What do you think about?

July 2, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
(Philippians 4:8 (NIV))

There are so many things in this world that can compete for our thoughts.

If you are like me, you have had multiple things come to mind just at the reading of that last sentence. Are you embarrassed by any of them? Would you feel shame if anyone knew some of the thoughts that came to your mind? Would you be willing to share any of these thoughts with family or friends?

Just what did come to mind?

The human condition is so wrapped up in sin that it seems that all we can think about is something of a sinful nature. Even the best things that are of this world are wrapped in sin. All of creation is in a fallen and sinful state. Are you beginning to see a trend in this series of questions? Perhaps we should think of things that are not of this world! Perhaps we should think of things that are beyond our limited human understanding.

We should strive to focus on the things of God!

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
(Isaiah 55:8 (NIV))

God is true! God is noble! God is right! God is pure! God is excellent and praiseworthy!

What do you think about?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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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What things do you think about?

May 16, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
(Philippians 4:8 (NIV))

What are the things that you do when you think that no one will know?

What are the things that you think about when your mind begins to wander?

It is so easy to keep ourselves focused when we are busy. When we find ourselves slipping into those times when we are by ourselves, we find our thoughts and our actions begin to be less than what we truly should be thinking about. It is at these times that the things that we truly treasure come to the surface. Do you find that these things are true, noble, right and pure? Are they lovely and admirable? Are they excellent and praiseworthy? Do you find that what you think about would be embarrassing if others only knew?

We all know the old saying that you are what you eat. Are you aware that you are what you think about? Basically, whatever you put into your life will be returned out of your life. What do you think people who commit the following acts think about?

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
(Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV))

Let’s take that one step further and consider what you must think about to possess the following characteristics.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Time to truly be honest with yourself.

What things do you think about?

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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Pray from the heart for God knows what you need!

February 14, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
(Matthew 6:7-8 (NIV))

Do you babble?

Do you ramble on and on when you pray?

We are all guilty of opening our mouths way too much when we talk, why would it be any different when we pray? It is human nature to want to be heard and we feel that the more we say the better our chances are of getting our point across. Do you have a memory of a time that you wouldn’t stop trying to get your point across? How did that turn out for you? Did you sway your audience to your side? Did you convince anyone besides yourself that you were right?

Excessive words do not mean sincerity. Excessive words often mean a prideful spirit.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
(Proverbs 11:2 (NIV))

Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life.
(Proverbs 22:4 (NIV))

I have heard someone define humility as not thinking less of yourself, but rather, it is thinking of yourself less. I like this definition. How do we put this into practice? Can we start with closing our mouths and stop trying to convince everyone, including God, that we know best? Can we let our hearts and our actions speak for us? Is it humanly possible to keep things short and sweat?

When we humble ourselves before God, we turn our hearts to Him. We seek after His heart and not our own. When we truly seek His heart, we don’t need to spend our time babbling. We don’t need to spend our time trying to convince Him of what we want, for He knows what we need. I honestly believe that when we babble, we are actually trying to convince ourselves.

Pray from the heart for God knows what you need!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can you imagine what God has prepared for you?

January 25, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him—
(1 Corinthians 2:9 (NIV))

All of us, even in our limited resources, like to do nice things for those we love. Have you ever stopped to realize that it is a human trait to love those who love us in return? Do you think that God loves in this manner? Do you think that God only loves those who love Him?

We know for a fact that God did not wait for humanity to turn our love to Him before He showed us how much He loves 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))

Every act of love that we have toward God and for God is a result of the love that He showed for us. Without His love, all of humanity would be lost in our sinful nature. God willingly sent Jesus to die so that we might live!

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
(Romans 5:8 (NIV))

Think about this from a human perspective. Most of us would willingly give our lives to save someone we love. We would do whatever it takes to make sure that person was safe from harm. We would even do this in situations where the person we want to save may not love us the way that we love them. Isn’t this exactly what God did when He sent Jesus?

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

God, through the life that Jesus led, died for us because He calls us friends. He laid down His life because He loves us. He laid down His life before we loved Him!

If God is willing to do such a great thing before we love Him, what will He do once we turn our hearts toward Him?

Can you imagine what God has prepared for you?

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