Restoration

Today’s post is part of our Psalm Saturdays series from guest blogger Robert Chamberlain. You can read more about Robert after the article below.

Psalm 126:1–6 (ESV)
1 When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.
2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.”
3 The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad.
4 Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negeb!
5 Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!
6 He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.


We need God to restore our fortunes. We might be materially rich in the West, but we’re spiritually poor. If God is to grant us the kingdom of heaven, it would be like a dream come true.

We would be filled with rejoicing and laughter. We’d tell the world that the Lord has done great things for us. He has done great things for us, we’re glad that Jesus gave Himself for us and rose again victorious over death.

God needs to bring us low before He can raise us up. If we think we’re self sufficient, and trusting in our material wealth, we’re not likely to be blessed spiritually as we like. The church in the West is like the Laodicean church, thinking we have it all together when we’re spiritually bankrupt.

We need God to restore our fortunes spiritually. If I understand correctly, streams in the Negeb are desert streams. They are seasonal. In the dry season they dry up, but in the rainy season they turn the wilderness into meadows.

I think sowing in tears and reaping with shouts of joy isn’t just beautiful poetry, but also very insightful as to how we are to be revived. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. If we weep for our own spiritual states and the spiritual state of the lost, we will in due time see a harvest.

If we don’t weep for the lost, they’re not going to get saved. The reason that we get saved is because God cares for us. If we don’t care for others, we’re not going to tell them how they can get saved. If we do, however, and God blesses us with fruit for our labours, we will reap with shouts of joy.

When we weepingly tell the good news of salvation in Christ, we will rejoicing reap a harvest. The prospect of a lost eternity for unbelievers should spur us on to tell them the gospel. We will reap a harvest if we work in harmony with God’s loving Spirit.

“Lord, may we have Your heart for the lost, and rejoice when we see them come to faith. For the honour of Your name, amen.”


About the author: Robert is a child of God, the husband of Joy, and the father of Grace. He’s from “God’s own county” of Yorkshire in the United Kingdom. Writing in earnest began for Robert when a friend prophetically told him that he should write. Although he isn’t currently publishing himself on WordPress, you can read the archives at www.roberlain.wordpress.com and a few other blogs linked from there. You can also find his up-to-date notes on the YouVersion Bible App. Also, The Believer’s Post is a WhatsApp platform for Christian bloggers which you can request him to join.

Email Robert at bobjc88 @ gmail.com if you want to get in touch.

The Power of Changed Lives

1 Thessalonians 16 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

1 Thessalonians 1:6–10 (ESV)

6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8 For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. 9 For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Paul praised the Thessalonian believers because they had received the gospel message and turned away from their old lives of  idolatry to worship the one true God. The news of their conversion quickly spread to others so that Paul exclaimed, “we need not say anything.” People already knew of what had happened in Thessalonica when the gospel had been preached by Paul.

Our lives are a living testimony to the power of the gospel. Those who know us should see the difference it has made in us. We do not just preach a message of facts and information, but we have a message of life change. We proclaim that we can be free from sin and have new life through the life-changing power of the Holy Spirit. Do others know we have changed even before we speak? Let’s point others to the one true God through our words and also through the testimony of how those words have changed us.

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Now Is the Day of Salvation

2 Corinthians 521 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

2 Corinthians 5:16–6:2 (ESV)

16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

1 Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For he says,

“In a favorable time I listened to you,
and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”

Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Followers of Christ have been given the ministry of reconciliation (v. 18). This does not mean that we are able to bring someone into a right relationship with God based upon anything we have done. It does mean that we are given the message of salvation to tell to the world in order that others might hear it and be saved.

The Christian’s priority is to proclaim that reconciliation with God is possible because of what Jesus Christ has done for us. 2 Corinthians 5:21 summarizes exactly what Jesus did. Though he was righteous, he took our sin upon himself so that we might receive his righteousness. There was a great exchange at the cross. Jesus took our sin and, in return, we received his righteousness. This wonderful gift is available to all who will repent of their sins and call out to Christ for forgiveness. Do not delay. Today is the day of salvation!

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A Chosen People

1 Peter 29 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

1 Peter 2:9–10 (ESV)

9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Understanding and Applying the Word

All who belong to Jesus Christ have a responsibility in the world. We are to take the message of Jesus Christ to the world. We are a people set aside to proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness and into his marvelous light. We are God’s people. We are the ones who have received mercy and we have the good news that God stands ready to forgive all who will repent and trust in Jesus Christ.

