Thanksgivings for All People

1 Timothy 21–2 [widescreen]

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

1 Timothy 2:1–7 (ESV)

1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

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Give Thanks to the Lord

Psalm 1361 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 136:1–26 (ESV)

1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
2 Give thanks to the God of gods,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his steadfast love endures forever;

4 to him who alone does great wonders,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
5 to him who by understanding made the heavens,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
6 to him who spread out the earth above the waters,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
7 to him who made the great lights,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
8 the sun to rule over the day,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
9 the moon and stars to rule over the night,
for his steadfast love endures forever;

10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
11 and brought Israel out from among them,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
12 with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
13 to him who divided the Red Sea in two,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
14 and made Israel pass through the midst of it,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
15 but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
16 to him who led his people through the wilderness,
for his steadfast love endures forever;

17 to him who struck down great kings,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
18 and killed mighty kings,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
19 Sihon, king of the Amorites,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
20 and Og, king of Bashan,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
21 and gave their land as a heritage,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
22 a heritage to Israel his servant,
for his steadfast love endures forever.

23 It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
24 and rescued us from our foes,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
25 he who gives food to all flesh,
for his steadfast love endures forever.

26 Give thanks to the God of heaven,
for his steadfast love endures forever.

Understanding and Applying the Word

As we have been looking at passages that speak of thanksgiving, we have read several psalms. A recurring theme is that we should give thanks because God’s “steadfast love endures forever.” In Psalm 136, the Lord’s steadfast love is demonstrated in how he rescued the Israelites from their captivity and slavery in Egypt and gave them the Promised Land. So, God’s steadfast love is connected to deliverance of those who are hopeless to deliver themselves. As the psalmist states, “It is he who remembered us in our low estate.”

We too can rejoice and give thanks to God for delivering us. We too were hopelessly lost and in bondage to sin and the condemnation that comes from sin. However, God showed his steadfast love to us by sending his Son to defeat sin and death on our behalf. We too find our deliverance through God’s grace and love and he has promised to deliver us into the true Promised Land of eternity with him. For that, we can always praise God and give him thanks!

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Let the Redeemed Say So

1 Chronicles 1634 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 107:1–3 (ESV)

1 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
whom he has redeemed from trouble
3 and gathered in from the lands,
from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Once again, we read a psalm with a call to give thanks to the Lord. This psalm focuses our attention on the steadfast love of God. This refers to his covenant faithfulness. God promised his people that he would always be with them and never fail to fulfill his promises. In the context of Psalm 107, God demonstrates his steadfast love by rescuing his people from trouble. Over and over throughout this psalm, the people call out to the Lord and he responds by delivering them.

The redeemed of the Lord have much to be thankful for. We have been delivered! We called out to God to save us from our sins and he did that. He sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us so that we could go free. May we remember God’s steadfast love for us this Thanksgiving season and pause to give him thanks!

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Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving

Psalm 1004 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 100:1–5 (ESV)

1 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
2 Serve the LORD with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!

3 Know that the LORD, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!

5 For the LORD is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

Understanding and Applying the Word

As we continue to think about reasons to be thankful, Psalm 100 is a passage we cannot miss. This psalm calls on “all the earth” to come before the Lord with praise and singing. God is our Creator and we belong to him. He is a good God who shows his steadfast love to us. He stands by us even when we are not very lovable.

The steadfast love of God is on display throughout Scripture. Sinful mankind continually rebels against him, but God shows grace over and over again. His love is so great towards us that he sent his Son into the world to save us. Romans 5:8 states:

but God shows his love for us in that while we still sinners, Christ died for us.

This is truly something to be thankful for. Our Creator has not abandoned us, but still loves us and has sent his Son into the world to save us. What a great God!

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The Ongoing Influence of Jesus

Luke 2452–53 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Luke 24:50–53 (ESV)

50 And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. 51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple blessing God.

Understanding and Applying the Word

With today’s reading, we come to the end of our time reading through the life of Jesus Christ as recorded in the four Gospel accounts. After Jesus’ resurrection he spent forty days on earth revealing himself to different individuals and groups and making final preparations for the future of his followers. At the end of those forty days, Jesus departed and ascended into heaven.

We might think that with Jesus no longer in the world that his teaching and influence would fade and disappear. However, nothing could be further from the truth. After Jesus’ departure, his fame and influence spread quickly. His original followers went throughout the known world proclaiming all they had seen and heard and many believed. Even today, the name of Jesus is known and discussed throughout the world. There are many who still hear the news about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection and believe. It is amazing to think how influential Jesus has been on our world. There is none like him!

