Are you thankful that Jesus resisted temptation?

March 29, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.
(Mark 14:38 (NIV))

Things happen in this world. Some of them are good and some of them are not so good. Often, the things that look good on the surface are only deceptions. They are temptations to lure you into things that aren’t good. It is these temptations that we must learn to discern and stay away from. Ironically, it is often the things that look uncertain that often turn out to be good. From a worldly perspective, putting your faith in a man who was crucified two thousand years ago on a cross does not look like a good thing. However, this is the very way that God works. He uses what the world calls foolish and makes it bring blessings. These blessings are far greater than those promised by the temptations that the world throws at us.

It is easy to fall into the temptations of this world when they you are constantly being presented to you in very alluring packages. Fame, wealth, prestige, power, and, yes, sex all are powerful temptations that the enemy uses to lure us away from what God has called us to. All temptations come from Satan. No one has escaped them.

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
(Matthew 4:1 (NIV))

We must learn to do what Jesus did when He was in the desert.

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
(Ephesians 6:11 (NIV))

If we train our spirit, we will be able to face temptation and turn it away. Once we have trained our spirit through God’s Word and the Holy Spirit, we must pray that we will be able to resist temptation in the flesh. No one is perfect. If we let down our guard, Satan will attack. Like a good soldier, we must constantly watch. Like a good follower of Jesus, we must constantly pray.

Are you willing to resist temptation?

Are you thankful that Jesus resisted temptation?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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If you were the only one

March 28, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.

“Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”
This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said,

“They divided my garments among them
and cast lots for my clothing.”

So this is what the soldiers did.

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”
(John 19:23-37 (NIV))

Nothing else needs to be said. The scripture tells all that needs to be said.

Reflect on what Jesus did for YOU! He would have suffered if you were the only one!

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus came to finish God’s plan of salvation.

March 27, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
(John 19:30 (NIV))

Why did Jesus go to the cross?

What did He have to finish?

According to many people alive today, Jesus was concerned about social issues and equality. His own words let us know that this was not the reason for His crucifixion.

You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me
(John 12:8 (NIV))

Did Jesus come to preach acceptance of alternate lifestyles and diversity as some people now claim?

“Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV))

Don’t get me wrong. Jesus is concerned about social issues. He cares for the poor. He cares for the outcast. He cares for those on the edge of society. He does not care for them as the world cares. He cares for their repentance and salvation.

We all know John 3:16 by heart. What the world, and often members of the Body of Christ, forget is that this is not the complete passage. There is more to embrace.

“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 he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

Jesus is the Light of the World. He walked among us to bring light, to teach God’s desires and to offer salvation through repentance. He came to seek and to save the lost! He did not accept the sin of the lost.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:9-11 (NIV))

Jesus did not come to condemn. He came to bring salvation. He had to offer an atoning sacrifice that would cover all of our sins. He had to go to the cross. He had to finish the plan for repayment of our debt in sin.

Jesus did not come to condemn. Sadly, too many people are teaching that he came to ignore our sins and as long as we call upon His name we will be saved. Jesus did not tell the woman to call on him the next time she was caught in sin. He told her to leave her life of sin. If we continue to live in our sin, we are not truly living in the Light. We are still lost in our own evils and lost in the darkness.

Jesus came to finish God’s plan of salvation. God’s plan of salvation did not keep us in our sin. It cleansed us of our sin. All we have to do is repent and accept.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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“Surely he was the Son of God!”

March 26, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”
(Matthew 27:50-54 (NIV))

We are all familiar with the crucifixion account. We know that there were earthquakes. We know that the curtain of the temple was torn in two. We know that the centurion came to believe that Jesus was and is the Son of God. There is one thing in the account of the crucifixion that many overlook.

The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
(Matthew 27:52-53 (NIV))

Why do we overlook this? Why do we ignore one of the greatest resurrection accounts of what God has done? I know that our focus is on the death and resurrection of Jesus, but I find it extremely interesting that at the moment of His death, people arose out of their tombs.

Who were these people? Even before Jesus came into the world, people where longing for His coming. They believed even before Jesus physically walked the earth. They were looking at salvation through eyes that longed to see it. We look at salvation through eyes that have read it as it actually happened.

Why did they arise at Jesus’ death? That is an interesting question and I am probably going to open up some debate, but I believe that it is simply a matter of timing. Humanity has been given grace and mercy through the atoning blood of Jesus. Jesus had to die in order for our salvation to be redeemed. Those people who believed in Jesus before He walked the earth had to wait until He had fulfilled the plan of salvation. Once He breathed His last, the debt had been paid.

