It was, and still is, a matter of attitude

April 30, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
(1 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV))

Could we, as a society, be on the way to a time when God will makes us look foolish?

We are at a time in history when knowledge is increasing like never before. Humanity can accomplish some pretty incredible tasks if we put our minds to it. We can send a message around the world in a fraction of a second. We have begun to unlock the secrets that God has placed within our DNA. We are developing technology faster than we literally can produce it. By the time a product gets to market, it is already obsolete. We have become wise in the ways of the world.

We must keep our focus on God, for if we start to proclaim that we have done these things and that we do not need God, then we will be floundering in foolishness created by our worldly wisdom. We will have done the same thing that caused confusion of our languages at Babel.

Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.
(Genesis 11:4 (NIV))

It was, and still is, a matter of attitude. We must keep God as our focus and give Him all the glory for what He has given to us. We must not seek to make a name for ourselves. If we do, then we will be scattered and our wisdom will be made foolish.

Is God first in all that you do? Do you seek to glorify God or do you seek the glory for yourself?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where is the philosopher of this age?

April 12, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.
(1 Corinthians 1:20-25 (NIV))

I find it sadly interesting that we are seeing this passage come to reflect our world more and more. The wise man, the scholar and the philosopher all look upon the things of God as foolishness. In all reality, humanity has come to the point where we feel that we can do it all. We can solve all of the world’s problems if we just get the smartest people to work on them.

Think about that for a moment.

I have heard it said that our university system allows a person to learn more and more about less and less. In other words, someone can focus so much on the smallest details and know everything about these small details, that they don’t see the big picture. We may be gaining knowledge, but we are not gaining wisdom. I am sure that we can all think of someone who is a specialist in a certain field and can tell you minute details about things, but can they carry on an intelligent conversation about anything else?

We think that understanding the smallest details will make us wise. We can look at the stars and understand that they are thousands of light years away, but do we stop and recognize the majesty and the awe that has been spread out before us?

God has given us a tremendous gift with the physical world. He has also given us a priceless gift of salvation through His Son, Jesus. Knowledge is looking at these gifts and trying to dissect them. Wisdom is knowing that dissecting them will make you miss the gifts themselves.

We need to understand. We need to seek wisdom. We need to seek knowledge. There used to be a time when an education was intended to make you well-rounded in many areas. Now, people tend to look upon it as a way to become a know-it-all about something very small.

How does God fit into this picture?

In today’s society, we are so focused on other things that we miss the gifts that He has given to us. It has come to the point that we are being taught “knowledge” that has nothing to do with wisdom.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Does the world think of you as a fool?

February 5, 2013

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))

This seems to be coming more and more true in today’s society. When I was in high school, it was still possible to pray in school. The ruling had been passed down, but many school systems were still having prayer time or a moment of silent prayer in the morning. The movie, “Oh, God” was about to be released and it had many churches up in arms because it presented God in a different way than traditional church theology. The movie turned out to be not what they thought, but it still caused a major controversy. People did not even dare to think of homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle because the Bible plainly states that it is wrong. Today, we have media celebrities openly saying things such as “F___ Jesus.” For the most part, they get away with it. They are looked upon as trendsetters and open-minded. They proclaim that Jesus and the church are foolishness and that anybody who believes is a close-minded bigot and a hate monger.

What has caused this drastic change? Could this be the time that is written of in 2 Timothy 3?

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God– having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
(2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV))

Don’t give in to the ways of the world. Hold fast to your faith.

There is a saying that it is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

When you open your mouth, does the world think of you as a fool because you speak of Jesus? When you speak of the cross, do you speak boldly and confidently about the grace that the cross brings?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you see foolishness?

April 9, 2012

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. For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
(1 Corinthians 1:18-19 (NIV))

I pray that you had a wonderful and joyous Easter celebration.

I have some questions to ask of you.

Do you think that the message of Easter and the cross is foolishness? Do you have faith to claim the saving grace that is found at the foot of the cross?

It is such a shame that we, as individuals, can become so educated and wise that we try to over analyze everything in this life. Where is the amazement and wonder that life can hold if you over analyze everything? I know that our curiosity causes us to seek answers, but what happens when the answers we seek keep us from seeing the beauty that was intended? What happens to society when we are able to twist things around and make words mean something different than they should or we try to redefine things? What happens when we utter statements like “That depends on what you definition of ‘is’ is”?

What do you consider wisdom? What do you consider intelligence?

We are taught that we need wisdom and intelligence in order to have a wordily career. We are told that this wisdom will help us to live successful lives. We are told that this wisdom will help us to make decisions that will help us to be better citizens. I agree that we need this wisdom and intelligence, however, there is much more that we need.

Have you ever seen someone who is very intelligent and they seem to be lost in their own little world? They are so focused on gaining knowledge for the sake of gaining knowledge that they have no practical life experiences in order to firmly ground themselves. They over estimate their own abilities and look down upon anyone who does not understand as they do. Sadly enough, it is they who have the limited scope of things. They miss the simple concepts in trying to understand the complex.

