Do you mourn for the world?

April 29, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
(Matthew 5:4 (NIV))

We are used to reading this passage and we think that we have a good understanding of its meaning, but I was recently presented something that made me expand my concept of mourning!

When we hear the word mourn, we automatically think of the feelings that we have as the direct result of the loss of a loved one, but perhaps we need to remember what makes the Lord mourn.

He despises sin. It breaks His heart to see His creation that He loves lost in their sin.

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))

With that in mind, how do you think the Lord feels as this world spirals further and further away from Him and further and further into sin? If you are a parent, how would you feel if your children rejected you and all the love that you have for them in order to follow your worst enemy? That is exactly what we have done! We have broken the Lord’s heart! We have made Him mourn because of our actions. It is these very actions that we rejoice over and that we accept as good when at there very core, they are corrupt, vile and sinful. Those who know the Lord’s heart, grieve over what the world declares as good. We should mourn with the Lord, for what breaks His heart should break ours.

Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.
(John 16:20 (NIV))

Do you see the world rejoicing?

Are the things that the world rejoices over something that makes the Lord mourn? Are the things that are occurring in the world escalating more rapidly than ever before? Do you see the world as the Lord sees the world?

Do you mourn for the world?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your life built upon the cornerstone?

February 2, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;”
(Psalms 118:22 (NIV))

Have you ever truly stopped to think about the meaning of the word cornerstone? There are a few basic meanings and I honestly believe that they both apply in this passage. One meaning represents a stone that is basically as the word sounds. It is the stone that is used at the corner of a building, but part of that definition also includes the fact that the cornerstone is laid in a formal ceremony. The other definition has the word cornerstone meaning a basic element.

I want you to think about these meanings with respect to Jesus.

When you think of a corner, you get a mental image of a change of direction. John the Baptist called everyone to change direction, only he used the word repent. Jesus offered us a way to repent of our sins by accepting Him as our personal Lord and Savior. God cemented this possibility through a formal event that has captivated millions since the time that it occurred. The trial, crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection were orchestrated like clockwork according to God’s plan, according to a ceremony that we still do not fully understand.

Has Jesus allowed you to change direction?

The basic tenet of Christianity is that Jesus is the not a mere man. He is the Son of God! That concept is the basic element of faith in Jesus. Jesus is the basic element of salvation!

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 they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

The more that I consider the meanings of the word cornerstone, Jesus fulfills all of them. He is the corner upon which we may change direction. He is the cornerstone that was established through God’s formal plan. Jesus is the basic element, the very foundation upon which our faith is built.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
(John 14:6-7 (NIV))

Is your life built upon the cornerstone?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have room for Jesus?

December 22, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
(Luke 2:6-7 (NIV))

I have read this passage countless times and tonight something hit me that has never hit me before!

Do you realize that Jesus first encountered being turned away at His birth. Due to circumstances in his life, the innkeeper didn’t make room for Jesus. He didn’t try to allow Jesus in. He simply turned Him away. If he made excuses like everyone else makes excuses, the innkeeper probably said things like, “If it had been any other night,” or “I couldn’t be bothered. What would everyone else think?”

Have you heard these type of excuses from people who can’t be bothered with Jesus?

Have you ever made any excuses like these?

If you are like me, before I came to my senses and made room for Jesus, I said these and countless more. What is it about human nature that simply wants to ignore, reject or turn away the most precious gift that God could ever give? Why do we feel that our lives are just too complicated and we simply don’t have the room to allow Him in? Why do we feel that the busy lives that we live are too full, yet, we constantly take on more and more?

There is one thing that is missing from the innkeeper’s story. We do not read of him being rejected and condemned for not allowing Jesus in. We do not hear of the innkeeper being cast away by the Lord for not welcoming Him in. Thankfully, no matter how many times that we refuse to make room for Jesus, He still gives us another opportunity to receive His grace and mercy. But there will be a time for all of us when it will be too late!

Just don’t wait until it’s too late.

Do you have room for Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is Jesus your cornerstone?

May 17, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;
(Psalms 118:22 (NIV))

If you were to set out to build a house, what type of materials would you select?

If you are like most people, you would select materials with strength and for their longevity. You would go with materials that would be able to withstand the weather as well as the ravages of time. But, do you have a full understanding of what you would be looking for and what you would be looking at? You have a basic understanding of what should work, but do you understand all aspects of everything that could possibly be used?

That is exactly what happened when Jesus came into this world!

The prophets had foretold of His coming. The religious elite knew that He would come. The people knew that He would come, but, everyone misunderstood His purpose in coming the first time. They were looking for a military leader to save them from the Roman occupation and not a spiritual leader to save them from their sins. Jesus did not fit the model of who they thought the Messiah should be, so they did not recognize Him. Because they did not recognize Him, they rejected Him.

I love the way that God knew that this would happen. I love the way that He saw fit to tell us that it would happen, that way, when it did happen, we could recognize His truth.

Jesus IS the stone that the builders rejected! In that rejection, the church was born. Jesus became the cornerstone of the church. He became the firm foundation upon which all hope and faith now rests.

Is Jesus your cornerstone?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Does the world accept or despise you for your faith in Jesus?

March 31, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.
(Isaiah 53:3-4 (NIV))

Does this sound like it would describe the one that God sent to earth to save us from our sins?

Does this sound like it would describe the Savior of the world?

Human characteristics are not what God looks at. When we see a strong physique, God sees the heart. When we see a pleasing exterior, God sees what is on the inside. Fortunately, Isaiah 53:3 was not the end of the story. It was only the beginning of the story that God would unfold to offer grace and redemption to a lost creation. Since humanity, in all of our fallen nature, looked up to the worldly as beautiful and of importance, God sent His Son, Jesus, to be the exact opposite of what we would expect. Instead of elevating Him to a place of worldly power, God sent Him to be a lowly servant. It was the nature of servanthood that made everything possible.

Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.
(Isaiah 53:4 (NIV))

Jesus willingly left the presence of God and came to earth as one of us. Would any of us do that?

Jesus willingly took upon Himself the weight of the sin of all humanity. That is a heavy burden to bear.

Jesus willingly suffered and died so that we could be offered grace and mercy! Would any of us be willing to suffer so greatly for those who rebuke us?

After all that Jesus suffered, He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. He told those who choose to follow Him that they, too, would be despised because of Him. He was telling us that the world would see us differently. The world would not see us by worldly standards and accept us. The world will see us by God’s standards and despise us.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is Jesus your cornerstone?

February 6, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Haven’t you read this passage of Scripture: “ ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;”
(Mark 12:10 (NIV))

Jesus has been talking to the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders when He asked this question. I realize that hindsight is twenty-twenty, but I often wonder just why these people were so blind to who stood before them. In all honesty, I know that it is the very same reason that people fail to recognize Him today. Still, these were the people who were supposed to be educated in the Law and the Prophets. If anyone should have recognized Jesus, they had been trained to. Ironically, the people who had been trained are the very ones who failed to see who was before them.

They rejected the very Messiah whom they had been looking for!

These people had built a religion of laws and had elevated themselves to the positions of authority. They did not realize that the foundation that they had built upon was about to be shattered and a new foundation, with Jesus as the cornerstone, was about to be put in place. They despised Jesus. They rejected Jesus. They schemed to have Him put to death.

Have you ever looked up the definition of the word cornerstone?

One definition means a basic element. In this case, Jesus is the cornerstone of our Christian faith.

Another definition is of a stone forming a part of a corner or angle in a wall. This is often a stone that is put in place in a formal ceremony.

I just love how God puts things together. Jesus is truly our cornerstone. He was rejected by the builders of the religion based on laws. He is the basic element of our faith through grace. He proved His claim through the crucifixion and the resurrection. If you stop to think about the crucifixion, it was a formal ceremony conducted by the Romans, who were the powers of the world at that time. The role of Jesus as the cornerstone was started by God’s plans, but was formally finalized by God through what the powers of the world did at the crucifixion. In an effort to stop Jesus, the world ceremoniously fulfilled the completion!

Is Jesus your cornerstone?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Blessed?

June 21, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.
(Jeremiah 17:7 (NIV))

Blessed?

Have you ever had a time, even though you trust in the Lord, where you feel that you are far from blessed?

Be honest with yourself. If you are human, then you have had many of those times. I know that I have.

It is human nature to feel rejected. It is human nature to dwell on the negative, and the negative times do happen to everyone. Jesus warned us about this.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

I want you to think back on the times when you did not feel blessed. What happened that made you feel that way? In all circumstances, it was probably an attack from someone or something in this fallen, sinful world.

Did you lose your trust in the Lord or did you lose your confidence in Him? After the initial heartbreak, and, yes, that is a normal reaction, chances are that you came to the realization that God is still with you, that Jesus is still with you.

But take heart! I have overcome the world.
(John 16:33b (NIV))

These simple words should make us feel blessed even when we don’t feel blessed.

We are blessed because we have placed our faith and trust in the Lord. The enemy attacks us through things of this world. We begin to feel rejected. We begin to feel that we are not blessed. It is at these very moments in life when we must remember that Jesus came into this world, lived, died and was resurrected for moments like this. We can take heart, for He has overcome the world.

When we feel that we are not blessed is the time that we should remember the words from John 16:33. It is at these times that we have the biggest blessing. We have the reassurance that these moments will not defeat us. We have the promise that Jesus is still with us and that He is our salvation even when the world tries its best to destroy us.

Blessed?

You bet!

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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