How strong is your love for God’s children?

April 7, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
(1 John 3:16 (NIV))

Are you willing to go to this extreme?

Are you willing to lay down your life so that others can know salvation?

That is what Jesus was willing to do when the Father looked down from heaven and saw the sin in the world. That is what Jesus was willing to do so that all may be able to be redeemed. This is what Jesus was willing to do so that we may have the ability to spend eternity with God.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

Think about this simple fact. Jesus was willing to lay down His life for you. Jesus was willing to lay down His life for me. He would have done it for only one person, but He did it for all. Through deductive reasoning, we are friends of Jesus and He is a friend of ours. If someone is willing to lay down one’s life for you, then they must consider you a friend.

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:2 (NIV))

The primary work that Jesus came to accomplish was to lay down His life so that we may know salvation. Are we, as the Body of Christ, called to do any less so that others may come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ? God’s love for us was made manifest through Jesus.

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))

Do you have the faith to allow God’s love to shine through you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 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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Is Jesus your true friend?

December 3, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.
(John 15:9-17 (NIV))

Jesus gave these words almost 2000 years ago!

Isn’t it amazing that we have inherited this promise without physically seeing Jesus. The words that Jesus spoke are as true today as they were then. Proverbs 18:24 states

“A man of many companions may come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

How fortunate we are to have this friend!

Jesus is our brother, and yet He is much more. He has shown us the Will of the Father. He has given us the promise of eternal life through His Blood. He has been placed at the right hand of God, the Father to intercede for us.

Jesus is the true friend of all who will accept this friendship. He is not a fake friend. He does not place himself above those whom He came to save. Indeed, Jesus was a living example of His own words,

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

He foretold of the act that would allow for humanity to be given salvation.

Isn’t it wonderful to be counted as a friend of Jesus? Should we do no less than what He commanded? If we are all friends of Jesus, should we not love one another as He loves us?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Would you step up to answer the call?

May 25, 2015

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))

This may seem off target for this verse since it speaks of Jesus telling His disciples that His time has come. However, the words that Jesus uses speak to all of us.

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.
(John 12:25 (NIV))

Memorial Day started back in the 1860s as a way to remember those who had given their lives in battle. Originally it was called Decoration Day since the way that people honored the fallen was to decorate their graves. Regardless of what it is called, we owe these men and women a debt of gratitude and honor for their sacrifice. Many people do not agree with war, but the truth is that these people stepped up to take the responsibility of righting something that they did not agree with and they were willing to give their lives for that calling.

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

Most of us never knew these people throughout our history, yet we owe them so much. I can honestly say that it is a certainty that not all were believers in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, still, I believe that they carried a spark of the Light that Jesus brought to this world. You cannot be exposed to the Light without having some of it take root.

Jesus laid down His life so that we could have life. These men and women did the same thing in their own ways.

We must never forget to honor those who have gone before us and stood for the truths that we, as the Body of Christ, hold fast to. They answered the call when an answer was needed. Would we be willing to answer a similar call today? Would we rely on the Light of Jesus to guide us in that answer?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 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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Are you ready to surrender your life for the testimony?

October 4, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

They overcame him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.
(Revelation 12:11 (NIV))

It is often thought that those who call upon Jesus as their Lord and Savior are not supposed to love their life. This false belief is based on this passage from Revelation. It is often misquoted or misunderstood to mean that we should not love our life and fully embrace death.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10:10 (NIV))

If Jesus came that we may have life to the full, then why should we not love our life? Life is a precious gift from God. It is to be loved.

What is in question is not whether we are to love the life that God has given us, but do we love God’s Word and His truth more? Will we be willing to lay down our life, which is a gift from God, for the ultimate gift from God? Can we see beyond our limited perspective and realize that God is capable of so much more than our individual lives? Can we understand the simple truth that God created us and has something far greater in store for us?

Jesus knew this. Jesus lived this.

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

Do you know it? Are you ready to live it? Are you ready to surrender your life for the testimony?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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A greater love than the love of ourselves!

April 19, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“You have heard that it was said, `Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
(Matthew 5:38-42 (NIV))

This goes against everything that our human nature tells us to do. Who in their right mind would allow someone to take advantage of them in some way, let alone offer to do more for the person who is the perpetrator? The human trait of self preservation tells us to run from situations like this, or, at least to be angry.

Anger!

Perhaps it is the anger that is the motivating factor in these situations. It is not the anger of the victim, but the anger of the perpetrator against himself and God that is the element that needs to be overcome. Anger can make people do things that no one in their right mind would really ever consider doing. Locating this anger and addressing it is exactly what we are told to do in Matthew.

By willingly doing more than what is forced upon us, we turn the tables from one of a controlling anger to one of a willing love. If we do what is forced upon us, and then do more, it shows that we are not bound by the anger that drives the force. We are bound by the love of God through Jesus Christ, which has overcome the greatest anger – the anger and wrath of a sinful nature let loose upon this earth to kill and destroy.

How do you react when you are forced to do something that you do not wish to do? Do you fight it or do you offer yourself to the task and do more than is expected? What if Jesus was reluctant when He was forced to go to the cross? Whenever He was presented with an opportunity to extract himself, He would have taken it. Where would that leave you and I?

Sometimes we must do things out of a greater love than the love of ourselves!

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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