Do your thoughts run wild?

July 19, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
(2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV))

In other words, we should control what we say, see, hear and do so that we can focus on the Lord, and we should also control what we think!

This sounds wonderful, but as Paul wrote these words to the church at Corinth, he was giving instructions to the members of that body of believers on how to conduct spiritual warfare.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
(2 Corinthians 10:3-4 (NIV))

In fact, it was Paul who was coming under attack by others who were professing to love the Gospel. These words were encouragement to weigh what he was preaching to see if he was boasting. Paul was telling this group of people, and us, to look at the message and not the messenger, for they were saying that his writings were powerful yet his speaking was not.

You are judging by appearances. If anyone is confident that they belong to Christ, they should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as they do.
(2 Corinthians 10:7 (NIV))

Sadly, we still experience this very same thing today. We judge the messenger and not the message. We can have a dynamic speaker who doesn’t speak the truth and this person will be followed. We can also have a speaker who is shy and timid and speaks the truth, but who follows this person? We must learn to discern who is speaking the truth and, as Paul wrote, demolish arguments so that we can take captive our every thought so that we are obedient to Christ. If we are too tied up in appearances, we will not be focused on the truth. Our thoughts will run out of control toward the worldly things that we say that we want to turn away from. We will have not only failed to take our thoughts captive, we will have enabled them to run wild.

Do your thoughts run wild?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you anxiously seek Godly knowledge?

February 18, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the scroll until the end of time. Many will go back and forth and search anxiously [through the scroll], and knowledge [of the purpose of God as revealed by His prophets] will [greatly] increase.
(Daniel 12:4 (AMP))

Have you ever heard this passage translated in this way?

Perhaps you are more familiar with it from this translation.

But you, Daniel, roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.
(Daniel 12:4 (NIV))

Most of us think of this passage with respect to the last sentence and take that to mean that people will be able to go everywhere easily and that human knowledge such as technology will increase. To be honest with you, this is a perfect picture of our world today. We have seen more advancements in the last one hundred years with respect to travel and human knowledge than we have over the last several thousand years.

I have a question for you to consider.

What was in the original Hebrew scrolls that made one translation allude to this as traveling here and there to increase knowledge while another translator chose to indicate that people will be going back and forth anxiously searching the scriptures for knowledge of the end of time?

I realize that everyone has their personal favorite translation that they like to use, but unless you are capable of fluently reading the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, we are all at the mercy of the people who translated God’s Word. We must learn to go beyond our favorite translation and cross reference other translations. We are to search the scriptures in such a way that we eagerly seek His insight into His Word, and if that means comparing translations to help us understand the intent of the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, then we must do so with prayerful consideration. Even if we only read one translation, we must pray for God to open our eyes, our hearts and our minds so that we truly understand His Word. We must be like the Bereans.

Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
(Acts 17:10-12 (NIV))

We must examine the scriptures!

We must be eager in our examinations!

Do you search anxiously through God’s Word? Do you cross-reference from one passage to another and from one translation to another? Let’s take that back to the context originally spoken of in this passage. Let’s look at the increase in the desire to understand the end of time. Have you seen an increase in the eagerness to understand this knowledge?

Daniel, I now command you to keep the message of this book secret until the end of time, even though many people will go everywhere, searching for the knowledge to be found in it.
(Daniel 12:4 (CEV))

God’s Word is much more than instructions on how to live our lives. It is an insight into the very heart and mind of the Lord. It is an insight into God’s very plan as it unfolds.

Do you anxiously seek Godly knowledge?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can you love like this?

February 11, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
(1 Corinthians 1:1-3 (NIV))

Each of us who profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior cling to the truth in the following passage.

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

We long to do what Jesus did, but are we focusing on the correct things that He did? Do we long to speak in tongues? Do we long to understand all things? Do we long to prophecy? Do we long to give of ourselves like Jesus did? It is true that He did all of these things and much more, but we forget why He did them. Everything that the Lord did was out of love. All other things pale in comparison to the greatness of His love for us.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

It was love that drove Him to do everything that He did!

If we profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we are to love just like He loved and still loves. We must rejoice over what makes Him rejoice. We must correct in love those who break His heart. The type of love that was shown by the Lord was not one where He accepts anything that you do, but rather it was a love willing to sacrifice itself to offer salvation and repentance for those who would answer the call. It was a love designed to turn people away from the path of sin and death and turn people to an eternity in His presence! We must present this love in such a way that draws people to Him, discipline and correction included.

