Choose wisdom. Choose life!

January 23, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
(Matthew 7:13 (NIV))

If you haven’t figured this out, the narrow gate is Jesus. It also represents the wisdom to select Jesus and to stay focused on Jesus in all that you do!

Accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is thought to be a one time salvation occurrence. To be honest with you, accepting the salvation freely given through the cross is a one time occurrence, but it takes a lifetime of dedication to follow Jesus in all that you do. Too many people fail to grow in their faith. They fail to get to know the Word of God. They fail to realize that there is so much more that God wants them to know than Jesus saves. There is wisdom and truth in God’s Word that is designed to teach us how to walk in His light in all that we do.

Do you want that wisdom?

Do you want the wisdom that leads to righteousness and salvation? Do you want the wisdom that leads to a strong faith? Do you want the wisdom that leads to maturity in Christ? Do you want the wisdom that leads to life everlasting?

I don’t know about you, but all of these things are things are what I long for!

Have you taken a serious look at your life and your priorities? Do you long for the things of God or are you still so focused on the things of this world that you miss Jesus in all that you do?

The decision is entirely yours!

Choose wisdom. Choose life!

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you long for Godly wisdom?

January 13, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools
(Romans 1:22 (NIV))

Do you remember what we are told is God’s definition of a fool?

The fool says in his heart,
     “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
     there is no one who does good.
(Psalm 14:1 (NIV))

In essence, it is rejecting God. This can mean that someone never believed. It can also mean that this can come about from those who claim to know Him and then reject or turn away from Him.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
(Romans 1:21-23 (NIV))

We seem to be living in a time when fools are increasing in number. People are looking at the world as if they are in control. People feel as if they have all of the answers and all of the knowledge.

I want to let you in on a little secret. I have all of the answers.

To the world, that last statement may sound arrogant. It may sound just like all of the power hungry people all throughout history, but if you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then you also have all of the answers!

I can proclaim this with complete certainty due to the following facts.

– We are all sinners
– We all are in need of a Savior

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.
(Acts 4:12 (NIV))

I have come to realize that it takes faith to be a fool, to say that there is no God. People who make this profession see themselves as wise, but in all honesty, they are suffering from something that many people confuse for wisdom. They have been educated, they have been given false knowledge that makes them believe that there is no God. Personally, I don’t want the type of faith that it takes to be a fool. I long for Godly wisdom!

Do you long for Godly wisdom?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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I pray that the new year brings a renewed relationship to Jesus.

December 30, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.
(Mark 13:32-33 (NIV))

I am constantly reading and studying. I said the same thing in 2013 about 2014, but 2023 looks to be a very interesting year in God’s time table. I do not profess to know the day or the hour, but the season is rapidly changing.

There are things going on in this world and in the heavens that are too numerous to simply be coincidence. They are increasing in frequency and in magnitude. Even with this increase, we, as the Body of Christ, must test everything against God’s Word. We must not be found guilty of falsely proclaiming things that do not match what we are told through God’s Word.

None of us know what tomorrow will bring.

Pray for wisdom.

Pray for discernment.

Pray for understanding.

Pray for the strength to follow God.

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
     “For your sake we face death all day long;
        we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:31-39 (NIV))

I pray that the new year brings a renewed relationship to Jesus.

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your understanding?

October 25, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

Is there anything in this world that you fear?

For those who profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, that is an extremely loaded question, for we have accepted God’s love, grace and mercy through the gift of His Son, Jesus.

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))

God’s gift is perfect! God’s love is perfect!

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
(1 John 4:18 (NIV))

As believers in Jesus, we have nothing to fear in this world. Even when everything all around you appears to be falling apart, you have nothing to fear. Even when the enemy is knocking on your door, you have nothing to fear. Even when your physical life may be threatened, you have nothing to fear. As believers in Jesus, we must fully embrace the truth of the words written by Paul.

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

What we should fear are the consequences of not accepting the gift of perfect love as expressed at the cross. What we should fear is an eternity cast away from the presence of the Lord because we are too proud to admit that we are a sinner in need of a Savior. What we should fear is a righteous God who will judge us on one simple plan of salvation that is freely offered to all who will receive.

Are you ready to admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior?

Are you ready to believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead?

Are you ready to call upon the name of the Lord Jesus?

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, for it leads us to the realization that without Jesus, we are lost. With Jesus, we have eternal love, grace and mercy.

What is your understanding?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you have the light that comes from God’s Word?

October 18, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.
(Psalms 119:130 (NIV))

The Word of God is many things. It brings wisdom, understanding, truth, and light.

Let’s take a look at this in a different context from what we normally think about with respect to God’s Word.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God– children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:1-14 (NIV))

The psalmist hit the nail on the head when he wrote those words. The Word of God does give light. Jesus is the Word made flesh. Jesus is the light of the world. Jesus gives understanding.

Isn’t it amazing how God will pre-tell what He is going to do even through people who do not realize that they are His prophets. I doubt that the psalmist actually knew that these words would literally come true in the form of Jesus, God with us.

I am so very thankful that they did come to pass!

Do you have the light that comes from God’s Word?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who are your companions?

July 21, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.
(Proverbs 13:20 (NIV))

There are many different ways to say this. Here are two of the many that I have heard in my life.

“If you lay down with dogs, you get up with fleas” paints a very vivid picture of what can and will happen simply by association.

“Garbage in, garbage out” is another one that comes to mind. This implies that what you put into your life is what you will get out of your life.

The concept is basically the same and has not changed since Solomon wrote his version. It relies on a very sad, but true, characteristic of human nature. We tend to pick up traits and characteristics from those with whom we associate. What is even sadder is that we tend to change our behavior based on who we are around at any given moment. If that is the sad truth of human nature, those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior must hold each other accountable!

