What comforts you through the darkness?

June 8, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Yea, 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.
(Psalms 23:4 (NKJV))

Everyone faces darkness and tough times in their lives. What do you do when this happens? Do you cower in fear? Do you give in to the attacks of the enemy? Do you throw yourself a pity party and lock yourself away from the world in hopes that your tough times will go away? Do you lash out at the world trying to put up a front? Do you attack head-on in such a way that you think that you are able to overcome these times on your own?

To be honest with you, we have all probably used each one of these approaches in our lives when dealing with darkness and tough times. Have any of them truly worked? Did the tough times go away? Did your stress levels return to a peaceful state?

I have been on my journey with Jesus for a long time, and each time that I have faced a tough time in my life over the years, it has actually gotten easier to deal with. With each event, I have learned more about the promises of God. I have learned that I can trust Him to see me through, even when the world seems to be crashing in all around me. It hasn’t come easily, and my journey is still a work in progress, but I know that my faith is firmly placed in the One who created all things. I know that He will see me through all things, even the darkness. With the track record that the Lord has allowed me to experience, I can look back in all honesty and see how He was leading me. With this assurance, I can look ahead in all faith and know that He will lead me according to His will with my maturity in Jesus as the goal.

I don’t know about you, but I find great comfort in this truth even when I do not see any worldly way out of the darkness. I find great comfort in knowing that He is always with me!

What comforts you through the darkness?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready and able to stand?

February 19, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
(Ephesians 6:12-13 (NIV))

This is so hard to remember when we are faced with trials and tribulations from all sides. Sometimes it even feels that all that we do is thwarted by an unseen enemy who hates what we love.

Wait a minute!

That sounds just like Satan and he does hate what we love.

And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down–that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
(Revelation 12:7-9 (NIV))

Because of his rebellion against God, he and his fallen angels have been cast out of heaven. They hate God and desire nothing more than to usurp God’s authority. That is what happened when Adam and Eve allowed Satan to become the prince of this world. Our ancestors legally gave the authority that God gave them to Satan. Satan and his followers work in the shadows to deceive and destroy all that is God’s creation and all who call upon the name of the Lord. Just like we cannot see God, we cannot see Satan, but we feel the effects of his wrath against those who love God.

There is constant warfare in the spiritual realm because of these events. What happens in the physical world is only a shadow of what happens in the spiritual realm.

We are at war!

Our enemy cannot be seen, but we can arm ourselves with God’s armor and we can overcome the enemy.

Are you prepared for the struggle? Are you focusing your battle tactics where they belong? Are you ready and able to stand?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 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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Where do you seek shelter and rest?

April 19, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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

It is so interesting how the different translations will render a particular passage.

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
(Psalm 91:1 (NKJV))

These two translations mean the same thing, but they use different words that when looked at together, strengthen the understanding of the meaning of the passage. The NIV translation uses the word “shelter” while the NKJV uses the words “secret place” when referring to the place where we draw close to God. Shelter implies a place of refuge and safety while a secret place implies intimacy with the one that you meet. I love the marriage of these two concepts and how they actually apply to the place where we meet God on a one on one basis. That place is a shelter and a refuge from the weight of the world and at the same time it is a place of intimacy with the Creator of all things.

We draw closer to God while He draws closer to us.

I also love how the NIV uses the word “rest” while the NKJV uses the word “abide” to describe what we do in the presence of God. Both words imply a trust and a peace, for it is impossible to rest where there is no trust or peace. It is also impossible to abide, or to make yourself at home, where there is no trust or peace.

In essence, we can find shelter in the secret place that we share with God and in this place we can find rest and a home!

Do you want to dwell in the secret place, in the shelter that is our God?

God wants us to dwell with Him. He wants us to be so comfortable in His presence just like we are comfortable in our own homes and with our friends and family. He wants us to go to Him when we need to retreat to our secret place.

Where is your secret place?

Is it in the shelter of the Most High?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How will you respond?

November 30, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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.
(Psalms 23:4 (NIV))

Do you fear the events of the world? Do you feel like the world is always under the shadow of death? Do you feel like you are always under the shadow of death?

I wholeheartedly agree that things in this world are under the shadow of death. The world has long been turned over to sin and it just keeps getting worse. I know that we, as the Body of Christ, think that what we are experiencing is far worse than what has happened in the past, but be honest with yourself. Have you been threatened with death because of your faith in Jesus? Have you been socially outcast because of your faith in Jesus? The Body of Christ in this country has not seen the tribulation and the troubles that early church members experienced. We are not seeing the executions that other parts of the world are seeing. We think that we have it bad, but I want to point out the fact that we have lived under a blessing in this country. We have been free to express our faith in Jesus without any repercussions. However, that time appears to be changing. Anyone who expresses a faith in Jesus is ostracized. We are told to be more tolerant. The next step may be an extreme step in the wrong direction.

If that happens, members of the Body of Christ in this country may experience many of the things that believers in other parts of the world are experiencing. If this happens, I want you to stop and think about these questions.

How will I respond if I truly do walk through the valley of the shadow of death?

Will my faith be strong or will I cave in to the ways of the world?

When the time comes, I pray that you remember the rest of this passage and do not fear any evil because God is with you. Do not be discouraged for God will comfort you!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Faith to be made new

October 19, 2012

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 hit the nail on the head when he wrote this. It is the prayer of every believer. It is the hope of every believer. God will provide for us in ways that we can only imagine. If we fully rely on Him, then He will deliver us, He will guide us, He will prepare a place for us.

When faced with what the world sends our way, we have a shelter to run to. Peace is what God offers. Chaos is what the world offers. The natural order of things since Adam and Eve fell is degeneration. Through God, we can be made new again. It only takes a simple act of faith. The faith that Jesus Christ is God’s only begotten Son, and our only Lord and Savior.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Reflections?

April 25, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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 23:4-6 (NIV))

How many times have we heard or quoted parts of this passage? Isn’t it wonderful to be able to know and to trust in God and His strength and His mercy.

Unfortunately, many non-believers read this and take it to mean that we will not have any troubles in this life. They see that believers do have troubles, and do not fully understand how God works. They do not understand that we, as believers, still are faced with troubles, but we have a mighty warrior who is on our side, and that by placing our faith in Him, we will always have goodness and mercy even when faced with these troubles. It is how we reflect this goodness and mercy during these troubles that will bring people to Jesus.

Are you a mirror that reflects goodness and mercy, or are you a blackhole that absorbs all light, and does not allow any to pass?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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