Celebrate His Resurrection and our salvation!

April 16, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”
(Matthew 20:18-19 (NIV))

In the next few days leading up to Easter, we need to remember what happened in Jesus’ life during these days. He knew what was coming and He went into it willingly. He laid down His life for us. Even though He was, and is, the Son of God, He paid the ultimate price for us willingly. He could have avoided the cross, yet He went through the torture and agony because He loves us.

As Easter Sunday draws closer, remember the agonizing death that Jesus went through so that we could celebrate His Resurrection and our salvation.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Ready, eager and willing!

April 15, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.
(Luke 22:15 (NIV))

Talk about an ultimate example of love. Jesus was eager to do what He did because He loves us. He was willing to suffer for us.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

Not only did Jesus go willingly to the cross for us, but He was eager to do the things that led up to the cross. He knew that the results of His actions would mean salvation for all who would simply accept the free gift. His love for us was greater than the desire to have the cup pass from Him.

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
(Luke 22:42 (NIV))

I have heard it said that the nails did not keep Jesus on the cross, after all, He could have performed a miracle at any time. What did keep Jesus on the cross was His overwhelming love for us. He was eager to face what He faced because of that love.

How do you view His eagerness and His willingness? Have you come to the full realization of just what He did for you? He was willing to suffer the ultimate pain and death for you. He was willing to be beaten and ridiculed for you.

Are you eager in your acceptance of His sacrifice for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Submission, Pride and Authority!

April 14, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.
(1 Peter 2:13-17 (NIV))

Submission is probably one of the hardest things that a human has to do! The very act requires that you admit that someone has authority over you and you are not the ultimate power in your life.

Just where does this “rebellion” come from?

It appears to be an inborn trait in each and every one of us. Perhaps it comes from the Fall from Grace in the Garden of Eden. Let’s face it, Satan did not want to submit to God. He deceived us and now we have turned over the earth to sin and death. It was the sin of pride that made Satan not willing to submit. Now, the same pride permeates the world because of the incident that happened in the Garden long ago.

Perhaps it is exactly for this reason that we are called to submit. It goes against everything that the world expects of us in our sinful nature.

Do you submit willingly, or do you still fight the sin of pride that has caused so many to not submit to the ultimate authority within their lives. That authority is Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and the only King of kings and Lord of lords.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Guilty through association!

April 11, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
(Romans 5:18-19 (NIV))

Through Adam, we were condemned. We did not have a part in what happened, yet, we, as humanity, have suffered the sin that was allowed into the world through the actions that took place.

Many have asked such questions about the nature of God. How could He allow all to suffer because of the acts of one? In essence, all of us face the temptation that lead to our condemnation on a daily basis. Before The Fall, humanity did not know free will in worshipping God. Because of The Fall, God does not have a planet of people who worship Him because they know no other way. He wants people to worship Him because they want to. Through Adam, many things were put into motion that would eventually lead to the coming of Jesus Christ. God sent His Son, Jesus, to atone for the trespass that condemned us. Through His righteousness, we, as believers, are made righteous.

We are guilty through association, yet, we are redeemed by association. We are won by One who has made us righteous.

Many people have the opinion that one person cannot make a difference. Did Adam make a difference? Did Jesus? Can you?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to suffer for Christ?

April 10, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.
(Philippians 1:12-14 (NIV))

Are you willing to suffer for Christ?

We think of Paul as a great evangelist. What we often fail to recognize is his willingness to be placed in jail for the sake of the Gospel. Paul was willing to place himself in harms way in order to further the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

When was the last time that you were willing to go across the street to do something that would further the Gospel? Have we become lazy and too self-centered to place the eternal souls of others before our own temporary comfort? Personally, I find myself falling into that category far too often. What would Paul write to us today to encourage us? What would Jesus say about our actions? Would He find us lukewarm?

So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
(Revelation 3:16 (NIV))

We need to be prepared to do as Jesus commanded.

Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
(Luke 9:23 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you press on?

April 9, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.
For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
They have no struggles;
their bodies are healthy and strong.
They are free from the burdens common to man;
they are not plagued by human ills.
(Psalms 73:2-5 (NIV))

Isn’t it easy to be fooled by what we see that the world has to offer?

Sometimes it seems that the world has the better things, but we must remember that what the world has to offer is only temporary. These things can be destroyed by moth and rust.

When we are confronted with the temptations of the world, we must remember that we have a firm foundation, a solid hope that is not of this world. What we desire is not of this world. Our treasure is the very heart and Word of God. Through the Word made flesh, we have a treasure that moth and rust cannot destroy. We have a treasure that is eternal. We must simply keep our focus on Jesus when the world tries to distract us.

There will be many distractions that the world will send your way during your life. Like Paul wrote:

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 3:14(NIV))

Do you press on, or are you distracted by the worldly temptations?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you withdraw to lonely places and pray!

April 8, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
(Luke 5:16 (NIV))

If Jesus, who was God made man, needed to be by himself with God, why do we, who are mere creation, think that we do not need to spend time talking to God? We seem to think that we can get our lives right on our own.

We are so wrapped up in our daily lives that we seem to forget what is the order of things. We think that we are in control of our lives and that if we don’t do those things that seem so important at that moment. our lives will fall apart. Have you ever stopped to think that our lives have already fallen apart, and that we are just too busy pretending that we don’t notice?

