Always Planning Evil

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I am unable to include devotional thoughts today, but this passage is an interesting one to ponder. It tells us that the wicked person’s words and actions are untrustworthy. The worthless person is always plotting and scheming and cannot be trusted. Be sure that God knows their every thought and action and they will be held accountable.

Reading the Word

Proverbs 6:12–15 (ESV)

12 A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech,
13 winks with his eyes, signals with his feet, points with his finger,
14 with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord;
15 therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly; in a moment he will be broken beyond healing.

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I Will Rejoice in the Lord

Habakkuk 317–18 [widescreen]

Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. I do not publish supplemental material on Sundays, but I do include a suggested Scripture reading for the day. Be sure to subscribe to this page so you can follow along every day. Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

Habakkuk 3:17–19 (ESV)

17Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls,

18yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

19God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.

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Growing in Wisdom

Proverbs 17 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Proverbs 1:5–7 (ESV)

5 Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
and the one who understands obtain guidance,
6 to understand a proverb and a saying,
the words of the wise and their riddles.

7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The Book of Proverbs tells us that there are two kinds of people who are unwise. There are those who are unwise because they have not yet had a chance to learn and are still in process. Children would be an example of this category as they learn and grow to maturity. The second kind of unwise are the foolish. This group has had opportunities to learn and grow, but they refuse to take instruction. Instead they remain in their ignorance and suffer the consequences.

The ultimate source for wisdom is from the Creator of all things. Who better to tell us what this world is all about and how to best live in it? So, the beginning of wisdom is to “fear” the Lord. This means that we know he is there, that he deserves our worship, and that we will give an account to him for our lives. The wise person puts God at the center of all things and seeks to understand all that God has said in his word. Do not fail to grow in wisdom through neglect of the word of God. Make daily Bible reading a top priority in your life. It would be foolish to do otherwise.

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The Chief of Sinners

1 Timothy 115 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

1 Timothy 1:12–15 (ESV)

12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The writings of Paul seem to dominate the New Testament. It is through his letters that we truly gain our understanding of most of our foundational Christian doctrines. God certainly used Paul in a great way. As Paul reflected on this truth, he did so with humility. Paul understood that it was only by God’s grace that he had been able to do anything at all for the Lord. After all, he was a “blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent” of God and God’s people, but God had saved Paul and chose to use him.

 Paul knew that his salvation was fully by grace. He was the “foremost” sinner. He was not in any way deserving of salvation. It was only through Jesus Christ, the one who came into this world to save sinners, that he was saved. Paul never forgot this truth and we must not forget it either. We owe everything to God’s grace. It does not matter how much we may accomplish for the Lord in this life. We may accomplish great things or remain unknown. Regardless, all that we are and all that we are able to do are only because of what God has done for us. Jesus Christ has come into the world to save sinners and use them for his glory. Let us praise his name!

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God Is Our Salvation

Psalm 625 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 62:5–8 (ESV)

5 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
7 On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah

Understanding and Applying the Word

We live at a time in history when technology and scientific advancement seem to be exploding. We have cars and airplanes, computers and smartphones, satellites and rocket ships, as well as medicines and surgical procedures for our illnesses and injuries. It may seem like we have the answer to almost every question. With all of our advances and knowledge, we may be tempted to think that mankind has the ability to solve every problem and do not need help.

It does not take much to remind us that we are still finite beings with much that we still do not understand and that we are powerless to control. Just look at any natural disaster for an example. Look at the current Covid-19 pandemic. The whole world has been thrown into turmoil and many lives have been lost. The whole world is working to understand the virus and to find a vaccine to stop it. And there are still many questions that simply do not have answers. But believers know where our hope rests. It is not in the power of mankind. Let this time be a reminder to us that, as the psalmist says, “On God rests my salvation and my glory.”

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The Folly of the Cross

1 Corinthians 118 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

1 Corinthians 1:18–25 (ESV)

18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,

and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

Understanding and Applying the Word

There really is no middle road when it comes to the gospel of Jesus Christ. A person will either laugh at the foolishness of the message. After all, how does a man come back from the dead? Or a person will see the glorious hand of God and the power of God working through the events of the cross to bring salvation to all who will believe.

The message of the gospel is Jesus Christ crucified. The perfect, sinless Son of God was hung on a cross until he died. He was buried in a tomb. And later, he rose from the dead alive again. That is the message and it is through these events that God is saving mankind. This is the message that Christians are called to proclaim and it is the only message that can give life to a dying world. Many will laugh and consider it nonsense, but for those who believe, their is forgiveness and eternal life.

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The Son of Man

time lapse photo of stars on night

Photo by Jakub Novacek on Pexels.com

 

Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. I do not publish supplemental material on Sundays, but I do include a suggested Scripture reading. Be sure to subscribe to this page so you can follow along every day. Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

Matthew 24:29–31 (ESV)

29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

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We Are Not Alone

John 1426 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

John 14:25–31 (ESV)

25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.

Understanding and Applying the Word

As Jesus prepared to go to the cross and leave his disciples, he also worked to prepare them for that time. He was going to leave them, but they were not going to be left alone. They were going to be charged with carrying on the work that he had begun, but they were not going to be left to do it alone.

Jesus promised his followers that they would receive the Holy Spirit. The Spirit would remind them of all that they had been taught bu Jesus and help them along the way as they lived in the world. The incredible thing about this promise is that it was not only for the disciples with Jesus at that moment in time that this promise was for. This was a promise for all followers of Jesus. We have all been given the gift of the Spirit, who is our Teacher and Helper. We have not been left alone. The Lord’s presence is with us at all times to help us along the way.

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We Will All Be Changed

1 Corinthians 1555–57 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

1 Corinthians 15:50–58 (ESV)

50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”

55 “O death, where is your victory?

O death, where is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

Understanding and Applying the Word

We live in uncertain times. The world is in constant turmoil due to political division, economic stress, natural disasters, and the sinfulness of the human heart. It can become overwhelming if we let it. However, as Christians, we know the future is bright. The things we face today are only temporary because God has a plan in place and his plans never fail.

What is the plan God has for the future? It is the same plan that we saw in the days of Jesus. The will be resurrection and new life for all believers. The dead will rise and those who have not died will be transformed. We will be made new and ready for an eternal existence in a new heaven and new earth. When that day comes, there will be no more death because sin will be no more. The troubles of this world will be gone and we will live in the presence of our Savior forever. What a wonderful future is waiting!

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Doubting Thomas

John 2028 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

John 20:24–29 (ESV)

24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

Today’s reading is the origin of the phrase “doubting Thomas”. When the other disciples told Thomas that they had seen the resurrected Jesus, he did not rush to believe them. In fact, he did not believe and said he would not unless he saw Jesus with his own eyes. Eight days later, Thomas did see Jesus with his own eyes and cried out, “My Lord and my God!” Thomas not only knew that Jesus had risen, but knew fully what the implications of such a truth meant. Jesus was God in the flesh!

Who was Jesus? That is a question that many struggle to answer. However, when we accept the accounts of the Gospels as true, the question is quickly answered. Jesus is the Lord, just as he claimed to be. And if that is true, we have the answer to our biggest questions about life and its meaning.

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