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
Subscribe to daily email delivery


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
Subscribe to daily email delivery


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
Subscribe to daily email delivery


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
Subscribe to daily email delivery


It is true! The Lord has risen!

April 6, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.

He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

“What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”

He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
(Luke 24:13-35 (NIV))

I hope and pray that you encountered the risen Lord Jesus during Easter. I also pray that you continue to walk with Him during all the days of your life. He is with us even when we do not recognize Him. With that in mind, how would you want Jesus to see you in your daily actions?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


The love that Jesus showed

April 4, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
(Mark 8:34 (NIV))

Easter is rapidly approaching. The day that we praise for it is the yearly celebration of the resurrection of the crucified Jesus. It is something to celebrate. It is the culmination of all of the promises, for without the resurrection, the cross means nothing. Without the empty tomb, we are all guilty sinners without any hope.

Have you ever thought about why Jesus said that we must deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow Him?

The world thinks that following Jesus is a joke. They look upon those who proclaim a faith in Jesus as less than intellectual, as someone stuck in childlike fantasy. Following Jesus is not always the easy thing to do. We have influences from all realms of society that mock us and try to get us to do things that we know are not right. We are to stick to the path laid out before us as believers. We are to not only accept the grace and mercy but show this same grace and mercy to others.

Think about Jesus on the cross. Was it socially acceptable to do what He did? Was it politically correct to preach and teach as He did? Was is in His best interests as a human to be seen with tax collectors, adulterers and sinners of all types?

Jesus denied Himself in ways that we can only imagine. He said and did things that He knew would anger the Sanhedrin. He kept the company of those who were social outcasts. He did all of this without any regard for His well-being. He even went to the cross without any resistance.

This was the ultimate act of denying yourself. He placed others first.

We are to do the same. We are to seek the lost and offer them a path to grace. We are to see the hungry and feed them. We are to feel the pain of a lost world and pray. We are called to do things beyond ourselves.

By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
(John 13:35 (NIV))

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

Think of the love that Jesus showed for all of creation.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Are you willing to be labeled a fool?

April 2, 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.
(1 Corinthians 1:18 (NIV))

I love God’s sense of humor. There are so many subtle things that we take for granted or we completely overlook. Sunday, April 1, 2012 was just such a thing.

For those who may not understand what I am talking about, that particular Sunday was Palm Sunday. It is the beginning of what the church refers to as Holy Week with the culmination on Easter Sunday. I find it ammusing that Holy Week began on April Fool’s Day. This day, set aside by the world to play tricks and pranks, is often a day of some interesting “gotcha” moments.

I find it interesting how the world looks upon the cross as foolishness, and how the world thinks that a faith in Jesus is a big joke. This year, the week that the Body of Christ holds as the most holy actually had its beginnings on a day that society has labeled for fools. How many actually realized that it was April Fool’s Day? I honestly believe that the church was more focused on the yearly celebration that we know as Palm Sunday, the day that Jesus entered Jerusalem exactly as prophesied, to begin the series of events that would lead to his crucufixion and resurrection.

I will be honest with you.

I would rather be labeled a fool by this world for my faith in Jesus and the message of the cross. I find it an honor to have begun Holy Week as a fool in the eyes of the world. For the rest of this week, and hopefully all of my life, I will be proclaiming the message that the world sees as foolishness. I will proudly proclaim what I know to be the power of God.

How was you April Fool’s Day? Was it filled with “gotcha” moments or was it filled with the power of God in celebration of the events leading to the cross?

Are you willing to be labeled a fool?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


%d bloggers like this: