Do you understand the mystery?

April 19, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.
(1 Timothy 3:16 (NIV))

For many people, this is easily understood and makes perfect sense. To others, it is complete foolishness.

If you stop to think about the word foolishness, it means a ridiculous act or idea. Just what is so ridiculous about the idea of God as a loving creator? If God can create with words, why can’t His words reflect love and beauty? Why can’t they shine grace and mercy into a world that has fallen into sin and evil desires? Why is there such a mystery around the concept that God loves us enough to do something that will bring redemption to us?

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))

I once heard a story that puts a unique perspective to this!

A man who questioned the whole story of Jesus found himself out on his property during a bad snow storm. There was a huge flock of birds who were unable to fly away due to the weather. They were also freezing to death in the snow. He had a large barn so he went out to open the doors to let the birds go in, but no matter what he did, they would not go. He tried everything and still no luck in getting the birds to move. In desperation he thought, “If only I were a bird. I could lead them where they can find safety.” At that moment, he realized that this is what God had done. He became a man in order to show us the way to life! In an instant, he understood the mystery of God’s plan of salvation. It was not foolishness!

Do you understand the mystery?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What’s in your heart?

April 18, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
(Psalms 119:11 (NIV))

Everybody has something that they hide away. Some people will keep just about anything hidden in their hearts only to be let out when they think that no one is paying attention or when no one that they know will see. It is sad to see what some people will hide away. Greed, envy, lust and pride are just a few of the things that people will hide in order to avoid people seeing their sinful nature.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

I find it disheartening that what people hide in their hearts is actually what they treasure. How can anybody treasure greed, envy, lust or pride? In essence, I suppose that all of these actually reflect three people – me, myself and I! If you get right to the point, most things that people hide in their hearts are all centered around what they treasure most – themselves. Everything else is simply how to make themselves feel more important or superior to others. They simply try to fill the selfish void with worldly things.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
(Matthew 6:19-20 (NIV))

Human history is full of stories of how people have filled their hearts with the wrong things. We see how they sought to secure the worldly things to make the outward appearances match the inner desires. Some people have taken this to extremes with wars to expand kingdoms. Others are less domineering, yet, they still focus on the worldly that thief, moth and rust can take.

There is something so much better to hide in your heart!

Do you seek after God’s Word? Do you desire to fill your life with obedience to the Lord? Do you treasure every word that has been recorded in God’s Word? Do you love the truth? Do you hide God’s word in your heart? Think about that in relationship to the following passage.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 (NIV))

Jesus is the Word made flesh!

Do you hide Jesus in your heart?

What’s in your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Which law do you want to live under?

April 16, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
(Romans 8:1-2 (NIV))

In our lives, we all have to answer to many different types of laws.

There are physical laws such as the law of gravity. I have yet to meet anyone who has tested these laws and lived. It is true that we have learned to bend these laws and apply them to our daily lives, but there is no way that you can ever truly know with complete certainty that when you bend these laws that your efforts will succeed. Referring back to the law of gravity, it is possible to jump out of an aircraft and rely on a parachute to open and allow you to ride the air currents to slow you down. This only works as long as the parachute does what it was designed to do. If it does not, then you suffer the consequences!

There are man made laws that quite often are based on what is hopefully a common sense application of physical laws, moral laws and spiritual laws. Murder is a prime example. With man made laws, they are open to creation and interpretation of those who are in authority. Human authority can change!

There are moral laws, which are quite often derived from spiritual laws. Once again, murder is a good example. Almost everyone knows that it is wrong to kill someone, yet, there are many times when people ignore or bend this law to suit their needs.

Most of us are able to claim that we have lived a “good” life and that we have not tempted physical laws. We try to avoid breaking man made laws, especially the ones that we consider to be a moral or spiritual no-no. However, there are other things that we need to consider with spiritual laws. We all miss the mark. We all sin.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

In other words, we have all broken God’s laws. Because of what we have done, we are all condemned to death, but God has placed another law into play that we can rightfully use to claim freedom. Through the law of the Spirit who gives life, we can claim forgiveness. We can throw ourselves on the mercy of God and claim the blood of Jesus Christ. We can acknowledge that Jesus is our personal Lord and Savior.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

We have two choices as to what law applies to our lives. We can live under the law of sin and death, or we can find grace by living under the law of the Spirit who gives life.

Which law do you want to live under?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Who do you say that God is?

April 11, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
(Revelation 1:8 (NIV))

To paraphrase this passage, God is the beginning and the end. He is all things in between. He has always been. He is now, and He will always be. He is the Creator of all things. He holds all power and authority. His power and authority were in the beginning and they will be in the end. He is unchanging and no one can come close to His power and authority!

Humanity has spent thousands of years trying to define just who they think that God is. Along the way, various different groups of people have created false gods. Most of these are simply attempts at putting a limited understanding of creation onto a persona that they could understand and define. People have even gone so far as to create idols that they assign godlike attributes to.

I want you to stop and ask yourself a question.

Who do you say that God is?

Are you able to comprehend the God of the Bible or do you try to make up your own definition, your own mental image, of what you believe God to be?

We know that God is called “Father.” Is your understanding of a loving father swayed by an earthly father who was less than loving?

We know that God is called “Creator.” Do you struggle with the concept that God has the power and that everything was simply spoken into existence?