The more that we attempt to control our lives, the worse things get. When we surrender to God and allow Him to guide our lives, things go much better. In order for God to guide our lives, we must listen to God. We must respond to Him. We must be open to do what God asks of us. Isn’t that what Jesus did when He withdrew to pray? He was allowing time to spend with the Father. He knew the importance of this communication. He knew the importance of God’s guidance. He knew the importance of obedience.

Do we?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Be still and rest in the presence of God

April 7, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
(Mark 6:30-34 (NIV))

We are told many times to be still and rest in the presence of God. We need to spend quiet time with God so that He may pour out His teachings and His blessings upon us through the Holy Spirit. This cannot be done when we are busy all of the time.

Jesus had sent the disciples out to minister and to teach. When they got back, He knew that they had probably exhausted themselves in the works that they did and that they had probably been under attack from the enemy. Jesus knew that they needed to rest and to recharge themselves so they could continue.

Doing the work of God is not a race that must be finished quickly. It is an endurance race that requires rest and rejuvenation along the way.

Even when we plan to get the rest that we need, God may place people in our lives who need to have some of our time. Just as the crowd followed Jesus when He was taking the disciples to get some rest, sometimes, unexpected people come into our quiet time. This is not a bad thing if what they are seeking is also to learn and to be still with God. Solitude is not necessarily the prerequisite for being still before God.

You can be still and listen to God even in the middle of a large crowd. Jesus spoke many times to groups of different sizes. Do you suppose that the people in the large crowds listened to His voice as if He were speaking only to them? It is possible to hear God no matter where you are. All you have to do is be still.

When was the last time that you took the opportunity to be still and listen to God?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God is the God of the living!

April 4, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But in the account of the bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”
(Luke 20:37-38 (NIV))

God is the God of the living!

We have a tendancy to associate God with people who have died, but is that really an accurate association?

He is called the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. We know that these poeple died, but, exactly what is death?

When we think of death, we think of the cessation of physical life. We think of only what we can see. To be honest, we have a tendancy to think that death is not reversable. I am sure that each of us can think of a few instances where this is not the case, however, physical death eventually wins out.

Are we simply the sum of our physical bodies and nothing more?

Think about that from this perspective.

If someone is in an accident and lose an arm or a leg, they are still alive. What makes them the unique and indiviual creation is not the physical body. It is the unique spark of life that God has placed in them. That unique spark is the human soul.

Can a person who has been dealt a tremendous physical condition still have a lively soul?

Can a person who has a perfect body have a dead soul?

Life is not simply about breathing! Life is about rejoicing in the blessings of God. It is about rejoicing in the fact that God has created us to be eternal beings. Our bodies are frail. They are temporary. Long after they have gone, we will be. For those who profess that Jesus is Lord and Savior, we willbe rejoicing in the presence of God. We will be living as God intended. We will not be dead in His presence. We will be more alive than we can possibly imagine in our current, limited understanding.

All that you have to do is read the accounts that we are given in Revelation of the things that are going on in the presence of God to know that God is a God of the living. Just look at the elders. Look at the great multitudes. Death is not what God is God of.

God is the God of the living!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God’s NOT Dead!

April 3, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily. But with wise and knowledgeable leaders, there is stability.
(Proverbs 28:2 (NLT))

Moral rot within a nation!

Stability?

I am sure that each of us have our own opinions of these two simple statements. I am also sure that each of us would like to see things differently. As the Body of Christ. we should all long for righteousness. We should all long for peace and stability.

Are we so far removed from God’s law that we, as a nation, cannot turn from our moral rot? Can we find the righteousness that we long for? Can we, as the Body of Christ, do anything?

I honestly pray that this is able to be turned. I honestly pray that we seek after righteousness in all that we do. According to the media, and the normal entertainment venues, as well as many in the government, we are not a nation that seeks after God’s own heart.

I believe.

No, I know that there is a very strong voice for righteousness still alive in this country. When we see televisions shows such as Duck Dynasty, which is openly Christian, in the top of the ratings, there is hope. When we see a movie that no one thought would draw an audience continually break attendance records and continually add more theaters, then we as the Body of Christ are loudly proclaiming that God’s NOT Dead!

We have to take a stand for what is right in the eyes of God. We must seek after righteousness and not give in to the world.

We must continually seek God in all that we do.

Our nation, and the world, is not lost. God loves impossible odds!

Think about that for a moment.

What are the odds that the son of a carpenter would fulfill all of the prophesies? What are the odds that a person could be violently killed and in three days be raised from the dead? What are the odds that twelve men of simple birth could proclaim the Gospel in such a way that two thousands years later it is still impacting the lives of people and bringing salvation?

We don’t know what the future holds. We do know that Jesus will return. We do know that many of the signs are indicating that this is very close. We also know that God is not slow in keeping His promises. He does not wish any to perish.

Still, in the world today, we have extreme moral rot. We do not have stability. We do not have righteousness in our society. That does not mean that you cannot have an impact on one person and that one person will have an impact on another person, and so on.

Where there is life, there is hope. Where there is hope, faith matures. When faith matures, we see wonderful things unfold.

God’s NOT Dead!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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