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.

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.


Are you a writer who might be interested in writing for Shaped by the Word? I am looking for other contributors who would like to contribute to this page. Contact me through the page contact form for more information. Thanks!

Unity in Diversity

1 Corinthians 127 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

1 Corinthians 12:1–11 (ESV)

1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led. 3 Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.

4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The world divides on so many things. We split on issues of race, nationality, sex, wealth, fame, power, etc. The Church is called to be different. We are called to be unified because we serve the same Lord. In Christ there is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female, rich or poor. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ and equals.

Being equal is not the same as being the same. We do have differences. The body of Christ is made up of people who are different in race and nationality, who are different in sex, who are different in social standing, and who have different gifts and abilities. We see in our passage today that God gives different gifts to different people. These things are not for the purpose of making some more valuable than others, but for the common good of all. Let’s celebrate our differences and show the world our unity in Christ.

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.


Are you a writer who might be interested in writing for Shaped by the Word? I am looking for other contributors who would like to contribute to this page. Contact me through the page contact form for more information. Thanks!

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.

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.


Are you a writer who might be interested in writing for Shaped by the Word? I am looking for other contributors who would like to contribute to this page. Contact me through the page contact form for more information. Thanks!

You Must Be Born Again

John 33 [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 to this page so you can follow along each day. Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

John 3:1–8 (ESV)

1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

God Will Finish What He Started

Philippians 16 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Philippians 1:1–6 (ESV)

1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In these introductory words in the Letter to the Philippians, Paul gives thanks to God for the believers in Philippi and remarks that he is sure that “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Who and what is Paul referring to?

When you became a believer, you were born again through the power of the Holy Spirit working in you. You were given new life. We often forget this aspect of salvation. We talk a great deal about forgiveness of sins, but for some reason our new life in Christ is forgotten. Our new life begins and is a process of growth to maturity for the rest of our lives. As we mature, we put away the old self and its world desires and ways and we become more and more like our Savior as we desire the things he desires. This all happens through the work of God in our lives and one day, God has promised, that we will stand before him complete. This is the day Paul refers to. It is the day of Jesus Christ. When Christ returns for his people and gathers us together to be with him forever. We will be with him and sin will no longer be a part of our lives in any form ever again. What an amazing promise that God has already begun to fulfill in us and we grow closer to every day.

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.

Spiritual Maturity

Galatians 522–23 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Galatians 5:16–26 (ESV)

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Understanding and Applying the Word

What comes to mind when you hear the words “spiritual maturity”? Perhaps you think of the person who knows their Bible really well. Maybe you think of someone who has been a Christian for many years. Or maybe you imagine the person who is at church every time the doors are open. Those are all good things. Those are all things that many spiritually mature Christians do. However, those are not the marks of maturity.

All true Christians have the Holy Spirit working in their lives. The Spirit is at work to mold us and shape us more and more into the godly people we are called to be. The spiritually mature person is the one who shows forth a godly character, the fruit of the Spirit, in their life. The spiritually mature person is the one who displays love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Notice that all of these characteristics focus on how we relate to other people. We may have great Bible knowledge, have been Christians for fifty years, and go to church three times per week, but if we do not love others, we are immature and a long way from displaying the godly character we should. Let us examine ourselves and ask if we are growing in our spiritual walk and let us ask God to help us bear spiritual fruit.

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.

The Promise Guaranteed

Ephesians 113–14 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

2 Corinthians 1:12–22 (ESV)

12 For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you. 13 For we are not writing to you anything other than what you read and understand and I hope you will fully understand— 14 just as you did partially understand us—that on the day of our Lord Jesus you will boast of us as we will boast of you.

15 Because I was sure of this, I wanted to come to you first, so that you might have a second experience of grace. 16 I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia, and to come back to you from Macedonia and have you send me on my way to Judea. 17 Was I vacillating when I wanted to do this? Do I make my plans according to the flesh, ready to say “Yes, yes” and “No, no” at the same time? 18 As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No. 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. 20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. 21 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

Understanding and Applying the Word

I miss the old cartoons I watched when I was young. I loved Bugs Bunny and the Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, and Popeye the Sailor Man. My kids do not understand what they are missing. They know nothing of the power of eating your spinach!

Thinking of those old shows reminds me of the character Wimpy who used to always say “For a hamburger today, I will gladly pay you on Tuesday.” I always got the impression that Wimpy probably could not be trusted. His promises seemed empty.

How should we think of God’s promises to us? He has surely promised a wonderful future, but how do we know he will deliver? Well, God did not simply make a grand promise, but he has left us with a down payment. Paul writes that God has “put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” The never-ending presence of the Spirit of God working in us is a constant reminder that God has not forgotten us. He is still at work and his promises will be fulfilled. Guaranteed!

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.

The Spirit Bears Witness

Romans 816 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Romans 8:12–17 (ESV)

12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Understanding and Applying the Word

When we are born again through faith in Jesus Christ, our new birth is through the power and ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Spirit “bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” It is the on-going work of the Holy Spirit in our lives that assures us that we truly belong to God.

Is the Spirit working in you to convict, direct, encourage, and grow you? Let this be an assurance to you that you are a child of God, a fellow heir with Christ of all that God has promised. He has given you new life and is working to help you grow to maturity.

Is the work of the Spirit missing from your life? Have you said a prayer or said that you believe, but there is no change or inner working of the Holy Spirit? Is it possible that you are not truly a child of God? Jesus said that there will be many at the end who will cry out to him “Lord, Lord!” and he will respond, “I never knew you; away from me.” Take Jesus’ words as a warning, repent of your sins, and ask him to save you now and give you new life in the Spirit. The Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.

Give Thanks Always and For Everything

thank you heart text

Photo by Řaj Vaishnaw on Pexels.com

 

Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. I will be traveling over the next few days with my family for the Thanksgiving holiday. As a result, I will not be posting extra commentary, but I will continue to post suggested Scripture readings for each day. Regular posts will resume on December 2. Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

Ephesians 5:15–21 (ESV)

15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.

Boldly Proclaiming Jesus Christ

Acts 238 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Acts 2:22–41 (ESV)

22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him,

‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; 26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. 27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,

‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, 35 until I make your enemies your footstool.’

36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

Understanding and Applying the Word

After receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, Peter stood up and began to preach. This is quite a change in Peter. Remember, he is the same person who had ran away when Jesus was arrested and then denied that he even knew Jesus. However, in the power of the Holy Spirit, he stood before the crowd and declared that Jesus was the Christ and that they had crucified him. When the crowd heard Peter’s words, they were convicted of their sin and asked what they should do. Peter told them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus. Then they too would receive the Spirit and be equipped to tell others.

The disciples went from being cowards to boldly proclaiming the gospel because of the power of the Holy Spirit at work within them. Their transformation is amazing! We too have received the Spirit and given all we need to preach the truth of Jesus Christ to the world. We have no reason to fear, but have been called to go bravely into the world and call for repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.