The Bible tells us that those who hear the news about Jesus, repent of their sins, and turn to Jesus in faith, will be saved and have eternal life. He came into the world to give his life as a sacrifice for sin. He died. He was buried. And he rose from the dead in victory over sin and death. That is the Good News. He came to save us. Have you trusted in him?

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It Is Finished

Cross in Red

Reading the Word

John 19:28–30 (ESV)

28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Jesus hung on the cross for about six hours. It is no surprise that he became thirsty, but we are told that his statement “I thirst” was in fulfillment of Scripture. This fulfillment likely points us back to Psalm 69:21, which reads, “and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink.” After receiving the sour wine (different from the wine mixed with myrrh in Mark 15:23), Jesus said, “It is finished” and died.

The mission that Jesus had come to fulfill was now complete. He had come as the promised Messiah, lived a sinless life, proclaimed repentance and the forgiveness of sins, performed miracles, confronted the hypocritical religious leaders, and now given his life as a substitute for those who would trust in him. Jesus had come to redeem mankind and show the way to the Father and his mission was finished. He had accomplished all that he had come to do.

Jesus’ death was a part of the plans and purposes of God. He died to bring salvation to many. And when he dealt with our sin, it was once and for all. It was finished.

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You Will Be with Me in Paradise

The Pardon of the Good Thief

The Pardon of the Good Thief – Public Domain

Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. I do not publish additional 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. We are reading through the life of Christ in 2019. Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

Luke 23:39–43 (ESV)

39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Father, Forgive Them

1 John 19 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Luke 23:32–34 (ESV)

32 Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33 And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.

Parallel Texts: Matthew 27:38; Mark 15:27; John 19:18

Understanding and Applying the Word

Jesus was crucified as a criminal though he was innocent of any crime. An innocent man hung on a cross between two men who were truly criminals. But this was the plan and purpose of God. Jesus knew this. He knew he had to die as a sacrifice for our sins. So, when he looked out from the cross at those who were responsible for his suffering, he did not seek vengeance. He said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Jesus sought forgiveness for the guilty, which was his mission from the very beginning.

Today, Jesus seeks the same for you and me. We too have sinned against God and are guilty. We deserve the wrath of God. However, Jesus gave himself as a sacrifice for our sins to pay the penalty that we cannot. When we repent of our sins and turn to him in faith, Jesus says, “Father, forgive them.” And the Father does. What a wonderful and merciful Savior!

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True Peace

John 1427 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

John 14:27–31 (ESV)

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

Jesus’ words here were meant to comfort and encourage his followers before his time with them came to an end. He told them that he was leaving peace with them and it was a peace that the world could not give. Jesus’ peace must be understood in light of the cross. His sacrificial death brought peace to all who believe through the forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God. Those who belong to Jesus no longer have to fear the wrath of God because of sin, but have the hope of eternal life in a new creation without sin. The world can never offer peace because it is steeped in sin and evil that only bring pain and suffering and heartache.

Peace with God. What a wonderful thing! Consider the words of the old hymn, A Mind at Perfect Peace with God:

A mind at perfect peace with God;
O what a word is this!
A sinner reconciled through blood;
This, this indeed is peace.

By nature and by practice far,
How very far from God;
Yet now by grace brought nigh to Him,
Through faith in Jesus’ blood.

So nigh, so very nigh to God,
I cannot nearer be;
For in the person of His Son
I am as near as He.

So dear, so very dear to God,
More dear I cannot be;
The love wherewith He loves the Son,
Such is His love to me.

Why should I ever anxious be,
Since such a God is mine?
He watches o’er me night and day,
And tells me “Mine is thine.”

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Redefining Passover

Mark 1424 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Mark 14:22–25 (ESV)

22 And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. 24 And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

Parallel Texts: Matthew 26:26-29; Luke 22:15-20

Understanding and Applying the Word

As Jesus shares the Passover meal with his disciples, he redefines the symbolism of the elements that were used in the meal. Passover was a time for Jews to look back and remember God’s deliverance and provision when he brought them out of slavery in Egypt. However, Jesus told his disciples that the bread and the wine were pictures of him. They represented his body and blood, which would be given for the salvation of all believers in just a few hours. Jesus was delivering mankind out of slavery to sin and into eternal life in the presence of God.

Each time we go to the communion table, we should be reminded of the truth found here. Jesus is the deliverer of his people. He willingly gave his life as a sacrifice and invites all to trust in him for forgiveness of sin and the hope of eternal life. Just as the Jewish people trusted in the blood of the lamb spread on the door posts in the time of the Exodus, we are called to trust in the blood of Jesus, the true Lamb of God, for our salvation. Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!

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