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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Do you understand the mystery?

April 19, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.
(1 Timothy 3:16 (NIV))

For many people, this is easily understood and makes perfect sense. To others, it is complete foolishness.

If you stop to think about the word foolishness, it means a ridiculous act or idea. Just what is so ridiculous about the idea of God as a loving creator? If God can create with words, why can’t His words reflect love and beauty? Why can’t they shine grace and mercy into a world that has fallen into sin and evil desires? Why is there such a mystery around the concept that God loves us enough to do something that will bring redemption to us?

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))

I once heard a story that puts a unique perspective to this!

A man who questioned the whole story of Jesus found himself out on his property during a bad snow storm. There was a huge flock of birds who were unable to fly away due to the weather. They were also freezing to death in the snow. He had a large barn so he went out to open the doors to let the birds go in, but no matter what he did, they would not go. He tried everything and still no luck in getting the birds to move. In desperation he thought, “If only I were a bird. I could lead them where they can find safety.” At that moment, he realized that this is what God had done. He became a man in order to show us the way to life! In an instant, he understood the mystery of God’s plan of salvation. It was not foolishness!

Do you understand the mystery?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the cross the power of God or is it foolishness?

April 18, 2017

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))

Do you consider yourself to be a fool?

I realize that is a loaded question, for I have never met anyone who considered themselves to be a fool. I don’t like to judge, but I have met some people who have left me wondering about their status. To be honest with you, I would probably bet that there are some people who question my status.

Still, I find it is much better to have people think that you are foolish than to have God think that you are foolish. God’s definition of being a fool is completely different from man’s.

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.
(Psalm 14:1 (NIV))

It only stands to reason that anything that comes from God would be considered foolish by man. The ultimate foolishness in the eyes of man is the message of redemption through Jesus and the cross. A fool says that there is no God. A fool thinks that they are good and do not need anyone to save them. Since they think that there is no God and that they are good, the idea that God sent His Son to die for them makes no sense to them at all. To these people, that is the ultimate foolishness and they think that anyone who believes otherwise is a fool.

To quote a very old saying, that is the pot calling the kettle black.

The fool thinks that their foolishness is wisdom and that the true wisdom of God is foolishness.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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There is definitely power in the Word!

January 27, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
(John 1:1 (NIV))

Have you ever heard that there is power in the spoken word?

Perhaps you’ve heard the saying that the pen is mightier than the sword?

If you stop to think about these two statements and what they convey, then it makes perfect sense if you fix the foundation for both of these firmly in the Word of God. Can you think of any other word that has the power that is contained within the Word of God? It can bring the earth, moon and the stars into existence. It can bring beauty out of a formless void. It can bring life with the mere mention of life existing!

I realize that we are far from being able to do what God can do with words, but we seem to be able to do a great deal of wrong with our words. Think about that for a moment. Humanity turned over dominion of the earth to the greatest liar of all time. We turned it over to the father of all lies.

We, as a fallen creation, are torn. We are divided. We are made in the image of God, and inherently, that means that we have the power to speak good into the world. We have fallen as a result of believing the lies of the enemy, and as a result, we have learned to lie. Our words can be used to lift up or they can be used to tear down. Even on our best days, we are not capable of firmly following good no matter how hard we may try. It is just not possible for a sinful creation to be perfect.

It is said that the tongue is the strongest muscle in the body. It’s wag can be extremely hurtful if we don’t control it. If we watch what we say and exercise it sparingly, the tongue can have the opposite effect. We must remember that we have the power to speak into existence either love or hate, wisdom or foolishness, peace or hostility. If we base all of our words on the Word of God, then the outcome is much better for everyone.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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I pray that no one rages against wise judgment!

January 13, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire;
He rages against all wise judgment.
(Proverbs 18:1 (NKJV))

Wisdom is often in the eyes of the person seeking it. If a person denies the wisdom of God, he will turn from God and seek after what he desires. Eventually, a person who seeks his own desires will seek out others who have the same desires. This is out of a need to validate these desires, for inwardly, they know that these desires are wrong. They seek out others with these desires to try and prove to themselves that they are not wrong.

Proverbs speaks of isolating yourself from others. What is implied is that the other people are Godly people who wish to do the will of God and seek after God in all things. This is the wisdom that is raged against. This is the wisdom that is looked upon as foolishness, and the foolishness that they desire is looked upon as wisdom.

The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
there is no one who does good.
(Psalms 14:1(NIV))

If, in isolation, we seek after our own desires, then it is wise to seek after fellowship with people who are believers and wish to obey God’s Word. This is so that we do not turn towards our own desires and turn from the true wisdom that only comes from God.

It is human nature to seek after what we long for in our hearts. We must fill our hearts with the things that God would have us long for.

What is in your heart that you desire?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus is the only reason for the season!

December 8, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.
(Acts 4:12 (NIV))

I just love the way that God works!

When you think of someone coming to your rescue, you don’t think of a newborn baby. When you think of someone with authority to pardon, you don’t think of a newborn baby.

Jesus was not what the world was expecting. He is still not what the world is expecting. In fact, many people think that believing in Jesus is foolishness.

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))

During this time of year, we see many things in society. We see many people who are so afraid of what they consider foolishness that they can’t even speak two simple words. They refuse to say Merry Christmas. They prefer to say happy holidays. What is it within themselves that makes them tremble at these words? Don’t they realize that Jesus is the only reason for the season?

I am eternally grateful for the gift that we celebrate at Christmas, for salvation is found only through the one whom we celebrate. Even though I am grateful, I am saddened by those who shun the gift of grace and mercy. I am saddened by those who can’t and won’t say Merry Christmas.

Jesus is the only reason for the season!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t lower your standards!

June 20, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.
(1 Corinthians 3:18-19A (NIV))

What standards do you live by?

There is the standard that God has set for us that He longs for us to follow and then there is the standard that the world sets.

The world says that truth is relative and that if it feels good, do it. The world says that no one else matters. Life is about getting all that you can get no matter what you have to do to get it. If we follow that philosophy, then we play right into the lies of the enemy. We become foolish in the eyes of God, for we have literally traded gold for ashes.

Have you ever felt like a fool?

What made you feel that way? Who do you think felt that way about you?

Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and felt that you are foolish in the eyes of man? Have you ever looked in the Bible and felt that you are foolish in the eyes of God? Have you ever looked at yourself in relation to the world and felt that the world sees you as foolish because of your faith in God?

There is a question that asks if you were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? The way that the world is going, people who profess a faith in Jesus are coming under persecution. The world looks upon us as foolish. Would you be convicted of being a fool for Jesus?

God has set a higher standard than the one the world has set. Some call it foolishness, but I call it wisdom.

Don’t lower your standards!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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