He went through all of this for you!

March 30, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. Above his head they placed the written charge against him: this is jesus, the king of the jews.

Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.'” In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

The Death of Jesus

From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”

Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
(Matthew 27:27-50 (NIV))

He went through all of this for you!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you still in darkness?

March 29, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
(John 12:46 (NIV))

When you are trapped in the dark, it is impossible to find your way. You can’t tell which way to turn. You can’t locate a way out. Any step that you take will probably end up with you stumbling and falling. Too many attempts on your own will end up with you being hurt and possibly seriously endangering others. The only way that you can find a way out of this darkness is if someone from outside of the darkness is able to shine a light into the darkness so that you can see the exit.

Does this sound familiar?

Sin has each of us trapped in the darkness and far too many of us don’t ever realize it. Every effort that we make to find our way just seems to get us in deeper and deeper. When left to our own attempts, we can never figure out which way to turn. We simply can’t locate a way out of our sin. The more that we try to deal with the darkness of this sinful world, the more that we hurt ourselves and others.

What if someone would shine a light in the darkness of this world so that we could find a way into the light?

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
(John 8:12 (NIV))

Jesus stepped out of heaven and into the darkness of this world to show us the light. He has shown us a way to escape the darkness of sin and death. He has provided a light for us to follow so that we can escape the darkness and live eternally in the light!

But, . . .

It doesn’t stop there.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.
(Matthew 5:14 (NIV))

We are to share the light so that others may find their way out of the darkness.

If you were in a burning building and many lives were at stake, wouldn’t you lead others to safety once someone had shown you the way?

Are you following the light? Are you leading others to the light, or are you still in darkness?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you thankful that Jesus faced this hour?

March 28, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”
(John 12:23 (NIV))

It is hard to imagine the idea of crucifixion as a means of glorification, but that is exactly what transpired!

Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
(John 12:24 (NIV))

When Jesus went to the cross, He knew exactly what would transpire. He knew that He would die a painful death as an atoning sacrifice for all sin that had ever happened or ever would happen. He knew that Satan would think that he had won. Jesus also knew that the power of sin and death would forever be broken three days later when He would be resurrected. Jesus knew that He was the single seed of hope. In order for hope to mature and grow in this world, He had to make the ultimate sacrifice. Crucifixion is definitely not glorious, but overcoming the power of sin and death and being elevated to the right hand of God the Father is the ultimate glory.

It is a glory that we can share! It is a glory that removes condemnation!

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
(Romans 8:1 (NIV))

It is a glory that intercedes for those who believe!

Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
(Romans 8:34 (NIV))

From a human perspective, it is difficult to be thankful for suffering. No one in their right mind would look on the sufferings of others as a good thing, but in the case of what Jesus did, it is an amazing thing. It is amazing how the sin of one condemned all to death and the sin free sacrifice of one settled the debt for the wages of sin and death. Personally, I hate the fact that my sin is why Jesus suffered and died, yet, at the same time, I am thankful that He faced that hour!

Are you thankful that Jesus faced this hour?

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

March 27, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
(Romans 15:7 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself one simple but important question?

What if Jesus treated us the way that we treat each other?

If Jesus had decided that He didn’t want to come to earth because we are so different than the angels in heaven that He knew, where would we be? If Jesus had decided that He didn’t want anything to do with us because our life style was different than what God had commanded, where would we be? If Jesus had decided that humanity was not worth coming to earth to save, where would we be?

I could go on and on using every single reason that we offer up as an excuse to treat each other in ways that are less than what God desires, but I think that you can probably get the picture by now. Why do we treat each other, as members of the Body of Christ and potential members of the Body of Christ, with such contempt and callousness that we can’t even be recognized as followers of Jesus.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
(John 13:34-35 (NIV))

These words do not say that we are to love only those who look like us. They do not say that we are to love only those who have the same life style as us. They do not say that we are to love only those whom we deem to be worthy of our love. We are to love one another. There are no words in that statement that can be taken in any way, shape, form or fashion as an authorized limitation to whom we are to love.

What if Jesus had limited His love to only the nation of Israel? If that had been the case, the passages that we all know and love would not read as they do.

