Is the Lord your shepherd?

December 2, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever.
(Psalms 23:1-6 (NIV))

Have you ever truly looked at this passage in language that can make the Lord’s love personal? What if we paraphrase this passage to help us understand the personal relationship that the Lord desires with each of us and just what He will do for us when we accept His grace and mercy?

If I place my trust in Him, the Lord will be my personal shepherd and guide.
He will provide for all that I need.
He will give me peace and rest.
He will provide direction for my life.
He will provide complete restoration.
He will remove all fear and doubt.
He will provide comfort.
He will sustain us through the troubles of this world.
He will anoint us and bless us because we have placed our faith and trust in Him.
He will pour out His goodness and His love on us as we strive to follow Him.
He will provide us an eternal, permanent residence with Himself where all of the things previously mentioned will continue for all eternity!

I realize that this may sound like prosperity preaching, but it is far from that. What the Lord has promised us is mercy and grace. Through the gift of His Son Jesus, each of us have the opportunity to receive this wonderful gift and all of the blessings that have been promised. These gifts are not for the greedy, for all can possess them equally. These gifts are not for the cynic, for anyone who is a cynic has a hardened heart. These gifts are simply for anyone who will allow the Lord to soften their heart and show them that what they seek is only available through Him.

Do the things that David wrote of in this passage sound like something that you desire? All that you have to do is ask the Lord to be your shepherd!

Is the Lord your shepherd?

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

October 2, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
(Psalms 23:3 (NKJV))

I want you to reflect on these sixteen words and how much truth and promise is contained within them.

Do you feel battered and broken by the world? Do you feel that the weight of the world is too much to bear? Do you long for restoration?

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
(Matthew 11:28 (NKJV))

Do you long to be surrounded and lifted up out of the wickedness and evil of this world? Do you long for the power to continue your daily struggles against the enemy? Do you long to be embraced in Godly righteousness and have it completely surround you? Do you long to walk in righteousness all the days of your life?

but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.
(Isaiah 40:31 (NIV))

Do you trust in the promises of God? Do you trust in His name?

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
(2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV))

I could go on and on about how sixteen words say so much. They give peace. They give restoration. They give comfort. They give direction. They give assurance. They give righteousness. They give each of us a guarantee that we can rely on the name of the Lord to fulfill what He has promised! We simply need to lead to be still in His presence, for in His presence we can find all of these things and so much more.

Where have you been lead?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Time to rest!

August 23, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
(Matthew 11:28 (NIV))

Do you grow weary in your daily life?

It happens to all of us!

Sometimes we need to step back and rest. Sometimes we need to take some time to stop what we are doing and recharge our proverbial batteries. No matter what you do, it is necessary to step away and spend some time renewing your relationships with family and renewing your relationship with the Lord.

As you can tell from the copyright notice at the bottom of this devotional, I have been doing this for twenty years. I have taken very few breaks and have earnestly and fervently read and studied God’s Word during this time, but it is time for me to rest. I will be taking a short leave of absence and will return in approximately one and a half weeks. Thank you for your readership and support.

Time to rest!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is the Lord to you?

February 2, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever.
(Psalms 23:1-6 (NIV))

Have you ever truly stopped to think about these words?

How many of us can truly say that we live a life that is not filled with stress? How many of us do not fear? How many of us do not have people who are enemies? Do any of us not need calm surroundings and rest?

What about restoration?

What about comfort?

Are you in need of goodness and love?

The words that David recorded speak to the inner desires of every human being to ever live. Even if you think that you are a tough cookie, deep inside of you, you desire the very things that David wrote about.

Can we find these things in worldly possessions? Can we find them in other people? Can we find them in our own strengths?

There is only one source for the peace that David wrote about. It can be found in no other place, no other person, than in the Lord our God. We cannot run from Him. We cannot hide from Him,. We can run to Him. We can hide within His love. He can find rest within His mercy. We can find salvation within His grace.

God is good! He is our rest. He is our restoration. He is our righteousness. He is our protection. He is our comfort. He is our protector. He is our Father!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you want a pure heart and a steadfast spirit!

