How well are you learning what the Lord is teaching?

August 3, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.
(Titus 2:2 (NIV))

There is an old saying that with age comes wisdom.

I suppose that all depends on your definition of wisdom!

Far too many people falsely think that knowledge is wisdom, but they fail to recognize the fact that what you may know can lead to bad results. Wisdom is so much more than knowing facts, especially when you consider that facts can be twisted to make you come to wrong conclusions. Wisdom takes the facts and allows you to discern truth. It is the application of good judgment to the facts. It is possible to be filled with knowledge yet still be unwise. It is also possible to be older and unwise. Sometimes even the wisest among us will still have things that they need to learn so that they can be better at discerning the truth.

I love the fact that this passage starts with “Teach the older men.” Instantly it implies that each of us still have much to learn with respect to our faith walk no matter what our age may be. It also implies that not a single one of us is completely mature. Each of us may need to realize that we may not be as mature in our faith as we think.

We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.
(Hebrews 5:11-13 (NIV))

We have so much to learn in our faith journey with Jesus. Not a one of us is perfect. We all have lessons that we are learning and many that we still need to learn.

How well are you learning what the Lord is teaching?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you planted and prosperous?

July 19, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.
(Psalms 1:3 (NIV))

Prosperity does not always mean money!

If a tree is planted by streams of water and yields its fruit in season, that tree is fruitful. It can be considered prosperous. It does exceedingly well exactly what it was created to do!

Do you judge others by financial prosperity? Do you judge yourself by financial prosperity?

Sadly, we have a tendency to judge prosperity by worldly benchmarks where financial gain is the easiest one to measure. We do this regardless of what calling God has placed on the individuals being measured. Please don’t misunderstand me and think that financial prosperity is not from God. It is very possible to be called by God to something where financial prosperity is needed. It is not exactly easy to have the gift of generosity and not have the means to fulfill that gift.

We must realize that not everyone is gifted the same.

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
(Ephesians 11-13 (NIV))

Each person has been gifted differently in order to equip us for His service. If we are obedient and serve as we are called, we will prosper. We will have an impact utilizing the gifts that we have been given. Just as the tree planted by streams of water yields it fruit, if we are obedient and stay planted in our calling, we will produce a yield. We will prosper in what we have been called to do.

Are you planted and prosperous?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you truly understand what Jesus did?

March 26, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”
(Matthew 20:18-19 (NIV))

Have you truly come to terms with all that Jesus did for you and I, or are you still stuck in the mindset that all that Jesus accomplished can be summarized in a basket full of treats that will soon go away?

Think about that.

Even as adults, we have a tendency to look at the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus as only a day to get together with family and have fun with some events for the children. In the back of our minds, we know that it is more than this, but have we turned the most crucial day to our faith into nothing more than a chance to over eat? Sure, we have Good Friday services and many of us will get up and go to a sunrise service on Resurrection Sunday, but do we truly understand the full implications of what we celebrate? Have we become so jaded by the fact that we can turn on a TV or go to a movie and see things that appear to be miraculous? If that is the case, what happens when we truly read about the power of God raising Jesus from the dead? Do we take it for granted? Do we overlook the magnitude of the implications for those who truly believe, for those who truly call upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior?

We are told many times that we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Jesus implicitly foretells the events that He would face. He knew that His fulfillment of the plan for humanity’s salvation would transpire exactly as foretold. He knew that His willingness to lay down His life would mean that you and I could walk with assurance that our sins have been forgiven. He knew the weight of the world’s sin that He carried would mean that you and I could stand before God the Father as a spotless bride. He saw the faces of every person to ever live and He willingly offered His sinless life for our sin filled lives.

Without the crucifixion, there would be no resurrection. Without the resurrection, there would be no grace and mercy that could be given. Without the grace and mercy freely given at the cross, you and I would be forever lost in our sin.

Do you truly understand what Jesus did?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How does that camel taste?

March 13, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
(Matthew 23:23-24 (NIV))

Everyone likes to pick and choose, especially when it comes to following instructions. We all have things that we are good at following. We also all have things that we tend to ignore. We focus on our strengths while we tend to ignore our weaknesses and the things that we aren’t interested in. We think that we can replace our weaknesses with other aspects of our personal traits, but is this really how it works? Can we sit in church and give money while ignoring what Jesus is really calling us to give?

