Is groaning a part of your prayer language?

May 6, 2022

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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))

I have been groaning a lot lately! I am also extremely weary. I know what to pray for, but I find that I am incapable of stringing together the words to petition our Lord for the things that weigh heavily on my heart.

So, I find myself fully relying on the wordless groans and the Holy Spirit to intercede, to understand what is weighing heavily on my heart.

I am certain that everyone has experienced times in their lives exactly like this. If you have not, then your heart has been hardened. Thankfully, we have a God who fully understands what it means to be human. He understands our weakness. He understands our fears.

To put it simply, He understands us!

When we groan, He knows why. When we can’t find the words, He knows exactly what is on our hearts and on our minds. This may sound very strange, but I have grown to find comfort in my groans for these very reasons. I have grown to find comfort in my weakness, for I know the One who uses my weakness to His glory!

Is groaning a part of your prayer language?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you praying for a clean heart?

March 31, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
      and renew a right spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (NIV))

Do you find yourself praying this more often in the last few years?

I realize that this could sound like a trick question, but I promise that it is not.

As believers, we should continually pray this. I find myself needing to pray it as I watch the current state of this world. It is human nature to want to go on the offensive when we see things that aren’t right. Our own nation was founded by men and women who did just that. They felt emboldened to the point where they drafted a document that said enough was enough. They went to war and they laid down their lives to do what was right. Today, I find myself in a predicament. Our founding fathers were fighting against tyranny. We are facing a different adversary and many times it is family members, friends and people we work with. The struggle is spiritual and the struggle is real. We must remember that those who are currently against us are also part of God’s creation and that He loves them.

We must never look at these individuals as an enemy not worth saving!

Have you ever been guilty of this? Are you guilty of this at this very moment? What would have happened if the person who lead you to Jesus had the very same type of thoughts about you?

Think about that!

This is why we must pray for God to create a clean heart in us and to renew a right spirit within us. We can’t demonstrate the love and redemption that God has freely given if we cannot, if we will not, show that love to those who need it most. With that in mind, I have a homework assignment for you. The next time that you encounter someone who is against you, pause and pray for God to give you a clean heart so that you will see that person through His eyes. Pray that God will renew a right spirit within you so that you will love that person simply because He loves them.

You will find that your outlook on the world will change. You will also grow closer to the Lord because you will understand just how great His love truly is.

Are you praying for a clean heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What do your groanings mean?

March 10, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice;
      when the wicked rule, the people groan.
(Proverbs 29:2 (NIV))

I am going to ask a question that many people will say has an obvious answer, but just to make sure, here goes.

What are you hearing from the people, from the world today?

I honestly believe that the only people you hear rejoicing are the ones at the very heart of all of this mess. There is a big push by the global elite to do things that are fulfilling things foretold of long ago in God’s Word. Whether you believe that the new world order is planning a great reset or you believe that Planet X is making people crazy, one thing is certain – there is something big going on in this world. I want to let you in on a little secret that should put your mind at ease if you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. God is still in complete control! None of this has caught Him by surprise. We are the ones who are surprised.

Why?

Do we not spend enough time in His Word? Do we not know His Word well enough to know what He is allowing to happen as it happens right in front of us? Are we groaning because we are saddened by the state of the world as it has so rapidly changed? Are we groaning because we long for the way things used to be?

Personally, I like to believe that the groaning that we are hearing is from the Body of Christ as we pray through the Holy Spirit to express our desires for His righteousness and His plan as it unfolds.

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))

This may sound strange, but I believe that those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior can groan in the Spirit, yet still be able to rejoice, for we know that Jesus will return sooner than any of us would have even considered ten years ago. We groan because we long for the evil to end and His righteousness to be established, and we rejoice because we know that it will come.

We don’t know what tomorrow will hold, but we do know who holds tomorrow. All that I know is that I pray to be able to be as faithful as those whom were fed to the lions in the Colosseum. It is written that they sang with eyes lifted toward heaven!

Are you prepared? Do you stand firm in your faith?

What do your groanings mean?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must remember what God has given us!

March 1, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
(2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV))

I realize that I have referenced this passage at least once a year for the last few years. Can you blame me?

Every time that we turn around, something new has shown up on the world stage that appears to have the potential to be worse than the previous things that we thought were of great concern. If you have not professed a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, all of the events that seem to be escalating in intensity and frequency probably have you very concerned if not completely scared. If your only perspective is this world and the current state of this world, then it would scare most people to death. Sadly, I have seen recent statistics that point this out. It appears that death rates have risen significantly over the last two years with the majority of this increase coming from what we have labeled as the millennials. They see no hope for the future and are taking measures into their own hands. The majority of this generation was not raised to trust in God or even to believe that He exists, so when things get tough, they have no firm foundation on which to place their trust. They fear the future and see no way for anything good to come out of it.

I could fill up page after page of events detailing the ramifications of these events and what could be coming next. If you study Biblical prophesy, then Ezekiel, Daniel and Revelation possibly come to mind as the events unfold right before us. I do not profess to know more than the people who recorded these books, but I do know that we are living in interesting times. On any given day, it is possible to see God’s timeline unfolding just from the news that we see.

