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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Are you lovable?

January 10, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The Lord detests the way of the wicked, but he loves those who pursue righteousness.
(Proverbs 15:9 (NIV))

Do you think that you are a lovable person?

If you are like most people, you have a few people whom you are close to. Family members hopefully think that you are lovable. Friends may even think that to a point. What are the criteria on which they base this impression? Do they think that you are lovable because you and they have grown familiar with each other and your interests coincide with theirs? Perhaps they find you lovable because you are willing to sacrifice of yourself for their betterment. What is it that you find lovable in others? Is it the same type of things that others see in you? Do you know what the criteria are that people use to determine in their minds if you are lovable?

What about the Lord?

We know that the Lord loves us very much even though we are all sinners. It is for this reason that Jesus came!

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Proverbs 15:9 gives us some very interesting insight into the Lord’s love. It does not state that He hates the wicked, after all, they are also a part of His creation. What we do see is that He detests their wickedness. Based on the fact that we are all sinners, each and every one of us has wickedness within. The Lord detests that wickedness, but has established a way for that wickedness to be washed away and replaced with His righteousness. All that we have to do is admit that we are a sinner, believe in Jesus, and confess that Jesus is our Lord. If you have taken these steps, then you are pursuing righteousness.

Are you detested or loved?

Are you lovable?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Has the Lord established your plans?

September 27, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.
(Proverbs 16:3 (NIV))

Why is it so difficult to turn your life over to someone else, even if that someone is the Creator of all things?

When each of us are just a single individual in the vastness of human history, why do we think that we are any different from anyone else? Why do we think that we can achieve what we want when others have not been able to do this? Why do we strive to be greater than our neighbors? Why do we strive to be greater than our friends? Why do we try to establish plans for ourselves without truly understanding who God is and who we are in His creation?

Human nature makes us look at life as if it is ours to do with as we please. We think that we can go here and there without any ramifications. We think that we are free to make decisions and then expect everything to turn out just as we planned. Have any of us truly ever asked God to tell us His reason, His purpose for creating us? Would you be surprised to find that you are racing down a path that you were never intended to travel?

God did create us to have free will. We do have the option of doing with our lives as we please, but how does that make you feel? Do you still have an emptiness inside? Do you feel as if your life has no purpose?

Be still, and know that I am God
(Psalm 46:10a (NIV))

We all need to spend time in God’s presence. As we get to know God, He will give us insight into ourselves. He will give us insight into His plans for us. As we get to know God, we will find that we want to align our lives, we will want to commit whatever we do to the Lord. He will then establish His plans for our lives.

Has the Lord established your plans?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Avoid the darkness and seek the Light!

July 28, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.
(Luke 12:3 (NIV))

It is so much better to simply tell the truth and be honest in your relationships, for we have been given insight as to what will happen if we fail to be honest. Things always come back to haunt us.

Sadly, I sit here contemplating the current state of affairs in this country with respect to politics. Unfortunately, what is happening in the political arena is also playing out in many aspects of our society. People are saying things and doing things that they never want to see the light of day. They want to keep them buried in the dark recesses of society where they can be ignored in hopes that the intentions play out as desired.

Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!
(John 8:43-45 (NIV))

We have been warned about the lies of the enemy. Why do so many people still fall for the lies and feel that they need to spread them?

We, as the Body of Christ, must fall to our knees and pray that we can be given discernment. We must be able to tell the difference between the lies of the enemy and the truth as it comes from God. We must study God’s Word. We must feast on His Word.

Jesus answered, “It is written: `Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”
(Matthew 4:4 (NIV))

If it comes from the mouth of God, then it is truth. God cannot lie. His Word is truth. He is truth. I will probably make some people mad with this next statement, but it is not intended as a political attack. If God’s Word is truth, perhaps that explains why some politicians refuse to acknowledge God’s Word.

Pray that we recognize the darkness and seek the light!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Why do we refuse to see certain things?

April 25, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, `It’s going to rain,’ and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, `It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?
“Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?
(Luke 12:54-57 (NIV))

Why do we refuse to see certain things?

