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 do what God hates?

March 15, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; do not plot evil against your neighbor, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,” declares the LORD.
(Zechariah 8:16-17 (NIV))

Based on this, what does God think of our society and our world today?

I know that the world is in great need of Jesus, but what about His body? What about the church?

Do we speak the truth to each other or do we tell each other lies because it is easier to lie and then move on? Truth requires work. It requires commitment. Do we, as the people who profess a faith in Jesus, commit ourselves to the task of being truthful in all circumstances?

Is there such a thing as true and sound judgment anymore? Our laws and our courts are in a pitiful state when they are more concerned with the perpetrator instead of the victim, and the letter of the law instead of the intent. Do we, as the Body of Christ, live up to God’s expectations or do we fall to humanity’s expectations? Do we accept the fact that we are to be held to a higher standard than the world’s standards?

Do we plot against our neighbors like the world plots, or do we love our neighbor as ourselves? Sometimes this is a difficult thing to do, but regardless, we must seek to do what God has called us to do. Can you imagine if the Body of Christ did as we are instructed?

Do we swear falsely? Perhaps I should ask if we lie and curse. Do we take the Lord’s name in vain? Do we say things with an angry heart?

I want you to think about these questions and be honest with yourself. If you are like me, you are guilty of most of these on a regular basis. What makes us different from the world?

Grace!

It has been freely given. We have freely accepted it. We strive to live according to it. We will falter. We will fail, but it is by the grace that is ours through the shed blood of Jesus that we are different. We have a hope that is eternal. We have a faith that our hope is not wrongly placed. We have a light that has been shared with us, and now it is our turn to share it with others. We will not be trusted by others if we don’t speak the truth. We won’t be trusted if we show faulty judgment. We will not be trusted if we plot evil, and we will not be trusted if we swear falsely. Not only does God hate this, but it also makes our witness unbelievable.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The world needs Jesus!

September 11, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”
(Revelation 5:1-5 (NIV))

With all that is going on in the world, do you weep?

With recent events and with things that are pending, do you look at the lost of the world and weep?

My heart is heavy. I stand firm in the promises that the Body of Christ has been given, yet I weep. I am in anguish for the lost. I am in anguish for the hard hearted. I weep for those who don’t realize that they are in need of a savior.

The passage above tells us that we are not to weep, for Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, has triumphed. For this I am eternally grateful. I do not weep because we have no hope. We have the blessed assurance that Jesus has won. I weep for the lost. I can’t help but wonder when Jesus will return and how many of the lost will He weep for.

Things are getting more interesting every day. Chinese and Russian warships in U.S. territorial waters off of Alaska and Georgia. Islamic refugees flooding Europe. The Iran situation. ISIS is expanding. The anniversary of September 11 and everyone on high alert. The blood moons. The worldwide financial crises.

The world needs Jesus!

Unfortunately, far too many will reject Him and will suffer the consequences.

I don’t know what the future will bring, but I do know who holds the future. I place my faith, hope and trust completely in Jesus, the only begotten Son of God.

And, for those who choose to not do the same, I weep.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you a person after God’s own heart?

May 14, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul;
in you I trust, O my God.
Do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
No one whose hope is in you
will ever be put to shame,
but they will be put to shame
who are treacherous without excuse.
(Psalms 25:1-3 (NIV))

David was very prolific. We have numerous writings by David and through his writings we can learn something about the man whom possessed a heart after God’s own. He was not ashamed to praise God. He was not ashamed to cry out to God. He was not ashamed to ask God for His protection and His mercy. He was not ashamed to admit when he had sinned.

I wonder what happened to the leaders like this?

The world is in great need of men and women who seek God in all that they do. The world needs people like this in positions of leadership and authority. Sadly, these positions seem to be relegated to those who despise God and all that is righteous. I realize that this last statement was a broad and sweeping generalization, and that there are people like this, but why are their voices silenced? Why does the world ignore them? Why do we not hear of world leaders falling on their knees and asking for God’s guidance, wisdom, strength and mercy?

Sadly, this type of behavior is now looked upon as a sign of weakness and a lack of intelligence. Where are the David’s? Where are the Solomon’s? Where are the people who call upon the name of the Lord?

We can start by having righteous men and women call upon the Lord wherever they are. We can unite in our desires to see God glorified.

I have a question that I want you to think about.

If someone had the ability to look back at your life through your writings, through the words of others and through the impact that you have had on others, would they come to the conclusion that you have a heart after God’s own?

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