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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Are you easily deceived?

October 25, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.
(Romans 16:17-18 (NIV))

It is easy to become bogged down in the world and what society is saying. Television advertising, television shows, sales people – they all try to flatter and convince you of something. Some is harmless. Some is not so harmless. Even the harmless can lead to harm if it is the beginning of a series. This even happens in the church.

Unfortunately, today, the church is influenced more by society than it influences society. Be careful to keep your eyes focused on Jesus and pray for God’s Will to be done.

Deception is an art form. It is an evil art perfected by the enemy. Satan will use anything that he can to deceive believers – even other believers. Stay grounded in the Truth of the Word so that deception can be avoided.

Are you firmly grounded so that deception will not make you stray?

Are you easily deceived?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are the results of sin and its approval?

February 9, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”
(Romans 1:32 (NIV))

Does this sound like the current world view?

It takes no stretch of the imagination to see people rebelling against God’s righteous decrees. What they are doing is being practiced, tolerated and flaunted by society. Certain groups within our society seem to take great pleasure in thumbing their proverbial noses at those who seek after righteousness as well as God, Himself.

There is even division in the church!

Some people have embraced sin under the false concept that God loves everyone, and that since He created them, He must be okay with the sin. They erroneously think that God loving the individual and God loving the sin is the same thing. Nothing could be further from the truth!

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

In other words, no one is worthy to be in God’s presence because we are all sinners.

Where do we belong as a result of our sinful nature? How do we escape what is our rightful condemnation?

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

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
(Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV))

Jesus is the narrow gate!

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

With it clearly spelled out for all to see, what I don’t understand is why anyone would choose the sinful nature? Why does anyone approve of the sinful nature?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we a church based on God’s Word or on people’s opinions?

June 25, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, `I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
(Revelation 3:14-22 (NIV))

I read something last night that I had forgotten about the church in Laodicea. Actually, it was more about the long term meaning of the passage and the translated meaning of the name of the city – Laodicea.

Before we get into the name’s meaning, I want to make sure that everybody understands that the church at Laodicea was one of the worst churches of the seven that are mentioned in Revelation. Many theologians actually believe that the long term prophesy applies to the general church of today. With what I was reminded of in my readings last night, I sadly agree with them.

Laodicea literally translates to something like “People’s opinions,” or “People judged.” Some have even stated that it can be translated as “The will of the people.”

Think about this meaning and the fact that this type of church is considered to be one of the worst.

What do you see when you read about the different denominations. They started because of division and people wanted to change a few things that they didn’t agree with. What about the current issues facing society? Many people who profess a faith in Jesus are ignoring the Bible and are teaching what they want to teach. If I were a betting man, I would venture to say that most people who sit in the pews of the churches around the world don’t actually know what the Bible has to say. They rely on the person in the pulpit and don’t read it for themselves.

I have read the warnings that have been given to the church in Laodicea, the church based on people’s opinions. Frankly, I am scared to death to be outside of God’s Word for I know what awaits those who preach the will of the people instead of God’s Will.

Are we the prophesied church of Laodicea? Can we escape what is to come? Can we repent and turn into a church based on God’s Word?

Thankfully, we know that there will be those who overcome. It will take more than sitting in a pew for an hour and accepting whatever the preacher says as truth. We must read God’s Word. We must live, eat, sleep and breathe God’s Word. We must hold each other accountable and not allow people’s opinions to dictate the truth that we know to be God’s truth.

It is important to remember that God’s Word never changes! People and their opinions do.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God calls us to pray. How often do you answer that call?

November 2, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
(1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NIV))

No matter what the outcome of the elections, this should be the prayer of every believer. We should pray for just what as we are told. We should pray for all of those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

Unfortunately, our society and our world is far from peaceful and quiet. Godliness and holiness seem to be fading from public view. These have been replaced with self-centeredness, greed and lust for power. Gone are the days when people could disagree about things and still be friends. We are becoming a divided society and a divided world.

What caused this division?

Did we wake up one morning and it had changed overnight? We let it happen gradually. We didn’t even see it coming. We can fix the problem. We can pray for those in authority. We can pray for peace. We can pray that God will be allowed back into our public lives.

Regardless of the outcome of the elections, we can pray!

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV))

God calls us to pray. He calls us to pray for our leaders. He calls us to pray for our country. He calls us to pray for godliness and holiness. Voting is important, but we are called to do more than vote. We, as the Body of Christ, are called to pray for those in authority.

How often do you answer that call?

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

July 20, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
(Mark 3:24-25 (NIV))

Truer words cannot be spoken, especially when you consider our country and our world in today’s circumstances.

In my lifetime, I have seen things change so rapidly, yet, not all change has been good.

One thing that appears to have changed for the worse is the deep divisions that are now so prevalent between people.

It used to be said that people could disagree and then put their disagreements aside and be friends. Now, if you disagree with someone, it is as if you are personally attacking them. There is too much selfish ego involved and no thought given to the simple fact that we are all human, and no one is perfect. Not a single one of us is right on everything. In fact, I think that I can safely say that most of us are wrong more times than we are right.

Are we so willing to alienate and create division when perfection is out of our grasp?

I understand the desire to create policies that take care of those who can’t take care of themselves. I understand the need to defend ourselves. I understand the need to be responsible to God, to others, and to ourselves.

I understand the need to be good stewards.

We must look upon everything that we have as a blessing from God and not as if it were ours to take and do with as we please.

Have you ever thought how history will look upon us?

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: ‘From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to selfishness; From selfishness to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.'”
– quote attributed to Alexander Fraser Tytler (1747?1813)

I am not trying to be political, but rather bringing something to light. We, as a society have become far too divided, with far too little common ground in the middle. For a country that was founded on freedom of religion, it has now come to mean freedom from religion in the eyes of far too many people. Our ancestors fought to break the bondage that tthey were under. Jesus died to free us from the bondage of sin and death. Why are we headed back into bondage?

This must change.

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV))

It is time to return to prayer and earnestly seek God’s face. We must turn from our wicked ways and pray that God will heal our land. We must pray that the words of Alexander Fraser Tytler, through God’s grace, will not come true.

Although, there is something else to consider.

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))

Is the world becoming divided, even polarized, in preparation for this to be fulfilled?

Whether this division is man made or all a part of God’s plan, we, as His church must pray, for without prayer, we are lost.

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