Thankfully, we know the outcome. We know God’s plans. We may not know the exact details, but He has given us enough to recognize His Hand at work. He has told us beforehand what will transpire so that we can overcome, so that we can have peace.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

Most people face the world in fear, but if you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you have nothing to fear. We can rely on His power and His love to see us through whatever the enemy sends our way as he faces his last days before Jesus returns. That should truly give us a sound mind, for we can rest assured that we are in Christ and that He is in us!

We must remember what God has given us!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you still feel the weight of guilt and shame?

September 2, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
(Hebrews 9:14 (NIV))

What weighs on your conscience?

Every single one of us is guilty of so much in our lives. We can’t seem to go a single day without adding something more to the already overwhelming burden of sin that we have accumulated during our time on this earth. If you ever truly stop and reflect on the sin that has permeated your life, it is staggering.

In your opinion, what is the worst thing that you have ever done in this life?

Do you try to bury it so deep inside that you never have to think about it? It is still there. It is still ammunition that the enemy can use against you. It is one of his primary tactics to get you to think that the grace offered by Jesus on the cross could never be for someone like you! The enemy loves to make you feel guilty and then drive that guilt home. The enemy loves to take the guilt and then turn it into shame. When this happens, you lose all hope, for you have not only accepted the lie, you have embraced the lie of condemnation as your own story.

Stop right there!

That does not have to be your story!

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))

Do you believe?

If you answered that you believe, then you are not condemned. You have absolutely nothing to feel guilty for and you have absolutely nothing in your life that needs to cause shame. Jesus took these sins and covered them with His blood. The blood of Christ has cleansed you. You have been washed white as snow.

Do you still feel the weight of guilt and shame?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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From the inside out!

July 12, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Thessalonians 5:23 (NIV))

I had something pointed out to me today that should have been obvious, or it should have been obvious if I had simply been paying attention!

If you slow down and read this passage you will see that this passage gives us God’s order of importance with respect to our lives. In essence, it explains, in more detail, the concept that outward appearances are not what make a person righteous, and because of this, God looks at the heart. The heart reflects the spirit and the desires of the heart determine a person’s life. You will seek out what your heart desires.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

Our words reflect what is in our heart.

What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.
(Matthew 15:11 (NIV))

But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.
(Matthew 15:18-19 (NIV))

God looks at the secrets within. He knows that in order to be righteous and blameless, it has to start from within us. It has to start with a desire to turn from our sin and profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. Too many people go through the outward motions without ever having a change within. Their secret life is as sinful as ever, but the facade that they present to the world is one that appears to be blameless. Jesus let these people know of their sin, for they were acting righteous when what was inside was wicked.

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
(Matthew 23:27-28 (NIV))

Would Jesus call you a hypocrite? Do you desire to change? Repent and ask God to change your heart and He will change you…

From the inside out!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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He knows just how to renew your spirit!

July 2, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
     and renew a right spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (ESV))

What is the state of your spirit within you?

If you are anything like me, if you suffer as part of humanity, then the things that happen around us and to us have an impact on us whether we want to admit it or not. With what the whole world has experienced over the last year or more, it impacts even those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Sometimes I just look at the things of this world and sigh because I can’t put my thoughts into accurate words. I sigh because of the unrighteous things that I see. I sigh because I long for God’s righteousness and not the world’s evil. If you are like me, you can understand how Elijah felt when he ran from Jezebel.

But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”
(1 Kings 19:4 (NIV))

Elijah had fled Jezebel. He was afraid and he was tired. Human nature took control and he wanted to have God end his life. He was physically, mentally and spiritually exhausted.

And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.
(1 Kings 19:5-8 (NIV))

Elijah was a prophet. He heard from God on many different occasions, and yet he still had a crushed spirit due to the events in the world in his life. How can we assume that we will have the strength to achieve on our own what Elijah was unable to achieve on his own?

A day’s journey into the wilderness means that he found a place to escape his troubles and rest. This allowed for the Lord to send comfort and renewal not once, but twice. Because he was able to find rest in the Lord, he was prepared to face the journey ahead. That journey had him face many dark days, but he was able to face them because he found rest in the Lord and the Lord renewed his spirit.

When you sigh and groan under the weight of the world, remember Elijah. Seek the Lord and seek rest in His presence. Our sighs and groans are not incomprehensible to the Lord.

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))

He knows just how to renew your spirit!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Come, Lord Jesus, come!

June 18, 2021

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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))

Is it just me or have you found yourself spiritually groaning as you observe all of the events transpiring in the world? They seem to be increasing in intensity and in frequency. If you don’t believe me, just think back to two years ago. No one could have imagined a worldwide pandemic. No one could have imagined the racial conflicts that have been increasing. No one could have imagined far too many things that we have seen and continue to see as they progressively unfold. When I actually contemplate everything that has transpired worldwide, I involuntarily sigh and groan. I am appalled at what I see. I am saddened by the state of insanity that has grasped this nation and this world. If it makes me sigh and groan, can you imagine how heavy God’s heart is as He watches people reject Him? Can you imagine how heavy God’s heart is as He watches people reject His offer of grace and salvation through His Son, Jesus?

