What do you think happened in the beginning?

June 12, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
(Genesis 1:1 (NIV))

Everyone looks at life and the world today with a bias based on what they think happened long ago. Everything hinges on what someone believes when they answer one simple question.

What do you think happened in the beginning?

How they answer will determine so much about what they believe and how they see the world!

Just to clarify, there are many beginnings. What we read about in Genesis is the beginning of this physical existence that we know and understand. God existed before this beginning. Do we know and understand the spiritual realm where God existed before our beginning? Are we even capable of understanding?

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:9 (NIV))

We also know that there is another beginning that God refers to.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
(Proverbs 9:10 (NIV))

I find it interesting that those who reject the beginning mentioned in Genesis 1:1 also reject the beginning mentioned in Proverbs 9:10. Sadly, they also reject understanding. They lack the faith to even consider for a fraction of a second that what has been recorded and accepted as truth for thousands of years is actually true. They lack the confidence to trust anything beyond what they can see, touch or feel.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

In essence, understanding the beginning requires faith.

What do you think happened in the beginning?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is there freedom in your life?

April 30, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
(2 Corinthians 3:17 (NIV))

What do you think of when you think of God? Are you prone to apply human understanding and limit God as a result? Do you have a mental image of how you think God looks? Does your mental image apply human characteristics to God?

God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.
(John 4:24 (NIV))

No one knows what the Father looks like. His glory cannot be comprehended by human minds. All throughout human history, people have made a vain attempt at creating a likeness of God or what people have called gods. We are told not to worship idols. Nothing that we can imagine comes close to the majesty that is our Lord! He has no physical limitations. He has no spiritual limitations except that He cannot associate with sin.

We think that we have a good idea of what Jesus looked like. Even so, nobody is completely certain. God sent Jesus into this world at a time when people and events were not recorded for all to see. I would probably venture to say that it was never God’s intention to have a perfect likeness of Jesus be a part of His legacy. I can already imagine the human ego being exactly what it is if we knew that Jesus had a certain look or a certain ethnicity. We do know that He was Jewish, but we don’t know how dark His skin was. We don’t know what color eyes He had. All that we do know and all that we need to know is recorded in the Gospels. God wanted us to believe in Jesus on faith and not because we saw a video of Him performing any of His miracles.

Did God exist before creation?

Did Jesus exist before He came to earth?

Does God exist now?

Does Jesus exist now?

In case you are wondering where I am going with this, the answer is simple. God is Spirit – always has been and always will be.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
(John 1:1 (NIV))

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))

He stepped out of eternity and took on human form in order to bring us freedom! This does not mean that we are to worship the form. We are to worship the Lord in all of His majesty and not in the limitations of the form that He took. When you see the cross, what do you see? Do you see a man who was nailed to it or do you see the Spirit of God come to earth to set us free?

Is there freedom in your life?

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.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Has God confided in you?

April 9, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare.
(Psalms 25:14-15 (NIV))

“Be still, and know that I am God;
(Psalms 46:10a (NIV))

You can’t have Psalms 25:14-15 without fulfilling the command of Psalms 46:10.

To have the privilege of having God confide in you, you must take the time to be still in His presence. You must desire the knowledge of Him who calls you to be His own.

There are certain principles in life that apply both to the physical world as well as the spiritual world. One of these principles is “that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” If you push God away, then it seems that He gets further and further away. If you desire to draw Him close, then He will become closer to you. In reality, God never goes anywhere. He is always there calling out to you, but, appearances are everything. When you push Him away, it seems that He is no where to be seen. It is a matter of the heart.

Since it is a matter of the heart, it is important to fill your heart with matters that are of God. Take the time to be still and know God on an intimate and personal level and He will confide in you.

Has God confided in you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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I pray that this is what we truly want!

February 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
(Matthew 6:10 (NIV))

Everyone who professes a faith in Jesus knows these words as part of what we refer to as the Lord’s Prayer. Do we truly desire what we lift up with these words? Do we long for the Lord’s kingdom to come into the world, to enter into our lives, or do we want our will, our personal kingdom, to manifest itself in our lives?

Human nature, no matter how hard we try, always tries to put personal interest above all else. We all must face the truth. Each of us have had moments when we are reciting these words only to have our minds diverted by our own desires. Does this mean that we really don’t long for God’s kingdom or does it just show that even in our best moments, we are all creatures caught in the sinful natures that we long to leave behind?

When you experience one of these moments, and we all have them, do you regret the diversion from God’s Will to your will? Do you feel like Paul?

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
(Romans 7:14-15 (NIV))

I hate to say this, but I do this far more than I care to admit. In the time span of the last fifteen minutes, I have been distracted from my task far too many times. My thoughts wander. My attention shifts and my writing gets delayed. Even the disciples, who were asked to wait while Jesus went to pray in Gethsemane, could not avoid the pitfalls of the frailty that is humanity.

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
(Mark 14:38 (NIV))

Just because our human nature and our human frailties divert us should not be our main concern. What we should be concerned about is if we choose to never refocus on Jesus. We can repent and return to seeking God’s Will and His kingdom or we can choose to stay chasing the diversion. When we repent, we show what we truly want.

I pray that this is what we truly want!

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

October 17, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
(Ephesians 6:10 (NIV))

It is common to refer to something that someone is good at as being one of their strengths. If you were writing a resume, these would be listed at the top where they could be prominently displayed. We all have our own unique strengths. For some people, it is easy to see these strengths. For others, it is not so easy. In most instances, it is easier to see the strengths of others than it is to see our own strengths.

What about spiritual strengths?

Have you ever thought about your spiritual life as a strength?

Have you considered praise and worship a strength?

Have you considered spending time in God’s Word a strength?

Is prayer one of your strong points?

When you spend your life relying on the Lord, the world may see this as a weakness, but it is a strength!

Do you desire to be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power? What does that question mean to you? Does it mean that your faith is strong and you fully rely on God’s promises no matter what the world may say? Does it mean that you have peace? Have you ever thought about the peace of God being one of your strengths?

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (NIV))

Are you strong in the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your faith strong enough to proclaim that to die is gain?

August 18, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
(Philippians 1:21 (NIV))

Are these just words to you or are they a true reflection of your heart and your desires?

I realize that we all love our lives, for they are a precious gift, but how much do you love your life? Do you live your life for Jesus, or do you live your life for yourself? Do you strive to walk in His light in all that you do, or do you seek your own sinful road for your life? Do you long to be with Him, or do you never want to stand before Him? I realize that al of these questions pose scenarios that are extreme opposites, but we need to consider that these are the type of reactions that people have to Jesus. They run the full range of responses. For some people, their responses may change on a daily basis.

The word “gain” means to increase in amount or magnitude. For those who don’t believe in Jesus, they have trouble understanding how dying could be considered gain. They see death as the end of all things. For those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, death is just the beginning of an eternity with God. It brings the promise of redemption from a sentence of spiritual death to an eternity of spiritual life where there is no pain, no tears and no death. It takes faith to believe that this is gain. I would also venture to say that is takes faith to believe that there is nothing. Personally, I know where my faith lies.

Is your faith strong enough to proclaim that to die is gain?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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