We know that God is called “Healer.” Are you so blinded to the fact that humanity allowed sin and death into the world that you can’t understand why God allows things to happen to those you love?

We know that God created us in His image. Do you struggle with the idea that He loves you so much that He took the time to create you? We know that He created us to be in fellowship, in relationship, with Him. Do you understand the concept of sin and the consequences of sin and how that relationship was broken in the Garden of Eden? Do you struggle with the idea that God did not want to spend eternity without us, so He devised a plan to redeem us so that He could call us His own? I could go on and on, but we are simply not capable of fully grasping all that God is.

Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?
(Job 11:7 (NIV))

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
(Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV))

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
(Isaiah 40:28 (NIV))

All of His wisdom and righteousness we cannot even begin to understand, but there is one thing that we can understand if we will simply humble ourselves.

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))

I feel that I need to ask this one question once again. It is my prayer that you dwell on this question and pray to come to a true understanding.

Who do you say that God is?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Society teaches us something much different!

April 6, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
(Hebrews 13:5 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to think that when we love money we are simply substituting one treasure for another? To be honest with you, we are actually trading down. There is nothing more valuable, nothing more worth having than the assurance that we have been given grace and salvation. That is the ultimate treasure, but far too many people simply ignore that treasure for a treasure that can be stolen.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV))

Why do we want to make such a ridiculous trade?

Why do we trade eternity for something shiny in the moment? Why do we long for things that will fade and rust?

As long as I can remember, we have been taught to toot our own horn, to follow our own will, and to go for the gusto so that we can enjoy the moment and reap all of the pleasures that it has to offer.

But see, there is joy and revelry, slaughtering of cattle and killing of sheep, eating of meat and drinking of wine! “Let us eat and drink,” you say, “for tomorrow we die!”
(Isaiah 22:13 (NIV))

Too many people follow the sentiment in this passage without realizing that it has consequences.

The Lord Almighty has revealed this in my hearing: “Till your dying day this sin will not be atoned for,” says the Lord, the Lord Almighty.
(Isaiah 22:14 (NIV))

Society has deteriorated to the point where no one truly thinks of the consequences of their actions. Being self-centered is the normal state anymore. When you are self-centered, all that you can think of is worldly increase. We are told, and we soon begin to believe, that we deserve all that we can get. If we aren’t careful, we will get what we deserve.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

We must ignore what society is preaching and teaching and repent. We must turn to Jesus and love the Lord. We must love the Lord with all of our heart, our soul and our mind! We must ignore what society is doing, for society teaches us something much different!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you still in darkness?

March 29, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
(John 12:46 (NIV))

When you are trapped in the dark, it is impossible to find your way. You can’t tell which way to turn. You can’t locate a way out. Any step that you take will probably end up with you stumbling and falling. Too many attempts on your own will end up with you being hurt and possibly seriously endangering others. The only way that you can find a way out of this darkness is if someone from outside of the darkness is able to shine a light into the darkness so that you can see the exit.

Does this sound familiar?

Sin has each of us trapped in the darkness and far too many of us don’t ever realize it. Every effort that we make to find our way just seems to get us in deeper and deeper. When left to our own attempts, we can never figure out which way to turn. We simply can’t locate a way out of our sin. The more that we try to deal with the darkness of this sinful world, the more that we hurt ourselves and others.

What if someone would shine a light in the darkness of this world so that we could find a way into the light?

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
(John 8:12 (NIV))

Jesus stepped out of heaven and into the darkness of this world to show us the light. He has shown us a way to escape the darkness of sin and death. He has provided a light for us to follow so that we can escape the darkness and live eternally in the light!

But, . . .

It doesn’t stop there.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.
(Matthew 5:14 (NIV))

We are to share the light so that others may find their way out of the darkness.

If you were in a burning building and many lives were at stake, wouldn’t you lead others to safety once someone had shown you the way?

Are you following the light? Are you leading others to the light, or are you still in darkness?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you thankful that Jesus faced this hour?

March 28, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”
(John 12:23 (NIV))

It is hard to imagine the idea of crucifixion as a means of glorification, but that is exactly what transpired!

Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
(John 12:24 (NIV))

When Jesus went to the cross, He knew exactly what would transpire. He knew that He would die a painful death as an atoning sacrifice for all sin that had ever happened or ever would happen. He knew that Satan would think that he had won. Jesus also knew that the power of sin and death would forever be broken three days later when He would be resurrected. Jesus knew that He was the single seed of hope. In order for hope to mature and grow in this world, He had to make the ultimate sacrifice. Crucifixion is definitely not glorious, but overcoming the power of sin and death and being elevated to the right hand of God the Father is the ultimate glory.

It is a glory that we can share! It is a glory that removes condemnation!

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
(Romans 8:1 (NIV))

It is a glory that intercedes for those who believe!

Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
(Romans 8:34 (NIV))

From a human perspective, it is difficult to be thankful for suffering. No one in their right mind would look on the sufferings of others as a good thing, but in the case of what Jesus did, it is an amazing thing. It is amazing how the sin of one condemned all to death and the sin free sacrifice of one settled the debt for the wages of sin and death. Personally, I hate the fact that my sin is why Jesus suffered and died, yet, at the same time, I am thankful that He faced that hour!

Are you thankful that Jesus faced this hour?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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