Have you put your childhood ways behind you?

February 16, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
(1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV))

Spiritual maturity is a wonderful thing. When you are new in your faith, it is easy to become disoriented and allow the world to knock you off balance. You have a hunger, but you are uncertain about what you are feeling and experiencing. At this early stage of faith, just as in the childhood years, you are limited in your understanding and your ability to fully comprehend all that you experience. You are still being spoon fed. Perhaps I could and should say that you are still in the milk stages of your faith.

Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
(Hebrews 5:13-14 (NIV))

In essence, being a child can mean that you are naive to the ways of the world and the enemy. Spiritual maturity brings an understanding, an ability to discern what is right and wrong in God’s eyes. It means that you are diving deeper into God’s Word and your understanding is getting much deeper. Consider this case in point as an example. When you were a child, could you comprehend and solve complex mathematical problems? Could you develop and communicate complex thoughts in such a manner so that others could understand?

Being a child is supposed to be a simple, joyful time. It is the time to develop trust and belief.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
(Matthew 19:14 (NIV))

Even though we are called to be like little children in our faith, we are also called to a maturity. This is a maturity that prepares us to face the enemy. It is a maturity that firmly grounds us in Jesus.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
(Ephesians 4:14-15 (NIV))

As members of the Body of Christ, we are all called to maturity in Christ. We must long for the substance of solid faith. We must realize that faith is something that we are to desire to grow and mature. We are to change our ways of thinking so that we are in line with what Jesus desires. We are to desire to mature into the likeness of Christ!

Have you put your childhood ways behind you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can you imagine what God has prepared for you?

January 25, 2018

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))

All of us, even in our limited resources, like to do nice things for those we love. Have you ever stopped to realize that it is a human trait to love those who love us in return? Do you think that God loves in this manner? Do you think that God only loves those who love Him?

We know for a fact that God did not wait for humanity to turn our love to Him before He showed us how much He loves 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))

Every act of love that we have toward God and for God is a result of the love that He showed for us. Without His love, all of humanity would be lost in our sinful nature. God willingly sent Jesus to die so that we might live!

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
(Romans 5:8 (NIV))

Think about this from a human perspective. Most of us would willingly give our lives to save someone we love. We would do whatever it takes to make sure that person was safe from harm. We would even do this in situations where the person we want to save may not love us the way that we love them. Isn’t this exactly what God did when He sent Jesus?

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

God, through the life that Jesus led, died for us because He calls us friends. He laid down His life because He loves us. He laid down His life before we loved Him!

If God is willing to do such a great thing before we love Him, what will He do once we turn our hearts toward Him?

Can you imagine what God has prepared for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready for God to accomplish the impossible?

August 9, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
(Matthew 19:25 (NIV))

Have you ever been in a situation where you knew that there was nothing that you could do that would make the outcome be any different than a total disaster?

Where you surprised when the outcome was completely different than everyone expected?

All too often, we see things from our limited perspective, our limited understanding and our limited capabilities, and think that there is nothing that can be done. We see things as being impossible because we do not see the complete picture. I want you to think of a mouse in a maze. As you picture that mouse, it scampers all over the place trying to find its way while you have a birds eye view and can see exactly the path that should be taken. From the perspective of the mouse, it is impossible to find the way, but from your perspective, you can see every possible scenario and how to navigate to the destination. Does the mouse pay attention to you? Does it look up to you and try to figure out where it should go based on what you are doing?

I am not comparing anyone to a mouse, but our impossible situations that we experience are often no more than our inability to find our way according to the master plan of the maze that we call life. We see things from our perspective and our perspective is heavily weighted by our fears and our emotions. We experience the world through a limited understanding. We fail to see the possibilities with God because we focus on the impossibilities that we see.

What is it that is holding you back from the possibilities that are of God? Is it fear? Is it pride? Is it a lack of faith and trust? Sometimes we just need to take a leap of faith and let God take over even when we think that what we need to do is possible in our own strengths?

Are you ready for God to accomplish the impossible?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Whose time are you on?

August 1, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
(2 Peter 3:8 (NIV))

Do you feel like you are a patient person?

I can see the grimaces on the faces at the mere thought of this question.

What is it about human nature that makes us so impatient? We think that we need everything right now and when we can’t have it in that manner, we start to lose control. We simply can’t stand to wait for anything. If you stop to think about it, this is exactly why credit card debt is such a problem. We want something. We think that we deserve it. We think that we are ready to handle it. We don’t think about the consequences of our desires and our actions. We give into our desires and we try to get what we want even if we are not ready for it.

Are we also that way with respect to our faith life?

