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 signs do we see today?

April 21, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
(Matthew 27:51-53 (NIV))

Do you gloss over these words when you read about the crucifixion? Do you stop reading when it says that Jesus yielded up His spirit? That was not the end of the miracles!

The veil of the temple was so tall that no one could reach the top, yet it tore from the top down. The earth groaned and quaked at the death of God’s only Son. The rocks, and I would probably bet that they were huge stones, broke from the anguish of God the Father. What I find so amazing is that the graves gave up the bodies of the people who had longed for the Messiah to come.

Can you imagine what Jerusalem was like when this happened? The sun had already darkened, and then all of these things occurred after Jesus died. How would you have reacted?

What I find interesting is that all of these things happened at His death, yet, the account of the resurrection does not tell of anything like this happening. It is as if the world had been in grief and then all is peaceful and right. However, that concept makes me think about the correlation between the crucifixion and the second coming. If the world groaned when Jesus died, even though it knew that Jesus would arise, what will the world do when it knows that Jesus is returning? Can we expect more of what was seen at the crucifixion? Can we draw any correlation between the resurrection and the second coming?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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By His blood He paid the price!

April 14, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,
(Revelation 1:5 (NIV))

By His blood!

We take so much for granted. We, as the Body of Christ, have a habit of glossing over exactly what Jesus did for us when He died on the cross. We trivialize the price that He paid for us. It was not a pretty picture!

Have we become so accustom to the story of the crucifixion and resurrection that we take it for granted? Do we even begin to realize the excruciating pain that Jesus endured so that we, in all of our sinful nature, could know grace and mercy?

Think about the worst physical pain that you have ever experienced. What was it? How does that compare to being flogged and having the flesh torn off of your back? How does that compare to having nails driven through your hands and feet? How does that compare to having to decide whether the pain of not being able to breathe is greater than the pain it takes to lift yourself up to take a breath? When was the last time that you bled so profusely that almost all of your blood left your body?

Jesus endured all of this and much more than our humanity can imagine. Jesus endured all of this because He loves us. Jesus did all of this because it was God’s plan to offer Himself as a living sacrifice to atone for our sins. Jesus did all of this just as John 3:16 says.

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))

What Jesus endured on the cross was endured willingly. What Jesus offers through the cross is offered freely.

By His blood He paid the price and by His blood we are saved!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you died to your place of the skull?

March 25, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).
(John 19:17 (NIV))

I just love the way that God works in symbolism!

As we celebrate Easter and the resurrection, we must remember that in order for Jesus to be resurrected, He first had to die. He had to go willingly to the place of the Skull to die to himself so that God’s plan could be fulfilled.

Isn’t it interesting how we, before we can embrace the resurrection, must also go to our own place of the skull. We must be willing to die to our reasoning and intellect and follow solely on faith. We must accept something that makes absolutely no worldly sense. We must die to our inability to believe in something without seeing it. We must die to our own place of the skull.

It is amazing how God will work in us and through us once we have willingly laid ourselves at the foot of the cross once we surrender our own place of the skull.

We are now ready to fully embrace the resurrection and the grace and mercy that it brings. This knowledge has not only transformed our minds, it is now ready to transform our lives. It can now travel the longest distance known to humanity – the eighteen inches from our mind to our heart – and truly have an impact on us.

Have you died to your place of the skull?

Have you fully embraced the resurrection?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you truly understand the love that He has for us?

March 21, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
“Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
(John 17:1-5 (NIV))

We are rapidly coming up on Easter, the time when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the grave.

I am thankful for the resurrection! I am thankful for the defeat of death that the resurrection brought, yet, we, as the Body of Christ, have glossed over the pain and suffering that Jesus endured before and during the crucifixion.

Jesus knew exactly what was coming!

We see images from reenactments of the passion, yet, we still don’t truly understand what He went through in order to redeem us, to bring us salvation from sin and death.

Have you ever caught your arm in the thorns of a rose or bush? Did it draw blood? It probably hurt. Now, think of the flesh being ripped from your back with each lashing of the scourge. Think of the crown of thorns being driven into your head. In comparison to what you have experienced, can you even comprehend the pain that Jesus endured so that you could claim salvation?

Have you ever hit your thumb with a hammer? It hurts. In comparison, can you imagine the pain that Jesus endured when they drove the nails into and through his hands and feet?

Jesus knew that all of this, and much more, was waiting for Him. He willingly went through all of this just so that each of us could be offered grace and mercy through His shed blood. The price that Jesus paid was far greater than many of us can even imagine, yet, He paid it willingly. I want you to stop and think about the passion. I want you to stop and think about the pain. I want you to stop and think about the love that drove Him to the cross.

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

Do you truly understand the love that He has for us?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What does Christmas mean to you?

December 9, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
(1 Corinthians 12:27 (NIV))

I was reading through my older devotionals and came across this. I feel that it is worth another look.

Have you ever stopped to think that Christmas is the celebration of your birthday also?

Think about that for a moment.

I am not proclaiming that each of us who call upon Jesus as our Lord and Savior is of equal stature as Jesus. Rather, through the birth of Jesus, God moved to fulfill His plan for our salvation. Through the physical birth of Jesus, our salvation was given life. Through the physical birth of Jesus, our hope was given wings. Without the birth that we celebrate during this time of year, there could never have been a crucifixion, resurrection or ascension. Without these glorious events, the price would never have been paid in order to redeem us from the law of sin and death.

Christmas is, in essence, the beginning of our new life through grace. It is the beginning of the life that paid the price so that you and I can be redeemed.

If you are a believer in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then you have every right to celebrate the birth of the One who freely died so that you could be born again.

Many historians and theologians believe that December 25 is not really the actual date of Jesus’ birth. Many believe that it was actually in April. Still, no matter what the actual day, we celebrate an important birth. It is the most important birth in all of human history. It is the birth of the One who allows the rebirth of all who will simply proclaim Him. It is a new beginning for all. It is the beginning of the removal of all of our sins. All that we have to do is accept.

Christmas is the day that we can point to and claim that God’s redemption has arrived. Perhaps that is why people used to wish everyone a Mighty Christ’s Mass. They realized just what this day means. It is the day that God broke through the barrier of sin and death to reach out to offer each of us salvation, grace and mercy.

What does Christmas mean to you?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we any different from Barabbas?

April 2, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now it was the custom at the Feast to release a prisoner whom the people requested. A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did.

“Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, knowing it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.

“What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them.

“Crucify him!” they shouted.

“Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.
But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
(Mark 15:6-15 (NIV))

Tonight, I was presented something that made me look at this in a different light and with a different perspective.

What do you think of Barabbas?

Have you often thought that he deserved to die? Have you ever wondered how the crowd could be so stupid and request the release of a murderer over Jesus?

We all know that it was God’s plan for Jesus to suffer and to go to the cross and die for our sins, but have you ever stopped to realize that Barabbas was a picture of the grace that Jesus would bring to everyone?

We do not know if Barabbas repented and accepted the true grace and mercy that Jesus came to bring, but he had that opportunity. Jesus went to the cross so that Barabbas might live and have that opportunity.

Are we any different from Barabbas?

In the eyes of humanity, our sins may not be as great as his, but in the eyes of God, we are just as guilty of sin as Barabbas was. Didn’t he deserve the chance to repent? Didn’t he deserve the chance to know the grace and mercy that God offers through the death of Jesus on the cross? God loves each and every individual that has ever walked the earth or ever will walk the earth. Jesus came to bring the gift of salvation to everyone and not just the ones that society thinks are the good people.

With the somber reality of the crucifixion rapidly approaching, we, as the Body of Christ, must come to terms with the fact that Jesus died for everyone. Just because you may think that someone is too far gone into their life of sin does not mean that the gift that Jesus died to offer is not available to them.

Would you be surprised to find Barabbas in heaven? Would you rejoice in his salvation? Would you rejoice in the salvation of those whom society considers too far gone to redeem?

Are you any different from Barabbas?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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