Are you thankful to be called a Christian?

April 10, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
(1 Peter 4:16 (NIV))

Have you ever faced anything simply because you are a believer in Jesus?

Perhaps I should ask if you have ever been in a situation where you would have suffered if it was known that you were a Christian? Think about that for a moment as you answer the following. Did you withhold the fact that you were a Christian or did you deny that you were a Christian? There is a difference! Regardless of how you handled yourself in that situation, do you regret not standing up and identifying as a follower of Jesus? Do you feel that you have abandoned Jesus through your actions and words?

Consider Peter.

He denied Jesus three times during the events between Jesus being arrested and being taken to Pilate. All of us can put ourselves into the events and justify the actions that Peter took that night. In all honesty, it is not told in detail how Peter truly felt. We can only imagine what Peter was facing within himself as these events transpired and afterward. What we do know is that after the resurrection, Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him. Peter was able to put his shame behind him and accept the grace that Jesus was extending to him.

Think about that!

Peter denied Jesus three times. He had seen Jesus beaten so badly that He was not recognizable. Peter had seen Jesus crucified, dead and buried. The guilt of his denial of Jesus must have been unbearable. Even after Jesus arose, what was Peter thinking? Was he thinking that Jesus would never forgive him for what he had done? Was Peter thinking that he had committed something so bad that he would be condemned to suffer for all eternity?

Grace is amazing!

What Peter did discover is that Jesus forgave him. Three times he was asked if He loved Jesus and three times he responded that he did. I can almost imagine that with each response Peter gave Jesus, the burden of guilt was being lifted until it was completely gone!

That is what Jesus does! He lifts the burden of guilt and replaces that burden with a joy that comes from knowing that all of your sins are forgiven! There is nothing greater to give thanks for.

Are you thankful to be called a Christian?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you truly understand what Jesus did?

March 26, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”
(Matthew 20:18-19 (NIV))

Have you truly come to terms with all that Jesus did for you and I, or are you still stuck in the mindset that all that Jesus accomplished can be summarized in a basket full of treats that will soon go away?

Think about that.

Even as adults, we have a tendency to look at the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus as only a day to get together with family and have fun with some events for the children. In the back of our minds, we know that it is more than this, but have we turned the most crucial day to our faith into nothing more than a chance to over eat? Sure, we have Good Friday services and many of us will get up and go to a sunrise service on Resurrection Sunday, but do we truly understand the full implications of what we celebrate? Have we become so jaded by the fact that we can turn on a TV or go to a movie and see things that appear to be miraculous? If that is the case, what happens when we truly read about the power of God raising Jesus from the dead? Do we take it for granted? Do we overlook the magnitude of the implications for those who truly believe, for those who truly call upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior?

We are told many times that we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Jesus implicitly foretells the events that He would face. He knew that His fulfillment of the plan for humanity’s salvation would transpire exactly as foretold. He knew that His willingness to lay down His life would mean that you and I could walk with assurance that our sins have been forgiven. He knew the weight of the world’s sin that He carried would mean that you and I could stand before God the Father as a spotless bride. He saw the faces of every person to ever live and He willingly offered His sinless life for our sin filled lives.

Without the crucifixion, there would be no resurrection. Without the resurrection, there would be no grace and mercy that could be given. Without the grace and mercy freely given at the cross, you and I would be forever lost in our sin.

Do you truly understand what Jesus did?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What have you crucified?

January 22, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
(Galatians 5:24 (NIV))

When we commit to following Jesus and claiming Him as our personal Lord and Savior, we are expected to turn over our lives to His guidance. We are expected to have a desire to put an end to our sinful nature. It is true that we can turn to Jesus while still in our sin, but we are expected to allow Jesus to work in our lives and help us to remove the sinful passions and desires. Just as Jesus laid down His perfect life to bear the burden of our sin, we are expected to lay down our sinful life in order to embrace the grace that is freely given.

We are to crucify our sinful nature.

We are to desire to lay our sins and our burdens at the foot of the cross!

It is an even exchange. Jesus picks up our sins and we pick up His righteousness. I know I said that it is an even exchange, but it is not a fair exchange. All of us are sinners condemned by the very nature of sin. Jesus, by His very nature, is righteousness.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

If Jesus is willing to give all so that we may have all, we should be willing to surrender ourselves in this exchange. We should be willing to crucify the sinful nature that has condemned us.

What have you crucified?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus is the Lamb of God!

April 25, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
(1 Peter 1:18-19 (NIV))

A lamb without blemish or defect!

Do you understand the reason for the quest for perfection?

When a gift was presented to royalty, it was expected to be the best that you could give. When a gift is given to God as an offering, does this not merit even more than an earthly king? I have often wondered if God’s instructions for the original Passover were actually intended to be a gift to God, for these lambs were also to be without blemish. The blood from these animals was to be presented on the door posts of the homes. I realize that this was as a sign, but could it have also been a thank you offering for what God was about to do? Was it a teachable moment? Every person who could claim that they were Jewish knew the importance of the blood. They knew the importance of without blemish or defect. When they were told that Jesus was a lamb without blemish or defect, they knew exactly what it meant. When they were told that they had been redeemed by the blood of the lamb, they knew exactly what it meant.

Jesus became the perfect lamb. He was born of a virgin. He lived a sinless life. He, like a lamb led to the slaughter, was crucified, dead and buried. But, nothing can hold Godly perfection. Through His resurrection we have been made clean.

It took someone who could be without blemish or defect. It took the only Lamb of God!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you like to boast about?

March 24, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
(Galatians 6:14 (NIV))

Do you like to boast?

We are all guilty of it. It is human nature to toot our own horn. I have often wondered if this happens because we know ourselves and we are afraid to allow others to truly know us like we know ourselves. We say and do things to elevate ourselves in the eyes and minds of those around us so that they don’t see the real us. I suppose that you could say that we are all guilty of deception by the proverbial smoke and mirrors.

Paul had every reason to be able to boast based on his position in the Jewish society of his day. After his Damascus Road encounter, he realized that all of his accomplishments were nothing when compared to what Jesus had done for each and every one of us. His boasting went from that of self-centered, look at me actions to an I am nothing, look at Jesus type of action.

Why do we think that we have to elevate ourselves? Is it the sinful nature that is central to humanity? If you stop to think about it, boasting is an outward manifestation of pride.

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
(Proverbs 16:18 (NIV))

Is this what we want to have happen? Do we want to be prideful and boast about ourselves, or do we want to change?

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
(James 4:10 (NIV))

What do you like to boast about?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready for your outcome?

July 5, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
(Galatians 2:20 (NIV))

For those of you who don’t know me personally and found yourself wondering why there weren’t any devotionals for a week, there is an explanation. It is this explanation that I want to use to ask you to reflect on your own life.

I won’t go into details, but suffice it to say that I unexpectedly ended up at the emergency room on a Monday morning with issues that had everyone worried. I was taken immediately back to a trauma unit where I had every conceivable test and scan performed. Once they figured out what was happening and I was stable, they moved me to an intensive care unit where the walls between my room and the nurse’s station were glass so that they could see me at all times. I was finally moved to a regular room where I stayed under constant monitoring for almost a week.

I want you to imagine yourself in this scenario.

How would you react?

What would you think about?

What would you pray about?

Do you have and would you be filled with the peace that passes all understanding?

I am thankful to be home, but I also had no fear of the other option. I know where my faith is placed. I know that I am forgiven for all of the sins that have come into my life. I was ready for whatever the outcome would have been.

Are you ready for your outcome?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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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