This is what the gift of the cross means!

April 10, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“. . . he was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped and we were healed!”
(Isaiah 53:5 (NLT))

Nothing comes without a price!

Have you truly stopped to reflect on the great price that Jesus willingly paid in order to save us from our sins? Have you thought about how you would attempt to pay the price for yourself? It is impossible for us to pay the price for our own sins. We are guilty of far too many to even stop to think about. Multiply that by the number of people who have or will ever live and you begin to see the magnitude of the weight of the sins of the world. It is a burden that no man can bear.

At this time of year when Easter approaches, it is necessary to remember that Jesus was not simply a man.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
(John 1:1-5 (NIV))

This does not sound like a simple man. Just as John said, Jesus was with God because He was God.

Only God could save us from our sins. Think about the pain and suffering that He endured in order to give you salvation.

Nothing comes without a price! Either you try to pay it yourself or you allow God to pay it for you.

This is what the gift of the cross means!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you embrace God’s plan of grace?

April 9, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”

Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it.

“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. “I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God.”
(Mark 14:22-25 (NIV))

Have you really thought about what Jesus was doing in these passages? It is easy to go through the motions without realizing exactly what the whole thing means.

The symbolism is astonishing. The implications are crucial to our beliefs. The continuing practice is an important part of our ability to remember just what was done in our behalf. We must also remember that Jesus did this at the Passover Sader, which was and still is the Jewish holiday in which they remember the gift of salvation and freedom from their Egyptian captors. On the anniversary of the very night that God delivered Israel from a physical bondage, God, through His Son, Jesus Christ, was delivering the world from spiritual bondage.

In Egypt, God accomplished this through the Angel of Death striking the first-born of Egypt. For the salvation of the world, God again struck down the first-born! He allowed His only begotten Son to die in our place!

The Passover meal is a very ritualized meal so that the Jewish people do not forget what God did for them. It is a time of celebration for those who partake of it. Jesus instituted a new “Passover” tradition in which all who believe that He is the Son of God and their Lord and Savior can partake. This meal is different from the original Jewish Passover meal in that it can be taken anytime and anywhere that there are believers.

The next time that you have the opportunity to sit at the Lord’s table, remember the pain, suffering, grace and salvation that this meal represents.

Do you embrace God’s plan of grace?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to suffer for Jesus?

October 21, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
(Romans 8:18 (NIV))

Suffering!

It means different things to different people. To some, it means that they have to take the limo instead of the helicopter. To others, it means that they are out on the street with no food for their family. To the Body of Christ, suffering is watching the world revel in the sin while we look on and pray for the world to turn to Jesus.

Suffering is a difficult thing to do, yet, each of us have different things that we are willing to bear with respect to suffering. To me, the biggest thing that I suffer over is the escalating decline of the value of faith in society. I am not saying that faith is declining. Rather, I am saying that it appears to me that sin of all types is increasing. It reminds me of a parable that Jesus told.

    Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
    “The owner’s servants came to him and said, `Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
    ” `An enemy did this,’ he replied.
    “The servants asked him, `Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
    ” `No,’ he answered, `because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ “
(Matthew 13:24-30 (NIV))

There is suffering due to the enemy having sowed bad seeds among God’s creation. We will face suffering until that glorious day that Jesus returns. The sufferings that we must face are worth the struggle. They are worth the pain. They are worth the aggravation, for we have the promise that we will see salvation. We will see redemption.

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
(Colossians 1:13-14 (NIV))

Are you willing to face the consequences of your sins?

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

I hate suffering, yet I would rather suffer because I have professed a faith in Jesus than to turn my back on God’s grace and face suffering in eternity. I know that we live in a society that expects to have both now and later, but in God’s kingdom, it does not work that way. We cannot simply pull out a credit card and swipe it and expect to have it easy now and easy later when the bill comes due. Our way of doing things doesn’t work.

We have a hope that can see us through all suffering. His name is Jesus. We can suffer now and cling to the hope that we have in Jesus, or we can abandon all hope and suffer eternal separation from God.

Nothing worth having is easy. I pray that I am willing to suffer for Christ.

Are you willing to suffer for Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Freedom does not mean that we are to continue to sin!

September 13, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.
(1 Peter 2:16 (NIV))

Godly freedom is not how the world thinks of freedom. Too many people in this world think that true freedom is the ability to do whatever you want, whenever you want. There are consequences!

Imagine that you have done something that ends up with you being put in prison. You have committed an act that was contrary to the laws of the land. For several years you sit in your prison suffering the consequences of your actions. As fortune would have it, someone comes along and pardons you for your actions. You are released. You have been set free from the consequences of your actions.

