Lord, give me wisdom to know what You want me to know!

November 10, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“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))

Some of you will realize that I have referenced this passage each of the last two days. I was given something this morning about this passage that I feel I need to share.

Have you ever heard the old story of a group of blind men trying to experience an elephant?

They all gather around an elephant and feel what they are in front of. One feels a tusk and replies that the elephant is like a spear. One feels a leg and proclaims that an elephant is a mighty tree. One feels the tail and proclaims that an elephant is like a strong rope. One feels the trunk and comes to the conclusion that it is like a huge snake. Another feels an ear and believes that the elephant is like a giant fan. Still one more feels it’s side and proclaims that an elephant is like a giant wall.

In their limited understanding, they are not wrong. They just don’t see the whole picture! In fact, they argue amongst themselves because they all believe that they are right.

Does this sound familiar?

Are we the proverbial blind men trying to understand God and His plans?

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
(1 Corinthians 13:12 (NIV))

In this case, I love the way that the King James Version translates this passage.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
(1 Corinthians 13:12 (KJV))

If you profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, you see and understand more than someone who doesn’t. This insight still doesn’t give us a complete picture of what God is up to. All that we can know is the part that we have been given. If we are given one part, we should not argue with someone who claims to have been given another part, for what they have been given may be intended to round out what you have been given. None of us has a complete understanding of God and His plans. In fact, I truly believe that we, as sinful fallen humanity, are not capable of comprehending the vastness of all that He is. With that in mind, it only makes sense that God would only give each of us glimpses into His thoughts and His ways because He knows that we cannot comprehend the fullness that is our God.

Until we can fully understand, I wholeheartedly cling to the words that a friend once told me. She prayed to be able to know what God wants her to know when He wants her to know it, and to trust in Him even when He doesn’t tell her anything. Is this your prayer?

Lord, give me wisdom to know what You want me to know!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you understand?

November 4, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
(John 13:7 (NIV))

You may not recognize this passage immediately, but think about Jesus and the disciples in the Upper Room. Peter was about to rebuke Jesus for washing his feet. It is true that Peter did not understand what Jesus was doing. In fact, most people don’t fully grasp the symbolism of this action. It was a hint of a much bigger “washing” that Jesus was about to undertake.

“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
(John 13:8-9 (NIV))

Thankfully, Peter realized what was going on and fully embraced it. In fact, he wanted more!

Think about that for a moment.

Do you want more of what Jesus came to offer? Do you want to be washed white as snow? Do you want to stand before the Lord and hear Him say, Well done, good and faithful servant”? Do you want to know Jesus intimately?

It all starts with a simple act. It all starts with us allowing Jesus to wash us clean!

What Jesus did in the Upper Room symbolizes what He does for all of us if we will simply believe.

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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

We, as sinful humanity, can be washed clean of our sins simply by believing in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. That is the most powerful cleansing that we will ever experience. This is the plan as spoken of in Isaiah. This is the plan that settles God’s redemption of those who believe.

“Come now, let us settle the matter,”
     says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
     they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
     they shall be like wool.
(Isaiah 1:18 (NIV))

I believe that Peter understood this connection.

Do you understand?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you think you know?

May 16, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

As you do not know the path of the wind,
     or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb,
so you cannot understand the work of God,
     the Maker of all things.
(Ecclesiastes 11:5 (NIV))

Humanity has come a long way since this was written. We think that we may know how to track the path of the wind and we think we know how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, but have we mistaken human knowledge for Godly wisdom? We know enough about these two subjects to be dangerous. The sad and dangerous part of this is that we have taken human knowledge, which is very limited, and used that to say that we no longer need God.

Can we trace the complete path of the winds since the beginning of creation? God can!

Can we bring together two unique strands of DNA and form still another unique individual and nurture and protect that individual as he or she grows? Can we create DNA? God can!

Even with the family genealogy softwares that are available, can we trace the lineage of each unique person who has ever lived? God can!

Human nature is so narcissistic that we think we have all the answers. We can’t even answer the biggest question of all: Why do we still sin?

Regardless of what you may think you know, your knowledge is just a grain of sand in comparison to the eternal wisdom that is our God.

What do you think you know?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you possess what it takes to understand the Scriptures?

November 3, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.
(Luke 24:45 (NIV))

Have you ever truly thought about this passage and this concept?

Most people believe that they can understand what they read, but most things that people read are written for their level of comprehension. For example, how many people do you know who could read a book on an advanced science and fully understand the concepts being presented? First, you would need to have an interest in the subject. You would also need someone to explain the concepts in order to understand it accurately. Once it is explained, then you have a basis of understanding and can read and understand other similar material.