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
(Romans 1:16 (NIV))

If Jesus has accepted everyone through what He came to accomplish at the cross, then why do we have such a difficult time doing the same?

The next time that we have a moment where we want to shun someone, remember four simple words. What would Jesus do?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you truly understand what Jesus did?

March 26, 2018

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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))

Have you truly come to terms with all that Jesus did for you and I, or are you still stuck in the mindset that all that Jesus accomplished can be summarized in a basket full of treats that will soon go away?

Think about that.

Even as adults, we have a tendency to look at the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus as only a day to get together with family and have fun with some events for the children. In the back of our minds, we know that it is more than this, but have we turned the most crucial day to our faith into nothing more than a chance to over eat? Sure, we have Good Friday services and many of us will get up and go to a sunrise service on Resurrection Sunday, but do we truly understand the full implications of what we celebrate? Have we become so jaded by the fact that we can turn on a TV or go to a movie and see things that appear to be miraculous? If that is the case, what happens when we truly read about the power of God raising Jesus from the dead? Do we take it for granted? Do we overlook the magnitude of the implications for those who truly believe, for those who truly call upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior?

We are told many times that we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Jesus implicitly foretells the events that He would face. He knew that His fulfillment of the plan for humanity’s salvation would transpire exactly as foretold. He knew that His willingness to lay down His life would mean that you and I could walk with assurance that our sins have been forgiven. He knew the weight of the world’s sin that He carried would mean that you and I could stand before God the Father as a spotless bride. He saw the faces of every person to ever live and He willingly offered His sinless life for our sin filled lives.

Without the crucifixion, there would be no resurrection. Without the resurrection, there would be no grace and mercy that could be given. Without the grace and mercy freely given at the cross, you and I would be forever lost in our sin.

Do you truly understand what Jesus did?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Why do we fail to remember what God has done?

March 23, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But do not be afraid of them; remember well what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt.
(Deuteronomy 7:18 (NIV))

In case you haven’t noticed, human nature is a strange thing!

We have a tendency to forget things that have happened and, at the same time, we are likely to remember things that didn’t happen.

If there was ever a group of people that should have no problem remembering things, it was the Israelites that Moses lead out of Egypt. They had witnessed the plagues. They had lived through the Angel of Death at the first Passover. They had watched God part the waters of the Red Sea so that they could walk across dry land. They had been given manna to eat in the desert. They had seen water gush forth after Moses struck a rock at God’s command.

Still they muttered and were afraid of what lie ahead!

They and their descendants had all too quickly forgotten all that the Lord had done for them to get them to that point. They looked at the problems before them and failed to remember the huge problems that God had delivered them from and through in the not so distant past.

What is it about being human that makes us forget and makes us worry? Perhaps it is the very same thing that makes us look at our surroundings when we are driving on a high and curvy mountain road. We know that we should have nothing to worry about, but there is something about the potential danger that makes us forget successful endeavors in the past. We simply overreact in fear when we should fully realize that we have nothing to fear.

We panic!

And in our panic, it’s as if all of our memories and ability to reason go flying out the window!

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
(Romans 8:31 (NIV))

Why do we fail to remember what God has done?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you turned your troubles over to Jesus?

March 22, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“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))

What do you think of when you hear the word “trouble?” Perhaps it makes more sense to you to use the word “tribulation” instead. Perhaps you like to cut to the chase and you have come to the realization that trouble usually implies suffering and you choose to use the word “suffer” instead of the word “trouble.” The following three translations are good examples of word choice, but they all have the same underlying meaning, and that is that while we, as followers of Jesus, are alive and in this world, we will be faced with things because we are followers of Jesus. Though the word choices are different, they also all have the assurance that placing our faith in Jesus is the only way to overcome those troubles.

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NASB))

“I have told you this, so that you might have peace in your hearts because of me. While you are in the world, you will have to suffer. But cheer up! I have defeated the world.”
(John 16:33 (CEVDC))

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (KJV))

Just as some people will say “Good morning,” others will simply say “Mornin'” or even “Hi!” It is the intent, it is the true meaning behind the words that we must understand. With that said, the message in John 16:33 boils down to this. If we rely on our own actions and our own abilities in this world, we will face things that will test our faith. They will test our very peace of mind. Focus on Jesus and let Him deal with the things of this world. Turn over your troubles, your trials, your tribulations and you suffering to the Lord of all creation. He is bigger than any problems that you will face.

