What are you learning?

May 18, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.
(2 Timothy 3:7 (NIV))

I find it interesting that almost every aspect of our society is so overwhelmed with learning more and more. On the surface, this sound very good. For the most part it is. The problem comes when we focus so much on what is learned and forget about truth, when we focus more on man-made credentials instead of the wisdom that God bestows.

I even see this in many churches.

How many of you have heard someone say something like, “They can’t do that. they don’t have a degree.” Think about that for a moment in relation to the movement of the Holy Spirit. If God has given someone a gift and the Holy Spirit enables that gift, who are we to stop it just because the person doesn’t have a degree in the area? I don’t know about you, but this sounds very similar to being a Pharisee. Did they accept John the Baptist? Didn’t they try to stop Jesus? Speaking of Jesus, what man-made credentials did He possess? Think about that in relationship to the church that He calls His own. Think about that in relationship to the men whom He drew close to Himself to be His disciples. They did not possess man-made credentials, yet He used them to spread the Gospel and to reach the world.

There is often a big difference between learning and wisdom, or in reference to this passage, learning and knowledge of the truth. It seems to me that the more we focus on learning, the less wisdom and knowledge of the truth that we possess.

Think about this in relation to your studies. What are you learning?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you been made a part of the family?

April 3, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.
(Hebrews 2:11 (NIV))

Did you fully grasp the meaning behind these words in this passage?

It is commonly stated that those who believe in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior are part of the family of God, but has this concept truly taken hold of your life? It is human nature to say things so much that we soon begin to miss the true meaning of the words and the concepts because we begin to take things for granted. Sadly, it is human nature to become so familiar with something, that the excitement starts to fade!

For those of you who are married, I wish to present an example of what I am talking about. When you first said the words “I love you” to your spouse, there was a very strong emotion that was tied to those words. As the years progressed, you may say the same words, but there is a familiarity that is there. The meaning behind the words has slightly shifted in the relationship. The relationship is strong, but the words no longer convey the same strong emotion. Does your heart still race at the sound of their voice? Do you long for the times that you will be together? Or, do you simply sit on the couch and quietly enjoy each other’s company? Are you comfortable in your relationship? Are you confident of your standing in that relationship?

When you fist accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, how was your excitement level? How is it now? Are you still overwhelmed to be called a child of God, or have you grown so accustom to that concept that you don’t get excited about it anymore? Do you fidget and stammer for words when you pray or is there a comfort zone that has developed, just like there is a comfort zone in a healthy earthly family? Do you feel that you can know the Lord so well that He does truly feel like a brother?

Have you been made a part of the family?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Stand firm on the Word of God

May 23, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
(2 Timothy 4:2-5 (NIV))

People not putting up with sound doctrine. People doing things after their own desires. People listening only to what they want to hear. People turning away from truth.

Does this sound anything like what we are seeing in our society today?

As I think about the state of the world, I can’t help but stop and say a prayer for the people who are caught up in the lies of the enemy. They have been blinded to the truth by the enemy to the point where they now hate the truth. They have refused to believe the truth, so it is only logical that they would believe the lie.

and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 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 2:10-12 (NIV))

What is it about human nature that makes some people refuse to accept the truth? There are some people who would argue with you if you tell them that the sky is blue. That is simply a combative spirit, but what about the people who will yell obscenities at you for telling them that God loves them?

It is so easy to become overwhelmed with all that is going on in the world.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
(John 16:33 (NIV))

Don’t allow the world to keep you from doing what you know to be right in the eyes of God. Preach the Word. Endure hardship and do the work that God has called you to do! Stand firm!

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

February 20, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.””
(John 4:13-14 (NIV))

Have you ever heard someone say that they are welling up with pride?

The idea is that you are so overwhelmed and overfilled with a certain emotion that it is overflowing from within. With that concept stated, why do we declare that we are welling up with a sinful emotion? Why do we become overjoyed with the idea of being proud? Why can’t we become overjoyed with the gift of eternal life that is ours if we only accept it?

Think about that for a moment!

Are we so lost in our sin that we can’t get overjoyed with a gift of grace so spectacular that it leads to eternal life?

I realize that we are lost in sin ever since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden, but if we are shown a way to redeem ourselves, shouldn’t we be overjoyed? Shouldn’t we be overflowing with emotion far greater than pride? Shouldn’t the water that Jesus gives quench such a great thirst that we can’t hold it in? Shouldn’t we share this water with all that we see? Perhaps I should state that a little differently. Shouldn’t others see the water welling up from inside of us?

Are you welling up inside?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you caught up in legalism or grace?

May 24, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.
(Luke 11:46 (NIV))

Have you been loaded down with burdens about the laws of God? Has legalism kept you from knowing the true grace and peace that Jesus came to bring?

It is so easy to become caught in the throes of legalism, after all, there is a very valid reason that the law exists. It is when we become so overwhelmed with the letter of the law that we miss the true meaning of the law. When this happens, people spend more time concerned about the small details that they miss the big picture. They miss the very reason that the law was given to begin with.

Are you more concerned with how your church service is performed than with what is communicated through that service? Are you more concerned with what people wear than the fact that they are there?

Don’t load yourself and others down with burdens like these. Look to the One who gave the law and His grace and mercy instead of looking at the law.

The law cannot save. It only accuses and convicts the guilty, and we are all guilty of sin. Only God’s grace and mercy through the blood of Jesus can save.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Walk by faith and keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

October 29, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

for we walk by faith, not by sight
(2 Corinthians 5:7 (NAS))

When things in this world look like they can’t get any worse, do you give up or do you walk confident in the promises that God has given?

When it seems that the whole world has gone crazy, do you hold fast to the truth or do you through your hands up in frustration?

When you are ridiculed for your faith in Jesus, do you make excuses or do you cling tightly to Jesus?

It is a matter of priorities!

It is a matter of trust!

It is a matter of faith!

It is so easy to be overwhelmed by the things that are going on in the world. I see people every day who are literally on the edge of giving up or who have given up. All of this is due to the fact that they are looking at the world through physical eyes. That is what Satan wants us to do. He wants us to focus on what we can see. He knows that if we focus on what we can see, then we will soon forget the promises that God has made and we will give up on God.

Remember these words when you are walking through difficult times.

Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever.
(Psalms 23:4-6 (NIV))

Walk by faith and keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where do you worship?

April 25, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month on the fifth day, while I was among the exiles by the Kebar River, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.
(Ezekiel 1:1 (NIV))

It sounds like Ezekiel was completely overwhelmed with his visions of God. He did exactly as I would do. He memorized the exact time and place that God came to him. I know that I would never forget such an experience, and it is human nature to want to create points of reference so that we can remember our special moments. However, we must be careful not to make the location more important than the encounter.

Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters–one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
(Matthew 17:4 (NIV))

Just like Ezekiel, Peter had an experience where he witnessed something that God desired for him to see. Peter was so moved by the experience that he wanted to build what basically would have been a set of shrines, or places of worship. The only problem is that Jesus knew the shrines would become more important than what actually happened there.

Ezekiel did not dwell on the location. He did not turn it into a place of worship. He knew that God was and is to be worshipped in truth and in spirit.

Take a serious look at your worship life. Have you turned your worship into a routine dictated by a place? Have you become so rooted in your habits that the place of worship is more important than the worship? We must learn not to dwell upon the insignificance of the place, but rather, we must learn to focus on the importance of “Who” we worship. God is not limited to only one place. He is everywhere. We must worship at all times and when we come together on Sundays, we must worship in unity as a single Body of Christ.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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