How well are you learning what the Lord is teaching?

August 3, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.
(Titus 2:2 (NIV))

There is an old saying that with age comes wisdom.

I suppose that all depends on your definition of wisdom!

Far too many people falsely think that knowledge is wisdom, but they fail to recognize the fact that what you may know can lead to bad results. Wisdom is so much more than knowing facts, especially when you consider that facts can be twisted to make you come to wrong conclusions. Wisdom takes the facts and allows you to discern truth. It is the application of good judgment to the facts. It is possible to be filled with knowledge yet still be unwise. It is also possible to be older and unwise. Sometimes even the wisest among us will still have things that they need to learn so that they can be better at discerning the truth.

I love the fact that this passage starts with “Teach the older men.” Instantly it implies that each of us still have much to learn with respect to our faith walk no matter what our age may be. It also implies that not a single one of us is completely mature. Each of us may need to realize that we may not be as mature in our faith as we think.

We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.
(Hebrews 5:11-13 (NIV))

We have so much to learn in our faith journey with Jesus. Not a one of us is perfect. We all have lessons that we are learning and many that we still need to learn.

How well are you learning what the Lord is teaching?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you learning?

May 18, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.
(2 Timothy 3:7 (NIV))

I find it interesting that almost every aspect of our society is so overwhelmed with learning more and more. On the surface, this sound very good. For the most part it is. The problem comes when we focus so much on what is learned and forget about truth, when we focus more on man-made credentials instead of the wisdom that God bestows.

I even see this in many churches.

How many of you have heard someone say something like, “They can’t do that. they don’t have a degree.” Think about that for a moment in relation to the movement of the Holy Spirit. If God has given someone a gift and the Holy Spirit enables that gift, who are we to stop it just because the person doesn’t have a degree in the area? I don’t know about you, but this sounds very similar to being a Pharisee. Did they accept John the Baptist? Didn’t they try to stop Jesus? Speaking of Jesus, what man-made credentials did He possess? Think about that in relationship to the church that He calls His own. Think about that in relationship to the men whom He drew close to Himself to be His disciples. They did not possess man-made credentials, yet He used them to spread the Gospel and to reach the world.

There is often a big difference between learning and wisdom, or in reference to this passage, learning and knowledge of the truth. It seems to me that the more we focus on learning, the less wisdom and knowledge of the truth that we possess.

Think about this in relation to your studies. What are you learning?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you devoted to?

August 29, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
(Colossians 4:2 (NIV))

Do you feel that you are different from the crowds who are easily swayed? One day they are devoted to a political party. The next day they are devoted to a sports team. The next day they may be devoted to the music artist who is coming in concert. They are like the tall grass in the field, blown this way and that way and never truly making a stand or a permanent commitment to anything.

I pray that you are different!

To be honest with you, I pray that I am different.

To be devoted to something means that you are loyal to it and that you are dedicated to it. With this definition in mind, what are you truly devoted to in your life? Many people will quickly say that they are devoted to family. Many will say that they are devoted to their country. Others will say that they are devoted to their god. There are those who will say that they are devoted to the one and only God. There are those who will say that they are devoted to Jesus.

Are you devoted to prayer?

Most people think of prayer as a request or a petition that is made to God, but in all honesty, prayer is so much more than this one-sided request. Prayer needs to be thought of as a two-sided conversation in which both parties are having a conversation. It is essential to remember the basics of a conversation. Each party talks and each party listens intently. It is not a list of demands by one party, us, and the other, God, nods in subjugated agreement. Conversation is a means of learning and discerning the mind and heart of the other individual.

When was the last time that you simply had a long conversation with God? Don’t you think that you need to talk to God on a daily basis? With the idea that prayer is a conversation with God, don’t you think you need to spend more time in prayer? Don’t you think that you should be devoted to prayer?

What are you devoted to?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where are you in this arrangement?

August 14, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.
(Matthew 19:30 (NIV))

It’s time for a little self examination!

Exactly how do you see yourself in this passage? How do you interpret this to show where you will be when this happens? Are you the type of person who always has to be first in everything? Is your well being your number one priority even when it means that others will suffer? Are you the type of person who asks “What’s in it for me?” before you decide if you want to participate in anything? What are your priorities? Are you selfish and self-centered?

It is human nature to be like this. Sadly, far too many people seem to have an overabundance of this trait and very little humility.

We like to look out for ourselves while forgetting that those whom we trample under foot are also part of God’s creation. We are no better than they are, and if we act like I described above, we are probably worse. Putting others first is not a natural instinct. We are born with a character flaw that is best described by one of two phrases uttered by any child in their terrible twos. “Mine” or “I do it” are the battle cry for many who are only interested in placing themselves above everyone else. Learning how to share and how to place the well being of others first is a difficult thing for people to do. Perhaps that is why Jesus responded in this manner.

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
(Luke 10:27 (NIV))

Learning to love others is hard. It is one of the things that Jesus told us that we must do. Who said that following Jesus would be easy?

Where are you in this arrangement?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have trouble with your confession?

June 1, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
(Matthew 10:32-33 (NKJV))

Have you ever stopped to truly reflect on this passage?

We know that if we confess that Jesus is our Lord and Savior before men, then Jesus will not deny us in heaven.

Do you have a difficult time confessing that Jesus is your Lord and Savior? Perhaps you have a few friends that you simply never mention Jesus when you are with them. Do the people that you work with even know that you profess a faith in Jesus? Are you too ashamed to even put a Christian emblem on your car?

We currently live in a nation where we might be looked at strangely for our faith, but we really don’t suffer any physical threats or death because we profess a faith in Jesus. At most, we might be called a few not so nice names. I find it all too sad that far too many people will not take the step of faith to publicly profess Jesus in relative safety. How can these same people think that if and when they will be put to the test of faith when it truly means something, they will respond with a boldness that they don’t have now? That happens when they are before a group of people who desire nothing more than to kill them if they profess Jesus?

Think about those questions and then think about this simple, yet true concept.

When you are learning anything in life, do you start off with the most difficult aspect or do you start off with something simple so that you can build up confidence? If you are five years old and want to play baseball, do you start off facing a pitcher who can throw 90 plus miles per hour, or do you start off hitting the ball off of a T?

How can we expect to profess Jesus when the enemy is coming at us at 90 miles per hour when we haven’t even been able to get to the point where we can profess Him in the safety of friends?

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