Do we pray and then give up because God’s answer didn’t come when we wanted it to come? Perhaps we are praying and waiting from a limited perspective. Not only could we be praying for something that we are not ready to receive, but we could also be praying for things that God does not plan to ever happen. If God has blessed each of us with unique gifts, doesn’t it make sense that He would respond to each of us based on the way that He created us? With this in mind, it seems that it is humanity who fails to comprehend God’s timing instead of God not comprehending ours.

Be still, and know that I am God;
(Psalm 46:10a (NIV))

We need to realize that God’s timing is perfect. We just need to adjust our time.

Whose time are you on?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your perspective on what you believe?

April 24, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?
(1 John 3:12 (NIV))

When Jesus was speaking to Nicodemus, He spoke of being born again. He even went so far as to explain it in relationship to flesh and Spirit.

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
(John 3:5-6 (NIV))

Nicodemus was searching for an answer that he would understand. From the recorded verses, it is obvious that Nicodemus still did not understand. He was looking at things only from his perspective, from his context and his limited understanding. He was looking only at the physical world. He was so caught up in his understanding that he failed to realize that his understanding was all wrong. He failed to believe because of his faulty understanding. He was taking things literally.

Jesus, on the other hand, was trying to express to Nicodemus that he had to have a rebirth of the heart. He had to have a rebirth of his attitude. He had to have a rebirth in his way of thinking about his relationship with God. In all of his worldly understanding, Nicodemus had misunderstood what God calls important.

We have a tendency to look at the worldly things as if they are what is important in this life. Too many of us have accepted the lie that if we can’t see it, then it isn’t real. How can you believe in God if you believe like this? How can you understand spiritual matters when all that you understand is what you can see, taste and touch? God created us as spiritual beings in a physical body. Why do so many of us lose sight of our spiritual nature and only see the physical nature?

What is your perspective on what you believe?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Lift up your praise to the Lord!

August 18, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the LORD
or fully declare his praise?
(Psalms 106:2 (NIV))

If you stop to think about this passage, there are a couple of ways that it can be understood, and perhaps both of them are correct. One implies the awesomeness of God while the other speaks to the fact that we as humanity have limited wisdom and understanding. I just love how God’s Word is capable of conveying so much with just a few words!

Who among God’s creation fully knows every mighty act that God has ever done? How can we even begin to comprehend the very creation of everything when all that God had to do was simply speak it into existence? We are told that words are powerful, that they can build up or that they can destroy. Our understanding of the power of God’s Word is so small in comparison to what it can accomplish! Can you speak anything into existence? All that we can do is make comments about what God has created. We cannot create!

The flip-side to this is that we, as humanity, as the creation, are limited in wisdom. We look at a beautiful day and we see the blue sky. We see the clouds. We see the trees and we see the majesty of what God has created. Even after all of the time that humanity has been on this planet since the Garden of Eden, we are only beginning to understand how God made everything to function. Each individual person is only capable of possessing just a minuscule amount of knowledge and wisdom when compared to all of the knowledge that can be attained?

When I look around, I see countless reasons to praise God for what He has done. They are everywhere, but there is one reason that far outweighs all other reasons.

“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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

This is one mighty act of the Lord for which I can forever bring praise!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We may not fathom His greatness, but we can praise Him?

May 11, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.
(Psalms 145:3 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to contemplate greatness?

What did you find yourself thinking about?

Some may think of massive structures such as tall buildings or massive natural wonders such as the Grand Canyon. Some may think of someone from history who had a tremendous impact on the world. Others may think of someone from sports that has set multiple records, while others may think of people who have been shrewd at business and amassed great wealth. It is funny how, in our humanity, we define these things as great, for they are all based on the physical world in which we live. But have you ever stopped to consider the greatness of the One who made the physical world?

We fail to truly realize the greatness of the One who created everything, for our perspective is limited and our understanding is as through a glass darkly.

Think about that using the following comparison.

Consider your perspective if you were an ant. Your world would be the same, but very different. Your understanding of your surroundings would be very limited. What you would consider to be great would be such things as the queen of the ant hill and the actual structure of the ant hill. You would have no concept of anything beyond this perspective. To an ant, a human being is huge. Would you even be able to grasp the concept that the giant mass in front of you is a living being? Could you even begin to fathom such a notion?

I often feel that in our relationship to God, we are the ants. We see things from a very limited perspective. We see traces of what God can do, but we do not truly comprehend the majesty and the greatness of our God for we try to understand Him from our limited perspective. How can we, as created humanity, ever begin to understand the Creator? How can we comprehend His greatness when all we see is His fingerprint on our lives?

Perhaps, the following passage says it best.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

How can we truly comprehend the greatness of the Lord when we stop to consider the truth written in Isaiah? We don’t have the capacity to understand infinite greatness! All that we can do is praise His name!

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