The same is true of the Scriptures and who better to explain it than the One that everything is written about?

We know the story of the Road to Emmaus, and how Jesus opened their minds to better understand what they had been taught all of their lives. We know how they went to tell the Disciples what had happened, and then we know that Jesus appeared in the midst of those who were gathered. We know that He then explained everything to them.

Jesus opened their minds!

I don’t know about you, but if I had witnessed the crucifixion and then was presented with Jesus alive and well, I would listen very intently to what He had to say. I would cling to His every word in the hope of receiving insight and truth.

Why don’t we do that today?

We have His words. We have the words written about Him that told of Him long before He walked the earth. We have the same human understanding and inquisitive minds as they possessed then, but why do we fail to allow His Word to open our minds and our hearts? Have we become shallow in our pursuit of truth? Have we become shallow in our pursuit of understanding? Have we lost our ability to study and reason? Have we become so distractible that we can’t focus long enough to have our minds opened to the truth?

There is only so much that we can have spoon fed to us. At some point, we need to say that we understand the basics and then continually read and study for ourselves while always keeping a prayerful heart and a mind open to understanding God’s Word. It requires effort. It requires an interest. It requires dedication.

Do you possess what it takes to understand the Scriptures?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you understand the implications?

March 15, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
(Colossians 1:15 (ESV))

What is your image of Jesus?

Is He still the baby in the manger?

Is He still a performer of miracles?

Is He still the one who hung on the cross?

Is He still the one who arose from the dead?

Is He still the one who ascended into heaven?

Is He still the one who sits at the right hand of God the Father?

Is He the firstborn of all creation?

Do you understand the full concept of the firstborn son in many cultures, especially those cultures in the lands where the events of the Bible have unfolded?

In our world today, we have the mindset that anyone can achieve anything no matter where they come from or their birth order in their family. We like to think that we rise and fall in this world based on our own merits, including how we are viewed within our own family. In order to fully understand the authority that Jesus has, we must learn to put our current mindset on the back burner. We must learn to understand the title, position, role and authority that a firstborn son in ancient cultures truly had.

The firstborn was to receive all authority over his father’s land and possessions. If the father were a king, the firstborn was to succeed the father and inherit all power and authority within that kingdom. He was the one and only rightful heir to the throne. If you consider that Jesus is the firstborn Son of God, by that title alone He has inherited all power and authority over all that God has created. He is superior to any created being. He is higher than any man or woman. He is higher than the angels who were created to worship and serve. He is higher than the one who was cast out of heaven.

Why do so many of us, as part of sinful humanity, simply try to ignore Jesus completely? If we don’t ignore Jesus, then why do we ignore His firstborn status over all creation? Why do we ignore the authority of the King of kings and Lord of lords when His authority has been established from the beginning? Why do we try to usurp that authority over our lives and claim it for ourselves?

Are you ready for His return?

Do you understand the implications?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you forever thankful to the Lord?

November 30, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
(Psalms 136:1 (NIV))

Just how long is forever?

To be honest with you, I actually don’t think that the human mind can truly understand that concept, especially when you consider our limited vantage point. Our minds think back to our days in school when we were watching the clock and impatiently waiting for the end of the day. It seemed like it took forever! Perhaps you remember Christmas Eve as a child. It seemed like the night would never end. With these and other examples that you may have in mind, we have a tendency to look at the concept of forever as a period of time that we must endure. We don’t usually think of forever as a joyous time.

Is that how God sees forever? Is that how God sees us in relationship to forever?

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
(2 Peter 3:8 (NIV))

If this is the way that God sees time, then His concept of forever is so very different from how we see forever. If God’s love endures forever, then He has loved us from the beginning of time, if there is such a thing, and He will continue to love us to what our frail human minds call the end of time. In all honesty, the concept of the end of time is a human construct because we can’t truly grasp eternity. All that we can truly understand is that the Lord never changes.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8 (NIV))

If His love endures forever, then His love for us never changes and that is the best thing that anyone can ever experience.

If God loves us this much, how do we express our gratitude?

Are you forever thankful to the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you possess the Spirit?

October 26, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.
(1 Corinthians 2:14 (NIV))

When you take a look at the world today and you see the things that are going on, it is easy to draw assumptions that the Holy Spirit is not within the people who are rioting and looting. It is easy to see that the Holy Spirit is not within the people who call good evil and evil good. It is easy to see those who truly follow Jesus as opposed to those who follow the world.

