Believe in the Lord Jesus

Acts 1630–31 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Acts 16:25–31 (ESV)

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

When the jailer asked what he must to to be saved, Paul and Silas told him, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” That is the message of the gospel.

The Bible teaches us that we are all sinners before our holy God, our Creator. We have rebelled and disobeyed. As a result, we are rightfully condemned and there is nothing that we can do on or own to make things right with God. We have nothing to offer. However, God has done something for us. He has given his Son, Jesus Christ, who came willingly into the world to die for sinners. If we will repent of our sins and trust in Jesus’ sacrificial death, we will be forgiven. That is the gospel and the central theme of the entire Bible. Will you believe in Jesus Christ and be saved?

**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.

Unworthy

pair of brown footbed sandals

Photo by Pedro Sandrini on Pexels.com

 

Reading the Word

Mark 1:4–8 (ESV)

4 John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6 Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. 7 And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

John the Baptist drew a crowd. With his strange attire and diet and along with his message of repentance, it is no wonder that many were interested in seeing him. But John knew that his ministry was not about him. His purpose was to point to someone greater. John was there to point the people to Jesus Christ, the one who could save them.

John told the people, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.” That is the role of each and every follower of Jesus. We are merely servants of the Mighty One. Our words and our actions should not be about drawing attention to ourselves, but pointing others to Jesus, the one who saves. We are unworthy, but he is of infinite worth and deserving of all of our worship.

**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.

That You May Do His Will

Hebrews 1320–21 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Hebrews 13:20–21 (ESV)

20 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Understanding and Applying the Word

How will we live for the Lord? How can we prepare ourselves to face the day-to-day difficulties of living in a world that continues to reject Jesus Christ and his people while continuing to proclaim the Good News of a risen Savior for all who will repent and turn to him? Our verses today tell us how we can do it.

God has called us to live for him and to fulfill his will in this world. However, he had not left us to do these things in our own power. If it were fully up to us, we would have not possibility of accomplishing anything. No, as we read here, it is God who equips us with everything good that we might do his will. He both calls us and equips us. Let us not look to serve the Lord in our own strength, but let us call out to him for all we need. Then let us trust him to equip us as we go forth in him name with the gospel of 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.

Seek First the Kingdom

Matthew 633b [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Matthew 6:25–34 (ESV)

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Jesus instructed his followers to not be anxious about life. He pointed out that God cared for and provided for the flowers of the field and the birds, so he would surely provide for his people. What, exactly, was Jesus getting at?

The key t understanding Jesus’ point comes near the end when Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all of these things will be added to you.” With these words, Jesus told his disciples that their decisions and choices should always be made with the aim to do what is right in God’s eyes. It may be costly at times to do the right thing, but Christ’s followers can rest assured knowing that their Father provides for their every need according to his plans and purposes. Therefore, we can seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness by always choosing what pleases God in every circumstance.

**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 Lord Is My Rock

Psalm 182 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 18:1–3 (ESV)

1 I love you, O LORD, my strength.
2 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The Lord is our rock. He is our strength. He is our fortress. He is our refuge. Whatever trouble may come to us, whatever difficulties we face, we can find our salvation and hope in the Lord. With our God, there is safety and security because he is the all-powerful and all-knowing One who loves his people. He will never let us down.

When David wrote the words of Psalm 18, his enemies were other men who sought his life. We do not need to have the same type of enemies to find comfort from this psalm. Just as David trusted that God would take care of him, we can trust that the Lord will take care of us also, even if our troubles are different. Are you ill? Are you facing financial insecurity? Are you facing persecution for being a follower of Christ? Whatever you are dealing with, know that the Lord is our rock. He will always be there and his protection is better than any other.

**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.

I Will Give You Rest

Matthew 1128 [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 every day. Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

Matthew 11:25–30 (ESV)

25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Why Are You Cast Down, O My Soul?

monochrome photo of woman sitting on floor

Photo by Emre Kuzu on Pexels.com

 

Reading the Word

Psalm 43:1–5 (ESV)

1 Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause
against an ungodly people,
from the deceitful and unjust man
deliver me!
2 For you are the God in whom I take refuge;
why have you rejected me?
Why do I go about mourning
because of the oppression of the enemy?

