

How many of us can honestly say that they have never done this?

It is human nature to try and get the upper hand in all things that we do. We like to come out on top. We like to be number one. We like to get the most out of what we do, or at least to get more than the people that we know.

How many of you, when presented with some fantastic news about someone else’s achievements, secretly think that it should have been you?

If we are not careful, we take this to extremes. To be honest with you, even a little is a sin. We covet what someone else has. Now, imagine if that someone else is God.

Yes, we even try to get the upper hand in our dealings with God. We will beg and plead. We will negotiate. We will do whatever we think that we can if it will mean that we come out on top. We will even go so far as to say something like this, “God, if You will only do this, I will serve you. I will devote my whole life to You.”

Sadly, this type of thing happens more often than we care to admit. I honestly believe that most, if not all, of us have tried to make this type of bargain with God.

If this isn’t testing God, then I don’t know what is. We base our faith on what God will do for us first. We base our faith on what we think that God is good for. We overlook the all important and obvious gift that He already willingly shares with all who will simply accept that gift.

I often wonder how God reacts to our feeble attempts to negotiate with Him. Does He roll His eyes? Does He shed a tear for our ignorance? Does He think that we are fools for asking for something that is trivial, when He has already given us the possibility of eternity with Him?

Think about how you approach God. Can your requests be considered a test?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 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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