If things are this bad when the Holy Spirit and the true church are still on this earth doing all that can be done to restrain the enemy, can you imagine just how bad things will be once the Lord declares that it is time for His Holy Spirit and His church to be removed? God will soon decide that time is up and when He does, the rest of His plan will unfold. It will start with the very rapid removal of the Holy Spirit and the church and all of the restraining influence on society. There will be nothing standing in the way of the enemy and his plans. Evil will run rampant. Every sick and perverted thing that humanity has ever desired will be commonplace.

Today, a person without the Holy Spirit is a lost individual. As the Body of Christ, we must pray for those who are lost so that they can avoid the time that is coming when the whole world will be without the Holy Spirit. The whole world will mock God and everything that He calls good.

In essence, a world without the Holy Spirit is hell on earth!

Do you possess the Spirit?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What do you expect to experience?

October 22, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“When you see `the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong–let the reader understand–then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down or enter the house to take anything out. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that this will not take place in winter, because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now–and never to be equaled again. If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them. At that time if anyone says to you, `Look, here is the Christ!’ or, `Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect–if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.
(Mark 13:14-23 (NIV))

The Disciples expected Jesus to return in Glory during their lifetimes. Each generation since then has expected it in their lifetime.

The words that Jesus spoke of do not paint a pretty picture of His return for those who do not put their faith in Him. Yet, the Rapture is also expected for those who today put their faith in Him. Even so, man cannot understand these things at this point in time. Jesus will return, yet even He did not know when that would be.

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
(Mark 13:32 (NIV))

All we can be certain of is that He will return. First, He will return for His true Church and then He will return in Glory to deal with the rest of the world who have rejected Him.

Nothing speaks of God’s Love and His Wrath more than the return of Jesus. When He returns, will you experience God’s Love or God’s Wrath?

What do you expect to experience?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you fully rely on the Lord?

October 21, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
(Psalms 23:4 (ESV))

Has this year felt like this valley to you?

In the face of everything that is going on in the world and with the near misses that we see coming at the world, it is easy to find yourself fearful. To be honest with you, I don’t understand how people who don’t trust in Jesus are making it. Lies abound, and we all know who is the father of lies. Fear abounds. If you don’t believe me, simply walk into a grocery store without a mask. You will see those who are wearing a mask stop and look at you like you have two heads. Most will do all that they can do to stay away from you. Anger and violence abound. Depending on the angle of the cameras reporting these instances, they are either peaceful protesters or they are full blown riots. Usually, it is the very same event being portrayed.

Evil is running rampant. Common sense, mutual respect and decency appear to no longer exist. Child trafficking is taking place. It is not safe for women with small children to be out. Arrogance seems to control the day. People will look you in the eye and tell you that they never did something while there is recorded footage of them doing what they vehemently deny.

Thankfully, we have a place of refuge in the midst of all of this chaos and evil. We can turn to the Lord for He is the Good Shepherd. His rod is a weapon of defense against the evils that surround us. His staff is a tool of rescue. It is used to lead and guide us through the evils of this world.

Do you trust in the Lord to protect you? Do you trust in the Lord to be your place of refuge? For those who love the Lord, we have been promised this and so much more.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
(2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV))

Do you fully rely on the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you truly understand?

September 29, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.
(Daniel 12:10 (NIV))

Are you being purified?

Do you understand?

The world is in a very unusual state at this time. I could probably stop with that sentence and everyone would agree. This nation and the whole world seem to be more divided than ever before. You may find yourself asking about the two world wars. I will admit that the whole world was in an unusual state at those times, but it was nation against nation. Today, we are seeing internal strife within nations as well as tensions between nations. If you accept the concept that each nation will have people who seek righteousness as well as people who seek wickedness, then it makes sense that we are seeing the internal strife. It could easily be the beginning of the fulfillment of the parable of the wheat and the tares.

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.
(Matthew 13:24-26 (NIV))

The good and the bad are both growing!

God has a plan that is being fulfilled!

Let both grow together until the harvest.
(Matthew 13:30a (NIV))

We may not know the exact date and time of the harvest, but we can recognize the signs of the season if we are firmly rooted in God’s Word. Those who seek righteousness will be purified by the power of God’s word. Those who seek evil will mock and reject God’s Word. There used to be a time not too long ago when most people could agree upon the basic concepts of morality and right and wrong. There is an ever increasing rift that is tearing the very fabric of society apart. It is separating and emboldening those who seek wickedness from those who seek righteousness. It is empowering those who seek wickedness to go even further into wickedness. It is hopefully waking up those who seek righteousness to stand firm and seek the Lord with all of their heart.

Those who seek the Lord have an understanding of what is going on, but those who seek wickedness do not recognize, they do not understand what is unfolding. They do not understand what is at stake.

Do you truly understand?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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