3 Send out your light and your truth;
let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill
and to your dwelling!
4 Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God my exceeding joy,
and I will praise you with the lyre,
O God, my God.

5 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In this psalm, the writer is in distress. There is mention of unjust treatment, deceit, and oppression. This has resulted in the psalmist feeling rejected and being in a state of mourning. The writer calls out for God to grant deliverance, so he can go to the altar and worship.

The last verse is the one we need to focus on. The psalmist asks, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?” When we trust in God, we have no reason to feel defeated or hopeless. We are assured that he will save us for himself. We will be with him because Christ has already defeated our enemies on our behalf. We will praise him again.

Whatever your circumstances, fellow believer, know that you belong to God and he will fulfill his promises to you. He will save you and you will praise him for his glory, love, and grace. One day, we will all stand before his throne and lift our voices in praise together because he is our salvation.

**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.

Do You Love Me?

pexels-photo-134020.jpeg

Photo by Zukiman Mohamad on Pexels.com

 

Reading the Word

John 21:15–19 (ESV)

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

This scene takes place after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. He went to Peter and asked him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” There is discussion about what the word “these” refers to. Is Jesus asking Peter if he loves his fishing gear more than Jesus? After all, Peter had just returned to fishing. Is Jesus asking if Peter loves him more than he loves the other disciples? I believe Jesus was asking Peter if he loved Jesus more than the other disciples loved him.

Why would Jesus ask Peter this question? Remember, Peter had declared his unflinching devotion earlier. In John 13:37, Peter declared, “I will lay down my life for you!” Matthew 26:33 records that Peter said, “Even if they all fall away, I will not.” Peter had proclaimed his greater love, but he had failed to live up to it. He had run away when things got hard and left Jesus alone to be arrested and crucified. Peter was distraught over these events. In these verses, we see a loving and forgiving Jesus reminding Peter of these words, but also telling him that he was still one of his disciples and he still had valuable work for him to do. Jesus was telling Peter “I love you and forgive you and have much for you.”

We all fail our Lord. I hate to admit how often this is true for me. But we have a gracious Savior who is ready to forgive and restore us. Let us go to him, confess our failings, and go forward ready to serve him.

**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.

God Is Love So We Must Love

1 John 48 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

1 John 4:19–21 (ESV)

19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Understanding and Applying the Word

True love for God is accompanied by love for others. When we come into a right relationship with God, we are to grow in godliness. This means that we are to become more and more like our Lord. And God is love (1 John 4:8). It is incompatible to say that we love God, but refuse to be like him by loving others. Such an attitude and life only proves that we do not love the Lord nor do we know him.

As God’s people in this world, we are called to be his representatives. We are called to be like him so that others will know who he is and know what he is like. We are called to love others. God has shown his great love for all by sending his Son into the world to save us. We are called to be the ongoing presence of that love in the world today. Are you known for your love for others?

**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.

With His Wounds We Are Healed

Isaiah 535 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Isaiah 53:1–6 (ESV)

1 Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4 Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The Son of God came into the world to save mankind from our sin. Who would have imagined the way such a salvation would come? The King of kings and Lord of lords came as a humble servant to serve us. He gave up his high position and glory to become nothing for us. And as he came to show such great love for us, we rejected him and nailed him to a cross to crucify him.

When we look at the cross, we must never lose our sense of awe over what our Savior did for us. Such an amazing act of love! Jesus Christ gave his body to be beaten and torn until he died an agonizing death. As he hung on that cross, he bore our sins and took the punishment each one of us deserve. Through his suffering and death, those who repent and call out to him in faith, receive the healing we desperately need: freedom from sin and the gift of eternal life. So, as we look to the cross, let us celebrate our salvation, but let us not forget the great sacrifice that our salvation required.

**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.