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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When you look at things, are they possible or impossible?

February 9, 2018

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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 19:26 (NIV))

We like to take Matthew 19:26 out of context and apply it to whatever we may be facing that appears to be a no win situation. To be honest with you, nothing is impossible with God, so it is a good application. Still, we tend to overlook the original message.

This particular passage was directed at His disciples and it comes at the end of a discourse with a rich young man.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
(Matthew 19:23-25 (NIV))

In case you didn’t catch the implication, Jesus was saying that salvation was only possible through God. Think about that for a moment. Each of us have something that we cherish. Each of us have something that we long to hold on to, that we don’t want to surrender. For some, it is money. For others, it may be power. For others, it may be any number of things. For this particular young man, it was his wealth. Jesus told him that it was necessary to surrender what he held dear to himself and choose to follow Jesus. I think that the disciples caught on to what Jesus was saying because they asked, “Who then can be saved?” The disciples knew human nature. They knew how difficult it is to surrender what is closest to your heart. They knew that it was and is a matter of priorities. They had made the choice to trade everything for the ultimate treasure.

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
(Matthew 13:44 (NIV))

Jesus let them know that a person cannot change their heart, but God can. God can take a cold and hardened heart and bring it back to life. God can take the “wealth” that a person holds dear and make it all look worthless in comparison to what He has to offer. If you think about this, Jesus also let us know that people are not in the business of saving each other. We don’t have the power or authority, but God does! How do you look at things, from your perspective or from God’s?

When you look at things, are they possible or impossible?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready for the Lord to do a new thing?

December 31, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

This is what the LORD says–
he who made a way through the sea,
a path through the mighty waters,
who drew out the chariots and horses,
the army and reinforcements together,
and they lay there, never to rise again,
extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.
(Isaiah 43:16-19 (NIV))

January 1st !!!

A new year. A new beginning. If you are like me, you probably have plans to do things a little different in the new year. You have new hobbies. New family members. Perhaps you may even have a new job.

What makes the new year so different from the old year? Just because the calendar tells us it is the beginning of a new year is no reason to do anything different. Those changes can come at any time of your life, any day of the year. If you have wandered away from God, make a u-turn and come back to the embraces of a loving Father. He is still there. He is still the same.

Isaiah wrote of God doing a new thing. God has made a way in the desert. He has made streams in the wastelands. He sent Jesus into this world to give each of us a way to receive salvation. God became a man. That definitely was a new thing from our perspective. Now, we can come to God through Jesus.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8 (NIV))

If God came to this earth as Jesus, and Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, what does that mean to you? Will God continue to do new things? Personally, I don’t think that God is in the traditions business. All throughout the Bible, the people of tradition were the very people who tried to stifle what God was doing. God is in the business of drawing people to Him. Expect something new and wonderful. Open yourself up to that possibility and I believe that God will pour out countless blessings to those who earnestly seek Him and the new things that He does. It is important to not be fooled by the enemy. God will never contradict His Word. Study God. Study His Word so that you will know and be able to discern God’s still, small voice.

Happy New Year !

May it bring you abundant blessings from God so that you may be a blessing to others.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you desire to have a clean heart?

December 13, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (NIV))

Do you realize that the birth of Jesus took this passage, this prayer, and made it possible to have a clean heart in the eyes of God?

Think about that with respect to David’s desires when he wrote these words. David was described as a man after God’s own heart, yet he was not able to be made clean in the eyes of God. David’s salvation had not come into this world when these words were written. It may have been David’s desire, but because of humanity’s sinful nature, he, like all of us, was unclean in the eyes of God. Nothing that he could do could change that.

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))

Thankfully, God had other plans!

God made it possible for David’s desires, and ours, to become reality. Through the birth, life, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, we have the ability to be washed clean.

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
(Psalms 51:7 (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))

God’s love for us provided the plan. Jesus’ obedience provided the way. The Holy Spirit’s prompting us provides the question. It is our desire that provides the answer. With this in mind, do you desire to have a clean heart? Do you desire to be made clean in the eyes of God? Jesus is the way!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you delusional?

September 18, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
(2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 (NIV))

What do you think of when you hear that someone is delusional?

If you are like most people, you think of the proverbial old lady who thinks that you are her child. You think of the type of characters who are, for lack of a better description, space cadets. You think of some of the people who believe that they are someone besides who they truly are.

The one common trait that all of these possess is a strong adherence to something that is totally false. Something inside of them has convinced them that a lie is the truth and they cling to it completely.

Think about being delusional, or possessing a false belief, about your sinful nature. Sadly, too many people believe that they are good. Sadly, too many people possess a false belief about Jesus. These false beliefs are numerous in nature, but some of the most common are that Jesus did not exist, or that He was only a man, or that He was not resurrected. History records that there were numerous witnesses to all of these aspects of Jesus, yet people have a false belief contrary to historical evidence. They are delusional.

I honestly do not know if we are at the point in God’s plan where the powerful delusion has been sent, but I do know that there are numerous people who deny the truth and delight in wickedness. According to God, they are delusional.

Are you delusional?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 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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What does your diet consist of?

July 13, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
(Matthew 4:4 (NIV))

We think that we know this passage. We hear it quoted so often, though, that I think we may miss the deeper meaning to these words.

We read them and understand them for the surface meaning where we need more than food to survive. We need the Word of God, and we need God.

I would venture to say that there is also an extended meaning to these words. A meaning that takes what we understand and takes it that one step further.

Is bread physical? Can you see it? Can you touch it? Can you taste it?

Is God physical?

He is exactly opposite. He cannot be seen. He cannot be touched. He cannot be experienced in any of the ways that our physical senses are used to experiencing things. God is spirit. We must encounter Him as He is. This does not mean that God cannot manifest Himself in physical ways, but it does mean that He is primarily in a realm of existence that we do not experience in our physical existence.

We must seek Him beyond the physical realm that we know. We must seek Him in His realm.

Man is like a breath;
his days are like a fleeting shadow.
(Psalm 144:4 (NIV))

In our physical existence, we are here only for a short time. Even in our short, physical existence, God loves us. He wants us to be with Him. He has overcome our physical existence by sending Jesus to the physical world.

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))

We can, and must, reach out to Him in the spiritual realm. We experience God by allowing ourselves to reach beyond the physical and take small glimpses of the spiritual.

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
(1 Corinthians 13:!2 (NIV))

When we live “on every word that comes from the mouth of God,” we begin to see the reflection clearer.

What do you live on?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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