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
(Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV))

Not only do we have an assignment to share the Gospel with those who do not believe, we are also called to encourage each other so that we can stand firm in our faith. When we gather together, we share a common belief and a common desire. This strengthens the human weakness that makes us pick up the traits of others. We then can walk out into the sinful, fallen world and hold fast to our faith. This also strengthens us and makes us able to deal with “fools” when we encounter them.

The fool says in his heart,
      “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
      there is no one who does good.
(Psalms 14:1 (NIV))

What do you consider wisdom?

Based on that answer, who do you consider to be wise?

Hopefully your answers point to Jesus and to those who seek to follow Jesus. If we take on the characteristics of those we are around, choose wisely. Godly wisdom and those who seek it will take you on a walk with the wise. We must learn to stay away from fools!

Who are your companions?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must humble ourselves to His desires!

November 3, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (NIV))

The Bible instructs us to pray for those who are in authority over us. The need to pray for the President of the United States and other world leaders has never been more urgent. This country, and the world, are at a strategic point in history. We can turn towards God or turn farther from God.

It is our choice.

Our leaders reflect this choice, and often guide this choice. It is for this reason that we should pray for the President. We must pray for God’s Will in the election. Do we, as a nation, vote for a platform that has removed God or one that has embraced God? All that we have to do is look at Israel. Their ancient history is filled with them not only turning their back on God, but embracing the gods of the world. Every time that they did evil in the eyes of God, they faced wars and captivity. When they embraced the Lord and followed His ways they were blessed. Our choices are not about the individuals who are running. It is about the ideals that they have embraced. Pray for wisdom. Pray for discernment.

I would rather have a brash person who seeks the will of God over a likable person who flaunts corruption and evil.

As we enter the final day of this election, we must pray for God’s guidance. We must pray for His Will. We must act as the Body of Christ and seek to further His kingdom in this world. We must continue to do so until He returns!

We have a choice! We can turn towards God or away from God.

“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
(Joshua 24:14-15 (NIV))

If we choose to serve the Lord, that means that we must learn to listen. We must learn to discern His Will. We must learn to be obedient to what He calls good and shun what He calls evil. We must stand firmly with Him and not against Him.

I would rather stand with God and be judged by the world than stand with the world and be judged by God.

We must humble ourselves to His desires!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What are you waiting for?

October 12, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.
(Revelation 22:17 (NIV))

Think back upon the last invitation that you received. Maybe it was an engraved, formal invitation to a wedding. Perhaps it was an email telling you of an event, the time and place. Perhaps it was a televised invitation to a concert. Better yet, was it a simple exchange between friends where one friend willingly opened his heart and home to you as a simple act of fellowship and love?

Now, imagine the best invitation that you have ever received is nothing more than filthy rags. That is exactly what it is in comparison to the invitation that all of us are given. All other invitations are to events that are fleeting in nature and are soon forgotten. The invitation that we are given by the Spirit is one to an eternal celebration of grace and mercy!

“Come!”

There is no other invitation needed. There is no other explanation needed. God, in all of His infinite wisdom and glory is freely offering us grace and mercy through the redeeming blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. All we have to do is accept the invitation.

Are you thirsty?

Do you long to have the water of life?

What are you waiting for? Grace and mercy are yours through this glorious invitation.

“Come!”

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you claim to be wise?

September 2, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.
(Proverbs 3:7 (NIV))

Do you see any wisdom in the world?

Based on this passage, perhaps I should rephrase that question.

Do you see people shunning evil and fearing the Lord, or are they more interested in mocking and ridiculing the Lord and anyone who seeks to follow Him? Are these people trying to claim that they are wise? Contrary to what they may think, the Lord doesn’t agree.

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

The present state of the world reminds me of the parable of the wheat and the tares. The bad seed that produces the tares are those who do not fear the Lord. They are doing all that they can to disrupt God’s plans. We have known that this time would come. We have known what the people would be like who do not fear the Lord. They claim to be wise in their own eyes. They feel a false sense of self-worth. They feel that only they are right and anyone who doesn’t agree is an enemy.

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—
(2 Timothy 3:1-4 (NIV))

As members of the Body of Christ, we must pray that we not fall into the traps that the enemy has set. We must fear the Lord and shun all evil. We must not think that we are more than we are – filthy rags.

Do you claim to be wise?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you been caught in your foolishness?

August 4, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”
(1 Corinthians 3:19 (NIV))

Can you imagine what God thinks of our attempts at solving the world’s current problems?

In all honesty, I could probably stop after asking that one question and let your imagination run wild. You can probably paint a very vivid mental picture quite easily of God’s reaction to everything that is going on in the world today. Do you envision the Lord doing a face palm and shaking His head? Do you envision Him shedding a tear because of our so called wisdom? I am sure that what we have done and what we are doing breaks the very heart of God!

Where do you stand with respect to the wisdom of the world?

Perhaps I should ask a different question.

Do you believe that there is any wisdom to be seen in this world?

I pray that you haven’t fallen into the prideful human characteristic that thinks, “If they would only listen to me!” Far too many people can claim this arrogant attitude when they should be prayerful and seek the Lord for His wisdom.

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

If our righteousness is as filthy rags, and we see as if through a dark window, then how can we truly possess any real wisdom? What we call wisdom is merely a series of glimpses of the infinite picture and we have the arrogance to believe that we know everything about the infinite picture! Now I understand why the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.

We must turn to the Lord and seek His wisdom. We must be willing to abandon our wisdom and recognize it as foolishness, for our wisdom will soon be recognized for what it truly is.

Have you been caught in your foolishness?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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