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.

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His Love Endures Forever

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Reading the Word

Psalm 136:1–9 (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;

Understanding and Applying the Word

It does not take long to understand the central theme of this psalm. Every line ends with the refrain “for his steadfast love endures forever.” God’s steadfast love is the reason that we should give thanks to him.

In verses verses 4-9, the theme of God’s steadfast love continues and is shown in his creative acts. He made the heavens and the earth. He made the stars and the sun and the moon. It is God who created a world that could sustain life. And it is God who created us and gave us the gift of life. What a wonderful God who shows us his love in so many ways. His love truly does endure forever!

**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!

Thanksgiving

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Reading the Word

Psalm 118:10–18 (ESV)

10 All nations surrounded me; in the name of the Lord I cut them off! 11 They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side; in the name of the Lord I cut them off! 12 They surrounded me like bees; they went out like a fire among thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them off! 13 I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me. 14 The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. 15 Glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous: “The right hand of the Lord does valiantly, 16 the right hand of the Lord exalts, the right hand of the Lord does valiantly!” 17 I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord. 18 The Lord has disciplined me severely, but he has not given me over to death.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Psalm 118 is a psalm of thanksgiving for deliverance. In the verses for today, we read that the enemy had surrounded the psalmist. He repeats this fact three times in verses 10-12, while finishing with the statement that “They surrounded me like bees.” With these words, we get a sense of the frightening situation. However, with the help of the Lord, the enemy was “cut off.” Victory and deliverance was secured. As a result, the righteous sing glad songs of salvation.

Thanksgiving always begins with the individual. In verses 17-18, the psalmist recounts the deeds of the Lord to him. He remembers how God has granted him salvation and not given him over to death. When we as believers gather to worship and give thanks, we begin by thinking of our own salvation and join in thanksgiving with the people of God who have experienced the same. Let us sing glad songs of salvation as we remember our personal salvation and the salvation of all of those who belong to 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!

In the Congregation

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Reading the Word

Psalm 111:1–10 (ESV)

1 Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation. 2 Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them. 3 Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever. 4 He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and merciful. 5 He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever. 6 He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the inheritance of the nations. 7 The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy; 8 they are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness. 9 He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name! 10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!

Understanding and Applying the Word

Psalm 111 is a call to praise. It is a call for the congregation of the people of God to give thanks for all he has done and it recounts some of those things.

Our praise is always in response to who God is and what he has done. When we gather as the people of God, we worship together and our worship should be focused on these two things. As we think of what he has done, we focus primarily on God’s grace through the giving of his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins and on the promise of eternal life for all who will trust in Jesus’ work on the cross. However, let us not forget to recount the specific ways God has worked in our lives. Let us speak of his goodness and generosity to the congregation of God’s people so that we may join in thanksgiving and praise. We serve a great God!

**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 Stands at the Right Hand of the Needy

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Reading the Word

Psalm 109:30–31 (ESV)

30 With my mouth I will give great thanks to the Lord; I will praise him in the midst of the throng. 31 For he stands at the right hand of the needy one, to save him from those who condemn his soul to death.

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm ends with words of confidence from David as he joins in praise to the Lord. David believes that God will be with him even though David’s enemy has falsely accused him. Peter quotes from verse 8 of this psalm when there is a need to replace Judas as one of the Twelve in Acts 1:20. In the betrayal of David in this psalm we see similarities to the betrayal of Jesus at the hands of Judas. And as David calls for punishment on his accuser, we see judgement fall on Judas (cf. Acts 1:18).

As we reflect on this psalm and David’s life, as well as the life of Jesus, we see the Father standing with his own. This does not mean that God always removes the trial or difficulties, but he stands at the right hand to guide, comfort, and strengthen. We can have confidence that we are never left alone to face our circumstances. The Lord is with us and he is for us.

**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!

Fools, Sin, and Thanksgiving

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Reading the Word

Psalm 107:17–22 (ESV)

17 Some were fools through their sinful ways, and because of their iniquities suffered affliction; 18 they loathed any kind of food, and they drew near to the gates of death. 19 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. 20 He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction. 21 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! 22 And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!

Understanding and Applying the Word

The third group that God has delivered are described as “fools through their sinful ways”. Though they were foolish in their sin, when they cried out to God he delivered them. The right response is to praise God in thanksgiving.

When we consider our own lives, it is an amazing thing that God, who is holy, would save any of us. We are sinful. Scripture says that we have all fallen short and rightfully deserve condemnation and death for our sin. Yet, when we call out to God, he responds in grace and love. He gives us salvation through the atoning sacrifice of his Son, who died as a payment for our sins. God gives foolish sinners eternal life. If you have not done so, call out to him today. He will save. And then let us offer our thanksgiving!

**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!

Thank You, God

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Reading the Word

Psalm 104:14–18 (ESV)

14 You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth 15 and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart. 16 The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted. 17 In them the birds build their nests; the stork has her home in the fir trees. 18 The high mountains are for the wild goats; the rocks are a refuge for the rock badgers.

Understanding and Applying the Word

God is not only the Creator of all things, but the sustainer also. He gives grass for livestock, plants for mankind, water for the trees, trees for the birds, mountains for the goats, and rocks for the badgers. God is not a God who is distant and far, but a God who is intimately involved in his creation from day to day.

When we understand the truth that God gives us all that we have, we need to respond in thanksgiving. This is why Christians have made a habit of pausing before eating to offer prayers of thanksgiving to God. Meals are a natural time for such prayers because as we prepare to eat, we are reminded of the daily provision of our basic needs. Take the time to thank God for what he does every day for you. Find regular times to do this such as meal times. Let your thanks be known.

**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!

Know that the Lord, He Is God!

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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

The heading for this psalm states that it is “a psalm for giving thanks.” All of the earth is called to gather before God and sing his praises because it is the Lord who is the Creator, who is our Shepherd, and because he is good.

The words of this psalm are well-known to many of us because they have been incorporated into so many songs through the years. It is a wonderful psalm to remind us of the core reasons we gather to worship with other believers. God is good. God is faithful. And God’s steadfast love is forever. No matter what we may be going through, when we remember these truths, our hearts are moved to worship and sing songs of joyous praise. Let us give thanks!

**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!

A Joyful Noise

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Reading the Word

Psalm 95:1–4 (ESV)

1 Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! 2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! 3 For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. 4 In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also.

Understanding and Applying the Word

“I will enter his gates with thanksgiving in my heart. I will enter his courts with praise.” We often sing these words in our churches, but do our hearts match our words? “The Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods,” says the psalmist. We have reason to praise and be thankful.

Why do you worship? Why do you gather with other Christians to sing songs of praise? Hopefully, it is not just tradition, but because you are so filled with thanksgiving that you cannot help yourself. When we fully grasp that the Lord is the Creator and is sovereign over all things, and when we fully grasp that God loves us so much that he gave his only Son as a sacrifice for our sin, we should want to praise him! The God of the universe cares about you and me! Let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!

**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!