Have you taken up your cross and followed His example?

April 4, 2023

Have you taken up your cross and followed His example?

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))

How are you at the task that Jesus set out before all who would follow Him?

How are you at denying yourself?

How are you at taking up your cross?

Easter is rapidly approaching. The day that we observe the yearly celebration of the resurrection of the crucified Jesus. It is something to celebrate. It is the culmination of all of God’s 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 called 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 it 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.

Have you taken up your cross and followed His example?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you proclaim the mighty name of Jesus?

April 10, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
(Luke 19:37-40 (NIV))

I have read this passage many times and today I had something pointed out to me that I had missed.

When we think of this sequence of events, we have a tendency to think of the people who lined the road as the general population of Jerusalem. What we fail to recognize is that these people were recognized by the religious elite as disciples of Jesus!

By definition, a disciple is someone who adheres to the teachings or is considered a follower of the teachings of a particular person.

Think about that for a moment!

These people were disciples of Jesus. Do you consider yourself to be a disciple of Jesus? His disciples on that day were shouting and proclaiming His name. Do you shout and proclaim the name of Jesus? His disciples on that day were calling Jesus the blessed king. Do you call Jesus the blessed king? By comparison, do we, as today’s disciple of Jesus, show the same adoration and respect as the disciples on the day when Jesus entered Jerusalem on the back of a donkey’s colt?

It is our task, our honor, to lift praise to Jesus for He is worthy of all praise. If we don’t fulfill our responsibility, the rocks will take over. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to get notification that I have been terminated from this assignment for failure to perform.

Do you proclaim the mighty name of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you capable of feeding those in need?

July 29, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

He replied, “You give them something to eat.”
(Luke 9:13a (NIV))

I realize that Jesus was telling the disciples to have faith and give the people what they needed, which in this case was food. However, I just recently came to realize that there is so much more to this passage.

The first thing that came to mind is how do you reconcile what Jesus commanded with the following passage?

For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”
(2 Thessalonians 3:10 (NIV))

Like so many other things that pertain to humanity, it is a matter of the heart. What is written of in 2 Thessalonians is a matter of laziness. They are not willing to do what is needed to meet the basic needs of life for themselves. It is a lie that is perpetrated on those whom they know. It is a desire to get everyone else to take responsibility for them.

Jesus was referring to something completely different when he instructed His disciples to give the crowd something to eat. Jesus knew that the people who had come to hear Him speak were seeking something and were willing to sacrifice for it. They were not expecting to freeload and have everything taken care of for them. They had taken upon themselves the responsibility to seek and go after what was beneficial to them. They were seeking something that fed their spirits. They were seeking something that went above and beyond the physical needs that they had. They were working for what they sought after. Because of this, Jesus had compassion on the crowd just as He has had compassion on all of the others who earnestly sought Him.

Seeking Jesus is not easy. It is work. We are taught a lesson through the disciples and the crowd on that day. Jesus will provide for those who truly seek Him. He fed the crowd after He fed them spiritually. If you stop to think about what He told His disciples, He was also telling them to not only take care of the physical needs, but to soon be prepared to take care of feeding the spiritual needs. They stepped up and delivered.

Are you capable of feeding those in need?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Don’t let temptation hold you captive!

March 24, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.
(Colossians 2:8 (NAS))

I never thought of it like this, but this is exactly what the enemy is doing!

He is using lies and the worldly philosophy to take people captive. They have become prisoners of war! They are held captive by lies. They are held captive by partial truths that are deceiving people because they don’t know the full truth. They are held captive by a love of their own sins, and they are held captive because they are following a crowd.

We must be prepared to fight the good fight so that we are not taken captive by the enemy. We must know God’s Word. We must know God’s heart, and we must know God’s Son, Jesus, as our personal Lord and Savior. We must know God so well that we can tell when something is a lie from the enemy.

Think about the lies of the enemy.

He knows God’s Word and can twist it. He knows God’s heart and can make you think that God doesn’t care what you do. He knows God’s Son, Jesus, and he will trick you with teachings that are so close, yet they will lead you astray.

When you are in a battle, most prisoners are taken because they are in the wrong place or they are overwhelmed. Satan tries to get you to go to that wrong place. He tries to overwhelm you so that you will fall.

Stay strong in the Lord. Focus on Jesus! Meditate on God’s Word so that you will know God’s heart. Open your heart and life to allow Jesus full access. Allow the Holy Spirit to indwell you so that you have guidance and instruction.

Don’t allow temptation to lure you to a wrong place!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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