Have you been born of the Spirit?

September 16, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”
(John 3:5-6 (NIV))

More people are aware of the verse just a few short sentences before this passage.

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.
(John 3:3 (NIV))

In fact, even nonbelievers are familiar with this passage to the point where they have created bumper stickers saying that they were born okay the first time. Ironically, their comments support the words that Jesus spoke about flesh gives birth to flesh. They either don’t understand the concept of being born again or they choose to rebel against the idea out of ego and pride. Think about that for a moment. When do we see the very first rebellion against God and what was the cause of this rebellion? Ever since Satan declared that he wanted to be God, pride has become a major issue. Pride became such an issue that it caused the fall from grace. It caused all the sins of the world. If you look at the Ten Commandments, everything that the Lord God told us to obey are things that lead us to Him and away from pride. We are to honor only God and His Name. We are not to pick part of His creation and worship it. We are to obey the Lord and live according to His desires and laws. Anything short of that is a sin.

All flesh has been corrupted by the fall from grace. That is why our ancestors were driven from the Garden of Eden. They had corrupted God’s perfect creation. As descendants of Adam and Eve, we are just as guilty.

God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.
(John 4:24 (NIV))

We cannot approach God in sin. We must be cleansed. We must be made anew. We must accept the grace and mercy given to us on the cross. We must accept the Spirit of God and allow Him to work in us from the inside out and make us people who are focused on things of the Spirit instead of things of this earth. We must allow God’s Spirit to be birthed in us!

Have you been born of the Spirit?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What did you think the power was for?

June 12, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
(Acts 1:8 (NIV))

I am sure that everyone is fully aware of the concept of receiving the power of the Holy Spirit, or to put it more simply, receiving the Holy Spirit. That power manifests itself in various different ways, but have you ever truly asked yourself what the power is for?

Think about that for a moment.

We hear of people who have received the Holy Spirit. We see the things that manifest because of that power. Perhaps that power has been made manifest in you, but to what purpose? We have been given the answer. We are given the power of the Holy Spirit to make us bold, to give us the right words to say, to give us the wisdom and strength to overcome the enemy all so that we can share the Gospel. We are called to be a witness for Jesus! From this passage, we clearly see that the power of the Holy Spirit comes upon us so that we can fulfill with confidence the calling that has been put upon all of those who accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV))

As believers, we are called to share the Gospel. Nowhere does it say that once we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior we are to simply sit back and relax. We have a job to do! The power of the Holy Spirit equips us for that job. Are you walking in the power of the Holy Spirit? Are you bold in declaring and sharing your faith?

What did you think the power was for?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you clothed as a new born?

December 17, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
(John 3:5-6 (NIV))

When we were born of flesh, we were born of this world and of the things in it.

Unfortunately, being born of this world and the things in it meant that we were born into sin. Not a single one of us was born into this world without the power and the consequences of sin looming over us.

Satan is the god of this world and all of its fleshly sins. We are born of flesh. God cannot associate with Satan, so we must be “born again” of the Spirit.

In order to escape sin, we must be born of the Spirit to be of God. The Spirit is of God. Jesus came into this world to offer us a way to be clothed in the things of God. He offered us a way to become a new creation in the eyes of God! Jesus provided a way for each of us to be born anew. In order to enter into God’s kingdom, we must “shake off” the world and put on the Spirit and clothe ourselves in things that are of God and not of this earth.

Through inheritance, we become just as pure as the new born infant that we celebrate. We think of becoming more and more like Jesus, but have you ever stopped to think that we have to truly become a new creation for all that we know was of this world. All that we cling to as good was of this world. We must leave all of the behind and start anew. We must be clothed in the innocence of a new born baby.

Are you clothed as a new born?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you find yourself groaning in your weakness?

March 14, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
(Romans 8:26 (NIV))

Have you ever found yourself in a conversation and not know just how to say what you want to say? Perhaps you didn’t even know what to say, you just knew that you had a very strong opinion on the subject.

What do you find yourself doing in situations like this?

Do you through up your hands in frustration and let out an audible sigh? Do the people around you understand what you are attempting to express?