What do you do?

Do you return to the very same behavior that put you in prison to begin with? Do you do this knowing that the outcome will be the reinstatement of your prison sentence, or do you make a commitment to follow a new path that leads to a much better place?

I’m sure that you understand that each of us are guilty! Each of us are bound by the sinful nature that we are born with and the sinful actions that we continually do.

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

By all legal accounts, we face an eternity separated from God in a place that is far worse than any earthly prison.

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))

We have been pardoned! We have been shown grace and mercy. We simply must make a choice to follow Jesus and repent of our sin just as Jesus told the woman caught in adultery.

Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:11b (NIV))

We have been set free from the consequences of sin, but we must make a choice to leave our life of sin. We cannot willfully continue in our sin or we will not like the eternal consequences.

Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:22-23 (NIV))

Freedom does not mean that we are to continue to sin!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What priorities do you embrace?

August 16, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.
(1 Peter 4:1-2 (NIV))

Can we wholeheartedly accept these words? Can we embrace the fact that we will face suffering in our lifetime in the physical body that we are so proud of?

Humanity is frail. We admire the fragile shells that we call our bodies and pamper them to the point of sinful desires. We splurge and do things because they feel good without giving any thought to the long-term effects of our actions. We spend almost every waking hour doing something to take care of the physical side of our existence, which is mortal, while we come very close to completely ignoring our spiritual side, which has the potential to spend eternity in heaven.

It seems that we have our priorities backwards! We need to spend much more time concerned with our spiritual being. We need to resolve to look beyond the immediate needs of our physical shell and look to the needs of the part of us that truly matters. We must get to the point where we can recognize that our bodies are but dust and our spirits are the true treasure that we possess.

Can we truly allow our physical bodies to suffer so that our spiritual being will benefit?

I would like to think that it is possible, for we have been told that it is the way to do away with sin in our life. However, I do not know if I am capable of such a massive undertaking. Luckily, God knew that we were not capable on our own, even after He sent His Son, Jesus, to show us what to do. We may desire to do away with the physical desires and focus on God, yet, we are spiritual infants who happen to have a very strong urge from the physical side of our existence. For this reason, God allows us to call upon the name of Jesus as our atoning sacrifice, for His Blood covers a multitude of sins.

Can you suffer in the physical the way that Jesus did? Can you earnestly call upon the Blood of Jesus to help you when you fall?

What priorities do you embrace?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Don’t get caught up in the moment!

July 9, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
(Romans 8:18 (NIV))

Have you ever faced ridicule or suffering because you proclaim a faith in Jesus?

How did you react?

Did you hold your head up high and proud because the enemy has identified you as a follower of Jesus or did you turn tail and try to hide? Did you stay true to your beliefs or did you change course with the slightest sign of trouble? Do you hate the idea of any type of discomfort in this life and simply hope that an hour on an occasional Sunday will not come up on the enemy’s radar?

If these questions didn’t make you stop and think about the sincerity of your faith, then perhaps these will!

Do you possess a bold faith in Jesus? Are you willing to stand your ground on the behalf of Jesus when confronted by the enemy? Think about that for a moment. Jesus was more than willing to stand His ground on your behalf when confronted by the enemy. He was willing to step out of heaven and face a few years of suffering so that each of us could have an opportunity to experience salvation. Shouldn’t we be willing to face ridicule and suffering from the enemy because we have accepted this? If you truly stop to think about this, the attacks make sense. Before Jesus came into the world to bring grace and mercy, legally all of us belonged to the enemy due to sin. We have been redeemed! In essence, the legal claim that the enemy had over us has been made null and void. He is angry. He will do anything and everything to make us reject God’s grace and mercy! He will attack anyone who professes a faith in Jesus in an effort to make us change our mind.

In the grand scheme of God’s plan, these attacks are only momentary in comparison to all of eternity that we will gain. Don’t be so focused on the things of this world that you trade eternity in heaven for comfort in this world!

In other words, don’t get caught up in the moment!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who walks with you in times of trouble?

June 11, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
(Isaiah 43:2 (NIV))

Everyone faces troubles in this world. Too many people have a false impression that because they follow Jesus they should not have any troubles. They get extremely upset when they face things in their lives. They forget what Jesus told us about following Him.

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))

They also forget that Jesus faced many troubles during His time on earth. Just because He was God with us does not mean that the enemy didn’t try to create trouble. Look at the wilderness experience. Look at all of the times that the officials wanted to kill Him. Look at the betrayal, the scourging and the crucifixion. Anyone who truly knows what Jesus experienced while on this earth should clearly understand that Jesus knew trials. He knew temptation. He knew suffering. Why do so many people believe that we won’t face trials in this life?

What was recorded in Isaiah is very important to understand. It lets us know that the Lord is with us. Jesus told us in John that He has overcome the troubles of this world. He has taken the trials and troubles upon Himself so that we don’t have to face them alone.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
(Romans 8:31 (NIV))

I find these passages to be very reassuring. They remind me of the promises that we have been given. These promises let us know that if we have accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we have the Lord with us when we walk through times of trouble.

Who walks with you in times of trouble?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you thankful that Jesus faced this hour?

March 28, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”
(John 12:23 (NIV))

It is hard to imagine the idea of crucifixion as a means of glorification, but that is exactly what transpired!

Very truly I tell you, 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.
(John 12:24 (NIV))

When Jesus went to the cross, He knew exactly what would transpire. He knew that He would die a painful death as an atoning sacrifice for all sin that had ever happened or ever would happen. He knew that Satan would think that he had won. Jesus also knew that the power of sin and death would forever be broken three days later when He would be resurrected. Jesus knew that He was the single seed of hope. In order for hope to mature and grow in this world, He had to make the ultimate sacrifice. Crucifixion is definitely not glorious, but overcoming the power of sin and death and being elevated to the right hand of God the Father is the ultimate glory.

It is a glory that we can share! It is a glory that removes condemnation!

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
(Romans 8:1 (NIV))

It is a glory that intercedes for those who believe!

Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
(Romans 8:34 (NIV))

From a human perspective, it is difficult to be thankful for suffering. No one in their right mind would look on the sufferings of others as a good thing, but in the case of what Jesus did, it is an amazing thing. It is amazing how the sin of one condemned all to death and the sin free sacrifice of one settled the debt for the wages of sin and death. Personally, I hate the fact that my sin is why Jesus suffered and died, yet, at the same time, I am thankful that He faced that hour!

Are you thankful that Jesus faced this hour?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you turned your troubles over to Jesus?

March 22, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“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))

What do you think of when you hear the word “trouble?” Perhaps it makes more sense to you to use the word “tribulation” instead. Perhaps you like to cut to the chase and you have come to the realization that trouble usually implies suffering and you choose to use the word “suffer” instead of the word “trouble.” The following three translations are good examples of word choice, but they all have the same underlying meaning, and that is that while we, as followers of Jesus, are alive and in this world, we will be faced with things because we are followers of Jesus. Though the word choices are different, they also all have the assurance that placing our faith in Jesus is the only way to overcome those troubles.

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NASB))

“I have told you this, so that you might have peace in your hearts because of me. While you are in the world, you will have to suffer. But cheer up! I have defeated the world.”
(John 16:33 (CEVDC))

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (KJV))

Just as some people will say “Good morning,” others will simply say “Mornin'” or even “Hi!” It is the intent, it is the true meaning behind the words that we must understand. With that said, the message in John 16:33 boils down to this. If we rely on our own actions and our own abilities in this world, we will face things that will test our faith. They will test our very peace of mind. Focus on Jesus and let Him deal with the things of this world. Turn over your troubles, your trials, your tribulations and you suffering to the Lord of all creation. He is bigger than any problems that you will face.

Take a good, long look at your life!

Have you turned your troubles over to Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you able to rejoice in your suffering?

February 8, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
(1 Peter 4:12-13 (NIV))

It is definitely not human nature to rejoice over suffering!

Who will willingly go headlong into a situation where you know that you will suffer? What if you know that there is another way and that you will not suffer at all? Would you still choose the path that results in suffering?

On the surface, these types of questions seem to be sheer stupidity. After all, everyone likes things to be smooth sailing with no resistance, but . . .

There is always a “but”!

What happens when you look at things with an eternal perspective?

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))

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))

Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.
(Luke 6:22 (NIV))

There is a time when suffering in this world is a choice that I would gladly make. It is an indication that I have rejected the world and its sinful nature. It is an indication that I have accepted the salvation bought and paid for in full at the cross. It is a sign that I have been rejected by the world just as the world rejected Jesus. It is a sign of faith to choose to face suffering in this world instead of rejecting Jesus and facing suffering for all eternity.

When you look at this passage from this perspective, it brings a whole new understanding to the concept of rejoicing in suffering.

Are you able to rejoice in your suffering?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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