What do you keep within your sight?

August 23, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion;
(Proverbs 3:21 (NIV))

Is it just me, or has the world lost wisdom, understanding, sound judgment and discretion?

I realize that these things still exist, but it appears that they exist in far less abundance than they used to when I was younger. If you don’t believe me, all that you have to do is look at the warnings that manufacturers are putting on products as a result of people not using common sense. Everyone knows that coffee is hot, so why do we have to have cups emblazoned with “CAUTION! Contents are hot” in large type? Perhaps this example is a good thing to consider when you look at the other three characteristics. Understanding that coffee is hot leads to wisdom so that you are careful. You use sound judgment so that you don’t do something that will result in you spilling the hot coffee. You use discretion as to when and how you open or drink so you don’t hurt yourself.

Is it my imagination, or do all of these characteristics actually imply, actually require personal responsibility?

Now that I have come to this understanding, I believe that I now know why there is a decreasing amount of Godly wisdom, understanding, sound judgment and discretion. There is a dwindling number of people who are willing to accept personal responsibility for any of their actions, so why should spiritual characteristics and actions be any different?

Accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is a choice!

Following Jesus is a choice!

Accepting and understanding the truth in God’s Word is a choice!

We will keep things in our sight that we choose to keep in our sight.

What do you keep within your sight?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are the results of sin and its approval?

February 9, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”
(Romans 1:32 (NIV))

Does this sound like the current world view?

It takes no stretch of the imagination to see people rebelling against God’s righteous decrees. What they are doing is being practiced, tolerated and flaunted by society. Certain groups within our society seem to take great pleasure in thumbing their proverbial noses at those who seek after righteousness as well as God, Himself.

There is even division in the church!

Some people have embraced sin under the false concept that God loves everyone, and that since He created them, He must be okay with the sin. They erroneously think that God loving the individual and God loving the sin is the same thing. Nothing could be further from the truth!

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Roman s 3:23 (NIV))

In other words, no one is worthy to be in God’s presence because we are all sinners.

Where do we belong as a result of our sinful nature? How do we escape what is our rightful condemnation?

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
(Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV))

Jesus is the narrow gate!

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

With it clearly spelled out for all to see, what I don’t understand is why anyone would choose the sinful nature? Why does anyone approve of the sinful nature?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can you imagine all that God has for those who love Him?

February 3, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him—
(1 Corinthians 2:9 (NIV))

How good is your imagination?

If you are like me, you can probably imagine some pretty wonderful things. I like to imagine my wife and I on board a long cruise where we are privileged to see some of the most beautiful sights that God has created in this world. I often find myself wondering and imagining what heaven will be like. I often imagine what it will be like to see Jesus face to face for the very first time! I often imagine what it will feel like to bask in the glory of God for all of eternity.

What do you imagine?

Do you have a clear mental image in mind?

I know that what I am about to say may sound condescending, but whatever we, as humanity, are capable of bringing to life in our imaginations is nothing more than the filthy rags that we are.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

Think about that concept!

Think about the sinful, fallen nature of humanity. How can we, who have never seen the glory of God, imagine something that even comes close to the reality of all that God has promised to those who love Him? Think about it in terms that you can relate to. What is the one thing in this world that, to you, is so utterly amazing that you simply cannot find words to describe it? Do you have it in mind? What type of feeling does this invoke? What would be your reaction if this feeling were triggered by every single thing that you ever saw? Can you even begin to fathom the joy that you would feel?

I am so glad that God blesses us with imaginations. Our imaginations give us small glimpses into what we will actually see when we are in His presence. Until then, we can get excited with our limited understanding and rest assured in the knowledge that reality will be so much better!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you truly as you appear?

October 4, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
(Matthew 23:27-28 (NIV))

Jesus never held back!

Since Jesus was and is able to look at the heart and also know what we are thinking, it is not a big stretch of the imagination to realize that He used this to truly size up the people that He met. Unlike everyone else, Jesus wasn’t fooled by the outward appearances. He could see beyond what someone presented as their public persona and see exactly what was in a person’s heart.

Everyone is guilty of putting up a facade. We want those around us to see us for something that we are not. We want to be seen as more than we truly are. With that aspect of human nature squarely out in the open, would you truly want to have Jesus look at you the way that He looked at the Pharisees? What would He say about you? I just realized that I am pointing the finger at everyone else. I should be asking what would He say about me?

That is a scary proposition!

Are you ready and willing to have Jesus truly tell you about yourself?

Are you willing to hear what He has to say about you?

Are you willing to accept rebuke if that is called for?

Are you willing to repent and seek after righteousness?

Think about that last question for a moment. Have you ever read anywhere in the Gospels where a Pharisee was willing to repent? Have you ever thought about the nature of repentance and how repentance and pride and ego just can’t seem to coexist? We saw that in the Pharisees and we still see it today. Jesus was able to see it.

What does Jesus see in you?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will you see the power and glory of God in His sanctuary?

September 1, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
(Psalms 63:2 (NIV))

Imagine the most beautiful church sanctuary that you have ever seen. The man-made awe and reverence is nothing compared to the holy presence of God in His heavenly sanctuary. It is beyond imagination.

If God has promised us streets of gold in heaven, how much more magnificent will His sanctuary be? The sanctuary were we should not even be allowed to enter because of our sinful nature. How can we enter into God’s sanctuary? Through the grace and mercy that God has shown to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. Through this grace and mercy, our sins have been washed white as snow. Perhaps God’s power and glory have been made even more glorious because of this gift, for, without this gift, we would not be able to ever see God in His sanctuary.

Will you see the power and glory of God in His sanctuary?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you able to discern the truth from the lies?

March 7, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
(1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV))

I hear people say all the time that they are still a kid at heart. Think about that in relation to this passage. Do you still feel that you are a kid at heart?

He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 18:2-4 (NIV))

Does this passage from Matthew seem like it contradicts the passage from 1 Corinthians?

On the surface, they seem to be one of the things that too many people reference when they say that the Bible is full of contradictions. Are they really contradictions?

There are many aspects to being a child. Some are playfulness and silliness. How many of you would agree that as you grow older you stopped being as playful and as silly? You started to think differently and to see the world differently. In other words, you put away childish things and started looking at the world as a serious and dangerous place. It is not the world where your childhood imagination conjures up fantasy worlds of toys and unicorns. It is a place where these types of dreams, once looked upon as cute, will get you in trouble and lead to a life of problems.

Another aspect of childhood is innocence and trust. To some people, innocence and trust are just different words for childish silliness. Do you think like that? It is these characteristics that I believe Jesus was speaking of when He said that we need to come to Him like little children. Is this so silly of a notion?

Words have subtle nuances in meaning that are truly only understandable when you take things in complete context. Even today, calling someone childish paints a different image than saying someone is a trusting child. The first in intended as a derogatory cut while the second is a label of endearment. This is just one example of how knowing God’s Word can give you ammunition to explain to someone that the Bible is not full of contradictions. It takes faith and study to be able to truly discern what is truth and what is from the enemy.

Are you able to discern?

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