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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What do you live by?

March 20, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
(Romans 1:16-17 (NIV))

Are you ashamed to share the gospel?

Think long and hard about that question. Which is more likely to happen – you repeat the joke that you heard the other day or you tell the same person about how Jesus has changed your life? What type of a message are you conveying if the joke is off color and something that should not be repeated? Have you ever stopped to think that perhaps what you don’t do is having more of an impact than what you do?

Place yourself in this scenario. You are the guest of honor and featured speaker at a respected business convention. The place is packed. What will the audience think of you if the first words out of your mouth put down the event and the city because it was out of your way to come to this location? What will be their reaction if you praise the kindness of the host and the beauty of the city?

What if words are not your strong suit?

Preach always. When necessary, use words.
(St. Francis of Assisi)

Perhaps your actions are what people really pay attention to. Do your actions reflect your faith? Do your actions speak louder than your words? What do your actions say? Do your actions speak a different message than the words that you say?

According to Merriam-Webster, righteousness is “acting in accord with divine or moral law : free from guilt or sin.” Righteousness is basically thinking, speaking, acting and living according to what God desires. We are to live by His Word. We are to reflect His Word in all that we do, even when no one is watching, even when it is not politically correct to profess a faith in Jesus.

Faith is the backbone, it is the foundation of a life lived in Christ. It is not something to be turned on and off when it is convenient. It is what we should live by.

What do you live by?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you love the Son?

November 29, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”
(John 16:25-28 (NIV))

When Jesus walked the earth, He spoke in parables. Even His disciples did not fully understand His meaning. But, there is no mistaking the meaning behind the words that He spoke here. Clearer words could not be stated.

God allows us access to Himself because we have called upon the name of Jesus. Jesus said that He does not ask the Father on our behalf. We have direct access to God through Jesus. We do not need to petition Jesus and then have Him petition God.

The Veil of the Temple has been torn, allowing humanity to approach the Throne of God directly. The Veil was not torn from bottom to top as it would have been if done by human hands! It was torn from top to bottom by God! He has allowed us the access. It was not earned, but granted through grace.

To receive this access, all we have to do is acknowledge Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Don’t let pride stand between you and God. He has reached out to you. Reach out to Him by accepting His Son!

Do you love the Son?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you able to love in this manner?

October 30, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
(Ephesians 4:2 (NIV))

Excuse the language, but have you ever simply wanted to say, “You idiot!” when dealing with certain people?

Be honest with yourself. You probably had someone pop into your mind when you read that question. Honestly, there are just some people that rub us the wrong way even if we try to not let them bother us. But, do they actually make you lose control or is it entirely up to you how you react?

It is said that love is a choice. We can choose to love even when the person is less than lovable. We can choose to be humble and gentle in our responses even when we are intentionally being provoked. We can choose to be patient even in situations where our patience is being put to the ultimate test. We can choose to bear with one another in love because there will be times when we are less than lovable and we will want someone to love us! If you actually stop to think about human reactions, they can all come down to a simple matter of ego and pride. In essence, our reactions are nothing more than our inner attitudes toward others. We think that we know more, or are better qualified to undertake a task. As already stated, love is a choice. It is only one of many, but it is the correct choice.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,
(Philippians 2:3 (NIV))

How do you value others?

Are you able to humble yourself even in the midst of people who are able to press all of your buttons?

Are you able to love in this manner?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Yes and Amen!

August 30, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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 Chronicles 1:20 (NIV))

What is your favorite word in the English language?

It may not be your favorite word, but “Yes” carries so much promise in three letters. It can be the word that is said that means you will spend the rest of your life with that someone special. It can be the word that is heard when you ask if you got the job. It can be the word that is said when a door is opening for you. It can be the word you say in response to God pursuing you. It can be the word you say or have said to you that will change your life and your eternity.

Now, let’s take this one step further.

Do you like promises?

I realize that everyone has had people who have made promises to them that were never kept. That is not the type of promise that I am talking about. I am talking about a promise from a reliable source. I am talking about a promise from someone who you know will keep their word. This type of person will go out of their way to make sure that what they promise comes true. What if the source of the promise has all the resources in all of creation and His reputation for keeping His promises is impeccable?

“So let it be.”

“He is faithful.”

“It is true.”

From doing research on the word “Amen,” I have come to understand that it can mean any or all three of these statements, and so much more! It is used to emphasize and to punctuate the power and the glory and the truth of God. It is a term of praise. It is a term of authority. It is also a term that represents the humility of the person who says it. When we say “Amen,” we are willingly placing ourselves at the feet of God and using the word to indicate that His will be done.

Think about that in context to God’s promises being “Yes” in Christ. What has God promised humanity? What has God promised you? Please understand that I am not talking about our interpretation or our understanding of what we want Him to promise us, but what He actually has promised. Through the two words, “Yes” and “Amen,” we are told that God’s promises will come true and then we are told that God, the One who promises, is faithful and true.

This may sound strange, but sometimes I hate the English language. “Amen” is so much more expressive than we have words to understand. I know one thing, though, and that is I will hold fast to the promises of God!

Yes and Amen!

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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What a mighty God we serve!

November 2, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

After I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white and held palm branches in their hands. And they were shouting with a mighty shout, “Salvation comes from our God on the throne and from the Lamb!”
(Revelation 7:9-10 (NLT))

What a glorious site this will be!

A vast crowd of people who are redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb! A crowd too great to count.

Have you ever encountered someone who believes that only 144,000 from all of human history will be saved? It may take someone a while, but it is possible to count 144,000 people. We know by this simple fact that the 144,000 witnesses are not the only ones who will be redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb. This amount of people is big, but it is not a vast crowd too big to count. In out society, we have events that draw this amount of people and they know exactly how many attend.

God’s grace is much bigger than what many people can comprehend. It is much bigger than what any of us can truly understand. Why do we, as frail, fallen humanity try to put God in a box? Is it because we can’t comprehend His greatness, and in an attempt to comprehend it, we put limits on it?

If God can make it so that the rocks cry out in praise, then it is completely possible for God to redeem such a vast number that we cannot begin to count everyone.

I have a great piece of information for you to consider. We may not be able to count everyone, but God can! Not only can He count everyone who calls upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, He can remember every detail of each person’s life.

What a mighty God we serve!

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