In Your Presence Is Fullness of Joy

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Reading the Word

Psalm 16:7–11 (ESV)

7 I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. 8 I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. 9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. 10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. 11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Have you ever known someone that you just loved to spend time with? It may have been a close friend or a family member. That person just brought joy.

God brings joy to the believer. Not only joy, but fullness of joy. He brings pleasures forevermore. He does this by being present with us and by being a support to us. This does not mean that we will not face difficulties, but that he will be with us in the tough times. And he will not abandon us. Even in death he is there with us and promises to give life to the one who trusts in the salvation he offers through his Son, Jesus Christ. For the believer, there is fullness of joy because we will forever be in the presence of the loving God who redeemed us.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

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Preserve Me, O God

Psalm 162 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 16:1–6 (ESV)

1 Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. 2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” 3 As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight. 4 The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips. 5 The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. 6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

Understanding and Applying the Word

At the end of the day, everyone trusts in something, even if it is themselves. This psalm speaks of those who chase after other gods besides the one true God. These can be the false gods of other religions or the things that we make gods because we elevate them to a godly status in our hearts. These would include things like money, power, fame, or pleasure. But these false gods will fail. In the end, they can only bring sorrow and disappointment.

Let us not chase after the gods of this world, but let us take refuge in the Lord. Let us commit ourselves to him and say with the psalmist “the Lord is my chosen portion and my cup.” He is a great God. The one true God. And his promises never fail. In him we find the fulfillment that our hearts long for.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

The Fool Says, There Is No God

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Reading the Word

Psalm 14:1–7 (ESV)

1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good. 2 The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. 3 They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. 4 Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the Lord? 5 There they are in great terror, for God is with the generation of the righteous. 6 You would shame the plans of the poor, but the Lord is his refuge. 7 Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Paul quotes from this psalm in Romans when he says, “…there is none who does good, not even one.” There, Paul argues that all people are sinners and have fallen short and therefore are deserving of God’s wrath. Thankfully, God has graciously sent his Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to take the wrath for our sins instead. Those who trust in Christ are forgiven and given eternal life.

However, there are many who continue to refuse. Instead, they rebel against God, even to the point of denying his very existence. Why? Because if there is a God, they know they stand condemned as a result of their sins. To admit that God exists is to acknowledge a greater authority and a need to submit to that authority. Many are unable to do that so they stubbornly reject the revealed truth of God and continue to trust in their own ways. Sadly, this denial will eventually lead to self-destruction.

God is a refuge for those who will seek him and turn to his Son for salvation. Let us do that today.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

How Long, O Lord?

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Reading the Word

Psalm 13:1–6 (ESV)

1 How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? 2 How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? 3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, 4 lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. 5 But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. 6 I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The Bible tells us that God hears and answers prayer. Yet sometimes it can feel like he is either not listening or not acting. That is how David felt in this psalm. He felt forgotten. He felt like God was hiding from him. And it brought great sorrow to David.

Even so, David trusted in the steadfast love of God. This speaks of God’s covenant promises to his people to be with them and be their God. David trusted that God would not let him down, even if at times it seemed as if God was far off. God had dealt bountifully with him in the past and he was sure God would bring him salvation in the future.

May we have the faith of David as we go through life. We all face times when God seems distant and we are desperate for him to act. Look back at the ways he has been faithful in the past and then know that he will be with us in the future.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

The Lord Is King Forever

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Reading the Word

Psalm 10:12–18 (ESV)

12 Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted. 13 Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”? 14 But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless. 15 Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer; call his wickedness to account till you find none. 16 The Lord is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land. 17 O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear 18 to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In the first half of this psalm, which we looked at yesterday, the writer wonders why God has not acted on behalf of those who are being trampled by the wicked. In this second part, the writer trusts in God to bring justice. God will surely act on behalf of the weak and the wicked will answer for their evil.

As believers, we are called to walk by faith. This means that we believe God’s promises and trust in their fulfillment, even if at times it may not seem like those promises will be fulfilled. Among the promises that God has made is that sin will be judged. Evil will not go unpunished. Justice will have the final say and it will be justice from the hand of the all-knowing and all-powerful King of kings. For a time it may seem as though the wicked prosper and are winning, but in the end the wicked will perish and those who trust in the Lord will be lifted up.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

Arise, O Lord

pexels-photo-534204.jpegReading the Word

Psalm 7:6–11 (ESV)

6 Arise, O Lord, in your anger; lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies; awake for me; you have appointed a judgment. 7 Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered about you; over it return on high. 8 The Lord judges the peoples; judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me. 9 Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end, and may you establish the righteous— you who test the minds and hearts, O righteous God! 10 My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart. 11 God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In the opening verses of this psalm, David declares his innocence before his enemies and his trust in the Lord as his refuge. Now, in these verses, he calls for God’s judgment on mankind. He calls for God’s judgment not only on others, but on himself, confident that he will be found righteous and a man of integrity while his enemies will come to an end.

One day all of mankind will stand before the great Judge and give an account. Scripture tells us that we are all sinners and fall short and stand condemned as a result. However, God in his grace has provided a solution to our sin. He has given his only Son as a sacrifice for sin and those who trust in Jesus the Son will be saved. Through Jesus our sins are forgiven. Those who stand before God in their sin and trust in their own righteousness instead of the grace of God will find eternal condemnation. Run to Christ today. He stands ready to forgive!

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

A Relationship Test

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Reading the Word

1 John 5:13–21 (ESV)

13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. 16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death. 18 We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. 19 We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. 20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

Understanding the Word

John summarizes his reason for writing this letter in 1 John 5:13 when he says “I write these things to you who believe…that you may know that you have eternal life.” The purpose is assurance. It is being able to know for certain one’s relationship with God.

In these verses, John uses the word “know” seven times. Throughout the letter he uses it forty times. It is the theme of the letter.

Applying the Word

Most people believe that they will one day stand before God and give an account for their lives. They hope that they have done enough good things to outweigh the bad so that God will grant them an afterlife of eternal bliss rather than one of punishment.

The Bible tells us that we can know even now if we have eternal life with God. 1 John gives us tests that can help us know where we stand. A summary of the tests are as follows:

  1. Do you believe the right things about Jesus and do you trust in him? He was the Son of God born in the flesh and died as a sacrifice for our sins.
  2. Are you obedient to the word of God? This is not a way to gain favor with God, but a response to his grace.
  3. Do you love fellow believers? The one who has been given new life from the God of love should be loving also.

We do not have to wait until we die to know if our relationship with God is as it should be. The Bible helps us to know even now. Take the time to read through 1 John again so that you may know where you stand.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

Do You Have the Son?

1 John 54 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

1 John 5:1–12 (ESV)

1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. 9 If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. 10 Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. 11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Understanding the Word

In the Gospel of John, Jesus states, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Here, John makes the same point. Eternal life comes through Jesus, the Son of God. We must believe that he is the Christ and trust in him.

Notice that John mentions love for others and obedience as assurances of our salvation, but they are not the means to obtain it. Salvation comes through faith alone in Christ alone.

Applying the Word

Christianity is not about being a good person so one day you will go to heaven. The Bible tells us in many places that we simply are not good enough. We all fall short regularly.

Christianity is about finding new life through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who came into the world to save people who could not save themselves. He died as a sacrifice for sinners and those who believe this and trust in his sacrifice are born again to a new life. It is the new life that results in a change in our hearts. We love others and we want to obey God.

Do you have the Son?

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!