Have you been born again?

January 11, 2019

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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. You should not be surprised at my saying, `You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
(John 3:5-8 (NIV))

I once saw a bumper sticker that said “Born OK the first time.” After two thousand years, it is hard to believe that people still do not fully grasp what Jesus was speaking about. Either that, or they prefer the sin that the flesh has them in.

The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.
(Matthew 26:41b (NIV))

The body, or the flesh, is weak and prone to sin. Sin cannot be overcome by the flesh. How can weakness overcome sin? It take a stronger presence to overcome the power of sin. Those who reject the Holy Spirit are rejecting God’s Grace and telling the world that they love their sin. Only righteousness can stand before God. Righteousness comes only from accepting Jesus Christ and allowing the Holy Spirit to enter into your life. This is what Jesus spoke of when He said that “You must be born again.” Those who reject this, reject God.

Take a close look at your life. Have you allowed the Holy Spirit to enter into your life in such a manner that the world sees the difference? Have you been born again?

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 enter His gates with thanksgiving!

November 22, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
(Psalms 100:4 (NIV))

Why do you give thanks?

Perhaps, more importantly, to whom do you give thanks?

At this time of year, we have officially set aside a day of Thanksgiving. A day that we use to reflect upon the things in our lives that make us happy. We have taken the concept that the Pilgrims started and turned it into a national day where we reflect upon what we have to be thankful for.

Many people are thankful for family, health, homes, prosperity, friends, and many other things. However, it is not a matter of what you are thankful for, but, I believe it is a matter of who you are thankful to.

Think about that for a moment.

You an be thankful for family, but what happens if you are thankful that you married the boss’s daughter instead of being thankful to God that you married a godly person? You can be thankful for health, and then go and risk it all in sin, or you can praise God that He has blessed you with life and health. you can be thankful for you home, but if you are thankful that your home is bigger and nicer than anybody else’s, you are not thanking God for providing you shelter.

I think that you see the point that I am trying to make. Being thankful isn’t always enough. What matters is where that thanks is directed.

I know that many people may not stop to think about salvation at Thanksgiving, after all, we have Christmas and Easter for that. Still, that is the biggest blessing that we can ever receive. It should be the one that merits the biggest “Thank You” that we can ever give.

How can we thank God for grace and salvation?

Simply be thankful each and every day that you are alive. Share that gratitude with all whom you see. Being thankful is a choice. It is also your choice where to direct your thanks.

Do you enter His gates with thanksgiving!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you accepted the invitation to enter through this Temple?

November 15, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

The Jews replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.
(John 2:19-22 (NIV))

It is amazing how the religious authority of the day completely missed the boat. They had been misinterpreting the Scriptures for their own benefit for years. They did not realize that the Savior they were looking for was not a mighty warrior to overthrow their worldly enemies, but a mighty warrior in spiritual matters who had come to overthrow the power of sin and death for all mankind.

They also did not understand, due to their proximity to the events, that Jesus always spoke in parables or examples, and His words were not always what they appeared to be to the world. When Jesus spoke these words, the “Temple” that He spoke of had not yet been glorified. Now, we worship through the “Temple” of Jesus Christ glorified. We have been allowed direct access to God through this “Temple”. Before this happened, only the priests could enter the Temple. Now, anyone can enter if they enter through Jesus Christ.

Have you accepted the invitation to enter through this Temple?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do we see?

August 14, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:12-13 (NKJV))

Have you ever had the opportunity to look into an old mirror that has faded and cracked? The image that you see is a very poor reflection of reality. If someone could only see life through this poor reflection, they would have a very distorted view of reality. The same is true for what we see of God’s Kingdom.

We can only see “glimpses” of what is to come, and compare these to the promises that God has made about the coming Kingdom. Consider the old story about the three blind men and the elephant. Each of the men touched a different part of the elephant and all three of them came away with a different view of what an elephant really is. We are like the blind men in that story. Each of us receives different glimpses of God’s Kingdom and we miss the big picture.

There will come a day when those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior will enter the Kingdom and will see clearly and understand clearly. That is to be our reward. Jesus gave us a little glimpse of heaven in these words. It is built upon our faith, our hope, and our love. He went one step further and told us that the greatest of the three is love.

God’s Kingdom is built on love!

If God’s Kingdom is built on love, then we should practice this at all times in our daily lives while still on this earth. It is true that our idea of love is only a dim reflection of heavenly love, but it is where we are to start.

What do we see?

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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When you look at things, are they possible or impossible?

February 9, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
(Matthew 19:26 (NIV))

We like to take Matthew 19:26 out of context and apply it to whatever we may be facing that appears to be a no win situation. To be honest with you, nothing is impossible with God, so it is a good application. Still, we tend to overlook the original message.

This particular passage was directed at His disciples and it comes at the end of a discourse with a rich young man.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
(Matthew 19:23-25 (NIV))

In case you didn’t catch the implication, Jesus was saying that salvation was only possible through God. Think about that for a moment. Each of us have something that we cherish. Each of us have something that we long to hold on to, that we don’t want to surrender. For some, it is money. For others, it may be power. For others, it may be any number of things. For this particular young man, it was his wealth. Jesus told him that it was necessary to surrender what he held dear to himself and choose to follow Jesus. I think that the disciples caught on to what Jesus was saying because they asked, “Who then can be saved?” The disciples knew human nature. They knew how difficult it is to surrender what is closest to your heart. They knew that it was and is a matter of priorities. They had made the choice to trade everything for the ultimate treasure.

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
(Matthew 13:44 (NIV))

Jesus let them know that a person cannot change their heart, but God can. God can take a cold and hardened heart and bring it back to life. God can take the “wealth” that a person holds dear and make it all look worthless in comparison to what He has to offer. If you think about this, Jesus also let us know that people are not in the business of saving each other. We don’t have the power or authority, but God does! How do you look at things, from your perspective or from God’s?

When you look at things, are they possible or impossible?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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