Category Archives: Children

“You Cannot Afford to Wear ‘Rose-Colored Glasses’ in a Sinful, Black and White World!”

September 7, 2017

Scripture Reading – Proverbs 22

Our scripture reading today is Proverbs 22 and is, like all chapters in Proverbs, a treasure trove of wisdom that southern folk of my youth applauded as “good old common sense”.  Unfortunate for our society, we have strayed far from God and His Word and the bits of wisdom that were guiding posts for generations of youth are unfamiliar to most in our day.

For today’s devotional commentary, I am selecting one verse especially applicable to Floridians preparing for the possibility of Hurricane Irma making landfall this weekend.   Having watched from afar the devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas, Floridians are being prudent and exercising an abundance of caution.  Of prudence, Solomon writes:

Proverbs 22:3 – “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.”

We live in a dangerous world far from the “Mayberry” world portrayed in the old Andy Griffith Shows of the early 1960’s. You and I do not have the joy or luxury of raising our families with the naiveté’ of Barney Fife and Goober.   Of necessity, believers need to be prudent, wise and cunning in a world that is no friend of the Christian or his family.

Proverbs 22:3 draws a contrast between two men who are polar opposites when it comes to discernment—the Prudent and the Simple.

Proverbs 22:3  “A prudent [cunning; sensible] man foreseeth [perceive; understands] the evil [sin; wickedness; adversity], and hideth [conceal; hide; shelter] himself: but the simple [foolish; silly] pass on, and are punished [condemn; inflict a penalty].”

The Prudent man is a learner.   He is a student of the Scriptures [the Wisdom of God] and human nature.   His senses are exercised by a lifetime of experiences and he is wary of the wiles and ways of the world.  Prudence dictates he foresee the ways of the wicked and withdraw himself from the consequences of their sinful ways.

The Simple are not learners.   They are stubborn, ignoring the admonitions of their parents and godly counselors.  They pursue the pleasures of sin and the company of the foolish giving no thought to their tragic end.  The Simple rush past moral restraints and headlong down the path of self-destruction.

This same proverb is repeated in Proverbs 27:12, thus magnifying the need to read and heed its truth.

Proverbs 27:12 – “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.”

Be wise. Seek and heed godly counsel; after all, you cannot afford to wear “rose-colored glasses” in a sinful, black and white world!

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

The Wise Pour Themselves Into Those Who Will Succeed Them!

September 5, 2017

Scripture Reading – 1 Chronicles 20-24

With the Ark of God safe in Gibeon and his recent victory over the Ammonites and Syrians, David settled into a time of spiritual and physical complacency.   We read, “at the time that kings go out to battle” (1 Chronicles 20:1), “David tarried at Jerusalem” (20:1).

The LORD continued to bless Israel’s army under General Joab and David relished the spoils of war that came from conquests (20:2-8); however, it was in this same time David committed an egregious sin against the LORD.   2 Samuel 11 reveals David committed adultery with Bathsheba, wife of Uriah and, to conceal his sin he sent Uriah into the heat of the battle where he perished.  The prophet Nathan warned David his life would forever be shadowed by the consequences of his sins (2 Samuel 12:10-14) and his family would be the source of his sorrows.

David’s reign began evidencing a series of missteps apart from the LORD’s will and in pride he dismissed the counsel of his most trusted advisor.  We read, “Satan stood up [withstood as an adversary] against Israel, and provoked [persuaded; enticed] David to number [i.e. a census] Israel” (1 Chronicles 21:1).   Of this same event, 2 Samuel 24:1 states the LORD was angry with Israel and moved David to number the people.  Taking both passages, we understand Satan initiated the numbering of the people within David’s proud heart (1 Chronicles 21:1) while the LORD permitted the census to His own end and purpose (2 Samuel 24:1).

General Joab, David’s most trusted advisor, bravely withstood David (21:2-3); however, “the king’s word prevailed against Joab” (21:4) and the census was made (21:5).  Too late, David confessed his sin against the LORD for numbering the people (21:7-8); however, the displeasure of the LORD was set upon Him.  David was mercifully given the opportunity to choose which of three consequences would befall him and Israel (21:10-12).

Rather than perish at the hand of his enemy, David entrusted himself and Israel to the LORD’s chastisement and 70,000 in Israel perished (21:13-17).  The plague and the loss of lives stopped when David purchased the threshing floor of Ornan, made an altar in that place and sacrificed to the LORD (21:18-28).

