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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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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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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Is the Lamb your shepherd?

November 26, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat upon them,
nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd;
he will lead them to springs of living water.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
(Revelation 7:16-17 (NIV))

Isn’t it a marvelous picture that these words paint? Every person who has ever lived longs for what these words speak of. Whether they are a believer or not, this picture appeals to everyone.

What I find of interest is that these words do not come in a part of the Bible that is often read. They appear in Revelation. This is probably the most misunderstood book of the Bible, yet it holds the most promise for those who accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. True, Revelation speaks of the judgments of God against the wickedness of man. At the same time, it speaks of the fulfillment of the promises that have been with man since Adam and Eve.

Which side of Revelation do you wish to be on? Do you wish to be on the judgment side or the fulfillment side? It is your choice. Accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior or don’t. Jesus himself said “He who is not with me is against me.” (Matthew 12:30a (NIV))

Are you with Jesus?

Is the Lamb your shepherd?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can you spot the wolves before they attack?

February 7, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.
(John 10:12 (NIV))

Have you ever noticed that sometimes the one from whom the attack comes is not that obvious?

Think about that for a moment.

We are always on the lookout for the wolves that come our way, but not every attack from the enemy will be a direct and an announced attack. We are all on the lookout for the obvious, but are we so acutely aware that many times the attacks come from an unlikely source? Many times the greatest attacks that we will ever face come from sources that are familiar to us. They appear to be safe, and then when we least expect it, they become the source of all of our troubles. These literally are the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Thankfully, Jesus is our good shepherd. He loves us and cares for us. He walks with us and protects us from the attacks of the enemy. He will not abandon us to the ravenous enemy.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
(John 10:11 (NIV))

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—
(John 10:14 (NIV))

Call out to Jesus. Spend the time needed to get to know Him. Take the time to learn His voice. Let Him guide you through the trials and tribulations that you will face in this life. He will show you the wolves in sheep’s clothing!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is the Lord to you?

February 2, 2016

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))

Have you ever truly stopped to think about these words?

How many of us can truly say that we live a life that is not filled with stress? How many of us do not fear? How many of us do not have people who are enemies? Do any of us not need calm surroundings and rest?

What about restoration?

What about comfort?

Are you in need of goodness and love?

The words that David recorded speak to the inner desires of every human being to ever live. Even if you think that you are a tough cookie, deep inside of you, you desire the very things that David wrote about.

Can we find these things in worldly possessions? Can we find them in other people? Can we find them in our own strengths?

There is only one source for the peace that David wrote about. It can be found in no other place, no other person, than in the Lord our God. We cannot run from Him. We cannot hide from Him,. We can run to Him. We can hide within His love. He can find rest within His mercy. We can find salvation within His grace.

God is good! He is our rest. He is our restoration. He is our righteousness. He is our protection. He is our comfort. He is our protector. He is our Father!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready for Jesus to come?

December 15, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times. ”

Therefore Israel will be abandoned
until the time when she who is in labor gives birth
and the rest of his brothers return
to join the Israelites.

He will stand and shepherd his flock
in the strength of the LORD,
in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God.
And they will live securely, for then his greatness
will reach to the ends of the earth.

And he will be their peace.
(Micah 5:2-5 (NIV))

This prophecy speaks clearly of the coming of Jesus. During this time of year when we celebrate the birth of our Savior, we must also keep in mind that He is first a light to the Jews and then to the nations.

The covenant that God made with Israel was for this nation to be a light unto the world. Yet, they took the meaning of “God’s Chosen People” to mean that they had special privileges that set them above every other nation.

There are many words within this passage that can be interpreted to reflect what has happened in the history of Israel. When it speaks of Israel being abandoned … and the rest returning to Israel, this could be taken to mean the upper tribes being taken into captivity from which they never really returned. Now, the nation of Israel is once again a nation, and people from all over the world are returning to their “home land.” Perhaps, many of these people are descendants of those who were taken into captivity from the Northern Kingdom.

God has always used “near-term” and “long-term” prophecy within the same words. This passage obviously points to the first coming of Jesus. It also gives hints and glimpses of what will be in the second coming.

After two thousand years since Jesus’ birth, it is right that we celebrate this coming and the gift that was given through this coming. We must also not forget that He will return. Every Christmas that we celebrate brings us closer to the time of this much anticipated, often ridiculed, and greatly controversial event.

We need to be ready for the second coming.

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