March 17, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will turn back to you.
(Psalms 51:10-13 (NIV))

A pure heart and a steadfast spirit!

What would each of us do if we truly had that precious gift? Would we long to be in God’s presence and to feel His Holy Spirit with us at all times? I surely pray that each of us would have that burning, that longing desire to be in God’s presence at all times.

Even if it is your desire now, human frailty keeps us from being able to live in His presence with a steadfast spirit all of the time. Physical characteristics such as hunger and exhaustion lead us to drop our guard, which, not so much as lets our desires out, but perhaps it lets our sinful desires back in. Each of us are guilty of moments were we do things that are not Godly in nature and we regret after we have done them.

Luckily, God has forgiven us through the atoning blood of His Son, Jesus. Through this atoning blood, we will not be cast from His presence. Through this atoning blood, we will have our joy restored. We will be granted a willing spirit through the Holy Spirit. We will be sustained.

What do we do with that sustenance? It is too much for us to keep to ourselves. Do we do what Psalms 51:13 tells us?

Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will turn back to you.
(Psalms 51:13 (NIV))

We have asked for a pure heart and a steadfast spirit so that we may keep on track with our walk with God, but, we must not forget that God has called us to invite others to walk with Him. We must teach others the path of righteousness. We must be willing to lead others where we wish to go. In essence, we must become guides ourselves. Not that we know where to go, but, rather, we know who does.

As someone I know says, we must lead, follow, or get out of the way. Are you willing to lead others to Jesus? Are you willing to follow Jesus all the days of your life? Are you willing to get out of the way and let Jesus do what He has come to do?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you thankful for God’s grace?

November 24, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”
(Matthew 18:19-20 (NIV))

At this time of year, with Thanksgiving coming up, let us agree to be thankful for what God has given us. When we come together with family and friends this Thanksgiving, remember to pray in agreement and ask for God to restore us and to bring revival to this nation and this world.

It is God’s world. He is in control. We must affirm His power and authority and come in agreement with His plans. When this is done, God will pour out His blessings on us.

What are you thankful for?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Broken and loved by God!

December 4, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus looked directly at them and asked, “Then what is the meaning of that which is written:

” `The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone’ ?
Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.
(Luke 20:17-18 (NIV))

Which would you rather be – broken or crushed? Let’s face it, neither one of them sound like it will be good for anyone. Both options have drastic overtones that resound with pain.

Carefully consider the options from a two thousand year old perspective. To fall to the ground, or prostrate yourself, meant to throw yourself at the mercy of the one who was in authority. The authority was thought of as strong and as powerful as stone. Out of humility, people would prostrate themselves on the stone of the authority seeking mercy. In the situation where a faith in Jesus is professed, Jesus is that stone. He is that authority. It is at His feet that we prostrate ourselves seeking mercy. Fortunately, all who seek it will find it. Through our brokenness and humility, we will be strengthened. We will be made whole.

Consider those who did not throw themselves at the mercy of the authority. That stone of authority came down upon them and crushed any chances of mercy that may have existed. The same is true of Jesus. If we are too proud to turn to Him in brownness and humility, eventually, His authority will come down upon us and crush us. We will be broken and cast away without any hope. I know that this sounds harsh, but we must remember that God loves us and does not desire for any of us to face this. He calls us to Him, but our pride causes the separation.

In my opinion, it is much better to be broken than to be crushed. Brokenness implies that we can be restored. We can be made as good as new. To be crushed implies the return to the dust from which we came.

All of us must come to terms with the power and the strength of the stone that is Jesus. We can humbly approach Him in our brokenness and seek mercy, or we can deny Him in our pride and be crushed by His authority. One thing that we must never forget is that with the authority that belongs to Jesus comes the love and mercy of God. It is this love and mercy that kept Jesus on the cross. He faced the brokenness so that we can turn to Him in our brokenness and find love and mercy.

As for me, I would prefer to be broken and loved by God, instead of being proud and crushed by the weight of my sin.

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