What is it that you will receive?

November 15, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
(1 Peter 1:8-9 (NIV))

When I read this passage, the word “faith” and how the book of Hebrews defines it come to mind.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

If you stop to think about it, loving someone whom you have never seen and having the faith to believe with confidence that this person can bring salvation are probably the two most difficult things to do. Both require a wisdom and a faith beyond what is humanly possible, especially if you look at these aspects from a so-called mature perspective.

Take a look back at your life.

Was there ever a time when you could display such characteristics in your life? Was there ever a time when you could be so innocent that it was actually possible for you to love without seeing and believe without seeing? I think I now have a better understanding of why Jesus told his disciples the following.

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
(Matthew 18:2-5 (NIV))

The world and all of the sinful natures that we experience take a toll on our innocence. It takes a toll on our ability to love and believe. It takes a toll on our ability to recognize grace and to receive salvation. Don’t allow the world to take away your ability to love. Don’t allow the world to take away your ability to believe. Don’t allow the world to take away the joy of your salvation.

What is it that you will receive?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you allowed the Lord to get close to you?

October 31, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
(Psalms 34:18 (NIV))

Think back on the times in your life when you felt closest to the Lord.

What do you remember about the events of your life during these times? Were you going through a particularly rough time in your life? Were you crushed by the weight of the world coming down on you? Did someone or something leave you feeling brokenhearted? Most people reach out to God more during these kind of moments than when things are going good.

It is human nature to think that we have everything under control and think that everything is smooth sailing, and then we get hit with something that makes us realize that we are not in control. This makes perfect sense if you think how a small child will react when confronted with something that is not pleasant. They instinctually want to climb up into the lap of a parent for security. They want to feel the warm and reassuring embrace that lets them know that everything will be okay.

How does a child react when they feel that everything is safe? They slowly climb down and resume their playful activities. At first, they will look to the parent for reassurance. Then, the longer that they feel safe, the less that they look to the parent. They know that the parent still loves them and is there for when they need them, but they begin to think that they are the ones in control of their immediate surroundings.

Does this sound anything like how we treat God?

When we feel brokenhearted and insecure, we want to crawl into the lap of the Lord where we know that we will find comfort. The wonderful thing about this is that God will never turn us away. We are His children. Jesus said something that makes me firmly believe that God loves for us to crawl into His lap.

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
(Matthew 18:2-5 (NIV))

When we sit in the Father’s lap, we draw closer to Him. It is the times that we run off and do our own thing that finds us lost.

Have you allowed the Lord to get close to you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 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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Are you ready for whatever may come?

April 24, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down.”
(Revelation 10:1-4 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to think about this passage?

Explicit instructions were given to John to not write down what he heard. Up until this point, he was told to record everything to give to the churches.

In all of my study, this is the only time that we are left without any clue whatsoever as to what will happen. In all honesty, if it were a trivial matter, John would not have even mentioned the angel and the seven thunders.

Just what does this foreshadow?

I know the old saying that curiosity killed the cat. I completely place my faith in trust in the Lord, but this has me curious.

I have come to read this passage with trust and faith. I know that I am in the hands of the Lord and if there is something that I need to know, I will be told. There is an old saying that a little bit of knowledge is dangerous. I also know human nature. If John had recorded what the seven thunders had said, I believe that people would spend enormous amounts of time trying to figure out when the events would happen, and possibly try to avoid them happening.

Perhaps these events are not relevant to our faith. We all take advantage of modern transportation. We get in a car and we travel to our destinations. We know the basics of how a car works. We know how to follow road signs or the GPS. What we don’t need to know in order to get to our destination is how the cylinders and the fuel create the explosions that rotate the shaft that propels the car. We know what we need to know in order to reach our destination. In this particular instance, our destination is following Jesus. We know that there will be bumps along the way. We don’t need to know in detail the size and severity of these bumps or when they will happen.

Faith is built through studying God’s Word. Faith is also built by understanding that we don’t know all that God knows. To be honest with you, I wouldn’t want to. I can’t comprehend the vastness of His wisdom.

We are told to have the faith of a little child. Does a child know where his or her parents are leading them? Do they care? They know that they are loved and will be protected.

Like I said, I often wonder what John was told to not write down. However, this does not hamper my faith. it does not have me fixated on what may be coming. I simply place my faith and trust in the Lord and I know that He will see me through whatever may come.

Are you ready for whatever may come?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Through the eyes of a little child!

December 17, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all–he is the greatest.”
(Luke 9:48 (NIV))

I have read this passage many times and tonight it hit me in a way that I had not thought of before. Perhaps it is the time of year with Christmas very close, but something made me look at this in a different light.

I know that many Christians have trouble with the idea of Santa Claus, but if you consider the roots of this “person,” you come away with a different perspective. Nicholas was a 4th century Christian who was known for helping children. He is also known for other things, but his love and help of children has gained him much notoriety. There are various different stories about Nicholas, but the one thing that stands out is how he used his love for Jesus to reach out to the little children.

Perhaps our understanding of Santa Claus could use a true historical perspective based on church history and not on what society has made him. Perhaps our understanding of many things could use a true historical perspective based on church history.

Could you imagine a Christmas not tied up in gifts and decorations, but in the grace and mercy that God gave us through the manger? Could you imagine a Christmas based on the greatest gift of all times instead of the “perfect gift” that will be obsolete in a short time?

Nicholas came to mind because of his ministry to children. Jesus told us that we are to be as little children. We need to look at His love without the sins of the world trying to cling to everything and distort the truth about the greatest gift that humanity could ever be given.

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

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))

Perhaps we need to look at the gift of Christmas through the eyes of a little child once again!

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have enough faith to believe in God’s promises?

November 14, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.
(Isaiah 11:6 (NIV))

Have you ever really thought about this passage and the perfect picture of peace that it represents? Prey and predator living in peace. No more enemies and no more fears. No lack of trusting each other. No mortal fear for your life. Existing in peace and perfection the way that God intended.

Too many people laugh at this concept and claim that this will never happen because the very natures of these animals will not allow such a thing to happen. Are these the same people who also claim that there is no god and that Jesus was only a man? They don’t believe that God exists. They don’t believe that the nature of creation can be changed. They claim that they are only being realistic and that if you simply observe things that it proves that this will never happen.

Can you think of a time in history when people would scoff at something and claim that if you simply observe things, it proves their point of view?

How is that flat earth thing going for them after Columbus returned from his voyages?

Sadly, some people are just too stubborn to accept anything on faith. They have it set in their minds that if they cannot see it, then it must not exist. If they can’t test it, then it could not possibly happen. They lack any potential to have faith or hope.

Can you imagine a more depressing outlook on life? A life without faith and hope leaves you void, angry and depressed. We all need faith.

Faith can move mountains. Hope and faith give us the strength to carry on from day to day.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

Do you have enough faith to believe in God’s promises?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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