Our Christian faith is not meant to remain a private experience. It is meant to be proclaimed to a lost and sinful world. This is how we heard the gospel message and this is how others will hear it. We must tell them. We have a great and merciful God. Let’s tell the whole world about him!

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Not Ashamed of the Gospel

Romans 116–17 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Romans 1:16–17 (ESV)

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

Paul was a missionary. His calling was to travel around the Roman Empire and proclaim that salvation was available to all people through Jesus Christ. As a result of his preaching, Paul faced much persecution. He was imprisoned, he was beaten, he was stoned and left for dead. Yet he continued to preach. Why?

Paul tells us why he continued in his ministry despite the many hardships. He was not ashamed of the gospel because it is God’s way of saving mankind. Those who hear the message of Jesus’ sacrificial death and have faith are forgiven and will be saved from God’s judgment.

As believers today, we have the same gospel message to take to the world. We must not be ashamed because it is still the means through which God is bringing all who will believe to salvation. Let us go boldly, as Paul did, into our communities and tell people of all that Jesus has done for us!

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Praying for Open Doors

Colossians 42 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Colossians 4:2–6 (ESV)

2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. 3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— 4 that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.

5 Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Paul asked the believers at Colossae to pray for him. He was not asking for them to pray for his health or safety. Those things were not his primary concern. Paul wanted prayer for his missionary efforts. He wanted prayers for open doors to preach the word of God. He wanted to clearly preach the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ so that people would hear and believe.

Let us join in praying for open doors for the gospel and let us “continue steadfastly” in this prayer. We are currently living through circumstances with COVID-19 that I believe is an open door. Our neighbors are fearful of the future. Let us pray and then let us take the message of Jesus Christ to a world that is hurting and searching for a foundation to stand on. The gospel is the message of hope that people need right now.

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Saved by Grace

Ephesians 24–5 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Ephesians 2:1–10 (ESV)

1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Understanding and Applying the Word

As Christians, we must always remember where we came from and how we got to where we are. Our standing and relationship with God is not because of anything we have done to make it so. Every one of us was lost in our sin and rightfully a under the wrath of God. The only thing that saved us and reconciled us to God is grace. We have no reason to boast in our salvation nor do we have reason to think ourselves superior to others. All we have is because our God is merciful and loving towards sinners like us.

It is important for us to remember the grace we have received so that we are motivated to tell others of that same grace. When we begin to think that we are more worthy than others, we quickly begin to think others are unworthy altogether. Salvation is a free gift offered to all. Let us remember where we came from and how we got here and then let us go tell others of that same gift that is offered to them as well.

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Let Your Light Shine

Matthew 516 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Matthew 5:13–16 (ESV)

13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Understanding and Applying the Word

How we live is important. It not only affects our relationship with God, but it affects how the non-believing world thinks about God. Christians are the chief representatives of God in the world. 2 Corinthians 5:20 states, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.” How we live as God’s people can have the effect of driving people away or helping them to give glory to our Father in heaven.

As followers of Christ, we have been called to go into the world and proclaim the gospel. We do that through the words we speak and through the lives we live. Let us not forget that we represent our Lord to the world. Let us seek to do everything in such a way to bring glory and honor to him.

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God Shows No Partiality

Acts 1034–35 [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. Please be sure to subscribe so you can read along every day. Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

Acts 10:34–43 (ESV)

34 So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), 37 you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Protected by Truth

John 1717 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

John 17:14–19 (ESV)

14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

Understanding and Applying the Word

You have likely heard the phrase “In the world, but not of the world.” It originates from today’s passage. It is not exactly a word-for-word quotation of Jesus’ words, but it is an accurate summation of these verses. As Jesus prepared to go to the cross and depart from the earth, Jesus asked the Father to protect his followers from the dangers of this world as they continued to live in it and represent him.

Notice that the thing Jesus asked the Father to do for his disciples was centered on them knowing the truth. Jesus asked the Father that the disciples might know the truth of God’s word so that they would not be deceived by lies. The world denies the word of God and proposes many other options as the best way to live. It is only through knowing the truth that we can be prepared to live in the world and testify to the good news of Jesus Christ as the Savior.

Let us turn to our Bibles to read of Jesus’ birth as we celebrate Christmas this year, but let us also turn to them each and every day as we seek to live for the glory of God.

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