It takes more than sitting in a pew for an hour a week!

In today’s society, if we are aren’t interested in doing something personally, we have a tendency to ignore it or we give a little money to ease our minds. Don’t take the giving of money comment incorrectly. If we give with a true desire to help, then our gifts are true. If we give out of guilt or ignorance, God can and will use these gifts, but our motives are not true. Sadly, we can easily see what we perceive as the motives of others, but we fail to see our own. We give money, but we fail to give justice, mercy and faithfulness.

If all that we do as the Body of Christ is to sit in church and write a check, we are missing the calling that Jesus left us with.

We are to go into the world and make disciples!

We are to love our neighbors!

We are to show justice and mercy!

You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
(Matthew 7:5 (NIV))

We are to be faithful to the things that we are called to do in our own lives. We are to be faithful to all of the things that we are called to do for the sake of the Gospel, and not just the ones that man has said are the priorities! When we do what we normally do, are we straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel?

I have just one question for you,

How does that camel taste?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you practice what you preach?

March 10, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.”
(Matthew 23:1-3 (NIV))

I’m sure that you have heard the old saying, “Do as I say, not as I do!”

Have you ever been guilty of saying it?

Did you grimace after reading that question? I know that I did.

It is human nature to tell people that they should do one thing when you are doing the exact opposite of what you say they should do. Jesus knew that people in authority do this. He knew that all people do it. We like to think that what applies to everyone else doesn’t apply to us. If you stop to think about it, we see a lot of this in our political system. Laws are made that apply to everyone except themselves.

We are all called to obey God’s Word. We are all called to repentance. We are all called to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves. We are called to accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. These are all things that each of us are called to practice. We are also called to preach these truths to those who don’t know them. Our actions are supposed to match our words.

Do you practice what you preach?

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

February 21, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“”Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”
(Matthew 23:25-26 (NIV))

Have you ever wondered why the examples are a cup and a dish? If you think about these two items, upon first inspection you cannot see inside the cup. Depending on the type of dish, it is either stacked or it is of a shape that also hides what is inside. When you first look at these items, they can appear clean, neat and orderly, but once you take a closer look, the part of the item that actually serves the main function can be so filthy that it is not even capable of serving that function.

Appearances aren’t everything?

It is what comes from within that makes things unclean!

Take a look at your life. What do you show to the world? We all like to put up a good front. Take a look at your heart. Are you harboring anything that is less than righteous in the eyes of God? We all like to look like we are upstanding citizens and model followers of Jesus, but is that true? Is there something on the inside that would surprise your family and friends?

Do we spend too much time polishing our outward appearances and too little time cleaning up the sin that is in our hearts?

Are you clean on the inside?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is Jesus your cornerstone?

February 6, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Haven’t you read this passage of Scripture: “ ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;”
(Mark 12:10 (NIV))

Jesus has been talking to the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders when He asked this question. I realize that hindsight is twenty-twenty, but I often wonder just why these people were so blind to who stood before them. In all honesty, I know that it is the very same reason that people fail to recognize Him today. Still, these were the people who were supposed to be educated in the Law and the Prophets. If anyone should have recognized Jesus, they had been trained to. Ironically, the people who had been trained are the very ones who failed to see who was before them.

They rejected the very Messiah whom they had been looking for!

These people had built a religion of laws and had elevated themselves to the positions of authority. They did not realize that the foundation that they had built upon was about to be shattered and a new foundation, with Jesus as the cornerstone, was about to be put in place. They despised Jesus. They rejected Jesus. They schemed to have Him put to death.

Have you ever looked up the definition of the word cornerstone?

One definition means a basic element. In this case, Jesus is the cornerstone of our Christian faith.

Another definition is of a stone forming a part of a corner or angle in a wall. This is often a stone that is put in place in a formal ceremony.

I just love how God puts things together. Jesus is truly our cornerstone. He was rejected by the builders of the religion based on laws. He is the basic element of our faith through grace. He proved His claim through the crucifixion and the resurrection. If you stop to think about the crucifixion, it was a formal ceremony conducted by the Romans, who were the powers of the world at that time. The role of Jesus as the cornerstone was started by God’s plans, but was formally finalized by God through what the powers of the world did at the crucifixion. In an effort to stop Jesus, the world ceremoniously fulfilled the completion!

Is Jesus your cornerstone?

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