Are you a member of God’s family?

January 14, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
(John 3:3 (NIV))

I was recently given a very interesting glimpse of God’s love for us through the birth of my granddaughter! Let me explain, and for those of you who have recently experienced the birth of a child, you probably already understand.

Is there anything that makes the human heart happier than the birth of a child? It brings joy to the mother and father and all who are related to them. People gather all around to celebrate the birth of the precious new life! They bestow gifts on the parents and on the child. They make a commitment to always be there for the child as they grow and mature. They instantly love with more love than they could possibly imagine.

Think about that in terms of being a child of God’s.

When we are born again, we are born of the Spirit. We accept the grace and mercy freely given to become a son or a daughter of God. In true fashion, we literally are born again. We are birthed into the family of God! Don’t you think that the Lord is filled with joy when someone truly decides to call Him Father? The human joy that we experience when we hold a newborn member of our family is overwhelming. How much greater is the joy that God and all of heaven feel when we are born into God’s family?

There is no greater joy in this world than the birth of a child. There is no greater joy that God can experience than the rebirth of one of His beloved children.

Have you given God great joy? Are you a member of God’s family?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you see yourself in this list?

April 24, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
(2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV))

What is it about human nature that makes us want to make lists? What is it about human nature that makes us want to place ourselves right at the top of the lists that we make?

We like to classify and identify almost every aspect of our lives as well as the lives of others. Have you noticed that if someone likes to make lists of the faults of others, they are usually trying to hide their own faults? We like to think that by pointing out the problems in the lives of others, we draw attention away from our faults and make ourselves look much better than we truly are. In essence, we like to toot our own horn! We like to be the center of attention.

Does this sound anything like the characteristics listed in the passage above?

We are told the characteristics that people will possess in the last days. In today’s world, are people lovers of themselves and lovers of money? Are people boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient, ungrateful and unholy? Are people loveless, unforgiving, slanderous, lacking self-control and brutal? Do people love good or are they treacherous, rash, conceited and lovers of pleasure? If you answered yes to these questions, then by logical reasoning, what can you claim is true of the times in which we live?

As previously stated, people like to make lists. God also makes lists. He has defined the characteristics that He despises in humanity and how they will be very evident in the last days. These are characteristics that we do not wish to possess. This is a list that we do not wish to be on.

Do you see yourself in this list?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 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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The times and seasons may change, but Jesus is always with you!

May 12, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
(Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV))

I knew this day would come. My oldest has graduated college and my youngest is packing to go away to work for the summer while the one who has the luck of being called the middle child sits comfortably in his surroundings at home.

Have you ever felt sad and happy at the same time?

I am sure that you have. I am saddened by the changes in life, yet I am happy that each is finding there own way and that each claim Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

I am feeling the aches and pains of bad knees. I am feeling sadness that my parents are getting older, yet at the same time I am glad that they are getting older.

Everything in life changes. We are only here for a fleeting moment in time and then we are memories in the hearts and minds of those that we have loved.

What time and season are you in at this moment?

Are you looking forward to a graduation, or a wedding, or a new birth? Are you comfortable in your daily routine? Are you enjoying your family and friends? Cherish every moment that you have, for there will never be another moment like that one again.

Don’t get so busy trying to provide for life that you forget to live? Don’t forget to say I love you!

Think back on your life so far. Do you realize that Jesus was with you through all of the times and the seasons? He is there now. He will be there tomorrow!

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

The times and seasons may change, but Jesus is always with you!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you claim to be a child of God?

October 29, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.
(Deuteronomy 8:5 (NIV))

How many parents do you know who will not discipline and correct their children when they do something that is wrong? Most parents have an innate sense of responsibility to raise their children to obey what is considered to be the laws and the socially acceptable practices of the society.

Do you claim to be a child of God?

If you do, are you willing to admit that God will discipline you when the need arises? Just as an earthly parent will do what is right in disciplining a child, then, doesn’t it stand to reason that God, who is the Creator and Father of all, would also correct us out of love?

An earthly father will not discipline out of hatred. He disciplines out of love, knowing that the short period of discipline will result in a lesson learned that will prevent a longer period of suffering or even death. God is the same way. He disciplines those who call Him Father, for He desires to have each of us mature to be Christlike in our life.

Think back on the last time that you felt that you were being disciplined. After passing through that period in your life, do you have the same outlook as when the discipline started? Did the discipline save you from making a much bigger mistake or “sin?”

As the Body of Christ, we should welcome Godly discipline, for it is through this discipline that we are able to mature.

Is God truly your Father, or do you look upon Him simply as a source of magic and a place to turn when in trouble?

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

June 3, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Train a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it.
(Proverbs 22:6 (NIV))

Our church just finished up Vacation Bible School. Attendance was great and they had fun, but more importantly, they learned something. This made me think of our responsibilities as parents. We have been given a huge trust when we are given our children. We must teach them just as Jesus taught. We need to teach the children and sadly, we also must be willing to discipline when needed.

As a parent, this was always my least favorite thing to do.

However, we must instruct them in the ways that they should go. If we withhold discipline, just as if we withhold instruction, we are not being responsible for the lives that God has entrusted to us.

Do not withhold discipline from a child;
if you punish him with the rod, he will not die.
Punish him with the rod
and save his soul from death.
(Proverbs 23:13-14)

Up until recent history, these principles were upheld in all of society. As a result, society held respect for its members. Of course, there are always some who do not learn the lesson, but as a whole, the Biblical principle worked. In today’s society, people are too busy to even spend time with their children, let alone train them or discipline them. Just as God disciplines those He loves and who love Him, we must not think that discipline is mean or detrimental. It is through training and discipline that Godly traits are developed. This is a hard series of sayings from the Bible, but Jesus reinforced them in:

If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
(Matthew 5:29-30)

Discipline is never easy to take. Today, too many people find it difficult to give. Remember that if we do not discipline those we love to guide them and direct them, then God will have the ultimate discipline when they are cast into the lake of fire. It is better to reprimand and discipline for a short time than to have the undisciplined spend eternity apart from God.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who do you rely on?

April 25, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. This will result in your being witnesses to them. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. By standing firm you will gain life.
(Luke 21:12-19 (NIV))

How many times have you been in a situation where you felt you needed to defend your faith?

At times like these we need to rely on the Holy Spirit to provide us with our defense. All too many times we rely on our own understanding to defend ourselves. We need to let go and let God. God is in control. He will provide for us even in times of need. This includes our own defense. We say that we believe in God and that Jesus is our Lord and Savior, yet do we really trust that God will deliver us?

It is human nature to rely on ourselves. We must break this nature and fully rely on God.

Who do you rely on?

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