What do you truly want?

September 30, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
(Psalms 23:1 (NASB))

Have you ever given any serious thought to the meaning of this passage?

Most people read this and take it to mean that anything that we could possibly want in this physical world is ours. Let’s take a step back and take a look at the word “want.” Our society has shifted the meaning of this word to mean something that we desire. We say things like, “I want a new car” or “I want a bigger house,” but is this the type of want that the Lord provides for? With this type of attitude, too many people fail to get what they want and, as a result, they fall away from faith. They misunderstand this passage and think that is means that the Lord our God is nothing more that a genie who is there to grant our every wish, our every desire. When this doesn’t happen, they falsely assume that since this isn’t true, nothing is true.

If this is your vision of God, then it makes sense why our society has become so self-centered and self-entitled.

If we look at this passage from the perspective and understanding of when it was written, we get a much clearer picture. A shepherd has multiple sheep under his care. He provides for the needs of the whole flock. He will lead them to green pastures for food. He will care for the sick. He will search for the lost. The shepherd makes sure that all under his care are protected from attack. The sheep know his voice and they follow him. They know and they trust him to provide for their needs both collectively and individually.

Did you pick up on that?

The shepherd provides for the needs of his flock. He does not provide for the selfish desires. The shepherd knows what is best for each sheep. He makes sure that each need is provided for. With this in mind, is wanting a bigger house a need or a selfish desire? For some people, it truly may be a need, while for others, it is a selfish desire. The Lord sees each of our needs and knows how best to provide for us. When David wrote these words, he understood this concept. He understood that the Lord, as his shepherd, was guiding his steps and that all of his needs would be provided for. David realized that everything was on the Lord’s timeframe and not his.

Sadly, our society has lost this understanding. We seek instant gratification in all aspects of our lives. We falsely believe that we can guide our own lives. We desire anything and everything under the sun, and sin runs rampant because we are so focused on the proverbial me, myself and I. Slow down and spend time in the Lord’s presence and you will begin to grasp the understanding that David had. The focus is not about us and our selfish desires. It is about the Lord’s plans and what is best for us.

I believe that it is time for us to reexamine what we truly want! What do you truly want?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What comes from your mouth?

March 19, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
(Ephesians 4:29 (NIV))

Words are a powerful device. Words can be uplifting and encouraging. Words can be sad and convey despair. Words can convey affection and in the next breath, they can convey anger. We have a tendency to use words rashly and in haste. It is so easy to let the wrong words slip off of your tongue. I would venture to say that every one of us on this planet has said something today that they wish could be taken back.

Most people think of unwholesome talk as the proverbial four letter words that we all tend to know even if we hate to admit it. However, have you stopped to think about what else may be considered unwholesome?

Words said in anger or in hatred destroy instantly. Words said in frustration never make the situation any better. Words aimed directly at provoking hurt are never able to be recalled. All of these types of words can be unwholesome for they destroy. They do not build up.

Jesus rarely used words that did not build up. I can only think of a few situations that He used terms less than uplifting. I do not think that being called a brood of vipers made those people feel good about themselves. However, even when Jesus said words such as these, they were not expressed in the rage and hatred that we often use. I picture the use of these words more out of pity than out of anger.

Unwholesome talk is anything that destroys what God is trying to accomplish in and through another person. Guard your tongue, for Satan can use it to do just that. Give pause to your words. Let your tongue be guided by the Holy Spirit. He will not give you unwholesome words. He will fill your mouth with words that will be a blessing to all who hear.

What comes from your mouth?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What comes out of your mouth?

June 8, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
(Ephesians 4:29 (NIV))

Our mouths get us into so much trouble!

Sadly, what comes out of our mouths starts somewhere else. Even if we are good at holding our tongue, what does that say about our thoughts and our heart? Our mouth is simply a conduit for what is inside. We either focus on the worldly and sinful nature, or we focus on the traits that are of God.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
(Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV))

What do you strive to have inside of you? Are you filled with the sinful nature of the world, or do you long for the characteristics that we know as the fruit of the Spirit? Do you long for your life, your words and your actions to reflect these traits?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
(Galatians 5:22-26 (NIV))

If unwholesome talk comes out of your mouth, what does that say about what is inside of you?

What comes out of your mouth?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you found the rest that you are looking for?

December 29, 2017

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))

Does this sound like a new year’s verse?

I honestly don’t know how many times that I have read this passage, but every time I do read it, I can easily identify with being weary and burdened. I think that it is safe to say that this can apply to every person who is alive today for we all feel weary and burdened at some point in our lives.

