What do you truly want?

September 30, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
(Psalms 23:1 (NASB))

Have you ever given any serious thought to the meaning of this passage?

Most people read this and take it to mean that anything that we could possibly want in this physical world is ours. Let’s take a step back and take a look at the word “want.” Our society has shifted the meaning of this word to mean something that we desire. We say things like, “I want a new car” or “I want a bigger house,” but is this the type of want that the Lord provides for? With this type of attitude, too many people fail to get what they want and, as a result, they fall away from faith. They misunderstand this passage and think that is means that the Lord our God is nothing more that a genie who is there to grant our every wish, our every desire. When this doesn’t happen, they falsely assume that since this isn’t true, nothing is true.

If this is your vision of God, then it makes sense why our society has become so self-centered and self-entitled.

If we look at this passage from the perspective and understanding of when it was written, we get a much clearer picture. A shepherd has multiple sheep under his care. He provides for the needs of the whole flock. He will lead them to green pastures for food. He will care for the sick. He will search for the lost. The shepherd makes sure that all under his care are protected from attack. The sheep know his voice and they follow him. They know and they trust him to provide for their needs both collectively and individually.

Did you pick up on that?

The shepherd provides for the needs of his flock. He does not provide for the selfish desires. The shepherd knows what is best for each sheep. He makes sure that each need is provided for. With this in mind, is wanting a bigger house a need or a selfish desire? For some people, it truly may be a need, while for others, it is a selfish desire. The Lord sees each of our needs and knows how best to provide for us. When David wrote these words, he understood this concept. He understood that the Lord, as his shepherd, was guiding his steps and that all of his needs would be provided for. David realized that everything was on the Lord’s timeframe and not his.

Sadly, our society has lost this understanding. We seek instant gratification in all aspects of our lives. We falsely believe that we can guide our own lives. We desire anything and everything under the sun, and sin runs rampant because we are so focused on the proverbial me, myself and I. Slow down and spend time in the Lord’s presence and you will begin to grasp the understanding that David had. The focus is not about us and our selfish desires. It is about the Lord’s plans and what is best for us.

I believe that it is time for us to reexamine what we truly want! What do you truly want?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Whom do you have?

August 8, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
(Psalms 73:25 (NIV))

What is more important to you, the people in your life or the things in your life?

Be careful how you answer!

One more question for you. Who is more important to you, the people in your life or the Lord?

I realize that these questions may seem ridiculous, but answered honestly, they will tell you more about yourself than you probably care to admit. If you value things over people, then where is your heart? Where is your love? Some may say that valuing the people in your life is important and should take precedence over the Lord, but let me ask you another question. Who are you going to turn to when everyone in your life has let you down? Who will you turn to when even your spouse, your children or your closest friend disappoints you or are taken from you? When this happens, many people turn to the Lord, but I want to propose that the time to turn to the Lord is long before anything like this happens. When you can truthfully claim that you love the Lord, then your complete perspective on life changes. When you look at things or people as a priority, this is, in most cases, a self-centered outlook on life even if you think that you place yourself low on your priorities list. You are looking at the things or the people to make you happy, to bring meaning to your life, and to make you whole.

Think about these simple facts. Things rust and decay. All people, no matter how good they are, will disappoint you eventually. We are all sinful by nature.

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

Only the Lord is unchanging.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8 (NIV))

With this simple truth, we should anchor our lives on a firm foundation that never changes. We should not look to things. We should not look to people. We should only look to the Lord! We only need to accept the grace and mercy freely given at the cross and claim the gift of grace for ourselves. When we honestly and truthfully make this claim, we have the Lord of all creation in our lives and nothing can surpass His majesty and glory!

Whom do you have?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you desire to be holy?

January 11, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
(1 Peter 1:15-16 (NIV))

When you were growing up, was there someone whom you wanted to be just like?

We all have people that are role models for us at various times in our lives. As we grow and mature, some of these people lose that place while others step in to fill the void. Even so, there is something about each of these individuals that fill a need, that fill a hole in our lives at a certain time. Some of us looked up to one or both of our parents. Some looked to a certain grandparent as the role model. As we matured and our interests took on their own personality, we soon began to look upon individuals who had made a name for themselves in the areas that held our interest. All along the way, we saw something in each of these individuals that we recognized as unique and worthy of emulating.

What characteristics caught your attention?

For some, it is such traits as love and kindness. For others, it is a steadfast focus on the goal. For some, it is the willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed in the area of expertise.

When I read today’s passage, something made me realize that we have been seeking to emulate the wrong role models most of the time. Think back on those whom you desired to be like. Did they focus on Jesus? Did they strive to be holy and to bear fruit that reflects that holiness?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

I know that we have a tendency to reference these traits quite often, but do we truly stop to reflect on the source? If you notice that Spirit is capitalize. This references the Holy Spirit aspect of God. These are traits that we should recognize as holy. These are traits that we should desire to emulate. We have been given instructions on how to be holy!

Do you desire to be holy?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you truly need?

February 10, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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.
(Revelation 3:17-18 (NIV))

Do you need anything?

The world has so many distractions, so many things that we consider to have great material value. We spend all of our lives struggling to accumulate these material possessions and we call them wealth. We look at gold and long for its accumulation. We look at fancy cars and long to own and drive the ones that make people turn their heads as we go by. We want big homes so that we can impress people, and then we have to build a wall and put up a gate to keep out the very people whom we want to impress.

In all of this, we focus on things that are of this world and can easily be taken away from us. We focus on what will make us look better than our neighbor. We focus on what will cause our family, friends and neighbors to devise plans to take what we have.

What good will a big bank account do you when you are standing before God? What good will a huge home do you when you are standing before God?

What is truly important to God? Does God care about your riches or does He care about your eternal salvation? He did not send Jesus to die on the cross so that we can accumulate more earthly wealth. God sent Jesus to show us how to attain true wealth, a wealth so great that it lasts all of eternity.

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?
(Mark 8:36 (NIV))

What is truly important to you?

What do you truly need?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Most!

February 8, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
(Matthew 24:10-13 (NIV))

I have read this passage many times, and like all of God’s Word, it speaks differently each time. God’s Word is living. You can read something many times and each time, something new comes into view.

This time, what came to light is something that I honestly hope is just a translation issue. However, I honestly do not think that it is.

Did you see the word “most” in this passage?

“the love of MOST will grow cold”

This brings to mind that we, as the Body of Christ, have allowed false teachings in. We have started following human desires within the church instead of following God’s Word and Jesus. It also means that as we get closer to God’s ultimate plan for humanity, more and more will fall away. They will cling to human desires and understanding instead of relying on what we have been told in the Bible. We already see divisions and teachings that are based on social issues instead of Biblical truth.

Most!

That implies more than half of the people who profess a faith in Jesus will fall into wickedness!

As important as social issues appear to be, they are not what Jesus came into this world to address. He told us that we would always have the poor. He told us to stop sinning. He told us to love one another. Jesus did not preach social justice. He even told us that He would be the divisive factor even among families. Social justice does not bring salvation. Only a true profession of faith in Jesus as your Lord and Savior will bring salvation.

Don’t misunderstand my thought process.

The church is to be the light of Jesus in the world, but we are not to let the social issues divide us. Satan uses anything and everything that he can to make a believer turn away from the truth, even something that has a good purpose.

I also want you to think about this passage with respect to another point.

There are those who believe that once you are saved you are always saved. The words of Jesus in Matthew contradict that idea.

We must stand firmly upon God’s Word and not be swayed by the lies of the enemy, no matter how good they may sound.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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