That is definitely a weakness of the human condition. We are often found without adequate words to express exactly what we want to express. When we simply can’t say what we want to say, we groan or sigh out of frustration. It’s too bad that we can’t be understood when we simply cannot verbalize what we feel.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was someone who could understand the groanings that we make when we can’t find the words to express ourselves?

I want you to consider something with respect to your relationship with God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
(Psalms 139:13 (NIV))

You are known intimately by the Lord. He understands you like no other. He understands the groanings of our spirit. He understands these groanings to be exactly what they are, for they are our desire to communicate concepts, emotions and desires that no earthly language is capable of communicating. We fail to be able to express our inner desires because we are a weak, sinful creation, but we still have the inherited memory of and a desire for a deeper communication with the Lord. Out of this weakness, our prayers are lifted up as groanings of the spirit.

Do you find yourself groaning in your weakness?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Could you pass this test of temptation?

May 18, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: `Man does not live on bread alone.’ ”

The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: `Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’ ”

The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written:

” `He will command his angels concerning you
to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ”

Jesus answered, “It says: `Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”

When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.
(Luke 4:1-13 (NIV))

Satan tried everything that he could do to tempt Jesus!

Fortunately, Jesus did not fall prey to any of the temptations.

How did He face these temptations and walk away from them? How can we face them and walk away from them? Jesus was able to rebuke Satan and his temptations by knowing and using the Word of God to provide support during the temptations.

We can do the same!

True, Jesus was the Son of God, yet, He gave us an example that we can use to avoid temptation in our lives. We must rely on God. We must rely on the grace and mercy that God gave us through Jesus. We must turn to Jesus in honesty and sincerity.

Could you pass this test of temptation?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready and willing to testify?

February 14, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”
(John 1:32-34 (NIV))

What has God done in your life that points to Jesus as the Messiah?

Did the Holy Spirit convict you or did you have some revelation that made you realize just who Jesus is?

Each of us come to the realization that Jesus is God’s Chosen One in our own way and time. Each of us has a unique story to tell about how Jesus became a reality in our lives. Each of us have a powerful witness that we can use to reach others and bring them to the saving knowledge that Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords.

All that we have to do is be willing to tell others what has happened in our lives because of Jesus.

I love the chose of words that John the Baptist used. He didn’t simply say that he knew that Jesus is God’s Chosen One. He purposefully chose the word testify.

Think about that for a moment!

Where are you when you testify to something? In most cases in today’s society, you testify in court. You take an oath to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. You seal the oath with a promise to God!

John could have simply stated what he witnessed. He knew that what he witnessed was something that people would not believe if he did not use stronger words to imply the powerful truth behind them.

He chose to testify!

Are you ready and willing to testify to what Jesus means in your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you want faith like what Stephen had?

September 22, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
(Acts 7:55-56 (NIV))

Do you ever think about Stephen and his faith?

I often wonder if I would have the faith to do what he did. He was brought up on charges before the Sanhedrin. He was charged with blasphemy! Today, we see many such true acts of blasphemy on a daily basis, but at that time, it was an offense punishable by death. At the time, speaking about Jesus as the Messiah was considered blasphemy.

That did not prevent Stephen from allowing the Holy Spirit to speak through him and chastise the Sanhedrin for being stiff-necked people who resist the Holy Spirit as well as killing the prophets and Jesus.

I know that this story is well known, but can you picture the zeal and the honesty that flowed from the mouth of Stephen as he let them know what God thought of them? Can you picture the anger growing in the hearts and minds of the recipients of this message?

Now that the stage is set, do you identify more with Stephen or with the Sanhedrin?

Are you open to the urgings of the Holy Spirit and are you willing to act on them no matter the consequences, or are you so set in your ways that you fail to recognize the truth when it is right in front of you?

Do you face the enemy without reservation, or do you deny the truth and embrace the enemy?

Stephen’s story has been repeated many times throughout history. People have been confronted with attacks from the enemy and have stood their ground with respect to their faith in Jesus. Would we be able to be like Stephen if we faced such an accusation?

Lord, give me the strength to be like Stephen!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we capable of following instructions?

September 9, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.
(1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 (NIV))

Four simple statements, yet, four very difficult things to truly do!