A fool spurns a parent’s discipline,
     but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.
(Proverbs 15:5 (NIV))

Some would say that it is a tough love. It is a love designed to show the sinner that they have a better option. It is a love designed to show the sinner that they do not have to face the eternal consequences of their sin.

Can you love like this?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Will you be able to withstand the deception?

February 2, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

At that time if anyone says to you, `Look, here is the Christ!’ or, `Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect–if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.
(Mark 13:21-23 (NIV))

How well do you know Jesus? How well do you know God’s Word?

Do you know them well enough to be able to discern the difference between the truth and a lie?

All too often, the enemy will shroud his lies in bits and pieces of the truth. He will use just enough of the truth to make his lies sound plausible. He will count on people not knowing God’s Word well enough to tell the difference between the truth and his lies. He will use just enough to entrap people.

Entrapment!

Do you honestly think that Satan cares how he tricks people into missing out on God’s grace and mercy? He only cares that he does trick people. It does not matter to him that he deceives people. It does not matter to him that he misuses God’s Word to deceive. He has only one goal and that is keeping as many people as possible from the redeeming grace offered through Jesus. Satan thinks that if he can’t be worshipped, then he will take that from God.

In the high-speed, fast-paced world that we now find ourselves in, we must know what we believe in. We must know what we have faith in.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
(Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV))

Are you fully armed with the knowledge and truth that is God’s Word? Will you be able to withstand the deception?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you found a new beginning?

October 28, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

What is it about human nature that makes us all think that we are capable of anything and everything on our own strength, skills and abilities? It starts as a toddler. I still remember my now adult daughter as a two year old adamantly saying “Me do it!” Now she has a little girl who is almost two. She is just now only beginning to express her independence in a similar manner. I knowingly look forward to the quest for independence that my granddaughter will be going through. Without such a quest, we don’t mature. We don’t grow. But, there comes a point when and where we must also be willing to grow by seeking wisdom and instruction from a source beyond ourselves.

Some people never do grow to that point, and even those who do have relapses where we despise wisdom and instruction. We have all experienced something today where we thought that we could do it better than the person who was doing it. Perhaps some of us even said it out loud!

What happens when that human nature that likes to rebel against authority comes into direct rebellion against the Lord?

Actually, I don’t have enough time to recount all the things that have been recorded when this has happened. Most of the Bible is the story of how God created, man rebelled, God reached out to save, and man rebelled again. Even when Jesus stepped out of heaven to come to this world, that story continued. It will continue until the Lord returns. The big difference is that now we can repent and accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. We can choose to fear the Lord, or should I say that we can choose to fear the consequences from the Lord that result from our sinful actions. I have previously said that this fear is not one of trembling, but of respect. In the same manner that we feared our father when we were growing up, we need to fear the Lord. The Lord is full authority and just in His reprimands. He still loves us. He loves us enough to not allow us to stay in rebellion. He will try to draw us to Him so that we can learn and repent.

Some people have interpreted this fear to mean respect. I agree with this concept. If you respect the Lord, you also fear His reprimand. It is your desire to do what pleases the Lord. It is said that David was a man after God’s own heart. How do you think that this came to be? David feared the Lord, yet he also loved and respected the Lord. When he came to this point in his life, David found a new beginning that led him in step with the Lord.

Have you found a new beginning?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you adding to your faith?

October 1, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.
(2 Peter 1:5-7 (NIV))

Is faith the beginning or the end of your walk with Jesus?

Let that question sink in for a moment and then let’s consider that it takes faith to turn to Jesus and accept Him as your personal Lord and Savior. With that in mind, faith is the first step in your walk with Jesus, but each step that you take should bring with it a maturity. Each step should bring with it a discovery and an understanding of a new trait, a new Fruit of the Spirit. We are not called to come to Jesus and then stay the same way that we were. We are called to mature into His image.

If we are called to mature into the image of Christ, it makes sense that as we walk with Him we begin to take on the very nature of Jesus. When we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we are sinners who do not know goodness. No matter what others may think of us, no matter how good we may think that we are, our goodness, our righteousness is as filthy rags. As we walk with Jesus, He teaches us what it means to be good. He teaches us what knowledge is pure and righteous. He teaches us self-control. He teaches us perseverance as we take each step with Him. He teaches us what godliness means. He shows us how to mature from selfishness to mutual affection and love. Each step in our walk with Jesus should result in something being added to our faith.

How is your walk with Jesus?

Are you adding to your faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you claim to be wise?

September 2, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.
(Proverbs 3:7 (NIV))

Do you see any wisdom in the world?

Based on this passage, perhaps I should rephrase that question.

