Jesus has overcome the world!

November 18, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10 (NIV))

If you are like me, you have seen countless posts and news articles about how we need to stop allowing refugees at this time. We must remember what we profess and why we profess it.

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
(Romans 8:15-17 (NIV))

What is your reaction to what is happening in the world?

Are you living in fear?

Are you changing plans that you may have had because of recent events?

I have a question for you and I hope that this doesn’t come across as macabre.

Why do you fear death?

If you belong to Jesus, then we have nothing to fear. The enemy may kill the body, but the body is not what we are. It is only a vessel.

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
(Matthew 10:28 (NIV))

I know that it is human nature to fear what we do not know, including death, but as the Body of Christ, we should not live in fear. Please don’t take me wrong and think that I am saying that we should welcome death. That is far from the truth. God gave us life. He did not create us death. He created us for life. However, this life is not the life that God intended when He created everything. Sin entered into the picture and now it is raising its ugly head like never before. If you study God’s Word and study the prophecies and promises that have been made, you know that God has already defeated sin when Jesus died on the cross.

Jesus arose from death!

He is with us if we call upon Him as our personal Lord and Savior.

“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))

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are your expectations?

May 7, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
(Matthew 6:34 (NIV))

What did you do yesterday?

Did you end the day with expectations for today?

Do you have big plans for tomorrow?

Are you planning something special for next week, next month or next year?

Everyone has expectations for the future, but how often do your expectations actually come true? With that in mind, there is one thing that I need to ask. What are your expectations with respect to salvation? Have you professed a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? Are you confident in your faith? Do you live out your faith as if your life could end at any moment and eternity depended on Jesus acknowledging you as a faithful follower?

Are you confident that you would not hear these words from Jesus?

`I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:23b (NIV))

Let’s face the truth. None of us want to hear these words. None of us want to face the consequences of these words. Can you honestly look at your life in relation to what God has written and what Jesus has taught and find yourself righteous in the eyes of God? No one can!

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

It is for this reason that Jesus came into the world. It is for this reason that Jesus went to the cross. It is for this reason that Jesus died. It is for this reason that Jesus was resurrected. It is through the acceptance of this gift that anyone can be saved. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. All that we can know is that we have called upon Jesus to be our personal Lord and Savior. We must live for Him. We must commune with Him. We must seek His face in all that we do. We cannot simply call upon Jesus only when we need rescuing.

What are your expectations of your relationship with Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we any different from Barabbas?

April 2, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now it was the custom at the Feast to release a prisoner whom the people requested. A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did.

“Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, knowing it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.

“What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them.

“Crucify him!” they shouted.

“Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.
But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
(Mark 15:6-15 (NIV))

Tonight, I was presented something that made me look at this in a different light and with a different perspective.

What do you think of Barabbas?

Have you often thought that he deserved to die? Have you ever wondered how the crowd could be so stupid and request the release of a murderer over Jesus?

We all know that it was God’s plan for Jesus to suffer and to go to the cross and die for our sins, but have you ever stopped to realize that Barabbas was a picture of the grace that Jesus would bring to everyone?

We do not know if Barabbas repented and accepted the true grace and mercy that Jesus came to bring, but he had that opportunity. Jesus went to the cross so that Barabbas might live and have that opportunity.

Are we any different from Barabbas?

In the eyes of humanity, our sins may not be as great as his, but in the eyes of God, we are just as guilty of sin as Barabbas was. Didn’t he deserve the chance to repent? Didn’t he deserve the chance to know the grace and mercy that God offers through the death of Jesus on the cross? God loves each and every individual that has ever walked the earth or ever will walk the earth. Jesus came to bring the gift of salvation to everyone and not just the ones that society thinks are the good people.

With the somber reality of the crucifixion rapidly approaching, we, as the Body of Christ, must come to terms with the fact that Jesus died for everyone. Just because you may think that someone is too far gone into their life of sin does not mean that the gift that Jesus died to offer is not available to them.

Would you be surprised to find Barabbas in heaven? Would you rejoice in his salvation? Would you rejoice in the salvation of those whom society considers too far gone to redeem?

Are you any different from Barabbas?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is God’s power foolishness to you?

February 19, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
(1 Corinthians 1:18 (NIV))

I realize that I am stuck on a topic, but the power of God is something that we can never get too much of.

It is the power of God that created all things.

It is the power of God that gave you life.

It is the power of God that raised Jesus from the grave!

It is the power of God that brings salvation.

Is there any other power that has done any of this?

Is there any other power that can redeem us?

It is true that the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but if you think about it from God’s perspective, it is the ideal way to show power. Through the cross, the enemy thought that he was putting an end to God’s plans. Through the cross, the enemy violently put to death the one that God sent to bring redemption. It was foolish for anyone alive at this time to honestly believe that someone who had faced such a violent death would be alive and walking among us just three days later.

I find it amazing how God will use what we call foolishness to turn our world upside down.

I once heard a story about how a big revival got started. Members of a church started praying, and kept praying for months, for God to send a revival to their city. After months of praying, they were frustrated. It is my understanding that someone asked if anyone had heard God during all of this prayer time. One person finally admitted that they had heard a voice telling them to strike the table each time that they had been praying. They finally struck the table and God unleashed a revival on the city that lasted for years.

it sounds like foolishness, doesn’t it?

Is it foolishness or is it a step of faith in obedience?

God unleashes His power when we step out in faith and obedience!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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All that you have to do is ask!

October 29, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
(Matthew 7:11 (NIV))

What do you consider as a good gift?

Think about that question and take a look at your heart. What is it that your heart longs for more than anything else? Be honest with yourself. Is it something that will benefit you? Is it something that will benefit you and a few others? Or, is it something that will benefit a vast amount of people?

Most people are selfish in nature, especially when it comes to the desires of the heart. We have a tendency to be self serving in all aspects of our lives, so it is not a problem to imagine what we think of as being good has a direct impact on us the most.

Aren’t you glad that Jesus didn’t have this attitude when He went to the cross?

If we put ourselves in His place, we would not consider that selfless act to be a good thing simply because of the price that had to be paid. He paid it all and He did not get any personal benefit as the world sees it. Jesus suffered and was crucified. He died a horrible death. From a worldly perspective, this was not good.

Fortunately, God works in ways that counter what the world says and thinks.

The gift that was given to us through the selfless acts of Jesus are far better than anything that we, as part of the world, could ever give. Everything of this world that we can ever give will fade, rot or decay. Sadly, it is these very gifts that we give and receive that are the basis for our understanding of what is good. Many simply cannot comprehend anything that does not fit into this understanding. The gift that was given to us by our Father is far more precious. It is something that we all truly need. It is something that we all overlook, many until it is too late.

Grace!

Forgiveness!

Salvation!

No matter how you may describe it, God’s gift is perfect. It is good. It is a gift that no other can give us. We may provide food, clothing, shelter and love to our families, but these will all eventually fade. Even our lives will fade. Only God can provide the gift that surpasses all others and allows us to escape the consequences of sin and death.

All that you have to do is ask!

Have you asked?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Preach always. When necessary, use words.

October 23, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
(1 John 3:18 (NIV))

It is so easy to hear only part of what is said and as a result, the whole meaning is completely different from what is intended. Even words of friendship, fellowship and love can be misunderstood if we do not have a direct insight into the mind of the person who is speaking.

Why are our words so easily misunderstood?

Perhaps it is because we are sinful by nature and we seek self gratification even when we don’t realize it. I have heard it stated that when two people are in a conversation, the person who is supposedly listening is actually formulating what he or she will say next. This is done in order to ensure that we will get our point across. We are simply guilty of not truly listening to each other and as a result, we hear only a partial transcript. We miss many points that are relevant to the discussion.

How is it different when we love with actions and in truth?

Simply put, we are willing to place our desires as secondary to what is needed by the other person. It is a true form of agape love. When you love with actions and in truth, you are willing to step beyond your self-gratification and simply do something for someone else. You are willing to die to your desires so that others may see love just as Jesus died on the cross so that we could see love.

How do we love with actions and in truth?

It is a matter of attitude. We simply chose to do things for others because Jesus did such a great thing for us, and for all. If Jesus had come to simply preach and teach, it would have not had the same impact or the same results. In order for His ministry to succeed, it required an act of love and not just words. Salvation was not purchased through His teachings. It was purchased through His blood and the cross. Perhaps this is why the following words have had such an impact since they were first recorded.

Preach always. When necessary, use words.
(St. Francis of Assisi)

How are you preaching?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Ready, eager and willing!

April 15, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.
(Luke 22:15 (NIV))

Talk about an ultimate example of love. Jesus was eager to do what He did because He loves us. He was willing to suffer for us.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

Not only did Jesus go willingly to the cross for us, but He was eager to do the things that led up to the cross. He knew that the results of His actions would mean salvation for all who would simply accept the free gift. His love for us was greater than the desire to have the cup pass from Him.

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
(Luke 22:42 (NIV))

I have heard it said that the nails did not keep Jesus on the cross, after all, He could have performed a miracle at any time. What did keep Jesus on the cross was His overwhelming love for us. He was eager to face what He faced because of that love.

How do you view His eagerness and His willingness? Have you come to the full realization of just what He did for you? He was willing to suffer the ultimate pain and death for you. He was willing to be beaten and ridiculed for you.

Are you eager in your acceptance of His sacrifice for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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