Be Strong in the Lord

man about to lift barbell

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Reading the Word

Ephesians 6:10–20 (ESV)

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Life can be hard. Many difficult things can come our way at almost any time. When those tough times come, it is likely we will hear words like “Hang in there” or “Be strong.” But how do we do that? How do we remain strong when the world around us is falling apart and we have no control over it? Someone may tell us to “Be Strong”, but that is not enough. If we are honest, we know we are very weak and hopeless.

Notice that this passage tells Christians to “Be strong”as well. However, it does not tell us to be strong in ourselves. We are to be strong in the Lord. We are weak, but he is not. The world may not be in our control, but God is in complete control. We can face our circumstances in his strength. We can go into the world each day prepared for battle because the Lord is with us and has given us the armor we need to protect us from all we will face as long as we stand strong in the Lord.

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The Words of Eternal Life

John 668–69 [widescreen]

Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. I do not publish supplemental material on Sundays, but do include a suggested reading from Scripture. Please be sure to subscribe to this page so you can follow along each day. Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

John 6:60–71 (ESV)

60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” 61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” 70 Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” 71 He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray him.

All to the Glory of God

1 Corinthians 1031 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

1 Corinthians 10:23–33 (ESV)

23 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. 25 Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience. 26 For “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” 27 If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. 28 But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience— 29 I do not mean your conscience, but his. For why should my liberty be determined by someone else’s conscience? 30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks?

31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.

Understanding and Applying the Word

“Do whatever makes you happy.” We have all heard that sentiment at some time. The idea is that we should live our lives for ourselves, not someone else. It sounds good at first, but is it biblical? In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul instructs the believers in Corinth that they need to be mindful about what they do. Everything we do can impact other people for good or bad, so we must seek the good of others. We want to do all we can to point others to Christ and help them grow in their Christian walk. Life is not ours to live for ourselves, but it is to be lived for the glory of Christ.

“So, whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” That is a much different way to live than we hear from the world. It is not all about us, but it is all about Jesus. And he is worth living for.

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Hallowed Be Your Name

Worship

Reading the Word

Matthew 6:9–15 (ESV)

9 Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In this passage, commonly referred to as “The Lord’s Prayer”, Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray. Jesus’ words here were not meant to be simply memorized and repeated, but used as an example. We learn a great deal about prayer when we analyze Jesus’ words.

In the opening of his prayer, Jesus says, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” The word “hallowed” comes from the word “holy.” It means “to be set apart.” God is to be treated as holy. He is to be treated as set apart. He is unique and to be revered as God alone. All that we do is for his glory and for his name to be lifted up and honored, as he alone is worthy. When we follow Jesus’s example and desire for God’s name to be hallowed, we are saying that we want God’s name glorified not only in our words, but in our circumstances. Consider the words of Thomas Manton:

We need to deal with God that we may have the end, and leave the means to his own choosing; that God may be glorified in our condition, whatever it is. If he wills for us to be rich and full, that he might be glorified in our bounty; if he wills for us to be poor and low, that he may be glorified in our patience; if he will have us healthy, that he may be glorified in our labour; if he will have us sick, that he may be glorified in our pain; if he will have us live, that he may be glorified in our lives; if he will have us die, that he will be glorified in our deaths (Romans 14:8). – Thomas Manton, Works

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Confidence before God

Hebrews 1022 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Hebrews 10:19–25 (ESV)

19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Scripture tells us that we are all sinners and separated from God by our sin. Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden and the presence of God as a consequence of their sin. This is the same consequence for all of mankind. In the Old Testament, God established a way for the people to once again draw near to him. It was through sacrifices and offerings and the priesthood. However, with Christ, God has made a better way. Christ offered himself for our sins and cleansed us once and for all. This now makes it possible for us to enter into the presence of our holy God because we are clean.

Believers can go before God is confidence, knowing that our sin is no longer a barrier to our relationship with him. Our sin has been completely dealt with through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. We have full access to the throne of the Almighty. We have this access now as we go to him in prayer. In the future, we will have it in even greater measure as we stand in his presence in glory. Let us not neglect such a wonderful gift from God. We can enter into his presence with confidence knowing that God loves us and that we have been forgiven.

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More than Conquerors

Romans 837 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Romans 8:37–39 (ESV)

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Understanding and Applying the Word

We are more than conquerors. Believers must always remember that the war has already been won. Christ has defeated the enemy at the cross. We who belong to him have nothing to fear. Our future is secure in the hands of God and nothing can change what he has determined. Nothing.

Why do we often forget these truths? We live in fear and shame. Instead of going boldly into the word as Christ’s people with his message of Good News, we flee from the world or slip back into it. Consider the words of William Gurnall:

Few have the courage and resolution to grapple with the difficulties that meet them in the way. Israel came joyfully out of Egypt, but when their bellies were a little pinched with hunger, they were ready to fly from their colours, and make a dishonourable retreat into Egypt. Many who profess the gospel fail to endure when trouble comes, and alas! their hearts fail them. O how many depart from Christ at this crossroads!- William Gurnall, The Christian in Complete Armour

Whatever trials may come, we must remember that our future is secure in Christ. We are conquerors because Jesus rose victorious from the dead and has promised eternal life to all who believe. Let us go forward in confidence and pray that God will give us strength along the way.

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