Is the message of the cross foolishness or power?

April 3, 2019

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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))

Ever since it happened, the crucifixion and the resurrection have been points of contention in the minds of millions, if not billions, of people. It is either looked upon as the most amazing gift and the most amazingly simple way for God to restore a lost creation to Himself, or it is looked upon as a childishly simple lie and a fairy tale. Ironically, both camps recognize the simplicity involved. Those who profess a faith in Jesus and what He accomplished on the cross understand the Gospel, or good news, in such a way that they realize God made it simple to receive salvation. All that you have to do is repent and ask Jesus to be your personal Lord and Savior. Those who look upon the cross as foolishness cling to the old saying, “If it looks too good to be true, it is!” They also often think that it doesn’t make sense that one man could save me by dying on a cross. What they fail to recognize is that one man was not just any man. He was the Son of Man. He was fully man and He was fully Lord.

I realize that there are many possible shades between these two ends of the spectrum, but in essence most can be included. Even those who profess that there is no God fall into the foolishness category. Many of those who profess this think that any and all concepts of a god, let alone the one true God, are all signs of an uneducated mind. They fail to see the evidence that is right in front of them. In all of their so-called wisdom, they fail to see the obvious.

Do you recall your life before you came to faith in Jesus?

Think about your attitude towards those who professed a faith in Jesus. If you are like most people, you probably bought into the stereotypical characterization of believers that the world wants you to believe. You probably had a tendency to look at all believers with a very jaded perspective. Now that you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, that characterization has hopefully been long gone. Looking honestly back at these periods in your life, which one was the foolish period?

The cross divides many aspects of this world. It divides time – B.C. and A.D. It divides families. It divides societies. Nothing in all of human history has been the source of so much division. It all comes down to a simple matter of perspective.

Is the message of the cross foolishness or power?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you surrendered in your mind?

April 11, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).
(John 19:17 (NIV))

I just love the way that God works in symbolism!

As we approach Easter and the resurrection, we must remember that in order for Jesus to be resurrected, He first had to die. He had to go willingly to the place of the Skull to die to himself so that God’s plan could be fulfilled.

Isn’t it interesting how we, before we can embrace the resurrection, must also go to our own place of the skull. We must be willing to die to our reasoning and intellect and follow solely on faith. We must accept something that makes absolutely no worldly sense. We must die to our inability to believe in something without seeing it. We must die to our own place of the skull.

It is amazing how God will work in us and through us once we have willingly laid ourselves at the foot of the cross once we surrender our own place of the skull.

We are now ready to fully embrace the resurrection and the grace and mercy that it brings. This knowledge has not only transformed our minds, it is now ready to transform our lives. It can now travel the longest distance known to humanity – the eighteen inches from our mind to our heart – and truly have an impact on us.

Have you died to your place of the skull?

Have you fully embraced the resurrection?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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If we do not repent, what could await us?

August 28, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
(Revelation 2:2-6 (NIV))

Far too many people claim salvation and then, eventually, they let the world back into their lives. They live as if they never accepted the grace and mercy freely given to them at Calvary. They seldom think of the great gift that they have been given. They seldom think of anybody but themselves. They have forgotten their first love!

When these people proclaimed their faith, they were enthusiastic and very much in love with their personal Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Soon, just like any relationship, they let it slip and stopped spending time with Jesus. They soon lost what it means to be a man after God’s own heart. They started following the ways of the world once again.

Jesus warned us about becoming someone like this. He told us to repent and to return to following Him.

If we do not repent, what could await us?

If we continue on our path to the point where we not only ignore Jesus, but completely turn away from Him, we are given clear results. We will have our “lampstand” removed. In the tabernacle, the lampstand is the light in the Holy Place. We will have our light removed! We will be removed from God!

We, as believers, must stay focused on our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We must not allow the world to come back into our lives and make us lose sight of our first love.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Hebrews 12:2 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you returned to the place of safety?

August 20, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Come back to the place of safety, all you prisoners, for there is yet hope! I promise this very day that I will repay you two mercies for each of your woes!”
(Zechariah 9:12 (NLT))

Did you realize that God has been calling sinners back to Himself for a long time?

Zechariah writes of the prisoners returning to the place of safety. Just who are the prisoners? Every single person who has ever lived is a prisoner of sin. We are burdened by the weight of the sins that keep us in bondage. We lament over the consequences of our sins. We are far from able to break the chains that burden us.

It is these very chains that keep us prisoner. It is these very chains that keep us in our misery, in our woe.

Zechariah knew that there would be one sent by God to offer us mercy in exchange for our sins. Jesus willingly took the weight, the burden or every sin that had been or ever will be committed.

Jesus traded our sins for His grace. He endured the cross so that we could be free. He willingly offers us mercy when we deserve death.

Have you repented?

Have you returned to the place of safety?

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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Are you truly thankful to be called a son or daughter of God?

November 26, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.
(Galatians 4:4-5 (NIV))

What rights does a slave or a servant have? What rights does a person who hires himself for a wage have? Now, think about those rights and then think about the rights that the son of the owner has. There is a huge difference in what they are given and what they are allowed to do.

How do you want to be thought of in relationship to God? Do you desire to serve God in all that you do? Do you want to be treated like a servant? Do you long to work for God and do whatever task He assigns to you? Do you want to be treated like a hired hand?

Think about the relationship that God longs to have with us? Did Jesus die on the cross to gain servants? Did He get resurrected to be able to hire more workers? Jesus came into this world and died so that we could become children of God. That means that we, as believers, are sons and daughters of God. We are not to be treated as slaves. We have all the privileges that a son possesses.

How can we not desire to serve God?

Nowhere does it say that we are not to serve God. It simply states that we are sons and daughters of God. A loyal son or daughter will serve the father out of love. A slave serves out of fear. A hired hand serves out of respect. At the end of the day, a slave is sent to his quarters, a hired hand goes home, but a son enters into the house of the father.

Jesus came so that at the end of the age, we may enter into the house of the Father.

Do you truly embrace your rights as a son or a daughter of God? Do you look forward to entering the house of the Father? Are you truly thankful to be called a son or daughter of God?

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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