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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We must humble ourselves and pray!

October 19, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (NIV))

I can’t help but wonder if the things that we are facing as a nation are a direct result of what we have allowed our society to become. When we have record breaking hurricanes, we need to humble ourselves, return to God and pray. When countless numbers of people are fleeing raging fires, we need to humble ourselves, return to God and pray. When we remove prayer from the classroom, but allow things that are detestable, we need to humble ourselves, return to God and pray. When we allow a vocal minority to remove God from our history, we need to humble ourselves, return to God and pray.

Take a good hard look at our society. Things that used to be considered sinful and wicked are now being pushed as the social norm. The things that are good and righteous in the eyes of God are now being ridiculed as evil and narrow-minded. Can we expect to long endure without suffering the consequences of our society’s choices?

We must do what society calls wrong. We must do what God calls righteous. We must return to God and abide by His Word. We must learn to abide in His Word.

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
(Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (NIV))

We have allowed a great social experiment. That experiment was the removal of God and His Commandments. That experiment has failed. We must humble ourselves, return to God and pray. We, as the Body of Christ, must take the lead. We must humble ourselves. We must be willing to pray. We must be anxious to pray. Our nation depends upon it.

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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Is anyone else tired of groaning?

May 13, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice;
when the wicked rule, the people groan.
(Proverbs 29:2 (NIV))

I don’t know about your thoughts on the current state of the world, but I feel that there is far more groaning going on than I have ever seen in my lifetime!

What does that say about those who are in authority over the people all over the world?

What does that say about the current desires of the people all over the world?

I honestly believe that the current state of the Presidential race in this country is a direct result of far too many people groaning. Whether the groaning is leading us in a direction that God wants us to follow is yet to be seen. All that I can do is pray for God’s wisdom and guidance. I can pray for repentance. I can pray for humility.

To simplify this, I can pray!

We can all pray!

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (NIV))

It is said that when you don’t know what to pray, your spirit will groan in agony and that this is your spirit calling out to God when you don’t know what to pray or how to pray. If that is the case, then I find it interesting that when people are ruled by wickedness, something inside each spirit utters such a heartfelt cry to God that it is the purest of prayers that we could ever lift up to God.

I am in no means trying to be political. What I am trying to be is godly in my thoughts, actions and prayers. Sadly, for a long time, my spirit has been groaning. We need to humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face and repent!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you try to limit God?

April 11, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
(Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV))

In our limited understanding and ability, this seems impossible that anyone could do immeasurably more than we could imagine. We tend to place human limitations on God. We tend to put Him within a box that is all neet and tidy and has defined boundaries that we can understand in our limited wisdom. After all, we have a limited understanding of God’s ways.

For 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)

What is it about God’s ways that we find so difficult to understand? Is it the fact that He never waivers or falters from His true nature and that this nature never changes? Is it the fact that He is Creator and we are the creation that limits our understanding? Perhaps, it is the fact that humanity fell from grace into sin. We are tainted by the world view of everything which has a tendency to place “me first.” Since we do not have the capabilities of immeasurably more, we, in our self-centeredness, assume that we are the most powerful beings around and that no one can do more than us.

Does this sound familiar? It is exactly the attitude that lead to Satan’s fall. He wanted to place himself above God. In our attempt at limiting God, we are also placing ourselves above God, or, at least, as equals to God! Even God’s own Son, Jesus, when He walked this earth, did not consider himself as equal with God. Jesus also did not limit what God could do. If our Savior and Lord took this attitude, what attitude should we have?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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When you focus on the signs, you miss Jesus!

March 23, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I will show wonders in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
(Acts 2:19-20 (NIV))

Many people, including myself, believe that we are seeing things that indicate that the time of the Gentiles is coming to an end. This indicates that we are close to seeing the end times that are so frequently written of in God’s Word. These end times will usher in the worst times that this world has ever seen. It will also eventually lead to Jesus returning in the clouds and splitting the Mount of Olives.

On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.
(Zechariah 14:4 (NIV))

I often see things in the news or read things that make me wonder what this means and what sign it points to. It is human nature to try to figure things out. As we are told, we are to know the signs off the times. Some people make a study of these signs a full time endeavor. It is fascinating to try to understand how God is working.

I want to stop and ask a question.

Have you ever loved something so much that you studied it, practiced it, or played it so much that you soon lost sight of your first love? In other words, you became so engrossed in the details that you lost sight of the reason you loved it to begin with.

Don’t let your study of the signs make you lose sight of Jesus. After all, He is the reason the signs will be and are happening.

There is an old saying that you can’t see the forest for the trees. Step back and see Jesus in the details. Step back and see Jesus in the moment.

I know that the signs that are still unfolding will come to pass. How do I know this?

We are about to celebrate the greatest sign of all this Sunday. Without the resurrection of Easter, we would have no hope that the signs of His Second Coming would ever come true!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Christmas is only the beginning of God’s promise!

December 22, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.
(Psalms 57:9-11 (NIV))

The Psalmist spoke truth and wisdom when these words where written. What was true then is still very true today.

In this Christmas season, we are constantly reminded of how great God’s love for us is. Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ is a constant reminder of God’s love. God is faithful in keeping His Word. All throughout the Old Testament, God promised to send a Savior to reconcile man with Himself. In this season, we are witness to the promise kept. It is a yearly celebration of that promise. At the same time, we must keep our eyes focused on the other promises of God, especially the one that says that Jesus will come again.

In this holy season of new birth, we must not forget that Jesus grew up and died on the cross, was resurrected and will come again.

Christmas is only the beginning of God’s promise and not the culmination.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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