The Mighty Has Done Great Things for Me

luke 149 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Luke 1:39–56 (ESV)

39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
46 And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

56 And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.

Understanding and Applying the Word

After Mary’s conversation with the angel Gabriel regarding the birth of Jesus, she went to see Elizabeth. Elizabeth was also going to have a child, John the Baptist. When the women greet each other, their joy is evident as Elizabeth praises Mary and Mary reflects on how the Lord has chosen her for such a great role.

Notice Mary’s words in verses 46-55, often called “The Magnificat” or “Mary’s Song of Praise.” She speaks of her humble estate and how the Lord had given her honor. From now on, people would call her “blessed.” She was the one who would carry the child Jesus in her womb and give birth to the Savior and Messiah. She was the one who God had chosen to use to fulfill his promises from the Old Testament Scriptures. She was blessed indeed and she humbly praises the Lord for choosing her.

As we reflect on how God blessed Mary in such a unique way, we must not forget that God uses all of his people every day to fulfill his plans for the world. He uses each of us right where we are to reach our family, friends, and neighbors with the message of hope that comes through Jesus Christ. He uses us to show his love and grace in a world where darkness and evil, pain and suffering, are the norm. Let us also praise the Lord for blessing us and using us for his purposes.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. Please subscribe to this page so you can follow along each day. We will be reading through the life of Christ as recorded in the four Gospel accounts in 2019.

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Everything that Has Breath Praise the Lord

Psalm 1506 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 150:1–6 (ESV)

1 Praise the LORD!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens!
2 Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his excellent greatness!

3 Praise him with trumpet sound;
praise him with lute and harp!
4 Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!
5 Praise him with sounding cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD!

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm brings us to the end of our one year focus on the Book of Psalms. Throughout the book, we have discovered how we can live honestly and openly before God as we experience pain, suffering, joy, happiness, and every other emotion that comes our way in this fallen world. Yet, through it all, we know that we can trust in the Lord because he is sovereign, faithful, and good. So, whatever we may be facing, we can say with Psalm 150, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!”

What is next? In 2019 we will focus each day on the life of Jesus Christ. This means we will work our way through the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) over the year. So, be sure to follow along and invite anyone you think may benefit from reading with us. Thanks for reading!

Sing to the Lord a New Song

Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. On Sundays, I include a suggested Scripture reading, but I do not publish supplemental material.

We are nearing the end of our year in the Book of Psalms. In 2019, we will be reading each day from the Life of Christ in the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). Be sure to subscribe to this page so you can follow along! Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

Psalm 149:1–9 (ESV)

1 Praise the LORD!
Sing to the LORD a new song,
his praise in the assembly of the godly!
2 Let Israel be glad in his Maker;
let the children of Zion rejoice in their King!
3 Let them praise his name with dancing,
making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!
4 For the LORD takes pleasure in his people;
he adorns the humble with salvation.
5 Let the godly exult in glory;
let them sing for joy on their beds.
6 Let the high praises of God be in their throats
and two-edged swords in their hands,
7 to execute vengeance on the nations
and punishments on the peoples,
8 to bind their kings with chains
and their nobles with fetters of iron,
9 to execute on them the judgment written!
This is honor for all his godly ones.
Praise the LORD!

May the Earth Praise You

planet earth

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Reading the Word

Psalm 148:7–14 (ESV)

7 Praise the LORD from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all deeps,
8 fire and hail, snow and mist,
stormy wind fulfilling his word!

9 Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars!
10 Beasts and all livestock,
creeping things and flying birds!

11 Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the earth!
12 Young men and maidens together,
old men and children!

13 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
his majesty is above earth and heaven.
14 He has raised up a horn for his people,
praise for all his saints,
for the people of Israel who are near to him.
Praise the LORD!

Understanding and Applying the Word

After calling on the heavens to praise the Lord in verses 1-6, Psalm 148 calls on the things of the earth to join in praise. Fish, fire, hail, mountains, hills, trees, livestock, insects, and birds are all called on to praise (vv. 8-10). And lastly, all of humanity, from kings to women and children, are included in the summons (vv. 11-12).

The Lord is the Almighty. He is the Creator and Sustainer of all things and is worthy of praise from his creation. There is nothing else in heaven or on earth deserving of our devotion. God alone is worthy. May our hearts grow in awe of the Lord as we look upon the wonder of all he has made. And may we join all of creation in declaring our Maker’s praise.

**Want to read the Bible every day? Be sure to subscribe to this page and follow along! We are currently reading through the Book of Psalms. In 2019, we will focus on the Life of Christ for our daily readings.

Let the Creation Praise!

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Reading the Word

Psalm 148:1–6 (ESV)

1 Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
2 Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his hosts!

3 Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars!
4 Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!

5 Let them praise the name of the LORD!
For he commanded and they were created.
6 And he established them forever and ever;
he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalms breaks into two sections. We are looking at the first section in verses 1-6 where the “heavens” are called on to praise the Lord. The heavens include all created things in the realm of heaven where the angels are. The heavens also include the sun, moon, and stars. The second half of this psalm, which we will read tomorrow, calls on the things of the earth to also praise the Lord.

This psalm calls on all of creation to praise God. Of course, this call includes us. We have been given our existence and life by the great and loving Creator. Our very existence is precious and makes God worthy to receive our worship. Take a moment to go outside and observe all that God has made (the sun, the moon, the stars, the oceans, lakes, rivers, trees, grass, snow, mountains, animals, etc.). Then consider yourself and your family and neighbors and friends. God made it all. He is truly a great God. Let us praise him!

