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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Do you praise God in the middle of your storms?

March 21, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed. I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. I spread out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land.
(Psalms 143:4-6 (NIV))

Life can and will be pretty disheartening at times. We all face things in this life that are far from perfect. These are things that make us dismayed and heavy hearted. These things weigh heavily upon our spirits. Sometimes, they are so overwhelming that we simply want to curl up and remove ourselves from the weight of the world as it comes pressing in on us.

What do you do in times like this?

Some people will actually curl up. Some will try to escape by isolating themselves. Some will even go so far as to pack up and leave whatever is overwhelming them. Some will turn to family and friends for help, and others will turn to God.

I find it interesting that all those who turn to God actually gain strength and maturity from their situations. Everyone else turns inward and sees no hope while those who turn to God see things from His perspective. They look at all that He has done throughout all of creation and all of history and realize that He is more than sufficient to handle whatever they are going through.

They praise Him in the middle of their storms!

Do you praise God in the middle of your storms?

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

January 3, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
(James 1:2-4 (NIV))

God would not give us trials if they did not produce fruits of the Spirit. If we did not have trials, we would never mature in our faith and our walk with God.

As a small child, you faced trials: dressing yourself, feeding yourself, tying your shoes. At the time, it seemed almost impossible to make it through the trial. But, now, looking back, you realize the benefits gained from those trials – maturity and growth.

The trials that we face that test our faith are the same. God knows that we will mature as a result of these trials. Do not regret the trials. Welcome them for what they are – a way to get closer to God and to grow into the image of Jesus Christ.

Do you face your trials with joy?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your faith mature enough to place others as a priority?

November 28, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
(Colossians 1:9 (NIV))

Do we, as the modern church, follow this example?

I know that the Body of Christ prays, but what do we honestly pray for?

Have you ever noticed that prayer comes in levels. Someone new in their faith will pray for things that directly effect them. A little maturity shifts the focus and slightly enlarges the circle of inclusion. As maturity increases, prayers are offered up for those who we don’t personally know.

Where are you in the process? How mature is your faith? Do you pray for those whom you do not know? Are you like Paul and willing to pray for those that you hear about even though you may never meet them? Paul was willing to pray for those whom he heard about. He was also willing to go to these very people and give them more than his prayers. He was willing to take his time to go and share the gospel with people whom he had never met.

Are you willing to do what Paul did? Are you willing to go as well as pray?

Is your faith mature enough to place others as a priority?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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There is definitely power in the name of Jesus!

December 18, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
(Matthew 26:28 (NIV))

It would take something very powerful to cleanse the sins of everyone in the world. It would take something very mighty to cleanse the sins of all time.

I have shared before the that word “Merry” comes from old English and that it means “Mighty.” The birth of Jesus begins the blood line of salvation. A bloodline filled with power and grace. It is indeed mighty. When we celebrate the birth of Jesus this Christmas, remember that it is the birth that we celebrate, but the birth is only the beginning. A birth brings hope. A birth brings a promise for a better tomorrow. But, the birth is only the beginning. Growth and maturity must play a part. Without Jesus becoming a man and dying on the cross for our sins, His birth would be nothing special. It would simply be another human being out of billions who have lived.

There is definitely power in the blood of Jesus. That power is there because of His birth, His life, His death and His resurrection. It is indeed a life of might and power. It is intended to be shared by the whole world and at the very same time, it is personal.

This Christmas season, take time to reflect on the mighty deeds that Jesus has done and fully embrace the mighty power of His blood. I pray that you will truly have a very “Merry” Christmas and learn to fully rely on the might of His Holy Name.

Merry Christmas !

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Maturity requires deeper understanding

September 9, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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))

Satan has tricked our society and our churches into focusing on the “milk” of salvation. We do not spend enough time teaching how to distinguish good from evil. This is evident in our society when the courts can remove a judge for acknowledging where our laws come from and do so in the name of “ethics.” It is evident when an unborn baby can be killed because it is not yet a human life.

I could go on and on with examples. We are too soft and do not call evil what it is. We would rather ignore it in the hope that it will go away. It will not go away. It wants to control. I saw a sign on a church that stated this truth extremely well. “Don’t give Satan a ride. He wants to drive.” Satan wants control. He tries to gain control in any way that he can. Trickery is part of his arsenal. He has tricked us into shying away from the full promise that God has given us through Jesus. Satan knows that people will turn to Jesus. Some will fully understand. They will nourish themselves on the solid food of God’s Word. Others will try it and shy away. Still others will never desire to try the solid food. They are content in the “feel good” aspects of Christianity where they do not have to do anything and they are not held accountable for anything. These people are referred to as luke warm Christians in Revelations. I don’t think that I need to remind anybody about what awaits the luke warm believers.

Solid food is essential for both the physical body as well as spiritual growth. There comes a time when milk is simply not enough to sustain us. This is only natural for any person who is growing and maturing. I have never seen a forty year old who survived solely on milk. I have never seen a mature Christian who only ate of the salvation. Maturity requires deeper understanding. It requires a conscious effort to draw closer to God.

Are you on solid food?

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

October 15, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is happy.
(Proverbs 29:18 (NLT))

Accepting guidance is a sign of maturity, after all, guidance was established for a reason. Most of the time the reason is for the safety and welfare of yourself and others. Other times guidance is used to assist you in learning something more quickly than you could on your own. When we accept guidance, we admit that we are in need of instruction in that particular area. We become willing to submit our intellect and ego to the authority of another.

Divine guidance is the same. We must be willing to submit to the Word of God and take it to heart. We must reflect upon the words of truth that God has placed in our hearts, meditating upon them as we go about our daily lives. We must partake of the the very substance of their fiber. We must eat of the Word of God and taste the sweetness of it (Ezekial 3:3). We must take God’s Word into our bodies and make it become an integral part of us.

When we accept God’s guidance, through His Word, we allow Him to come in and instruct us in His ways.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
(Isaiah 55:8(NIV))

There is an old saying that ignorance is bliss. If we are ignorant of God’s Word, what do we honestly have? We do not know God. We will not know the peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7) if we do not know God. Does ignorance sound like it is blissful? If we do not have peace, how can we honestly be happy?

Have you accepted God’s guidance in your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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