Do you see people shunning evil and fearing the Lord, or are they more interested in mocking and ridiculing the Lord and anyone who seeks to follow Him? Are these people trying to claim that they are wise? Contrary to what they may think, the Lord doesn’t agree.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
      and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
(Proverbs 9:10 (NIV))

The present state of the world reminds me of the parable of the wheat and the tares. The bad seed that produces the tares are those who do not fear the Lord. They are doing all that they can to disrupt God’s plans. We have known that this time would come. We have known what the people would be like who do not fear the Lord. They claim to be wise in their own eyes. They feel a false sense of self-worth. They feel that only they are right and anyone who doesn’t agree is an enemy.

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—
(2 Timothy 3:1-4 (NIV))

As members of the Body of Christ, we must pray that we not fall into the traps that the enemy has set. We must fear the Lord and shun all evil. We must not think that we are more than we are – filthy rags.

Do you claim to be wise?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you been caught in your foolishness?

August 4, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”
(1 Corinthians 3:19 (NIV))

Can you imagine what God thinks of our attempts at solving the world’s current problems?

In all honesty, I could probably stop after asking that one question and let your imagination run wild. You can probably paint a very vivid mental picture quite easily of God’s reaction to everything that is going on in the world today. Do you envision the Lord doing a face palm and shaking His head? Do you envision Him shedding a tear because of our so called wisdom? I am sure that what we have done and what we are doing breaks the very heart of God!

Where do you stand with respect to the wisdom of the world?

Perhaps I should ask a different question.

Do you believe that there is any wisdom to be seen in this world?

I pray that you haven’t fallen into the prideful human characteristic that thinks, “If they would only listen to me!” Far too many people can claim this arrogant attitude when they should be prayerful and seek the Lord for His wisdom.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
    and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
(Proverbs 9:10 (NIV))

If our righteousness is as filthy rags, and we see as if through a dark window, then how can we truly possess any real wisdom? What we call wisdom is merely a series of glimpses of the infinite picture and we have the arrogance to believe that we know everything about the infinite picture! Now I understand why the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.

We must turn to the Lord and seek His wisdom. We must be willing to abandon our wisdom and recognize it as foolishness, for our wisdom will soon be recognized for what it truly is.

Have you been caught in your foolishness?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you ready to stand with the Lord?

May 14, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
(Ephesians 6:13 (NIV))

It is my prayer that all believers have not only put on the full armor of God, but that they have also been reviewing the battle plans that we have been given. In all honesty, the full armor of God and His battle plans are one and the same. The full armor is the protection that we have been given through His Word, but we must also realize that His Word is also the battle plans for facing the enemy. Battle plans require a much deeper insight and knowledge than simply putting on armor. Battle plans require knowing the heart and mind and desires of the one whom we follow.

What are His objectives?

How can we achieve those objectives?

As members of the Body of Christ, we have been given a mission.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
(Matthew 28:19 (NIV))

I am sure that everyone has seen movies in which there is an alert and all military personnel scramble to get to their stations. In some cases it appears that they have been caught off guard and don’t know what to do.

Is that the Body of Christ?

Have we grown too comfortable and have we let the armor tarnish? If we have allowed our armor to tarnish, how do we expect to be prepared? How do we expect to know what the Lord is doing in response to what the enemy is doing in the world? Are we prepared?

Are you ready to stand with the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you want that strength?

April 7, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
(Philippians 4:13 (NKJV))

In just a few days, we, as the Body of Christ, will be celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus. I know that it will not be the typical Easter Sunday that most of us are used to experiencing. I am going to go out on a limb and say that it may be far better than any of us could possibly imagine, especially with all that is going on in the world right now. If you stop to reflect on the current situation, many more people are slowing down and reflecting on spiritual matters. They are realizing that life is more than the fast paced routine that we have all found ourselves in lately. I would even venture to say that many people who have never given eternity a thought are now contemplating their own mortality and what happens when they die. The scenario is front and center in their minds.

What better thing to have happen in the midst of all of this than a celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus? What better thing to have happen than an event that points people to the One who conquered sin and death? I honestly can’t think of a better way to give hope and strength to the world!

It is my prayer that we, as the Body of Christ, don’t forget that we are over comers because of what Jesus has done. It is my prayer that we are prepared to lead others to a saving knowledge of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. We may not be able to gather in our churches, but those are only buildings. The same people who have not gone to church are often willing to entertain the idea of watching a service online. Perhaps they would even be willing to talk about what they are experiencing during this time. God has slowed us down and made it so that others will have an open heart.

I pray that I am given the strength to do what I am called to do in these times.

Do you want that strength?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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