Pause

The love of God has always caught people off-guard.
When we expect micromanagement,
God loves us expansively.
When we expect to be ranked and rated,
God loves us impartially.
When we expect to be found guilty,
God loves us unconditionally.
When we expect to be excluded,
God loves us with arms wide open,
ready to draw us in.

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Listen

For the message about 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, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart."

1 Corinthians 1:18-19

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Think

It is never easy to be out of the ordinary. When we’re teenagers and trying to fit in at school, or adults trying to find our place on the corporate ladder, or parents trying to raise kids who can keep up, the world always has expectations we think we need to live up to. No matter how old we are, there is always “conventional wisdom” we think we’re supposed to buy into, standards for believing and behaving that we’re told will keep us on the right track with everyone else.

The message of the cross goes against the world’s grain. In a world that values power, prestige, and prosperity, the cross is a “foolish” story of surrender, servanthood, and sacrifice. The conventional wisdom of school, or the workplace, or even the church may try to tell us that money is what matters, or that we are our grades/degrees/jobs, or that the majority opinion is the right one.

When the world speaks, let’s listen instead to what the cross has to say — that we are set apart. We are servants. We are beloved.

Nikki Finkelstein-Blair

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Pray

God, speak to me through the cross. Let me hear the wisdom of your story and be reminded that I am called to an un-ordinary life. Amen.

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Go

When we let God surprise us
with expansive,
impartial,
unconditional,
all-embracing love,
we cannot help but carry that love
to our world.
Let our message catch people off-guard:
that God loves them beyond belief,
and so do we.

Nikki Finkelstein-Blair

Nikki Finkelstein-Blair is an ordained Baptist minister, wife to a US Navy chaplain, and stay-home mom to two little boys. In every new duty station, she participates in church life from VBS to pulpit supply, and is regularly involved in women’s ministries and writing. She blogs seasonal devotions at The Ordinary Times.

Nothings Ever Really Gone

Clay Mottley

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