But, . . .

I want you to step back and read this as a New Year’s resolution that you will keep!

Lord, Jesus, I resolve to turn to you in all of my needs.

Does this sound like a New Year’s resolution that you want to keep? Is it one that you will strive to keep?

It can also be a daily prayer. It can be a reminder of what you need to do when you start to feel the weight of the world come crashing in on you.

Lord, Jesus, it’s me once again. I come to you because you say that your burden is light. My burden is extremely heavy. I cannot carry my burden on my own. I am in need of your peace and rest, so I turn my burden over to You. I don’t want to carry my burdens any longer. Please give me the strength to leave them with you. Give me the strength to trust that you will carry them for me. Amen!

I love God’s Word!

There is so much meaning in the passages. It is time that we, as the Body of Christ, firmly claim the truths that are promised to us. Matthew 11:28 is a short verse, but it contains so much promise. Are you weary and burdened? Do you want to rest in the presence of the Lord? All that we have to do is turn to Jesus!

Have you found the rest that you are looking for?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you able to bring this sacrifice?

November 29, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.
(Psalms 51:17 (NIV))

We all make sacrifices. Some of us sacrifice for our spouses. Some sacrifice for their children. Some people will sacrifice for their jobs and some will make sacrifices for their church, but how hard is it to overcome human nature? It is this human nature that at times makes each of us think that we are the center of the universe.

Does this sound like a broken spirit?

Does this sound like a broken and contrite heart?

The sacrifice that God does not despise is the one in which we come humbly into His presence. It is a sacrifice in which we offer up our humility, our ego and our pride. It is a sacrifice that places our needs and desires much lower than our selfish human nature demands. It is a sacrifice that recognizes that we are not capable of doing anything that will make us righteous in God’s eyes.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

It is a sacrifice that places God first and others as equals with ourselves.

To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.
(Mark 12:33 (NIV))

Our sinful human nature makes it so difficult to sacrifice ourselves in this manner, but it is exactly what we must be able to do.

Are you able to bring this sacrifice?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Only God needs to know!

October 11, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
(Matthew 6:3-4 (NIV))

It is human nature to brag about the things that you do, especially if they will be considered good by someone else. The sad thing about this trait is that we all do it. We all like to toot our own horn. We like to draw attention to ourselves so that others will see the good things that we do.

If this is how we do the things that we do, then what are the true motives for why we do the things that we do?

Jesus made it clear that if we do something so that others will see it, then that is our reward. It appears that He is saying that we have done it for selfish gain. We have done it so that we can receive the praise of others.

Is that why you do things?

But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
(Matthew 6:17-18 (NIV))

When was the last time that you did something in secret? Was it difficult to not tell someone? Did you eventually break down and tell someone?

Contrary to human nature, we don’t have to try to be better than everyone else. All that we have to do is be better than our sinful nature. No one needs to know of the good things that you do.

Only God needs to know!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you capable of feeding those in need?

July 29, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He replied, “You give them something to eat.”
(Luke 9:13a (NIV))

I realize that Jesus was telling the disciples to have faith and give the people what they needed, which in this case was food. However, I just recently came to realize that there is so much more to this passage.

The first thing that came to mind is how do you reconcile what Jesus commanded with the following passage?

For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”
(2 Thessalonians 3:10 (NIV))

Like so many other things that pertain to humanity, it is a matter of the heart. What is written of in 2 Thessalonians is a matter of laziness. They are not willing to do what is needed to meet the basic needs of life for themselves. It is a lie that is perpetrated on those whom they know. It is a desire to get everyone else to take responsibility for them.

Jesus was referring to something completely different when he instructed His disciples to give the crowd something to eat. Jesus knew that the people who had come to hear Him speak were seeking something and were willing to sacrifice for it. They were not expecting to freeload and have everything taken care of for them. They had taken upon themselves the responsibility to seek and go after what was beneficial to them. They were seeking something that fed their spirits. They were seeking something that went above and beyond the physical needs that they had. They were working for what they sought after. Because of this, Jesus had compassion on the crowd just as He has had compassion on all of the others who earnestly sought Him.

Seeking Jesus is not easy. It is work. We are taught a lesson through the disciples and the crowd on that day. Jesus will provide for those who truly seek Him. He fed the crowd after He fed them spiritually. If you stop to think about what He told His disciples, He was also telling them to not only take care of the physical needs, but to soon be prepared to take care of feeding the spiritual needs. They stepped up and delivered.

Are you capable of feeding those in need?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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