The significance of the place the plague stopped and where David erected an altar and sacrificed cannot be overstated for it was the same place Abraham offered his son Isaac and Solomon would build the Temple (Genesis 22; 1 Chronicles 22:1; 2 Chronicles 3:1).

Knowing the years of his life were drawing to a close, David devoted his life to preparing the workmen and materials that would be required for Solomon to build the Temple (1 Chronicles 22:1-19).  David instructed Solomon and imparted to his son his duty to embrace God’s promises and build the Temple in Jerusalem (22:6-16).

Leaving no doubt who should be his successor, David “made Solomon his son king over Israel” (23:1) and set forward an organization of the priests and Levites who were to serve in the Temple (23:2-32; 24:1-31)).

There are many lessons we could take from today’s study; however, I will leave you with one…

David wisely accepted the temporalness of his earthly life and prepared his son to not only be king, but also charged him with the privilege for which God had chosen him… “build an house for the LORD God of Israel” (1 Chronicles 22:6-11).

Friend, you would be wise to follow David’s example and heed a caution concerning this earthly life found in Psalm 90.

Psalm 90:10 – “The days of our years are threescore years and ten [70 years]; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years [80 years], yet is their strength [i.e. pride] labour [toil; grief; misery] and sorrow [mourning]; for it is soon [i.e. hurry; too soon] cut off [passed], and we fly away [i.e. our years take flight].”

Wise men and women “number” [prepare; count] the days of their lives and, like David, “apply [lit. pass on] [their] hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

The wise pour their lives into those who will eventually succeed them!

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

Millennials and their “Temper Tantrums” Are Threatening to Destroy the United States!

I once again have the privilege of preaching and teaching God’s Word in Hillsdale’s 10:30 AM and 6:00 PM services this Sunday.   I am continuing my series in Genesis titled “Lessons on Faith from the Life of Abraham” in the evening service.

I am in the midst of a Sunday morning series titled “The Commandments of the LORD” and my focus this Sunday is on the 5th Command:

“Honour [glorify; boast] thy father and thy mother: that thy days [time; years] may be long [lengthened; prolonged; draw out; endure] upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee” (Exodus 20:12).

Never one to shy away from difficult and controversial subjects, I plan to make some relevant observations regarding this Millennial generations’ penchant for throwing what one dear saint observed is nothing more than “Temper Tantrums”.

For nearly 50 years, America has made idols of her children and we are beginning to reap the consequences.  Parents of my generation failed to teach their children to “Honor thy father and thy mother” and now they are creating chaos and threatening anarchy!

This is the generation that was kicking and screaming in WalMart’s toy aisle, except now they are screaming in the public square.

This is the generation that was not taught to respect authority, to be quiet and listen…now they are shouting down every voice they don’t want to hear and willing to shed blood and destroy the lives of any who get in their way.

I have a prophetic warning for this nation and our politicians: 

Continue to capitulate to the demands and temper tantrums of this generation and they will not stop with demanding the removal of monuments they dislike… They will eventually silence and eliminate the voices and people who stand in the way of their demands.

I invite you to join me at Hillsdale this Sunday as I exhort parents to teach their children and challenge children to “Honor thy father and thy mother”.

For those who follow this years’ scripture reading schedule and my daily devotional commentary, the following are readings scheduled for today and Sunday:

Saturday – Scripture Reading – Gospel of John 7-9

Sunday – Scripture Reading – 2 Timothy 1-2

With the heart of a shepherd,

Pastor Travis D. Smith

Copyright 2-17 – Travis D. Smith

“Cherish the Best Things”

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Daily reading assignment – Proverbs 17-18

Today’s scripture reading is Proverbs 17 and Proverbs 18.  The following devotional commentary, originally written January 17, 2014, is an exposition and application of the “Better…than” principle found in Proverbs 17:1.

Proverbs 17:1 – Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.

Americans have become a money-hungry, pleasure-seeking, self-indulgent people.  I believe the entitlement attitude that divides our nation and is turning us into a socialist-welfare state has its roots in my generation—the baby-boomers.   Our Depression/World War II era parents and grandparents lived through two decades of sacrifice, hardship and war, and determined to give their children “everything they never had”.   That they did, but at the sacrifice of something more important…instilling character, discipline and an appreciation for hard work and sacrifice in their children.

The “baby-boomers” have perpetuated the aspiration of their parents and instilled in their children (Generations X, Y, and the Millenniums) a spirit of indolence, self-gratification and entitlement that has brought our society to the brink of economic collapse.   Our homes are bigger, our possessions are greater; we have more time for recreation and self-indulgence than any generation before us; however, unhappiness, disappointment and family conflict abounds.