If we truly perceived the events that happened during the crucifixion, we would undoubtedly come to the same conclusion that the centurion came to. The sky grew dark, the earth shook, the rocks split, the holy people were raised from the dead and the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

I honestly don’t think that any script writer could come up with something as awe inspiring as what actually happened.

There is a saying that truth is stranger than fiction. There is also a famous line from a movie that states, “You can’t handle the truth!” I also find it interesting that people base their perception of the truth upon their limited understanding. They refuse to believe until they see. I have never seen a millions dollars, but I know that it exists. Perhaps that is the limit to the faith of some people. They can believe things that they have never seen only if they are of a physical nature.

I know that people believe when they see miracles. I also know that we are told that we need to have faith without seeing miracles. Still, it is my desire to see people who are not believers come to the same saving knowledge as the centurion.

“Surely he was the Son of God!”

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How can He be our Savior?

March 25, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
(1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV))

With Easter very prominent in our lives at this time of year, we need to take a look at why we celebrate and what price was paid so that we can celebrate.

If we have accepted the grace and mercy that Jesus bought and paid for with His Blood, then our bodies are not our own. They belong to God, for we have willingly surrendered all of our being over to Him. If we have surrendered ourselves to God, then He should have the authority to have control in our lives. God does not desire for mindless obedience. He desires for a willful submission on our part to His authority. His authority is not one of force, for when do you remember ever seeing force give of itself freely as God, through Jesus, did at the cross?

Our salvation has been bought through a willful act of payment. We should respond in kind with willful acts of submission to God’s authority, for, if we are not willing to allow God to be our Lord and Master, how can He be our Savior?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How bold are you?

March 22, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is

” `the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the capstone. ‘

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
(Acts 4:8-12 (NIV))

This is the very same Peter who denied Jesus three times in just a few short hours. What made the bold change in his outlook? Only a few days earlier, he was afraid for his life and denied Jesus because he did not want to be put to death. Now he is boldly proclaiming the divinity of Jesus before the very same people that he was afraid of before.

Peter had experienced a life changing event. He had seen Jesus crucufied and buried. He had seen Him resurrected and fully alive. He had seen Him ascend into heaven. I don’t know about you, but seeing these events unfold before my eyes would have made me bold as well.

Perhaps that is the problem. We did not see the actual events happen and because of this, we are not filled with the boldness that Peter relied on when he spoke these words.

Why is it that we are not filled with that same boldness, after all, we have historical evidence that these things happened? Have we become too timid because we are too comfortable? Peter had to face the ultimate denial before he could face the ultimate faith. Perhaps this is true. Have you ever known someone who had sunk to the lowest point that a oerson could sink and then come to salvation through Jesus? They are bold!!!

Perhaps boldness comes from a realization of just how much we have been saved from!

How bold are you?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Like learning to ride a bicycle

March 21, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then Eli realized it was the Lord who was calling the boy. So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Yes, Lord, your servant is listening.'” So Samuel went back to bed. And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel replied, “Yes, your servant is listening.”
(1 Samuel 3:8-10 (NLT))

Samuel had something that most people do not have. Can you figure out what that something was?

Samuel had someone who was experienced at hearing God!

Eli gave Samuel the benefit of his experience and helped Samuel realize that God was calling. How many of us are called by God only to miss the calling. We do not realize that it was the Lord who called? Perhaps this is why we need to establish a relationship with a mentor; someone who is more mature in the ways of the Lord. This mentor will guide us and provide a confirmation to what God is speaking.

Have you ever heard that if it is truly God, then He will provide confirmation. Sometimes it will come from complete strangers, but He will provide it. The confirmation is not the problem, for once we learn to hear God, then it is easier to accept His commands. What is difficult is learning to hear and recognize Him to begin with. Perhaps this requires someone with experience to assist us to recognize Him. Perhaps it takes adherence to Psalms 46:10 (Be still, and know that I am God.). Perhaps it takes more commitment than we can initially do on our own.

Let’s face facts. When you first learned to ride a bicycle, you needed help. You needed support. Once you discovered the secrets to riding, you started to solo. You eventually became proficient at riding. You no longer need that support.

I would venture to say that learning to hear God also requires some initial support.

Do you have your support? Do you have an Eli, or perhaps you have learned to “solo?”

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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