Time Alone

Bible Study Woman

Reading the Word

Luke 4:42–44 (ESV)

42 And when it was day, he departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them, 43 but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” 44 And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

Parallel Text: Mark 1:35-39

Understanding and Applying the Word

With the word of Jesus’ ability to heal and perform miracles spreading, the people have been flooding to him and bringing those who are in need of healing. Even in the midst of the people’s needs, Jesus is sure to care for his own needs as well. We are told that he withdrew to a desolate place. Mark’s account tells us that the reason was to spend time in prayer.

It can be easy to pour everything you have into serving and helping others. However, there is also a very real need to take care of your own needs, which include spiritual needs. Jesus took time to himself to spend in prayer with the Father. We need to learn from his example and make time to spend in private devotion and prayer of our own, so that we can continue to find the nourishment we need, which will enable us to serve others in an even greater way.

**Read through the Life of Christ in 2019 by following along with Shaped by the Word. Just subscribe to this page and be sure to read along every day!

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When No One Else Cares

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Reading the Word

Psalm 142:1–7 (ESV)

1 With my voice I cry out to the LORD;
with my voice I plead for mercy to the LORD.
2 I pour out my complaint before him;
I tell my trouble before him.

3 When my spirit faints within me,
you know my way!
In the path where I walk
they have hidden a trap for me.
4 Look to the right and see:
there is none who takes notice of me;
no refuge remains to me;
no one cares for my soul.

5 I cry to you, O LORD;
I say, “You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living.”
6 Attend to my cry,
for I am brought very low!
Deliver me from my persecutors,
for they are too strong for me!
7 Bring me out of prison,
that I may give thanks to your name!
The righteous will surround me,
for you will deal bountifully with me.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The historical background of this psalm is when David was hiding in the cave of Adullam to escape the hands of Saul (1 Samuel 21:1). We get a sense of David’s emotions as he writes of feeling alone (v. 4) and trapped as in a prison (v. 7).

The attacks of others can cause us great suffering, both physically and emotionally. We get a sense of that in David’s words. However, we can follow David’s lead in turning to the Lord in those times of despair. David knew that God heard his pleas and he found great comfort in knowing that he was not alone, but that God was with him. And even in the midst of his trouble, David saw that the hand of God was generous and good (v. 7). May we find comfort in the Lord’s presence and have the eyes to see his overflowing grace in our lives.

**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.

A Defense Against Sin

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Reading the Word

Psalm 141:1–10 (ESV)

1 O LORD, I call upon you; hasten to me!
Give ear to my voice when I call to you!
2 Let my prayer be counted as incense before you,
and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!

3 Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth;
keep watch over the door of my lips!
4 Do not let my heart incline to any evil,
to busy myself with wicked deeds
in company with men who work iniquity,
and let me not eat of their delicacies!

5 Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness;
let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head;
let my head not refuse it.
Yet my prayer is continually against their evil deeds.
6 When their judges are thrown over the cliff,
then they shall hear my words, for they are pleasant.
7 As when one plows and breaks up the earth,
so shall our bones be scattered at the mouth of Sheol.

8 But my eyes are toward you, O GOD, my Lord;
in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless!
9 Keep me from the trap that they have laid for me
and from the snares of evildoers!
10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
while I pass by safely.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In this psalm, David calls on God to protect him from sin. He asks that the Lord would guard his mouth and his heart that he might not speak or desire evil (vv. 3-4). He also asks that God would make him receptive to the correction of the righteous (v. 5).

It is difficult to admit when we are wrong. It is especially difficult to admit we are wrong when someone else lets us know it. We immediately become defensive and seek to justify our words and actions. We must remember that God has placed others in our lives to help us defeat sin. Others are able to see things that we may be blind to or help us deal with sin that we have become callous to. Let us pray that the Lord would keep us from sin and that we would be receptive to the words of others who are there to help us grow and turn from sin.

**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 My Cry Come before You

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Reading the Word

Psalm 119:169–176 (ESV)

169 Let my cry come before you, O Lord; give me understanding according to your word! 170 Let my plea come before you; deliver me according to your word. 171 My lips will pour forth praise, for you teach me your statutes. 172 My tongue will sing of your word, for all your commandments are right. 173 Let your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts. 174 I long for your salvation, O Lord, and your law is my delight. 175 Let my soul live and praise you, and let your rules help me. 176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments.

Understanding and Applying the Word

We often take prayer for granted. It is an amazing thing that the great God who created everything cares to listen to the prayers of mankind. Why does he concern himself with us? We are insignificant when you think of the vastness of the universe. Yet, we are told that God does care and that he does hear and answer prayer.

The psalmist prays, “Let me cry come before you…Let my plea come before you.” It is a wonderful thing to know that God has heard. And it is also a wonderful thing to know that God answers prayer according to his word. He has not left us in the dark about his plans and purposes in the world, nor has he left us wondering what he desires from us. He has told us all of these things through his word to us. And most of all, we find that God is a God of salvation. He saves us from our sins and gives us life through Jesus Christ. Let us praise God for hearing us, for giving us his word, and for saving those who call out to him.

**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!

I Hope in Your Words

Psalm 119147 [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 reading from Scripture. Please be sure to subscribe to this page so you can follow along each day. We are currently reading through the Book of Psalms.

Reading the Word

Psalm 119:145–152 (ESV)

145 With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord! I will keep your statutes. 146 I call to you; save me, that I may observe your testimonies. 147 I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words. 148 My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise. 149 Hear my voice according to your steadfast love; O Lord, according to your justice give me life. 150 They draw near who persecute me with evil purpose; they are far from your law. 151 But you are near, O Lord, and all your commandments are true. 152 Long have I known from your testimonies that you have founded them forever.