Solomon taught his son a “Better…than” principle we would be wise to heed. The king illustrated in a brief proverb the hollowness of riches and possessions when a family is torn by strife:

Proverbs 17:1 – “Better is a dry morsel [parched piece of bread], and quietness [peace; security] therewith, than an house [family] full of sacrifices [feastings] with strife [quarrels; hostilities].”

Application: It is Better to be poor, enjoy a quiet, simple life nourished by nothing more than a piece of dry crusty bread, than dwell in a home of plenty that is filled with hostility.  That proverb echoes a similar sentiment found in Proverbs 15:17.

Proverbs 15:17 – “Better is a dinner of herbs [green leafy vegetables] where love is, than a stalled ox [fat and ready for slaughter] and hatred therewith.”

Putting that verse in a modern context: It is better to enjoy a plate of greens and vegetables at Cracker Barrel with those you love, than dine on Prime Rib at Ruth Chris Steak House with family and friends who are the source of strife in your life!

Friend, money and possessions might buy you temporal joy and satisfaction, but lasting peace and joy cannot be purchased at any price! Be content with the simple life; cherish family and friends who genuinely love you.   Life is too short to chase passions that leave you empty and frustrated.

1 Timothy 6:6-8 – “But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

“Daniel: A Model of Godly Character, Integrity and Courage”

Friday, August 11, 2017

Daily reading assignment – Daniel 1-6

Today’s scripture reading challenges me to an impossible task—to write a brief devotional commentary for one of the great prophetic books in the Bible and cover in one reading a passage of scripture (Daniel 1-6) that consumed me for 14 weeks when I preached through the Book of Daniel in 2014.

The Book of Daniel is a prophetic panorama of human history, beginning with the days of Nebuchadnezzar and ancient Babylon and encompassing a prophetic vision of world empires that would follow…Medo-Persians, Greece and Rome.  Daniel’s writing include prophecies that are for the 21st century reader a footnote in history past and a foretelling of future events that conclude with the Second Coming of Christ.

Daniel 1 opens with a straightforward, historical fact…the children of Judah are in bondage in Babylon and the beloved city of Jerusalem and the temple will soon be laid waste.  The prophet Jeremiah warned Judah’s kings if the people did not repent of their sin and turn to the LORD, His wrath would rise “against His people, till there was no remedy” (2 Chronicles 36:16).  Jeremiah prophesied the captivity in Babylon would last for 70 years (Jeremiah 25:12) and when those years were “accomplished at Babylon [God] will visit you… causing you to return to this place [the promise land] (Jeremiah 29:10).

The prophet Daniel has been a favorite of children for millenniums.  Only a youth, perhaps no more than 13-14 years old when chosen, taken from his home and family and transported to Babylon with its strange language and idolatrous culture, Daniel proved he was a child of faith from the beginning of his training in Babylon.   Numbered with three other Jewish youth who proved they were children of conviction, we read of Daniel:

Daniel 1:8 – “But Daniel purposed [pledged; determined; made a decree] in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.”

“Daniel purposed”, he pledged his heart and resolved in his character, “he would not defile himself” (Daniel 1:8).   What courage!   What conviction!   What passion!  God blessed Daniel and providentially gave him “favour and tender love with the prince [chief] of the eunuchs [the servants of the king]” (Daniel 1:9).   As you will see in your reading of Daniel 1-6, the testing of Daniel’s faith in his youth prepared his heart for the opportunities, challenges and trials he would face in his service to the kings of Babylon and Persia.

Daniel 5 gives us a historical record of Babylon’s fall in 536 B.C. to Darius, king of the Medo-Persian Empire (5:30-31).   Daniel 6 gives us insight into the civil government of ancient Persia (6:1-3).   Once again God honored Daniel and, though in his 80’s, king Darius made him second only to himself in power and position (6:2-3).

I close with an observation of three qualities found in Daniel’s life that every Christian should emulate.   The first, Daniel had “an excellent spirit” (Daniel 6:3). Rather than a grumpy old man, his spirit and character was exemplary.

The second, Daniel was a “faithful”, trustworthy servant (6:4).  When his enemies plotted to destroy him, the only accusation they could bring against him was his devotion to God (6:5-9).    Finally, Daniel’s love and devotion for God was so great he was willing to die rather than sacrifice his times of prayer with the LORD (6:10).

Dare To Be A Daniel (by Philip P. Bliss)

Standing by a purpose true,
Heeding God’s command,
Honor them, the faithful few!
All hail to Daniel’s band!