**Want to read the Bible every day? Be sure to subscribe to this page and follow along! We are currently reading through the Book of Psalms. In 2019, we will focus on the Life of Christ for our daily readings.

It Is Good to Sing Praises

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Reading the Word

Psalm 147:1–11 (ESV)
1 Praise the LORD!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.
2 The LORD builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
3 He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
4 He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
5 Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.
6 The LORD lifts up the humble;
he casts the wicked to the ground.

7 Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving;
make melody to our God on the lyre!
8 He covers the heavens with clouds;
he prepares rain for the earth;
he makes grass grow on the hills.
9 He gives to the beasts their food,
and to the young ravens that cry.
10 His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
11 but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The theme of this psalm is on the Lord’s worthiness to receive praise. He is awesome in power and he is kind towards his creation. He deserves our praise!

One of the chief ways that we offer praise to the Lord is through song. It is natural for our hearts to overflow in songs. The Church has always known this, which is why singing is such an important part of our worship services. Songs are not just nice, but a deeply ingrained part of how we as humans show our feelings and participate in worship. It is also why it is important to truly believe the words we sing. They are directed to God and should be true as they glorify his name. As the psalmist writes, “For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.” So, let us lift up our voices in songs of praise!

**Want to read the Bible every day? Be sure to subscribe to this page and follow along! We are currently reading through the Book of Psalms. In 2019, we will focus on the Life of Christ for our daily readings.

Praise the Lord on Christmas Day

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Reading the Word

Psalm 146:1–10 (ESV)
1 Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD, O my soul!
2 I will praise the LORD as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

3 Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
4 When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
on that very day his plans perish.

5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God,
6 who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
7 who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.

The LORD sets the prisoners free;
8 the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;
the LORD loves the righteous.
9 The LORD watches over the sojourners;
he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

10 The LORD will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the LORD!

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm focuses our thoughts and actions towards praise. God is a great and merciful God who reigns over all. He is worthy of our praise.

As you celebrate Christmas today, take special time to give thanks and praise to God for the wonderful gift of Jesus Christ. It is his birth that we celebrate and it is through him that we find salvation and peace. Merry Christmas!

**Want to read the Bible every day? Be sure to subscribe to this page and follow along! We are currently reading through the Book of Psalms. In 2019, we will focus on the Life of Christ for our daily readings.

Every Day I Will Bless You

Psalm 1452 [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, which you will find below.

Want to read the Bible every day? Subscribe to this page and follow along. We are currently reading through the Book of Psalms and will read through the Life of Christ in 2019.

Reading the Word

Psalm 145:1–9 (ESV)

1 I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever.
2 Every day I will bless you
and praise your name forever and ever.
3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable.

4 One generation shall commend your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.
5 On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
6 They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
and I will declare your greatness.
7 They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.

8 The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 The LORD is good to all,
and his mercy is over all that he has made.

I Will Sing a New Song

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Reading the Word

Psalm 144:9–15 (ESV)

9 I will sing a new song to you, O God;
upon a ten-stringed harp I will play to you,
10 who gives victory to kings,
who rescues David his servant from the cruel sword.
11 Rescue me and deliver me
from the hand of foreigners,
whose mouths speak lies
and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.

12 May our sons in their youth
be like plants full grown,
our daughters like corner pillars
cut for the structure of a palace;
13 may our granaries be full,
providing all kinds of produce;
may our sheep bring forth thousands
and ten thousands in our fields;
14 may our cattle be heavy with young,
suffering no mishap or failure in bearing;
may there be no cry of distress in our streets!
15 Blessed are the people to whom such blessings fall!
Blessed are the people whose God is the LORD!

Understanding and Applying the Word

In this psalm, David give thanks to God for give him victory. In response to all tat God has done, David worships in song and proclaims that God is a God of great blessing to his people.

As God’s people, we too have much to be thankful for. We especially have reason to praise God for the salvation we have in Christ. It is Jesus who came into this world to bring victory to his people over the power of sin and death. And it is through Jesus that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3). Let us also take up a song on our lips as we sing praises to our great God for all he has done for us.

**Want to read the Bible every day? Be sure to subscribe to this page and follow along! We are currently reading through the Book of Psalms. In 2019, we will focus on the Life of Christ for our daily readings.

The Lord’s Purpose for Me

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Reading the Word

Psalm 138:1–8 (ESV)

1 I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart;
before the gods I sing your praise;
2 I bow down toward your holy temple
and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness,
for you have exalted above all things
your name and your word.
3 On the day I called, you answered me;
my strength of soul you increased.

4 All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O LORD,
for they have heard the words of your mouth,
5 and they shall sing of the ways of the LORD,
for great is the glory of the LORD.
6 For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly,
but the haughty he knows from afar.

7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
and your right hand delivers me.
8 The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Understanding and Applying the Word

As we read these last several psalms, we find the central theme of praise. In Psalm 138, we once again find this theme and a focus on God’s steadfast love and faithfulness as the reason for our praise. It is God who answers prayer and it is God who is a helper in times of trouble (vv. 3, 7).

The psalmist concludes this psalm by saying, “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me.” This is a wonderful statement of confidence in the Lord’s faithfulness. God has a purpose for his people, not just collectively, but individually. Whatever we may face in life, we can find hope and a reason for thanksgiving because the Lord has a purpose and will fulfill it. And we know that “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). So, let us learn to give thanks knowing that our God is great and he is faithful.

**Want to read the Bible every day? Be sure to subscribe to this page and follow along! We are currently reading through the Book of Psalms. In 2019, we will focus on the Life of Christ for our daily readings.