The message of the cross is foolishness to some, but that is the beauty of God’s plan. God created a simple way for each and every single person to receive salvation. It is because of this simplicity that it is looked upon as foolishness.

I want you to think about a few things.

Do you think that the concept of ‘hot’ is foolish? It is a simple thing to understand. Do you think that the knowledge that we must breathe is foolishness? Do you think that the law of gravity is foolishness? That is simple. It can be express in one sentence – What goes up must come down.

What happens when you spend too much time acquiring knowledge about any of these things? If you are not careful, you start to miss the simple beauty that is within each.

There is a simple beauty in the cross, even though the events on the cross were horrible. That beauty can be summed up with just a few words.

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))

When you look at the cross, do you see foolishness or do you see power and beauty?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to be labeled a fool?

April 2, 2012

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 love God’s sense of humor. There are so many subtle things that we take for granted or we completely overlook. Sunday, April 1, 2012 was just such a thing.

For those who may not understand what I am talking about, that particular Sunday was Palm Sunday. It is the beginning of what the church refers to as Holy Week with the culmination on Easter Sunday. I find it ammusing that Holy Week began on April Fool’s Day. This day, set aside by the world to play tricks and pranks, is often a day of some interesting “gotcha” moments.

I find it interesting how the world looks upon the cross as foolishness, and how the world thinks that a faith in Jesus is a big joke. This year, the week that the Body of Christ holds as the most holy actually had its beginnings on a day that society has labeled for fools. How many actually realized that it was April Fool’s Day? I honestly believe that the church was more focused on the yearly celebration that we know as Palm Sunday, the day that Jesus entered Jerusalem exactly as prophesied, to begin the series of events that would lead to his crucufixion and resurrection.

I will be honest with you.

I would rather be labeled a fool by this world for my faith in Jesus and the message of the cross. I find it an honor to have begun Holy Week as a fool in the eyes of the world. For the rest of this week, and hopefully all of my life, I will be proclaiming the message that the world sees as foolishness. I will proudly proclaim what I know to be the power of God.

How was you April Fool’s Day? Was it filled with “gotcha” moments or was it filled with the power of God in celebration of the events leading to the cross?

Are you willing to be labeled a fool?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What does God have to do to get your attention?

January 4, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab. But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the LORD stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, she turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat her to get her back on the road.
Then the angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path between two vineyards, with walls on both sides. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat her again.
Then the angel of the LORD moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat her with his staff. Then the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?”
Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.”
The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?”
“No,” he said.
Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown.
(Numbers 22:21-31 (NIV))

Have you ever encountered something that just seemed to go completely different than expected, even when you have done it many times before? Were you able to come up with a logical explanation for the change in the results?

Perhaps the change in the results were similar to those that Balaam had. He was so blinded to the fact that his donkey had never done anything like this before, yet he still blamed the donkey. He did not stop to even contemplate the reason for the change. He did not stop to think that perhaps there was a reason that his trusted donkey had done what she had done. He did not even consider that there is more to this life than meets the eye.

He did not consider that God was intervening in his life!

Are we blinded to this just as Balaam was?

Think about that for a moment.

Does God still speak to His people? Does God still seek out relationships with those who seek Him? Does God work in our lives to guide us, to lead us and to mature us into what He created us to be?

Why should we be any different from Balaam? Why should we limit God’s intervention to the pages of the Bible? The Bible is the story of what He has done. We are the story of what He is doing.

The next time that something seems too odd and out of the normal realm of things, stop and reflect upon what is going on. God may be using the unexpected to reach out to you. He may be calling you to something and that moment in time is the decisive point where you must listen and respond or miss out on His blessings.

Everyone marvels at the story of Balaam and the talking donkey, but how many people overlook the reason that the donkey spoke? It took something completely out of the ordinary to get Balaam’s attention.

What does God have to do to get your attention?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Money, fame, prestige and power

August 25, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
(Genesis 1:1 (NIV))

Take a long hard look at what it is that you have allowed to take the place of God.

Did money create the heavens and the earth? Was fame there in the beginning? Did prestige and power subjugate the emptiness and cause it to form the universe?

Only God was able to do all of these things!

God existed long before the heavens and the earth and long before money, fame, or prestige and power. All of these things are man-made creations that have come about out of the depravity that arose because of the fall from grace. None of these things are worthy of our worship. None of these things should become our god. None, of these things are righteous in the eyes of God.

You shall have no other gods before me.
(Exodus 20:3 (NIV))

Too many of us replace the one true God with our own personal gods. These gods can be anything that takes priority in our lives. When we find that this is happening, we must remember that none of these things were around in the beginning. None of them were around when God created the heavens and the earth. It was only God in His Triune glory, and He …

…is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8 (NIV))

If He created “in the beginning,” then we must reevaluate our gods and repent. We must turn to the God of creation.

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
(Revelation 22:13 (NIV))

Can your “gods” of money, fame, or prestige and power make such a profession?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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