Dare to be a Daniel,
Dare to stand alone!
Dare to have a purpose firm!
Dare to make it known.

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

Hillsdale Christian Academy and Preschool

Twelve years ago, August 2005, Hillsdale Baptist Church, founded in 1962, opened her heart to a new community and began an exciting new ministry…Hillsdale Preschool.   Over the years, Hillsdale Preschool grew and matured into a ministry we know today as Hillsdale Christian Academy and Preschool (HCA).

HCA has become a full-fledged academic institution offering superior classroom instruction to K2-5th Grades and an exclusive Virtual School for 6th-12th grades directed and moderated by our secondary education teacher, Mrs. Rebecca Peterman.

Under the guidance of our principal, Mrs. Tanya Henry and our Family Pastor, Pastor Eric Peterman, Hillsdale Preschool is one of the finest Preschools in Central Florida (annual testing of our K4 students matriculating to K5 has HCA in the top percentile in Florida).

With an exceptional, dedicated Christian faculty, HCA is earning its own reputation as an academic institution and is a Step UP and McKay scholarship approved institution.  Committed to being a loving, nurturing institution offering academic disciplines with a Christian worldview, HCA promotes civic responsibility and is unapologetically patriotic.

Rejoice with me as Hillsdale Christian Academy and Preschool begins her 2017-2018 school year!

With the heart of a shepherd,

Travis D. Smith

Senior Pastor

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

Without a proof of lineage, one’s claim of inheritance is in vain!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Daily reading assignment – 1 Chronicles 1-4

As stated in its name, 1 Chronicles is a chronicle of events in the history of Israel as a nation and her kings.  There were many events recorded in our earlier readings of 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings and 2 Kings that are not recorded in the Chronicles.  There is also a repetition of names and events that you will recognize; however, there are also events recorded in the Chronicles omitted in the prior historical books.

As far as the Chronicles and their author, it is believed by many authorities that Ezra is the human author and wrote the books sometime after the Babylonian captivity.  For novices of a “Read Thru the Bible” plan, you may find the genealogical list of names that make up much of the first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles tedious reading; however, the genealogies were invaluable to the Hebrew people in establishing the priesthood and the distribution of ancestral lands following the captivity and the return of the Jews to their lands.

1 Chronicles 1 establishes the lineage of Adam to Noah and the lineage of his sons from whom all mankind descended after the Flood (1:1-54).  The famous and the infamous are named here and for students of Bible and human history, the genealogical record is rich!

The individual genealogies of Noah’s son are listed: Sons of Japheth (1:5-7); Sons of Ham (1:8-16); and the Sons of Shem (1:17-54) of whom would be born Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael (1:27-28).  The fathers of ancient kingdoms of the Middle East are found in this record.

The twelve sons of Jacob, later named Israel, are recorded in 1 Chronicles 2 (2:1-2).  Of particular interest is the genealogical record of Judah, the father of the royal tribe, and his five sons (2:3-5) of whom will be born king David (2:15), Solomon and ultimately the LORD Jesus Christ (both Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Joseph were of the tribe of Judah).

The descendants of king David are recorded in 1 Chronicles 3:1-9, followed by those of his son Solomon (3:10-16).  1 Chronicles 3:17-24 is the birth record of David and Solomon’s lineage born during the Babylonian captivity (3:17-24).  1 Chronicles 4 continues the genealogical record of Judah, the royal tribe (4:1-23).

The lineage of Simeon, the second son of Jacob (i.e. Israel), is recorded in 1 Chronicles 4:24-43 and includes their inheritance in the land as well as the cities and villages assigned to the tribe (4:28-43).

Some reading this brief devotional commentary might ask, “So what? What is so important about a list of names?”  My answer, “Everything if you hope to have a legitimate claim to an inheritance of land, possessions, titles and privileges!”   A genealogical record proving one’s bloodline was essential in Israel.  Tribal and family lands were passed from generation to generation based on the genealogical record of one’s ancestry.

An inheritance based on one’s physical lineage is temporal at best; whatever you inherit…lands, possessions, jewelry…all will eventually pass to others.

I close with a question for you to ponder: “What about your spiritual inheritance?”

You and I were born sinners and with the fallen nature of Adam.  In his letter to believers in Corinth, Paul writes, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).  If you have confessed you are a sinner and trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior Redeemer, you are a child of God “by faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26-29) and your spiritual inheritance of forgiveness and eternal life is in Christ alone!

Remember, without a proof of lineage, one’s claim of inheritance is in vain!

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith