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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Do you desire to have faith like David?

November 14, 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))

David was probably one of the most prolific writers of all times. By today’s standards, he would have been considered a “self-made man,” yet, he focused on God in all that he wrote about. He eagerly embraced all that God had graciously bestowed upon him and gave thanks at all times for what God had done for him. It is true that David strayed, but when he was confronted with this fact, he realized his mistakes and repented. Psalm 23 speaks of the grace and mercy that God has bestowed upon David, and will bestow on anyone if they only seek after God. God will not allow those who earnestly seek Him to follow the paths of unrighteousness or to be troubled by enemies. We will still have troubles, but God is our assurance of victory through the troubles.

David wrote that God would prepare a table before him in the presence of his enemies. He did not say that God would destroy the enemies. It is God’s Will that none should perish. Perhaps the reason that you still have enemies is this fact. God is using you to be an example of His grace and mercy to those who hate you.

How do you react to your enemies? Do they see Jesus in you and in your actions?

Do you desire to have faith like David?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The treasure is every moment spent with Jesus!

May 3, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

This has been several years ago, but I still remind myself of the lesson learned. I had spent several months looking forward to my 30th high school reunion. Let’s face it, during high school you can’t imagine life without your friends. I was looking forward to seeing the people that I had spent so much time with and seeing what they had done with their lives. It had become a priority for me. I was nervous and excited at the same time. It was a day that I had hoped would rekindle old friendships.

Unfortunately, the day came and went and I did not make it. My priorities shifted when my family and I got in the car to drive to Augusta for the reunion. Within five minutes after getting in the car, one of my children had a major meltdown and wanted to go home. I was furious. I kept hoping and praying that he would get over it, so we kept going. It just got worse. I finally and reluctantly turned the car around to go home. The twenty minute ride home was not a happy one for any of us. Fortunately, my son finally regained composure and apologized profusely. I didn’t want to hear it. I thought I had a right to be mad and I was going to exercise my right.

Once we did get home, the more I thought about the events, the worse I felt. I had made a commitment to my son to always help him and try to understand the issues that he faces. I had gotten so wrapped up in what I wanted to do that I had completely overlooked where my treasure truly is. I have been blessed with grace and mercy. I have been blessed with a wonderful family. I have been blessed with a son who, if it were humanly possible, I would take upon myself the very things that I had gotten mad about. I was not willing to extend the grace and mercy that I had been freely given.

I was looking towards my past. I was ignoring my present and my future. All I could see was a missed reunion with people from my past. They are not my life. They are a part of what made me who I am, but they are not still a part of me. My son, who will always be my son, will forever be a part of me. I was foolish to get angry. Even God tells us not to look to our past. He tells us not to look for Him in the past or in the future. He tells us to seek Him now. My treasure is my present moment. I may not have another one. I don’t need to dwell on the past or ignore the present because I spend so much time planning for my future.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10:10 (NIV))

I had allowed the thief to steal the day from me by planting a seed of anger. I had allowed that seed to be planted because I was dwelling on the past.

How can we have a full life if we dwell on the past or spend too much time looking to the future. Life is now! The treasure is every moment spent with Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your one thing that you seek?

September 11, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.
(Psalms 27:4 (NIV))

Collectively, we ask for so many things of the Lord. Most of the requests seems to be physically self-serving. We ask for healing. We ask for a better job. We ask for love. We ask for money. We ask and we ask, but we fail to ask to be considered righteous in the eyes of the Lord!

Do you realize that what David is asking for in this verse is to be considered worthy, to be considered righteous in the eyes of God?

On first reading this passage, that may not sound like that big of a request in the grand scheme of things, but you have to stop and consider that God cannot associate with sin. In order to dwell in the house of the Lord and to gaze upon His beauty, you must be sin free. David was asking God to fulfill His promise of redemption. He was asking God to fulfill His promise to send the Messiah. Later generations knew that the Messiah would come from the house and lineage of David, but it is not understood at what point this promise was made. Did David know of this promise when he wrote this passage? I have read arguments both for and against, but one thing that I do know is that David asked for God’s mercy. He made it a point to seek God.

After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: “I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.”
(Acts 13:22 (NIV))

God found David to be a man after His own heart. God wants to redeem His creation to a full relationship with Him. It makes sense that David would seek the same thing.

What is your one thing that you seek?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Does your lack of self-control leave you defenseless?

January 11, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Like a city whose walls are broken down
is a man who lacks self-control.
(Proverbs 25:28 (NIV))

In ancient cities, the purpose of the walls was protection. They were built high and thick in order to keep out those who would attack and leave the city in ruins. If the walls were broken down, the city was vulnerable. Those who lived within the city took their chances that they would not be attacked and lose their lives. The walls of a city were the defenses that kept those inside safe from the evil that could attack from the outside. The city was only as safe as the weakest part of its walls.

How good is your self control? Are your vulnerable to the attacks of those things that find the weak places within your self control? Perhaps your weakness is greed. Perhaps it is pride. Perhaps it is lust. Carefully consider how your area of weakness could be the very place by which sin enters into your life and takes control.

For the wages of sin is death
(Romans 6:23a (NIV))

Just as it is dangerous for the inhabitants of a city whose walls are broken down, it is also just as dangerous for a person to lack self control. Perhaps it is even more dangerous, for the death that comes from sin is an eternal separation from God. Self control is difficult, but we have an ally in our battle. The rest of Romans 6:23 tells the complete story.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

If we place our faith in Jesus and rely on Him to be our Savior and our Lord, the Holy Spirit will dwell within us and guide us. The Holy Spirit will bear fruit within our lives.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
(Galatians 5:22-24 (NIV))

Self control will be part of our defenses against sin.

How is your wall of self control?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can you imagine the day when this will come to pass?

December 2, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them.
(Isaiah 11:6 (NAS))

Do you believe that this can happen?

Do you believe that God can change the very nature of His creation? Do you believe that God can change a heart?

Think about that last question.

Let me ask it again.

Do you believe that God can change a heart?

If you are like me, you are probably a first hand account of this very thing. Looking back, I was never a bad person in my own eyes, but, according to God’s standards I was. I had no desire to change. God had other plans. I just needed to get on board with His agenda instead of my own.

Have you ever seen two people who, from a worldly perspective, made no sense that they were friends? God can bring enemies together. It just takes our frail humanity to get out of the way.

I often read this passage and think that this must be something like what the Garden of Eden was like. Can you imagine the day when this will come to pass? It will be a glorious day!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Our home is with Jesus!

June 30, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
(Psalms 91:1 (NIV))

I have seen the last few months almost take away my joy.

I have often looked at the state of the world and wondered why things are happening as they are. I know that God is unfolding time according to His purpose, but I can’t help but look at the things that are unfolding and feel saddened by these events.

I don’t feel sad for myself or for anybody who calls upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Rather, I feel sad for all of the people who have bought the lie of the enemy. I am saddened by the fact that what they have signed on for will lead them to eternal separation from God. Let’s be honest. It will lead them to hell!

God’s laws do not change because society says that they do!

I have had to remind myself that this is a fallen world and that I should not expect it to follow God’s laws or God’s Word. If it did follow them, I honestly believe that the fall from grace would never have occurred. Even in the best of times, the Body of Christ has lived in a fallen world. It is how we respond to that fallen world that makes a difference.

Do we simply accept the state of the world and adapt or do we continue to live according to the teachings of Jesus and the guidance of the Holy Spirit?

We are called to be salt .

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
(Matthew 5:13 (NIV))

Is the Body of Christ being trampled? Is the Body of Christ still able to be salt to the world?

Do we dwell in the shelter of the Most High? Do we know His will well enough to realize that this world is not our home and that it will not behave like we expect it to?

In the days that are ahead, I honestly believe that the Body of Christ will be in for more things that will try to take our joy. No matter what the world may send our way, we must never lose site that this world is not our home. Our home is with Jesus!

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