Hope for the Poor And Needy

Psalm 10922 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 109:21–29 (ESV)

21 But you, O God my Lord, deal on my behalf for your name’s sake; because your steadfast love is good, deliver me! 22 For I am poor and needy, and my heart is stricken within me. 23 I am gone like a shadow at evening; I am shaken off like a locust. 24 My knees are weak through fasting; my body has become gaunt, with no fat. 25 I am an object of scorn to my accusers; when they see me, they wag their heads. 26 Help me, O Lord my God! Save me according to your steadfast love! 27 Let them know that this is your hand; you, O Lord, have done it! 28 Let them curse, but you will bless! They arise and are put to shame, but your servant will be glad! 29 May my accusers be clothed with dishonor; may they be wrapped in their own shame as in a cloak!

Understanding and Applying the Word

In these verses we see David’s hope. His trust is in God, who he calls “God my Lord” in verse 21. The titles that he uses reflect on God’s sovereign rule over all. While David is “poor and needy” (a description of his weakness), God is in control and full of steadfast love towards David.

What are you going through? What is it that you are facing that makes you feel weak and powerless to overcome? David sought the Lord in prayer and trusted that the sovereign One would be faithful to him. You and I can rest in the truth that our God is in control and that he loves his people. Let us call out to him and trust him. We may be weak, but he is all-powerful.

**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!

He Loved to Curse

Romans 1219 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 109:16–20 (ESV)

16 For he did not remember to show kindness, but pursued the poor and needy and the brokenhearted, to put them to death. 17 He loved to curse; let curses come upon him! He did not delight in blessing; may it be far from him! 18 He clothed himself with cursing as his coat; may it soak into his body like water, like oil into his bones! 19 May it be like a garment that he wraps around him, like a belt that he puts on every day! 20 May this be the reward of my accusers from the Lord, of those who speak evil against my life!

Understanding and Applying the Word

David continues to pray for God to take action against his enemy. In these verses, he calls for the enemy to have curses fall upon him. Why? Because David’s enemy is one who loved to curse others. It would be fitting for such to happen to him.

This psalm is hard for us to understand if we cannot accept that God is a just God and calls for us to long for justice as well. David’s prayer reflects that he longs for justice. He desires that the one who is evil will be repaid with evil. An important thing to note in this psalm is that David leaves justice in the hands of the all-knowing and perfectly just God. It is ultimately God who knows when and how to judge a person. It is also God who may choose to extend his grace. David calls for justice and leaves it in God’s hands. This is what we are called to do as well, as Paul states in Romans 12:19:

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

**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!

I Give Myself to Prayer

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Reading the Word

Psalm 109:1–5 (ESV)

1 Be not silent, O God of my praise! 2 For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me, speaking against me with lying tongues. 3 They encircle me with words of hate, and attack me without cause. 4 In return for my love they accuse me, but I give myself to prayer. 5 So they reward me evil for good, and hatred for my love.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Here, we once again read a psalm of David. In these opening verses, David’s enemies are speaking against him with lies and words of hate. How does David respond? In verse 4 he tells us. He prays for his enemies.

Have you ever had someone accuse you unfairly? Have you ever had someone lie about you? Has anyone ever spoken unkind or even hateful things to you? How did you respond? Most of us have probably responded with our own nasty words towards our enemies. But why not pray for our enemies? Why not pray that God would work in their hearts and lives to soften them? Why not pray that God would remove the wall of hostility and create a friendship? This is what David did. And this is what we are called to do as well. Let us be quick to pray for our enemies as we seek to repay evil with good.

**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!

He Raises Up the Needy

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Reading the Word

Psalm 107:33–43 (ESV)

33 He turns rivers into a desert, springs of water into thirsty ground, 34 a fruitful land into a salty waste, because of the evil of its inhabitants. 35 He turns a desert into pools of water, a parched land into springs of water. 36 And there he lets the hungry dwell, and they establish a city to live in; 37 they sow fields and plant vineyards and get a fruitful yield. 38 By his blessing they multiply greatly, and he does not let their livestock diminish. 39 When they are diminished and brought low through oppression, evil, and sorrow, 40 he pours contempt on princes and makes them wander in trackless wastes; 41 but he raises up the needy out of affliction and makes their families like flocks. 42 The upright see it and are glad, and all wickedness shuts its mouth. 43 Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In these final verse of Psalm 107 we read of how God deals with two contrasting groups of people. Those who are evil are punished for their ways. Those who are needy and oppressed find God ready to save.

God is a God of steadfast love. He stands ready to show his grace and mercy to those who call out to him. We see his love on display in its greatest way in the cross of Calvary. God sent his own Son into the world to suffer and die for our salvation and all who call out to Christ in faith will be saved. Consider God’s great love and grace towards us And let us respond in thanksgiving and praise.

**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 Storms of Life

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Reading the Word

Psalm 107:23–32 (ESV)

23 Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters; 24 they saw the deeds of the Lord, his wondrous works in the deep. 25 For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea. 26 They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths; their courage melted away in their evil plight; 27 they reeled and staggered like drunken men and were at their wits’ end. 28 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. 29 He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. 30 Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven. 31 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! 32 Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm calls for different groups to give thanks to God. In the verses for today, we read of those who have found themselves caught in the raging storms upon the sea. When their lives seemed to be at the end they cried out to God for help and he saved them.

It is often in the darkest times of our lives that we call out to God. In times of trouble, even those who are not concerned about God or the Bible will often pray and ask for God to save them from their troubles. In his grace, God often gives us the deliverance that we desire. However, how often do we stop to give thanks to God for such grace towards us? Often, as soon as the danger has passed, so has our focus on God. Let us not forget the things that God has done for us, but let us praise him in thanksgiving and tell of his goodness to everyone.

**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!