What are you trained to be?

November 3, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way.
(2 Corinthians 11:6 (NIV))

Every single one of us is good at something. Every single one of us has a special talent that we have nurtured because we are driven to pursue it in one manner or another. Some of us are driven to excellence in athletic endeavors. Some are driven to excel in music, while others are drawn to drama. Some are good at business, while others are more concerned with hospitality, kindness and caring.

What are you drawn to?

If you are like everyone else, you read, study or practice to get better at what you are drawn to. You become a sponge who is willing to absorb all that you can about your passion, about what drives you, about what you are drawn to. You grow in knowledge and wisdom. You grow in your training, whether it is from someone who is a mentor, or if it is through trial and error all on your own. Some people, like Paul, even have a divine calling. Even with the calling during his Damascus Road experience, Paul had to gain knowledge. He had to study. He had to wait for the Lord to lead him to the right place and time for his study and his passion to come together.

Today, we read the words that Paul recorded in his endeavors of spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles. We read his words of encouragement. We read his words of instruction. We read his words of chastisement when it was due. We know Paul as a great man of God, still, I have often wondered just what Paul was referring to when he said that he was given a thorn in his flesh.

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.
(2 Corinthians 12:7b (NIV))

There has been much speculation about what this could be, but the one thing that is obvious is that Paul did not focus on this thorn in his flesh. Out of all of the writings that we have from Paul, this is the only instance that this thorn in his flesh is mentioned. He used the talent and the passion that he did have to spread the Gospel.

We all have knowledge and a passion for something. We all have that specific thing that we have been trained to be in our lives. It is time to use that training, that one passion, and let it be brought to the forefront in such a way that it leads people to Jesus!

What are you trained to be?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you think of when you think of the kingdom of God?

August 8, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.”
(Mark 4:30-32 (NIV))

What do you think of when you think of the kingdom of God?

Do you think of the pearly gates and the streets paved in gold? I know that we have all read the passages that describe it as such, but have you ever stopped to think about the kingdom of God beyond these stories?

How does faith relate to the kingdom of God?

How does faith work in your life?

It starts small and as you see things that God does, faith grows. Just like the mustard seed, a small amount of faith can blossom into a life of faith that is bigger than we could ever have imagined.

Do you think that God’s kingdom is bigger than we could ever have imagined? Have we put God in a box of our own design and limited understanding of size? There is so much more to God than we can understand in this lifetime.

Picture yourself as the mustard seed. You would feel small and insignificant. You would feel like your were worth nothing. But, . . .

All it takes is for the mustard seed to be planted and nurtured and soon you would feel the majesty of what you have become. You would be able to face anything that your part of the world could send your way. You would no longer be that small, insignificant and weak mustard seed. you would be strong and mature and able to face whatever the world would send your way.

Faith is the same way!

God’s kingdom is the same way!

We think that it is small and insignificant and it grows beyond our feeble attempts at understanding it and is the strongest think in our world. God’s strength is there for us if we simply accept it. God’s grace is there for us if we simply accept it.

God’s kingdom is there whether we accept it or not. We can allow it to be planted into our lives and watch it grow, or we can reject it and it will never take root in our lives.

Do you allow the seed of God’s kingdom to grow, or do you let it die within your life?

It is your choice!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you

March 12, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you–guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
(2 Timothy 1:13-14 (NIV))

It is easy to hear something and have it register that it is a good thing to do. It is far more difficult to retain that teaching and to be able to live by it. We must let the Word of God take root in our lives just as Jesus told in the parable of the seed.

Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop–a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear.”
(Matthew 13:3-9(NIV))

Whether we look upon the Word of God as something that we must retain or as a seed that must take root in our lives, it is a living and life changing acquisition. Without the Word of God in our lives, we flounder and fall into sin. With the Word of God, we stop and consider what we are doing. We have a beacon in the darkness that is guiding us and allowing the truth to bloom and grow within us.

Jesus came to teach and to offer salvation. He is the Word made flesh. He is what we should retain. He is the seed that we should allow to take root and to grow. He is our only means of salvation.

Whether you look upon the Word of God as something to retain or as something to let take root and grow, it is something that must be central to your life. It must be nurtured through study, discipline and prayer. These are the elements that allow the Word of God to grow in your life. Are you providing the elements that are needed?

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

August 29, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.

When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked.

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, `Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
(Matthew 21:18-22 (NIV))

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer!

Those are mighty powerful words. Words that many seem to gloss over. Many take them to mean that God is a genii and is there to grant every wish that you have. Some even use this to argue that God cannot be real because if He was, then everybody would be thin, good looking, rich and popular.

What are your thoughts on this passage?

Do you believe that your faith can do what Jesus did?

I know that this is a difficult question, after all, Jesus was and is part of the Triune God. We are filthy rags in comparison. What is it about our faith that lacks the ability to do what Jesus did? He said that if we believe, then we will receive whatever we ask in prayer. Perhaps it is that we still see ourselves as the filthy rags, and not as the spotless child of God that we are through faith in Jesus. I know that things in my life have a tendency to remind me of my shortcomings.

Shortcomings.

We all have them, and we just can’t seem to let them go. It doesn’t help that Satan reminds us of them daily. Why do we listen to Satan instead of standing on the promises that Jesus gave us?

He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, `Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.
(Luke 17:6 (NIV))

A mustard seed is tiny. In comparison, it is probably about the same size as a capital “O” in this text. Think about that. We are told that if we have that much faith, we can do things. It makes me wonder just how much faith I have if that is all it takes, and I still find myself doubting.

Faith, just like a mustard seed, must be nurtured. Neither will grow if left in a barren place. Neither will grow if the surroundings choke them out. Neither will grow if you allow yourself or others to cut them down.

Most of us think of faith as a rock, as something that cannot be shaken. However, when we face anything in this world, we quickly start to worry and rely on ourselves and others, and not on our faith. Our mustard seeds never get to fully germinate and grow.

My prayer for you and for myself is that we will all start the day asking God for guidance so that our faith is not shaken. I pray that our faith may be nurtured and grow so that as we mature in our faith, we may become the unshakable rock that we long to be.

How is your faith?

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