Take a good, long look at your life!

Have you turned your troubles over to Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you allow into your house?

March 21, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not bring a detestable thing into your house or you, like it, will be set apart for destruction. Regard it as vile and utterly detest it, for it is set apart for destruction.
(Deuteronomy 7:26 (NIV))

Would you bring a wild, rabid animal into your house?

Would you allow a thief into your house?

Would you allow an elephant into your house?

I think that it is safe to assume that the answer to all of these questions is a resounding “No!”

No one in their right mind would allow such destruction, such danger, into their homes. Ironically, we think nothing of doing just that with respect to our lives and to our bodies. Our bodies are our earthly shell, our earthly home, while we walk this earth. In addition, if we have invited Jesus into our lives, our bodies are much more than just our earthly shell.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples 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 bodies.
(1 Corinthians 6:19 (NIV))

If this is the case, why do we bring detestable things into our lives when we claim to be followers of Jesus?

We rightly turn away from murder and stealing. We turn away from drugs and alcohol. We turn away from many detestable things that are clearly visible, but yet, we allow many detestable things into our lives that are just as dangerous, but are not glaringly obvious. Why do we allow greed, envy, anger, and lust to take up residence? Why do we allow hate, pride and ego to have free reign in our lives when there is something so different that we should be letting in?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22 (NIV))

What do you allow into your house?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you planted seeds that will provide an increase?

March 20, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
(John 12:23-26 (NIV))

The day is rapidly approaching when we celebrate the truth that Jesus spoke of. He willingly fell and died so that the seed of salvation could be planted. From that willing sacrifice, millions of people since then have reaped the fruits of that sacrifice as they multiply. Easter is the time that we celebrate that glorious gift of redemption and grace.

However, that seed does not stop there. Jesus planted the seed. Since that day, redemptive grace has sprouted from that seed. When a seed dies, it gives life to grow more seeds. When these seeds mature, they too will die to allow more seeds to grow. This cycle is how one can produce one hundred and one hundred can produce ten thousand. Each seed can bring forth other seeds to continue the work. Jesus planted the seed. Now it is our turn. By accepting the grace and mercy freely given at the cross, we become seeds. We have a small kernel of grace within us. We must allow that grace to produce.

I am not saying that we must physically die in order for that seed to produce. It is possible to die to self, to give up your desires, in order that God’s desires may be fulfilled. Just as Jesus obeyed God in order for His seed to produce, we must also be obedient so that our seed may produce.

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

I believe that we have been given instructions to do as Jesus did and produce many seeds.

Have your seeds been scattered in good soil?

Have you planted seeds that will provide an increase?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you shine with the ever increasing light of the Lord!

March 19, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
(Proverbs 4:18 (NIV))

Have you ever sat outside and watched the sunrise?

With the sky still dark, you begin to see a glow on the eastern horizon. As the glow spreads, the darkness begins to subside. Soon, the sun breaks the horizon line and the sky grows lighter and lighter as it chases away the shadows of the night. Soon, the sun has completely broken free of the horizon and the morning light takes on a golden glow as it passes through the trees. It’s as if the new day is being blessed with God’s radiance. As the sun climbs higher into the sky, the shadows decrease even further and the warmth of the sun causes everyone to lift their faces to greet the blessings that God has freely given. As the day progresses, the darkness is completely chased away from anyplace that the sun reaches. The only places that it is not capable of reaching are the recesses of the deepest, darkest places on earth. Everywhere that it does reach, it brings warmth, hope and life!

Is this how you see yourself?

Is this what you allow your faith, your righteousness, to do each day as you go about in the world?

Do you shine brighter for the Lord each day than you did the day before?

Does your righteousness and faith break the boundaries of the darkness? Does it chase away the shadows of the night? Does it bless with God’s radiance? Does it cause everyone to lift their faces to the Lord? Does it spread the warmth, hope and life that comes only from the Lord?

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
(Matthew 5:14-15 (NIV))

Do you shine with the ever increasing light of the Lord!

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