Are you afraid to encounter the risen Jesus?

March 28, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: `He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
(Matthew 28:5-10 (NIV))

Are you afraid to encounter the risen Jesus?

Aside from the obvious fear that someone had stolen the body, or that they were in the presence of someone or something that they did not understand, these women experienced something that I often wonder if I would react in fear if I experienced it. Even though they knew Jesus as a friend when He walked the earth, they encountered the resurrected Jesus face to face!

I want you to think about that concept and how you would react.

What would you do if you encountered the risen Jesus face to face?

What would you do if He suddenly appeared in your living room?

What would you do if He suddenly appeared to you in your back yard?

What would you do if He suddenly appeared to you at work?

We like to think that we would be overjoyed with such a visit, but how many of us would actually be afraid? How many of us would fear that we had done something so bad that Jesus came to tell us that we had messed up? Would we be overjoyed with what Jesus did come to tell us?

I long to see Jesus, but I am like everyone else. How would I honestly react? Would I be fearful? Would I truly understand what would be happening? Would I faint from fear? Would I cry from fear? Would I cry for joy?

Would I . . .

To be honest, I like to think how I would react, but in my frail humanity, would I truly be able to react in that manner?

I just know that no matter how I react, it will not be a reaction of denial. I will not deny my Lord and Savior. It may be a reaction of shame, for I know that I fail Him daily. Even in my failures, I have waited too long to see His face!

He is risen!

Are you ready to see a resurrected Jesus face to face?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 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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Has the seed of salvation been planted?

March 24, 2016

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?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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When you focus on the signs, you miss Jesus!

March 23, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I will show wonders in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
(Acts 2:19-20 (NIV))

Many people, including myself, believe that we are seeing things that indicate that the time of the Gentiles is coming to an end. This indicates that we are close to seeing the end times that are so frequently written of in God’s Word. These end times will usher in the worst times that this world has ever seen. It will also eventually lead to Jesus returning in the clouds and splitting the Mount of Olives.

On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.
(Zechariah 14:4 (NIV))

I often see things in the news or read things that make me wonder what this means and what sign it points to. It is human nature to try to figure things out. As we are told, we are to know the signs off the times. Some people make a study of these signs a full time endeavor. It is fascinating to try to understand how God is working.

I want to stop and ask a question.

Have you ever loved something so much that you studied it, practiced it, or played it so much that you soon lost sight of your first love? In other words, you became so engrossed in the details that you lost sight of the reason you loved it to begin with.

Don’t let your study of the signs make you lose sight of Jesus. After all, He is the reason the signs will be and are happening.

There is an old saying that you can’t see the forest for the trees. Step back and see Jesus in the details. Step back and see Jesus in the moment.

I know that the signs that are still unfolding will come to pass. How do I know this?

We are about to celebrate the greatest sign of all this Sunday. Without the resurrection of Easter, we would have no hope that the signs of His Second Coming would ever come true!

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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Have you been baptized into new life?

February 22, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
(Romans 6:4 (NIV))

Baptism symbolizes a re-birth. Just as the Jewish Passover tradition of hiding the middle loaf of bread symbolizes death, the complete submersion in water symbolizes death. In both cases, the reappearance symbolizes a resurrection from death.

Luckily, we do not have to experience the ultimate death, which is eternal separation from God. Jesus paid the price so that we do not have to suffer the ultimate death. Through the symbolism of baptism and the spiritual meaning that it has, we have died to death because Jesus has already died for us. When we arise out of the water, we arise as new creations. Creations that are holy and righteous in God’s sight because of our faith that God sent Jesus Christ to pay the price for us.

If we truly die with Jesus, then we will live with Him as a reward for our faith. This is a gift of grace, for we cannot do anything that will make us worthy of this gift. It is given freely, and all we have to do is be willing to “die” so that we may live eternally with God.

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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