Do you possess wisdom and understanding?

June 4, 2018

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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

The world seems to have knowledge and wisdom confused. The world bases its understanding of these concepts all on the limited understanding that humanity has been able to achieve. In the grand scheme of things, humanity still has very limited knowledge of everything that we encounter. Knowledge is growing rapidly, but we still have much to learn. Sadly, the more knowledge that we acquire, or think that we acquire, the less wisdom we show as a result.

If you truly stop to look at the root meanings of the two words, things start to make sense.

Knowledge basically means possessing the facts or details about something or possessing an understanding about how it works.

The next definition is what seems to go away when we start acquiring more facts. Wisdom, at the core of its meaning, implies good sense or common sense.

What is it about humanity that makes us lose good sense when we think we gain a little understanding? A good case in point is the idea that some people have that they can explain away the parting of the Red Sea. They think that they possess enough knowledge to know how it was accomplished, and therefore, it wasn’t an event caused by God. These individuals lack the wisdom to realize that God made everything, so He is going to use what He made to have it do whatever He wants it to do. They also lack wisdom in other areas. What these individuals fail to acknowledge is that this event didn’t happen when someone was sitting on one shore and simply observing the waters. They fail to possess the wisdom to realize that this event took place just at the right time to allow the Israelites to cross on dry ground. Most even fail to have enough wisdom to acknowledge that God even exists!

I have known people who possess knowledge about the world, but have no wisdom or good sense. I have known people who are wise beyond their years, yet they possess no worldly knowledge. The people that truly stand out to me are the ones who possess wisdom because they fear the Lord and they also possess understanding because they have spent the time to get to know the Lord. Is this the type of wisdom and understanding that you seek?

Do you possess wisdom and understanding?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook

Advertisements

God can take our impure motives and turn them to His glory!

February 26, 2018

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,
(Philippians 1:18 (NIV))

What does this passage mean to you?

I was given a very interesting point of view of this passage earlier today, and to be completely honest with you, it makes perfect sense!

When this passage was written, Paul was in prison and other people started to preach the Gospel. Some had pure motives while others had selfish motives. Paul recognized the value of both, since spreading the Gospel was his biggest concern. I know that I do this all the time, but let me ask a few questions of you.

Do you think that the people who heard the Gospel from those with false motives knew of those motives, especially if what they preached was true to the Gospel? Let me ask this a slightly different way. If you are channel surfing and come across a television preacher who is preaching the truth, will everyone ignore this preacher simply because they may seek money? Perhaps your church has a guest speaker and they are very eloquent at conveying the truth of the Gospel. Do you stop listening to them because they set up a table to sell the books that they have written?

Let’s be honest with ourselves!

We are all human and we all have motives for doing things that are less than perfect. Does that stop us from doing them? Does that stop us from listening to those who have less than perfect motives? Think about that in relationship to your job. What if you are having a bad day, but you need your paycheck? Do you put on a fake smile and go about your day, or do you storm off? Most people will put on a fake smile. They may have less than a proper motive, but they come across with something that will impact those around them in a positive way.

Think about that in terms of the Gospel!

As long as the truth is being preached, God can and does use that truth to help spread the Gospel. I don’t condone this, but have you ever seen two churches become rivals? They try to do anything and everything to be “better” than their rival. One may take out billboard ads with scripture passages while the other will place ads in local newspapers. One may apply for and receive a license for a radio station, while one may use the internet to broadcast their services. In all of this rivalry, who really wins?

If you say that God wins because the Gospel is being spread, then you are correct.

We are only human and our human motives are less than perfect, but God is perfect. In fact, He is perfection. To use an old saying, “God can take our mess and make a message!” If God can do that, then God can take our impure motives and turn them to His glory!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Pray from the heart for God knows what you need!

February 14, 2018

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
(Matthew 6:7-8 (NIV))

Do you babble?

Do you ramble on and on when you pray?

We are all guilty of opening our mouths way too much when we talk, why would it be any different when we pray? It is human nature to want to be heard and we feel that the more we say the better our chances are of getting our point across. Do you have a memory of a time that you wouldn’t stop trying to get your point across? How did that turn out for you? Did you sway your audience to your side? Did you convince anyone besides yourself that you were right?