Have you ever been caught completely off guard by an event only to look back upon it with a different perspective? You look back and you see the telltale signs of the impending event that caught you off guard. Let’s face the facts. Human nature is a strange thing. We pay attention to the trivial things in life while we are completely blind sided by the major things.

Take a look at the world in it’s current state. What do we focus on? Is it the price of gasoline and the extra hurt that we feel when we fill up our cars or is it the events of the world where God is unfolding prophecy right before our eyes?

We become so engrossed in our daily lives and what will impact us in the short term, such as the clouds rising in the west, that we fail to see the catastrophic storm that is just beyond the horizon. We fail to judge what we should be paying attention to. We fail to recognize the truth in what we are seeing.

Failing to recognize the truth can be dangerous. We live in a time when people say that truth is relative, but I say that truth is always relevant and unchanging. With the state of the world, we cannot rely upon ourselves to be able to stay true to what is right. We must rely upon God and His Word to guide us. His Word is truth. His Word warns us of these times. We must prepare ourselves for daily life in His Word. We must also prepare ourselves for eternal life in His Word. God gives us insight into what He has planned. We must know God’s timeline of history – the past, the present, and His glorious future.

Can you judge according to God’s Word?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Be careful what you try to offer!

February 19, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”
(Acts 8:18-23 (NIV))

OUCH !!!

Unfortunately, Simon is not the only one who has tried to buy the grace and power of God. The only difference is that most people try to barter with God instead of offering money to those who come in God’s name.

How do you barter with God?

Have you ever heard someone say that if God will do something for them, then they will commit their life to God? The only thing that seems to vary in this equation is what each person wants as their part of the bargain. Some want to live. Some want fame and fortune. Some even want to blessed with the power that Simon was seeking.

What is the difference between those who barter with God and what Simon did?

I honestly believe that there really isn’t a difference. In both scenarios, the one who is seeking is willing to do whatever it takes for them to get what they want. Did you catch that? For what they want! They are trying to gain something to further their kingdom and God is only the provider of the means. They fail to realize that God gives gifts to whom He pleases. They also fail to realize that God looks at the heart. He knows who is sincere and humble. He knows who will turn what God has given into a situation that cries out “Look at what I have done,” instead of “Look at what God has done!”

There is a difference between eagerness and selfishness. Be careful that you do not make the mistake that Simon made. Pray for guidance. Pray for wisdom. Pray for insight. Pray for patience. In time, God will reveal to you the gifts that He desires to give you for use in His kingdom. Just remember that they are for His kingdom and not yours!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Spend time in God’s Word and be amazed!

November 21, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
(Hebrews 4:12 (NAS))

God’s Word never ceases to amaze me.

It is alive!

And what is even of greater importance is that God is not dead. He is alive. He is in control.

Are you upset with the events as they are unfolding in this world? Are you upset with how it is rapidly becoming politically incorrect to express a faith in Jesus? Are you upset by how the world has turned against Israel and the Jewish people? Are you so upset with the world that it is causing you to lose focus, your focus on Jesus?

I know that God’s time table is based on things that happen according to the Jewish calendar, which is God’s calendar. I have been amazed at how God has unfolded recent events according to His calendar. Rabbi Jonathan Cahn has pointed things out in his book The Harbinger. He has also pointed some things out in his book The Mystery of the Shemitah. I was just floored by some more of his teachings. I have always been fascinated by prophesy and how God works. I don’t understand it, but I have learned to be amazed at what He is doing and when He is doing it.

I find it fascinating that Jesus, who is the bread of life, was born in Bethlehem, which is the house of bread. I just learned from Rabbi Cahn that Jesus, who is the Lamb of God, was born in the area where the lambs that were to be sacrificed at the Temple were born.

Jesus, our sacrificial lamb, was born where the lambs that were to be sacrificed to God were born!

I could go on and on about how amazing God’s Word and God’s plans are, but I don’t have the words, the time or the space. I am learning every day just how amazing, how alive and how in control our God is.

I have been pierced so many times with God’s Word. It has brought me insight. It has made me aware of things that have made me literally gasp out of amazement.

The Bible is not something that you read just once and sit on a shelf.

Spend time in God’s Word and be amazed!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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