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 priorities do you embrace?

August 16, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.
(1 Peter 4:1-2 (NIV))

Can we wholeheartedly accept these words? Can we embrace the fact that we will face suffering in our lifetime in the physical body that we are so proud of?

Humanity is frail. We admire the fragile shells that we call our bodies and pamper them to the point of sinful desires. We splurge and do things because they feel good without giving any thought to the long-term effects of our actions. We spend almost every waking hour doing something to take care of the physical side of our existence, which is mortal, while we come very close to completely ignoring our spiritual side, which has the potential to spend eternity in heaven.

It seems that we have our priorities backwards! We need to spend much more time concerned with our spiritual being. We need to resolve to look beyond the immediate needs of our physical shell and look to the needs of the part of us that truly matters. We must get to the point where we can recognize that our bodies are but dust and our spirits are the true treasure that we possess.

Can we truly allow our physical bodies to suffer so that our spiritual being will benefit?

I would like to think that it is possible, for we have been told that it is the way to do away with sin in our life. However, I do not know if I am capable of such a massive undertaking. Luckily, God knew that we were not capable on our own, even after He sent His Son, Jesus, to show us what to do. We may desire to do away with the physical desires and focus on God, yet, we are spiritual infants who happen to have a very strong urge from the physical side of our existence. For this reason, God allows us to call upon the name of Jesus as our atoning sacrifice, for His Blood covers a multitude of sins.

Can you suffer in the physical the way that Jesus did? Can you earnestly call upon the Blood of Jesus to help you when you fall?

What priorities do you embrace?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What does your life consist of?

July 9, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
(Matthew 6:25 (NIV))

There are many things in this physical world that can distract you in the course of your lifetime. Everyone faces times when they are worried about having enough to eat. If you have ever had children, then you can also relate to the notion of not having clothes that fit, or perhaps you have needed better clothes for a job interview. Let’s throw one in that is truly a modern issue – when your car breaks down. It is these types of distractions that Jesus was addressing. Think about this from another perspective. Jesus was telling us to not get so involved in our day to day lives that we forget to enjoy life. We should not get so overwhelmed by the things of this world that we forget to turn to the Creator of this world.

He knows what we need even before we need it!

This precious gift of life that we have is far more than the physical needs and desires that we all have. It is so much more than that. If we can focus on Jesus, then we will have all that we ever need, for what Jesus offers is eternal. We will be hungry again. We will be thirsty again. Our clothes will grow old and fall apart. Our cars will break down. We will face issues that will try to distract us, but life is not about these issues. Everyone faces trials. Everyone faces trouble. It is a matter of priorities. If we focus on Jesus and not on the things of this world, then we focus on what is truly important.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

We can overcome the worries of this world if we focus on Jesus. Our lives don’t have to consist of the worries brought about by the things of this world.

What does your life consist of?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you willing to give up to be reconciled?

June 26, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation– if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
(Colossians 1:21-23 (NIV))

It had to be a powerful gospel in Paul’s life. He started off persecuting the church. Yet, something happened in his life that made him give up all that he had earned for himself in the physical world.

Who in their right mind would give up worldly position and wealth for something the world considered of no importance?

Paul saw the power of the Gospel firsthand and was empowered by the Holy Spirit to spread that Gospel. He knew that Jesus is the Messiah and that He is the only way to enter heaven. Paul gave up worldly position for something that he knew was of far greater value than anything the world had to offer.

What are you willing to give up to be reconciled?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Show others that they can be made new!

April 12, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
(Matthew 9:16-17 (NIV))

Have you become so set in your ways that God cannot do something new in your life? Is your heart so old that it cannot handle anything new?

If you associate physical age with “oldness,” then let me explain something. I have seen very old men and women who have a “new” heart – one that is open to the love, grace and mercy that God has blessed them with and I have seen people who are physically young who have such an “old” heart. It is closed to anything and everything that has to do with God. Fortunately, God has a way of softening hard hearts. He can reverse the aging process that we have applied to ourselves. Just like the old wineskins that would burst if new wine were poured into them, our old hearts must undergo a change before we can fully accept the love, grace and mercy that God so freely gives.

We are those wineskins!

If God were to pour out new wine of His Spirit upon your heart, would it be able to hold it? Would it be so brittle and break because of the new shape that God desires for it to take, or would it bend and accept the changes from within? Just like the new wine changes the wineskin from within, God changes our heart from within. He pours out His Spirit and allows it to flow into the very recesses of our heart. It works slowly and before you know it, just like with the wine, God has soon changed the vessel that He has used to contain His Spirit.

There is no wrong time to open yourself up to the newness that God wants to bring Allow God to use you to show others that He can bring a newness and a refreshing even when the world is saying that there is no hope.

Show others that they can be made new!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Believing is seeing!

March 25, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”
(John 4:48 (NIV))

Are you a visual person? Do you learn only when you see it before your own eyes?

Where is the faith in this?

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

There are just some things that you must accept without seeing. Faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is one of those things. We do not have the good fortune of having been alive when He walked the earth. We will never see the miracles that He performed. Perhaps that is a good thing, for those who actually saw them wanted more before many of them would believe.

Where does that leave us?

We must be certain in our hope that Jesus is who He says He is. We must be certain of what we do not see. We will be blessed if we can go beyond our physical limitations and start to believe even if we do not see. We must remember what Jesus told Thomas.

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
(John 20:29 (NIV))

This world teaches us that we must see it in order to believe it. That is true of anything of this world. Faith in Jesus is not of this world. We must be sure of the hope that Jesus brings even though we may not see it.

Are you sure of your faith? Do you need to see to believe?

Believing is seeing!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you answered Him?

March 5, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me.
(Revelation 3:20 (NAS))

Can you imagine physically answering the door and Jesus is standing there?

That would be awesome!

Now, think about all of the things that have been said in the Bible about the physical world and the spiritual world. The physical world is like grass, here today and gone tomorrow. The spiritual world is the one that lasts for all eternity and is of the most importance.

Jesus is knocking at your spiritual door!

Will you hear the knock and let Him in, or will you be so focused on what you can see in this world that you miss the chance to be with God in the next? If you answer that knock, Jesus will be with you forever, guiding you, protecting you from the sins of the world, and intervening on your behalf with God the Father. This is the most important “knock” that you will ever answer.

Do not ignore things that are of God because you could not pull yourself away from the things that are of this world!

Jesus is knocking! Have you answered Him?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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