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Devotions for Life

The Wondrous Cross

“For the Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (I Corinthians 1:22-24).
One of the most horrible execution instruments ever devised has become viewed as wondrous. What made the cross wondrous? Why do people wear crosses as jewelry? Why do people hang crosses on their walls? This is the only instrument of execution to be so revered. What is so wondrous about the cross?
God pictured death by crucifixion as a curse (Deuteronomy 21:22-23). When the Israelites sinned against God in the wilderness, God sent fiery serpents to kill them. God gave the people a means of salvation by telling Moses to cast a bronze serpent and raising it on a pole. Those who were bitten could look upon the serpent and live (Numbers 21:6-9). Jesus used this to picture His being lifted up so that we can be saved (John 3:14-15).
Christ Jesus became a curse for us by being crucified (Galatians 3:13). All of mankind sins; thus we are enemies of God. Jesus saves us by His death from the wrath of God (Romans 5:6-11). We have peace with God because Jesus died a really horrible death on a cross in our place.
What makes the cross wondrous? The fact that the Son of God died on the cross becoming a curse for us. Jesus freely took God’s wrath upon Himself so that we are spared that wrath. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Love makes the cross truly wondrous. Paul understood that love and surrendered his life to Christ (Galatians 2:20). As the last line of the song below says, “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.”
Song: “When I Survey The Wondrous Cross”
Loving Father, I am in awe of the extent of Your love. I surrender my all. In Jesus my Redeemer’s name. Amen.
Ed Wittlif, Denver, Colorado
es_witt_504@yahoo.com


An Upright Voice

“They that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing. No good thing will be withheld from them that walk uprightly” (Ps. 84:11).
Jesus did not set the kind of rules by which the world’s judges condemn those who are Christians. The supposition is often that any follower of Jesus who misses a worship service, or is seen with a sinner, or eats or drinks what they consider sinful or taboo must not be a spiritual or upright person.
However, you can’t fool God who judges the heart of man. The desire to be like Jesus in what is said in that body of people who give of their time and fortune for the cause of Christ can appear hypocritical outside the body of worshippers.
Rumors and innuendoes can do an injustice. At one time, I taught second grade and had a lesson for seven year old son what is said about others being hurtful, truthful or not. I’d have the class form a circle around the classroom and then whisper a short statement to the child at the beginning of the line to be passed on as quickly as possible.
Passed through thirty or more students’ ears and lips . . . Well, you know what happened . . . The message came out differently than first proposed. Something like, “I guess we’ll have liver for lunch,” might reach the end of the circles with, “My hunch is she’s a little fibber.”
In hearing from our brothers and sisters in Christ, we, too, may become confused or mistaken in what we hear or be too willing to pass it on to others. Such talk can be critical, particularly in our judging of speech, or song leaders, or preaching, or in the fellowship shared in communion.
Jesus told of His live for all mankind, praising those who did the things considered vital to our relationships. Being forgiven, we do our best to live His example, He said, “I am come that they may have life. . . More abundantly” (Jn. 10:10).
Hymn: “Just A Closer Walk With Thee”
Gracious Father, please guide us in our appraisal of other’s doing, judging not their effort in relation to our own. Silence our lips, tune our ears to self in judgment. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Gordon V. Herrmann, Santa Maria, CA
gor.ver.her@comcast.net



Re-purposing

Today’s Scripture: Romans 6:11 – “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
What do you do with those old clothes that you no longer want? Most of us discard them via giving them to someone, taking them to a resale facility, or discarding them in a trash bin. Fortunately not much goes into a trash bin, approximately 2.5 billion pounds of clothing ends up in a resale shop. (Most resale shops now sell “vintage wear” rather than second hand clothing).

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