Excessive words do not mean sincerity. Excessive words often mean a prideful spirit.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
(Proverbs 11:2 (NIV))

Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life.
(Proverbs 22:4 (NIV))

I have heard someone define humility as not thinking less of yourself, but rather, it is thinking of yourself less. I like this definition. How do we put this into practice? Can we start with closing our mouths and stop trying to convince everyone, including God, that we know best? Can we let our hearts and our actions speak for us? Is it humanly possible to keep things short and sweat?

When we humble ourselves before God, we turn our hearts to Him. We seek after His heart and not our own. When we truly seek His heart, we don’t need to spend our time babbling. We don’t need to spend our time trying to convince Him of what we want, for He knows what we need. I honestly believe that when we babble, we are actually trying to convince ourselves.

Pray from the heart for God knows what you need!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Do you offer God only your second best?

March 3, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the Lord Almighty.
(Malachi 1:8 (NIV))

Let’s put this in a modern context.

When you give out of what you have left, is that truly giving with a cheerful heart?

When you give out of your rejects, are you truly giving or are you throwing away what you don’t want?

When you do less than what is expected, even though you can do much more that what is expected, is that right?

When you allow others to do for you and you take the credit, is that right?

When you give to God as an afterthought, what does that say about your motives and your heart?

I hope that you know exactly how God feels about this type of giving. Would you treat your family in this manner? Would you treat your friends in this manner? What if God had treated us in his manner? What if God had given us His second best? What if He had decided not to send His Son, Jesus, to walk among us and to be an atoning sacrifice for our sins?

What if God had decided that we weren’t worth His best?

Think about that. Where would that leave each of us? It took God’s best to atone for our sins. Why do we think that we can give less than our best to thank God for giving us His best?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


What are you trying to become?

February 17, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“He must become greater; I must become less.”
(John 3:30 (NIV))

Everybody strives to become more than they are. We take classes. We get degrees. We strive to win awards. We drive expensive cars. We buy bigger homes.

What does all that get us?

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))

No matter what we do, no matter how much we try to elevate ourselves, we are nothing! The very best that we can do is still tainted and overshadowed by the sin that we are trapped by. This is especially true when you consider that ego and pride drive our desire to elevate ourselves. In other words, it is sin that drives us. This makes perfect sense! After all, it was the sin of pride that drove Satan to rebel against God. All of sinful, fallen humanity still strives to do this very same thing. We try to elevate ourselves in an attempt to tell God that we don’t need Him. We fall for the same sin and try to elevate ourselves above God.

Pride, unfortunately, is all a part of the fallen human experience.

It takes a person who is strong in their faith to overcome pride. It takes a very strong desire and commitment to not elevate yourself, especially in the eyes of God. Satan’s downfall occurred because he wanted to become greater than God.

What are you trying to become?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


He must become greater

March 26, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He must become greater; I must become less.
(John 3:30 (NIV))

The American Standard Version translates this passage as “He must increase, but I must decrease,” but no matter how you translate it, the concept is the same. We must seek more of Jesus in our lives and less of us.

To those who are not believers, this sounds like we are willing to give up our individuality. It sounds like we are willing to become mindless followers. It sounds like we are weak minded and not able to make decisions for ourselves.

How do you feel about how the world sees this passage?

Do you agree with this, or do you have a different understanding of what this means to a follower of Jesus Christ?

What traits about Jesus do you love? I know that we are glad to call him Savior, but what about Him makes us want to call Him Lord? What traits do we want to see increased in our lives?

More difficult questions that the unbelieving world does not understand, yet, we need to be able to understand this for ourselves. We need to be able to defend our faith when we are confronted. I know that we are to rely on the Holy Spirit in times like this, but we are also called to be prepared.

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
(Ephesians 6:11 (NIV))

I firmly believe that Jesus lived an example of the traits that we should desire to see increase within us. We know them as the fruit of the Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

We know our actions and thoughts as well. They are of a sinful nature.

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
(Galatians 5:24 (NIV))

If we look upon John 3:30 with this in mind, then it is clearly a matter of self examination. If we follow Jesus, we don’t want to give up our individuality. On the contrary, we want to give up our sinful nature and fill ourselves with what fills Jesus.

Personally, I do not know of anyone who is truly happy in their sin. The drunk does not want to be a drunk. He is trying to wash away something. The same can be said for any sin. The sin is an attempt to fill a void, and it often leaves a scar. If we seek to remove the sin and fill ourselves with Jesus, we are seeking healing. We are seeking peace, and we are seeking the truth.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


%d bloggers like this: