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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Are you willing to accept it?

October 23, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.
(Luke 5:12-13 (NIV))

Isn’t that just like Jesus? He was willing to do just about anything for His Father’s creation.

We was willing to leave His place in heaven. He was willing to give up His authority. He was willing to become a man. He was willing to live as we live. He was willing to cleanse the leper when touching someone with leprosy meant becoming unclean. He was willing to heal the sick and to raise the dead. He was willing to die on the cross. He was willing to take the weight of all of the sins that had ever happened or would ever happen and bear them so that we would not have to. He was willing to give us His glory in exchange for our sins.

All that we have to do is accept that gift.

We must be willing to extend our faith. We must be willing to admit that we are sinners. We must be willing to admit that we cannot do it on our own. We must be willing to surrender ourselves to Him.

To me, it is a simple decision. We gain everything while He willingly gave up everything.

Jesus is still willing to give you everything that He willingly paid the price for two thousand years ago.

Are you willing to accept it?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you accepted the sacrifice that Jesus made for you?

August 22, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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

We have all had them.

We all need them.

We aren’t meant to live our lives in a vacuum. We need each other. It is in our nature to be social. We seek the company of others, yet, just how far will most of us take the friendship? How many of us would lay down our life for our friends?

We all want to believe that we would, yet self-preservation is a strong instinct.

I want you to be honest with yourself and think about this question.

Would you do something knowing that when you started it, you would lay down your life so that others would live? I can think of a few groups of people who face the possibility at times, but even these brave men and women do not go into a situation planning to lay down their life.

Jesus came to this earth to do just that!

Everything that He did during His time on earth pointed to the cross and His crucifixion. He knew what He was going to face when He came? He knew that He faced a painful end to the physical body that He came to us in.

He knew all of the details and yet he chose to lay down His life so that we may live!

I know that the Romans had become experts at creating pain during a crucifixion. I don’t think that we can even imagine just how excruciating the experience was. We see movies, yet even the most realistic portrayal probably only hints at what it was really like.

Would you willingly go to the cross?

Would you willingly bear the pain?

Would you, or perhaps I should say could you, follow through with such a premeditated task?

Think about the sacrifice that Jesus made so that you and I can know grace and mercy.

Have you accepted the sacrifice that Jesus made for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Selfish ambition and vain conceit!

May 1, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
(Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV))

There is that strange word, again!

Others.

We have instructions to look after the interests of those that are not ourselves. What a concept in this day of the “What’s in it for me” mentality.

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))

Do you have faith in Jesus?

Think about what He has done for anyone who is simply willing to receive. He was and is the Son of God, yet, He came to this earth to die for others. He did not have His interests in mind when He went to the cross.

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.
(John 19:28-30 (NIV))

“It is finished.”

Three simple words that show that this was all part of a plan to save others. He thought of you and I while He was on that cross. What can we do to express our faith so that we do not become selfish and conceited?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We can choose who we deny

April 18, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
(Mark 8:34b (NIV))

How many times have you heard this passage quoted? It is a common passage to be used when we think of the sufferings that we are told we will encounter in this world if we choose to follow Jesus.

I have a problem with teachings that are financial blessings based. It is true that God desires to bless us, but, we must not forget the opposite side of this, for we are told that we will have to take up our cross and follow Him. Bearing a cross is not a teaching of no problems and of rosy futures. We still have to face the truth that the enemy has dominion over this earth. When we make it known that we have placed our faith in Jesus, we become fair game for the attacks of the enemy.

“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))

Jesus knew that we would face troubles in this life. He did not promise that the troubles would go away. He did promise that He has overcome the world. This passage does not say that He has overcome the troubles and has made them stop. It states that He has overcome the troubles and will provide a way for us to walk through them.

We can either deny ourselves or we can deny Jesus!

If we deny ourselves, it may be possible that we would have an easier time in life. We don’t know what will happen in this life. We do know that if we deny ourselves in this life, eternity will be a blessing.

If we deny Jesus, I know that we will have a much harder eternity.

We can choose who we deny. Who will you deny?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The grace of the cross

April 10, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
(Mark 8:36-37 (NIV))

God places a very great value on each and every person. That value is so great that Jesus told us we have within us something worth far more than the world. There is nothing that is worth us losing that valuable part of ourselves.

Just what is it that we each possess that is of so great a value?

It is the God given soul that has been uniquely created by God for Him to love. It is the part of us that longs for a relationship with God. It is the part of us that is eternal.

When was the last time that you stopped to realize that God gave you something that is totally unique in all of creation? Do you truly realize that this unique part of you was created to be in the presence of God?

We have started to believe the lies and the distractions of the enemy. Satan knows the value of our souls. He knows that God created us to have a special part of ourselves that was designed to be intimate with God. Satan wants to steal this from us. He will throw everything that he can at us in order to keep us from realizing what we have. If he has to, he will trick us into trading our soul for something far lesser in value. This happened in the Garden of Eden and it continues to happen to this very day.

Take heart, for God has offered each of us a way to redeem our souls.

Do you realize the great gift that God gave you when He gave you a soul? Do you realize the second great gift that He gave you in order to redeem your soul?

Have you forfeited your soul or have you redeemed it through the grace of the cross?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you see foolishness?

April 9, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
(1 Corinthians 1:18-19 (NIV))

I pray that you had a wonderful and joyous Easter celebration.

I have some questions to ask of you.

Do you think that the message of Easter and the cross is foolishness? Do you have faith to claim the saving grace that is found at the foot of the cross?

It is such a shame that we, as individuals, can become so educated and wise that we try to over analyze everything in this life. Where is the amazement and wonder that life can hold if you over analyze everything? I know that our curiosity causes us to seek answers, but what happens when the answers we seek keep us from seeing the beauty that was intended? What happens to society when we are able to twist things around and make words mean something different than they should or we try to redefine things? What happens when we utter statements like “That depends on what you definition of ‘is’ is”?

What do you consider wisdom? What do you consider intelligence?

We are taught that we need wisdom and intelligence in order to have a wordily career. We are told that this wisdom will help us to live successful lives. We are told that this wisdom will help us to make decisions that will help us to be better citizens. I agree that we need this wisdom and intelligence, however, there is much more that we need.

Have you ever seen someone who is very intelligent and they seem to be lost in their own little world? They are so focused on gaining knowledge for the sake of gaining knowledge that they have no practical life experiences in order to firmly ground themselves. They over estimate their own abilities and look down upon anyone who does not understand as they do. Sadly enough, it is they who have the limited scope of things. They miss the simple concepts in trying to understand the complex.

The message of the cross is foolishness to some, but that is the beauty of God’s plan. God created a simple way for each and every single person to receive salvation. It is because of this simplicity that it is looked upon as foolishness.

I want you to think about a few things.

Do you think that the concept of ‘hot’ is foolish? It is a simple thing to understand. Do you think that the knowledge that we must breathe is foolishness? Do you think that the law of gravity is foolishness? That is simple. It can be express in one sentence – What goes up must come down.

What happens when you spend too much time acquiring knowledge about any of these things? If you are not careful, you start to miss the simple beauty that is within each.

There is a simple beauty in the cross, even though the events on the cross were horrible. That beauty can be summed up with just a few words.

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))

When you look at the cross, do you see foolishness or do you see power and beauty?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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