What do you see when you look at the world?

Do you see a world that is as safe as the one that you grew up in? Do you see a world that is vastly different than just twenty or thirty years ago? Do you see a world that rejects God more and more each day?

How does that make you feel?

Is there something inside of you that sighs and groans at the thought of where we have come to? Is there something inside of you that sighs and groans adamantly at the thought of where our world is so rapidly progressing to?

It is a common human trait to wish for a better life for our children and grandchildren. With all of the spiritual groaning that I feel and that I am reading that others feel, I do not believe that this physical world will provide a better life as human nature desires.

All is not lost!

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
(Matthew 24:7-8 (NIV))

“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.
(Matthew 24:32-34 (NIV))

Many believe that we are the fig tree generation. The generation that saw Israel become a nation again and the generation that is seeing all of these things transpire right before our eyes. We must look to Jesus! We must look for Jesus! When God’s Spirit fills us with groans, I prefer to think of them as pleas for God’s Will to be done.

Come, Lord Jesus, come!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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This is a must do!

May 28, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

All throughout human history since the fall from grace, man has wanted to be able to visualize what he has worshipped. Perhaps this is due to the limited capabilities of humanity to understand what he cannot see. Whatever the reason may be, God cannot be limited to physical dimensions such as time and place, size and shape. God is exactly what John told us. He is Spirit. We cannot see Him in our physical limitations. We must learn to see beyond what we are and learn to see God with our hearts and our spirits, and not with our limited physical bodies.

There is a saying that there is more to this world than meets the eye. How true this statement is. All around us is a spiritual world that we cannot see, but it interacts with us on a daily basis. God has reached out to us from this world that we cannot see by sending His Son, Jesus.

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 all mankind.
(John 1:1-4 (NIV))

Jesus taught us how to worship God in spirit and in truth. He came as the ultimate example of God’s love to make it possible for us to make it back to God even from our sinful, fallen nature.

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))

Only through Jesus will we be able to stand before God. Only through Jesus are we made righteous to be able to stand before a righteous God. Until that day, we must keep our eyes on Jesus as the only way to the Father.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
(John 14:6-7 (NIV))

In all things that Jesus did, He always pointed to the Father. He came to earth to show us the way to the Father. How well have you learned the truth of that lesson that Jesus taught?

This is a must do!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you hope to draw closer to the Lord?

May 12, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
(Galatians 5:25 (NIV))

Have you ever read something that made you do a double-take?

This passage did just that for me. Paul made some very profound and bold statements in these few short words.

Reread this passage and be honest with yourself when you answer the following questions.

Do you honestly live by the Spirit?

I know that I long to live by the Spirit, but human nature prevents me from fulfilling this with any consistency. Paul expressed in his writing that his readers were living by the Spirit. What did they know and do that we do not?

Do you keep in step with the Spirit?

If you are like me, you long to keep in step, but all too often you find yourself several paces behind, or at best, you find that you have been distracted and are not even in the same zip code.

I often wonder how Paul was able to live by the Spirit, and to keep in step with the Spirit , but then I remember that Paul had an encounter that left a permanent impression upon his life. He encountered Jesus in a way that would leave even the biggest skeptic in a state of complete obedience.

Is that what it takes for us? Do we need such an amazing encounter that we can’t help but obey? I hope that is not the case, for we have to remember that Paul was persecuting the church. Jesus had to do something to change the course of Paul’s life. Hopefully, we are not persecuting His church. At best, we may be slightly engrossed in our lives and not give all that we can, but I honestly do not think that we can be accused of persecuting the church.

Drastic times call for drastic measures!

That is what Jesus did in the life of Paul. He drastically changed Paul. He changed him to the point of being able to live by the Spirit. Paul tried to weigh everything and do everything according to what the Spirit told him to do. Can you imagine how things would be different if Paul lived his life as we have a tendency to live ours? Imagine the way things would have unfolded IF Paul had gone back to Jerusalem to seek medical help for his sudden blindness. He would have not followed the leading of the Spirit to go to Damascus. Ananias would not have been needed because Paul was not there. Paul would not have been healed. He would not have started his mission to the gentiles. You would probably not be reading this right now.

I often wonder if I am living by the Spirit and if I am in step with the Spirit. This is something that I pray. I long to become able to better discern the gentle voice of the Spirit. This may be food for those who claim that Christians are weak minded, but I like to think that I would want to become like an obedient dog following his master. I long for this type of a relationship not because I am weak minded, but because I know the bond of love that is present in this type of relationship. Wherever the master goes, you guessed it, the dog follows. The dog is so in tune to his master that he instinctively knows where the master is leading.

Are you instinctively in tune to where the Spirit is leading? Are you even in the same zip code?

Do you hope to draw closer to the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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