Flashback: Clean Hands

Originally posted on January 28, 2018.

I do not publish devotional content on Sundays, but I do include a suggested reading for the day. Thanks for reading and, if you have not already, be sure to subscribe so you can follow along every day.

pexels-photo-296282.jpegReading the Word

Psalm 18:20–27 (ESV)

20 The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me. 21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God. 22 For all his rules were before me, and his statutes I did not put away from me. 23 I was blameless before him, and I kept myself from my guilt. 24 So the Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight. 25 With the merciful you show yourself merciful; with the blameless man you show yourself blameless; 26 with the purified you show yourself pure; and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous. 27 For you save a humble people, but the haughty eyes you bring down.

Flashback: The Lord Is My Rock

pexels-photo-461593.jpeg

Originally posted on January 26, 2018.

Reading the Word

Psalm 18:1–6 (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. 4 The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me; 5 the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me. 6 In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Oh, the joy of having a refuge in every time of need. That is what God is to his people. We can call on him at all times knowing that he hears and is there. We know that our cries reach his ears and that he is able to come to our rescue. This is why David could praise God and say that he loved him (verse 1).

If you are hurting or afraid, call out to God. He is a rock and a stronghold and you will find refuge in him. Then praise his name for his goodness towards us. He is a great God and deserving of our love.

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

Flashback: The Lord Lives

Psalm 1846 [widescreen]

Originally posted on January 31, 2018.

Reading the Word

Psalm 18:46–50 (ESV)

46 The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation— 47 the God who gave me vengeance and subdued peoples under me, 48 who rescued me from my enemies; yes, you exalted me above those who rose against me; you delivered me from the man of violence. 49 For this I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations, and sing to your name. 50 Great salvation he brings to his king, and shows steadfast love to his anointed, to David and his offspring forever.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In celebration of victory over his enemies, David gives praise to God. Why? Because he recognizes that it is God who has granted him success. The proper response of David, and all believers, is to glorify and praise God for all things. As David, we should praise him among the nations. We should make his name known for his greatness. He is the God who gives richly to his people. He is the God who provides and who saves. And we should especially tell the world of the salvation we have through Jesus Christ, the One who saves us from our sins and gives us eternal life.

We have much to praise God for. May we lift up his name and tell the world of his greatness!

**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!

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

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

 

 

 

 

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!

person sky silhouette night

Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

 

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.

Praise the Lord for His Word

bible blur book catholic

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Reading the Word

Psalm 147:12–20 (ESV)

12 Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem!
Praise your God, O Zion!
13 For he strengthens the bars of your gates;
he blesses your children within you.
14 He makes peace in your borders;
he fills you with the finest of the wheat.
15 He sends out his command to the earth;
his word runs swiftly.
16 He gives snow like wool;
he scatters frost like ashes.
17 He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs;
who can stand before his cold?
18 He sends out his word, and melts them;
he makes his wind blow and the waters flow.
19 He declares his word to Jacob,
his statutes and rules to Israel.
20 He has not dealt thus with any other nation;
they do not know his rules.
Praise the LORD!

Understanding and Applying the Word

Yesterday we looked at the first half of this psalm. Today, we look at the second half. The theme of the psalm continues to be why God is worthy of our praise. However, in today’s verses the reasons are different. The Lord is worthy of praise because he protects his people, he provides for his people, and he gives his law to his people.

The first two reasons seem simple enough, but why should we offer praise for the law? Does not the law limit us and rob us of joy? That is certainly the way some look at it. However, that is not how we should think of God’s law. It does not limit our joy, but tells us how to find true joy. It does not take away from our lives, but tells us how to live life to the full. Our Creator has given us his word and it tells us how we should live to both glorify him and find the greatest fulfillment in our lives. Let us praise him for his wonderful gift!

**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

woman holding black microphone

Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

 

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

shallow focus photography of religious figurines

Photo by Jessica Lewis on Pexels.com

 

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.