Human nature is a strange thing. We are rebellious by nature since the fall from grace. We have to do things our way and it is safe to safe that our way is not God’s way. Even after God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, to redeem us through the cross, we still miss the mark. Even after Jesus told us that the Holy Spirit would be sent to us to guide us, we miss the mark, We don’t listen to the Holy Spirit. We quench the power of the Holy Spirit by doing things our way. God sent us prophets to instruct us and to tell us of His plans, but we treat this precious gift with contempt and unbelief. We are told to hold on to what is good, but we trade what God calls good for things that will decay and rust. We are told to reject every kind of evil, but we call evil good and good evil.

Do you ever get tired of being human in the sinful state that we call our lives? Do you long for complete redemption so that we will no longer be subject to the sinful nature? Until we are with Jesus, we will continue to fail miserably. Until Jesus gathers us unto Himself, we will fall short of God’s desires and our own. Until that day, keep your eyes focused on Jesus. Keep your heart focused on what is good and true. Pray for guidance and repent when you fail to follow God’s will and remember the things that we have been told.

Do not quench the Spirit!

Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all.

Hold on to what is good!

Reject every kind of evil!

It is my prayer that we are all up to the tasks before us.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you thankful that you are not like others?

June 15, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: `God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, `God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
(Luke 18:9-14 (NIV))

Are you confident in your righteousness?

Based on the fact that we are all sinners, it is a false confidence.

Do you feel that everything that you say and do is in the will of God?

Make sure that when you answer that question no one is near you. We wouldn’t want them to suffer residual effects from the proverbial lightning strike.

It is so easy to fall into the trap that makes us think that our sins are not as bad as everyone else’s. It is so easy to fall into the trap of being judgmental. It is not our place to judge. It is our place to lead people to Jesus. If we try to judge and condemn, do you think we will have much of an influence on them for Jesus?

We are to lead sinners to Jesus. It is not our job to clean them up, after all, we are still dirty from our own sin. It is Jesus who will offer them salvation and through the Holy Spirit, He will begin to work in their lives just as He has worked in ours.

We have a tendency to look down on certain sin while our favorite sins we brush over. In the eyes of God, sin is sin. We are no better than those whom we look down upon. The only difference, and I say this with a prayerful heart, is that the Body of Christ has accepted the gift of salvation. We are not perfect in our salvation, for we sin daily. It is the attitude that matters. We strive to follow after God’s own heart and not rebel against it.

In this time in which we live, we have many opportunities to either offer a hand in grace or offer a fist in rebellion and hate. Think about the fact that Jesus never told the sinners to follow Him and continue in their sin. He told them, or should I say that He told all of us, to go and sin no more.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Is the Holy Spirit still active in the church?

May 16, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
(Acts 2:1-4 (NIV))

Do you believe that this actually happened?

We, as the Body of Christ, for the most part believe what is written about past events, yet, how many of us believe that this could happen today? We rationalize and say that what was done was to get the attention of the people so that God’s Word could be spread. Do you believe that God’s Word has been spread to the point where He no longer needs to get the attention of people?

Think about that. Is the generation alive today the generation that was alive at the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on that particular Pentecost? God needs to get the attention of a completely new generation, so why do many believers feel that this outpouring of the Holy Spirit is no longer needed? Why would God not show His power to every generation? Why would God grow silent and expect us to do what He is doing?

To me, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit serves multiple purposes, but two stand out to me at this moment in time. The first purpose is to show His power to a fallen world. I honestly do not think that the people who witnessed the first outpouring left Jerusalem and never spoke of what they saw to their friends. They talked to anyone and to everyone telling them what had happened! The second purpose that I see in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is the empowerment of the church. We need to be bold in sharing what we know to be truth. We are to be bold so that we can answer the questions of those who see and do not understand. We are to be bold when we approach the throne of God! God doesn’t want us to be timid in our faith. He doesn’t want us to be lukewarm in our faith. He wants us to be bold and to share His Word.

Do you feel that God is still working in the world? If you do not, why would God turn His back on the generations since the first outpouring? Why would God abandon the very people whom Jesus came to save? Why would God not equip His church to do His Will?

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

Jesus said that He would send the Holy Spirit as a helper. Personally, I think we still need all the help we can get!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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