Is the Lord your shepherd?

April 24, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
(Psalms 23:1 (NIV))

When you translate anything from one language to another, there are subtle variations in words that the translator can select that can give you a different perspective or a fresh insight. Even when you have a group of people who all speak the same language and you ask them to describe something, you get as many variations in that description as there are people. This does not make any single person right and the rest wrong. It just means that everyone sees and understands things differently. A good example of this is the old tale about three blind men being introduced to an elephant. One person feels the power of a leg. One person feels the strength and agility of the trunk, and the other person comes away from the elephant only having had an interaction with the tail. None of them are wrong. They just came away with a limited comprehension of the truth. If you need another example of how different people can see the same thing and call it something different, all you have to do is consider the different names that people across the country give carbonated drinks.

The same is true when you look at the different translations of the Bible and how they handle different passages of scripture. One of my favorite passages is a good example of that.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
(Psalms 46:10a (NIV))

In comparison, the New American Standard Bible translates the same passage in this manner.

Cease striving and know that I am God;
(Psalms 46:10a (NASB))

I love the concept of being still in the presence of God, but sometimes I have to be reminded that I need to cease striving and allow God to handle it. Neither concept is wrong. Today’s passage is another example of this. Here is another translation.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
(Psalms 23:1 (NIV))

Do the words “I shall not want” make you think of something different than the words “I lack nothing?” On the surface, they sound like they are conveying the same thing, but it is the subtleties that make you stop and reflect. It is the subtleties that make you stop and realize that the Lord has so much to say to us that our limited language cannot even begin to convey all that the Lord has for us. I love these sublties. Going back to Psalms 46:10, it is these sublties that make me stop and ask the Lord exactly what He is wanting to say to me. I have found that being inquisitive often leads to a deeper understanding. It is the subtleties that allow you to spend time getting to know the Lord and help you to understand His goodness!

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
(Psalms 34:8 (NIV))

Is the Lord your shepherd?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you really lack for anything in order to spread the Gospel?

January 25, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
(2 Corinthians 9:8 (NIV))

Do you have all that you need?

Before you answer that question, step back and take a look at your life from both a worldly point of view and then a spiritual point of view. Hopefully, you recognize that the things that you think you need in the physical world are not needs. They are wants.

Has God blessed you with a family? Has He blessed you with a place to sleep and a place to call home? From a worldly perspective, all of us think that we need a bigger house and better cars. We all think that we need more money, but in all reality, what would we do with these things? The more worldly things we have, the more that we think we need to have. We all think that we would be more generous if we had an abundance. Ironically, studies have shown that this is not the case. It is true that there are always exceptions, but for the most part, people who have more are less willing to give freely. They get tied down and bound to their worldly possessions.

Take a look at your life from God’s perspective!

What do you see?

I bet that your understanding of needs are much different if you will only allow yourself to see things from God’s perspective.

Do you have a heart filled with love and compassion for your fellow man? Do you need to fellowship with others?

Do you have a love for God and His Word? Do you need God and His Word? Do you need to share His Word? Do you need to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

All that you truly need is God. If He is your priority, all of your other needs will be met. Don’t get me wrong and take this to mean that I believe that God will take care of us all in the same manner. God will use us where we are to reach out to those around us. He is not going to place all members of the Body of Christ in a single, upscale subdivision and ignore the rest of the world! He needs to have people in all walks of life to be able to minister.

There is an old saying to grow where God plants you. You have been equipped with all that you need to abound in good works where you are.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Deny yourself?

March 16, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
(Mark 8:34 (NIV))

Have you ever given any thought to what it means to deny yourself?

One of the definitions of denial is to withhold. When you deny yourself, you refrain from satisfying your own desires and needs. In other words, you withhold things from yourself.

I know that this concept goes against human nature, so why are we told to deny ourselves?

Think about this statement from Jesus. He foretold of His actions. He would deny Himself. He would allow things to happen. He would not defend Himself to His accusers. He was about to bear a heavy burden. He was about to carry His own cross and go down a path that is difficult to travel. He was about to go where it is difficult to follow.

What would have happened if Jesus had not denied Himself? What would have happened if He had not carried His cross and traveled the road that He had to travel?

Fortunately, we do not look at this passage with that answer in our set of Biblical knowledge, for Jesus did deny Himself to the point of the cross. He saw that others would benefit from His actions.

For those of you who are Trekkies, you may recall the saying that Spock often used, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one.”

God looked upon humanity and saw a great need. It was a need so great the it was universal. There was not a single person who had ever lived or would ever live who did not have that need.

Jesus denied Himself for us. He did not satisfy his own desires. He satisfied the desires of God the Father.

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

We must refrain from satisfying our own needs and desires when all around us is a sea of humanity that has a need to know of Jesus. The cross that we bear may not be the same as Jesus, but we will face trials for our self denial. The world is fond of telling people that it is ok to do whatever you want, to place yourself first. There are even those who take self denial to the extreme and commit painful acts upon themselves to show that they are denying themselves. Godly self denial is not about these acts.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: ” `Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: `Love your neighbor as yourself.’
(Matthew 22:36-39 (NIV))

Denying yourself without loving God and loving your neighbor is worthless. You must complete the three fold instructions – deny yourself, take up your cross, follow Jesus. It is not possible to do only one.

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