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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Why do we try to tell God what to do?

April 5, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?
(Romans 11:34 (NIV))

What is it about human nature that makes us want to give advice to anyone and everyone? Why do we think that the world would be so much better off if everyone would simply listen to us? Is it ego, pride, or arrogance that makes us feel that we have all of the answers, or is it a combination of all of these traits and many more? What is so interesting and sad at the same time is the fact that we even do this with God. This is the equivalent of a loaf of bread arguing with the baker who made it. Our perspective, our understanding is nothing in comparison to that of the Lord.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

Who has known the mind of the Lord?

I find that question so laughable since we, as humanity, don’t spend enough time drawing close to the Lord. Through His Word, He has given us insight into His heart and mind, but very few of us spend enough time diving headfirst into this treasure to truly know God. We read something and take it out of context and soon twist it to mean what we think that it should mean. We then point a proverbial finger at the Lord and accuse Him of not doing what we think He should do based on our twisted understanding.

Let’s be honest with ourselves, each other and with the Lord. There is absolutely nothing that we can do or say that will be above and beyond what God has thought. To be perfectly honest, I believe that the following passage, even though it refers to our righteousness, can be applied to our wisdom and understanding.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

Again, I wonder what it is about human nature that makes us want to give advice when we truly don’t understand anything. Why are we so arrogant that we feel that our understanding is far above what it truly is?

Why do we try to tell God what to do?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What comes from within you?

March 8, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come — sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.
(Mark 7:21-22 (NIV))

Some people say that society has gone downhill. I actually believe that society has simply allowed what is within to be let out without any repercussions.

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

In today’s society, it is possible to find numerous people with like-minded evil thoughts. No matter what the thought may be, there are others who also have them. To be honest with you, people have been experiencing these thoughts ever since the fall from grace. There have always been thieves. There have always been murderers. People have always been greedy and envious. Deceit and arrogance have always existed, as well as sexual immorality and adultery.

What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
(Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NIV))

If this is the case, then why does it seem that we, as a society, are straying further and further away from God’s desires?

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'”
(Matthew 13:24-30 (NIV))

We are that field of wheat. The enemy has sown weeds within each of us that crop up in our lives and show themselves as what is within our hearts. We can choose to focus on the weeds and ignore the good wheat or we can focus on the good wheat and choose to ignore the weeds. Too many people are focusing on the wrong things and allowing the weeds that come from within to overshadow their lives.

I have heard the following told much more eloquently, but imagine that within each of us there are two wolves – a good wolf and a bad wolf. The one that becomes prominent in our lives is the one that we feed. We all have the potential to do much evil. If we feed that potential, evil will come from within.

What comes from within 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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What are your thoughts?

December 27, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
(Romans 12:3 (NIV))

Sadly, it is human nature to think more highly of ourselves than we should.

Is this something that you are guilty of at times?

Have you ever looked at someone and thought to yourself that you were glad that you didn’t have their particular sin to deal with? Do you realize that this is exactly what Romans warns against? We have a tendency to place ourselves above others. We think that our sins are nothing compared to the sins of others.

God looks at this much differently than we do.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

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

We are all guilty of sin. Not a one of us is righteous on our own. All of us have earned something that none of us want to collect.

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

As we move from the time that we celebrate as the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, into a new year, all of us need to take the time to reflect on what God has given us. Have we accepted that gift? Have we realized that we are no better than anyone else? Have we learned to control our selfish thoughts? Have we learned to stop thinking of ourselves more highly than we should?

What are your thoughts?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is there anything that God cannot do?

September 6, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?
(Jeremiah 32:27 (NIV))

I have had this verse at my fingertips for a few days. I have been thinking about it. Something in these words has made me stop and reflect on them. Several things have made me pause on this passage.

The biggest question that I have is why do we even need to be reminded of this? Is humanity so completely idiotic that we have forgotten what has been common knowledge since creation? Of course we are! All throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament, as well, humanity has ignored God. We have rebelled against God. We have embraced evil and called it good. We have embraced false gods. We have created our own gods when we couldn’t find one that we liked that someone else had created. We have limited God in so many ways that by the time that Jeremiah walked the earth, God had to speak through Jeremiah to remind creation that only He is Lord. Keep in mind that this was not the first time that God had to remind people exactly who He is. God used Noah to let creation know that He is Lord. God used Moses to let people know that He is Lord.

These are just a few of the instances when God reminded His creation that He is Lord, still, there is something about the words from Jeremiah that stand out!

“Is anything too hard for me?”

Why is humanity so fickle? Why do we place limitations where no limitations can be placed? Why do we try to define God in terms that we can understand? If we can understand everything about whom we worship, then it is not the one true God, but a god of our own creation.

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

Do you try to limit God?

Is there anything that God cannot do?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you hearing from the Spirit?

August 28, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
(Revelation 3:6 (NIV))

When John wrote down what he had been told to record in what we now know as the book of Revelation, he was given several messages for the churches. Each of the seven churches mentioned can be equated to an historical period, plus they can be equated to the conditions of almost any church that is in existence today. Each of the churches received a specific message that told them what they were doing right and what they were doing wrong.

How do you think these messages were received by the different churches?

How do you think these messages were received by the individual members of the different churches?

Now, imagine that you heard the following messages about your relationship with Jesus. How would you react?

You are dead. Wake up!

I am about to spit you out of my mouth!

I hold your sexual immorality against you!

Not very pleasant. Would you take it to heart and repent or would you go off in a huff because you got your feelings hurt? I have a little tidbit of information that you may want to consider. If it hurts your feelings, there is probably some truth to what you are hearing! Think about that from your experiences with different churches and pastors. Perhaps it was a passage of scripture that caused your feelings to be hurt. Whatever the situation may have been, remember the following.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
(Hebrews 4:12 (NIV))

God’s Word is not a sugar coated, feel good type of message. Truth can hurt. Are you willing to hear the truth even if it hurts your feelings? Are you willing to repent if the truth requires it?

What are you hearing from the Spirit?

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